The Provincial Grand Master, R. W. Bro. Gareth Jones OBE, launched the Province of South Wales 2021 Festival in aid of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (RMBI) at the meeting of Hendre Lodge No. 3250 on 22 January 2015, and was reported at the time in the Province’s magazine, Y Dalaith.
The aim of the Masonic Festival was to raise an ambitious £5 million in the 6 years to November 2021 for the RMBI Care Co. Ltd. The South Wales 2021 RMBI Festival exceeded this target, raising a grand total of £5,664,893.
Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution
The RMBI Care Co. Ltd provides residence, nursing care and residential dementia support to older Freemasons, their families, and people in the wider community. It’s been caring for older people for over 170 years, and today over 1,000 residents are supported across 18 care homes in England and Wales. The Albert Edward Prince of Wales Court in Porthcawl supports up to 76 residents with permanent care or short-stay respite.
The first masonic festival for the RMBI was held in 1851, and to this day there continues to be a cycle of festivals covering all the provinces under UGLE, so that at any given time 8 of UGLE’s 48 provinces will be in ‘festival mode’. The last festival for the Province of South Wales ended in 1999.
R. W. Bro. Sir Paul Williams, Chairman of the MCF and PGL South Wales 2021 RMBI Festival, said: “Since the 2015 Festival launch, the RMBI has been incorporated into the Masonic Charitable Foundation [MCF], which was incorporated in 2016. All of the funds raised for the 2021 Festival will be ringfenced by the MCF for charitable use by the RMBI”
A herculean effort by South Wales Freemasons
Freemasons in the Province of South Wales were asked to contribute to the Festival by way of single donation or covenant. There were awards to recognise the achievement of Lodges; bronze for an average of £500/member, silver for an average of £800/member, and an average of £1,000/member was rewarded with gold.
A herculean effort was made by South Wales Freemasons and money was also raised by a record number of fund-raising events over the 6 years of the Festival. Such events included: Ladies days at the horse races, golf tournaments, businesspersons’ lunches, Provincial Grand Master summer balls and BBQs and a virtual auction to name but a few. The sale of Masonic merchandise also added to the total, as did a whole host of individuals’ fund-raising efforts.
The 2021 RMBI Festival culminated in a finale gala dinner at Cardiff City Football Club stadium on 19 November 2021, where the total raised was announced by Mr Mark Lloyd, the managing director of the RMBI Care Co. Ltd.
R. W. Bro. Sir Paul Williams said, “This was a phenomenal result notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic, which certainly negatively impacted the festival’s fund-raising campaign. The money raised will make a real difference keeping the residents and staff of the 18 RMBI Care Homes safe, well and confident of the future”.
Download the MCF Province of South Wales 2021 festival result document for a detailed financial breakdown