x

News & Events

This year didn’t get off to a good start for North Queensland with the region being ravaged by floods in February. Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark reflected on the impact that the North Queensland Freemasons had in the immediate aftermath, with Hand Heart Pocket’s support, to help people get back on their feet.

“Thanks to the Freemasons on the ground in Townsville who were able to quickly identify those who needed our support the most, we were able to act quickly and provide those people with a one-off disaster relief grant,” Gary said.

“Twenty-four families were given a hand up, with a total of $48,000 being distributed.”

“People were of course, also receiving on the ground assistance from other support agencies and the government, including emergency payments. We would especially like to thank our members on the ground for keeping us updated on the situation,” he said.

North Queensland Freemason Norm Souter-Smith recalls how the local Masonic community provided practical support during the height of the weather event, as well as during the cleanup and recovery stages.

“It was such a distressing time, but we decided to roll up our sleeves and do what we could to help each other to get through this,” Norm said.

Now, six months on, people are slowly but surely rebuilding their lives. However, by most estimates, it could take a good 12 months or more to fully recover, with 1,500 of the 3,000 homes affected, still not habitable.

“Those that received assistance from Hand Heart Pocket all expressed their gratitude. In the last couple of weeks I have been in contact with eighteen of these recipients. Ten are still not back in their homes, some hope to return before Christmas, others after Christmas.”

“When you enter the houses of those who have returned, most are still not fully finished. The walls are yet to be painted, light fittings yet to be bought, and gardens neglected.”

“The owners talk of furniture ordered, but not yet delivered. You walk around and notice pictures on the walls but no family photographs, new side tables and chiffonieres without little collectables and new fridges without grand-children’s drawings held on by magnets. In fact, not even any magnets.”

“All those little things which make the house a home. Returning to their home is just the start of the recovery,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland provides Disaster Relief assistance to members of the community when a natural disaster has occurred such as a cyclone or flood, giving them a hand up to help them get back on their feet.

Photo: North Queensland Freemason Michael Fry and his wife Jacqui. Michael points out the height to which the water rose.

Find out more about the North Queensland Freemasons

Efforts to scale up Men’s Shed activities on Magnetic Island have been backed by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, who provided a $10,000 boost on behalf of the local Freemasons.

As one of six community initiatives across Queensland, to share in over $50K as part of Hand Heart Pocket’s 2019 Grassroots Community Grants round, Magnetic Island Men’s Shed will put the funds towards the fit-out of their newly built facility – having outgrown their current space.

Ashlar Magnetic Masonic Lodge Coordinator Ian Gregory said that his Lodge had supported the Men’s Shed since 2018 and that the group was deserving of this latest grant because they not only helped their members but also the community at large.

“This really was the icing on the cake for Magnetic Island Men’s Shed, having already secured funding for the construction of the shed from elsewhere,” Ian said.

“The grant will enable the Men’s Shed to provide additional new equipment and resources.”

“A greater selection of projects will be available to members to suit their interests, so we’re excited for what they will be able to achieve in this new space and the positive impact that this will have on them both mentally and physically,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said men’s mental and physical health was one of their key focus areas as part of their long-term strategy.

“Through our grassroots support we’ve been able to fulfil a community need which will ultimately empower local men to lead better lives,” Gary said.

“We are grateful to Ashlar Magnetic Masonic Lodge for bringing this initiative to our attention so that we can make a bigger impact at a grassroots level,” he said.

Photo: (Left to right) District Grand Lodge of North Queensland Secretary Peter Drew, Ashlar Masonic Lodge Coordinator Ian Gregory and Magnetic Island Men's Shed President Cameron Walker. 

Find out more about the North Queensland Freemasons

Drought-affected communities have again received a hand-up from the Masons of North Queensland, who together with Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland and Masonic Lodges throughout the state, have donated $1.45 million in the last four years.

Hand Heart Pocket’s latest initiative, the Drought Disaster Relief Appeal, saw the charity donate an additional two dollars for every one dollar donated by its members and Masonic Lodges, meaning that the Townsville Freemasons’ $8,920 contribution has been tripled to $26,760.

District Grand Master of North Queensland Les Keane said it’s amazing what can be achieved when you band together.

“A collective contribution of $26,760 from Masonic Lodges in the District and Hand Heart Pocket is a fantastic result,” Les said.

“Thank you to everyone who gave their time or money to give a hand up to drought-affected communities. Our impact will be felt across Queensland,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the response has been amazing.

“We are grateful to the Townsville Freemasons for their efforts,” Gary said.

