W.B. BRIAN SMITH P.Prv.J.G.W. Hants and I.O.W.
My attraction towards fundraising is as a direct result of my introduction into Freemasonry by my wonderful and much loved and sadly missed late father- in-law, W.B.Richard ( Dick ) Cleeve P.Prv.S.G.W. ,who was the keystone of Freemasonry on Hayling Island and the surrounding area.
Back in the 1980’s when I was still unsure about Freemasonry, I quizzed Dick one evening about this very thing as he had never put me under any pressure, and I was interested to know more.
I said with the confidence of youth ‘What’s all this Freemasonry about anyway Dick? ‘
His immediate response became a pivotal moment for a young man like me who viewed Freemasonry with some degree of scepticism ‘Oh that’s easy’ he said ‘It’s just being ever mindful of the needs of others’.
I never forgot that line and it struck a chord in my heart as I had always felt that way but was never able to articulate it properly.
For me it remains the most important part of what being a Freemason stands for and I owe that all to W.B. Dick Cleeve.
Being given the responsibility of Charity Steward was a perfect fit for me and this encouraged me to support the 2016 Festival in aid of the R.M.T.G.B. which ended up with my abseiling the Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth which I am very proud to say raised £2,000.
The 2027 Festival also inspired me to tackle something else as I was very impressed by the aims of the M.C.F. and so decided to look round for something a little bit different that might amuse and encourage people to support me, both in the masonic world and in non-masonic world, which is exactly what happened.
The idea of free abseiling the ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower London interested people as, apart from it being very high indeed, it is also a most fascinating and imposing structure.
This time around, however, I had the advantage of social media, Facebook and my own Just Giving Page which, together with conventional Fund Raising, helped enormously in pushing my fundraising for the H.&I.O.W. 2027 Festival over the £4,000 mark, and for all who supported me I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Having seen a number of presentations and read many articles regarding the hopes and aims of the M.C.F. I’m convinced that targeting worthy causes, whenever and wherever there is a need, is an inspiring policy and is one which I wholeheartedly support.
Free abseiling the ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower was as exciting and fulfilling as abseiling the Spinnaker Tower and the knowledge that what I was doing would help people less fortunate than myself helped me overcome my nervousness. This, together with the encouragement I was able to give to others on the day, made it a most memorable event and one which fills me with pride.
I had the support on the day from my lovely wife, Penny, and our great friend, Sara, and we couldn’t avoid being filled with excitement when the giant red ArcelorMittal Orbit came into view at the Olympic Park London.
All the Abseilers nervously gathered at the bottom of the sculpture for the organisers to brief us all on what was going to happen. One lady was clearly a little bit anxious so a request was put out for someone in the group who had some experience to be her “buddy”, as we would be abseiling in tandem. As I had previously abseiled the Spinnaker Tower it was decided that I fitted the profile. Sheila and I immediately bonded, and her fears swiftly disappeared.
Sheila had recently lost her husband and was fundraising in aid of a Cancer Charity and her story is yet another example of helping others less fortunate than ourselves. She had a fear of heights, and the ArcelorMittal Orbit is very high, but to her enormous credit she overcame her fear for the sake of her fundraising effort and we and her family were all very proud of her that day.
I have been particularly fortunate to have had W.B.Dick Cleeve as my Mentor and because of his wise guidance and encouragement I have been able, together with our masonic principles, to help and assist those less fortunate than myself and in so doing continue to fulfil my commitment to Freemasonry in general, which for me is a thoroughly rewarding and worthwhile principle.
My fundraising efforts continue as I am currently investigating a number of possible ‘fun days out’
Bless you all for your support,