This year has seen a great increase in the number of local families who are struggling financially, particularly due to the various lockdowns and the general restrictions placed on both businesses and families. So, when the Javea based Red Cross launched an appeal for Christmas presents, for needy children, our “Dinner Ladies” set to and raised a magnificent sum of more than seven hundred euros.
The ‘Dinner Ladies’ are the wives and partners of the Freemasons of Javea Lodge No 40.
This fantastic sum was enough to fill twenty large bags with gifts for the boys and girls aged between three and sixteen years.
Pictured here is Mrs Margaret March with Mrs Muriel Shilan the wife of our Provincial Grand Master, and RW Bro Michael Shilan himself, whose shop, “Humpty Dumpty”, received some of the many gifts. Shown here with the car loaded ready to deliver to the Red Cross depot in Javea.
Margaret and the Red Cross wish to thank all the Ladies for their generosity. RW Bro Michael Shilan also congratulated the ladies on their tremendous effort. Hopefully, these children will have a better Christmas than they would otherwise have had. Many, many thanks to all the generous and warm-hearted donors who gave so many gifts.
During the very hard year that many of us have recently suffered our thoughts are naturally turning towards happier times: the upcoming Christmas season and, in particular, the children who will enjoy that very special day. Unfortunately, there are still many children who will not be able to celebrate as well as the rest of us. It is these children whom we most want to help.
As a result, several local Freemason’s Lodges including Caledonian Lodge, Las Salinas Lodge and Torrevieja Installed Master’s Lodge have arranged collections and donations to try and help them as much as possible. One such initiative was started by WBro Freddie Samrai and his wife Carole, who organized a “Christmas Shoebox Drive” for the Cruz Roja in Torrevieja, ie to collect shoeboxes filled with toys for the under privileged children of Torrevieja. After doing this for several years this has now become something of an annual event.
Fortunately, many of our friends and Brothers have very big hearts and more than one hundred boxes have now been donated. So, it is hoped that many more children will have at least one present to open on Christmas morning, even in these very difficult times. Children are our future and this generosity will hopefully give them some good and happy memories. All this has only been made possible by the kindness of so many good and generous people. So, to all of you a very big thank you on behalf of all of these under privileged children of Torrevieja.
During these strange and difficult times, when Coronavirus has caused so many problems to so many people, it has become increasingly difficult for local Freemasons to raise and distribute money for the many needy and worthy charities in the Province of Valencia. Almost all of our meetings have been, and continue to be, for the foreseeable future, completely suspended under the current lockdown regulations. Unfortunately, this means that our social and charity events have ceased almost completely. However, the Provincial Grand Master of Valencia, RW Bro Michael Shilan, has determined that as much help as possible should continue to be given. Local Masons are nothing if not ingenious, and so some important donations have continued to be made.
Recently, Worshipful Master, W Bro Ted Cooper, and the Brethren of Dama de Elche Lodge No 163, have donated one thousand litres of fuel oil to the Elche Children’s Home for the provision of heating and hot water to keep the home, and especially the children, who range from eight to eighteen years old, warm in the coming winter months. This will be the tenth year of Masonic support for this home. Donations have also been made to Paul Cunningham Nurses and DEBRA (butterfly children).
The Worshipful Master of Regeneracion Lodge No 132, W Bro Martin Jiminez, together with Germanies No 08, Genesis No 61 and White River No 153 Lodges, have been collecting food and non-perishable goods for the Valencian Food Bank.
The Freemasons of local Lodge, Arenal Deportiva No 65, have made a donation of two thousand euros to the Raquel Payá special needs school. This will pay for much needed new uniforms for the staff which now need to be replaced much more often, due to the now increased need for more frequent cleaning. This is one of the charities selected for support by the Worshipful Master of the Lodge, RW Bro Danny Coburn during his now extended year in Office.
Recently, Javea Lodge No 40 presented local charity ‘Todos Juntos Jávea’ with a cheque for two thousand, five hundred euros to pay for the installation of a hot and cold air conditioning system at the Jávea Autism Association centre. Visiting the centre, W Bro Malcolm March, Worshipful Master of Javea 40, together with W Bro Peter Farrell the Lodge’s Charity Steward, presented a cheque to Raquel Maldonado, one of the therapists.
