EVERY spring and autumn Freemasons from all around Devon meet to support local organisations who require financial assistance, among which are children’s charities, schools, youth centres and locally based charities including hospices, hospital services and cancer charities. 

The money is raised through the “WAKE Fund”, a trust conceived by William Alexander Kneel, the Devonshire Provincial Grand Master from 1970 to 1984, the late owner of Kneel’s laundry and dry cleaners (now Johnsons). 

Since the idea was initiated, the fund has grown through the continued generosity of Devonshire Freemasons and wise investments. 

Today it stands at £2.3 million from which the trustees distribute the income generated, currently around £50,000 each year.

Reuben Ayres – Provincial Grand Charity Steward for the Devonshire Freemasons said: “Since the first disbursement in 2001, over £946,000 has been given by the Devon Freemasons WAKE Fund to charities and other worthy causes throughout Devon, selected by the 127 Masonic lodges within the county.” 

More than 1,000 charities and organisations have benefited since it started. Charity is a fundamental principle for all Masons, and this spring Rt W Bro Nicholas Ball, the Provincial Grand Master for the Devonshire Freemasons presented cheques to 18 local good causes amounting to £21,250 at Uffculme Masonic Hall.

Provincial Grand Master of Devonshire Freemasons Rt Hon Nicholas Ball said: “A fantastic evening! 

“The dedication and commitment of those supporting the Charities makes such a difference to the well being of our communities I congratulate and thank you. 

“Your passion and enthusiasm can only inspire us to do more!”

One of the charities to benefit was Horses and Forces C.I.C. which assists armed service people and their families, living and dealing with PTS. Founded in April 2022 by husband-and-wife team Alex and Darren Button. Alex is a Clinical Psychologist and worked in the NHS for 15 years and Darren served in the Army for several years. 

Both have personally experienced post-traumatic stress symptoms. They were nominated by The Unity Lodge in Crediton and received a donation of £1,250.

Other charities benefitting this June were: The Mountbatten Centre Charity Trust (Plymouth), ChemoHero, Blackdown Support Group (Hemyock), 

Tavistock AFC Development Squad, Exmouth Tigers Disability Football Club, Torbay Ukraine Host and Visitors Support Group, Living with Cancer, Improving Lives Plymouth, Exe Vale Market Bus, Mockingbird (delivering foster care), Stepping Stones Totnes, Future Fit Field Gun (a sport for young people), Outreach Paramedics, Gifted Women (supporting women with multiple disadvantages, Devon in Sight, The Methodist Church Sidwell Street and Ask For Jake (support for individuals in distress).