The three Provincial Grand Masters for Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire collectively presented a combined donation of £12,000 to Midlands Air Ambulance from their national charity, The Freemasons’ Grand Charity
The Freemasons’ Grand Charity has been a regular supporter of air ambulance charities in recent years, donating over £1.5 million since 2007 to the twenty-two rescue services.
Air ambulances, without either government or National Lottery funding, rely on voluntary donations to operate. Support from grant-makers like the Freemasons means that doctors and paramedics reach patients in emergency situations as quickly as possible – saving lives in the process. This is especially true for rural areas. Annie Newell, Fundraising Manager for Midlands Air Ambulance expressed her sincere gratitude for the continued commitment and sustained level of generous support of the Freemasons.
Speaking about the donation, the Right Worshipful Brother The Reverend David Bowen, Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire said: 'We are delighted to be able to show our support for Midlands Air Ambulance once again. Charitable giving is central to Freemasons as evident that in 2012 the Province of Herefordshire donated £54,000 to Midlands Air Ambulance as a result of a designated three year campaign of support. The Freemasons’ Grand Charity works on behalf of all Freemasons in England and Wales, donating millions of pounds to worthy causes every year.'
It is with a continued sense of pride within the three Provinces of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, that the logo of the masonic square and compass is displayed on the tail fins of the distinctly coloured red and yellow Midlands Air Ambulance based at Strensham, Worcestershire, off the M5.
Photograph taken at Strensham during the presentation of £12,000, with staff of Midlands Air Ambulance who over the years have become close acquaintances of the Freemasons present.
Hereford Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre, established in 2011, has historically worked with women who have suffered rape or sexual abuse - however in May 2013 the centre secured funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner to extended the service to include men
Within the last year the centre has received 29 referrals for men, and the charity aims to raise an additional £22,400 per year to extend the counselling service to provide them with free, confidential and non-judgemental counselling sessions. Herefordshire Freemasons presented £800 to Lesley Caldicott, Independent Sexual Violence Advisor for Herefordshire, as their first ever donation to this charity, to support this counselling process.
Lesley emphasised the importance of such support to the local Freemasons present at the presentation, by stating that there is no other organisation in Herefordshire that offers men specialist counselling free of charge for rape and sexual abuse.
Freemasons warmly welcomed by Herefordshire Samaritans
While it is appreciated that members from individual masonic Lodges have supported Herefordshire Samaritans in the past, the recent £500 donation to refurbish the organisation’s vehicle, was the first support given by the central Herefordshire Masonic Charity Association
In the words of Rev David Bowen, Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Herefordshire, this assistance should be maintained in the light of the invaluable work undertaken by the Samaritans, as exemplified by the 18,835 contacts made to the local branch in 2013. David Bowen was impressed by the fact that Herefordshire Samaritans was a self funded charity with no paid employees, everyone involved being a volunteer.
Dorian Lower, Branch Director of Herefordshire Samaritans situated in Berrington Street, warmly welcomed the Freemasons who attended with David Bowen, namely Mike Roff, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Allan Lloyd and David Knowles, Provincial Grand Charity Steward. He expressed his great appreciation for such support and hoped that the link with between the local Freemasons and Herefordshire Samaritans Group would continue and prosper.
The annual pantomime presented at Brookfield School and Specialist College, Hereford, has received the support of Herefordshire Freemasons with a donation of over £700
The school, which provides specialist educational needs for over sixty Herefordshire youngsters, has received such support on three occasions, much to the approval and wishes of the Rev David Bowen, Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire masons.
This year’s pantomime Treasure Island was organised through the national charity Happy Days by Anna Collum a senior member of the teaching staff at the school. The production was attended by the visiting Freemasons, David Bowen, Allan Lloyd, and David Knowles, Provincial Grand Charity Steward.
David Bowen was delighted to be able to visit the school, and remarked how well the pupils responded to the professionally presented pantomime performed by the visiting theatre company Magic of Theatre. He remarked that the performance truly proved magical for the pupils who obviously greatly enjoyed the production, and promised that he and his fellow Freemasons would continue to fully support such local charities.
The Freemasons' Grand Charity supported this charity with a donation of £20,000 in 2011.
Rev David Bowen, Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire, said that it was a wonderful experience to be with the young children of the Hereford Deaf Children's Society during a most enjoyable musical afternoon led by Real Impact Music
With a donation of £500 to enable 25 children to attend a pantomime at The Courtyard later in the year, Herefordshire Freemasons are continuing to support this worthy local charity.
