The inaugural celebration of NHS, Social Care and Frontline Workers’ Day is set to take place on 5 July 2021, with Freemasons leading the event.
The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), the governing body for Freemasons, is inviting its 200,000 members to fly specially designed flags at 10am on 5 July, to celebrate this unique day dedicated to the NHS, social care and all those that work on the front line, who have saved so many lives during the pandemic. The celebration will also remember those workers we sadly lost.
The UGLE is one of the core supporters of the event alongside the Cadet Forces, English Heritage and the Women’s Institute. A £5 donation from every flag and length of bunting made will be equally divided between NHS Charities Together and the National Care Association.
Freemasonry for Women and the Order of Women Freemasons have also joined the UGLE in this initiative, as Freemasons aim to set a record for the number of flags raised simultaneously across the nation.
Subsequently, at 11am, Freemasons are planning a moment’s silence to remember NHS workers and all those who died from Covid-19. The day continues with a toast to the NHS at 1pm, raising a cuppa to the NHS during afternoon tea at 3pm, followed by an address to the nation at 6pm.
At 8pm, the Freemasons will join the nation in an evening clap for NHS workers, while church bells are set to ring 73 times to celebrate 73 years of the NHS. Closing the celebrations at 9pm, there will be a #timetotoast for all NHS workers.
So far, nearly 37 Lodges and Provinces have made a commitment to the raising of the flag and other elements of the day. In addition, Northumberland Freemason, Nicholas Deakin, is hosting a special live streaming theatre show from the Tyne Theatre & Opera House with compere, comics, singers, reading, video footage and messages of support to raise money on the day.
Bruno Peek, pageant master to the Queen and creator of NHS, Social Care and Frontline Workers Day, said: “We are delighted that Freemasons, whose members come from all walks of life, are playing such a high profile and active role to start this special day of celebration and commemoration of those within the NHS, Social Care and on the Frontline who undertake so much for us all, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and fifty two weeks a year, without any thought of their own safety.”
In addition, Dr David Staples, chief executive of the UGLE, and a Consultant in Acute Internal Medicine at Peterborough Hospital, said: “We are facing the greatest global pandemic in living memory, and the NHS has never been so tested in its history. Its staff have been stretched beyond comprehension over the last year and they deserve our gratitude, our applause and all the support we can give.
We are encouraging not only our 200,000 members, but the entire population to celebrate the day honouring and remembering the NHS workers with a complete programme of events on 5 July.”
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Freemasons have been supporting the NHS in a great many different ways. They have donated more than £2.5m so far to the Covid effort and complete 18.5 million hours of volunteering to help those in need each year. The donation is being used to help with food, personal protective equipment (PPE), supplements for hospitals and hospices, funds for NHS workers and ambulances.
Freemasons have also offered their Lodges as bases to administer the vital vaccinations. In Hertfordshire, for example, Halsey Hall is being used as a vaccination centre, supporting three local GP surgeries. The centre has been operational since 15 January and once fully scaled up, there will be up to 1,000 vaccinations given there each day.
Meanwhile, Freemasons are rising to the challenge to provide essential PPE to protect the vulnerable and the NHS. Thousands of visors have already been produced, with several businesses adapting their production lines to meet demand. In Norwich, for example, Colin Breckons has been making face shields with his company’s 3D printers – and giving them away free to the NHS and other key workers.