Sunday, February 12, 2023

‘Firefighters may reconsider relationship with Freemasons’

London Fire Brigade
This photo from March 2020 depicts Metropolitan Grand Master Michael Snyder presenting the first of the trucks to Fire Commissioner Andy Roe.

Several years after accepting a £2.5 million gift from London Freemasons, which was disbursed to acquire two aerial ladder fire trucks, the city’s Fire Brigade is second-guessing its association with the Masons, The Guardian reported Friday.

Last year, an investigation of complaints from firefighters produced a report, titled “Independent Cultural Review of London Fire Brigade,” that labeled the fire service “institutionally misogynist and racist.” What has that to do with Masonic philanthropy? The aggrieved also found time to object to Freemasonry because it is a “secret society” without female members.

The Guardian quotes firefighters labor union boss Gareth Beeton saying “The union’s women’s action committee is backing this. The fire service is a public sector organization, and it should not be funded by organizations like this one.” And an unnamed Fire Brigade source supposedly said they are “considering our options for this relationship now.”

At more than 200 feet, these trucks’ ladders are the tallest in the Brigade’s fleet (furnish your own William Preston joke), and they feature yellow Square and Compasses with “Donated by London Freemasons” in white against the red background.

In recent years, Freemasons there also have donated helicopters and boats to public safety uses. Maybe it is thought in some quarters that not having these assets is preferable.

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