The Worshipful Master of Santa Faz Lodge No 48, W Bro Greg Hustler and the Brethren of the Lodge have started their Christmas Children’s Charity appeal – “Add a little extra to your basket”, in conjunction with the International Club, and are collecting any non-perishable food for the Cruz Roja in the El Campello area. This will make a huge difference to those who are unable to afford such items during this Pandemic.
Caledonian Lodge No 68, under Worshipful Master Melvyn Young, have donated two hundred euros to the Butterfly Children’s charity, DEBRA. This was raised from the collected ticket money for their Annual Ball after it was cancelled due to the Covid 19 pandemic. A fantastic effort from all.
W Bro Freddie Samrai of Caledonian Lodge No 68 and his wife Carole are providing the Cruz Roja with Christmas Gifts for Children, including filling many, many shoe boxes full of toys, in order that each child shall receive at least some Christmas presents.
There have been many more donations from our members from Lodges all over the Province which are just too many to detail. We will continue to try and help those charities most in need until we are able to resume our normal activities.
Recently, the Javea 40 Freemason’s Lodge presented local charity ‘Todos Juntos Jávea’ with a cheque for two thousand, five hundred euros to pay for the installation of an air conditioning system at the Jávea Autism Association centre. Visiting the centre, W Bro Malcolm March, Worshipful Master of Javea 40, together with W Bro Peter Farrell the Lodge’s Charity Steward presented a cheque to Raquel Maldonado, one of the therapists.
Malcolm said that in these difficult times and working within all the coronavirus restrictions, local Freemason’s took great pride in continuing their charitable activities. He said that he had been surprised and shocked to discover that the autism centre had been operating without a satisfactory heating or cooling system. With winter rapidly approaching, he said that Javea 40 had been very pleased to arrange for this to be fitted in order to improve the working conditions for all the young people and their dedicated team of therapists.
Forty-four children, teenagers and young adults, together with their therapists, were attending for therapy, in a large apartment, supplied by the Ayuntamiento, with no heating or air conditioning. We can all understand how unbearable this must have been in the harsh heat of summer and now as the cold winter months approach. The centre, which was set up in 2015 with 19 children, has rapidly increased in numbers. While the families pay for the therapists and there is some help from the Ayuntamiento, the Jávea Autism Association relies upon charitable donations, particularly from Todos Juntos Jávea for much of the essential equipment and support.
Last year local Freemasons donated two thousand euros to set up a multi-sensorial stimulation room at the autism centre and Malcolm March said that Javea 40 would continue to provide additional support in future whenever possible. He was proud and thankful that Masonry had been able to help and make a much valued improvement to the lives of these children and young adults.
Raquel Payá Corona crisis averted by local Masons.
WM R.W Bro Danny Coburn.
The Freemasons of local Lodge, Arenal Deportiva, have made a donation of two thousand euros to the Raquel Payá special needs school. This is one of the charities selected for support by the Worshipful Master of the Lodge, Right Worshipful Brother Danny Coburn during his now extended year in Office.
Due to the requirements of the school in normal times and in particular at present, and particularly to the many hardships and problems caused by the current coronavirus pandemic, there are many more calls on the school’s very limited funds than would be expected. In particular there is a greater demand than usual for staff uniforms which, as you can imagine, are very heavily used and need washing twice per day. This means that each of the one hundred staff, need two uniforms, a total of four thousand. These cost forty euros each! So, it is no small undertaking to constantly supply new, clean uniforms.
When the Masons of the Lodge heard of this, they felt they should offer immediate help. A special vote was held between all members, as there would not be possible to attend a Lodge meeting due to the ongoing lock-down. The Masons all voted in favour of making this immediate donation to help the school. In addition to a generous donation of two thousand euros from the Masonic Homes of Valencia organisation, the Lodge agreed to donate a further donation of two thousand euros to permit the purchase of the full four thousand uniforms required. These will be given in the immediate future.
Freemasons distribute presents at Per Ells day care centre
Local Freemasons Lodge, White River No 153, recently attended the Per Ells school for Children with special needs in Turis,* to celebrate the Tres Reyes Festival, deliver gifts and hopefully spread a little joy to the school children, and the young at heart who attend the centre. As many will know, this celebration to commemorate the arrival of the three wise men is more important to Spanish children as this is when most receive presents.