“Freemasons across the state have rallied to make a significant contribution towards providing a hand-up for drought-affected families and communities – collectively contributing $450,000 with Hand Heart Pocket over the past six weeks. This takes the total funds distributed over the last four years, on behalf of Freemasons, to $1.45 Million, this is an extraordinary effort across our membership”.

With this money, Hand Heart Pocket will provide Eftpos cards to be distributed through its partners on the ground so that funds can get to where they are needed most, helping to put food on the table and pay for essential bills.

“We’ll be working with the Western Drought Appeal and their associated distribution channels, the Rural Financial Counselling Service, Queensland Education and the School of Distant Education parent support group to distribute the Eftpos cards to where they are needed most,” said Gary.

Find out more about the Charity of Freemasons Queensland

The task of providing oxygen to patients onboard one of Townsville’s Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) aircrafts will be significantly easier after the Freemasons of Bowen joined forces with Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland to donate a new high-tech transport ventilator.

The compact all-in-one Hamilton-T1 ventilator has a built-in turbine, eliminating the need to carry oxygen cylinders onboard – making it a huge space-saver. The “intelligent” device can also automatically adjust airflow, according to the patient’s condition and provide real-time visual information about how the patient’s lungs and heart are responding during the flight.

Kennedy Masonic Lodge, initially contributed $10,000 through Hand Heart Pocket’s Dollar for Dollar Grassroots Grants, before putting in another $5,000 and securing a further $36,450 through the organisation’s Dollar for Dollar Plus Grassroots Grants to bring this initiative to fruition.

Kennedy Masonic Lodge representative Robert Andersen said it was a pleasure to provide a hand up with the fit out of this device in one of the two aircrafts in use in Townsville.

“When we came to know that the RFDS had plans to fit this device in up to 10 of its aircraft across Queensland, we wanted to do what we could to help,” Robert said.

“In the last 16 years, the Lodge has donated in excess of $130,000 to the RFDS in Townsville. More recently with the help of Hand Heart Pocket, we’ve continued our support of this valuable service,” he said.

“What’s great about this life-saving device is its versatility. Anyone from an adult, child or newborn can be hooked up to it and given that the RFDS responds to such a wide range of situations, this is exactly what they need.”

Last financial year alone, the medical team in Townsville transported 2090 critically ill or injured patients – travelling as far north as Cairns, out west to Mt Isa and south to Brisbane.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said investing in innovative life-saving equipment to empower people to lead better lives is what this initiative is all about.

“We believe in providing sustainable support that delivers positive outcomes to charitable organisations that have limited access to other funding sources,” Gary said.

“Thanks to the relationship that Kennedy Masonic Lodge has cultivated with the RFDS, we were able to team up to bring an important grassroots initiative to fruition,” he said.

Photo: Kennedy Masonic Lodge representatives Alf Pearce, Kevin Yarrow, Steve Fisher, Merv Tickle, Robert Andersen and Roy Facey with Townsville Royal Flying Doctor Service nurse Ashlea Turnham and Base coordinator Gail Hill.

Find out more about the North Queensland Freemasons

Since the mid-1990s, North Queensland children with hearing loss have been empowered to reach their full learning potential with the support of local charity, Hear and Say.

Just recently the Hear and Say Centre in Townsville received a visit from the local Freemasons, who met with staff to hear how a state-wide grant for half-a-million-dollars from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland is making a difference on the ground. 

The grant, handed over earlier this year, will help to cover the funding gap to deliver critical early intervention services, ensuring continuity of support for deaf children throughout Queensland for the next year – till the full financial impact of the National Disability Insurance Scheme is known in late 2018.

District Grand Master of North Queensland Les Keane who attended the special morning tea said it was a privilege to hear from those at the forefront of delivering this innovative support to local families.

“It really put into perspective, the impact that this state-wide grant is having at a grassroots level,” Mr Keane said.

“As well as a tour of the facility, we sat down to learn how local children are being empowered to hear, listen and speak, with the help of Hear and Say – going on to have the same opportunities in life as their peers with good hearing,” Mr Keane said.

“We are so proud that this grant was made on behalf of the Freemasons of Queensland, for what it has made possible for children in North Queensland and throughout the state,” he said.

Collectively, the grant will mean that 200 children across the state will continue to have access to Hear and Say’s Audiology Services, and 300 children can take part in the Early Intervention Program at Hear and Say’s Centres in Townsville, Brisbane, Toowoomba and on the Sunshine and Gold Coasts.

Hear and Say Chief Executive Officer Chris McCarthy stressed how important essential listening and spoken language therapy is to a child’s development.

