2026 Festival – FAQs

Countdown to 8.00 p.m.  5 September 2026

2026/09/05 20:00:00

The Foundation brings together the work of the Freemasons’ Grand Charity, the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, the Masonic Samaritan Fund and the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution.

During their time of operation, the four charities each provided a specific type of support for Freemasons and their families and registered charities. The Masonic Charitable Foundation now provides the full range of grants and services previously provided by the four national charities.

A  Most of the support provided by the MCF takes the form of financial grants made to:

  • Freemasons and their families- to assist those experiencing a financial, health or family need.
  • National Charities – to support the important work of national and regional charities of all sizes.
  • Community services – special programmes of support help Hospices, Air Ambulances and disaster relief appeals worldwide.

Approximately every eleven years each of the 47 Masonic provinces holds Festival. Historically these would have been for one of the four central Masonic Charities. These charities have been merged in the later part of 2016, to form the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF). During the period of a Festival Appeal it is anticipated that all Lodges, Chapters, Brethren and Companions will do their very best to support the Provincial Grand Master’s Festival 2026 Appeal in support of the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

Our current Festival, in support of the MCF, launched in the early part of 2021 and will be for just short of 6 years finishing in Q4 of 2026.

The aim is for Lodges, Chapters, and individual brethren and Companions within our Province to accrue a significant amount of money to support the charity.

The MCF is first and foremost a charity. The Masonic Charitable Foundations mission is to build better lives by enabling opportunity, advancing healthcare and education and promoting independence for Freemasons, their families and the wider community. Further details regarding the MCF can be found on our link to the MCF website (https://mcf.org.uk)

No they will not. The Province’s hope, however, is that the emphasis of both Lodge and Chapters and individual charitable giving for the five years of the Festival Appeal, is directed towards the 2026 Festival. Non-Masonic charitable giving will not stop. The Bedfordshire Provincial Charity Fund together with the MCF will throughout our Festival Appeal, be donating annually to non-Masonic Charites locally and nationwide including, Air ambulances, Hospices, etc.

The Appeal is organised at Provincial level. The Festival President is the RW Provincial Grand Master Anthony P Henderson.

A Festival Committee is overseeing the Festival Appeal. Its Chairman is Robert Curson, the current Deputy Grand Superintendent in the Royal Arch, and is supported by Martin Wilson as Deputy Festival Chairman and also the Provincial Grand Charity Steward Steve Joyce.

Robert and Martin head a team of Masonic Centre Communication representatives: Mike Blair – Ampthill, Gerry Amsden – Biggleswade, Terry Stock – Dunstable, Dean O’Connell – Kempston, Neil Jarvis – Leighton Buzzard and Stuart Allsop – Luton and are supported by Clive Walsh and Steve Attwood, Provincial Grand Secretary and Provincial Grand Treasurer respectively. They liaise between the MCF and the Communications representatives of the Province working with the individual Lodge representatives / Champions to ensure that all members are fully aware of the appeal and its aims.

The MCF works closely with the Relief Chest Scheme, which helps Province and Lodges to maximise the value of the funds they collect for charitable activities. These funds are held in ‘Relief Chests’ and when you make a donation to the Festival, the money is collected in the Bedfordshire Festival Relief Chest which is numbered MCF2026.

As an individual you can donate directly to the Bedfordshire MCF 2026 Festival by clicking on the following link https://mcf.org.uk/support-our- work/festivals/?lm-page=1 and selecting the Bedfordshire Festival.

You can donate on a regular basis by setting up a regular payment promise (RPP), preferably monthly by direct debit, or by making a one off payment using the Regular or one-off Donations Form downloadable from this website. Alternatively, you could send to Martin Wilson, Deputy Festival Chairman.

You can make single donations from time to time – preferably by using the Single Donations Form again downloadable from this website, or by letter, informing us which Lodge you wish your donation to be allocated to (it will also of course be allocated to you personally and whether you wish your donation to be Gift Aided.)

