Celebrating 300 years
Saturday, 17 September 2016 14:51

Bargain Hunters on the loose in Shropshire

Brethren who settle down for a little early evening TV before dressing up and setting off to lodge should not snooze off over the coming weeks or months, or they may miss a television special

Shropshire's W Bros Allan Caswell and Colin Bolton form the Red Team in an unmissable episode of Bargain Hunt. The pair are members of Caer Caradoc Lodge 6346 in Church Stretton.

Filmed recently at Oswestry Showground, Allan and Colin were (possibly unwisely) given £300 and let loose on the best buys to be had, all under the watchful eye of expert John Cameron. In October they will see how their three purchases do at auction in Whitchurch. We are delighted to hear that if they make a profit, it will be donated to Shropshire's 2019 Grand Charity Festival. Slightly worryingly, however, no one seems very clear about whether the 2019 Festival is expected to pick up the tab if they make a loss!

Wedding present for Grand Charity

When Shropshire mason Andy Gough married Maria at St Peter’s Church, Rushbury, near Church Stretton, wedding presents were notably absent – instead they had asked guests to make a charitable donation, raising £1,000.

The couple donated the money to Shropshire’s 2019 Festival Appeal in aid of the Grand Charity. Maria, whose husband is a member of Caer Caradoc Lodge, No. 6346, said, ‘Without any hesitation, we both agreed that our wedding gift donations should go to Freemasonry, which has come to mean a lot to us both.’

Stepping up to the challenge

On Monday, 4th April and Wednesday 6th April a band of brave walkers completed a forty-five mile hike from the Masonic Hall at Constitution Hill, Wellington to the Masonic Hall at Brand Lane, Ludlow

Apart from twenty minutes of sustained hail and rain at Ironbridge the walkers enjoyed sunshine and warm weather all the way. On the first leg, Wellington to Wilderhope Manor YHA, the walkers were Roger Pemberton DepPGM (Roden Lodge No. 6243), Robin Richardson Provincial Junior Grand Warden, Bruce Allwright, Colin Edwards and Mrs Edwards, Colin Albrow and Mrs Albrow, Peter and Cerys Brerton and Scott the Dog (all Lodge of the Marches No. 611).

This leg took ten hours including a short break at Much Wenlock. The walk proceeded via Wrekin College to Hadley, Ketley, Lawley, Madeley, Ironbridge Much Wenlock, the Wenlock Edge, Presthope, Easthope, and Wilderhope. We couldn’t have managed without the wonderful assistance of W Bro Glyn Condliffe who provided us with coffee and biscuits at strategic points on route.

The second leg, walked by Roger Pemberton and Andrew Henderson (WM Caer Caradoc Lodge No. 6346) took in the magnificent countryside of the Corve Dale including the two highest points in Shropshire, Abdon Burf on the Brown Clee and the Titterstone Clee before travelling down to Farden, Knowbury, Ledwyche and Ludlow. This section also took 10 hours. Many thanks to John and Joy Alban-Davies for providing a shower and changing facilities before the Deputy PGM travelled into Ludlow for second time that day to attend a meeting of the Lodge of the Marches.

At the car park near the Police Station, VW Bro Roger was met by senior members of the Lodge, W Bros, Keith Armstrong, Arnold Packer, Graham Simister, John Alban-Davies and George Loades each of whom carried the maul on the short walk to the Brand Lane Masonic Hall.

At the meeting, W Bro Brian Hardy, the WM of the Lodge of the Marches presented VW Bro Roger Pemberton with a cheque for £5,000 for the 2019 Festival Appeal in aid of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity and at the Festive Board the brethren donated a further £424 in cash and cheques as sponsorship of the walkers.

The Deputy PGM thanked the brethren for their wonderful hospitality and very generous donations to the Festival Appeal.

The Deputy Provincial Grand Master did not walk home from the meeting; the Provincial Senior Grand Warden, W Bro John Norman very kindly gave him a lift.

Friday, 18 December 2015 15:02

A Grand wedding for Andy and Maria Gough

We all know that white weddings can be eye-wateringly expensive and the real cost may turn out to be double the first number you might think of!

When Bro Andy Gough and his bride-to-be Maria started to plan their wedding, they decided on three crucial features: the wedding was going to be white, it had to be local so that their family and friends could attend, and they wanted charity to benefit. So began a most unusual story as members of Andy’s lodge and their partners turned their hands to wedding planning.

