Celebrating 300 years

Foxes never quit

Bro Monty Katchick, Junior Warden of the Wayfarer Lodge No. 8679 which meets in Coalville, Leicestershire, is one of the singers appearing on a charity song Foxes Never Quit (Glory Glory Leicester City) in aid of Prostate Cancer UK

Bro Monty was selected to add his vocals to the song after Leighton Morrell, music producer, made an appeal for local talent to appear on the charity single. Leighton was originally approached by his close friend Peter Bullard, who is suffering from prostate cancer, with the idea of making a record to celebrate the fairytale season of Leicester City Football Club who recently won the English Premier League.

The collaboration, called the Foxee Singers of Leicester, consists of over 25 local singers and musicians from Leicestershire who have subsequently recorded the charity song based on the Battle Hymn of the Republic in a reggae style. It was released for download on iTunes and Amazon on the 15th April 2016 and and is currently at No. 6 on the UK reggae charts as well as No. 90 on the Worldwide Amazon Singles Chart.

Bro Monty said: 'I was approached to appear on the song as I was a singer in Leicester during the 1970s and they were looking for singers from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and today. When Leighton told me it was all for prostate cancer I was very interested, so we all got together in the recording studio and recorded Foxes Never Quit. Approximately 33p from each download will go to Prostate Cancer UK.

Leighton said: 'We want to let as many people know about the song as possible to try and make Leicester City top of the music charts as well as top of the Premier League. We also want to raise as much money as possible for this worthwhile cause.'

This sporting life

At the Installation Meeting of the Leicestershire and Rutland Lodge of Installed Masters No. 7896 on the 8th April 2016 the members and visitors were treated to an informative lecture on Freemasonry and Sport by W Bro Rex Hazeldine of the Lodge of Science and Art No. 8429

W Bro Rex, who trained as a Physical Education teacher and taught, coached, lectured in sport, health and exercise science for many years, highlighted the connections between his two great passions: Freemasonry and sport. He began with the comparisons between the two including the closeness, friendship, reliance on one another as part of a team and are guided, coached, taught by knowledgeable, experienced tutors.

The significant contribution made by Freemasons in establishing historic sports organisation such as the Football Association, Middlesex Cricket Club, Amateur Athletic Association and the Modern Olympic Games. There was also the critical contribution of the Reform Bill of 1832 in expanding schools which lead to 'games' being part of their ethos which was lead by Sir John George Lambton, Pro Grand Master.

W Bro Rex recounted the reasons why Manchester City adopted the light blue colour worn by a Master Mason, when the club, which was founded in 1880, was rescued from bankruptcy in 1894 by local Freemasons who requested the playing strip to be changed from red and black to the colour of a Master Mason.

He also mentioned a range of sports-based lodges including, the Sportsman’s Lodge No. 9440, British Sub-Aqua Lodge No. 8997, Flyfishers’ Lodge No. 9347, Silverstone Lodge No. 9877, Lodge of the Chevaliers de Fer No. 9732, Mike Hailwood Lodge No. 9839, Graham Milton Lodge No. 9796 and the Shotokan Karate Lodge No. 9752.

Special mention was made for lodges meeting in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland: the Reynard Lodge No. 9285, which was formed by members of Stoneygate and Westleigh Rugby Football Clubs, and the Joey Dunlop Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 1081 which meets in Lutterworth and was founded for those who are motorcycling enthusiasts.

The brethren were amazed by the number of high profile sportsmen who were Freemasons that had graced their respective sports: football (Alf Ramsey, Stanley Matthews, Jackie Milburn, Don Revie, Ron Greenwood, Sir Stanley Rous) rugby (Don White, Ron Jacobs, Eric Evans, Cliff Morgan), cricket (Len Hutton, Colin Cowdrey, Brian Statham, Clive Lloyd), motorsport (Donald Campbell, Joey Dunlop, Mike Hailwood), martial arts, boxing (Daniel Mendoza, James Figg, Sugar Ray Robinson, Jack Dempsey), and golf (Arnold Palmer).