“It can take up to six years to teach a profoundly deaf child to listen, process language, and speak, using the latest technology and an Auditory-Verbal Therapy approach, so it’s vital that our services remain accessible – for children to be ready for mainstream schooling,” Mr McCarthy said.

“We are extremely grateful for this funding from Hand Heart Pocket. Without this, Queensland children could miss out on vital services and programs that build their potential.”

“We also thank the local Freemasons for their show of support for our local Hear and Say, families. It truly means a lot to them to know the local Freemasons are supportive of the grant.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said providing sustainable support to charitable initiatives that have limited access to other funding sources was the organisation’s focus.

“Our values are centred around empowering people to lead better lives,” Mr Mark said.

“Support for education initiatives for children with a disability aligns with Hand Heart Pocket’s long-term strategy, and we are delighted that this partnership is enabling more children in Townsville and throughout Queensland to have a future which will not be limited by their hearing loss.”

Photo: The Freemasons of Townsville recently visited the local Hear and Say Centre to hear how Hand Heart Pocket’s half-a-million-dollar state-wide grant is impacting local children. 

Find out who Hand Heart Pocket helps

North Queensland Freemasons have welcomed an auspicious group of young ladies into society at the 84th Townsville Masonic Charity Debutante Ball while also raising funds for several local charities. 

In elegant white dresses, debutantes mastered the tradition of being presented, curtsying and performing two presentation dances in the company of Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill and District Grand Master Les Keane.

Secretary of the Townsville Masonic Charity Ball Committee Norm Souter-Smith said the event was a huge success and an important custom in the community.

“So many people enjoyed a tradition that has spanned decades in Townsville,” Norm said.

“It was a privilege for the Masons to form part of the official presentation ceremony, where young ladies walked through an honour guard highlighting the different orders and levels of Freemasonry.”

“The Ball is not only an opportunity for young ladies and their partners to present what they have been practising for weeks, but it is also a chance to support charities and initiatives who rely on financial donations.”

This year $4000 was raised and will be distributed between four local charities including, the Joyful Foundation, Townsville Junior Eisteddfod, the Mayor’s Christmas Appeal and the District Grand Master’s Christmas Appeal which will support Food Relief NQ.

“Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland will match our donation to the Joyful Foundation, effectively doubling our impact,” he said. 

“We’d like to thank everyone involved in organising, supporting and attending this year’s Debutant Ball.”

Ladies aged 16 and above can participate in the next Townsville Masonic Charity Debutante Ball, which will be held mid-way through 2019.

Photo: Debutantes enjoyed a lovely evening at the Townsville Masonic Charity Debutante Ball and $4000 was raised for local charities.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland

Enhancing the wellbeing of patients at the Leukaemia Foundation Queensland Freemasons Village in Townsville was top of mind when the local Freemasons made their latest donation.

St Andrew of Townsville Masonic Lodge and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, recently joined forces to replace two recliner chairs in the self-contained unit complex on the grounds of Townsville Hospital – donating $3000.

Lodge representative Bob Heritage said supporting the families that stay at the complex for the duration of their treatment has always been important to the Lodge.

“What this facility does is allow families to stay together, instead of having to be apart, as they undergo treatment, so it’s vital that their stay is comfortable and homely,” Bob said.

“Indeed, the Freemasons of Queensland have played an integral role in the complex since day dot, having donated $1.2 million towards its construction 15 years ago – of which St Andrew of Townsville Lodge contributed $120k.”

“So, from time to time, we look to provide a hand up to strengthen the special bond that we have with the place,” Bob said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said by working closely with St Andrew of Townsville Masonic Lodge, a bigger difference could be made at a grassroots level.

“Providing a hand up to Leukaemia patients by making their home away from home more comfortable aligns with Hand Heart Pocket’s values which are about alleviating suffering and empowering people to lead better lives,” Gary said.

“Therefore, we were proud to double the impact of the Lodge’s charity work,” he said.

Photo: (standing) St Andrew of Townsville Masonic Lodge representative Bob Heritage, (seated) Village client Bill Flynn from Clermont and Leukaemia Foundation Queensland Freemasons Village Centre Manager Marie Morris.

Find a Masonic Lodge in your area 

The annual Townsville Masonic Charity Debutante Ball has wrapped up for another year, ushering in a new cohort of young ladies into society and raising vital funds for five local North Queensland charities.

The event which has been a staple in Townsville’s social calendar for over 80 years, has seen generations of young ladies following in the footsteps of their mothers and grandmothers – keeping the age-old tradition alive.

