Since Oxfordshire held its last festival in 2011 which raised £1.6m for the Masonic Samaritan Fund, we have seen the amalgamation of the four Masonic charities under one umbrella organisation, the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF). Since it was formally launched in April 2016, the MCF has continued the traditions set by its predecessors, but with the advantage that more of the funds raised reach the recipients and with a quicker turnaround. This website tells you more about the MCF and the good work that it is doing, both nationally and here in Oxfordshire.

It is a real privilege that Oxfordshire will be one of the first provinces to host a festival in aid of the MCF and I have no doubt that the brethren of the province, supported by their friends and families, will rise to the challenge. The festival will culminate in 2022, by which time I am sure we will be able to announce that we have achieved a magnificent total, and we will be able to celebrate in true Oxfordshire fashion. We may be one of the smallest provinces to host a festival, but we can show that our relative contribution can match the largest.

One of my main aims for the next five years is to ensure that everyone is involved. Whilst we will use many tried and trusted means of raising funds, let’s also find new ways and new events, so that all of our brethren, their families and friends can participate and contribute, and not just rely on the faithful few.

My other main aim is that we should all have fun during the next five years. I have seen many other festivals across the country and the most successful financially are those that have the most fun. Enjoy the festival, along with your fellow lodge members, your families and friends. Be proud of what you are doing in supporting the MCF and the work that they do, as well as being a freemason. Wear your festival jewel and tie with pride.

Thank you in anticipation of all your efforts on behalf of this very worthy cause.