Celebrating 300 years
Wednesday, 14 September 2016 10:15

Birthday greetings to HM The Queen

HM The Queen's ninetieth birthday

At today's Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge, the Deputy Grand Master, RW Bro Jonathan Spence,  informed Grand Lodge and the Craft as a whole of the following exchange of letters that had taken place in connection with Her Majesty's ninetieth birthday:

To Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,

On behalf of all members of the United Grand Lodge of England I send loyal greetings and congratulations on the occasion of Your Majesty's ninetieth Birthday.

[signed] EDWARD, Grand Master

United Grand Lodge of England

Her Majesty graciously replied:

To HRH The Duke of Kent, Grand Master

Please convey my warm thanks to the Members of the United Grand Lodge of England for their loyal greetings, sent on the occasion of my ninetieth birthday.

I much appreciate your thoughtfulness in writing as you did and, in return, I send my best wishes to you and all concerned.

ELIZABETH R

Published in UGLE

Right royal knees-up

The bunting was out as Freemasons' Hall, Leicester dressed to impress with the Union Flag flying high to celebrate the 90th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the style of a street party

The dining halls were packed as Freemasons, family and friends gathered to celebrate the Royal birthday with sandwiches, tea, cakes and songs from the 1920's through to modern day.

The Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro David Hagger kicked off the occasion, before handing over to the microphone to stars of the show, Phillip and Judy Dodd, and Marguerite Beatson, who raised the roof with expert renditions of classic hits from throughout the ages. Songs were selected from each of the decades, with titles such as Somewhere over the Rainbow, (There'll be Bluebirds over) The White cliffs of Dover, and Abba's Thank you for the Music.

The afternoon had something for everyone, for the many children that were present a table had been prepared just for them, with activities such as crown making and colouring, enough to keep them entertained whilst they waited for the cakes to be served! The fun was rounded off with flag waving and singing which had everyone up on their feet.

Health equipment in the community

The Province of Dorset has completed its programme of installing automated external defibrillators (AEDs) on the outside of masonic buildings across the county, as part of a series of presentations to the local community to commemorate Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Units have been fitted to 17 masonic halls and are available to any member of the public in an emergency. The funding came from Dorset Masonic Care (DMC) and The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, providing £32,500 and £5,000 respectively. 

The units are located in locked, vandal-proof metal cabinets, which can be opened by calling 999 to obtain the access code. The control centre is then able to record when and where a unit has been used. 

Wednesday, 15 January 2014 00:00

The Queen's New Year's Honours list 2014

A number of Freemasons have been honoured in HM The Queen's New Year's Honours list 2014

David Mark Spofforth, OBE

After graduating from Durham University and training in the City, Mark joined the family practice in Sussex where he has worked for 30 years, including two periods as Managing Partner.

He is the immediate Past President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants having served on Council for 18 years and chairing various committees, and served on the Takeover Panel. Mark spent 6 years making weekly broadcasts on local BBC Radio on financial matters, wrote a monthly column for Accountancy Age on practice management, and has lectured internationally on accountancy topics, including at the 2010 World Congress of Accountants.

His international experience includes a 6 year period on the International Accounting Education Standards Board, a standard setting body of IFAC, and visits to regulators and other professional bodies on every continent. He is now a Technical Advisor to the IFAC Board.

Away from professional life Mark has a partner, Veronica, and a son and a daughter. Mark’s daughter Gemma has recently retired as an elite swimmer, having competed in the Beijing and London Olympics; in August 2009 she became World Champion and continues to hold the World Record for the 100m backstroke event. His son, Peter works for a Corporate Finance company in the City.

Mark is currently Junior Warden of the Chartered Accountants Livery Company, and has also been Master of the Horners, another City Livery Company. He is a governor of Sion School in Worthing, and is Trustee of the Thalidomide Trust.

Peter Clive Crawford Pitt, MBE

Peter travelled the world accompanying widows of fallen soldiers on pilgrimages to military memorials close to where their husbands had been killed. He said the trips were a 'frightening experience' for the women but offered some form of comfort.

He was thrilled but surprised to have been honoured. 'I thought I was far too old for it,' he said.

'I'm 80 now and thought when you get to my age you don't get these things.'

In church the organist congratulated Dr Pitt on his MBE saying, 'I have never heard of anyone getting the OBE and the MBE at the same time.'

'How come?' I said. 'Over Bloody Eighty and the MBE!'

Dr Robert David Taylor Sillett, MBE

'It has been a great honour for me to have been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours. The citation is for services to the community and helping others.