No need to hire a wedding limousine, a photographer, pay for flower arrangements or wedding invitation cards – the Caer Caradoc Lodge No. 6346 family simply rolled their sleeves up and got stuck in. Andy’s mum made the wedding cake and a local pub turned its premises over to the couple for the day.

On Saturday, 9th May 2015, Andy and Maria tied the knot before fifty family members and friends at St Peter’s Church in the quiet parish of Rushbury, near Church Stretton. Later on, over two hundred guests joined the happy couple at the nearby Swan public house to keep the celebrations going. Something was still missing though.

Wedding presents were conspicuously absent – no attractively gift-wrapped boxes and packages in sight. Instead, there were some envelopes. Both Andy and Maria had asked their guests to make a charitable donation in lieu of giving them wedding gifts, so raising £1,000 towards the Shropshire 2019 Grand Charity Festival.

As Maria explained: 'Andy and I couldn’t believe how much help and kindness we received from lodge members and their ladies in making our wedding day so special and memorable – it was fantastic.

'Without any hesitation, we both agreed that our wedding gift donations should go to Shropshire’s 2019 Festival Appeal. Freemasonry has come to mean a lot to us both – Andy really enjoys the meetings – his enthusiasm just keeps growing. I enjoy the social side - it’s not just that the ladies get together for supper on lodge nights, but that everyone really cares. Shortly before our wedding I had to go into hospital for an operation – during my recovery someone from the lodge called me every day to wish me well – it cheered me up no end!'

It was straight back to work after the wedding – Andy who runs his one-man plant management and services business is busy working on the M54 extension to the new Jaguar Land Rover factory. Maria, who occasionally drives a coach, is also devoted to her job as a minibus driver for Shropshire County Council, transporting Special Needs children.

With a small amount of feminine persuasion, Andy consented to taking a week off in December for a belated honeymoon break in Turkey. And where did they find their holiday of a lifetime? Where else but in the pages of Freemasonry Today!

On the 28th May 2012, W Bro Terence Osborne Haunch celebrated 70 years of being a mason

The occasion was marked by a lunch at the Longmynd Hotel, Church Stretton where Terry was presented with not one but two 70 year Certificates. The forty guests, including five present and past Provincial Grand Masters, heard of a remarkable man and a Masonic journey which led him to a career at Grand Lodge.

RW Bro Robin Wilson, Provincial Grand Master of Nottinghamshire, into whose Province WBro Terry was initiated in 1942, presented their certificate first. RW Bro Peter Taylor, Provincial Grand Master of Shropshire then presented a certificate on behalf of the Province to which Terry moved in 1996.  He then detailed Terry’s extensive Masonic career including the many Orders of which he is a member, and remembered his time as a Prestonian Lecturer.

Terry was initiated into Vernon Lodge No.1802 together with his brother Douglas in the midst of the Second World War. He soon found himself on a troop-ship ending up in Khartoum.   It was there three years later that Major TO Haunch, following a conversation with a brother officer and Mason, took his 2nd and 3rd degrees.    Terry recalled trying to give proofs that he had been initiated and luckily still had the receipt of his dues to Vernon Lodge which his father sensibly suggested he take with him just in case!

After the war Terry qualified as an Architect and worked in local government.  A big change beckoned and in 1966 his place of employment became Great Queen Street.  After 6 years as Assistant Librarian Terry was appointed Grand Lodge Librarian and Curator of the Museum where he distinguished himself for ten years until his retirement in 1983.

W Bro Terry moved to Church Stretton in 1996 to be near his family.  His brother lived next door to W Bro Frank Stewart, a member of Caer Caradoc Lodge and Chapter No 6346, and not long afterwards Terry found himself a joining member of both.  He is also a member of the Shropshire Installed Masters Lodge No.6262.  Terry’s academic background did not go unnoticed and he soon became a mainstay “lecturer” around the Province and beyond, especially in demand to give talks when a Lodge or Chapter did not have a Candidate.  What a privilege it was to hear those talks because the range and depth of Terry’s Masonic knowledge is profound. Visitors to his house were also aware that Terry keeps his own not inconsiderable Masonic library there, and he has been a constant source of information, encouragement and advice to Shropshire’s Masons ever since his arrival there.

Now 94 years of age, Terry has understandably had to curtail his Masonic activities somewhat but he remains in reasonable health and we hope for many more years of his fellowship and perhaps another certificate!

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