The Freemasons' Grand Charity

gc logoThe Freemasons’ Grand Charity is the central grant-making charity of all Freemasons in England and Wales.  It was registered in 1981 and carries on a tradition of charitable support for both Freemasons and the wider community which has been maintained since 1727.

Over 25 years, the Freemasons’ Grand Charity has made grants totalling more than £72 million, complementing the tremendous support shown by Freemasons at the local and Provincial level for important charitable causes.

The Freemasons’ Grand Charity makes grants to:

  • Distressed Freemasons and their dependants (Masonic Relief Grants)
  • Non-Masonic national charities serving England and Wales
  • Other Masonic Charities, and Emergency Relief Work Worldwide

The activities of the Charity reflect areas of interest and relevance to Masons.  Under its current guidelines for support to national charities, the Freemasons’ Grand Charity makes grants for three main purposes:

Medical Research

Opportunities for young people

Grants to non-Masonic charities range from a few hundred to over £1 million and hundreds of different charities benefit each year.

Freemasons provide all of the funding for the Grand Charity’s grant-making activities, mainly through  annual contributions made by individual Masons supporting their Lodges, as well as through   fundraising Festivals hosted each year by one of the 47 Provinces in England and Wales.  Since 1986, these Festivals have contributed an impressive £34 million and the Grand Charity is very grateful to the Province of Cambridgeshire for agreeing to host a Festival in 2012.

Speaking about the work of the Grand Charity, the President, Grahame N Elliott said:

 “Charitable support is at the very heart of the work of the Grand Charity and thousands of men, women and children of all ages have been assisted by the Grand Charity.  This valuable and often vital assistance is delivered on behalf of Freemasons across England and Wales and the Charity looks forward to continuing to provide this support to Masons and non-Masons for many years to come.”

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Cambridgeshire Masonic Benevolent Association

The Association is one of the first of its kind to be formed in English Freemasonry.   Formal motions to establish an organisation to centralise the charitable giving of the Cambridgeshire masons were passed in November 1882.  Now the Association, of which every Freemason of the 30 Lodges in the Province of Cambridgeshire is automatically a member, takes care of more than half of all the money local Freemasons donate to charities, both Masonic and non-Masonic.

Almost all regular Lodge charitable giving passes through the books of the Association but there are, of course, frequent occasions when an individual or Lodge prefers to make a direct contribution to a particular charitable cause.  Monies passed through the Association can be specifically targeted by the individual or Lodge donor, or left for the Association to use as part of its declared programme.  The advantages of centralised administration and better interest rates are very clear.

The Association supports the Central Masonic Charities, quite substantially, on a regular basis and also, through the Province of Cambridgeshire Charity for Care and Relief, makes grants to individuals and local non-Masonic Charities.

History of Provincial Grand Lodge

The Province of Cambridgeshire celebrated its bicentenary in 1996. The first Provincial Grand Master Lord Eardley, was appointed in1796 and held office until his death in 1824. In all, fifteen Brethren have been elevated to the position of Provincial Grand Master; the present incumbent, William Charles Mason Dastur was installed in 2015 by the Deputy Grand Master, R.W. Bro. Jonathan Spence.

The history of the Province is recorded in 'Cambridgeshire Encompassed' by J.M. Whitehead, prepared for the bicentenary. Some copies are still available from Freemasons' Hall, Bateman Street, Cambridge.

The Province is a small one as far as numbers are concerned, with 30 Lodges and 14 Royal Arch Chapters but, being small, it has the advantage that the Provincial Grand Master and his Deputy are familiar visitors to all the Lodges.

We take pride in what may be a unique phenomenon; the ruling Masters of the Lodges of the Province are invited to all Installation meetings in the Province during their year of office. The band, affectionately referred to as 'The Circuit', serve to support the Provincial Grand Master and his Deputy and the Provincial Grand Wardens.  The Provincial Grand Sword Bearer and the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies or his Deputy are also regular visitors to Installations in their official capacities as escorts to the PGM and the DepPGM.

Lodges in the Province

Freemasonry in Cambridgeshire revolves around the seven Masonic centres situated across (and just outside) the county. With a couple of exceptions, all the lodges meet during the 'season' and shut down for the summer. The two exceptions (Granta and St. Wendred) both meet at Newmarket throughout the year - so there's a good chance you'll find somewhere to visit.

Masonic Centres