The three Universities Scheme Lodges meeting in Leicestershire and Rutland donated £1,500 to Alderman Newton’s Educational Foundation at a presentation ceremony at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester, on Saturday 29th April 2017
Alderman Newton’s Educational Foundation offers financial support to individuals and schools in Leicestershire helping them access education or training opportunities.
The money was raised at the recently held special joint meeting where the three lodges, Wyggeston Lodge, Castle of Leicester Lodge No 7767 and Lodge of Science & Art No 8429. The Leicestershire and Rutland Masonic Charity Association additionally contributed half of the funds.
Andy Green, Universities Scheme Representative for the Wyggeston Lodge, and Vice-Chairman of thte Universities Scheme, said: 'As University Lodges, we are incredibly proud to donate this money to a local educational charity that supports those less fortunate than ourselves.'
In March 2017, five Freemasons from Howe and Charnwood Lodge No 1007 which meets in Loughborough, accompanied by their wives, flew to Panama City in order to attend the Centenary celebrations of Pacific Lodge No 5, under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Panama
In addition, a member from London based St Barnabas Lodge No 3771 also attended. They were invited by W.Bro. Andres Lopez, brother of W.Bro. Gabriel Lopez of Emulation Lodge No 5 in Madrid of which the Brethren are members. On arrival, a gift bag for each couple was given by the Master and his lady, which contained Panama hats and a bottle of Rioja. Two days before the meeting, the visitors were invited to attend a Centenary Gala Dinner, which was a very elaborate affair and good food and wine were enjoyed by all. The Centenary meeting of the lodge was held on Monday 27th March 2017 which the Brethren attended whilst the ladies were taken to a bar overlooking the Pacific Ocean for drinks and then on to a restaurant for dinner.
Pacific Lodge performed an immaculate ceremony of Passing (English Emulation working) and their Centenary Banner was subsequently presented by the M.W. Grand Master of Panama, Bro. Roberto Coueto, who was assisted by the M.W. District Grand Master of Massachusetts in the Panama Canal Zone, Bro. George O’Masta.
Interestingly, Panama has two M.W. Grand Masters because the United States originally owned the Panama Canal and the American Engineers who assisted in building the Canal formed Masonic Lodges under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and this practice has been continued after the Canal was gifted back to Panama by President Jimmy Carter in 1977, with full ownership being granted by the Millennium.
W.Bro. Tony Ridewood from Howe & Charnwood Lodge presented an engraved “naval” gavel to the Master on behalf of the Brethren present and St Barnabas Lodge.
The Festive Board, once again a first for the English masons as it was a buffet supper, taken in the open air, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
W.Bro. Geoff Searson responded to the toast to the visitors and presented the the lodge with commemorative cufflinks, the History of Howe and Charnwood Lodge and Freemasonry in Loughborough. He also presented the Master and M.W. Grand Masters of Panama and the Canal Zone with Leicestershire and Rutland Provincial ties with an explanation of the 2022 Festival for the Masonic Charitable Foundation. He also gave the best wishes and congratulations from the Provincial Grand Master, R.W.Bro. David Hagger.
St Mary’s Lodge No 7164, which meets in Melton Mowbray, welcomed members of Granta Lodge No 4950, from the Province of Lincolnshire, as part of their biannual visit for the 50th year in a row
The lodges started reciprocal meetings in 1967 after the two Lodges used to hold an annual cricket match. Many members from both lodges were farmers where friendship were developed quickly. Fifty years have since past and these visits are still going strong.
On Monday 27th March 2017 as a celebration of these visits, a Collaret was presented to each Master, by the Lodge Liaison Officer W.Bro. Brian Golland, to wear at future visits between the lodges. The Collaret was designed by W.Bro. William Hutchison, Past Master of St Mary’s Lodge, who sought special dispensation from the Grand Secretary for it to be allowed to be worn. The medallion celebrates the bi-annual visits and was sewn on by W.Bro. Mike Rowe’s wife, Yvonne.
At the Festive Board, a special cake was also made bearing the details featured on the new medallion.
A blue plaque was unveiled by the Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland, David Hagger at Freemasons' Hall, Leicester, on Saturday 29th April 2017 to mark the 300th Anniversary of the formation the first Grand Lodge of England
The commemorative blue plaque marks the first activity of Freemasonry in Leicester where the earliest known lodge in Leicester was established in 1739 and met at the Wheat Sheaf Inn on Humberstone Gate.
Other lodges followed including a lodge which met at ‘The Pelican’ in Gallowtree Gate, which was formed in 1754. In 1761, two lodges were formed - Lodge No 87, which was associated with the Leicestershire Militia, and Lodge No 91. Lodge No 91 continued to meet at several Inns and Taverns including ‘The Crown and Thistle’ in Loseby Lane, which is now O’Neills pub, and ‘The Leather Bottle’ in Church Gate.
Members of Lodge No 91 subsequently formed St John’s Lodge in 1790 which is the oldest surviving lodge in Leicester still in existence and first met at the Lion and Dolphin in Market Place. The lodge met at the Three Cranes Inn, Gallowtree Gate from 1801 to 1810 when it moved to the White Swan, Market Place and in 1817 at the George Inn.
In 1859, the two lodges meeting in Leicester, St John’s Lodge, then meeting at the Bell Hotel, and John of Gaunt Lodge, meeting at the Three Crowns, and its 80 members, raised funds to build a permanent home in Halford Street lead by William Kelly. The Masonic Hall in Halford Street continued to be the principal place of meeting for 50 years until it was deemed no longer adequate.
A freehold Georgian house and its grounds on London Road were purchased in 1909 and the new headquarters were in use a year later in 1910. Freemasons’ Hall has been extended on a number of occasions, particularly in the 1930s and 1960s, and continues as the headquarters for the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland and has 43 lodges meeting there. The building has some of the finest Masonic Lodge Rooms in the country and has a large Masonic Museum with artefacts dating back to the 17th Century.
