Anthony Henderson, Bedfordshire’s Provincial Grand Master, announced the exciting news that work has now begun on a new Accommodation and Amenities Lodge for Bedfordshire Scouts – following a £500,000 donation from Bedfordshire Freemasons
The Lodge, which will accommodate 40 Scouts and eight Leaders – and even more during the day – has abled and disabled facilities, as well as a kitchen, drying room and a large activities area. It has a log cabin appearance and is designed to blend in with the 17-acre ancient woodland in which it will be built.
Following the arrival of the first delivery of logs, Bedfordshire Freemasons held a BBQ and log laying ceremony at the Leslie Sells Activity Centre on 4th August 2019, where all those present were able to see the size and footprint of the building, which is due to be complete by Spring 2020.
Anthony Henderson said: ‘To mark our Tercentenary – celebrating 300 years of Freemasonry in 2017 – we in Bedfordshire wanted to create a lasting legacy that would benefit our Province for many years to come. We discussed ideas with a number of Bedfordshire-based charities and decided to support the Scouts, because we felt we shared common values and the inscription I wrote on the First Log laid, ‘Freemasonry and Scouting – Sharing One Ethos’, reflects our shared aims and values.
‘The lodge we are providing for Bedfordshire Scouts should last for in excess of 100 years. We hope it will bring great joy to many hundreds of thousands of Scouts over the coming years. I would like to take this opportunity to place on record, my most sincere thanks to the members of Bedfordshire, for their truly amazing support and generosity. Without your support and enthusiasms, we could not have created this amazing building.
‘I would also like to thank all those companies and individuals who have donated goods and services – valued at just under £100,000 – to help us deliver this project. I look forward to next Spring, when the lodge should be echoing to the sound of Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts, Scouts, Explorers Scouts and the Scout Network enjoying themselves.’
Scott Robert, County Chairman of Bedfordshire Scouts, said: ‘We were approached some four years ago by Bedfordshire Freemasons, to explore how we could work together for the benefit of Scouting in Bedfordshire. We had known for many years that our existing accommodation facilities were no longer fit for purpose, but just did not have the money to replace them.
‘When the Freemasons first approached us, we hoped they might make a donation towards replacing our accommodation facilities. We never imagined that they would design, construct and most importantly pay for a 48 Bed State of the Art Accommodation Lodge. On behalf of Bedfordshire Scouting and all the tens of thousands of Scouts, not just from Bedfordshire, but from across the whole of the UK and the world, who will use this facility, I would like to place on record, our most grateful thanks to Bedfordshire Freemasons for their most generous donation.’
Bedfordshire Freemason Terry Thurley undertook a sponsored Wing Walk to raise £10,000 for the Bedfordshire Provincial Grand Lodge Appeal to build a new Accommodation Lodge for Bedfordshire Scouts
When Bedfordshire’s Provincial Grand Master Anthony Henderson heard what Terry was planning to do he pronounced: ‘He must be bonkers.’
Terry, Master of Bedfordshire Lodge of Provincial Grand Stewards No. 9577, proceeded to take on the feat of standing on the wings of a 75 year old Boeing Stearman bi plane, as it flew over the Cotswold countryside at 130mph.
Terry said: ‘To be Master of any lodge is a great honour, but to be Installed as Master of a Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge is very special privilege, so I wanted to do something to say thank you to the lodge for electing me as their Master.
‘In Bedfordshire we are building a new 48 bed state of the art Accommodation and Amenities Lodge for Bedfordshire Scouts. To help raise the £500,000 needed, I enlisted the assistance of members of the Bedfordshire Lodge of Provincial Grand Stewards, to ask their Mother Lodges/Lodges they were associated with, whether they would consider sponsoring my wing walk.
‘We only asked them to consider sponsoring me for £1 plus Gift Aid, which would have raised around £2,000. We were surprised, but absolutely delighted, that many members and lodges and chapters dug deep into their pockets and raised over five times what we expected.
‘I was initially very apprehensive taking on the challenge, but once I was air born and travelling at 130mph over the beautiful Cotswold countryside, I started to relaxed and then I became exhilarated by the experience.’
When asked if he would do it again, Terry replied, ‘I may be bonkers, but I’m not totally mad!’
