At the Jasper Tudor Lodge No. 4074 Installation meeting on 17th February 2018, it suddenly transpired that the last four Provincial Charity Stewards were all in attendance
This provided the opportunity for a memorable photograph and a unique event as the four brethren are collectively responsible for raising over £2.5 million pounds for the Province of Monmouthshire.
This is even more impressive considering there are less than 1,500 Monmouthshire Freemasons.
On Saturday the 28th November a Gala Dinner was held at Newport Masonic Hall
This fully booked event was the culmination of several months work by the APGM W Bro Chris Evans and his committee who are heading a ‘mini festival’ to replenish the charitable fund which supports only charities and good causes within the Province of Monmouthshire.
The main event of the evening was the Provincial raffle which raised the staggering sum of £6,500. All thanks must go to the lodge Charity Stewards and others who distributed the tickets very well. Almost all the prizes were donated by the lodges and the first prize was £500 with many other high value prizes also.
The crowd were entertained by a very humorous after dinner speaker in the person of WV Bro Michael Roff, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Herefordshire along with a soloist singer Bro Mark Pearce who has entertained many times with his rich baritone voice.
It is hoped a similar event will be held next year to continue the good work helping the less fortunate. The funds were considerably enhanced by the auction of three limited edition prints of the murals which used to stand in Newport town centre.
On the 28th of November the annual presentation evening was held at Newport Masonic Hall
There were 40 awards given to local good causes and charities totalling £30,000. The evening was without doubt a great success, and, listening to the thanks and descriptions of the activities that these volunteers do for others within our community, we are very fortunate that our fundraising makes such a difference.
We are also fortunate that such hard working people are prepared to put such tremendous effort into helping others. There was a wide spectrum of charities assisted, from Langstone Church who need funds to repair vandalism to 500 year old windows to Monmouth Music Theatre who have enrolled many youngsters who are currently preparing to perform The Wizard of Oz to the general public.
The funds have been raised by the Brethren of Monmouthshire who only last year completed a five year festival for the RMTGB which raised £1.2 million pounds. There has been many innovative methods used for raising funds, from a Provincial Christmas card competition to a variety performance put on by the Jasper Tudor Lodge No. 4074. Along with more traditional methods such as a well supported Provincial raffle and a dedicated team of Charity Stewards who encourage the Brethren of the Province to take out Gift Aids so they give regularly.
We may occasionally complain about the level of fundraising that we are asked to do, but when you see the heartfelt thanks of those who benefit from our funds then it does give encouragement to continue supporting them.
On Friday 3rd of October at Blackwood Masonic Hall a dinner was organised by the Islwyn Lodge No. 4725 in aid of the Jacobs Starz charity
The guest speaker was Warren Gatland, the Welsh rugby coach, who entertained all those who attended with very frank responses to the questions that were put to him regarding the Welsh team, the Lions tour and the future of Welsh rugby.
The purpose of the evening was not only to enjoy ourselves in the company of like minded people but to make a difference to others by our donations.
The Provincial Grand Master for Monmouthshire, the RW Bro the Rev Malcolm Lane, was surprised at the level of support for the raffle and the following auction. A total of almost £4,000 was raised for Jacobs Starz, which was founded by the inspiration of Jacob Eales who died in 2009 from a cancerous tumour at the age of 15. It was Jacobs dream to set up a charity that could help others whose future appeared bleak.
Jacobs father attended the evening and was visibly touched by the generosity of people who had never even met his son but were willing to support his ideals.
Surprise find at Monmouth Masonic Rooms
Brethren of Loyal Monmouth Lodge No. 457 were surprised when a medieval guard tower was discovered in monmouth's masonic building during a preparatory survey and inspection for much needed repairs
The three storey guard tower, complete with arrow slits was hidden inside our Tyler’s flat when Lord Llangattock, a Provincial Grand Master of Monmouthshire, commissioned local architect George Vaughan Maddox to convert a theatre into masonic rooms in the 1840’s.
Ongoing research with Monmouth Archaeology and CADW indicates a cluster of four or five medieval buildings joined together and much altered through the centuries. The temple is thought to be a medieval hall with upper floors removed. Its huge chimney breast structure has been identified in the undercroft or basement, once used as a wool merchant’s premises. A second wool store in the front car park was converted into four cottages in 1840’s and demolished 1938.
Underneath the building is a once defended steep access tunnel to a still visible medieval quay on the River Monnow. How many lodges have salmon fishing rights at the bottom of their garden?
Imported limestone blocks in garden walls may have come from Monmouth Priory or more probably an adjacent Roman building.
Reference to deeds identified twelve dwellings, a brew house and timber yard. Also a 500 year covenant attached to 1830’s documents approximate to Edward I murage grant (a tax) of 1297 and another in 1315 for completing or repairing town walls, defences and reconstruction of fortified Monnow Bridge, now one of the only three in Europe. A 600-year covenant links with 1181 Assizes of Arms. Some of the town wall and what is believed to be remnants of Monk’s Gate circular flank tower can be seen in our car park.
Medieval wall finishes have also been found on stone wall of rear staircase high above the tunnel. Initial investigation of undercroft earth floor has revealed two earlier floors underneath and at least one room below which has been infilled.
