SHOWING SUPPORT: John Lethbridge, the newly-elected Worshipful Master for Raphael Lodge of Roma, at the Freemasons stand at the Roma Show.
SHOWING SUPPORT: John Lethbridge, the newly-elected Worshipful Master for Raphael Lodge of Roma, at the Freemasons stand at the Roma Show. David Bowden

One of the world's oldest fraternities opens its doors

SHOW-GOERS got a look into one of the world's oldest fraternities, when it first came to the Maranoa region, and how it's managed to stay relevant.

John Lethbridge, the newly elected Worshipful Master for Raphael Lodge of Freemasons Roma was at the Roma Show at the weekend outlining the good work that's being done in the community by the fraternal brotherhood.

Freemasonry first came to Queensland in 1859.

Today, there are around 280 Masonic Lodges throughout the state, with five based in the Maranoa region, including Raphael, Maranoa, Corona (Wallumbilla), Bonnie Doon (Injune) and Mitchell Masonic Lodges.

Mr Lethbridge said the Freemasons were so much more than secret handshakes and performing ancient rituals behind closed doors.

"Our work centres embody empowering men to be their best through mentoring and self-development,” Mr Lethbridge said.

"Locally, the Freemasons are best known for the Pascoe Bursaries, which are administered by Raphael Masonic Lodge.

"This was instigated by Peter and Joan Pascoe in 2001 with a contribution of $100,000 and later another $50,000 in 2004. Each year, five school-leavers are gifted $2000 each going towards their higher education.”

The Freemason show stall was also there to highlight the $250,000 grant that Hand, Heart, Pocket Charity of Freemasons made to the dementia unit at Pinaroo in Roma.

The grant will go towards the conversion of an existing wing to accommodate 11 additional dementia residents - which will be completed later this year.

Mr Lethbridge said the donation would allow more people suffering from the disease to remain close to their loved ones and support networks.

"We are so proud to have actively campaigned for this, for our community, because we know what a difference it will make,” Mr Lethbridge said.

"Similarly, the local lodges have supported a range of local initiatives over the years, such as donating beds for the hospital as well as supporting local men's sheds, the CWA and Blue Care to name a few.”

Visit www.maranoafree masons. org.au.


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