It’s the journey that matters
Via Rolls-Royce, camper van, horse and cart, speedboat and tandem bicycle, Lifelites chief executive Simone Enefer-Doy travelled 2,500 miles in two weeks to raise the profile of this hard-working charity
Providing life-changing assistive technology, Lifelites helps the 10,000 children and young people in hospices across the British Isles live their short lives to the full. On 25 May 2018, the charity’s chief executive, Simone Enefer-Doy, set off on an epic road, air and river trip to spread the word and raise funds.
The 2,500-mile challenge, called Lift for Lifelites, was to take in 47 famous landmarks in England and Wales in just 14 days. For each leg of the journey, Simone received a lift from Provincial supporters in an eclectic mix of transportation. After setting an initial target of raising £50,000 for Lifelites, the total now stands at over £104,000. Simone says she has been astounded at the support and generosity she encountered as she travelled around the country.
‘Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that so many people would come out to meet me on my journey and support my challenge. We have received a terrific welcome wherever we have gone, and it really spurred me on to continue whenever I felt myself flagging. I would like to thank everyone – drivers, donors and venues – for helping to make Lift for Lifelites happen. We couldn’t have done it without you.’
Bedfordshire Freemasons have donated £6,500 to St Mary’s Church of England Academy, in the village of Stotfold, to purchase a new trim trail for its playground
Sarah Webster, who chairs the School Association, had been trying to raise the money without success until she casually mentioned it to her father, Tony Forwell, a West Kent mason.
Tony told Sarah that the Province of Bedfordshire could be in a position to provide some assistance. Sarah wrote to the Province and was ‘absolutely amazed’ when she received a letter from Provincial Grand Master Tony Henderson informing her that they would fund 100 per cent of the cost.
Ambulance service flying high with funding boost from Masonic Charitable Foundation in Bedfordshire
On Sunday 30th April, Bedfordshire Freemasons attended the Icknield Road Club, 2017 Spring Sportive, at Redborne School in Ampthill
During the Family Fun Day, they presented a cheque for £4,000 to the East Anglian Air Ambulance. Anthony Henderson, the head of Bedfordshire Freemasons told us: 'Freemasonry in England is 300 years old this year, and charity is one of the foundations upon which Freemasonry is built. As part of our Tercentenary celebrations, we are giving an additional £3 million to local and national charities during 2017. This is in addition to the £30 million we annually give to charities and good causes. The £4,000 we gave to East Anglian Air Ambulance today is part of the £192,000 Freemasons recently gave to the 22 air ambulance and rescue services in England and Wales. This brings the total Freemasons have donated to air ambulance and rescue services in England and Wales since 2007 to £2.1 million.'
Amongst the Bedfordshire Freemasons was Wally Randal (pictured above holding his walking stick) a 101-year old Freemason from Leighton Buzzard. Wally, a former Desert Rat, a member of the Royal British Legion for over 60 years and the oldest poppy seller in England told us: 'A member of the air ambulance crew told me that the first helicopter flew in 1939 – some 78 years ago – and just one year before I joined the British Army to fight for King and country in the Second World War aged 24.'
Unlocking the brand
For UGLE Director of Communications Mike Baker, the challenge Freemasonry faces in the run-up to the Tercentenary celebrations is in improving public image
What is your background?
My career started in retail. I worked my way up the management ladder in companies like Habitat and WHSmith before moving into hospitality with Forte in regional operations management.
I then took a leap of faith into a very different field for the Post Office. Initially a retail network manager there, I moved into sales development, communications and marketing for its financial services and travel products, which were new areas for the Post Office. After that, I left to set up my own business development and marketing consultancy. It was during a secondment with a telecoms company in 2013 that I became aware that UGLE was looking for a Director of Communications.
Is the role of Director of Communications a new one?
It is a new position in terms of the scope of the responsibilities. The job title had previously been held by John Hamill, and his role had extensively involved combatting discrimination. This is also within my remit, but it’s not as significant a part thanks to John’s excellent work and the ongoing strategy from both the Grand Master and the Grand Secretary to make Freemasonry a more open organisation.
‘I believe that the best time to fix the roof is when the sun is out, and it really will be shining on Freemasonry in 2017.’
