The Down Masonic Widows Fund was founded in 1893 as the idea of a Doctor Thomas Cromie who was so ashamed of the poverty of some of his patients who were widows of deceased brethren that he decided to do something about it. The objective of the fund was to afford assistance to deserving widows and families, including mothers and sisters of freemasons who have been members of a lodge in the Province of Down outside a six mile radius of Belfast. The inclusion of mothers and sisters is interesting and is there to cover the case of a brother who does not marry but lives with his widowed mother or unmarried sister.
With regards to the families of deceased brethren, the children are well covered by the Boys’ and Girls’ Benefit Funds.
The fund covers the districts of Banbridge, Bangor, Downpatrick, Newry and Newtownards. Within these districts there are 84 lodges with a total membership of 4000 brethren. We currently have 160 widows on the fund.d T
Assistance is by grants as the Committee may find best suited to the necessities of the applicant.
Applications should be completed by the Lodge in the first instance and these will then be forwarded to the District Charity Committee where they will be ratified and then sent to the Fund secretary for consideration by the Trustees.