At the grand age of 96, Lincolnshire Freemason Ken Green's friends arranged a surprise flight for him to see the Royal Air Force (RAF) bases he’d worked at during World War Two from the air
Ken had been the RAF’s ‘go to’ Merlin aircraft engine tuning expert in Bomber County, so he didn’t learn to fly until peacetime. It was Ken's experience and expertise that kept him on the ground during the war, but danger was never far away.
On one occasion he and a colleague had almost finished working on an engine and Ken was due for some leave. Arranging that his friend would finish the task, Ken climbed on to his bike and pedalled away, unaware that very shortly afterwards a bomb being loaded into the aircraft's bomb bay would fall off its dolly and explode. The aircraft was destroyed and Ken's friend was sadly killed.
Ken’s last flight was set up by fellow Freemasons Mike Craggs and Paul Anyan. It was prompted by a chance remark Ken made to Mike one clear afternoon when looking into a cloudless sky.
Ken saw the contrails of an aircraft and said: 'I should like to be up there just once more.' That was all it took for the wheels to be set in motion and Ken was taken to the former RAF base at Wickenby, to the north-east of Lincoln, to start a 90-mile circuit over former airfields at Newark, Skelingthorpe and Scotter, amongst others.
Ken Green passed to the Grand Lodge above just a few weeks later.
Almost £300 was raised for charity when brethren from Scunthorpe, in the Province of Lincolnshire, set the ritual aside for the second time and showed off the hobbies they engage in during spare moments
At a day’s event under the banner of ‘Beyond the Ritual’ a group came together to show off subjects as diverse as stamp collecting and beekeeping; jewellery making and ropework.
The event was organised by John Cuthbert, a member of St Lawrence Lodge No. 2078, who showed off his aero modelling prowess. John said: 'It was pleasing to see the number of people and their wives who came forward to show off their non-Masonic skills, and there was a lot to interest visitors.'
John, himself a world champion model aircraft maker and flyer, said he was always thrilled to see what brethren could do – from building a Lambretta scooter by Peter Hughes, another St Lawrence member, to the complex ropework of Fred Coles, at the time Worshipful Master of the Lodge of St John No. 7840. 'I taught myself the skill aboard a submarine under the Baltic during the long hours with nothing else to do,' said Fred.
For Pete, he not only completed the nut-and-bolt scooter build project in only a matter of weeks, but also rode the bike to Italy – an incident-free round trip of almost 1,000 miles – to be part of Lambretta’s 70th anniversary celebrations. The scooter is painted grey. 'It matches my sunny disposition,' joked Peter.
Other hobbies include long-time philatelist Mike Craggs, a Past Master of the Lodge of St John No. 7840, who has thousands of interesting stamps and first day covers in his collection.
Pete Adams, Past Master of Pharos Lodge No. 6450, used his love of engineering and design to launch a new business in retirement. A couple of years ago, Pete was looking inside an Avro Shackleton aircraft at Newark Air Museum and was interested by the crew workstation lamps. This interest developed and he now collects and restores all kinds of vintage aircraft workstation lamps. He said: 'Some are very rare and go back to the glamourous inter-war flying boat era. Spares are either scarce or non-existent, and I am in the process of replicating many rare items.'
John Cuthbert also praised the Scunthorpe Masonic Building catering team of Cheryl and Mel, who were there throughout the day selling refreshments. 'They provided all the food, and all the money went straight to charity,' he said. 'That was a wonderful gesture and very much appreciated.
'In the end we were able to collect £280 to give to the Lincolnshire Masonic Charity Association, which, with the money raised the previous year, means we have donated about £600 to support good causes around the Province of Lincolnshire,' he said.
News that her organisation was going to be given £15,000 from the Masonic Charitable Foundation reduced Pat Ebbs to tears
“Words can’t explain what this means to us. No-one has even done anything like this for us before, and saying thank you just doesn’t seem to be enough,” she told Lincolnshire's Provincial Grand Master Graham Ives, when he went to Scunthorpe to make a formal presentation of the funds given to Magic Moments for Autisic Kids.
Pat is the driving force behind the charity, and knows better than most about life in families with autistic children – she has seven grandchildren suffering from it.
The money is the largest single donation ever made to the group, which has the objective of preventing sufferers of autism from feeling isolated, of training them and giving them life experiences.
Pat said the donation was a colossal sum of money and would make a significant difference to the families helped by the charity, which itself has been awarded an MBE. All of the money will be spent on providing experiences for the children, which will include a sledging trip and possibly a holiday in Wales at a venue specialising in holidays for disabled children.
Six Lincolnshire charities have benefited from Lincolnshire’s Community Awards after unprecedented public involvement. The Awards are a major part of Freemasonry’s 300th anniversary celebrations, with the Masonic Charitable Foundation distributing £3 million to 300 charities across the country.
All of the Lincolnshire charities were presented with their Awards by Graham Ives who commented: 'It was uplifting to hear the stories of the people who have been helped by these donations. Volunteers work so hard and to be able to provide the wherewithal for them to make an even more effective contribution is the perfect way to celebrate 300 years of Freemasonry.