All were gathered at the centre entrance, eager to get a glimpse of the three Kings, as they arrived particularly as they were delivering sweets. This is a tradition that has been celebrated in Spain for many centuries, and also in most Spanish speaking countries in the West. The three kings were actually Freemasons dressed for the part and joined by one member of staff.
This Lodge has been coordinating this activity for the last six years and in, addition to presenting gifts to the children, the Lodge supports the school financially, with several large donations over the past six years for building improvements, maintenance, etc.
The Freemasons dressed as the Kings were WBro Keith Alcock and New Mason Bob Harris. The third King was played by a member of staff at the centre.
Together with most of their ladies, the group included W Bro’s Ian Skipper, Adrian Brooks, Keith Alcock, Frank Wallace, David Watts, Sergio Svalina and our new Initiates Bro’s Andres Massa and Bob Harris.
Each of the children and youngsters received a present or two and enjoyed the celebrations as do all Spanish children at this time of the year.
*(Per Ells – Amics del discapacitat de Turis – check www.perells.com)
Surprise one thousand euro gift for the San Jose Obrero Orphanage.
Recently Freemasons of Caledonia Lodge visited the San Jose Obrero Orphanage, in Orihuela, to present them with a surprise Christmas gift of one thousand euros for the benefit of the children.
W Bro Ian Bullock had the pleasure of sitting down with the Director of the orphanage Sr. Vicente Martínez Agulló, who informed him of the history and many achievements of the San Jose Obrero Foundation over recent years.
They now care for and house eighty orphans, of all nationalities, and there is also a day centre with twenty-four places available for children who have very few other resources. Most of these children arrive at five in the afternoon, do their homework, shower and have dinner before going back to sleep in their own homes. They also provide sheltered accommodation for young people, helping them to make the transition from orphanage life to becoming self-sufficient in the outside world a little easier. A very important function as the transition is never easy.
The San Jose Obrero Orphanage is also responsible for the running of the local school, which four hundred children from the Orihuela district attend. In addition, they operate skills workshops in carpentry, hairdressing and car mechanics, which offer a full four years of very useful training with fully qualified staff. After these four years they are able to obtain a Certificate of Competence before leaving the home and hopefully finding gainful employment within local industry.
The motto of the organisation is “No One Grows up Alone”.
Local Freemasons, W.Bro Ian Bullock, the Immediate Past Master of Caledonia Lodge, and W.Bro David James, the Lodge Charity Steward, are seen in the photograph presenting the Director, Sr. Vicente Martínez Agulló with the gift of one thousand euros, in the form of Primark vouchers, for the benefit of the children of San Jose Obrero Orphanage in Orihuela, on the 23 December 2019.
Freemasons donate 170 Christmas boxes to underprivileged children,
Recently local Freemason, Freddie Samrai, and his wife Carol, organized a “CHRISTMAS SHOE BOX DRIVE” for the underprivileged children of Torrevieja.
With much support from other Lodges, over one hundred and seventy boxes have now been donated. A private donation of a children´s car seat, booster seats, push chairs and various other children’s items was also made. Hopefully, every child will now have a gift to open on Christmas morning. All of the other Lodges, already support many other charitable causes but, have found it in their hearts to dig just a little deeper to help these children. The whole experience has left many of them very emotional with the over whelming generosity of so, so many kind people. THANK YOU all very much on behalf of the children of Torrevieja.
The money from the Lodges was raised by holding raffles, theme events, BBQ’s and many other individual private events. They were kind enough to donate some of these monies to the “CHRISTMAS SHOE BOX DRIVE.”
At this point everything went into over-drive and many people started to donate independently. All of these boxes were given to Alimentos Solodarios de Torrevieja who will give these out to the children on Christmas Day.
Many thanks must be offered to the following Lodges who donated; including White River Lodge, Dama de Elche Lodge, Old Tower Lodge, the Installed Masters Lodge, Torrevieja Chapter and Caledonia Lodge. Donations were also received from Salvador Artesano, Torrevieja Christmas Shop San Luis, and many other anonymous donors.
