ESSEX Freemasons played a vital role in awarding a grant of £100,000 to support the East Africa food crisis appeal.

The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) made the donation, but were assisted by a number of regional Masons groups, including the Essex Freemasons.

The MCF has been one of the first organisations to support the urgent appeal for famine relief with over 20 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya, South Suden and Somalia on the brink of starvation.

Rodney Bass, Provincial Grand Master for Essex, added: “Our members have pledged to support the MCF and we hope to be raising an additional £5 million between now and 2022 to ensure that this charity continues its good work.

"It is a living Charity helping national appeals such as this as well as dozens of local charities across Essex. It is good to see that our money is used where it matters most, helping people in real need and I am proud that Essex Masons are backing this very worthy cause.”

The MCF responded to the appeal within hours by giving £100,000 to Plan International on Wednesday.

Since the launch of the appeal, the public and many other organisations have contributed to this crisis but a great deal more is needed.

The UK Government has pledged to match pound for pound the first £5 million of public donations to the appeal which means every pound given by the MCF with support from Essex Masons has been immediately doubled.