The Society’s Chairperson Tracy Caddick-Rudd, together with the assistance of a large number of volunteers, has recently organised Hereford Deaf Children Society visits to York, Weston-super-Mare and Disneyland Paris, much to the delight of up to 100 children who were involved.
Tracy emphasised that the only way to maintain such participation among the children was to receive the continued support of charitable organisations such as the Freemasons.
Also in attendance at the presentation was David Knowles, Provincial Grand Charity Steward of Herefordshire.
Meeting volunteers at the Newton Farm Community Association in Hereford to support their charitable work over Christmas and the New Year, local Freemasons greatly appreciated the level of commitment evident
Rev David Bowen, who had ministered to the people of this part of the city in the past, welcomed the opportunity to revisit Newton Farm and once again see how the community centre continues to positively assist in bringing the people of local neighbourhoods together.
Financial support was presented by Rev Bowen, Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire, to Audrey Pask, the long standing vice chair of Newton Farm Community Centre. This support was identified as help towards the cost of 50 Christmas Hampers being distributed, and the children’s presents received in Santa’s grotto thanks to Richard Johnson, chairman of the centre.
David Bowen, who was accompanied by the Provincial Grand Charity Steward David Knowles, expressed gratitude to the people of Newton Farm for the warmth of their welcome, and the privilege of being able to support such a worthy local enterprise. He praised the dedication of all involved in the non profit making charity with special reference to the 24 volunteers, and looked forward to the forthcoming planned renovation of the immediate area.
Ian Talboys of Delphis Lodge No. 7769 in Hereford, has long admired the staunch work of Linda Bishop in her support of St Michael’s Hospice
Ian has known Linda for many years through their involvement with the local Scout movement and has had the pleasure of walking many miles with her in the Black Mountains.
Linda recently completed her Beating Boundaries Challenge Hike, the first ever complete walk around the county boundary of Herefordshire, to raise money especially for the new Complementary Therapy Suite at Bartestree.
With the £14.5 million new build at St Michael’s Hospice due for completion in June 2014, as projected by Head of Fundraising Ruth Denison, visiting Herefordshire Freemasons recently took the opportunity of viewing its progress while presenting their annual donation.
A donation of £2,809 from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity was presented to Ruth Denison during the visit, with an additional £1,000 from Hereford’s Delphis Lodge being ring-fenced for the provision of the state of the art Complementary Therapy Suite.
Since 1984, £10.5 million has been donated to hospices across England and Wales by The Freemasons’ Grand Charity.
Speaking about the donation, Rev David Bowen, Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire said: 'Every year Freemasons all over the country work together to provide funding for hospice services.
'The care provided by our local hospice is exceptional, but financial support is fundamental to ensuring a continued good service. We recognise the vital role the hospice plays within our community here in Herefordshire, and that is why we are so happy and committed to maintain our support.'
A suitable horse
Riding for the Disabled Centre at Holme Lacy, Hereford, is searching for a suitable new horse. The previous occupant of the now empty stable was Gypsy, a horse sponsored by the Freemasons of Herefordshire
Freemasons wish to continue their two decade support of the centre, and recently donated £2,600 towards the purchase of a replacement horse. The original horse they sponsored was aptly named Mason.
The annual minimum cost of maintenance for each of the 13 horses stabled at Hereford RDA is £1,500. Like all centres, Hereford RDA depends on local financial and physical support in order to provide the much appreciated quality service of compassion and care.
The centre provides 250 sessions per week for their disabled clients. One such client is Nick Jones, now aged 35, who first attended the centre at Holme Lacy when aged six: he is now an Ambassador, voluntarily representing the centre at all public occasions.
The newly appointed manager, Lisa Millman, who has been at the centre for the past 21 years, warmly welcomed the Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire the Rev David Bowen, and the Provincial Grand Charity Steward David Knowles. Lisa emphasised that as a charity, volunteers as well as financial donations are required. She is to contact the fifteen masonic lodges in Herefordshire seeking such physical support.
Rev David Bowen expressed how the quality of life of the individuals who attended the centre would diminish should the centre become non-viable – for some clients the visit to Hereford RDA was their only 'outdoor' activity. He promised continued support on behalf of Herefordshire Freemasons. The most recent donation had been match funded by The Freemasons’ Grand Charity.