Prior to their big day, the debutantes and their partners practiced for six weeks, learning how to curtsey, the custom of being presented and perfecting the steps to two presentation dances including the Pride of Erin and the Gypsy Tap.

President of the Townsville Masonic Charity Ball Committee, Bob Griffiths said this year’s event didn’t disappoint.

“The evening was a great mix of old and new, a real celebration of the youth in our community,” Bob said.

“The Masons added a Masonic touch to the Ball, by forming an honour guard representing different orders and degrees on Freemasonry, which the debutantes walked through before being presented to Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill and the District Grand Master Les Keane and his wife Irene.”

“Whether we’re putting on a memorable event for our youth or donating funds to various local causes, that community spirit has always been important to us as Freemason,” he said.

Five local charities including the Townsville Eisteddfod, Monkey in my Chair, Joyful Foundation, the District Grand Master’s and Mayor’s Christmas Appeal will be the beneficiaries of the event with funds expected to be handed over soon.

“These organisations in our eyes are making a lifechanging difference in the region, making it a better place for us all, whether they’re working with the disadvantaged, ill, elderly and so on,” he said.

“I’d like to thank our small committee for all the hard work that has been put in to make the event a success. We hope to be back bigger and better next year,” Bob said.

 Hand Heart Pocket was a sponsor of the event and provided marketing support which included the design and printing of the tickets and funding of the promotional banners.

Photo: The annual Townsville Masonic Charity Debutante Ball has wrapped up for another year. 

Find out more about our history and traditions

 

The District Grand Master of North Queensland and his deputy are leading the chorus of support for Hand Heart Pocket’s donation of $290k to fund Camp Quality’s Family Camps in Queensland for the next 12 months.

The pair was invited to stop by a camp put on by the children’s charity on Magnetic Island this past weekend, where 43 children impacted by cancer from North Queensland were able to create memories outside of hospital.

District Grand Master of North Queensland, Les Keane said the visit, although brief, reinforced how important it is for these children to be given the opportunity to thrive, in a fun and relaxed environment.

“To see the smiles on these children’s faces was really special, especially when you know what they’re going through. For many, this was the first time they had been able to leave their hospital bed to enjoy themselves and mix with other children going through a similar situation,” Les said.

“There was a huge team of volunteers too, with some said to have volunteered with Camp Quality for over 20 years. That kind of commitment is hard to come by these days.”

“We are delighted that Hand Heart Pocket has donated $290k on behalf of Freemasons of Queensland, to help ensure state-wide support is available to children impacted by cancer and their families,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer, Gary Mark said Saturday’s announcement which took place in Brisbane, had been a resounding success and that it was something which all Freemasons of Queensland should be proud of, particularly because of the state-wide reach of this donation.

“It was important for us to make sure our donation made a difference in the lives of as many Queensland families, whether they were from regional and rural Queensland or in the metropolitan cities, because our membership like Camp Quality is spread throughout the state,” Gary said.

Find out more about the Freemasons of North Queensland

Photo: Camp Quality Recreation Program Coordinator Emma Wilkes, Melissa Parsons from Leadlease, North Queensland District Grand Master Les Keane, North Queensland Deputy Grand Master Beresford Whyte and Camp Leader Jeff Brooks. 

Some of Hinchinbrook Shire’s youngest and oldest residents have been touched by the generosity of their local Masonic Lodge.

Hinchinbrook Cordelia Lodge with the help of Hand Heart Pocket has donated $400 to the Lower Herbert Blue Light Association and $750 to Café Connect, a local outreach service of Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld).

Lodge Worshipful Master, Cliff Blain said essential services provided by the two organisations would be enhanced with these funds.

“Our contribution is in recognition of all those working towards making our community an inclusive one,” he said.

“One supports our youth by providing a variety of activities in a drug and alcohol free environment. The other enables people with Alzheimer’s and their carers to meet those in a similar situation, to enjoy each other’s company, helping to eliminate the loneliness and frustration that can set in when diagnosed.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer, Gary Mark said it’s fantastic to see the Lodge throw its support behind two very worthy causes.

“I congratulate Hinchinbrook Cordelia Lodge for taking an interest in their community, particularly those in need,” Gary said.

“Hand Heart Pocket recognises the initiative taken by this Lodge to assist these organisations to continue to make a difference in their community,” he said.

Photo: Hinchinbrook Cordelia Lodge members Ken Robson and Cliff Blain present President of the Lower Herbert Blue Light Association Snr Constable Shelley Milns with a cheque from recent fundraising efforts.

