Following the devastating flooding across Northern England during the Festive Season, the Mark Province, the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust and the Mark Benevolent Fund have been working together to identify Mark Masons who have been affected and to provide assistance in local communities for the big cleanup operation.
The Cleeves and Whitehead Trust initially donated £5,000 to the Mark Province of Cumberland and Westmoreland, when many parts of that Province were flooded before Christmas, but it soon became apparent that much of our own Province would be affected by the appalling and unprecedented weather conditions which were to follow.
Many parts of the Calder Valley, Leeds, Bradford and Tadcaster were soon under water as well as York in our sister Province of North and East Yorkshire. Harrowing scenes appeared on our television screens as the weather conditions worsened and the floods became increasingly widespread.
All Mark and Royal Ark Mariner Lodge Secretaries were contacted and asked to work with their Lodge Almoners to confirm that all our own members were safe and well and to identify if any immediate help was needed. The Cleeves and Whitehead Trust and the Provincial Grand Almoner were on standby to help and the Mark Benevolent Fund was contacted, resulting in an immediate donation to the Province from the MBF of £25,000.
Thankfully, only a few of our Mark members were personally affected and these were already being dealt with by CHOICES, the newly established branch of WRMCL designed to provide aid and assistance to Yorkshire West Riding Craft Freemasons who are in need. This has left the Mark more able to help out in the local communities.
We have, therefore, agreed to match Craft donations of £5,000 each to the Community Foundation for Calderdale, the Leeds Community Foundation and the Bradford District Community Fund, which are charities orchestrating emergency relief throughout the towns and villages most seriously affected. They provide relief grants to people whose homes have been flooded to meet the immediate financial burdens associated with temporary accommodation, pumping, drying and emergency repairs. They also provide cleaning up materials such as mops, buckets and disinfectant. These first three donations may be followed by additional donations to other parts of the Province affected by the floods.
The Province and the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust are acutely aware of the devastation created by the appalling weather conditions and the unimaginable damage it has caused in many of our communities. Jointly we will continue to monitor the situation and do anything possible to provide assistance where appropriate.
In the meantime if you know of any Mark Master Mason who has been personally affected by the floods, please advise them to contact both their Craft and Mark Lodge Almoners as soon as possible.