W Bro Rex said, 'I know from my research that there are few sports in which masonic athletes, coaches and administrators have not made their mark. Freemasonry has contributed to and influenced sport in so many ways and at all levels of participation and performance. In many cases, as I have tried to show, Freemasonry has provided an environment, a value system, a culture which has links and similarities with the world of sport.'

The newly installed Master, W Bro John Peberdy, thanked W Bro Rex on behalf of the brethren, for a very interesting, entertaining and informative talk.

Jewels in the crown

After W Bro James Noel Pitts, Howe and Charnwood Lodge No. 1007 and Lodge of Science and Art No. 8429, passed away in June 2013 his family asked the Almoner of Howe and Charnwood, W Bro Ray Hardy, to dispose of his masonic regalia and deal with some masonic curios

W Bro Ray faithfully returned regalia to the lodges of which W Bro Jim had been a member, but there was an old toffee tin containing a number of masonic jewels and other assorted items. W Bro David Sharpe from the Lodge of Research No. 2429 was then asked to help identify them and to deal with them as he thought best.

Many of the jewels were duplicates of those held at the Masonic Hall at Loughborough, and so he took them to the Provincial museum in Leicester to include in their collection. Four of these jewels are of special interest:

The first is a bicentennial jewel issued in 1917 during World War 1, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the formation of the Grand Lodge of England. On the obverse is an engraving of the MW Grand Master The Duke of Connaught, and on the reverse appear the arms of UGLE and the dates 1717–1917.

There are also two silver Masonic Million Memorial Fund Commemorative Jewels. These were in recognition of money donated to the Masonic Peace Memorial, later to become known as Freemasons’ Hall, in memory of the many brethren who had given their lives in the First World War. These were issued to any lodge member under the English Constitution who donated ten guineas (£10.50) or more. They were given to W Bros JS Potter, PPJGW and H Mallinson. Some 52,334 individual jewels were issued. Any individual mason donating 100 guineas or more was eligible for one of these jewels in gold. Was there a gold one for W Bro Potter, since he donated over 100 guineas? If so, what became of it? If not, why not?

A slightly larger medal in gold on a light blue collarette to be worn by successive Masters of lodges was awarded to those lodges contributing an average of ten guineas per member, which were to be known as Hall Stone Lodges. Howe and Charnwood did not qualify, but there are two such lodges in the Province who did, Albert Edward Lodge No. 1560 and Enderby Lodge No. 5061. In all, 1,321 lodges at home and abroad qualified as Hall Stone Lodges.

The final jewel in the tin was perhaps the most interesting. It was created to be awarded to those individual masons who had donated at least 240 guineas (£252). 956 of these Jewels were issued. This was given to W Bro Potter, and is inscribed M.M.M. and his name. Does this mean it was donated through the Howe Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 21, of which he was a member and by 1930 Director of Ceremonies?

Whilst these jewels are, of course, of considerable interest, they are only in the museum in Leicester due to the thoughtfulness of W Bro Jim’s family, and will form part of a display of his curios and works donated the museum.

How easily they could be now in some antique shop or a flea market. One must ask, will families know what to do with masonic regalia, books and curios when the owners pass away?

This is the point made by W Bro Walters in the conclusion of his inaugural address to the Lodge of Research in 1977 when he said: 'Many masons have interesting material. When they die their wives or executors may not appreciate it and it would be a service to posterity if arrangements could be made to deposit it either with their lodges, or an established library or archive before it gets into the hands of persons who may not appreciate its value.'

Ferociously magnificent

On 12th March 2016, W Bro David Hughes (Rothley Temple Lodge No. 7801), ably assisted by W Bro Donald Salt (Guthlaxton Lodge No. 7717) and Bro Carl Heslop (Highcross Lodge No. 4835), welcomed the Leicester and District Organists' Association (LDOA) to the Holmes Lodge Room in Freemasons' Hall, Leicester to experience the rebuilt organ

LDOA is very proud of the local organ building tradition established by the firm started by Stephen Taylor and who built the magnificent concert organ in the De Montfort Hall. Taylors, a firm with strong masonic connections, also created the organ which initially stood in the old Halford Street Masonic Hall, and which still forms the core of the Holmes Temple organ following its rebuild by Bro Carl Heslop.

