FREEMASONRY in Stockton dates back to 1756 and the brethren proved that charity is still one of its core values by donating thousands of pounds to local causes at community presentation evening.
Macmillan Cancer Care, Daisy Chain and Stockton Amateur Swimming Club were among the many charities to scoop a share of around £6,000 on Friday evening from generous freemasons who belong to its many lodges.
Butterwick Hospice was the biggest recipient, receiving a total of £1,800 with £250 going towards its Big Butterwick Bike Bide appeal.
Its organiser, Brian Hutchinson, was inspired to help the Stockton hospice after his sister, Christine Pinkney, was cared for there before she died in 2002.
“She was looked after so well I wanted to do something to pay them back, hence the start of the bike ride,” he explained. “On the first ride 37 people raised about £1,800 and in its tenth year we had 179 riders and we have raised in excess of £10,000.”
Hartburn Lodge in Hartburn, Stockton, which offers respite care for children aged between eight and 18 was given a cheque for £500 to enable all its youngsters to enjoy a pantomime visit.
And TFM Radio’s ‘Cash for Kids’ fund, which buys Christmas presents for 15,000 needy children across Teesside was given £250 to purchase gifts for babies and teenagers, age brackets which are often overlooked.
Charity is at the heart of freemasonry, with members pledging to stand by its three ‘great principles’ of brotherly love, relief, and truth. The community event was held in its ornate Masonic hall on Wellington Street, which has been its home since 1875.
Martin House hospice in Wetherby was given £520 and Positive Strokes, based in Ormesby Social Club, Middlesbrough, which offers support and social outings to stroke victims and their carers, was presented with £550.
Terry Laing, set up Meningitis Now, with his wife, Sue, in memory of their daughter, Helen, who died age 24 after contracting the disease in 2001.
An annual ‘Helen’s Walk’, raised £79,000 over ten years to help fund research into a cure.
“When we lost Helen, I guess our work with the charity then started because we realised what a devastation it was.
“Now we raise awareness in the area and we meet people who have lost family,” said Mr Laing from Stockton who was presented with £250.