Celebration of Success – Ogmore Lodge 30th November 2015


Celebrating the first year’s success of South Wales Province 2021 Festival

Festival Chairman WBro Sir Paul Williams OBE DL KStJ PJGD gave a report to Brethren at a celebration of the success of the first year of the South Wales Province 2021 Festival in aid of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Fund (RMBI) at Ogmore Lodge 1752 on Monday 30th November 2015.

“On behalf of my  Committee, our thanks goes to Ogmore Lodge for hosting this event and I am delighted to see they are leading by example and will be one of the recipients of an award this evening.

This event is all about thanking the brethren of the Province for the way you have embraced the Festival and for supporting the RMBI and the wonderful work it does, not just at the Albert Edward Prince of Wales Court (AEPOWC – Care Home in Porthcawl), but throughout England and Wales.

Looking back over my notes for the Launch and our ambitions and plans last January, it is amazing how much has been achieved in such a short time. This would not have been possible without the commitment, energy and generosity of you all. We planned to hit the ground running and we started on the night with a cheque from the lodge of Fidelity for £10K and the funds have just kept rolling in.

On behalf of my Committee  may I thank our, President  Rt.W. Bro Gareth Jones and Vice President V. W. Bro Roy Woodard  for their huge support . Indeed our thanks are extended to the whole Executive for supporting the Festival when attending Lodge Installation meetings.

To my Deputy Chair, W.Bro Roger Richmond APGM., and to the whole Committee. The unsung heroes who make so much happen on a day to day basis, my Treasurer W. Bro Jeff Coles and Secretary W.Bro Michael Coombes. We are all sad to hear of the recent illness of W. Bro Peter Richards the Area Chair for the West. Peter has done a great job and I know you will all want  to join me in wishing him a speedy recovery.

During late January and February accompanied by Area Chairs, Secretary and Treasurer we met with representatives of almost every lodge in the Province to lay a firm foundation for the challenge ahead and in particular the importance of making early contributions to the Festival Relief Chest E0043 and  benefitting from 2.25% annual interest.

I would wish to thank the Liaison Officers for the vital link they provide between Area Chairs and the Lodge Charity Stewards and of course, all our Charity Stewards.

We have set ourselves a stretch target of £5 million – and no one has challenged this figure. We need to have at least 2/3rds of the brethren in an RPP or making a donation of £500 or more in the first 1/3rd of the Festival – if we are to achieve the target.

I am pleased to report we are on track.

In the first 10 months we have issued nearly 2000 Jewels to brethren who have made that commitment – so thank you all.

My thanks to W.Bro Akram Baig and his Events Committee for a string of successful and varied events we have enjoyed, including the Race Meeting at Ffos Las, Golf Tournament at Morriston Golf Club and Business Lunch in Cardiff. The race meeting and golf tournament  will become regular events.

There is much more in the pipeline, including the Summer Ball next July in the Brangwen Hall, and the Service at LLandaff Cathedral and Gala Dinner at City Hall, Cardiff to mark the Tercentenary in 2017.

I could not let this moment pass without mentioning the very poignant evening to celebrate the life of Akram’s dear wife Joan last January and the very substantial donation of £10K presented by Yasmine and Amir on behalf of the family.

Our Merchandising Team with the unstinting support of W.Bro Phil Saunders has sold over 3000 ties, bow ties and handkerchiefs. We have now added cuff links which are also proving a great success. Remember brethren, these are not Festival items but part of our Provincial regalia – all are on sale this evening.

Communications have been an essential part of the campaign and my thanks go to the Y Dalaith Team for their regular coverage.  To  W. Bro Paul Haley and his team for our Website and social media links. Our Festival Webpage on South Wales Mason has had over 3,500 visits and 750 down loads of Forms. We have over 500 followers on Twitter. Our Facebook page gets over 200 views per day and one posting recently was read by over 2000 people. The Festival Communication Team is happy to provide publicity for any lodge event supporting the Festival.

In May, I had the honour to address the Lodge of Benevolence, emphasising in particular the key role of Grand Lodge Officers and Charity Stewards. The next phase of the campaign will particularly rely on the ability and commitment of our Charity Stewards to encourage every brother that can, to make a personal commitment to the Festival.

My Committee are always on the lookout for new ways to raise funds and we were interested to learn of a proposal to establish a lottery. The idea was put forward by Swansea Masons, Mahmood Poptanni and Paul Bunyan. It was agreed that under the watchful eye of John Theopholis Davies that they prepare a plan to deal with the legal, administrative and financial issues and be ready for a trial run in Swansea in September. I was delighted to initiate the trial at the Indefatigable Lodge on the 14th Sept. Tonight, following a successful trial and the draw of the first numbers at the Lodge of Benevolence in October, the Team are ready to launch the roll out of the lottery across the Province. All the profits will go to the Festival. We will hear more about the lottery later. Incidentally we have not arranged a raffle tonight hoping you might all have a flutter on the lottery.

My thanks must also go to the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent for the support of the Provincial Grand Chapter and his Chapters who have so far donated £13K. Our best wishes to Excellent Companion David for a speedy and full recovery.

W.Bro Gwilym Jones who has acted as both Area Chair and link with Provincial Grand Chapter is standing down due to his recent appointment as District Grand Master South Wales, Royal & Select Masters of England & Wales. We congratulate W.Bro Gwilym and wish him well in his new role.W. Bro John Jeffries will be taking over this important dual role. As the brethren will know, John is Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah.

