LAST FRIDAY’S Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim Charity Golf Competition at the Ballymena Club raised £1,000 - and with donations and sponsorship collected in since last year it brings the total raised to over £6,000!
Further donations have also been promised.
Inclement weather on Friday certainly did not help the cause, but almost 70 Freemasons and friends were able to take to the fairways for the fund raiser.
The entry fee included a light lunch, catered by Mr Carson McCartney, the Club Chef, which was gratefully received following rounds of varying standards and scores.
Brethren and friends from the Masonic Province of Antrim were joined by those from the neighbouring Masonic Provinces of Down, Armagh and Londonderry and Donegal were warmly greeted by Rt. Wor. Bro. George Graham, a Provincial Assistant Grand Master, Robert Wilson, Competition organiser and some of the Committee members.
Stephen Logan had prepared the score cards highlighting the Principal Sponsors, Reid & Black, Solicitors, Ballyclare.
Joe McKeown and Andrew Kennedy were on hand to accept the entry fees and donations from the golfers.
Grahame Todd, assisted by his brother, Sam provided ‘goody-bags’ for all players. David Hynds brought a stand to promote the names of the many kind sponsors.
Michael Alexander acted as starter, with the 10am tee off providing fair weather for the early golfers.
Raymond Lynn, Stephen Logan, David Hynds, Grahame Todd and Allan McCullough all participated in the competition, some showing a greater deal of staying power than others, though all ensuring that none of the other players was denied a prize.
It was regrettable that the weather forecast was proven right as the afternoon descended into very unpleasant conditions, giving some cause to quit their round, while others, who had even teed off in the rain managed to complete the course.
In the evening, with all the cards having been returned, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Rt. Wor. Bro. John Edens, with Rt. Wor. Bro. Sam Brennan, Assistant Provincial Grand Master also attending presented the awards to the worthy winners.
The following trophies and prizes were presented to: - Nearest the Pin (at the par 3 4th Hole) : Mr Paul Rodgers;Longest Drive (at par 4 18th hole) : Wor. Bro. Malachy Bellew;Visitors (non-mason) runner-up: Mr Jimmy McConaghy;Visitors (non-mason) winner: Mr Henry Eagleso3rd place prize in Shalom Cup: Wor. Bro. Neil McVeigh (Winner of the inaugural competition in 2012); Runner-up in the Shalom Cup: Wor. Bro. Des Gray; Winner of the Shalom Cup: Wor. Bro. Malachy J.P. Bellew of The Three Brothers Masonic Lodge No.775.
Following the presentation Rt. Wor. Bro. Edens congratulated the competitors for participating on such an inclement day and thanked all for their continued support for this Charity Golf Competition, which had raised over £30,000 in aid of various, mainly non-masonic charities.
He expressed the gratitude of Provincial Grand Lodge Officers to the organising Committee, who continue to do sterling work in this worthwhile cause.
Special mention had to be made of the generous contribution of the main sponsors, Black & Reid, Solicitors of Ballyclare.
The main emphasis for these funds will go towards Medicines Sans Frontieres, which will support the cause of those affected by the war in Ukraine.
With a principle focus of Freemasonry being the assistance of those in need, it is worth noting that since the commencement of Russian aggression against Ukraine, the Grand Lodge of Ireland has raised almost £50,000 for humanitarian aid mainly through Medicines Sans Frontieres, an organisation providing life-saving medicines and supplies wherever needed throughout the world.
Following the successes of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim’s Masonic Charity Golf Competitions from 2012 to 2019, preparations for the 2020 event were well advanced when the unforeseen occurred and the entire country entered lockdown.
With restrictions and health fears continuing for almost two years, the competition was sensibly shelved. But the faithful group of Brethren charged with the organisation of the event were keen to move things along so that the charities supported would benefit from the generosity of the sponsors and participants.
The decision was taken to resume activities and with Masonic Lodges reconvening in late 2021, the Committee met once more and undertook the task of organising the 2022 competition.
Meetings have always been held in the Adair Arms Hotel, when discussions were helped along with tea or coffee and scones with jam and cream and Michael Alexander, David Hynds, Andrew Kennedy, Stephen Logan, Raymond Lynn, Allan McCullough, Joe McKeown, Grahame Todd and Robert Wilson came together to debate the ongoing arrangements for 20th May competition at Ballymena Golf Club.
Unfortunately, the Committee convenor, Rt. Wor. Bro. Ivan Gillespie, Provincial Assistant Grand Master was unable to be present due to his illness, hospitalisation and subsequent treatment.
Lodges had already been contacted and Brethren throughout the Northern Ireland, who had previously supported the Antrim Province were advised of the forthcoming event.
* The overall amount since the late Provincial Grand Master, Rt Wor Bro John Dickson (passed away during the pandemic due to other health problems) inaugurated the Competition in 2012 is now standing in excess of £35,000 including this year's total.