A district meeting is not normally a newsworthy event, but the meeting of the East Ribble District on the 22nd March at Accrington Masonic Rooms was a little different. The audience of around 50 Brethren and guests were treated to a wonderful presentation on the ELMC and the work of the associated committees.

WBro David Lightbown PAGDC introduced the event and explained a little about the history of the charity its management structure and its core values of supporting Brethren and families in the Province.
Charles Ward addressed the audience in his capacity as Chairman of the Comforts Fund. He explained the many events held each year including the Spring Party where over 100 are expected in April, the holiday to Lytham St Anne’s as well as a variety of other days out. Currently these are 734 beneficiaries which include 500 widows of closed Lodges, couples, Brethren and 54 young people.

WBro Roger Tinker the Chairman of the Young People’s Committee spoke about the specific events held for young people. These included outdoor pursuits, theatre trips and other fun activities. The group also gives the parents a forum to share their experiences and help each other. WBro Tinker introduced two young people who told everyone about their experiences and how the ELMC has helped them. They were undaunted in delivering their speeches and were very well received by the Brethren.

The Provincial Grand Almoner WBro Mark Davis spoke next, and paid tribute to the team supporting him. He made particular reference to our own District Almoner WBro Frank Salt who he described as a great ‘go to’ man and has been a great help. He went on to explain that a new electronic portal will be going live soon to make the application process even smoother. The audience then heard from two Brethren who had received assistance and how the ELMC had helped them through very difficult times both physically and financially.
WBro Davis also spoke highlighting the work of the Grant Making Committee chaired by WBro Chad Northcott PSGD. This committee approves grants to Masonic and Non-Masonic applicants. East Ribble has embraced the application process and had many grants approved all of which are reported on the website.

Julie Ward the Operations Director at Hewlett Court residential home near Bury told the Brethren about the work done in the home and some of the excellent things provided for the 38 permanent residents who’s average age is 89! The management hold a variety of events from Mothers Day pampering, Fathers Day pie and pint event, Indian take away night, Halloween and bonfire parties and the annual Christmas Fayre. They are looking forward to the upcoming Teddy Bear Picnic on the 1st of July as part of the Tercentenary celebrations. Julie was also proud to report that they had recently been granted an Investment in People Award.

In concluding the presentation WBro Ken Davies Provincial Grand Charity Steward spoke about the Fundraising Committee. He told of the funds needed annually to support the ELMC and encouraged the Brethren to become friends and to consider leaving a legacy in their will.

To conclude the presentation WBro Lightbown thanked the audience and speakers and presented WBro Davis with a cheque for the sum of £725 raised as part of the Chadwick weekend.