ISSUE 8, January 2004
Editorial
Musical Masons: Gilbert and Sullivan
Travel: Proud Prague
Charge of a Mason: The Charge of the Light Brigade
Supreme Grand Chapter: Speech by the Pro First Grand Principal and Report of the Committee of General Purposes
Israel: 50th Anniversary of Grand Lodge
London Masonry: Inauguration of Metropolitan Grand Lodge and the Metropolitan Grand Chapter
Quarterly Communication: Deputy Grand Master's Address and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Masonic charities: News and Masonic Almoners
Library & Museum of Freemasonry: Not everything in an apron is 'Masonic'
Masonic education: Masonic diary dates
Letters, Gardening, Book reviews

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The Importance of Masonic Almoners

The role of the Lodge Almoner is vital in ensuring that the Masonic Charities are able to help those who are in need
The 70 year-old widow of a Freemason, who had died several years earlier, was in receipt of Income Support, which provided her with the Government's Minimum Income Guarantee (now called Pension Credit).

Although this enabled her to cover all her essential outgoings, it left little for additional luxuries such as her friends and neighbours enjoyed. She had 4,000 in the building society, but was reluctant to use this as she felt it would be required for her funeral or any emergency house repairs. Her property was worth about 180,000 and she had no outstanding mortgage.
     One of the widow's neighbours, also a widow, mentioned that her husband had been a Freemason too, and that the Lodge were very kind to her. Her husband had, however, been very active in the Lodge right up until his death, so the current members had known him well.
     She had had a new fridge bought for her, received a small amount of money every so often which she used for additional comforts, and was considering the possibility of having a stair-lift installed due to her arthritic condition. The first widow had lost touch with her late husband's Lodge, so she decided to write to "The Freemasons" to see if they could help in any way.
     The letter arrived in the offices of the GRAND CHARITY. Her husband's Masonic details were established, but the Lodge was in the North of England where they had lived when they were first married.
     The Grand Charity arranged for a local Masonic representative to visit the widow and an application was form was completed. This resulted in a grant of 3,000 for a twelve month period, which the local provincial Grand Lodge administered.
     They also kept in regular touch with the lady on behalf of her late husband's Lodge and Province. They too now contact her when necessary.
Marital difficulties
The father was initiated in 1976, he married in 1980 and a daughter was born in 1983. Shortly after the birth the parents began to experience marital difficulties, they divorced in 1985. Mother and daughter moved to another part of the country. The absent Freemason father paid meagre maintenance to his daughter until she left school. The mother did not re-marry and throughout the girl's education both mother and daughter existed on a very limited income.
     Despite financial hardship the girl, now aged 20 years, successfully achieved nine GCSEs and two A' Levels and in 2002 embarked upon a three-year BA degree course.
     Application for assistance from the ROYAL MASONIC TRUST FOR GIRLS AND BOYS was first made in 2002 as a direct result of the publicity connected to the UndergradAid scheme. In reality this child could have been benefiting from the general funds for almost 20 years.
Move to another area
An elderly Brother left his Lodge. He and his wife moved to a completely different part of the country, and he never joined a new local Lodge. For whatever reason, his Lodge Almoner completely lost touch with him.
     Following his death some years later, his wife found it increasingly difficult to cope on her own, and residential care became a necessity Fortunately, a young local Mason befriended her, was able to make contact with her husband's Lodge and the current Almoner (who had been completely unaware of her existence,) arranged for her to move into a ROYAL MASONIC BENEVOLENT INSTITUTION Home.

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