The destruction caused by Storm Babet last year in Brechin and the surrounding areas was immense, necessitating an immediate response from local agencies who worked together to provide support and direct assistance where it was most needed.   The local Lodges in Brechin and the Provincial Grand Lodge of Forfarshire has established a relationship with a small Charity called the Brechin Buccaneers which is part of the concentrated effort provided by several local organisations, as described above.   Relief efforts are still ongoing and Masonic donations from the Province of Forfarshire and the daughter Lodges therein, Grand Lodge, the Supreme Grand Rayal Arch Chapter, the Provincial Royal Arch Chapter of Angus and Mearns and the Knights Templar District Grand Priory of both Tay Valley and Forth Valley have seen the total climb to around £20,000.

It is clear that this financial assistance has and continues to be vitally important to essential local relief efforts. The Provincial Grand Master of Forfarshire, Brother Peter Taylor, has very kindly provided the following updated report –

“There have been countless donations of clothing and other items from Lodges and Brethren to those affected. Lodges in Brechin have been used as collection points from time to time. Brother Kevin Taggart made a special donation of a vanload of toiletries and essentials at the end of last year. He has suggested that other donations are possible.

The team at Brechin Buccaneers is working very hard to cope with the crisis under very difficult conditions. I was informed by the Charity that there are still some people unaccounted for, but the belief is that they have simply relocated somewhere else without notifying the authorities. Some people have returned to their “uninhabitable” properties thinking they can “clean up” themselves, which has also proved to be a problem for the authorities as well as the charity workers. Indeed, some of these people have increased the risk of contracting diseases such as E-Coli and other infections. We must remember, of course, that many of those affected are dealing with abject poverty and mental health issues, so it is very difficult.

The Charity remains positive that the co-ordinator and his team, with the support they are getting, (including from the Freemasons), are making real progress. It’s taken hard work and there is a long way to go, but progress, nevertheless has been made.

There was supposed to be a visit to Brechin and the Brechin Buccaneers by King Charles on the 17th of January, but unfortunately it was cancelled because of adverse weather conditions. That was a real pity as that would have been a great boost to the team and of course a great boost to highlighting the work they are doing and perhaps soliciting more support”.

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