Home Charity Berkshire smashes through Festival target

Berkshire smashes through Festival target

by Paul Thomsett

After five years of fundraising, Berkshire Freemasons and their partners gathered on Saturday 10th June to mark and celebrate the end of the Berkshire 2023 Festival.

Present on the evening to celebrate with us were a number of honoured guests including Mr Graham Barker DL, Vice Lord Lieutenant for the Royal County of Berkshire, the Assistant Grand Master, Steven Varley, and both the President and Chief Executive of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, James Long and Les Hutchinson.

After a reception in the Berkshire with Soprano Joanna Henwood entertaining, we enjoyed a superb meal created and prepared by Sindlesham Courts head chef Richard Sherwood assisted by Jack Bedford and the Sindlesham team. The menu consisted of crispy confit of duck, a lime vodka and watermelon sorbet, supreme of guinea fowl with a port wine and maple jus, and a choux swan with lemon crème pâtissier and liquor chocolate sauce. The team demonstrated again why Sindlesham Court is such an asset to Berkshire Freemasonry.

Both the Berkshire room and the Flavel suite were transformed for the evening and looked very different to how Masons are used to seeing them, in fact the Flavel was almost unrecognisable having been dressed in a white summer theme. This provided an excellent backdrop for the entertainment during the meal, which included a jazz duo and a five-piece classical ensemble. The ensemble also provided one of the highlights of the evening, which was a rendition of the Post Horn Galop, watch out for the forthcoming video of that!

After dinner came the toasts and speeches. Accompanied by a fanfare and light show the President of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, James Long, announced that the total raised for the Berkshire 2023 Festival was £2,268,541. This is an amazing achievement for Berkshire Freemasonry as the Festival period including the enforced break due to the Covid restrictions, which impacted fundraising efforts.

Anthony Howlett-Bolton OBE, the leader of Berkshire Freemasonry said “Once again, you have all excelled yourselves! Through your unqualified support, the Honour & Reputation of this Province for charitable giving remains unsurpassed. Your contributions, both financially and through your unwavering dedication, have exceeded all expectations. Your generosity and commitment have shone brightly, and I am truly grateful for each and every one of you. Thank you.”’

The statistics produced by the Masonic Charitable Foundation show that Berkshire Freemasons have achieved an average of £897 per capita.

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