The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB) is over £7.7M better off thanks to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Freemasons.
After six years of dedicated fund-raising, the total was announced at the Bournemouth International Centre by Jasmine Elcock of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ fame, who herself was helped by the charity. She also performed for the 700-plus guests on the night.
The work of the RMTGB is ‘to relieve poverty and advance the education of children of a Masonic family and, when funds permit, support other children in need.’ This includes welfare support, talent aid for gifted young people, choral bursaries for young choristers, Stepping Stones – and the trust’s millennium project which was the creation of a new charity – Lifelites, which is now an independent charity and has established a presence in every children’s hospice in the country.
Also present on the evening were many civic dignitaries, including the deputy lieutenants of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, the Mayor of Bournemouth and the Chairman of New Forest District Council.
The Provincial Grand Master for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Freemasons, Mike Wilks, who headed up the six year charity appeal, said: “The amount raised is staggering and will be enormously beneficial to the charity and the children and families which it supports.
“In addition to this amount, throughout the six year period of the appeal, our brethren have continued to support local charities in the community across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and have donated in excess of £200,000 each year to these local causes.
“As Freemasonry celebrates its Tercentenary in 2017, this support of local charities will continue and increase and I am immensely proud of the brethren’s achievement.”
The masonic province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight includes Christchurch and Bournemouth, which were transferred to the county of Dorset in 1974.
The total amount raised was £7,746,319.