If you were to ask the average person in the street what they know about the Masons, many would associate them with myths of funny handshakes, half a trouser leg rolled up and jigging around in an apron. The Masons are a worldwide organisation that have been going for nearly 300 years and one of the basic principles and a very important aspect for them is charity work. After the UK Lottery Fund, which is the number one charity contributor in the UK, the Masons come second!
3 years of fundraising
A three year fundraising event culminated with a Festival Gala Evening at the Gran Hotel Bali in La Cala on Saturday night. The idea of the event came from the Provincial Grand Master of Valencia, Barrie Mansell, to bring together lodges within the Province to raise money collectively towards a common goal - Cruz Roja, and to purchase ambulances to be used throughout the Valencian Community.
Pictured above looking very dapper at the Gala Evening from left to right are: Norman Wheatley, Stuart McDonald, Barrie Mansell, (Me), Rodney Bignell, Jim Jordan and Wyndham Neish.
Incredible amount raised
A Festival Committee was established in order to co-ordinate the whole event and to liaise with Cruz Roja so that their requirements could be taken into account. The start date was 1st June 2011 and since then a multitude of activities and fund raising events have taken place in order to raise the incredible sum of 141,000 euros!
On 19th May 2013 the Provincial Grand Master handed over a cheque and the first ambulance to Javier Gimeno Blanes, President of Cruz Roja in Alicante, which took place at the Hercules Football Club - after which the President of the Football Club invited the Provincial Grand Master and his team to enjoy the hospitality of the Directors box and watch the match that followed.
The Gala Evening was attended by 300 people, including representatives from Cruz Roja - the beneficiaries of the three year fundraising project. Javier Gemoni, President of Alicante Cruz Roja gave an emotional and moving speech. He spoke of the difficult economic situation here in Spain and high unemployment, yet the strong desire and solidarity to help from Associations like the Masons are the only positive signs to come out the crisis. He offered his heartfelt thanks on behalf of those in need. He was accompanied by Adelina Plaza - Vice President of Communidad Valencia and Manuel Bordoy - Cruz Roja España.
Not only has an ambulance been handed over but a second vehicle has now been purchased - a homeless support vehicle. This will assist people who for whatever reason find themselves homeless and in need of medical and social support. The vehicle includes shower facilities and a supply of fresh clothing.
Some of the fundraising events organised included Dinner Dances, Treasure Hunts, Carol Concerts and Sponsored Walks to name a fraction, which was embraced by wives, partners, family and friends too. The Gala Evening gave everyone the chance to let their hair down and enjoy a fun evening just for them - and so well well deserved. They were entertained and danced the night away to a fantastic line up which included The Beni Beatles, Celtic Knot, Dolce Divas and Gatecrash. A raffle which took place raised an additional 2,080 euros for Cruz Roja!