Northumberland Freemason receives prestigious award for his work with charities
A Northumberland Freemason has been rewarded for his tireless, unpaid charity work in the community, with a prestigious national award.
Norman West, a Freemason of 43 years, travelled to Mansion House, London, to receive the much-coveted Order of Mercy award from the League of Mercy Foundation, for his work as Almoner for the Northumberland Freemasons.
During his 14 years as Almoner of the Northumberland Freemasons, Norman has worked very closely with the Richard Henry Holmes Benevolent Fund, the Northumberland Masonic Charity Association, and the national Masonic Charitable Foundation.
His role involves being responsible for coordinating the distribution of masonic charity money and aid to masons and their dependents when in social or pecuniary distress, as well as supporting a significant number of non-masonic charities each year.
On an annual basis he travels far and wide, all on a voluntary basis, to meet with applicants for masonic support and their families or friends to ensure the right type and level of charitable support is provided.
Additionally, he is instrumental in seeking recommendations for support for non-masonic charities; in championing their causes during meetings of the Trustees; and in distributing funds to the various charities when approved.
Colleagues say Norman, from Newcastle, goes out of his way to find out about the background to each case and makes difficult judgements about the types and level of support that would be needed to relieve the distress in individual cases.
Norman keeps in close contact with the applicants, ensuring a friendly face on a regular basis with a watchful eye on their needs and a readiness to step in and arrange additional support if needed.