Find out more about the Freemasons 

This year didn’t get off to a good start for North Queensland with the region being ravaged by floods in February. Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark reflected on the impact that the North Queensland Freemasons had in the immediate aftermath, with Hand Heart Pocket’s support, to help people get back on their feet.

“Thanks to the Freemasons on the ground in Townsville who were able to quickly identify those who needed our support the most, we were able to act quickly and provide those people with a one-off disaster relief grant,” Gary said.

“Twenty-four families were given a hand up, with a total of $48,000 being distributed.”

“People were of course, also receiving on the ground assistance from other support agencies and the government, including emergency payments. We would especially like to thank our members on the ground for keeping us updated on the situation,” he said.

North Queensland Freemason Norm Souter-Smith recalls how the local Masonic community provided practical support during the height of the weather event, as well as during the cleanup and recovery stages.

“It was such a distressing time, but we decided to roll up our sleeves and do what we could to help each other to get through this,” Norm said.

Now, six months on, people are slowly but surely rebuilding their lives. However, by most estimates, it could take a good 12 months or more to fully recover, with 1,500 of the 3,000 homes affected, still not habitable.

“Those that received assistance from Hand Heart Pocket all expressed their gratitude. In the last couple of weeks I have been in contact with eighteen of these recipients. Ten are still not back in their homes, some hope to return before Christmas, others after Christmas.”

“When you enter the houses of those who have returned, most are still not fully finished. The walls are yet to be painted, light fittings yet to be bought, and gardens neglected.”

“The owners talk of furniture ordered, but not yet delivered. You walk around and notice pictures on the walls but no family photographs, new side tables and chiffonieres without little collectables and new fridges without grand-children’s drawings held on by magnets. In fact, not even any magnets.”

“All those little things which make the house a home. Returning to their home is just the start of the recovery,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland provides Disaster Relief assistance to members of the community when a natural disaster has occurred such as a cyclone or flood, giving them a hand up to help them get back on their feet.

Photo: North Queensland Freemason Michael Fry and his wife Jacqui. Michael points out the height to which the water rose.

Find out more about the North Queensland Freemasons

Efforts to scale up Men’s Shed activities on Magnetic Island have been backed by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, who provided a $10,000 boost on behalf of the local Freemasons.

As one of six community initiatives across Queensland, to share in over $50K as part of Hand Heart Pocket’s 2019 Grassroots Community Grants round, Magnetic Island Men’s Shed will put the funds towards the fit-out of their newly built facility – having outgrown their current space.

Ashlar Magnetic Masonic Lodge Coordinator Ian Gregory said that his Lodge had supported the Men’s Shed since 2018 and that the group was deserving of this latest grant because they not only helped their members but also the community at large.

“This really was the icing on the cake for Magnetic Island Men’s Shed, having already secured funding for the construction of the shed from elsewhere,” Ian said.

“The grant will enable the Men’s Shed to provide additional new equipment and resources.”

“A greater selection of projects will be available to members to suit their interests, so we’re excited for what they will be able to achieve in this new space and the positive impact that this will have on them both mentally and physically,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said men’s mental and physical health was one of their key focus areas as part of their long-term strategy.

“Through our grassroots support we’ve been able to fulfil a community need which will ultimately empower local men to lead better lives,” Gary said.

“We are grateful to Ashlar Magnetic Masonic Lodge for bringing this initiative to our attention so that we can make a bigger impact at a grassroots level,” he said.

Photo: (Left to right) District Grand Lodge of North Queensland Secretary Peter Drew, Ashlar Masonic Lodge Coordinator Ian Gregory and Magnetic Island Men's Shed President Cameron Walker. 

Find out more about the North Queensland Freemasons

Drought-affected communities have again received a hand-up from the Masons of North Queensland, who together with Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland and Masonic Lodges throughout the state, have donated $1.45 million in the last four years.

Hand Heart Pocket’s latest initiative, the Drought Disaster Relief Appeal, saw the charity donate an additional two dollars for every one dollar donated by its members and Masonic Lodges, meaning that the Townsville Freemasons’ $8,920 contribution has been tripled to $26,760.

District Grand Master of North Queensland Les Keane said it’s amazing what can be achieved when you band together.

“A collective contribution of $26,760 from Masonic Lodges in the District and Hand Heart Pocket is a fantastic result,” Les said.

“Thank you to everyone who gave their time or money to give a hand up to drought-affected communities. Our impact will be felt across Queensland,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the response has been amazing.

“We are grateful to the Townsville Freemasons for their efforts,” Gary said.

