Province champions Birmingham Hospital

Warwickshire masons have raised £10,000 for the Birmingham Children’s Hospital Cancer Centre Appeal, with the Province also named as one of its Charity Champions. Fundraising began when PGM David Macey set up The Famous Five initiative, giving lodges five charities for which they could raise funds. Hospital public fundraising manager Vikki Savery thanked the Province ‘for the incredible amount of money that they have raised so far for our Cancer Appeal and plan to raise for the hospital in the future’.

Lift for Somerset air ambulances

Somerset Freemasons have presented Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance with a £2,000 grant from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, part of more than £1.5 million donated by the charity since 2007, providing funding to every air ambulance service in England and Wales. The cheque was presented by Sam Mayer of Gerard Lodge, No. 8999, on behalf of Somerset Freemasons, supported by Dave Gleeson. 

Published in The Grand Charity

Plymouth honours Royal Marines

A charity fundraising evening in support of the 350th anniversary of the Royal Marines saw a cheque for £5,150 presented to Jonathan Ball, chief executive of the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund, on behalf of Royal Marines Plymouth Lodge, No. 9528, Province of Devonshire. The Royal Marines have been on many peacekeeping and disaster assistance operations, as well as seeing active service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Among those at the event was Mark Ormrod, who lost both legs and an arm in a Taliban bomb blast. The masonic contingent was led by Provincial Grand Master Ian Kingsbury.

Cathedral culture

Durham masons have presented £50,000 to Durham Cathedral in support of its £10 million Open Treasure Appeal, and the Province has already committed to donating another similar sum. Durham Provincial Grand Master Eric Heaviside said, ‘We as Freemasons are incredibly proud of our heritage and are lucky to have this World Heritage Site on our doorstep. Freemasons have had a strong link with this building for many years and that is why we chose to get involved.’ The donation was presented to the Very Rev Michael Sadgrove, Dean of the cathedral, at the Provincial annual meeting. 

The Open Treasure project will create new exhibition spaces for the cathedral, transforming the visitor experience. 

Child bereavement charity set up

An Oxford Freemason is one of four co-founders of a new charity to help bereaved parents who are struggling to pay the cost of their child’s funeral. Kevin Tomes of St Edburg’s Lodge, No. 9233, in Bicester has helped to set up the Child Funeral Charity. Having worked in the funeral industry for 10 years, Kevin is keen to raise the profile of the new charity and hopes fellow masons will support it. The venture is aimed at families who lose a child aged 16 and under and has been set up by Kevin, his wife Mary, funeral industry professional Anne Barber and third sector professional Roger Gale.

Gloucestershire garden party marks foundation milestone

Dame Janet Trotter, the Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire and president of the Gloucestershire Community Foundation (GCF), held a garden party to celebrate the GCF’s 25th anniversary, together with the foundation’s chairman, Dr Roger Head, and trustees. 

The event was held at the house and gardens of Highnam Court. There were many Gloucestershire Freemasons among the guests, including PGM Tim Henderson Ross and his wife. They enjoyed afternoon tea and heard from some of the inspiring groups who have received funding from the GCF. Dame Janet explained how the GCF is strategic in directing its funding, working with the donating bodies to ensure funds get to the right people. 

The Board of General Purposes is proud to announce that the main London event celebrating 300 years of the United Grand Lodge of England will be held at the Royal Albert Hall in South Kensington on 31 October 2017

The gala event will be the culmination of the many varied events taking place throughout the Provinces and Districts during that year.

The Royal Albert Hall will accommodate up to 5,000 masons and their partners, with 2,500 invited to attend a dinner afterwards at Battersea Park. 

With places limited, it is currently planned for the whole event to be streamed online.

Published in UGLE

Angling for a smile

The Cumberland and Westmorland branch of the Masonic Fishing Charity has been working with James Rennie School in Carlisle to give pupils a day in the countryside, with experienced and qualified anglers helping them to try their hand at fly fishing. The Masonic Fishing Charity aims to bring an interactive fishing and countryside experience to people with special needs with its Catching the Smile initiative. The third and final event of the Cumberland and Westmorland fishing charity’s events for 2014 took place at Gilcrux Springs Trout Farm near Aspatria, with 17 young people from James Rennie School and their teachers and carers. Among the guests were Provincial Grand Master Norman Thompson and the High Sheriff of Cumbria, Martyn Hart.

Gresham goes to Guildhall

Pete Digby of Gresham Lodge, No. 7651, London, has completed a nine-day, 150-mile run from the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to Guildhall Yard in the City of London in support of the Afghanistan Trust

Pete and his teammates Paul Milson and John Vergopolis arrived to cheers from City of London Police Commissioner Adrian Leppard, Sheriff Sir Paul Judge, Colonel Commandant of the Parachute Regiment Lieutenant General Jacko Page, half a dozen Chelsea Pensioners and other well-wishers.  

To make the challenge even more gruelling, there was another ‘team member’ – a 250kg oven called Agatha, which Pete pulled behind him throughout the run.

Pete is a serving officer in the City of London Police, an ex-Parachute Regiment soldier and no stranger to a challenge, having run London Marathons carrying a fridge and a washing machine. 

Red Cross receives generator

Members of Caversham Lodge, No. 3831, in Oxfordshire, have purchased a generator to enable the British Red Cross to run heat and lighting for an outdoor treatment post, which would be set up alongside a vehicle. 

This donation is in addition to the funds for a new Red Cross First Aid Unit for Reading, which launched last summer. The new generator means the First Aid Unit will be fully functional even in the middle of a field. 

Pamela Baggaley of the British Red Cross, Berkshire, said, ‘We are delighted that the lodge has donated the generator. It will enable us to provide the best first aid treatment to people wherever there is need.’

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