Essex Freemasons raise funds for charities Prince Philip dedicated his life to

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To honour HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the Provincial Grand Lodge of Essex has joined the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) campaign and is inviting its 200,000 members to raise funds for charities the Prince dedicated his life to.

Prince Philip had been married for 73 years and was a Freemason, having been introduced to Freemasonry in 1952 at the age of 31 by his father-in-law King George VI.

Throughout his 99 years, he was associated with 992 charities, either as president, patron or as an honorary member.

The Prince supported charitable organisations in the fields of scientific and technological research and development, the encouragement of sport, the welfare of young people, conservation and the environment.

Paul Reeves, the deputy provincial grand master in-charge of Essex Freemasons, said: "Although HRH Prince Philip retired officially from royal duties in May 2020, after 22,219 solo engagements, his lifetime of duty and service is an inspiration to everyone who is a Freemason.

"He has been an example to us all for over 70 years, during which time many people of all ages throughout Essex have benefitted either directly or indirectly from The Duke of Edinburgh’s initiatives and charitable patronage."

Dr David Staples, chief executive of UGLE, said: "Prince Philip was well known for his charity work, having been involved with numerous organisations. He was devoted to philanthropy and therefore the best way to celebrate his life is by supporting the charities that the Prince himself supported.

"For us, this was an easy decision as Freemasonry’s core values are charity, integrity, respect and friendship. The Freemasons have been quietly getting on with making society and the lives of those less fortunate better for more than three centuries."

Freemasons worked 18.5 million hours this year as volunteers in a range of different areas, including driving vulnerable people to hospital, preparing meals, taking care of people at risk, organising care packages, and producing scrubs, personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitiser.

They also donated more than £1m last year to the Covid-19 effort, with the funds being used to help communities in various critical areas, including foodbanks, support for unpaid carers, PPE, supplies for hospitals and hospices, support for women’s refuges, and funds for NHS workers, ambulances and equipment.

As a Freemason, the Duke of Edinburgh was initiated into Navy Lodge, No 2612, on December 5, 1952. On March 6, 1953, HRH Prince Philip progressed to the Second Degree of Freemasonry, before advancing to the Third Degree on May 4, 1953. The UGLE issued his Grand Lodge Certificate on May 7 that same year and he remained a member up until his death.

Freemasons can also count other members of the Royal Family among their number, including HRH Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, who is the longest-serving Grand Master of the UGLE.

Tony Hales

Content Generator
Provincial Grand Lodge of Essex