Closed lodge gives funds to hospi­tal

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By NI­COLA STE­WART

Mata­mata Ma­sonic Lodge has made a strong last im­pres­sion, more than two years af­ter go­ing into re­cess.

For­mer mem­ber Graeme Water­son pre­sented a cheque for more than $7000 to the Pohlen Foun­da­tion Trust at a men’s char­ity din­ner last month.

“When we re­alised our lo­cal lodge was go­ing to strug­gle we de­cided, re­luc­tantly, to close our doors,” Mr Water­son said.

“We thought we would like to con­trib­ute some­thing to the community and Pohlen would be as good a place as any to put our funds.”

Trust chair­per­son Lady Mar­garet Spring thanked a num­ber of the for­mer mem­bers at a small morn­ing tea last week.

“We are just ab­so­lutely de­lighted that you have cho­sen us to give the money to,” she said.

“We have made huge steps in our fundrais­ing and we would have a much harder job if we didn’t have the community be­hind us.”

The money would go to­wards the new wing project, she said.

Mata­mata Ma­sonic Lodge made a num­ber of con­tri­bu­tions to Pohlen Hospi­tal over the years, in­clud­ing the do­na­tion of two self­ad­min­is­ter­ing drug pumps.

In 2009, a joint ef­fort be­tween the Lodge and Mata­mata Grey Power, along with a sub­sidy by North­ern Ma­sonic Trust, saw $ 12,000 raised for Pohlen.

Char­ity was one of the fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples of Freema­sonry, said Mr Water­son.

Mata­mata Ma­sonic Lodge was formed in 1924.

Be­fore this, Freema­sons in the area had to travel by train to the near­est lodge in Ti­rau.

The long­est stand­ing mem­ber Brian Hick­son joined the Mata­mata Lodge in 1957 and was a mem­ber for 53 years be­fore its clo­sure in Fe­bru­ary 2010.

There were many mis­con­cep­tions about Freema­sonry, which was nei­ther a se­cret so­ci­ety nor a re­li­gion, he said.

“It’s a phi­los­o­phy on life and it’s com­pan­ion­ship.”

Freema­sons do­nated huge amounts of money na­tion­ally and locally to re­search, ed­u­ca­tion, and health­care.

Be­cause the so­ci­ety did not tend to pro­mote it­self, a lot of this work went un­no­ticed, said Mr Mor­ris.

“We don’t like to blow our own trum­pet.”

The money for do­na­tions came from within Ma­sonry.

There are more than 10,000 Freema­sons and 273 ac­tive Lodges in New Zealand.

On the Freema­sons web­site, Freema­sonry is de­scribed as one of the world’s old­est and largest fra­ter­nal or­gan­i­sa­tions, where in­tegrity, good­will and char­ity are the foun­da­tions of char­ac­ter.

It is a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion which em­braces con­fi­den­tial­ity, the site says.

Broth­ers: Dick Thomson, Gor­don Mor­ris, Alis­tair Frew and Don Suther­land.

So­cial­is­ing: Nyrene and Rex McLeod, Lady Mar­garet Spring and Graeme Water­son.

Sup­port: Rachel Thomson, Shirley Frew, Fay Water­son and Elva Suther­land at Pohlen Hospi­tal.

Catch­ing up: Derek Bar­clay and Pohlen chief ex­ec­u­tive An­ton Turner.

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