From early in 2014 until the summer of 2019, the Province of Hertfordshire was ‘in Festival’, for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (which was the oldest of the four Masonic charities prior to the creation of the new Masonic Charitable Foundation in 2016). The aim of the Festival was to raise as much money as possible; with the Provincial Grand Master, Paul Gower, setting a target of £3 million.
However, after five years of intense fundraising by all the members and Lodges of the Province (including some not insignificant assistance from other orders), the actual total raised was a staggering £3,632,368!
The end of 2019 Festival was celebrated with a magnificent Gala Dinner at Guildhall London on Saturday, 6 July; hosted by the Provincial Grand Master and his wife Barbara and attended by over 500 Hertfordshire Freemasons, their wives and partners.
The Guest of Honour was the Pro Grand Master, Peter Geoffrey Lowndes and other VIPs included the Chief Executive of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, Les Hutchinson and his wife, and the Past President of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, Mike Woodcock and his wife.
During the meal, a continuous visual display showed all the Lodge Banners of the Province and the Honorific achievements awarded to each Lodge during the Festival Appeal.
By the Festival’s conclusion, 21 Lodges had achieved the highest honorific, the Platinum Award; representing a contribution of 175% or more of their target. In addition to this, 76 Lodges were awarded Grand Patron status, 28 Lodges were awarded Patron status and 17 Lodges achieved Vice Patron status.
At the end of the meal, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Dick Knifton proposed a toast to the Masonic Charitable Foundation and, in his respose, Les Hutchinson announced the fantastic total raised by the Brethren of Hertfordshire; acknowledging the enormous amount of hard work put in by our Provincial Grand Charity Steward, Chris Noble and his team. His comments were echoed by Mike Woodcock and the Pro Grand Master, who agreed that this was a fantastic achievement for the Province, of which every member should feel proud.