UGLE has a clear idea of the strategy leading up to the Tercentenary so, for me, the job is about matching my skill set and my views with that direction. The opportunity that our Tercentenary represents should not be underestimated. I believe that the best time to fix the roof is when the sun is out, and it really will be shining on Freemasonry in 2017. There will be huge charitable spend that year, but there will also be enormous involvement from our members in communities and in celebrating 300 years of heritage. One of the heartening things to witness is the amount of activity that is undertaken in the Provinces and Metropolitan area by volunteers. It’s not just about the amount of money they raise; it’s about the difference they make to people’s lives.
How did you become a mason?
I joined Freemasonry by chance – I had two brothers who were Freemasons in Somerset and Bristol.
I remember mentioning them to a colleague at work in 2000 and asked what he knew about ‘that lot’. The colleague asked if I was interested, I got introduced and became a Freemason in London.
I progressed in the Craft and joined the Royal Arch. Since then, I’ve been involved in Metropolitan initiatives – most recently Talking Heads, which has also taken me out into the Provinces to explain the history and attraction of the Royal Arch.
Do you have an average day?
One of my daily tasks is monitoring our media performance, looking at how our image is defined by other people and challenging discrimination when it happens, whether it’s from the media, MPs, faith groups or employers. All too often discrimination comes through lack of understanding, which is why it’s key for us to approach people sensitively and to dissolve any element of fear. I also work with the Provinces to help them engage with the local media and with their own membership, keeping them updated so that they can be advocates and ambassadors. One size does not fit all – the communication strategy for a Province depends on the challenges it faces, which may differ greatly from one to the next.
Are you marketing a brand?
As a membership organisation we have a product in Freemasonry. It’s no different from the marketing function in any business; it’s all about developing awareness of that product. I want people to understand Freemasonry in its real sense, to see it as a force for good and consider being a member. There’s also the advocacy element, getting our members to say, ‘Hey, you ought to join.’ That’s no different from the objectives for mainstream marketing in any brand.
What’s difficult about masonic communication?
When it comes to communication, all the activity that we undertake can be broken down into three elements: clarity, capability and consequence. In terms of clarity, we have a very clear picture about what we want Freemasonry to look like in people’s hearts and minds by the Tercentenary. We’re also very clear about what the consequences will be: that it’s about maintaining a stable number of people in the organisation; attracting and retaining new members; and moving forward in dispelling myths. The challenge is the bit in the middle, the capability, how we equip our members and give them the permission to speak.
We know in masonic terms what our principles and tenets are, but how do we represent them? It can be a challenge to use the right kind of language in order to dispel myths, to talk clearly about what Freemasonry represents, to explain that it’s about integrity, kindness, honesty, fairness and tolerance. Not everyone has these word sets and it’s made more difficult because Freemasonry is different for every person. We therefore need to be non-prescriptive so people feel comfortable, whether they’re talking about Freemasonry to the local press or at a dinner party.
Does the Tercentenary feel close?
We don’t always do things immediately in Freemasonry but when we do, we do them in a considered, appropriate and consistent way. I feel very positive about the Tercentenary because the sun will be shining in 2017 when we fix our roof and move forward. There is a massive dedication and desire to move forward, as well as a sense of duty to safeguard our future. Yes, there will always be a degree of trepidation about an event like this, but it’s not just about what’s happening at the centre on 31 October 2017. It’s also about what happens across the country and throughout the Districts from 26 June 2016, which is the start of our 300th year. This is why we need to start increasing the momentum of our communications and engagement.
How does your job sit with your Freemasonry?
I deal with a lot of Freemasonry as a member of UGLE and the Supreme Grand Chapter. I’m the Scribe E of my mother chapter and Director of Ceremonies for my lodge in West Kent. I wouldn’t do it unless I had a passion for it and I wouldn’t go to a meeting if I didn’t think it would be enjoyable – I haven’t missed a main Craft or Royal Arch meeting since my initiation in 2001. As a representative of UGLE, I feel very privileged to hold my role and to be making a difference in some way to the future of the organisation by helping it become more open. In the What’s It All About? DVD, Anthony Henderson from Bedfordshire said that the value and teachings of Freemasonry have made him the man he is today. That holds true for me.