“Freemasons across the state have rallied to make a significant contribution towards providing a hand-up for drought-affected families and communities – collectively contributing $450,000 with Hand Heart Pocket over the past six weeks. This takes the total funds distributed over the last four years, on behalf of Freemasons, to $1.45 Million, this is an extraordinary effort across our membership”.

With this money, Hand Heart Pocket will provide Eftpos cards to be distributed through its partners on the ground so that funds can get to where they are needed most, helping to put food on the table and pay for essential bills.

“We’ll be working with the Western Drought Appeal and their associated distribution channels, the Rural Financial Counselling Service, Queensland Education and the School of Distant Education parent support group to distribute the Eftpos cards to where they are needed most,” said Gary.

Find out more about the Charity of Freemasons Queensland

The task of providing oxygen to patients onboard one of Townsville’s Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) aircrafts will be significantly easier after the Freemasons of Bowen joined forces with Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland to donate a new high-tech transport ventilator.

The compact all-in-one Hamilton-T1 ventilator has a built-in turbine, eliminating the need to carry oxygen cylinders onboard – making it a huge space-saver. The “intelligent” device can also automatically adjust airflow, according to the patient’s condition and provide real-time visual information about how the patient’s lungs and heart are responding during the flight.

Kennedy Masonic Lodge, initially contributed $10,000 through Hand Heart Pocket’s Dollar for Dollar Grassroots Grants, before putting in another $5,000 and securing a further $36,450 through the organisation’s Dollar for Dollar Plus Grassroots Grants to bring this initiative to fruition.

Kennedy Masonic Lodge representative Robert Andersen said it was a pleasure to provide a hand up with the fit out of this device in one of the two aircrafts in use in Townsville.

“When we came to know that the RFDS had plans to fit this device in up to 10 of its aircraft across Queensland, we wanted to do what we could to help,” Robert said.

“In the last 16 years, the Lodge has donated in excess of $130,000 to the RFDS in Townsville. More recently with the help of Hand Heart Pocket, we’ve continued our support of this valuable service,” he said.

“What’s great about this life-saving device is its versatility. Anyone from an adult, child or newborn can be hooked up to it and given that the RFDS responds to such a wide range of situations, this is exactly what they need.”

Last financial year alone, the medical team in Townsville transported 2090 critically ill or injured patients – travelling as far north as Cairns, out west to Mt Isa and south to Brisbane.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said investing in innovative life-saving equipment to empower people to lead better lives is what this initiative is all about.

“We believe in providing sustainable support that delivers positive outcomes to charitable organisations that have limited access to other funding sources,” Gary said.

“Thanks to the relationship that Kennedy Masonic Lodge has cultivated with the RFDS, we were able to team up to bring an important grassroots initiative to fruition,” he said.

Photo: Kennedy Masonic Lodge representatives Alf Pearce, Kevin Yarrow, Steve Fisher, Merv Tickle, Robert Andersen and Roy Facey with Townsville Royal Flying Doctor Service nurse Ashlea Turnham and Base coordinator Gail Hill.

Find out more about the North Queensland Freemasons

Since the mid-1990s, North Queensland children with hearing loss have been empowered to reach their full learning potential with the support of local charity, Hear and Say.

Just recently the Hear and Say Centre in Townsville received a visit from the local Freemasons, who met with staff to hear how a state-wide grant for half-a-million-dollars from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland is making a difference on the ground. 

The grant, handed over earlier this year, will help to cover the funding gap to deliver critical early intervention services, ensuring continuity of support for deaf children throughout Queensland for the next year – till the full financial impact of the National Disability Insurance Scheme is known in late 2018.

District Grand Master of North Queensland Les Keane who attended the special morning tea said it was a privilege to hear from those at the forefront of delivering this innovative support to local families.

“It really put into perspective, the impact that this state-wide grant is having at a grassroots level,” Mr Keane said.

“As well as a tour of the facility, we sat down to learn how local children are being empowered to hear, listen and speak, with the help of Hear and Say – going on to have the same opportunities in life as their peers with good hearing,” Mr Keane said.

“We are so proud that this grant was made on behalf of the Freemasons of Queensland, for what it has made possible for children in North Queensland and throughout the state,” he said.

Collectively, the grant will mean that 200 children across the state will continue to have access to Hear and Say’s Audiology Services, and 300 children can take part in the Early Intervention Program at Hear and Say’s Centres in Townsville, Brisbane, Toowoomba and on the Sunshine and Gold Coasts.

Hear and Say Chief Executive Officer Chris McCarthy stressed how important essential listening and spoken language therapy is to a child’s development.