The first thing to strike the notice of the members of LDOA was the Edwardian Baroque splendour of the Holmes Lodge Room and to say they were impressed by its beauty and fine acoustic property is to put it mildly. W Bro David Hughes, who is himself an LDOA member and organist of Newton Harcourt and Wistow churches, gave a short history of the lodge room and how it came to be built, and then handed over to Bro Carl Heslop to talk about his work and how he been drawn to both Freemasonry and the task of undertaking the rebuilding of the instrument.

Bro Carl demonstrated the various stops on the organ and how they can work either in solo form or in combined patterns. He put the organ through its paces from delicately mild to ferociously magnificent. The members of the association, many of whom are local church organists, were then invited to try their hands on the organ and quite a number responded to the challenge. What impressed all those present was the way in which the rebuild has combined traditional organ pipe work with current digital technology to produce an instrument of astounding versatility. And, yes, Bro. Carl did end the afternoon by sending everyone off to Blackpool in Theatre organ style with 'I do like to be beside the seaside!'

The members of the association were entertained for two hours and went on their way having declared themselves more than happy with what they had heard and also highly delighted to have been given the chance to see inside our fine Provincial Headquarters.

Silver service

Holmes Lodge No. 4656, which meets at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester, has been most fortunate to acquire two beautiful silver coffee pots which form a lost part of the lodge's history but they could not have done it without the aid of other brethren in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland.

Initially the items were spotted by W Bro Andy Green who keeps an eye on internet auction sites for items of masonic interest which might be purchased for the Museum. He contacted W Bro Don Peacock who leads the Library and Museum team, and it was then decided to contact Holmes Lodge to see whether they might be interested in making the purchase as the coffee pots were beautifully engraved with the lodge crest.

No time was lost in contacting the vendor who, most fortunately, turned out to be the daughter of a mason and who was most happy to pass the items into the keeping of the lodge for a very reasonable price. The items had come into the vendor's possession via an auction sale, but she had paperwork to show that in the 1980s they had been sold through the London Silver Vaults for a much higher price, and that they had then become the property of a gentleman who lived in Kensington.

The question then arose of how the silver had found its way from Leicester to London. The hallmarks and maker's marks indicated that the silver had been made in 1924, and the original sellers were Pearces who had a very exclusive jewellery shop in Leicester, latterly in the Market Place, but before then in Gallowtree Gate. It was thus clear that the silver had a connection to the early years of the lodge.

At this point W Bro Don Peacock rode to the rescue once more by discovering in the lodge archives a letter from RW Bro Edward Holmes, the then Provincial Grand Master, to W Bro GW Hunt, the founding Master of the lodge. This letter congratulated W Bro Hunt on his year as founding Master. There were further archive references to silver coffee pots and an inscribed salver being given to W Bro Hunt from the Lodge to mark the appreciation felt for all he had done.

W Bro Hunt went on to become Deputy Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent in and over Leicestershire and Rutland, and it must have gratified him greatly when he was able to consecrate Holmes Chapter in 1945, the only Royal Arch Chapter to be consecrated in the Province during the Second World War.

The silver would have formed part of his estate on his death in 1954, and it is now down to 'Lodge Sleuth' W Bro David Hughes to obtain testamentary evidence to cast light on the fate of the coffee pots between the 1950s and the 1980s. The fate of the salver is unknown, however the silver pots are now safely back at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester where they will be displayed on Holmes Lodge nights at the Festive Board.

Nearly £50k of donations distributed in Leicestershire

Representatives from 33 diverse local charities attended Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester on Saturday 27th February 2016 as recipients of awards totalling £43,537 from the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons

Amongst those receiving donations from the kind generosity of the members of the fraternity were:

Heart Link (East Midlands Children's Heart Care Association) received £1,000 to help provide facilities for children with heart defects, their families and providing much needed valuable medical equipment at Glenfield Hospital. Gill Smart, Treasurer of Heart Link, said: 'We are very grateful for this donation which will go towards paying for a latest 4D scanner so that children which a heart defect can have a better quality of life and help the families.'