A second donation has been received from our Inspector General on behalf of Rose Croix Masons in the District.

We established three awards for lodges – Bronze for an average of £500 per member, Silver £800 and Gold for £1000. Who would have guessed that the PGM would have been able to present two Gold awards to the Lodge of Fidelity and the Harlequins Lodge at Provincial Grand Lodge in June and tonight we will recognise some 28 lodges with a bronze award and 3 with Silver.


5793 Harlequins
6112 Fidelity


2453 Duke of York
3834 Beaufort
4521 Dinam


237 Indefatigable
1752 Ogmore
3161 Dr. James Griffith Hall
4172 Penrice
4917 Corinthian
5057 Gnoll
5567 Penllergaer
5968 Doric
6355 Themis
6466 R.P. St. John Charles
6567 St. Cenydd
6608 Cambrensis
6729 Endurance
7353 Llanfair
8289 Kenfig
8358 Breaksea
8419 Ymlaen
8452 Nottage
8512 Dinas Llandaff
8588 Aberhonddu
8601 Discovery
8771 St. Martin
8934 St Andrews With Oriel
8991 Sure and Stedfast
9038 Wenvoe
9059 Proscenium
9132 Celtic Eagle
9605 United Services

This is a remarkable response and my thanks go to all these lodges here tonight who will now be on the Roll of Honour and hopefully going for gold.  Clearly the message of contributing early to the Festival and make your money work harder by gaining that preferential 2.25% interest rate, that will be credited to your Lodge donations, and at the same time benefiting the RMBI is working.

We still have a long way to go and need to sustain a rate of about £50K per month for the duration of the Festival and reaching out to those brethren who have yet to contribute. Let’s not dwell on this too much tonight but use the enthusiasm, energy and commitment to spread the word that what we are doing is for a very relevant and worthwhile cause with you as our ambassadors.

Hopefully by our next event, which will be in Merthyr under the banner of Loyal Cambrian Lodge No 110 on Thursday 4th February 2016, we will have more lodges to add to our roll of honour?

Brethren, tonight is a celebration of success and you have a lot to celebrate and be proud of. £922,000 has now been transferred to the RMBI and with additional interest earned and Regular Payment Pledges signed up, I can announce that in the first year of the Festival you have raised £2 million.

It is now my pleasure to introduce V.W.Bro James Newman. President of the RMBI. James attended the Launch and expressed a wish to join us again in the autumn. James is a man of his word and despite his very busy schedule has still found time to be with us tonight. He has been the driving force behind the RMBI for the past eleven years as Treasurer, Chair of the Board of Trustees and President. At the last AGM of the RMBI, the Board of Trustees appointed him a Vice President in recognition of his outstanding contribution.

Has been a key player in the merger of the four central masonic Charites in the Masonic Charitable Foundation and Chair Designate of the Board of the Masonic Charitable Foundation and Deputy President. A very successful businessman, chair of the Sheffield LEP and the playing a leading role in the Northern Powerhouse.

V.W. James will talk to us about the changing nature of the RMBI within the Masonic Charitable Foundation.”

V.W. Bro James Newman’s speech at the Celebration of Success.

“Thank you for welcoming me.

The RMBI continues to provide high quality services through 17 Care Homes in England and Wales: with 17 homes, 1100 beds, 1500 staff, requiring  £40 million turnover.

The programme of modernisation and investment continues including the specialist dementia units, upgrading accommodation and infrastructure, day care and IT systems.

The training and development of staff is a high priority.

Care is now a very regulated sector and quality and leadership are key.

The AEPOW Court in the Province of South Wales at Porthcawl is one our flagship homes.

The Friends of the homes provide an added dimension to the services provided and one which our competitors find hard to match.

The Friends of the AEPOWC are leading the way with their level of support, range of activities and fund raising.

Other services provided by the RMBI include, residential care, nursing care, specialist dementia support, a learning disabilities unit, sheltered accommodation and holiday breaks.

The shape and organisation of the four Central Masonic Charites will change from 2016. The Grand Charity, Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution  and Masonic Samaritan  Fund will all merge to form the new Masonic Charitable Foundation which will offer an integrated ‘ cradle to grave’ service for masons and their dependants. The services will be easier to access and there will be common eligibility criteria.

The Festival system will continue as the principle means of funding the existing Charites and in future the MCF which will take over the existing functions.

The MCF will be one on the leading charities in the UK and will be able to partner with other leading charities on a range of initiatives.

The work of the RMBI will continue, as will the name.

The RMBI will be split into a charity and incorporated Care Company responsible for the running of the care homes under the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

Sir Paul Williams has been appointed as the Chair of the new RMBI Care Company and is also a Trustee on the MCF.

The RMBI Board of Trustees is indebted to the Province of South Wales for the tremendous support it is providing for the 2021 Festival.”

The Deputy Provincial Grand Master V.W.Bro H.E Roy Woodward PGSwDB then gave a very eloquent thank you to V.W Bro James Newman, to W.Bro Sir Paul Williams and the Festival Team, to the Worshipful Master & Brethren of Ogmore Lodge, to all Lodge recipients of Bronze, Silver, & Gold Awards, to all brethren present, and to the brethren within the South Wales Province for all their hard work so far in making an early success for the 2021 Festival. The Deputy PGM gave apologies and good wishes on behalf of the Provincial Grand Master R.W.Bro Gareth Jones OBE who had been unable to attend due to illness.