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MEDIA RELEASE – Wednesday 17th December 2014
Potter Masonic Trust grant for blind children leads 125th Anniversary celebrations
A Potter Masonic Trust grant to build an outdoor learning facility for blind children leads our 125th Anniversary celebrations.
The $450,000 grant is a major portion of the cost of the new facility to be built at the Homai campus for blind and low-vision children in Manurewa, Auckland. Construction began earlier this month with completion expected by April.
Chairman of the Trust, Deputy Grand Master, RW Bro Mark Winger, says the vision for the project is an ideal fit with the Trust’s main benevolent purpose to provide support for children in need. “We are delighted that the Potter Trust can help with this project. It will provide a unique learning experience for blind and low vision children from throughout New Zealand and a fitting way to mark our 125thanniversary” he said.
L to R: Selwyn Cooper, Freemasons Project Manager; Karen Stobbs, BLENNZ Principal; Barbara Whitley, BLENNZ Senior Manager; Jill Rice, designer; Mark Winger, Potter Trust Chair; Clyde Lansink, BLENNZ Chair and his guide dog Yorick – on the Homai school property where the facility will be built.
Freemasons assistance for the project was begun two years ago by members of South Auckland and other Northern Division Lodges who had been fund raising as part of a travel group led by W Bro Brian Crone. The Homai School was suggested by the ladies of the group as the beneficiary. But then the idea grew. And grew! The group will be adding a growing amount to the funding to complete the project. At present their estimated contribution will be $42,000.
Karen Stobbs, Principal of BLENNZ (Blind and Low Vision Education Network NZ), says the new facility will support children ‘in building independence’. It will be a stimulating space in which they can explore, interact and be challenged experiencing a variety of sensory experiences. Next year we mark 50 years of operating on this site, so it’s wonderful to have such a fresh and innovative project underway. We thank the Potter Masonic Trust and the Northern Division Freemasons for their generous support in enabling this dream to come to fruition through their substantial gifts’.
Construction progress at Homai:
Momentum is building
A message from the Deputy Grand Master
23rd September 2014
Momentum is building
A message from the Deputy Grand Master
As the year of our celebrations advances ever closer our plans are starting to take shape and the activities list grows longer.
I urge every Lodge to join in. Get aboard the 125th express and decide how you are going to be part of the rejoicing. Your enthusiasm and participation will pay off in member involvement and enjoyment of their masonry. And isn’t it time when we all acted together for the common good?
Divisional 125th ambassadors are scouring the country, talking and holding meetings to spread the word on our quasquicentennial and wind up the energy. Call them and ask them to come to your Lodge and talk about what can be done.
The Ambassadors are:
VW Bro Malcom Moore Ph 03 448 7955 Mob 0274 336 504 email@example.com
RW Bro Wally Plank Ph 06 322 1635 Mob: 027 4516 538 firstname.lastname@example.org
VW Bro Roy Stephen Ph 09 835-1119 Mob 022 685 6885 email@example.com
Here’s a broad look at what’s happening so far.
With the consultation we have had with Freemasons in many places, a process that is continuing, the plan, so far, and the plan in which all Lodges and Districts can join, comes in two main platforms:
1. The National Cause
First we have selected a deserving beneficiary with a presence in every city, town and village to be the focus of our assistance. Our charity is the way we are recognised so it was an easy decision to choose a group of people who need all the help we can muster on this special occasion – the blind.
Our help will come in various ways. All Lodges will be asked to contribute – we want to make a significant difference! So, as much or as little as they can, Lodges will be asked to fund one, or five, or even ten Daisy Players. These are the especially made disc players for the blind to listen to books and magazines. They are lent permanently to people who qualify and who can borrow from the national Blind Foundation’s library of recorded titles. They cost around $450 each? But don’t ask how many Daisy players you can fund. Ask who you can shoulder-tap to help you fund more Daisy Players! Our objective is 125 across the country!
You can read more about Daisy Players HERE
2. Existing Lodge Projects
We want every Lodge to help build the volume of 125th activities by labelling their own plans, their own benevolent projects with our anniversary identity. Whether you are already helping schools, hospitals or hospices, whether it’s awards or prizes for sport or education, please make sure your work has the 125th stamp on it. Add ‘125th’ to its name – add the 125th logo to your written material (available from Grand Lodge Office – kathleen@freemasons .co.nz )
And if your Lodge is already involved with the blind (like some we know are) then Daisy Players become an easy, extra way to up your contribution to the cause.
Of course you may have plans to conduct a special celebration. There has been talk of train trips around a District! You are welcome to add your own flavour and ideas to the Celebrations and get out into your local communities with our message. Go to it we say. Again please talk to your 125th Divisional representative so he can help.
The official event:
A formal official event will take place in Christchurch – the city of the first meeting of The Grand Lodge of New Zealand in 1890. At a formal dinner the present Grand Master will host some special invited guests. Reminiscing will take place of course, about the past 125 years and the milestones we have passed. The life, the times and the future of our organisation will all be part of the celebration too.
To avoid the certain clashes that would occur with the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli in April 2015, the timing of this is being planned for mid-year at a specific date yet to be decided.
Part of this event will include an official Freemasons visit to the graveside, in Linwood cemetery, of our very first Grand Master MW Bro Henry Thomson and to there, pay homage to the character and work of a dedicated man who set us on our way. To show our respect and to enable his memory to live on for another 125 years the grave will be re-furbished prior to the event. (The Linwood cemetery suffered quite some damage in the quakes – and 125 years has taken a toll!). A church service will also be held.
The Potter Masonic Trust – a special gift
The ball is already rolling. We can announce that The Potter Masonic Trust is about to make a significant donation to a special part of the blind community which by April next year will see the opening of a unique learning facility for blind children from all parts of the country. A gesture by Freemasonry that affects every one of us North & South. We will explain more on this wonderful gift when details are settled.
A commemoration token for all
We have sourced a commemoration mug of appropriate style and price that you can all buy and keep to remember this historic occasion. Orders can be placed now but delivery is timed for early next year. Details here.
I ask you to take advantage of this opportunity to show your pride in our great organisation and make our message heard throughout the country.
We will keep in touch with everyone with more bulletins in the coming months.
Deputy Grand Master
RW Bro Winger can be contacted by email at – firstname.lastname@example.org
or by post to – PO Box 1108, Auckland 1140.