'All my many friends in Freemasonry both Provincially, Nationally and Internationally have been very supportive of one aspect of my work since retirement in 2001. It was very clear to me at the time that there was a void in my life that needed filling. Raising money for Down Syndrome Education International has been one area and I thank all those Freemasons who have helped me raise a lot of money through my presentations in several degrees.

'Serving the needs of others was constantly in my mind during my professional career at Christ’s Hospital. My challenge on retirement was to continue this ambition in as many areas as possible. I shall continue to focus my mind on helping those in need bearing in mind those prophetic words of Abraham Lincoln ‘No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child’.'

Richard Brian Sutherland, MBE

Richard, honorary chairman of the board of trustees at Birtenshaw School, has been awarded an MBE for services to education and the community in Bolton.

He is a Past Master of Anchor and Hope Lodge No. 37 and Supera Moras Lodge No. 3326. He is also a Member of Antiquity Lodge No. 146.

The Birtenshaw school moved to its new multi-million pound site, in Bromley Cross, in September 2012 and Mr Sutherland was instrumental in bringing the building of the new school from dream to reality. At that time, after 21 years serving Birtenshaw as trustee and six years as chairman, he stepped down from the role and a plaque was unveiled to reveal the school hall would be known as Richard Sutherland Hall as a mark of his commitment.

Richard, who retired as Chief Executive of Bolton Health Authority in 1994, said 'I would like to thank everyone for the opportunity of working at Birtenshaw. The MBE belongs to Birtenshaw and the other charities who have put up with me for so many years.'

Maj (retired) David Malcolm Davies, BEM, TD*

David lives in Porthcawl and has been branch secretary of SSAFA Mid Glamorgan for 12 years, and a caseworker in the Bridgend division. He was previously a teacher and also worked in the accounts department of a law firm until retirement last year.

He has 5 very busy grandchildren and his hobbies include reading, gardening, walking and charity work.

Graham Phillip Ellis, BEM

Father-of-three Graham, of Puffers Green, Harlow, has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds after more than 30 years of fundraising for a number of different charities.

His first challenge was the London Marathon in 1981 and just last month he completed a 100 km trek in one of the toughest terrains in the world, the Sahara Desert. The chartered surveyor was in the desert when the letter informing him of the honour arrived at his home.

He said: 'I have been fundraising for so long that I thought I had missed out on something like this so I’m chuffed. I’m half expecting for there to be some mistake!

'It’s lovely and my family are very proud. The letter arrived while I was in the Sahara so I got home and saw the letter was there from the Cabinet Office. It has been more than 30 years of fundraising and I am pleased to be recognised. It’s really nice.'

Graham, who has five grandchildren, added: 'I have been well supported throughout the years; it has been great. The Sahara was fantastic, an amazing experience and very tough. It’s kind of hard to put into words really.'

The British Empire Medal was reintroduced in 2012 to reward sustained, local contribution and innovative, high-impact work.

Joseph John Gildea, BEM

Landlord Joseph has been awarded the British Empire Medal for his tireless charity work.

For over 10 years Joe has raised in excess of £107,000 in memory of his daughter Angela, who died from breast cancer when she was just 32 years old.

Since 2002 Joe and his regulars have been raising funds for the Countess of Chester Breast Care Unit, with regulars jumping out of planes, climbing mountains and even racing around Chester Racecourse dressed as turkeys in the annual Turkey Trot.

In September 2012 Joe's pub, nicknamed ‘the little pub with a big heart’, was voted the most charitable pub in the UK by trade paper The Morning Advertiser. He recently retired, but hopes to continue with charity work.

Andrew Harold Osborne, BEM

'I am deeply honoured to be awarded this decoration.'

'I was appointed a trustee of the Faversham United Municipal Charities by the Faversham Borough Council in 1970 and subsequently a co-opted trustee by my fellow trustees. 

'In 1970 the Charity was in a sorry state with little and often misused funds, and trustees who had closed the almshouse chapel, demolished the spires and whose main aspiration seemed to be to demolish the remainder of the building or hand it over to the Council and close the charity.

'I am proud to have been a member of a revitalised board of trustees who under the guidance of Harry Woodman, their new clerk, succeeded in turning around the finances of the charity and saving the building and its endowments for the benefit of Faversham. In 1987, 16 new modern almshouses were added to the estate.

'Last year the final step in this transformation was achieved with the agreement of the Charity Commissions to a new trust scheme which swept away the previous outdated and obsolete trusts and amalgamating the 32 separate charities under one modern scheme called Faversham Municipal Charity 2010.

'This new scheme is still bedding down and I hope to remain a trustee to see this work completed. The next major task is to remodel the old building to provide all units with separate bedrooms, improve disabled access, thermal and sound insulation and generally bring the flats up to a high standard to last for the next 150 years.'