According to the Haven’s manager, Frankie Devereux, the 'hugely successful' Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Hereford, 'culminated in a most welcomed and substantial donation of £5,800.00 from the Freemasons'
Rev David Bowen, Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire, in presenting this latest donation, spoke highly of the truly supportive work undertaken at the Haven in Hereford. He emphasised the continued support of Freemasons, being fully aware that the success of the Haven’s work depended entirely upon charitable giving. Herefordshire Province of Freemasons has been a Guardian of the Haven since 2011.
In attendance at the presentation, undertaking his first official duty, was Edward Lord, the newly appointed National Director of Fundraising and Development for the Breast Cancer Havens in Hereford, Leeds and London. As a senior mason himself, he welcomed the support given by both local Freemasons and The Freemasons’ Grand Charity. He praised Herefordshire Masons for the continued support received over recent years.
This year’s annual masonic donation to the Haven included specific giving from Royal Edward Lodge No. 892, Palladian Lodge No. 120 and Delphis Lodge No. 7769 in Herefordshire, and the Herefordshire Masonic Charity Association. This local support was match funded by The Freemasons’ Grand Charity.
The Cobalt medical charity, now approaching its 50th anniversary, supports patients with cancer across Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire
At present, the charity is working with Wye Valley NHS Trust to set up a state of the art Breast Cancer Digital Screening and Biopsy Assessment Centre at Hereford County Hospital. With sufficient funding this project could be realised by the end of the current year.
Mel Bolton, Service Delivery Manager at Hereford Hospital, recently met with representatives of Herefordshire Freemasons, who are continuing in their support of the Cobalt Appeal, and toured the designated hospital area which will accommodate the new facilities. They were accompanied by Sian Syddall, Community Fundraiser for Herefordshire Cobalt Appeal.
In presenting the latest donation, the Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire, Rev David Bowen, praised the work of the charity and the financial support given to the Cobalt Unit by the people of the county. He was pleased to be informed that the realisation of this latest project would make it unnecessary for patients to travel to Bromsgrove and Cheltenham to access these services.
Sian Syddall said: 'One in eight women in Herefordshire will be affected by breast cancer at some stage in their lifetime. We want to ensure that all women across the county have access to the best possible screening and follow-up, close to home and loved ones. New digital breast screening equipment for the county will undoubtedly play a vital role in the detection of breast cancer and help to save more lives. On behalf of the women in Herefordshire we would like to extend our sincere thanks to Herefordshire Freemasons for their generous support of our important local appeal.'
The Provincial Grand Master wishes to place on record the invaluable contribution made by fellow Freemason, Allan Lloyd together with his wife Angela, who have campaigned for the past decade for the provision of comprehensive cancer treatment at Hereford Hospital, of which access to digital mammography is an integral part.
A further development to be initiated by the Cobalt Charity will be the provision of a Mobile Digital Mammogram Unit serving the five market towns in the county.
Vitruvian Lodge is the second oldest active lodge of Freemasons in Herefordshire, having been founded in 1813
The consecration meeting of Vitruvian Lodge No. 338 had been held in the School Room, now St Mary’s Hall, Ross-on-Wye, on 6th August 1813, when John Tristram, a local builder, was installed as Worshipful Master of the lodge. The other lodge officers recorded at the time were William Hooper, John Collins, Francisco Knowles, Samuel Brookes, John White, John Rudge, Robert Evans, Uriah Delahay and Thomas Morgan.
The lodge initially met in the King’s Head Inn, the former home of the 'Man of Ross' John Kyrle. The present masonic hall building, situated just below the Royal Hotel, the site of the former British and Foreign School, has been its meeting place since 1928.
The original 1813 minute mook and by-laws are still in existence. However, records indicate that an earlier but short-lived lodge was active in Ross between May 1764 and April 1783, and which held its meetings mainly at the Swan and Falcon.
The Bicentenary Festival of Vitruvian Lodge was held at The Chase Hotel on the 3rd September 2013, with Thomas Maguire as Worshipful Master. The lodge history was presented by Worshipful Brother Martin Thorne, and an oration was delivered by the Provincial Grand Chaplain Worshipful Brother Edward Dilley.
At the festival, the Right Worshipful Brother the Rev David Bowen, Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire, dedicated and presented the splendid new bicentenary banner to the lodge. It is fitting that Rev David Bowen, initiated into Freemasonry in Vitruvian Lodge in 1983, and appointed to the highest office of the Province of Herefordshire earlier this year, should lead the celebrations of the bicentenary of his mother lodge.
To commemorate the bicentenary, the brethren of Vitruvian Lodge have donated over £16,000 to local charities aimed at assisting young people in particular.
