Celebrating 300 years
Friday, 06 December 2013 00:00

Grand Secretary's column - Winter 2013

I am delighted to report that the bicentenary celebrations of the Royal Arch in October were a major success. His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent, in his capacity as First Grand Principal, announced that the donated and pledged amount to the Royal Arch Masons 2013 Appeal for the Royal College of Surgeons had reached £2 million. 

The members were congratulated by His Royal Highness for this superb effort and the president of the College, Professor Norman Williams, was also present to add his profuse thanks. I believe this milestone event in the history of the Royal Arch has been a wonderful boost to the Order.

At the beginning of the appeal I wrote that we were justly proud to be the major benefactor to the Royal College of Surgeons. The Royal Arch Masons Appeal will further help the College’s successful research fellowship scheme, which supports surgeons in undertaking a research project. The reality is that our contributions will help to save lives and improve the quality of life for us, our children and our grandchildren.

Freemasonry maintains strong relationships across the medical profession. In this issue of Freemasonry Today, we explore how the Masonic Samaritan Fund has been funding groundbreaking research into the genetics of MELAS syndrome, a devastating hereditary condition. And on a more personal note, we chart the life of Dr George Penn, a regimental captain, much-loved country doctor and committed lodge member who was educated at the Royal Masonic School for Boys.

Elsewhere, we report on how Freemasonry and karate are coming together at the Shotokan Karate Lodge, with the humility and respect needed in Freemasonry equally at home in the dojo. David Williamson reflects on a career as an airline pilot and his role in driving the Universities Scheme as he approaches retirement from the position of Assistant Grand Master. And we find out how the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution is helping the older generation cross the digital divide by giving them access to online technology.

I wish you and your family an enjoyable festive season as we look forward to 2014. 

Nigel Brown
Grand Secretary

‘The reality is that our contributions will help to save lives and improve the quality of life for us, our children and our grandchildren.’

Published in UGLE

HRH The Duke of Kent reflects on the bicentenary of the Royal Arch as it raises more than £2 million for the Royal College of Surgeons

This October we marked a major milestone in the distinguished history of the Holy Royal Arch. While celebrating this landmark I particularly wish to mention the success of the Royal Arch Masons 2013 Bicentenary Appeal for the Royal College of Surgeons. I am impressed to hear of the tremendous support the companions have given to the appeal.

In my speech at the Supreme Grand Chapter meeting in April this year I mentioned that the appeal would remain open until the end of the year. However, I am pleased to announce that the amount donated and pledged so far is £2 million. This exceeds expectations and I congratulate you.

I also know that the College president, Professor Norman Williams, is extremely grateful to companions for helping to fund the College’s successful Research Fellowship scheme at the same time as maintaining their clinical leadership.

To mark this special celebration I intend to make additional first appointments to past Grand Rank on the scale of one for every Province or District. It is my hope that Grand Superintendents, upon whom I shall rely for advice in the selection of suitable companions, will ensure that so far as is possible the companions so honoured will be those who have carried out significant work for the Royal Arch Appeal for the Royal College of Surgeons or have made a significant contribution in some other way to this year’s celebrations. I know we all wish the Order continued success for the next two hundred years!

The First Grand Principal, HRH The Duke of Kent presided over the Convocation of Supreme Grand Chapter on 16 October 2013 in the Grand Temple to mark the bicentenary of the formal recognition of the Holy Royal Arch as part of pure ancient masonry. With lunch held at the Grand Connaught Rooms, the day included a Convocation of Metropolitan Grand Stewards Chapter, No. 9812, in which a demonstration of the Ceremony of Exaltation using the changes authorised in 2004 was given. 

Published in SGC

Strong constitution

Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes explains how UGLE has been supporting Districts across the world and looks closer to home at the recommendations of the Universities Scheme Committee

One of my pleasurable duties is, along with the other Rulers, visiting our Districts. In June I was in Trinidad and Tobago and, more recently, I visited Zimbabwe to install our new District Grand Master. We were given a very warm welcome and I was somewhat surprised that the last visit there from Grand Lodge was in 1989. I was even more surprised to find that two of our lodges are in Malawi, where seventy members ensure masonry thrives.

Apart from meeting many of the local brethren and their wives, we were driven to a school in a township seventeen miles west of Harare, where we were entertained by some very moving African dancing and singing. The education support programme that started here in 1992 now has four hundred and seven orphaned children. A trust fund has been set up for these children to provide school fees, books, uniforms, a daily hot meal, healthcare and sports activities. It was most impressive and exactly the type of charity the District should support. 

On a different theme, following the presentation at the Quarterly Communication last year on assuring the future of Freemasonry, I challenged the Universities Scheme Committee to consider how the principles expressed in the address could be implemented across the whole Craft.