CHICKS, Country Holidays for Inner City Kids, is a national children's charity providing free respite breaks to disadvantaged children from all over the UK. Kelly Tones, said: 'This money will go towards funding breaks in our new retreat in Derbyshire giving children the opportunity to be involved with activities such as rock climbing and horse riding and let them live their lives and let them be kids again.'

Toys on the Table provides new toys and gifts at the holiday season for those children in Leicester and Leicestershire, regardless of faith, who might otherwise not receive anything. On receiving £1,000 from the Freemasons, Terry Watts, Chairman of the Trustees, said: 'Last Christmas we gave 4,000 children around 8,000 toys. We thank the Freemasons for this donation which will enable us to purchase toys and make certain that no child is left without.'

Melton Community First Responders received a donation of £1,000. It provides voluntary support to the East Midlands Ambulance Service and serves Melton Mowbray, Asfordby and many of the surrounding villages. Peter Scott said: 'On behalf of all of the community of Melton thank you to the Freemasons for their donation. Last year we provided over 19,000 hours on call and attended more than 2,000 patients. As we have been going for 12 years our defibrillators are getting old and therefore this donation will go towards paying for a new defibrillator which will enable us to continue our work.'

The Dove Cottage Day Hospice, which is situated in Stathern, offers palliative day care to those living with advanced progressive life limiting illness received a total donation of £1,000. Chris Gatfield, Registered Manager and Founder of Dove, said: 'Thank you to the Freemasons very much indeed for this wonderful donation. We are a comparatively small hospice started 20 years ago to serve the people in rural communities. We couldn’t do any of this without the support of organisations such as the Freemasons which is very much appreciated.'

Leicestershire and Rutland 4x4 Response, which provides a network of volunteers that are able to respond to situations likely to cause danger to the general public, received a donation of £500. Chairman Simon Dale said: 'Thank you very much to the Freemasons for the donation. Leicestershire and Rutland 4x4 Response are a group of volunteers that help out the emergency services. We are 100% self funded and this money will be used for training our responders.'

Loughborough Group for People with Disabilities received a donation of £500 from the members of Beacon Lodge which meets in Loughborough. Tony Wilkinson from the charity said: 'Thank you so much to the Freemasons for this money. We are very humbled and grateful to receive this donation which will go towards a trip to Lourdes, France and repairs to our minibus.'

Rainbows Children’s Hospice received £3,338 from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity. Dana Simons, Appeal Manager at Rainbows said: 'We are now needing over £5 million pounds each and every year to run the hospice to provide one to one care, respite stay, palliative care, symptom control, end of life care and bereavement support. Sadly that need never goes away and we are increasing our services and extending them for cancer patients and new born babies. Thank you to the Freemasons for this donation which we are extremely grateful.'

On behalf of the Westfield Community Development Association, Dave Roberts received a donation of £1,000. He said: 'We have 65 volunteers delivering over 300 hours a week many of which are centred on our elderly, disabled and socially isolated projects. Thank you to the Freemasons for this generous gift which is help support these projects in the the Hinckley and Bosworth area. It really is an important contribution to the work that we do and it is much appreciated.'

Upon receiving a donation of £2,000 Diane Morgan, Director of the Hinckley Homeless Group said: 'We are small charity that runs a hostel, Lawrence House, for homeless young people aged between 16 and 25 in the Hinckley area. We have lost our statutory funding recently and the trustees would like to thank the Freemasons for this generous donation which will go towards providing the cost of the project workers which really are the key to the success of Lawrence House.'

On behalf of Voluntary Action Rutland, Director Lindsay Henshwaw-Dann received a donation of £1,500 from the Enderby Lodge. She said: 'Thank you so much to the Freemasons for this donation which we are so pleased to receive. We have had our funding slashed by half and this money will allow us to complete the furnishing of a new counselling room at our centre in Oakham which will be used by community groups and other charities.'

