His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent has signed the Armed Forces Covenant on behalf of the United Grand Lodge of England during a ceremony at Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden.
The partnership aims to support members of the Armed Forces community and ensure they have the same access to government as well as commercial services and products as any other citizen.
By signing the Armed Forces Covenant, the United Grand Lodge of England can demonstrate its support for members of the Armed Forces in a number of areas, including education, family wellbeing, getting a home, starting a new career, access to healthcare, financial assistance and discounted services.
Lincolnshire will sign the Covenant in its own right on the day of the Provincial Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Chapter meetings on October 27th.
UGLE’s Grand Master His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent has a longstanding relationship with the military. In 1955, he graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as a Second Lieutenant, and after serving around the world retired from active service in April 1976. He was subsequently promoted to Major General in June 1983, and to Field Marshal in June 1993.
He said: “It is my great pleasure to sign the Armed Forces Covenant on behalf of the United Grand Lodge of England. This document represents part of our ongoing commitment to support active and retired military personnel. We are proud of our long-standing relationship with the Armed Forces and we will continue to promote their welfare, support, and respect amongst all our members.”
By signing the Armed Forces Covenant, UGLE demonstrates its intention to support the Armed Forces community which, in turn, allows UGLE to be recognised by the UK government’s Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS). An ERS award shows that the recipient is delivering tangible support for the Armed Forces community.
Major General Simon Graham, Director Reserves Army, signing of behalf of the Ministry of Defence, said: “The Armed Forces Covenant is a commitment to support those who have served and their families. The support of employers and making a public pledge of support to the Armed Forces community that they are valued by society is vital. This year we celebrate the Armed Forces Covenant’s 10th anniversary, and for centuries the United Grand Lodge of England has a solid connection to the Armed Forces, and it makes perfect sense for us to have the Freemasons signing up to Armed Forces Covenant this year. I’d like to thank the United Grand Lodge of England for supporting the Armed Forces community.”
Dr David Staples, UGLE’s Chief Executive, said: “It is a great honour to be able to sign the Armed Forces Covenant. From its earliest foundations, Freemasonry has always had a strong relationship with the Armed Forces. Today, we want to thank those brave men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting our country and the people who live here. They deserve all our thanks, our respect and this is one of many steps we aim to take in helping both active and retired members of the Armed Forces and their families.”