Hopefully your Lodge or Chapter is operating the Gift Aid Envelope Scheme. If so, you will have an opportunity to donate by this method through Lodge and Chapter Charity Collections either in open Lodge or Chapter or, in many cases, at the Festive board. Similar will apply if you are visiting a Lodge which uses Gift Aid Envelopes – by completing your information on the envelope even if visiting you will be personally credited with your donation and the extra 25% gained by the Bedford Province /MCF will be of benefit towards the Festival Total in your name.

If your Lodge or Chapter, or any you are visiting, does not operate the Envelope Scheme, you can, if the collection is for the Festival 2026 still donate but remember by putting cash into a charity bag, your donation is anonymous and although the Lodge or Chapter will receive the credit, your donation will not be associated to you personally and the Bedfordshire Province /MCF cannot therefore claim an additional 25% towards their work.

A When a UK taxpayer makes a donation under a Gift Aid declaration, the Charity is able to reclaim the tax paid on that donation from the UK government. The MCF can reclaim 25p for every £1 you donate, and this will be credited to the donor and his lodge.

Yes. Members can fundraise for the 2026 Festival Appeal by organising sponsored events and setting up an online fundraising page by visiting   https://fundraising.mcf.org.uk/Festival-E2021#supporters. Further information is available on the Fundraising page.

If any Lodge would like a Talk or Seminar, to ensure that it is properly co- ordinated with others which may be held in the area, it should be organised through the Festival Committee.

The Provincial Office and Secretariat is not involved in the organisation or running of the Festival Appeal and therefore the Provincial Secretariat should not be contacted. All queries regarding the Festival should be directed to the Deputy Festival Champion, Martin Wilson (2026depchair@pglbeds.org), or the particular Masonic Centre Communications representative:

Mike Blair – Ampthill, (ampthillcomms@pglbeds.org)

Gerry Amsden – Biggleswade, (biggleswadecomms@pglbeds.org)

Terry Stock – Dunstable, (dunstablecomms@pglbeds.org)

Dean O’Connell – Kempston, (kempstoncomms@pglbeds.org)

Neil Jarvis – Leighton Buzzard, (leightonbuzzardcomms@pglbeds.org)

Stuart Allsop – Luton (lutoncomms@pglbeds.org)

The Provincial Grand Master announced his target aim of £1,000,000 for the Province as a whole.

The total amount raised will depend entirely on the generosity and enthusiasm of the brethren, we can only ask that brethren give the maximum within their means, conscience and preference.

Only the Provincial Grand Charity Steward and the Deputy Festival Chairman have information as to how much each individual donor has contributed. This information is kept confidential. Each Lodge Festival representative will be supplied with a list of members who have either taken out a RPP or made a one- off donation and the total amount donated by the individuals and lodge combined.

All donations received are valued and applied faithfully. Provincial Honorifics are being used for the 2026 Festival. A brother who makes a Single donation or a Regular Payment promise that has a value of in excess of £300 (excluding Gift Aid) will qualify as a Festival Steward and will be presented with a Festival Jewel free of charge.

No donations are used to meet the costs of organising the Festival Appeal or the Celebration at the end. All Charity donations to the Festival go directly to the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

Help the Province raise as much money as possible and support any fund-raising initiatives by your Lodge or the Province. Please tell others what you know and encourage them to consider the Festival 2026 appeal when donating to charity.

We have a great Province and the MCF is a wonderful family charity, we only ask that Lodges and brethren, Chapters and Companions, support the 2026 Festival appeal to the best of their ability.

We want to encourage Gift Aid giving. The key to any successful Festival appeal is of course Regular Giving. Brethren are encouraged to donate monthly by using the forms mentioned above and which are readily available to download from or complete from this website.
Regular Donations Form also accompanied your Festival booklet and spare copies should be available at every Masonic Centre and from your Lodge Festival representative.

Brethren who reach the qualifying level of Festival Steward (£300 ex Gift Aid) will be individually and automatically notified in writing by the Provincial Grand Charity Steward / Deputy Festival Chairman. It is the Provincial Grand Master’s wish that Festival Stewards’ Jewels be presented in open Lodge unless the Brother or Companion, concerned prefers to receive his in private.