Other brethren to receive honours included Sir Roger Gifford (Knight Bachelor), Lt Col Victor Joseph Garth Matthews (OBE), Paul Victor Dedman (MBE) and David Malcolm Davies (BEM).

Published in More News
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 01:00

Pro Grand Master's address - June 2013

Quarterly Communication 
12 June 2013 
An address by the MW the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes 

Brethren,

our June meeting always has a full agenda with the meeting of the Grand Charity and I am sure you would like me to thank the President of the Grand Charity and all whose hard work has made their work so effective over so many years. What is not required now is a long address from the chair and I will be brief.

Brethren, you will recollect that last year, in recognition of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, we sent a loyal message to Her Majesty on the occasion of the sixtieth Anniversary of her accession to the Throne.

Last Tuesday a service was held in Westminster Abbey to celebrate the sixtieth year since her Coronation. Her actual Coronation was on the second of June 1953 and the ceremony was conducted by Dr Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury. Interestingly, Archbishop Fisher was a committed Freemason serving as Grand Chaplain in 1937 whilst being Bishop of Chester. He was re-appointed Grand Chaplain in 1939 just at the time he was made Bishop of London.

At the Quarterly Communication the day after the Coronation, on the third of June 1953, the Earl of Scarbrough, Grand Master, gave a loyal address to Her Majesty on the occasion of her Coronation and I quote, “Brethren, we meet in Grand Lodge this afternoon on the day following the Coronation of our Gracious Queen. This is an event which stirs the hearts of us all – in these Islands, in every part of the Commonwealth and, indeed, throughout the world. We Freemasons, remembering in particular the many greatly-prized links which we have had, and those which we still have, with the Royal House, have our hearts full of loyalty and prayer towards Her Majesty”.

Brethren, we often joke that nothing in Freemasonry ever changes or that, if it does, it takes a good many years to do so. In this case I know that it is true and that as we celebrate the Coronation – sixty years later – those sentiments expressed by Lord Scarbrough are as true today as they were then. Long may that be the case.

We celebrate another royal sixtieth anniversary this year, that of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh’s sixty years as a subscribing member of the Craft. The Grand Master sent him a message of congratulations to mark the occasion and, in reply, Prince Philip asked for his thanks and best wishes to be expressed to all members.

Brethren I have to announce that the MW The Grand Master has appointed VWBro Sir David Wootton Past Grand Sword Bearer and, of course last year’s Lord Mayor, to succeed RWBro David Williamson as Assistant Grand Master with effect from 12 March 2014. On that day either the MW The Grand Master or I will have the pleasure of investing him.  I must add that Bro Williamson will be continuing as Third Grand Principal in Supreme Grand Chapter.

Published in Speeches

Music to their ears

Surrey masons Fred Scott and John Collins have composed their first piece of music: Sovereign Lord, an oratorio. Her Majesty the Queen accepted a presentation copy of the score to mark her Diamond Jubilee in 2012. John is a retired banker and Fred is a pianist and composer who runs a music agency, regularly performing concerts raising funds for Skeletal Cancer Action Trust. Both are members of South Croydon Lodge, No. 4567.

Falklands meeting with The Duke

Last November, a pilgrimage was organised to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Falklands conflict. A group of veterans and next of kin of those who fell in the war visited the islands. HRH The Duke of Kent accompanied the group as the representative of Her Majesty the Queen, and among the 50 veterans he met at a function were five masons.

They were Michael Winn (Richard Linnecar Lodge, No. 6413, West Yorkshire), Tim Lewis (Wychwood Lodge, No. 2414, Oxfordshire), Andrew Weston (St Vincent’s Lodge, No. 5295, Hampshire), Clive Pattle (The Ancient Lodge of Forfar Kilwinning, No. 90, Scottish Constitution) and Gordon Mather (Dean Waterfield Lodge, No. 8089, Herefordshire).

Published in Features

Historic badge of honour

A masonic emblem of professional excellence in healthcare hints at the history of the MSF

A key part of masonic history has been caught on camera as Her Majesty the Queen left hospital in March. The nurse escorting the Queen out of the ward at King Edward VII’s Hospital was photographed wearing the signature belt buckle and masonic jewel that shows she trained at the Royal Masonic Hospital, London.

The MSF was established in 1990 to take on the role of the Samaritan Fund at the Royal Masonic Hospital and since the closure of the hospital six years later, the MSF has maintained the spirit and ethos of the original Samaritan Fund. King George V and Queen Mary opened the Royal Masonic Hospital in 1933, and a School of Nursing was established there in 1948. It quickly gained a reputation for producing highly skilled nurses whose silver belt buckles became a distinctive honour amongst the profession.

