Doesn't time fly? We have just passed the first anniversary of the launch of Festival 2019, so it seems appropriate to change our web site opening page, to reflect where we are now.
Its been a hectic 12 months, with time being spent on designing, obtaining approval, and organising manufacture of our jewels, appointing Festival Teams to cover Events, Publicity and merchandising, and a host of other administration functions, to ensure that Lodges have the correct Banking documents, and keeping everyone up to date with our plans for the entire festival period. Amongst all this we have adopted our Maroon and Gold Brand colours, and our logo of Together we can do it, both of which are now recognised within our Province. From a practical aspect, we have organised a very successful St Valentine's Ball for our Launch, and an enjoyable Race Night. Towards the end of 2014 we launched the Provincial 500 Club, which has achieved 465 Member at the time of writing, but we are still pushing to get to that 500 as an absolute minimum.
The Provincial 500 club has now been launched. The aim is to raise funds for the Suffolk Provincial Festival 2019 in support of the RMBI. Click the button below to find out more.500 Club Information
Jewels have been available since the middle of 2014 and several can now be seen throughout our Lodges as almost 400 have been distributed to date. Festival merchandise is also available now, so hopefully Festival Gloves and Cufflinks, and perhaps a necktie, may also soon be in evidence.
Financially, virtually every Lodge has already made a donation into the Festival, and at this stage, we have accumulated around a quarter of our lower suggested overall target, so we are on track, and have a lot still available which we can achieve. Greater use of Gift Aid envelopes, and more members making regular donations by direct debit would be an advantage, but overall the Province is working well, with several members creating individual ideas for fund raising, and often involving their Wives, Partners and Friends. RMBI have now made text payments available, and details have been sent out to all Lodges. In return, Masonic charities have donated £329,000 back into Suffolk during 2014, supporting 71 Beneficiaries. This meant that we were the 20th largest Recipient from 48 Provinces, which in itself, should provide a tremendous incentive as we fund-raise for a tremendous Charity which supports us and our Dependants.
Looking ahead, there are several functions planned, which include a Car treasure Hunt and the second Race Night in 2015, with a Boxing evening, and other events in 2016. Our Tercentenary will take place in 2017, so until further details are known about this, we will withhold planning events for that year.
However, 2018 will see a large event planned as the last opportunity to put on something significant for the Festival. This will be centred upon a Fun Run or similar, but will also have a few other activities surrounding it. These may well include Bungee jumping and a Fire-walk, and possibly a Giant Water Slide, all of which will be available for Participants to gain sponsorship, as they take part in events ranging from the less daring to the more exacting. Naturally. The Senior Executive cannot wait to take part in the more exacting events, and no doubt Sponsorship Forms will be circulated as soon as final details are published, although full publicity will not be available just yet, .. but it is a matter to start thinking about.
2019, will see our Final Event around the middle of the year, followed by a thanksgiving Service in the Autumn, and full details of these events will also be available in good time.
In closing I extend my thanks to everyone who has helped in any way during our first Festival Year, and in particular to those of you who have got into the spirit of Festival 2019, by organising events and making donations. Our target remains big, but we have the time, and working on the experience gained to date, I have no doubt that.
Together we can do it.
Neville Warnes, Chairman Festival 2019