Freemasons are to enlist a PR agency help for the first time in a
bid to reverse their negative image.
The United Grand Lodge of England has appointed MDA Communications on an
initial year-long contract, following a three-way pitch.
A three-strong team at MDA will work with the lodge's in-house team and
is led by agency head Mike Dewar, who reports to John Hamill, the
lodge's director of communications.
Hamill said that since the 1930s - when freemasons across Europe were
subject to persecution by fascists - members have kept a low public
profile which has 'allowed a misconception' about freemasonry to be
Dewar says he is determined to reverse the public and media perception
that freemasonry is merely a mysterious organisation with bizarre
'I'm not a freemason but what I'm learning about it is that it is a good
organisation that has had inflammatory press coverage. They may have one
or two customs which are cause to laugh and that's their privilege.
'They raised pounds 17m for charity last year. They deserve better
coverage,' he said.
MDA will also help devise an event to be staged in June 2002, called
Freemasonry in the Community Week, to show the positive role played by
Dewar has ruled out using celebrity personalities involved in
freemasonry, such as TV personality Jim Davidson, to help promote the
lodge, saying: 'There's no logic in saying that just because Jim
Davidson is a freemason that freemasonry is a good thing.'
The United Grand Lodge of England - which began in 1717 - is a male-only
organisation with a third of a million members, around 90 per cent of
all freemasons in England and Wales. The remaining 10 per cent includes
several women-only lodges.