A number of Freemasons have been honoured in HM The Queen’s New Year’s Honours List 2018
John Mervyn Cornish
John Cornish was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community in Stewkley, Buckinghamshire.
After moving to Stewkley in 1963 to a rented farm, John joined the Stewkley Village Hall committee in 1967 and 20 years later took on the role of Chairman. John has always considered the Hall to be his main hobby and during this time as Chairman, worked tirelessly raising money to ensure it stayed a viable community asset including two major refurbishments.
John is a member of Leighton Cross Lodge No. 6176 and in 2013, was named Past Provincial Grand Pursuivant for Bedfordshire.
John Allan Hunter
John Hunter, lately chair of the Argentine-British Community Council, was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the Anglo-Argentine community in Argentina in the Diplomatic Service and Overseas Honours list.
The Diplomatic Service and Overseas Honours List is in recognition of truly exceptional and outstanding service to Britain internationally and overseas.
John was Chairman of the Argentine-British Community Council from 2013 to 2016. The Argentine-British Community Council was founded in 1939 and its mission statement reads: ‘The object of the Argentine British Community Council is to promote the welfare of the Argentine British Community in Argentina.
‘With that end in mind it will assure the closest coordination and cooperation amongst its members, and the social, cultural and welfare entities of the Community. It will endeavour to assist and conduct all activities within the spirit of the Constitution and the Laws of the Argentine Republic, strengthening in this way the links between the Community and the country.’
John is currently Worshipful Master of The Pampa Lodge No. 2329 which meets in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is also the Assistant District Grand Master of the District Grand Lodge of South America – Southern Division.
Sir Andrew Charles Parmley
Andrew Parmley was appointed a Knight Bachelor for his services to Music, Education and Civic Engagement.
Andrew served as Lord Mayor of the City of London in 2016/17 and is currently the principal of The Harrodian School in West London. He has been an elected Member of Common Council since 1992, and was elected Alderman of Vintry Ward in 2001.
To celebrate the United Grand Lodge of England’s Tercentenary celebrations 130 Grand Masters from all parts of the world attended a reception at Mansion House on 30th October 2017, where they were welcomed by Andrew in his role as the Lord Mayor of London at the time.
Professor Christopher Liu OBE
Professor Christopher Liu was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to Ophthalmology.
Christopher is a Senior Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at the Sussex Eye Hospital in Brighton and has worked there for more than 20 years.
He was the first surgeon in the UK to learn a pioneering technique that involved restoring sight through the reconstruction of a new eye using a small plastic lens and one of the patient’s own teeth. Christopher also founded the Sussex Eye Foundation, a registered charity with an aim to create a state-of-the-art eye facility for the South East of England.
Christopher is a Past Master of Royal Clarence Lodge No. 271 and last year, was named Provincial Senior Grand Deacon for Sussex.
With the Headquarters of Sussex Freemasonry, a Grade II listed building in Brighton, in need of restoration and repair, Provincial Grand Master RW Bro Chris Moore put the wheels in motion for a fundraising initiative
The end result was making plans to undertake a sponsored parachute jump on the day of his birthday, 25th July 2017!
RW Bro Chris Moore completed the feat by leaping 12,000 feet above the ground from an aircraft at Skydive Headcorn in Kent – an achievement that has helped him to raise £20,000 to go towards the renovation project for the Sussex Freemasonry Headquarters.
RW Bro Chris Moore commented: ‘With our Headquarters in urgent need of some TLC, I knew I had to stir myself from my natural indolence and be sponsored to do something. Thankfully, the jump was successful, not only from the survival standpoint but also from the money raised for our Provincial Headquarters.
‘The generosity of Sussex Freemasons never ceases to amaze me. Having just completed our 2017 Festival with over £3.6 million for the erstwhile Grand Charity, one could be forgiven for thinking that they had nothing left to give and yet they have somehow found another £20,000 to sponsor their Provincial Grand Master. I am very grateful to them for that tremendous support and making my leap into the unknown such a resounding success.’
You can see RW Bro Chris Moore leap from the skies by watching a video of the parachute jump here.
You can also contribute to the fundraising initiative here.
The Charmandean Centre, the home of Freemasonry in Worthing, West Sussex, recently held a very successful and well attended open day
They also had a surprise visitor with Sir Peter Bottomley, Member of Parliament for West Worthing, amongst the attendees.
Sir Peter noted that he was particularly interested in looking around the Centre and finding out more about Freemasonry in general and how they supported communities both locally and nationally.
Canterbury Cathedral hosted a Tercentenary Thanksgiving service in recognition of its long-standing relationship with Freemasonry
More than 1,500 masons and their families came from across the Provinces of East Kent, West Kent, Surrey and Sussex to attend a service in celebration of 300 years of the United Grand Lodge of England.
The event was held on 18 February in the presence of the Grand Master HRH The Duke of Kent, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Kent and the Lord Mayor of Canterbury, and was led by the Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, the Very Reverend Dr Robert Willis.
During his sermon, Dr Willis thanked the Duke of Kent for his long-standing support of the cathedral. He recalled how the Royal Family helped when the cathedral was damaged by bombing during World War II. He also paid tribute to the generous support of the masonic community, whose relationship with the cathedral dates back more than 100 years.
