The Annual Hicks Beach Lodge ‘Open Meeting’ was held on the 19th December 2023. The lodge master, Bill Mesley, wanted to use this year to bring context to the tremendous charitable donations nominated by Hicks Beach Lodge Members. To do this Bill invited three local charities to take the stage and tell us more. Peter Coles – Head of Charitable work for Gloucestershire Freemasons – Opened the session.
Peter reflected on the extensive and ongoing charity projects undertaken by Gloucestershire’s Freemasons, not least the recently completed Project 21 appeal that provided over £300,000 worth of imaging equipment for local hospitals.
Then followed an impactful and personal explanation by Abbie Warren, of Sunflowers Suicide Support, on the the origins of the Sunflowers Charity and the unique services it provides to those in need when all else seems lost.
Jaqui Smith of Paganhill Community Hub then explained why their unique location in the community enables them to provide continued help and support not just to those who are less fortunate, but to anyone who needs a friendly shoulder to lean on in times of difficulty.
Lastly, Kate Hicks-Beach described the service that Mindsong provides, in the form of singing with those dealing with dementia, and how that fading area of the human mind is stimulated by music.
Following the three very moving and informative presentations, Bill Mesley Presented cheques of £500 to each of the charities.
Bill then presented a book to Kate Hicks-Beach which contains a full account of the history leading to the consecration of Hicks Beach Lodge, by Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, in 1891. In an unexpected response from Kate’s husband, David Hicks-Beach, who is Sir Michael’s great grandson, presented Bill with Sir Michael’s own masonic apron which he would have worn in 1874. Bill thanked David and Kate for their generous donation which would take a unique place in the Lodge’s small museum at Stroud Masonic Centre, available for all to see at the centres regular open days.
This is fantastic example of how Lodges can take extra steps to truly engage with charities and help amplify their important messages.
We thank Bill Mesley for providing his insights on the evening and all photos.
*Links to all Charities are contained within the text