Charities receive cash in Freemasons’ £3m giveaway

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Four Bedfordshire-based charities were the lucky recipients of £50,000, which was part of a national “£3m Give Away” by English Freemasons.

Tony Henderson, the leader of Bedfordshire Freemasons, said: “Freemasonry is celebrating its tercentenary this year and in addition to the £33 million we annually give to charities and good causes, we have allocated another £3 million this year, which will be shared among 300 charities to mark our 300th birthday.”

The public was given the chance to vote on which charities should be the beneficiaries and more than 177,000 votes were cast. In Bedfordshire over 3,000 votes were cast for the four nominated charities.

The Bedfordshire charity that received the most votes was the Bedfordshire and Northants Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre, which received £25,000.

Dr Kay Taylor, the chair of the trustees, said: “On behalf of all who use the centre, I would like to thank Bedfordshire Freemasons for their generous support.

“We will use this incredible donation to upgrade our hydrotherapy pool.”

The Elisabeth Curtis Riding Centre for the Disabled came second and was given £15,000. A spokesperson said: “We will use the £15,000 to buy another two ponies, additional tack, renew/repair the fencing around our paddocks and some safety equipment.”

In third place was The Midshires Search and Rescue Organisation, which received £6,000. Stephen Murphy, the search manager at the charity, said: “We will use the money to purchase water safety clothing and equipment, which will assist us when searching for missing people in rivers/river banks and/or flood conditions.”

Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity received £4,000 to help fund its Bridge Project for people in Luton who have had support or treatment for alcohol and/or drug use.