Freemasons are calling for the whole community to ensure no one feels alone, even if they are physically self-isolating, to be remembered in a toast at 9pm tonight.
The 200,000 strong membership organisation traditionally toasts ‘absent Brethren’ to remember those who are unable to attend their meetings in person at the dinner that takes place afterwards.
The organisation is adapting the usual 9pm toast it makes during its dinners and inviting everyone to join in to toast ‘absent friends, and those working on the frontline in the NHS’.
Dr David Staples, Chief Executive of the United Grand Lodge of England, has called for the Freemasons’ regular toast to be a ‘virtual’ toast – using #TimetoToast online – and extended to all those we cannot meet with, yet remain close in our thoughts.
He said: “We want everyone to join in at 9pm tonight and raise a glass to those we cannot be with in person due to the huge challenges facing the country. Stay safe, self-isolate but know that you are not alone.
“We are all unable to do those things we previously took for granted, that are so precious to us all – meeting with friends at the pub or for a coffee, enjoying each other’s company. Being social, in its small way, is something we can still all share. We invite everyone to raise a glass to help raise sprits.”
Christine Chapman, Head of Freemasonry for Women, added: ‘We must combat loneliness by ensuring that, even if we are all in our own homes, we are still connecting across the country. Dr Staples and I urge everyone to charge their glass at 9pm and say a toast to absent friends, and those working on the frontline of the NHS.”