Charity backing for neighbour scheme
The Royal Voluntary Service (formerly WRVS) has been awarded £50,000 by The Freemasons’ Grand Charity to fund the establishment of a county-wide Good Neighbours Scheme for older people in Herefordshire.
The project will support one hundred older vulnerable people at home, providing practical help and companionship and using trained volunteers. Herefordshire RVS will require an additional fifty volunteers, over and above their existing 500 volunteers, to promote this new venture. In the words of George Driver, RVS local Service Manager, the scheme will enable the elderly receiving this support 'to retain their independence, give them choice, provide them with the opportunity of involvement, and positively encourage a feeling of being valued.'
Speaking about the donation, the Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire, The Rev David Bowen, said: 'The wellbeing of the older members of our local community is of real importance to Herefordshire Freemasons and we are therefore delighted to support the Royal Voluntary Service with this grant to establish the Good Neighbours Scheme in this county. In other areas around Britain such schemes have shown real benefits and positive outcomes. This scheme will enrich the lives of the older people in our county.'
Claire Print, Locality Manager RVS Herefordshire, emphasised that 'We are very grateful for this substantial support from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity to set up a vital Good Neighbours Scheme in Herefordshire. Good Neighbours volunteers will make a huge difference to the lives of older people who find getting out and about difficult. Knowing that there is a friendly face willing to help will have a real impact on the wellbeing of older people who use the service.'
The Freemasons’ Grand Charity is a grant-making charity dedicated to supporting people in need. The charity provides grants totalling about £8 million annually in areas of medical research, support for vulnerable people, youth opportunities, hospice services, air ambulances and disaster relief, as well as providing assistance to Freemasons and their dependants in financial need.
Financial support for Air Ambulance throughout England and Wales has been maintained again this year by The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, taking the total awarded over the last five years to £1 million
Flying over 20,000 'mercy' missions every year, this vital national emergency service relies entirely on such voluntary donations and public fundraising.
Meeting at the Midlands Air Ambulance base at Strensham, which operates the service for Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and the Welsh border, Herefordshire Freemasons were able to make a further donation on behalf of the Grand Charity. The contribution from local Freemasons, in addition to that from the Grand Charity, has totalled £54,000 over the past four years.
Such continued support has been acknowledged by the display of the masonic square and compass logo and the words 'Supported by Freemasons' on the distinctive red and yellow air ambulance helicopter.
The Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire, the Rev David Bowen, and Mike Roff, Deputy ProvGM in charge, on their first visit to Strensham, were 'hugely impressed with the commitment and dedication of the Air Ambulance staff', and discussed at length the operational side of the service with helicopter pilot Tim Hutchins.
Michelle McCracken, a member of the fundraising team who organised the visit, expressed the gratitude of Midlands Air Ambulance to all Freemasons for their generous support.
RW Bro the Rev David John Bowen was installed as the nineteenth Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Herefordshire on Monday 3rd June 2013
Except for a break of twelve years between 1836 and 1848, when no Provincial Grand Master was appointed, this otherwise continuous period of 260 years has witnessed Dukes, Lords, and Members of Parliament as Provincial Grand Masters for Herefordshire. The first and longest serving being Sir Thomas de Cornwall 1753-1789.
Rev David Bowen was installed by MW Bro Peter Lowndes, Pro Grand Master representing the Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent.
Rev Bowen’s first act as Provincial Grand Master was to appoint VW Bro Mike Roff as Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Herefordshire.
Herefordshire Freemasons held their annual church service at Hereford Cathedral Sunday 9th June.
Long service acknowledged
One of the first official duties of the newly installed Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire, the RW Bro the Rev David Bowen, was to award Long Service Certificates to three Herefordshire masons who had completed fifty years membership in Freemasonry.
The men who received this honour at the Three Counties Hotel were Peter Like, of Loyal Hay Lodge No. 2382, John Poyner, of Coningsby Lodge No. 6383, and Stanley Davey, of Saint Peter’s Lodge No. 7368. All three masons are Past Provincial Grand Wardens. Rev David Bowen warmly congratulated the three recipients for their dedication, commitment and loyalty to Freemasonry in the Province of Herefordshire and beyond.
The Reverend David Bowen, Provincial Grand Master designate for Herefordshire, has kept his promise in ensuring that the Province remains a Guardian of the local Haven Breast Cancer Support Centre, with the presentation of a yearly donation on behalf of local masons.
In the presence of the national Haven Chief Executive, Pamela Healy OBE, David Bowen presented the Haven Manager Frankie Devereux with the customary £1,000 donation, as part of the annual financial support for this local charity.