Huge collection of food and clothing for Gandia Refuge
Freemasons from the local Lodge, Oliva La Safor, recently held a collection for much needed necessities for the Men’s Refuge in Gandia. The Refuge currently houses more than fifty homeless men, most of whom are suffering from mental illnesses and other afflictions and many of whom are dying. In what is becoming an annual exercise, the Masons asked members for their contributions in an attempt to make Christmas just a little better for the residents of the Refuge.
The Masons responded magnificently and arrived bearing a huge amount of donated necessities, appropriately, considering the huge amount brought, mainly in sacks. This consisted of several pairs of new, and unworn, shoes and clothes including shirts, jumpers and trousers. There were also much needed articles of hygiene and personal toiletries though the bulk of the collection was food of various kinds.
The food was almost entirely long-life articles including dried, boxed and tinned food so that it may be eked out over a long a period as possible. Therefore rice, salt, sugar, oil, flour, pasta and tinned fruit and vegetables was the order of the day. This will all be donated to the Refuge in the next few days. Hopefully, it will add a little cheer to the residents.
If you are able to offer anything to the Refuge it would be greatly appreciated. The Refuge is run entirely by volunteers and can continue only due to the charity shown by others. They are always in need of many articles which many people no longer need such as bedding, towels, cutlery, crockery and all the other items listed above. If you have anything which you no longer need but which is still usable please consider donating it rather than throwing it away. You can make a difference. Donations can be given at any time during the day (though preferably not during lunchtime). You will receive a very warm welcome.
One thousand, four hundred euros raised for under-privileged children.
On Saturday, 19th October, the Provincial Grand Lodge of Valencia, held their annual Ladies Night at the Hotel Grand Bali, in Benidorm. This is one of the most prestigious Masonic gatherings of the year, held by the Province and run under the auspices of the Provincial Grand Master, R.W. Bro Michael Shilan and his lovely wife Muriel.
It is a time when hundreds of Freemasons from all over the Province gather together to pay tribute to, and say thank-you to, their long- suffering wives. Throughout the Masonic year most Freemasons attend an enormous number of meetings and many charity functions to raise money for the less privileged and deserving causes. Throughout the year our wives have a lot to put up with. Either through not seeing their husbands for a sufficient amount of time or being asked to help out at various functions.
In general, our wives do so without thought or complaint, sometimes at a huge cost to themselves and always taking valuable time and effort. This meeting is our way of saying thank-you for all their help and support. I think most Masons would agree that without the constant support of their better halves they would not be able to do as much, or enjoy their Masonic tasks to the same extent.
The meeting opened at 6.15 pm, with a cava and canape reception. Later at 7.15 a meal, consisting of a variety of tapas, followed by steak or fish and then fruit salad and ice cream was taken by all. Music was supplied, in the first instance, by the ever-popular W. Bro Ian Henry who played and sang a large variety of music in his usual, excellent manner.
Later, local group, Black Glitter, took over and played many songs designed to entice the, by now replete, diners onto the dance floor. They succeeded!
For the slightly more formal aspects of the evening, the Master of Ceremonies, W. Bro Clifford Gingell, presided over the proceedings with his usual efficient style. The loyal toast to HM King Felipe VI was given by R.W. Bro Michael Shilan, the toast to the Ladies was given by W. Bro Ivan Beckett, our Provincial Grand Secretary, and the Ladies song was also rendered in an excellent manner, again by W. Bro Ian Henry. Mrs. Muriel Shilan then responded to the toast giving an eloquent and witty speech, despite being quite emotional, which was much appreciated and enjoyed by all.
A grand charity raffle was held which raised the magnificent sum of one thousand, four hundred euros. This money, along with other monies raised throughout the year, will be used, by the Province, to sponsor under-privileged children to go to a summer school in Guadalest. This has now become an annual event, having been supported for the last five years. Each year we have managed to support more children than the last and this year we managed to sponsor a record sixty-three children, (despite aiming for only fifty originally) to visit the school. For the coming year we would hope to beat the record yet again. This was an immensely successful evening with the Ladies, Masons and Guests thoroughly enjoying themselves.