Mark Benevolent Fund

150th Mark Benevolent Fund Festival

The 150th Anniversary Festival of the Mark Benevolent Fund took place at the Lincolnshire Showground, Grange-de-Lings, Lincoln on Saturday, 7th July, 2018.

At the event, it was announced that a total of £853,000 had been raised, of which £11,853 came from the Province of North Wales.

The Province of North Wales was well represented at the event, with 22 members and their partners attending, including the Provincial Grand Master and his wife. You can read more about their visit to Lincoln here.

A Short History of the Mark Benevolent Fund

The 2018 Festival was rather special as it commemorated 150 years since Reverend George Raymond Portal (admitted a Canon of Winchester Cathedral in 1881) founded the Mark Benevolent Fund.

Reverend Portal strongly believed it vital for the Mark Degree to have ownership of a benevolent fund. The M.B.F. was established with the sole objective of providing immediate financial aid to eligible Mark Master Masons or their close family, who may be in distress. Significantly, it was to encourage all Brethren to practice the habit of donating freely and without hesitation.

Portal considered this code of conduct would provide the Order with a clear and distinctive charitable motive, a noticeable purpose with which Mark Master Masons could readily identify. It was abhorrent to Reverend Portal for there to be any delay in supplying aid to those in need, thus the Latin dictum which became the guiding principle for the Mark Benevolent Fund, and which the charity embraces to this very day:


“Bis dat qui cito dat”

“He gives twice who gives promptly”
“A gift given without hesitation is as good as two gifts”

Celebrating 150 Years

To mark the occasion of the Fund’s Sesquicentenary, the Trustees of the Mark Benevolent Fund pledged £2.6 million to the Hope for Tomorrow charity, for the purchase of up to ten mobile chemotherapy units for the use of the NHS in rural locations throughout the UK.

In addition to the Mark Benevolent Fund celebrating its Sesquicentenary, it is vital to reflect on the dedication, work ethic and enthusiasm of Reverend Portal. Not only was he the founding father of the Mark Benevolent Fund but he was also its drive and inspiration. Undoubtedly, without his untiring endeavors and perseverance in the early years, and the continuing support of the membership, the M.B.F. would not have become what it is today. Indeed, we thank him and the many thousands of Brethren whose involvement and hard work has helped mould the charity and ensured continuous growth and development.

Recent Grants to Worthy Causes

Blood Bikes
The Mark Benevolent Fund became aware of the role of blood bike charities in January 2016 when an application was received by the Worthy Causes Committee from Northumbria Blood Bikes. Subsequent applications then followed as word spread about the generous work of the M.B.F.

Most blood bike charities come under the umbrella of the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes (itself a registered charity) who acts as a representative body for blood bike groups. Their aim is to assist in the promotion of public health through voluntary support of hospital services.

The charity provides out of hours transportation services for local NHS sites in the movement of blood and human tissue. Other organisations can also benefit from the work they do, all free of charge thus reducing the strain on NHS funding.

In May 2017 the Mark Benevolent Fund Charity Walk took place encompassing all Royal Parks in central London along the seven-mile route of The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk. The event was embraced by hundreds of Mark Master Masons, their friends and families, and raised an astounding £437,934.

The Trustees of the Mark Benevolent Fund wanted to recognise the generosity of the Brethren in the Provinces and decided to invite all blood bike charities in England and Wales to apply for funding for a new vehicle. Mark Provinces covering the majority of England and Wales are serviced by these charities and all that applied received a new vehicle. To date the Mark Benevolent Fund has sponsored 16 Blood Bikes and 10 Blood Cars.

To coincide with the Blood Bikes Awareness Day on Friday, 17 August 2018, a national handover will take place at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham.

All bikes and cars sponsored by the Mark Benevolent Fund, along with over 200 guests, will be attending to celebrate the important services given completely free by volunteers, to all our communities.

St John Ambulance
St John AmbulanceThe M.B.F. has donated £3.2 million to St John Ambulance to fund a combination of 52 state of the art ambulances, treatment centres and support vehicles to be stationed throughout England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Our partnership with St John Ambulance highlights the Mark Benevolent Fund’s continuing commitment to supporting projects with a wider community impact.

Our previous collaboration with St John Ambulance was to celebrate the Millennium in 2000. A grant of £2 million was distributed between the Provinces in England and Wales with the purchase of a new ambulance for each.

In the ensuing 18 years there have been advanced leaps in medicine and technology and these ambulances are coming to the end of their working life in the UK. The good news is that they will be refurbished and sent off to countries far and wide to continue their life saving services. This exciting project will be fully rolled out by December of this very busy year for the Mark Benevolent Fund.

Dogs for Good
The Mark Benevolent Fund, in conjunction with the Province of London, have sponsored a new puppy through the Dogs for Good charity.

He was born on 4 December 2017 and is named Lawson, after R.W.Bro. Michael Lawson, P.G.S.W., a long-standing Trustee, who sadly passed away in October last year.

The new puppy is already undertaking his two-year training plan. The total cost for this is £13,446. The Province of London have made a very generous contribution of £3,000 towards the project.

Michael Lawson was an avid and dedicated fan of his dogs and this project seemed a fitting legacy in his memory.

This is the second puppy to be sponsored by the M.B.F. Our first puppy, Suzie, is now 18 months old and heading towards the completion of her training.