The Mayor of Preston has presented an award to local Masons after members donated £5,500 in cash and groceries to local food banks.Advertisement
Preston Guild Lodge said they were ‘humbled and honoured’ by the visit at Preston Masonic Hall, where Mayor Javed Iqbal presented the lodge with a Coronavirus Pandemic City Hero Award Certificate.
Over the last year, the lodge provided financial and grocery contributions to food banks with 14 local organisations in Preston, with the award recognising individuals and groups who supported the community during the pandemic.
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Lodge Master Ian Greenwood said: “By focussing on our local Preston charities, we hope to have helped them through some of the impacts of Covid-19 and the effect of lockdowns.”
The local groups included Young Carers, homeless and health support charities in Preston.
Preston Guild Lodge said they have a history of supporting the local community and recognised that the impact of Covid-19 was detrimental to many local charities, with their fundraising severely disrupted.
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Lodge members served as Covid Responder Volunteers, supporting homebound vulnerable people and working with the vaccine rollout.
The visit coincided with lodge officers practising to welcome a new member in January, so it became a dress rehearsal.
It prompted curiosity in Councillor Iqbal, who was interested in the Lodge Room and its links to the Preston Guild.
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The lodge was founded in 1922 and named to commemorate the Guild Merchant that year.
Next year is the Centenary of Preston Guild Lodge, and he noted that the 19th Century Town and Guild Hall was at the heart of the banner.
He was surprised to learn that the Foundation Stone for the building was ceremoniously laid in 1862 by over 300 Freemasons under the direction of the then Mayor, Robert Townley Parker, himself a Freemason.
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Councillor Iqbal was unaware of the Masonic connection and was impressed to discover that five of his predecessors were members of Preston Guild Lodge.
The importance of the Hall Stone Jewel honouring the Great War’s fallen, awarded to the lodge in 1925, was also explained.
Before leaving, the Mayor enjoyed a tour of Preston Masonic Hall, used for private functions, and was impressed by the size and facilities.
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He recently attended a function held in the hall by the Royal Navy, and by chance, he bumped into resident chef Alistair and thanked him for an excellent meal.
Members said the practice meeting was anticlimactic after the visit.
For more on the lodge, visit – www.pg4408.co.uk
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