Freemasons raise record sum of £22m for charitable causes

Annie Kelly

The Freemasons, known for their elaborate regalia and complicated handshakes, raised more than £22 million for charitable causes last year, their biggest fundraising effort to date.

Although most of the money will be used to help freemasons and their families who are old or sick or have fallen on hard times, £4.5 million will be poured into non-masonic causes.

John Hamill, director of communications at the Grand Lodge of England, said: "Although we principally support masons and their dependents, we're talking about a huge extended community that has demonstrated a strong allegiance to both the Masonic Society and their local communities throughout their lives."

All the cash raised will be distributed through four registered Masonic charities, each of which deals with separate causes such as supporting the children of masons or donating to medical research organisations.

All money has been raised by the 300,000 masons across the UK through events held at lodge meetings and national Masonic charity appeals. Last year's fundraising has brought the total amount raised for charity by society members to £100 million since 1997.

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