I have now had first sight of their report, which covers a series of recommendations and examples of good practice from lodges around the English Constitution. This is an excellent document and I will be discussing the proposals through the Provinces and Districts to lodge level. Brethren, how often do we hear that changes and progress in masonry take an eternity? This report has been put together with admirable speed and it is incumbent on the Rulers to ensure that there is no delay in passing them on.

We are united in recognising the importance of recruiting and retaining younger Freemasons and these recommendations will give a better chance of strengthening all lodges, however successful, while not alienating established brethren.

‘We are united in recognising the importance of recruiting and retaining younger Freemasons.’

Published in UGLE

Kidderminster masons have built their new lodge rooms attached to the Chester Road Sports and Social Club

The arrangement is proving a success, with goodwill and mutual support that sees the cricketers busy in summer and the masons fully occupied in winter. Strengthening this relationship, Robert Vaughan, Worcestershire Provincial Grand Master (shown above, left, with club chairman Norman Broadfield), presented a cheque for £3,000 towards a new electronic cricket scoreboard.

Friday, 06 December 2013 00:00

North Harrow Lodge sails the Solent

It was a fair wind for the four-day sailing extravaganza of North Harrow Lodge, No. 6557, which has taken place around the Isle of Wight after the chartering of Reunion, a 46-foot Bavaria class yacht

The crew who sailed around the Solent comprised seven members of North Harrow Lodge and one member of Gradation Lodge, No. 6368, from London. 

The boat hoisted two flags: the Household Division ensign (one of the crew is a former Guardsman) and the newly obtained and designed Middlesex Provincial flag. 

Special thanks went to skipper Vaughan Coleridge-Matthews for getting the crew back to port safely, and to Ian Ferguson for designing and sourcing the Middlesex Provincial flag.  

Lodge generosity launches lifeboat: An inshore lifeboat is now patrolling off Littlehampton in West Sussex, made possible by the fundraising activities of Mandalay Lodge, No. 9383, which meets in Bromley in West Kent

In just 18 months, the lodge raised £9,500 for the Arancia boat and trailer. Called Mandalay in honour of the lodge, the boat was officially named by Rene Jeffs in memory of her late husband, Eric, who was a member of the lodge.

The fundraising was led by Jeff Baylie, who commented: ‘This has been a wonderful effort. The outboard boat, which has a brass plaque proudly bearing our name, can have a two- or three-man crew.’ Lifeboat manager Rory Smith said: ‘The inshore rescue boat is the workhorse of the lifeguard fleet. Thanks to your generous donations, the boat will help the RNLI continue in its mission to save lives at sea.’ 

Devon show a success: The Kingsbridge Show in Devon was a focal point for the provincial recruitment display sponsored by Lord Roborough Lodge, No. 5789, and Duncombe Lodge, No. 1486

It was at this show last year that John Pritchard first met Larry Lewis, a former US marine who had moved to the area with his family. Larry was initiated into Duncombe Lodge this year and helped to man the stand. There was a warm welcome from show chairman John Woodley and show president Pat Brooks, who thanked Devon masons for all they do for local charities and for attending the event again. 

Help for bereaved children: Winston’s Wish, a leading childhood bereavement charity, has received a grant of £25,000 from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity

The grant will assist the national suicide programme, which provides specialist support for children and families affected by a suicide, through one-to-one counselling, support groups, telephone and email contacts, and residential weekends.

Catherine Ind, Winston’s Wish acting chief executive, said: ‘This generous grant will help us reach children who desperately need our support this year.’

Published in The Grand Charity

Regency celebrations honour Ruspini: The Royal Masonic School for Girls held a Regency day in honour of Chevalier Ruspini, the founder of the school and the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB)

The organisations date back to 1788, when Ruspini established a small orphanage school in London, supporting just 15 girls. Today, his legacy continues with a flourishing independent school and a national masonic charity, which last year supported more than 12,000 children and young people.

The 225th anniversary celebrations saw staff and pupils dress up in Regency-style clothing, enjoy an 18th-century lunch menu and take part in period activities. RMTGB staff joined in the festivities.

To find out more about the work of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys visit their website

Published in RMTGB

Middlesex support for food bank: There has been a growth in food banks being set up around the country to aid those in most need during the economic downturn

Conscious of this trend, members of Spelthorne Lodge, No. 4516, and Staines Lodge, No. 2536, in Middlesex met representatives of Manna – the local food bank – and presented them with a cheque for £1,000. Manna thanked both lodges for their generosity and explained how they provided food parcels to those in need living in the borough of Spelthorne.  

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