FREEMASONS in Burton have helped raise £1.5 million for charity by donating cash out of their own pockets.
More than £61,000 of the total was raised by the Burton Lodge over five years and the total will be presented to the Freemasons Grand Charity.
Eddie Ford, 71, from Burton, has been a Freemason for 37 years. He said: “One of our main aims is to help other people and the contributions we give are our own. We don’t go round doing pub raffles or packing bags at supermarkets. We also continue to donate to other causes.”
He added: “The lodge in Burton is still quite strong. We are sometimes known as a secret society but that is not the case. We are perfectly willing to discuss what we do with people.”
The cheque will be presented to the Freemasons Grand Charity on Saturday. It has donated more than £100 million to support people in need since 1981.
All the money has been contributed by the 3,000 members of the 100 lodges in Staffordshire and the provincial grand master, Dr Sandy Stewart, will make the presentation to the president of the Grand Charity, Richard Hone QC, before around 500 members and their partners.
Last year the charity donated £5,000 to the Prince’s Trust in Staffordshire and during the last 29 years the seven hospices in the county have received more than £300,000.
The Midlands Air Ambulance has also received grants of £132, 500 since 2007. Sandy Stewart said: “It has been our intention to raise as much as we could to further the marvellous work of the Grand Charity.
“It has been a difficult time financially for many of our members and our numbers have fallen during the past 10 years. We set no target and I am so proud of all our members and their families for their generous support and the enormous efforts they have all made. I look forward to announcing the final amount on Saturday.”
Each year the charity provides grants totalling almost £8 million to medical research, support for vulnerable people, youth opportunities, hospice services, air ambulances and disaster relief in the UK and across the world. It also provides assistance for Freemasons and their dependants in financial need.