'We’ve been active in charity work for all of Freemasonry’s 300 years, but this is the first occasion we’ve asked the public to help us decide how to spend our money. We are very pleased that so many people from Lincolnshire took part in the vote.'
Brethren from all four craft lodges in Boston have attended the very first meeting to form a Light Blue Club committee for the Province of Lincolnshire, which has been setup for new and young Freemasons
Although the speeches had to compete with the local football club’s firework display during the meeting led by W Bro Gary Cadle, a committee was formed. All committee members are below Provincial rank and include a brother who had taken his Second Degree just two days previously, as well as many Master Masons who have not yet been through the chair of their Lodge.
The meeting followed the formation of Lincolnshire’s Light Blue Focus group by the Provincial Grand Master Graham Ives and overseen by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master. The group will help to set up similar clubs in the Province wherever there is a need – and there has already been interest from brethren across the Province. It is envisaged that although each club will be run separately, they will work under the Lincolnshire Light Blue Club Banner so that a member of one club will be able to attend events organised by any other club.
Many events will involve casual social activities open to anyone (masons, non-masons, partners and families) when invited by a member. The network of clubs will work under the DARE initiative, to Develop, Attract, Retain and Encourage, and it is predicted that through the social and Masonic activities organised, brethren and non-masons from across Lincolnshire will meet and enjoy companionship in a variety of ways.
W Bro Gary Cadle said: ‘It really has been encouraging to see Brethren from across Boston coming together so enthusiastically with the aim of increasing their Masonic knowledge and social circle. We have some great ideas for events and activities which we will be publicising across the Province soon.’
He added: ‘It would be great if we can work with other similar groups in Lincolnshire. We have already met with members of Light Blue Clubs from Warwickshire, London, Essex and Wales.”
Following the meeting, and as an indication of the social spirit of the new club, many members went for a meal at a local Indian restaurant.
More than 30 carers will be able to take a break next year, thanks to a £2,000 grant from Lincolnshire Freemasons via the Masonic Charitable Foundation
The grant to Respite Association will pay for the annual rent of a caravan at Richmond Holiday Centre in Skegness.
The caravan will be used by families of mentally and physically disabled children and spouses of people with various forms of dementia. While alternative short-term care is arranged, the carer can have a well-earned and much-needed rest beside the sea.
Lincolnshire's Provincial Grand Master RW Bro Graham Ives said: ‘We’re really pleased to be able to help the Respite Association with its wonderful work in the community.
‘Carers are often forgotten by the rest of us and Respite gives them the opportunity to take a well-earned rest.’
More than 1,000 Lincolnshire Freemasons and their families and friends gathered in Lincoln Cathedral for a unique service
Wearing Masonic regalia and parading in the Cathedral for the first time, they were marking the United Grand Lodge of England's Tercentenary and the formation of the first Grand Lodge. The service was conducted by the Dean of Lincoln, the Venerable Christine Wilson, and the Provincial Grand Chaplain of Lincolnshire, the Rev John Spriggs.
The Rev Spriggs said: 'What we know is that 300 years ago four London Lodges formed the first Grand Lodge. From that small beginning, Freemasonry has grown and spread throughout the world.
'As Freemasons we are justly proud of our craft and all it achieves in the lives of its members and their families, and in the wider community.'
Also in attendance were the Provincial Grand Master Graham Ives, with the Lord Lieutenant Mr Toby Dennis and Lincolnshire County Council leader Martin Hill.
After the service, the PGM Graham Ives presided at a lunch a few miles away at the Epic Centre at Lincolnshire Showground.
Lincolnshire makes a difference
Freemasons in Lincolnshire have raised £2,762,932 for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB), which was announced at an event attended by more than 960 masons and their partners to mark the conclusion of their 2014 Festival Appeal. The Province has also donated a further £25,000 to Lifelites.
Provincial Grand Master Graham Ives, who serves on the RMTGB’s council, said, ‘The Trust is a modern, vibrant and forward-looking charity. It has been a great privilege for us in Lincolnshire to support such a worthwhile cause.’ RMTGB President Mike Woodcock added, ‘Thank you for everything you have done during this appeal. Your contribution will make such a difference to the lives of so many children.’
In June, one hundred and eighty masons and their families attended the Annual General Meeting and Court of the RMTGB
The event took place in the RMTGB’s two hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary year at the County Assembly Rooms, Lincoln, under the chairmanship of Graham Ives, Provincial Grand Master for Lincolnshire and member of the Council of the RMTGB.
The president and chief executive, along with other members of the Council and staff, delivered presentations to explain the past, present and future work of the charity.
Lincolnshire Freemasons are in the final year of their 2014 Festival Appeal in support of the RMTGB, which is currently assisting more than two thousand children and grandchildren of masonic families.
Lincolnshire special day
It is not often that a Provincial Grand Master sees the initiation of his son, but such was the case for Graham Ives in Lincolnshire when his son Henry became a mason. Not surprisingly, there was a large turnout for the occasion, as the PGM delivered the Charge after Initiation to his son, initiating him into Earl of Yarborough Lodge, No. 2770.
Pictured above: ProvGM Graham Ives and his son Henry with WM Michael Hutchinson and Wardens Steve Marris and Barry Flint