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Date Posted: 17:58:41 09/11/02 Wed
Author: Asst. Hon. sec.
Subject: Charity status struggle

>Our committee was rooted in controversy from day one
>arising from the discovery of an unmarked graveyard
>at the Waterside Workhouse on Derry's east bank. The
>developers, a Masonic housing group, wished the
>remains to be removed to an alternative location
>a.s.a.p. Our stand was that the remains should be
>afforded a Christian burial, and treated with respect
>throughout the process. This was eventually achieved,
>only after a long, very public and bitter struggle.
>
>At the request of the City Council and the Dept. of
>the Environment research was carried out. A local
>historian, a member of our group, reported back to
>both agencies that what had been unearthed was a
>cemetery containing upwards of 400 human remains.
>These were buried between 1845 and 1853.
>
>This member addressed City Council, and the Mayor and
>councillors agreed, and pledged support for our wish
>re. proper burial. The DoE also gave a similar pledge.
>However, as pointed out elsewhere the Masonic
>developers covertly removed the remains and began
>burying the 'first batch' (sixty) in blue, sealed,
>plastic bags. This was witnessed by three of our
>members, after our Hon. Sec got a 'tip-off'. Subsequently
>we made these facts public.
>
>The housing development was later officially opened,
>amid great fanfare, by the Duke of Kent; the leader of
>the Masonic Order in Great Britain. Our members
>boycotted the event.
>
>As a result of our very public protests the Inland
>Revenue refused for some years to grant us charitable
>status, on the grounds that it considered a
>"campaigning body". Our constitution was changed
>accordingly when we adopted an educational programme.
>Charitable Status was eventually granted. Such is important to potential donors who can thus claim certain
>concessions from the tax/Inland Revenue authorities.
>Gaining such status opens the door also to attracting
>support from diverse funding agencies.
>
>We are therefore delighted to announce that we are now
>considered an Educational Charity. Our charity
>registration number is XR 25886.

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