“It can take up to six years to teach a profoundly deaf child to listen, process language, and speak, using the latest technology and an Auditory-Verbal Therapy approach, so it’s vital that our services remain accessible – for children to be ready for mainstream schooling,” Mr McCarthy said.

“We are extremely grateful for this funding from Hand Heart Pocket. Without this, Queensland children could miss out on vital services and programs that build their potential.”

“We also thank the local Freemasons for their show of support for our local Hear and Say, families. It truly means a lot to them to know the local Freemasons are supportive of the grant.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said providing sustainable support to charitable initiatives that have limited access to other funding sources was the organisation’s focus.

“Our values are centred around empowering people to lead better lives,” Mr Mark said.

“Support for education initiatives for children with a disability aligns with Hand Heart Pocket’s long-term strategy, and we are delighted that this partnership is enabling more children in Townsville and throughout Queensland to have a future which will not be limited by their hearing loss.”

Photo: The Freemasons of Townsville recently visited the local Hear and Say Centre to hear how Hand Heart Pocket’s half-a-million-dollar state-wide grant is impacting local children. 

Find out who Hand Heart Pocket helps

North Queensland Freemasons have welcomed an auspicious group of young ladies into society at the 84th Townsville Masonic Charity Debutante Ball while also raising funds for several local charities. 

In elegant white dresses, debutantes mastered the tradition of being presented, curtsying and performing two presentation dances in the company of Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill and District Grand Master Les Keane.

Secretary of the Townsville Masonic Charity Ball Committee Norm Souter-Smith said the event was a huge success and an important custom in the community.

“So many people enjoyed a tradition that has spanned decades in Townsville,” Norm said.

“It was a privilege for the Masons to form part of the official presentation ceremony, where young ladies walked through an honour guard highlighting the different orders and levels of Freemasonry.”

“The Ball is not only an opportunity for young ladies and their partners to present what they have been practising for weeks, but it is also a chance to support charities and initiatives who rely on financial donations.”

This year $4000 was raised and will be distributed between four local charities including, the Joyful Foundation, Townsville Junior Eisteddfod, the Mayor’s Christmas Appeal and the District Grand Master’s Christmas Appeal which will support Food Relief NQ.

“Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland will match our donation to the Joyful Foundation, effectively doubling our impact,” he said. 

“We’d like to thank everyone involved in organising, supporting and attending this year’s Debutant Ball.”

Ladies aged 16 and above can participate in the next Townsville Masonic Charity Debutante Ball, which will be held mid-way through 2019.

Photo: Debutantes enjoyed a lovely evening at the Townsville Masonic Charity Debutante Ball and $4000 was raised for local charities.

Find out more about Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland

Enhancing the wellbeing of patients at the Leukaemia Foundation Queensland Freemasons Village in Townsville was top of mind when the local Freemasons made their latest donation.

St Andrew of Townsville Masonic Lodge and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, recently joined forces to replace two recliner chairs in the self-contained unit complex on the grounds of Townsville Hospital – donating $3000.

Lodge representative Bob Heritage said supporting the families that stay at the complex for the duration of their treatment has always been important to the Lodge.

“What this facility does is allow families to stay together, instead of having to be apart, as they undergo treatment, so it’s vital that their stay is comfortable and homely,” Bob said.

“Indeed, the Freemasons of Queensland have played an integral role in the complex since day dot, having donated $1.2 million towards its construction 15 years ago – of which St Andrew of Townsville Lodge contributed $120k.”

“So, from time to time, we look to provide a hand up to strengthen the special bond that we have with the place,” Bob said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said by working closely with St Andrew of Townsville Masonic Lodge, a bigger difference could be made at a grassroots level.

“Providing a hand up to Leukaemia patients by making their home away from home more comfortable aligns with Hand Heart Pocket’s values which are about alleviating suffering and empowering people to lead better lives,” Gary said.

“Therefore, we were proud to double the impact of the Lodge’s charity work,” he said.

Photo: (standing) St Andrew of Townsville Masonic Lodge representative Bob Heritage, (seated) Village client Bill Flynn from Clermont and Leukaemia Foundation Queensland Freemasons Village Centre Manager Marie Morris.

Find a Masonic Lodge in your area 

The annual Townsville Masonic Charity Debutante Ball has wrapped up for another year, ushering in a new cohort of young ladies into society and raising vital funds for five local North Queensland charities.

The event which has been a staple in Townsville’s social calendar for over 80 years, has seen generations of young ladies following in the footsteps of their mothers and grandmothers – keeping the age-old tradition alive.