Rutland Sailability were given £500 from the Beacon Lodge. Chairman of Rutland Sailability Martin Sutcliffe said: 'Thank you very much to the Freemasons for this generous donation and their help. We provide facilities at Rutland Water for people will all varieties of disabilities to enjoy the sport of sailing. This money will go towards training a small group of people representing Team GB at the World Championships in Holland.'

Other charities receiving funds included Lady Gretton, Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire, who received £1,000 on behalf of the Lord-Lieutenant's Award for Young People 2016 which seeks to identify, celebrate and reward the very best examples of achievement by young people in Leicestershire. Upon receiving the donation, Lady Gretton replied ‘We thank the Masons most sincerely for the wonderful support for these awards which recognises young inspirational people in Leicester and Leicestershire for bravery, sport, and volunteering.'

ENRYCH Leicestershire and Derbyshire, based in Coalville, received £1,000. Sonia Lear, Volunteer and Social Event Coordinator, said: 'Thank you very much to the Freemasons for this generous and wonderful donation. Our small charity was formed to support adults with physical disabilities to enjoy leisure and learning activities. This donation will enable us to continue recruiting volunteers that do wonderful work and are the lifeblood of our charity.'

People's Accessible Transport for Harborough (PATH) received a donation of £1,000. Michael Cheeseman, from PATH, said: 'Thank you very much to the Freemasons for this generous donation which will enable PATH to continue to function for a few more years. There is a major shortage of community transport and this funding will support our buses to help mobilise isolated elderly, disabled and vulnerable people in the Market Harborough area.'

A total of £500 was presented to Lutterworth-based Heartsafe by the Head of the Royal Arch Masons Peter Kinder. Heartsafe aims to ensure that every young person passing through secondary education in the County schools is provided with training in Emergency Life Support, including vital cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Dr Doug Skehan said: 'We are run by a group of volunteers who spend time in schools. We have a modest amount of administration costs and therefore are very grateful to the Freemasons for their generous donation.'

David Hagger, the Head of the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons, concluded the meeting by applauding all the charities and their volunteers who give their time to such good causes: 'I’m proud that the Freemasons have been able to make a major contribution to society by supporting charities particularly those helping many children and young people in the local community.'

Fully restored

A portrait oil painting of Earl Howe and Past Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland, has been recently restored and re-installed at the Masonic Hall in Hinckley, Leicestershire

The painting, which has been under the care of the Freemasons of Hinckley since 1985, dates back to around 1845 and had through the course of time suffered degradation and physical damage. When the Hinckley Masonic Hall underwent major reconstruction during the summer of 2011, the painting was removed for safe storage and has since been lovingly restored including the addition of a new frame.

RW Bro Richard William Penn, Earl Howe lived in Gopsall Hall, near to Hinckley, and was Provincial Grand Master of the then Leicestershire Province from 1856 and became the first Provincial Grand Master of the combined Province of Leicestershire and Rutland until 1869. He was also Provincial Grand Master of Warwickshire from 1843 to 1852 and Deputy Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England from 1844 to 1866.

Earl Howe was a much loved and distinguished brother who practised the meaning and teaching of Freemasonry outside the lodge as well as in it. When the Knights of Malta Lodge No. 50 fell into hard times in the 1850’s he agreed to become its Master and served for two years. He was also a great benefactor to the town of Hinckley and started many initiatives to help its residents when many families were destitute after the Napoleonic War. He also donated a large sum of money to repair, renovate and construct churches throughout the county.

The painting of Earl Howe can be seen by every Freemason when negotiating the stairs in Hinckley Masonic Hall and will serve to remind them of role Earl Howe in both Hinckley and beyond.

Och Aye the Blue

The Leicestershire and Rutland Light Blue Club started their 2016 with a visit to Scotland and to two of the oldest masonic lodges in the world and to top it all off a visit to the beautiful Rosslyn Chapel.

On Tuesday 26th January 2016 the group left Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester by bus to travel to Kilwinning in Ayrshire to visit the Lodge Mother Kilwinning. The lodge is said to date back to the building of the abbey in 1140 and up until the formation of the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1736 Kilwinning Lodge was in itself a grand lodge, issuing warrants and charters and is the reason that many Scottish lodges still hold the name Kilwinning in their name.

