Masons’ charity giving reviewed

The new deputy head of Bucks freemasons is promising an efficiency review of the order’s charitable giving.

Mike Stimson, aged 66, takes over from Clifford Drake in the voluntary but virtually full-time role of deputy provincial grand master, supporting the two lodges and one chapter based at Yeomanry Hall in Buckingham University.

Fire safety consultant Mr Stimson said: “Charity is one of the three main masonic principles, along with friendship and decency, so I owe it to the 3,500 freemasons in Bucks to make sure their money is invested wisely.” He hopes to increase the amount given to good causes in the county through his chairmanship of the Bucks Masonic Centenary Fund, which pledges money to community projects, and the Bucks Masonic Benevolent Fund, which gives financial help to individuals. Mr Stimson said: “Headlines suggest the economy is gradually improving but there are many hundreds of people in our area who are facing a real struggle to make ends meet.

“Our donors, ordinary freemasons, are also facing reduced real incomes, so squaring the circle is a significant challenge.

“My priority, therefore, is to ensure our two local masonic charities are operating as efficiently as they can do, getting the maximum benefit to beneficiaries as soon as is reasonably possible.”

Mr Stimson also wants to publicise the benefits of getting involved in freemasonry as a hobby, including improved confidence, a wider circle of friends and the chance to help others.