Posted: 14th July 2016

Raby Gala 1A family fun day held in the grounds of Raby Castle in County Durham has raised more than £50,000 for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB), a charity which is now part of the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

The event was officially opened in style with the X Company 5 Fusiliers Band marching into the main arena followed by a horse and carriage transporting the Provincial Grand Master for Durham, Norman Heaviside; Festival Director, John Thompson; and the Foundation’s Chief Operating Officer, Les Hutchinson.

WRaby Gala 4ith the event in full swing, visitors could choose from hundreds of stalls, including one manned by staff from the Foundation including Les Hutchinson, Claire Beaumont from the Advice & Support Team and Harriet Conner from Communications and Marketing.

The Masonic Charitable Foundation stall was an opportunity for members of the Masonic community and the public to learn about the support available to Freemasons, their family members and the wider community. There were also competitions on offer: Mr Littlefair from Hartlepool won a clay pigeon shooting experience generously donated to the Foundation by C3 Marketing, while Eve Hamilton from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne won a giant teddy bear which was donated by Taylored Promotions. Visitors also had the chance to win mini teddy bears by taking a spin on the human fruit machine. Despite the heavens opening on several occasions and high winds making conditions challenging, the day was a ‘roaring success’.

Raby Gala 3In the afternoon, Norman Heaviside presented a cheque for £250,000 to Les Hutchinson, bringing the total raised so far to a staggering £1,000,000 just six months since the Appeal was officially launched.

Norman said: “It is an absolute delight to be able to hand over such a marvelous amount of money to this most worthy cause, the generosity of our members never fails to amaze me and to present this amount as part of a fun day out for all of the community is one of the great things about our organisation.”

Les Hutchinson said: “The Freemasons of Durham have raised an outstanding amount in a very short space of time. The 2021 Festival Appeal has been characterised by professional and innovative fundraising ideas, of which the Raby Gala is a prime example. The funds raised at the Gala and throughout the Appeal will be used to support children and young people, both those with a Masonic connection and those in the wider community.”

The Masonic Charitable Foundation will run stalls at two further fun days this summer: the Middlesex Grand Family Fete on 17th July and the Hertfordshire Family Fun Day on the 24th July. Both will be held at the Royal Masonic School.