Prior to their big day, the debutantes and their partners practiced for six weeks, learning how to curtsey, the custom of being presented and perfecting the steps to two presentation dances including the Pride of Erin and the Gypsy Tap.

President of the Townsville Masonic Charity Ball Committee, Bob Griffiths said this year’s event didn’t disappoint.

“The evening was a great mix of old and new, a real celebration of the youth in our community,” Bob said.

“The Masons added a Masonic touch to the Ball, by forming an honour guard representing different orders and degrees on Freemasonry, which the debutantes walked through before being presented to Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill and the District Grand Master Les Keane and his wife Irene.”

“Whether we’re putting on a memorable event for our youth or donating funds to various local causes, that community spirit has always been important to us as Freemason,” he said.

Five local charities including the Townsville Eisteddfod, Monkey in my Chair, Joyful Foundation, the District Grand Master’s and Mayor’s Christmas Appeal will be the beneficiaries of the event with funds expected to be handed over soon.

“These organisations in our eyes are making a lifechanging difference in the region, making it a better place for us all, whether they’re working with the disadvantaged, ill, elderly and so on,” he said.

“I’d like to thank our small committee for all the hard work that has been put in to make the event a success. We hope to be back bigger and better next year,” Bob said.

 Hand Heart Pocket was a sponsor of the event and provided marketing support which included the design and printing of the tickets and funding of the promotional banners.

Photo: The annual Townsville Masonic Charity Debutante Ball has wrapped up for another year. 

Find out more about our history and traditions

 

The District Grand Master of North Queensland and his deputy are leading the chorus of support for Hand Heart Pocket’s donation of $290k to fund Camp Quality’s Family Camps in Queensland for the next 12 months.

The pair was invited to stop by a camp put on by the children’s charity on Magnetic Island this past weekend, where 43 children impacted by cancer from North Queensland were able to create memories outside of hospital.

District Grand Master of North Queensland, Les Keane said the visit, although brief, reinforced how important it is for these children to be given the opportunity to thrive, in a fun and relaxed environment.

“To see the smiles on these children’s faces was really special, especially when you know what they’re going through. For many, this was the first time they had been able to leave their hospital bed to enjoy themselves and mix with other children going through a similar situation,” Les said.

“There was a huge team of volunteers too, with some said to have volunteered with Camp Quality for over 20 years. That kind of commitment is hard to come by these days.”

“We are delighted that Hand Heart Pocket has donated $290k on behalf of Freemasons of Queensland, to help ensure state-wide support is available to children impacted by cancer and their families,” he said.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer, Gary Mark said Saturday’s announcement which took place in Brisbane, had been a resounding success and that it was something which all Freemasons of Queensland should be proud of, particularly because of the state-wide reach of this donation.

“It was important for us to make sure our donation made a difference in the lives of as many Queensland families, whether they were from regional and rural Queensland or in the metropolitan cities, because our membership like Camp Quality is spread throughout the state,” Gary said.

Find out more about the Freemasons of North Queensland

Photo: Camp Quality Recreation Program Coordinator Emma Wilkes, Melissa Parsons from Leadlease, North Queensland District Grand Master Les Keane, North Queensland Deputy Grand Master Beresford Whyte and Camp Leader Jeff Brooks. 

Some of Hinchinbrook Shire’s youngest and oldest residents have been touched by the generosity of their local Masonic Lodge.

Hinchinbrook Cordelia Lodge with the help of Hand Heart Pocket has donated $400 to the Lower Herbert Blue Light Association and $750 to Café Connect, a local outreach service of Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld).

Lodge Worshipful Master, Cliff Blain said essential services provided by the two organisations would be enhanced with these funds.

“Our contribution is in recognition of all those working towards making our community an inclusive one,” he said.

“One supports our youth by providing a variety of activities in a drug and alcohol free environment. The other enables people with Alzheimer’s and their carers to meet those in a similar situation, to enjoy each other’s company, helping to eliminate the loneliness and frustration that can set in when diagnosed.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer, Gary Mark said it’s fantastic to see the Lodge throw its support behind two very worthy causes.

“I congratulate Hinchinbrook Cordelia Lodge for taking an interest in their community, particularly those in need,” Gary said.

“Hand Heart Pocket recognises the initiative taken by this Lodge to assist these organisations to continue to make a difference in their community,” he said.

Photo: Hinchinbrook Cordelia Lodge members Ken Robson and Cliff Blain present President of the Lower Herbert Blue Light Association Snr Constable Shelley Milns with a cheque from recent fundraising efforts.

Find out more about the Freemasons