The Devonshire 2023 Festival for the Masonic Charitable Foundation got off to a flying start yesterday evening when 90 representatives from the East Devon lodges attended the first of four launch events at Exmouth Masonic Hall.
Chaired by our Provincial Grand Master R.W. Bro Ian Kingsbury, informative and engaging presentations were given by our PGM; Les Hutchinson, Chief Operations Officer for the MCF; W.Bro Chris Yard, Asst PGM and Chairman of the Festival Committee; W. Bro Reuben Ayres PrGChStwd; W. Bro Keith Williams, Events Manager for the Festival and W. Bro Alan Gill, Chairman of the Friends of the Festival. The purpose and importance of the festival was explained and the personnel, structures and processes discussed. This was followed by a lively Q&A session from a very responsive and positive audience.
The Festival Committee team was delighted to receive a cheque for £5,000 from the St Thomas Lodge No. 4198 presented by Group Manager W. Bro Rodney Walsom and a cheque for an astounding £100,000 from V.W. Bro Nicholas Ball, Deputy Provincial Grand Master and Chairman of the Devonshire Benevolent Fund Committee.
We are also delighted that 24 brethren have already signed up for the Festival Jewel, 12 of these at Grand Patron level. Jewels were presented to those eligible brethren who were present at the meeting.
An excellent buffet supper was provided by W. Bro David Greenaway and his team of volunteers and was much appreciated by everyone present.
We are off to an excellent start with the Devonshire 2023 Festival and the first launch event was a huge success. We would like to thank all those who took part and attended the meeting as we look forward to three further launch events, the next of which will be in Plymouth on 22nd January.
The breadth and scale of the good work undertaken by the MCF cannot be over emphasised, including the fact that Devon Freemasons and their dependents receive over £1,000 a day and Devon charities £500 a day from the MCF.
We ask you all to embrace the Devonshire 2023 Festival in support of the MCF with enthusiasm and pride.
W. Bro Reuben Ayres - Provincial Grand Charity Steward for and on behalf of the Festival Committee