Canterbury Cathedral is currently undergoing the largest restoration project in its history. The interior and exterior are covered in scaffolding to allow the ancient building to be restored to as close to its original condition as possible. A donation of £300,000 from the Freemasons of Kent, Surrey and Sussex has funded repairs to the North West Transept, including new tower pinnacles and a spiral stone staircase.
East Kent Provincial Grand Master Geoffrey Dearing said: ‘The existence of Freemasonry for over 300 years bears witness to the fact that the idea of men from all walks of life coming together to make society a better place is one that has stood the test of time and inspired successive generations.’
Leslie Penhye, of Temple Lodge, No. 4962, in Sussex, has received the Chevalier de L’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur for his service on HMS Quorn at Gold Beach on D-Day
The ceremony was attended by PGM Chris Moore and the Deputy Lieutenant for East Sussex, Juliet Smith, as well as family, friends and lodge members. The French Honorary Consul Captain François Jean presented Leslie with his award.
Leslie, 91, served on the destroyer HMS Quorn from 1943 until it was torpedoed and sank off Le Havre in the early hours of 3 August 1944, killing 130 men.
Cash donation to help fire-stricken hospice
In the early hours of Saturday morning, twenty three residents of St Michael’s Hospice in St Leonards-On-Sea, Sussex, were evacuated following an explosion and fire. Three patients have since died following the evacuation, two of which were being treated for smoke inhalation.
The Freemasons’ Grand Charity has donated £5,000 to support the Hospice during this difficult time. Since 1987, St Michael’s has been part of the Grand Charity Hospice Scheme and has received over £84,000 in total.
The emergency grant will help the Hospice’s recovery needs by funding emergency supplies such as blankets and food, the relocation of patients and repairs.
The Province of Sussex, a long-time supporter of St Michael’s Hospice, has also indicated that it will be making an emergency grant to the cause.
The nave of Canterbury Cathedral welcomed around 1,000 masons, their families and friends for a service to celebrate the bicentenary of Royal Arch Masonry
On Saturday 21 September, a unique event was held at Canterbury Cathedral that not only marked a special milestone in masonic history but also demonstrated a great affinity between Freemasonry and the cathedral’s stonemasons. Freemasonry has its roots in the lodges of medieval stonemasons and to this day supports the training of apprentice stonemasons at the cathedral.
The occasion was a combined celebration for the Provinces of East Kent, West Kent, Sussex and Surrey, each led by their respective Grand Superintendents, Geoffrey Dearing, Jonathan Winpenny, Kenneth Thomas and Eric Stuart-Bamford. The significance of the event was acknowledged by the presence of the Second and Third Grand Principals, George Francis and David Williamson, respectively. Russell Race, the Metropolitan Grand Superintendent, and David Boswell, the Grand Superintendent of Suffolk, were also in attendance, as was the Sheriff of Canterbury, Cllr Ann Taylor, who represented the city and people of Canterbury.
The Archdeacon of Canterbury, the Venerable Sheila Watson, conducted the service, with the grand setting and the superb King’s School Crypt Choir adding to the memorable ambience. The Archdeacon referred to the long connection between the cathedral and Freemasons, in particular the gifts of the Chapter House east window and the Coronation window. She paid tribute to the masonic principles of unity, fellowship and service to the community, and spoke of ‘service beyond ourselves’, a virtue embraced by the Church and Freemasonry alike.
On the 19th May 2013, W Bro Stephen Gurr, accompanied by his wife Janet and W Bro Ryan Smith of Manor Royal Lodge No. 8296, visited Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice, in Sussex, to present them with a cheque to the value of nearly £2,300.
The was money raised by the brethren of Manor Royal Lodge, during W Bro Stephen’s year as Master, and at his ladies' night in March. Chestnut Tree House provide care and support to children with life limiting and ending illness and require approximately £3 million per annum to continue with this work.
On presenting the cheque to Jayne Todd from CTH, Janet passed on the best wishes from all at Manor Royal Lodge and promised to continue supporting them wherever possible in the future. It was very emotional to walk through the memorial gardens but also hugely rewarding to contribute to such a vital and good local cause.
Lodge of Union, No. 38, celebrated its bicentenary at Goodwood House. The country estate, near Chichester in Sussex, is the seat of the Duke of Richmond, many of whom have been masons over the centuries. Lodge officers wear gold on their collars to commemorate the close connection between Chichester Freemasonry and the ducal family, whose colour it is.
The event was attended by Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes, Grand Secretary Nigel Brown, Grand Director of Ceremonies Oliver Lodge and Sussex Provincial Grand Master Kenneth Thomas.
Sixteen members of the Heal family from Sussex are in the same lodge, including former RAF pilot Marc, who won the DFC in Afghanistan for evacuating 29 casualties in his Chinook helicopter while under fire. Marc, 31, flew eight combat missions in as many days. On one occasion his helicopter’s landing site was mortared by insurgents and some of the missions took place without an Apache escort.
Somerset mason James Heal began the family connection with South Down Lodge, No. 1797, in 1963 when he moved to Brighton, followed by his five sons – all of whom went through the chair – as well as three brothers-in-law and seven grandsons.
Four of the five sons were Directors of Ceremonies, while three of the family are Grand Officers and one, Keith Schofield, is the Provincial Grand Mentor for Sussex. His uncle John was Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies and later an Assistant Provincial Grand Master, while his uncle Victor was Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, both of whom – with his father – have been his mentors.