A For each Brother, the Deputy Festival Chairman will keep a record of any contributions or donations made whether by Gift Aid Envelopes, Single Donations, or Regular Donations where you have provided your name when donating. Obviously, this cannot include cash collections or raffles where money is donated or paid anonymously.

Donors will also be credited with any promises or pledges to continue to donate by Bankers Order and when the combined total of donations and pledges has reached the qualifying level, those qualifying will be informed and presented with a jewel. Thus a Bankers or Standing Order for 5 years at say £10 a month would immediately qualify as Festival Steward

Once a Brother or Companion has qualified he may wear his Jewel in Lodges and Royal Arch Chapters within our Province.

The Provincial Grand Master wishes to encourage all Brethren and Companions of Bedfordshire Province, holding whatever Rank to wear their Festival Steward’s Jewel with Pride.

If you are a member of Royal Arch, your Royal Arch Jewel is the first jewel worn in line (from the centre outwards before the Festival or any other Jewels.

Festival Jewels should only be worn when attending Meetings of Craft Lodges and Royal Arch Chapters within our own Province, and not when attending meetings of Grand Lodge or Lodges and Chapters in other Provinces.

Because Lodges vary by size of membership, Targets have been set for the first time by the Lodge itself, however there will be Lodge Honorifics at Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels to recognise the generosity of the individual Lodges. These Lodge Honorifics have been calculated on the Lodge or Chapters membership as at the Launch of Festival 2026.

A means of obtaining tax relief on money donated to UK Charites. Donors must be UK taxpayers in order to qualify for gift aid. The relief is currently 25%. If you give £10 with gift aid, the charity receives £12.50. Higher rate taxpayers can claim additional personal relief, details are on the donations forms.

They are really very simple:

  • You must be a UK tax payer, and
  • The gift aid tax reclaimed on your contributions must not exceed your tax bill. The detailed rules are spelt out on our donation’s forms.

If making Single donations or Regular donations you need to complete one of these forms, providing your name and address and confirming by ticking one of the boxes, that you wish Gift Aid tax to be reclaimed on your behalf in favour of the charity.

If using Gift Aid Envelopes you need to complete the section on the reverse of the envelope and tick the relevant box.

Two reasons. First as the money for tickets is collected in cash the Treasurer will not know how much each brother has contributed and therefore how to advise the MCF how much tax to reclaim and for whom. Secondly HMRC consider that Gift Aiding applies only to gifts given freely without thought of personal gain.

Simply put in the money you wish to donate into the envelope, complete your details and write but don’t tick any of the declaration boxes. By this method you will be personally credited with your donation but the MCF when they see your envelope slip will not apply for any tax reclaim.

On general Festival matters and in the first instance, always speak to your Lodge or Centre Representative. If he cannot answer your question, he will seek advice from the Festival Committee.

Each Masonic Centre should be stocked with posters, forms, gift aid envelopes and other information, controlled by the Centre Representative. You will also find a wealth of information is contained on this website and in your Festival booklet. If you cannot find what you need, contact the festival committee whose details should be displayed at every Masonic Centre.

All queries regarding the Festival 2026 Relief Chest should be directed to the Deputy Festival Chairman.

All forms are available for anyone to download from the download section of the Festival 2026 website, a stock including Gift Aid envelopes will be held at all Masonic Centres. If they have run out, advise the Centre Representative or the Deputy Festival Chairman. Black and white copies or photocopies of the forms are perfectly acceptable, but always ensure they contain the Relief Chest Number MCF2026.

All our Centre representatives will have supplies of cards and Posters. Alternatively contact the Deputy Festival Chairman.

In addition to regular information from the Festival Committee, keep looking at this Festival website as it will be updated regularly.

Masonic Festivals usually conclude with an event to celebrate the culmination of the appeal (in our case this will be some time in Q4 of 2026. At this event, the total amount raised is announced in the presence of brethren from the Province and distinguished guests, together with their ladies. approximately 12 months before the end of the appeal a date and location will be announced when the celebration will be held.

To attend the Festival banquet a Mason, or Companion will need to have qualified as a Festival Steward. All Festival Stewards will be sent an invitation to apply for tickets. Festival Stewards’ Jewels are to be worn at this event.