The Monmouth town ‘open doors’ weekend was a great success with the Masonic Hall attracting over 250 visitors. A considerable number when you consider the building was only open for a total of six hours.
The lodge members are now tasked with the unenviable job of trying to restore the building before its too late. One wall has become porous and the funds needed to repair the roof are daunting.
Special thanks to W Bro Bill Hall who has been responsible for a considerable amount of research into the building's history.
Should a brother wish to offer free specialist advice or be able to help with either labour/materials or funding, the lodge members would be more than pleased to hear from you.
Please contact W Bro Neil Mounter:
c/o Monmouth Masonic Hall
Riding to victory with Disability Sport Wales
Monmouthshire PGM The Rev Malcolm Lane and Provincial Grand Secretary Brian Davies visited the Wales National Velodrome, Newport to present a tricycle to Neil Smith, paracycling coach for Disability Sport Wales (DSW).
DSW has helped to nurture many competitors and world-record holders as the organisation has developed and thrived with its athletes. The tricycle was provided by Roderick Hill Lodge, No. 8619, Chepstow, and lodge representative Vince White attended the presentation.
State-of-the-art technology that works by tracking its user’s eye movement has been donated to Tŷ Hafan children’s hospice by award-winning charity Lifelites. The Eye Gaze technology, unveiled at the hospice in south Wales, means that all children – whatever their disability or illness – will have access to the benefits of technology.
Lifelites has been supported by funding from the Province of Monmouthshire and Thomas Cook Children’s Charity, among others. Monmouthshire PGM the Rev Malcolm Lane, a Lifelites trustee, said: ‘We know the money donated will be put to excellent use, providing specialist technology for children at the Lifelites project closest to our hearts here in south Wales.’
Enthusiasm and commitment in Monmouthshire
In September, Monmouthshire Freemasons celebrated the conclusion of their 2013 Festival Appeal and a magnificent total of £1,219,414 for the RMTGB.
The Provincial Grand Master and Festival President, the Rev Malcolm Lane of the Welsh Province, launched the appeal just over five years ago. Malcolm, who also serves as a trustee of the RMTGB, congratulated his Province for their generosity and hard work. ‘I commend to you all the work of the RMTGB and in doing so I express on behalf of the Province my grateful thanks, bless you for your enthusiasm and commitment.’
After the total sum was revealed by RMTGB Chief Executive Les Hutchinson, the charity’s President Mike Woodcock expressed his heartfelt thanks to the one thousand three hundred members of the Province and their families during a passionate address in which he recalled his own childhood holidays in Monmouthshire.
The brethren of Monmouthshire and their families raised £1,002,013 towards the appeal – a remarkable achievement for a Province of only thirty lodges. Metropolitan Grand Lodge and other Provinces and Districts added a further £200,000.
The Festival event, held at the Celtic Manor Resort, was attended by Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes. More than four hundred guests enjoyed an evening of entertainment including Welsh harpist Sian Williams, the Only Boys Aloud choir (finalists of Britain’s Got Talent), Abertillery Orpheus Male Choir and soloist Robert Knight. Also in attendance was David Davies, Conservative MP for Monmouth.
‘Bless you for your enthusiasm and commitment.’ Rev Malcolm Lane
Over £18,000 has been donated to local charities and good causes by Monmouthshire Freemasons
All the recipients were very pleased with the donations and many were expecting much smaller sums than they actually received which was a very pleasant surprise for them.
It was truly humbling to see the dedication and emotion from so many hardworking people, all for the benefit of others.
There were several touching moments throughout the evening. India Lane and Abbey Morgan gave a well rehearsed response on behalf of the 1st Bulwark Brownies. Sara Eales, the chair of Jacobs Starz, a charity set up in memory of her son. And Ieuan Coombes, a sufferer of cerebral palsy who walked through the temple to receive just over £500 for the Sparkle Appeal.
The Provincial Grand Master RW Bro the Rev Malcolm Lane mentioned in his summing up how impressed he was with all those who do so much 'for humanity'. All funds donated were raised by Monmouthshire masons.
Monmouthshire masons raise over £1.25 million for charity
Over the last five years the Freemasons of Monmouthshire have worked very hard raising funds for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys. The charity supports underprivileged children from all walks of life who through no fault of their own find themselves in distressed circumstances. Many are orphaned by tragic events and others need support with education and life experience.
On the 27th September at the prestigious Celtic Manor resort a celebration dinner was held to reveal the total raised and to celebrate the end of our fundraising for this Festival. The event was a tremendous success with the Pro Grand Master MW Bro Peter Lowndes, the County MP David Davis and many other dignitaries and brethren from all over Monmouthshire and the surrounding counties.
In addition to the £1,219,414 for the RMTGB, the Provincial Grand Master Rev Malcolm Lane was pleased to present £50,000 to the Lifelites charity, which provides cutting-edge technology packages for children and young people in children's hospices. Together they made a grand total of over £1,260,000.
There are only 30 lodges and just over 1,400 Freemasons within the old county boundaries of Monmouthshire, and no funds were collected from the general public. This therefore is an extremely impressive sum, and thanks should go to all who worked towards this figure and those who supported our many events.
The Freemasons of Monmouthshire now intend to direct their attention towards raising money for local charities. Annually there are donations in excess of £30,000 and the intention is to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.