Masonic Fishing Charity
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Catching Lots Of Smiles

Have you heard of The Masonic Fishing Charity?  www.mtsfc.org.uk

The Masonic Fishing Charity (MTSFC) is a registered Charity set up in 1999 and its sole purpose is to bring a countryside & fishing experience to disabled and disadvantaged people, particularly children.

This is achieved by organising fishing events up and down the country, not just trout or salmon but coarse fishing as well, to which participants are invited from Special Needs Schools, Adult Day Centres and other similar institutions. Not only is it an interesting fishing day but provides a mentally stimulating occasion and an unusual experience to the participants.  It is not just about fishing however, as the experiences are used extensively when the children return to school and the many wall displays, IT projects, models, paintings and web pages are testimony to this as well as the memories that are constantly recalled.  Many of the teachers and carers have been amazed at the effect that fishing can have on people with behavioural or emotional difficulties and sometimes this has had a long lasting beneficial effect on them.

At these events enough fishermen (and women) are found to provide a one-to-one situation with the participants so that ample time can be given to interact with them and show them how to cast, fish and land the catch.  There is also a barbecue lunch provided, and sometimes at trout fishing events there may even be a cooked sample of the catch. All participants receive a Certificate of Achievement as a memento of the day and there are usually prizes and medals for the biggest fish, best caster etc. Photographs are often taken and sent on to those attending which are used extensively in school projects.

A typical day starts early for the catering team to provide bacon ‘butties’ to the ‘workers’ Registration for the helpers is followed with a full Health and Safety and instruction talk Participants arrive around 10.00am and are introduced to their fishing guides and fishing starts. After a short lunch break there is a little more fishing until presentation time and the participants leave at about 3pm.

Patron of the organisation is the Pro Grand Master, Peter Lowndes and the Grand Master, the Duke of Kent has also attended an event and supports the Charity. Being a Masonic Initiative the main organisers of the Charity are Freemasons and it relies on donations from Lodges, Provinces and individual freemasons. However the Charity could not exist without the many non-masons who also get involved, many of whom take a much bigger interest in the Craft after attending. There is absolutely no cost to any of the participants or institutions taking part or the people who come and give up their time to help.  

The Charity is not a profit-making organisation and is entirely run by volunteers, and sponsors can therefore be assured that all of their fund-raising efforts are used directly in giving benefit and pleasure to the participants. Main sponsors of a whole day or a particular school have the chance to come along, take part in the presentations, interact with the participants, and see the ‘Smiles’ first hand.  It is not only money that we as Freemasons can give but also our time and this is a fantastic way of showing this and demonstrating hands on ‘Freemasonry In the Community’.


What we can do in Northumberland.

There are currently some 25 Provinces with Branches of the Charity and it would be great to set up a Branch here in Northumberland. The Provincial Grand Master  - Peter Magnay has  kindly given his permission for the province to look at organising an event in 2013, however to do this we will need to discover if we have enough interested parties to make this possible.

Anglers can offer their services to be ‘Fishing Guides’, whilst others could help by preparing the barbeque, setting up and clearing away and generally ensuring that everyone enjoys the day and has a rewarding experience.

All volunteers gain hugely from the benefits that these days bring to people who otherwise would not have an opportunity to enjoy what is the number one participant sport in the country.

To move this forward we are looking initially for expressions of interest from lodges, individual Masons or non-Masons wishing to help. If you think that you could help ‘Catch Some Smiles’, or if you or your Lodge wish to donate to this worthy cause or become a sponsor of a fishing event; please forward your details to the contact person below and once we have names / numbers we will invite a representative from the MTSFC to visit the province and explain in more detail the requirements.   

Closing date for initial expressions of interest is Friday 21st December; this will then allow us time in the New Year to convene a planning group to progress the idea. Others will still be able to volunteer after this date once the committee has agreed format.



(Contact person)

Kevin Chapman (Worshipful Master – Pilgrim Lodge No. 6342)
27, Seacrest Avenue,
Cullercoats,
Tyne & Wear
NE30 3DP

Telephone: 0191 2802499
Mobile: 07795 333851
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

United Grand Lodge of England