Call 020 7404 1550 to support the work of the MSF

Published in Masonic Samaritan Fund

Malcolm, who is now 60, was born in Epsom and lived in Leatherhead as a child although, in his own words, he spent most of his time until the age of 12 in Great Ormond Street Hospital. He was born with the condition syndactyly which means form the Greek 'together fingers' and is an hereditary condition. The digits on his hands and feet were fused together. At the age of just 4 years both his legs were amputated at the knee and with many skin grafts from his stomach and much surgery this hands were partially separated to give him at least some ability to grip. He was educated in Leatherhead but will tell you that the best years of his young life were spent on Romney Marsh. His first set of legs sound Dickensian, they were wood and tin, 'my Long John Silver period' he calls it.

During his childhood he was a Scout, including being a member of the Great Ormond Stree troupe, and took part in many activities that even the able bodied might not attempt, including abseiling, hiking and sailing. He loved the Scouts and has a soft spot for the Sea Scouts. Such was his commitment that he won the Cornwell Medal, named after the boy seaman Jack Cornwell, VC (won at Jutland in WW1) and commonly known by many as the Scout VC. It was presented to Malcolm by Her Majesty the Queen at St Georges Chapel, Windsor on St George's day, and she subsequently presented him with the Queen's Scout badge! These are awarded to cadets who excel at scouting. 'My great claim to fame though is appearing on Blue Peter,' jokes Malcolm regularly, casually dismissing his other achievements.

After his education he joined the Meteorological Office at Bracknell. He really loved the job, but realised that his life in the weather was not for him. Rather, he wanted to be outside and at 21 he started his own company. He has for many years owned and managed Elvy Transport following qualification as an HGV driver – amazing in itself. His main contracts are with the RNLI and the Royal Navy and he was the chosen contractor for transporting 'Gloriana', the Queen's barge, in readiness for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations last year.

He is committed to aiding charities and often moves decommissioned lifeboats for free, including the 'Mary Joycey' to Newbiggin-on-Sea for restoration. He always transports Sea Scout vessels when approached as a way of 'giving back'. He spent over 20 years as an organiser for the Ringwood Carnival in Hampshire and even today lends his vehicles.

Malcolm had an interest in Freemasonry for many years and several times spoke to masons in the hope that he might be able to join, but things went nowhere until he met W Bro Max Preece. Max told him that Freemasonry is in your heart not your legs, and he was initiated into Elizabethan Lodge No. 7262. 'I had begun to think that Freemasons didn't like the disabled, as nothing ever went anywhere,' he now says with a smile. During his years as a Deacon one of his prosthetic legs collapsed and he suffered multiple injuries. It was an awful time for him, but he filled his role from a wheelchair as both Junior and Senior Deacon. While a Warden the furniture and pedestals were adapted for him, and as Worshipful Master the whole kit is on the main floor. He accepts that this must be so but spent months working with his physiotherapist practicing kneeling for his installation. It looked great when he did so. Not bad for a man with no knees, lower legs and malformed hands.

As if that were not enough, Malcolm also suffers from dyslexia and finds learning the ritual a little difficult. 'I learn it one way round, and it often comes out another!' His installation on 15th April 2013 at the Diamond Jubilee meeting of the Elizabethan Lodge was one of the most emotional and magnificent many had ever witnessed. Tears of joy appeared when W Bro Max gave the address to the Master and later when listening to him sing the Master's song. What a special evening for a special mason.

Brian Todhunter, a member of Tuscan Oak and Lambert Head Lodge No. 6387, which meets at Pemberton Masonic Hall in Wigan has been invested with the Royal Victorian Order Medal.

Brian played a significant part in the Queen's Jubilee celebrations by leading the team of engineers which restored the Royal Yacht Royal Barge which carried the Queen and Prince Phillip as part of the Thames pageant on that very special day.

The Royal Victorian Order recognises distinguished personal service to the monarch or members of her family. Established in 1896 by Queen Victoria, the order has five hierarchical grades and one medal with three levels, each representing a different level of service.

Brian, who is a member of the Royal Yacht Association, was specially re-called and selected for the task to ensure that the barge, which had not seen service for over 15 years, was restored it to its former pristine condition. For his personal service to the sovereign he was awarded the prestigious Royal Victoria Medal (Silver) which is awarded to non-commissioned officers of HM Forces. Brian served for a period on the Royal Yacht Britannia when it was still in service.

His Royal Highness Prince Charles conducted Brian’s investiture at Buckingham Palace and during a conversation, Prince Charles recalled that using the Royal Barge and escort boats from HMY Britannia had brought back many happy memories for him, Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

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