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Alice in wonderland over award

A warming burst of late evening sunshine brightened the already beaming smile with which Alice Morrison greeted a contingent of Board Members from the Otago Masonic Charitable Trust upon her arrival at the Dunedin Masonic Centre.

Alice, a student of St. Hilda’s Collegiate School, is this year’s recipient of the 2016 Port Chalmers Marine Lodge Masonic bursary. Established in 2005 by Port Chalmers’ Freemasons, the award was instigated to financially assist the most deserving high school leaver in the Port Chalmers region, who wished to go on to tertiary education. In her case, Alice intends to take a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology at the University of Otago, and will probably take an additional paper in Anthropological Archaeology. She told us, “I have always been interested in the humanities, and I am captivated by the way communities and individuals interact, form relationships, and work together to create a cohesive social environment. People may find other people’s issues a drag but, to me, they are fascinating and are what make us, as humans, unique.”

Alice was accompanied by her mother, Lana, and her grandparents, Janet and Gerald Morrison to whom, on behalf of the English Constitution, V.W.Bro. Mel Darling outlined a brief history of the Port Chalmers Marine Lodge No. 942 E.C. Mel explained that after 140-years, and due to a falling roll, in 2005 the Lodge sadly had to close its doors, and its building was sold. By 2007, however, from the interest on the proceeds, the Lodge’s first bursary was available and this was duly granted to Jennifer Aitkin. Thus the Marine Lodge’s fourteen decades of contribution to Port Chalmers’ community continues, while its name is remembered annually.
The Lodge’s warrant was actually moved to Taradale, a suburb of Napier, in Hawkes Bay, and through this astute action, the Port Chalmers Marine Lodge lives on.

Alice Morrison would make an excellent Freemason! At the tender age of 17, she is already very active in the community, and is a member of Educating Girls Globally. “EGG is youth group based on an ethos similar to that of Unicef or Amnesty International,” she explained. EGG recently raised money to assist disadvantaged girls, living on the Pacific island of Bougainville, to obtain the basis of an education. Alice is also active within the Presbyterian Support group, and has once more been spending much of her time helping poor and distressed youngsters, aged between 12 months to 20 years, by matching donated Christmas gifts to their potential recipients. This is a wonderful initiative creating some small ray of happiness and hope, and from which, these impoverished young people, would most certainly not benefit without the help of concerned people like Alice, and the many caring and tireless volunteers within Presbyterian Support Otago.

Alice Morrison manages, somehow, to shoehorn sport into her already jam-packed young life. She is a key member of the St. Hilda’s School’s Senior One netball team, which “just happened” to win the secondary schools’ netball championships in Otago this year.

At the presentation Alice was asked how she felt upon being notified that she had been granted the bursary - but her excited mother, however, interjected with the answer, announcing that Alice had “sat on her bed simply staring at the unopened envelope in her hand.” There she remained for some time, as though plucking up courage to face rejection – but there were cries of joy, hugs with her mum, and “happy tears” when she read that she had won – and then she rang her dad.
As if to match, there was applause and no shortage of happy smiles in the Lodge Room as V.W.Bro. Ashley Broad JP, Chairman of the Otago Masonic Charitable Trust (The OMCT administers the Port Chalmers Lodge bursary.), stood and presented Alice with her cheque for 5,000 dollars.

Alice told the Trust members that she was “immensely grateful for this wonderful gift.” She described how she already does three part-time jobs to help raise money toward her further education, and that her fees for study from March this coming year – not including books, food or accommodation - will be well in excess of $6,000. Thus the award made the difference between going on to university – or not – it was that simple.

Alice Morrison really is quite an exceptional young lady, and the worthy winner of this years’ Port Chalmers Marine Lodge Masonic bursary.


For Further Details:

Email - The Otago Masonic Charitable Trust
(Port Chalmers Marine Lodge bursary): info.omct@xtra.co.nz

Email - Lodge St. Patrick: lodgestpatrick@gmail.com

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