HRH Princess Anne – visit to the East Manchester Community Boat Project May 2024

The East Lancashire Masonic Charity is no stranger to the East Manchester Community Boat project (EMCBP), having supported the Charity several times, most recently with a grant of £2500 (which was match funded by the Masonic Charitable Foundation) giving a total of £5000 to help them convert the barge from diesel to electric. 

In May 2024 the Charity celebrated their 30th Anniversary and the carriage of their 50,000th passenger. For all this time they have offered, completely free of charge, an educational, recreational, historical and environmental facility for children and adults who are disabled or disadvantaged. 

 This aim can only be met by the hard work of volunteers and relentless fund-raising efforts, and to help celebrate their achievements HRH Princess Anne decided to pay a visit, wanting to see the facility first hand, and meet the trustees, volunteers, donors and some of the recipients of the charity’s work. 

Chad Northcott (Chairman of the ELMC and Grants Committee) and John Taylor (Provincial Grand Charity Steward) accepted their invitations and hitched a ride to the venue 😊- Portland Basin, Ashton-Under-Lyne. 

Princess Anne took some time speaking to groups of volunteers, thanking them for their service, and met some of the great children (some disabled, some neurodivergent and some from disadvantaged backgrounds) and their families who have benefited from the charity. 

She then met groups of the supporters and donors, including Chad and John, both of who were privileged to have been associated with the event on behalf of the East Lancashire Masonic Charity and the Province of East Lancashire. Also present was Jim Strudwick – a past Master of Robert Burns Lodge, No. 999, who has been instrumental in applying to our Grants Committee for funding for various projects in support of the charity over the years. 

We were also pleased to have met the Worshipful the Civic Mayor of Tameside 2023-24, Tafheen Sharif. 

Finally – following an excellent few words of gratitude from co-founder Nigel Anderson, Princess Anne unveiled the plaque commemorating the event. 

The Charity provides an excellent service to the local community which it can only do, not only with donations like ours, but with the support of volunteers. Service lies at the heart of Freemasonry and indeed community engagement, the 3rd pillar in UGLE’s strategy, is what we already do well. The East Manchester Community Boat Project really needs more support on the volunteer side. A trip to Portland Basin with it’s excellent Museum and Cafeteria is a great day out, and then if you think you could spare the Charity some of your time – see below. 

Download this LEAFLET to find out more about volunteering.