THE 34th ANNUAL CHRISTMAS TREE APPEAL
Dear Brethren and Companions of the Province of Bristol,
All of you who have been into Freemasons Hall, Park Street, in the last few days will no doubt have seen, that we have erected the Christmas Tree (s) in all the ground floor rooms and we hope you will be able to assist us in getting the word round to all your Members, that the 34th Annual Christmas Tree Appeal is underway. We need all the help we can get, to enable us to deliver decent Christmas Presents to as many Children as we can, who otherwise will get very little if anything on Christmas Day.
Following the pandemic things have not been easy for anyone and with so many meetings being held in Freemasons Hall, and hardly any rooms available for us to use for interim storage, this has made the task of erecting the trees and decorating the area doubly difficult. Daily sanatising etc. are things we have not experienced before but I am pleased to say that with Adam and Anita’s help we have managed it.
In the past, and this is the “34th year” we have been doing this Appeal, all the Brethren / Companions who attend Park Street have been so generous. In the week before Christmas we shall be hoping to deliver at least two or more bags of presents to each of the fourteen or so, Women’s Aid Refuges (many these days with different names but all doing same job), Local Authority Mother and Baby Units and other worthy causes, we try to help each year. They all inform us that we are the only organisation who actually gives them new and wrapped presents, which is fantastic, as the children know that present is for them not a hand me down from someone else. (Please don’t get me wrong other pre used gifts are very welcome as well.)
Plus we are also able to deliver toiletries, warm clothing, towels, children’s underwear, and presents for the mums as well. Some have to leave home in an emergency with NOTHING, so anything you can donate is very much appreciated. (Yes, knickers, underwear and even packets of sanitary towels etc. etc.)
All you need do is wrap a present and indicate what it is for, i.e.; - “B4 = Boy of four years of age” or “G7 = Girl of seven years of age” or “YM = Young Mother” etc.
Virtually anything you can afford to give will be appreciated. We also make sure that any warm clothing such as socks, jumpers etc. for older people, goes to the various “Caring at Christmas Appeals”, to help those who are on the streets at this time of year.
If you cannot get a present then a small donation in the collection bottle in front of the tree, will be very much appreciated. This will enable us to help those who have nothing at Christmas. Sometimes it’s to pay “for a taxis” so the Women’s Aid Volunteer’s can get a mother and child (or children) out of an abusive situation and into a Refuge for their safety. We do not deliver until Christmas Week (the last minute) when they need our help badly. The residue goes to Local Children’s Charities.
Last Year was an exceptional year and after much soul searching we decided to do a “virtual appeal” ensuring that all the “Charities and Organisations” we normally supported got something mainly in the form of vouchers etc. We expected to be able to drain our emergency reserves and make a gesture donation or gift to each one. However, we did not in our wildest dreams take into account our biggest supporters YOU. Once the word got out what we were doing, donations poured in and all the “Charities and Organisations” we normally supported, were recipients of Vouchers, Toiletries, Children’s Clothes and accessories (Nappies etc.)
Also last year because I had not anticipated the response we got I undertook to do the deliveries myself and it was nice going round and talking to people I had linked up with over 34 years, but my support volounteers had been dealing with on a delivery basis. Some knew we donated to them but did not really know anything about these strange men called “Freemasons”. However, what did come over was how grateful everyone was.
In addition, the Longwell Green Women’s Institute have again given us their full support, and this is always a very enjoyable evening when they descend upon us, with carloads of “everything” they have collected. They always contact us and ask what we want them to “major on” each year and this year has been no different. A big thank you to them, and we look forward to welcoming them at Park Street.
A big occasion is the day of the Carol Concert when everyone who has been to the Carol Service in “St.Mary Redcliffe” then walks over to have Christmas Lunch in Freemason’s Hall and seems to have a present of some kind in their hands to put under the tree. Its an occasion not to be missed and Freemasons Hall is really “jumping”. Remember the date Sunday 12th December.
Many of you have asked how can you donate if you can’t get round to buying a present or get to Park Street, well any donation is welcome and we have put our Bank Details at the end of this missive.
PLEASE REMEMBER THE CHRISTMAS TREES AND DECORATIONS THAT ADORN FREEMASONS HALL ARE PRIMARILY THERE TO MAKE THE HALL A BRIGHT AND HAPPY PLACE TO VISIT AT CHRISTMAS. YOUR DONATIONS AND PRESENTS ARE AN ADDITIONAL BONUS TO SHOW THAT THE BRISTOL FREEMASONS CARE ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE LESS FORTUNATE THAN OUSELVES ESPECIALLY AT THIS TIME OF THE YEAR.
PLEASE HELP US, as so many of you have done in the past. We will be doing our deliveries to those who need our help on the 20th to 24th December with the message;-
HAVE A SAFE AND MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE FREEMASONS OF BRISTOL
You will get no thanks, but a warm glow for having done something at this time of year for someone who desperately needs it. (Mind you the letters and cards we receive after Christmas do go a long way to telling us, your generosity is greatly appreciated.)
I thank you in anticipation of your generosity. We could not do this Appeal without your help.