David Hagger commented: 'Freemasonry has been a long established fraternity in the local communities and we wish to celebrate our history by installing these commemorative plaques to mark the historic occasion of our 300th anniversary.
'We'll also be holding several public events throughout 2017 including opening the doors to our Masonic Halls during the Heritage Open Days for everyone to see inside and an exhibition at Newarke Houses Museum in Leicester on Freemasonry highlighting the contribution of Freemasons to our local communities. We hope this will lead to further interest and a better understanding of our historic fraternity.'
Members of three Universities Scheme Lodges meeting in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland - Wyggeston Lodge No.3448, which is the Universities Scheme Lodge for the University of Leicester, Castle of Leicester No.7767 (De Montfort University) and Lodge of Science and Art No.8429 (Loughborough University) - met together for a joint meeting to celebrate the success of the Universities Scheme in the Province together with the Tercentenary of the United Grand Lodge of England.
The meeting, which was held at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester, on Saturday 25th February 2017 was attended by over 90 brethren who witnessed 3 ceremonies (an Initiation, a Passing and a Raising) with multiple candidates and conducted in turn by each of the lodges.
The Lodges were extremely honoured to welcome the Assistant Grand Master, RW Bro Sir David Wootton, who is President of the Universities Scheme, along with the Scheme Chairman, W Bro Edward Lord. Also attending were the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VW Bro James Buckle, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, VW Bro Peter Kinder, brethren representing ten other Scheme Lodges, and with other visitors.
After the Master of Wyggeston Lodge Master, W Bro Yogesh Patel, opened the meeting at 2.30pm, the Master of Castle of Leicester Lodge, W Bro Daniel Hayward, along with members of the lodge conducted a triple Raising. Following a short tea break it was the turn of Lodge of Science and Art to conduct a Passing. Finally, after a further tea break, Wyggeston Lodge conducted an Initiation ceremony for three new members, two of whom are students at the University of Leicester.
The meeting was followed by a wonderful Festive Board, where the lodges enjoyed a hearty three course dinner and the company of the guests and visitors. A raffle held in aid the Alderman Newton’s Educational Foundation, which is a local charity offering financial support to individuals and schools to help people access education or training opportunities in Leicestershire, raised £420. A collection for the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2022 Festival also raised £422 including Gift Aid.
W Bro Andy Green, organiser of the event and Vice-Chairman of the Universities Scheme, said: “Getting the three lodges together provided a wonderful occasion to celebrate the Universities Scheme in the Province and to mark the Tercentenary of Grand Lodge. It was encouraging to see so many younger members enjoying their Freemasonry, which created a real buzz throughout the day.”
Opening evening for the curious
Freemasons from lodges in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland were invited to bring their sons, friends and colleagues who might be interested in finding out more about the ancient fraternity to an open evening at Syston Masonic Hall on the 14th November 2016.
In the past three years, unlike the national trend, membership in the Province has seen a rise – particularly amongst younger masons who are keen to join and to mark the Tercentenary of United Grand Lodge of England in 2017. It is aimed to welcome 300 new members across Leicestershire and Rutland joining the 3,000 strong membership which meet in the 76 lodges across the two counties.
A total of 80 gentlemen accompanied by their hosts packed into the lodge room to listen to a number of short talks on what Freemasonry is, how it developed, why people join and charitable aspects which were given by W Bros Phillip Dodd, Brian Golland and Marc Taylor. Additionally Bro Andrew 'Jock' Keenan introduced the Light Blue Club which is the social club for newer members. It was so well attended that extra chairs had to be brought into the lodge room to accommodate everyone.
The Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro. David Hagger, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VW Bro Jim Buckle and the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, VW Bro Peter Kinder were also in attendance to support the event and answer any questions from the guests.
After the talks, the guests and their hosts enjoyed a sumptuous buffet and a chance to chat with their hosts about masonry on a more casual basis.
The Provincial Grand Master said: 'We are finding that more and more younger people are attracted to Freemasonry as they seek a social environment with strong values and traditions that also supports the local community in charitable giving.'
He added: 'Whilst we would be delighted if our guests this evening consider joining our fraternity, I trust that they have all left with an extremely positive attitude about the Freemasons.'
Six nebulisers were presented by local Freemasons to the children’s ward at the Leicester Royal Infirmary via the Asthma Relief charity
The presentation was made at a special event held at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester on the 28th April 2016 hosted by the Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland RW Bro David Hagger.
Nebulisers are devices that converts liquid medication into aerosol droplets suitable for inhalation, using compressed air, thus enabling patients to breathe more easily. Each nebuliser will help 150 children over a six-year life.
Dhiraj Vara, Clinical Investigations Manager, said: 'On behalf of the Trust and the children's ward thank you to the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons. There is always a shortage of nebulisers on the wards so this will certainly help provide those therapies and therefore they are going to make a big difference.'
Members of the Grey Friars Lodge No. 6803, which meets in Leicester, also donated a total of £1,400 to the Leicestershire Royal Infirmary Children and Young People’s Cancer Unit to provide play equipment and materials together with updating medical equipment.
Kamlesh Mistry, Community and Events Fundraising Manager at Leicester Hospitals Charity, said: 'Thank you to the Grey Friars Lodge for raising a fantastic amount. The Children’s Cancer Unit at the Leicester Royal Infirmary really appreciate the money, so thank you from the kids, young adults, staff, and everyone on the wards.'
David Hagger said: 'I’m proud and delighted that the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons have been able to make a contribution to society by supporting the Leicester Royal Infirmary particularly helping many sick children and young people in the local community.'