On the afternoon of 10th November almost seventy members and guests from England and Wales gathered in the splendid surroundings of the Cholmondeley Room and Terrace of the House of Lords for tea with our new Grand Prior, the Marquis of Lothian. Despite the gloomy weather outside, the atmosphere was animated and the views across the Thames as spectacular as always.  New acquaintances were made and old ones renewed over a sumptuous tea, rounded off by a glass of Prosecco before departure.   Eleven of our 15 Commanderies were represented.  Special guests included Peter Walker, Chief Executive of The Leprosy Mission, and James Wells, Chief Executive of EMMS International.

Lord Lothian welcomed visitors to the House and spoke of his pleasure at being invited to take on the role of Grand Prior.  He was honoured to follow in the footsteps of his uncle, Lord Ferrers, who had always held the Order in the highest regard and had served as Grand Prior with great distinction until his death in 2012.

Lord Lothian also spoke of his great interest in the charitable work of the Order, undertaken through the new combined charity, the St Lazarus Charitable Trust.  He welcomed particularly the practical nature of the projects supported by the Order, such as the support for the Rainbow and Bankura Homes in India, which would be forced to close without the funding provided by the Order.  He thanked members for their ongoing generosity.

 

 ‘Last year, our charities raised a sum of around £100,000, thanks to our members and some small investments. £75,000 of this was allocated to four major projects – two Leprosy Mission homes in India (the Bankura Old People’s Home in West Bengal and the Rainbow Children’s Home in Andhra Pradesh), the St John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem and the funding of medical electives through EMMS International.

‘For the coming year, we have pledged continued support to these projects and are also planning to support the work of Canon Pat Atkinson’s Vidiyal Trust with leprosy sufferers in India.  Those of you who were able to attend the Walsingham pilgrimage earlier this year will remember Canon Pat’s vivid account of the work of the Trust and the needs faced by the street people amongst whom she works.

‘Alongside these major projects, individual Commanderies support a host of national and international charities, including Promise Nepal, DEBRA and a number of local hospices.

‘As you can see, our charitable giving is substantial and the projects we support are practical. Without our support those in the Rainbow and Bankura Homes would be out on the street – and we certainly would not want that to happen.  The Executive Council and I are extremely grateful for your ongoing generosity as members of the Order which enables us to support such worthy projects.’

 

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