In January this year W.Bro. Neal Whitehead had the honour of being Appointed Provincial Grand Almoner taking over from the excellent work carried out by his predecessor W.Bro. Philip Bevan.
W.Bro. Neal was initiated in Merlin Lodge No. 1578, in 1986, becoming Master in 1996. Having had the privilege to serve the Lodge in almost every capacity for the last 3 decades, he is currently serving as Home Charities Representative, Petitions Application Officer, and the Royal Arch representative.
He became a joining member of Hendre Lodge No. 3250, in 2021, and is currently the Senior Warden. In Provincial Grand Lodge he was Appointed ProvSGD in 2002, promoted to PPrGReg in 2010, Appointed ProvGSwdB in 2018, promoted to PPrJGW in 2022.
In the Royal Arch, E.Comp. Neal was Exalted in Talygarn Chapter No. 7216 in 2011, and installed as First Principal in 2022. He has served with care and compassion throughout his role as Petitions Applications Officer for the Province, a role which he has diligently served since 2015.
His role as Lodge Almoner for 13 years has provided him with a solid foundation for his Appointment as Provincial Grand Almoner.
“The role of Provincial Grand Almoner can be challenging both mentally and emotionally, so to be a small part of a wonderful charitable organisation such as the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) which provides help and assistance to our brethren and their dependants, often when at their lowest ebb or in times of distress and suffering is a most humbling and rewarding experience and makes all those challenges worthwhile. The warmth of feeling that I receive having contributed to obtaining assistance for them and then leaving them in far better place is immeasurable and drives me on with determination to make a difference wherever I can.
As the Provincial Grand Almoner I see my primary roles to be that of looking after the welfare of all the members and their families within the Province of South Wales. To provide support, guidance and advice to all Lodge Almoners within the Province to enable them to perform their important pastoral duties efficiently and with care, compassion and discretion. To those Almoners who are the eyes and ears of their respective lodges as well as being the first point of contact to access the MCF for assistance, I express my sincere thanks and gratitude to them for their commitment, dedication and ongoing support.
I am also responsible for appointing and managing a team of Petition Application Officers (PAO’s) that operate throughout the Province. The PAOs are the conduit through which all applications for financial, medical & family support on behalf of our brethren and their dependents are directed to the MCF for processing. Our PAOs give generously of their time in the role thus enabling the MCF to process applications and award grants quickly and efficiently, and as PGA I wish to record my sincere thanks to them all for their hard work and for often going the extra mile to assist our brethren.
As the ProvGAlm I also monitor the award of grants to individual beneficiaries and the subsequent distribution of grant monies to them by the MCF. As PGA I also Report back to the Provincial Executive on the distribution of grant monies awarded by the MCF to beneficiaries within our Province; these typically amount to some £650 000 each year.
Brethren we have a mutual duty to support each other wherever and whenever possible. Please reach out a hand of support, be kind to each other and if it is within your gift offer your support.”