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Flood Relief turns to hope for tomorrow

At the last meeting of this 2015-2016 session for Monument Lodge, No; 1295 it was a case of black shiny bin bags, water, a Keystone, Master Elect and a couple of cheques
After accepting the Travelling Keystone from the Master & Brethren of Portcullis Lodge the Brethren witnessed not one but two cheques being presented to one of our visitors W. Bro s John Smith Pr Gr Sec. for the PGM's Hope for Tomorrow Charity appeal.
Our newly elected Master Elect, Bro L Nevile along with the 26 brethren present first witnessed our Charity Steward W. Bro Mike Condick, who is also the current Provincial Junior Warden, hand over the result of several raffle draws in the form of a cheque for £500.
W. Bro Roger Tozer, Lodge Secretary asked permission of the Master W. Bro Richard Dunn, if he could address the Brethren regarding black bin bags & water! He recalled a Sunday afternoon when his daughter informed him of a Facebook message seeking donations for a few people who had been flooded out. Bro Roger told the Brethren that when he got his black bags up to a collection point in Bridgwater he found an office space awash with donated clothes. He was asked to stay as the office space had to be returned to operation by Monday morning and at 5pm a lorry was due to collect the sorted black bags. At 5pm a 7.5 tonne Luton style lorry duly arrived but rather than collecting donations was completely full of yet more black bags with donated goods to be left at that office. Roger & his family along with couple others were being inundated with donations. They were persuaded to return on the Monday morning and try to get the office back to a working office rather than what was the beginning of the Somerset Flood Relief Centre. The Brethren were informed that over four months during the height of the flood and the forced homeless of many flooded folk, Roger and his wife were to manage, within a 10,000 sq ft warehouse kindly loaned by EDF, in the region of an estimated half a million £'s worth of donations. They were very much assisted by several organisations based in Somerset along with many much valued volunteers. The original team were thanked by the Prime Minister at a reception held in Downing Street.
The floods have now gone and the memories will linger on but there now being no need for a Relief Centre and with many of the donated goods having been distributed, a sum of money was left in the bank account. This money was the result of hard bargaining from the sale of the remaining used clothing. All flood relief equipment is now in safe storage and is under the control of a local charity in readiness of any further flooding
The original team, that had first met that Sunday afternoon, felt this money should be distributed to organisations that had supported the 'management' team throughout the very long and tiring sessions but thoroughly appreciated service.
It was reported to the Brethren that Taunton Street Pastors and both the Taunton & Street Volunteer Police Cadets would receive monies along with this donation of just under £1600 to the Mark 'Hope for Tomorrow' appeal. All those who supported the Somerset Flood Relief Centre feel sure all this money will find its way back into supporting the community of Somerset though such projects within these organisations.
W. Bro Roger J Tozer
Secretary - Monument Lodge of Mark Master Masons. No; 1295
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