David Bowen, who speaheaded the Province becoming a Guardian of the charity, is mindful of the fact that this vital service, freely available to breast cancer sufferers, is entirely dependent on charitable giving.
Pamela Healy celebrated the continued and significant support of the Freemasons with a timely reference to the quotation to be found on the illustrated Tree of Life displayed at the Hereford Haven Centre – 'Fear will take you a prisoner: hope will set you free' – by stating how such local support is crucial to the fulfilment of such hope and freedom.
The recently registered charity appeal “Robocap”, aimed at providing a `da Vinci’ surgical system which uses the latest state-of-the-art robotic technology treatment for prostate cancer, was officially launched at the delightful Herefordshire setting of How Caple Court. The event was organised by Fundraiser Howard Pitts, with a number of Herefordshire Masons in attendance.
The Chairman of the appeal, Les Kinmond, introduced the three Consultant Urologists of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire - Graham Sole, Biral Patel and Aloysius Okeke. They spoke with enthusiasm and commitment about this most advanced form of key hole surgery which offers surgeons superior 3D HD imagining and magnification, great precision and optimal performance of minimally invasive surgery, and reduced incidence of complications.
Such robotic assisted surgery is the fastest growing treatment for prostate cancer, a system which could also be developed for surgical work on the kidney and bladder.
35,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in England and Wales. 800 local operations are carried out annually in the 3CCN area of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and south Worcestershire.
Cllr Olwyn Barnett, Chairman Herefordshire Council, issued a rallying call to all Herefordshire Town Mayors elect, to support this major appeal. Cllr Brian Wilcox Mayor elect for Hereford city, had already indicated his wish to make Robocap his official charity during his term of office.
VW Bro The Reverend David Bowen, Deputy Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire, welcomed the opportunity given to local Freemasons to be in the vanguard of this public appeal.
Allan Lloyd, campaigning for access to radiotherapy cancer treatment at Hereford, supported the opinion that such robotic surgery was “the biggest development in surgery over the last 50 years and of immeasurable benefit “.
The initial target of £400,000 would allow delivery and installation of the unit. The full cost of the robotic system is £1.6 million. It is probable that the site for this advanced form of surgery would be Cheltenham.
Manager Frankie Devereux has welcomed Freemasonry in Herefordshire as the latest Guardian of The Haven in St Owen Street, Hereford.
Entirely dependent on charitable giving, The Haven which provides, completely free of charge, support to those affected by breast cancer, invites individuals and corporate bodies to become Guardians by donating £1,000 a year.
VW Bro The Reverend David Bowen, is most anxious to maintain the long standing support of The Haven by Herefordshire Freemasons, and initiated this desire among Freemasons to become a Guardian. The Deputy Provincial Grand Master of the Masonic Province of Herefordshire is a true supporter of local charities and welcomes this opportunity to support The Haven on an annual basis.
Frankie Devereux welcomes visitors to The Haven Centre. Those visiting should note the following words written by a patient, which can be seen on the Centre’s colourful Tree of Life “Fear will take you a prisoner. Hope will set you free.”
The Haven, with the backing of its Guardians and the host of local supporters, will continue to give that fundamental hope to those who cross its threshold.
Mr. Graham Sole, Consultant Urologist at Hereford Acute Trust, meeting with local Freemasons, has welcomed the lead taken by Masons from Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and South Worcestershire in the launch of the “Robocap” appeal.
This is a newly Registered Charity set up to generate funds to purchase a 'da Vinci’ surgical system which uses the latest robotic technology to provide the most up to date and advanced form of treatment for prostate cancer. Approximately one thousand men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in the three Shires.
Graham Sole speaking with Herefordshire Freemasons at Kyrle Street Hereford, supported the fact that such state-of-the-art robotic surgery will offer surgeons superior 3D HD imaging and magnification, with greater precision for the optimal performance of minimally invasive surgery, resulting in a quicker recovery and reduced incidence of complications.
The initial target of £400,000 would allow delivery and installation of such a unit at a location within the 3CCN area. The full cost of the robotic system is £1.6 million.
To date in excess of £100,000 has been raised following the lead taken by Freemasons from the three counties. Worshipful Brother David Sparrey of Eastnor Lodge Ledbury is a Fundraising Trustee of the Charity.
Very Worshipful Brother The Reverend David Bowen, Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Herefordshire, welcomed the opportunity given to local Freemasons to be in the vanguard of this public appeal, and ultimately achieving the appeal’s slogan “Taking surgery beyond the limits of the human hand” for local people.