The Light Blue Club were warmly welcomed by the brethren and had a look around their fascinating museum, followed by an excellent Passing ceremony. Once the lodge had closed, they were treated to an informal festive board, known as a harmony, of pie and beans in the bar and finally a talk about the history of the lodge which is something that is usually incorporated into their first degree ceremony for all new Initiates.

The next day, the group left for Edinburgh to visit Canongate Kilwinning Lodge No. 2. After a short ceremony to confer Honorary Membership on Bro David Begg, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Scotland the annual banquette to Burns and Hogg was held. In attendance was the Grand Master Mason Bro Charles IR Wolrige Gordon of Esslemont, who was very welcoming of the Light Blue Club and even joined them for a late night selfie!

The banquette itself was excellent from an initial parading and address to the haggis, complete with piper, to some wonderful singing and fiddling of traditional Scottish songs from Jess Conway as well as an entertaining and humorous talk from Bro David Venard entitled ‘The Immortal memories of Robert Burns and James Hogg’.

The final part of the Scottish tour was a visit to Rosslyn Chapel where the Light Blue Club enjoyed a talk on the history of the chapel followed by a masonic tour that pointed out all its masonic references, which was described by Bro Bob Reay as, 'a fascinating experience'.

Masonry, Migrants and Mariners

At the meeting of the Lodge of Research No. 2429, held on 25th January 2016 at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester, the lodge welcomed the Prestonian Lecturer for 2015, W Bro Roger Burt, who delivered his lecture Masonry, Migrants and Mariners in the 19th Century.

This lecture was a further development of his original lecture, Wherever Dispersed: The Travelling Mason in the 19th Century, showing that historical knowledge never stands still.

W Bro Burt based his findings on lodges in Canada and America, as well as England and Scotland, and showed how men were able to move around and benefit from Freemasonry Universal. He also showed how the less scrupulous abused the brotherly generosity. It also showed the pride that brothers had in masonry, and from slides showing the development of towns, the importance placed on the citing of the Masonic Hall. This talk, delivered without notes, was well received by all those present.

At the end of the lecture W Bro Burt was thanked by the Master, W Bro David Sharpe, and presented with copies of the last two editions of the lodge’s Transactions. Those present then showed their hearty appreciation for enabling everyone to make a great advancement in their masonic knowledge.

W Bro Burt has kindly agreed that the lodge can publish his paper in the next edition of the Transactions, which will be issued in October 2016.

In July 2015, 36 Scouts between the ages of 12 and 18 from the South Leicestershire Scouts visited Kandersteg in Switzerland for an International Expedition which was made possible by a generous donation of £1,500 by the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons

Kandersteg International Scout Centre is the world centre of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement. The centre began in 1923 with Lord Baden-Powell, who, after the first World Scout Jamboree, had a dream about a place where all Scouts from all over the world could meet: the Permanent Mini Jamboree.

The Centre allows Scouts to have an international experience in fantastic surroundings. The Scouts visiting from south Leicestershire participated in a week of International and Friendship Activities at the Campsite including river rafting as well as experiencing part of the Swiss Alps.

Jospeh, one of the Scouts who attended the Expedition said: 'This is best thing I've ever done in my life,' whilst Edmund asked after river rafting: 'We don't have to paddle back upstream do we?'

Robert Row, Contingent Leader for the South Leicestershire Scouts said; 'In Scouting, international activities play a huge part and scouts of all ages work towards badges to show their increased understanding of religion and cultures. They help our members to understand the part that they play in the worldwide organisation of Scouting. Their experiences will remain with them or the rest of their lives and we thank the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons for their help in giving them that opportunity.'

RW Bro David Hagger, Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland said: 'There are many similarities between Freemasonry and Scouting both providing a unique environment for people from all backgrounds to learn skills, make lasting friendships, and achieve their potential. We are therefore very pleased to have been able support our local Scouts on their expedition.'

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