Suffolk Freemasons helped raise a smile for members of Ferriers Barn Day Centre – a local day centre for people with disabilities – with an afternoon of fishing
Four years ago, Suffolk Freemasons set up the Masonic Fishing Charity in the county – a charity which takes disadvantaged and disabled groups or individuals with trauma fishing for the day in order to give them a countryside experience.
Suffolk Freemasons provide all this free of charge and many Suffolk schools and groups such as Julian Support and Ferriers Barn have benefited from them. In total, over 1,200 people across the UK each year attend these fishing days, each event costing in excess of £500 which is funded by Freemasons.
The latest event was held at Hintlesham Coarse Fisheries, which had been donated free of charge by its owner, and saw the arrival of 28 people from the Ferriers Barn Day Centre.
They spent a very enjoyable day fishing, with everyone catching plenty of fish. A BBQ lunch was also provided, which was followed by an awards ceremony where all participants received a certificate, medal and a goody bag.
Nikki Goodman from the Day Centre commented: ‘The group volunteering for this event are angels; they dedicate their time to make sure other people, like our members, have a wonderful day and get to experience something which would otherwise be unavailable to them.
‘The joy on our members faces was clear and this event was the highlight of our year. Our staff also had a pretty good time too!'
At 99 years young, Jean Wood, a resident in Cornwallis Court Care Home in Bury St Edmunds, was talking about what she had and hadn’t done during her long life and innocently mentioned that she had never had the opportunity to ride on the back of a motorcycle
Samantha Wiseman, the events coordinator at the Home which is funded by Freemasons, mentioned it to Roger Florey of Phoenix Lodge No. 516 in Stowmarket, Suffolk, who immediately set out to see if it was possible to make this dream come true.
The key question, would Jean be up for the experience? Being a particularly lively lady and very spritely for her age, the answer was a very definite ‘yes, but please don’t tell my family’.
All was suitably arranged for 6th April 2019 which coincided with the monthly Cornwallis Court coffee morning. After the usual coffee, cake and the regular raffle, Jean made her way to the front car park to be suitably attired with a biker’s leather waistcoat and therefore became a member of the Fenlanders Harley Davidson Chapter for the day.
With her helmet on and a short ride down the road, Suffolk Freemasons were able to bring a long-held aspiration to fruition for Jean.
When Alife, the 17-year-old son of a Suffolk Freemason, won a place on a course at the British School of Watch Making in Sale, Cheshire, there was a huge logistical problem
The course was full-time, 3,000 hours duration – the new student needed to put the weekly hours in – but living near Felixstowe some 225 miles away and needing accommodation his options were limited – and being a ‘minor’ of 17 compounded the problem.
That was when Mum, Bernadette and Dad, Nick Doncaster, of Gyppeswick Lodge No. 4254 in the Province of Suffolk, had the idea of contacting Cheshire Freemasons. A phone call was made in early 2018 to Provincial Office at Altrincham and answered by Graham Monaghan who was on duty at that time in the Almoners Office.
The predicament was explained to Graham who promised to see what he could do and enquire whether there were any members who might have a spare room to offer Alfie, the student watchmaker. Graham started to make enquiries using his local knowledge as a Sale Freemason himself.
Mike O’Brien, who lives in Sale and is a member of De Sala Lodge No. 5657, who lives in Sale, heard of the plight and went home to discuss it with his wife Liz and son Lewis, also 17. They got in touch and the two families met up in Sale. To quote Nick Doncaster ‘all the boxes were ticked’ and Alfie moved in with them on 2nd September 2018 and has thrived there ever since.
Alfie’s course is unique within the UK and there are students from Portugal and France also taking part, although Alfie is the youngest student that the school has ever had. He hopes to gain a work experience place with a leading Swiss watchmaker in early 2020.
An interest in watches and clocks and how they worked took him to visit the Birmingham Watch Fair a couple of years ago where he learnt about the British School of Watch Making. At Mike and Liz’s home in Sale, he has his own bedroom and the company of Lewis who is his own age, as elder daughters Danielle (26) and Lauren (28) no longer live at home.
Liz said: ‘Alfie has settled in very well. He uses his bike to get to and from the school and has recently joined a gym. He has been out with Mike and Lewis to some of the social functions of the Lodge and has met quite a few of the members.’
Alfie will be living with the O’Brien family until the end of his course in July 2020. In the meantime, the Sale family will be travelling to the Doncaster family home in July this year to visit Nick and Bernadette for a family social occasion.
Families struggling to cope will have somewhere to turn, thanks to a grant of £4,929 from Suffolk Freemasons to Home-Start Mid & West Suffolk
The grant, which comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, will support a service which helps parents who have at least one child under five. Home-Start Mid & West Suffolk looks at the challenges the parents can encounter and provides encouragement, understanding and help. In particular they will look at:
- The child’s physical needs and development
- Dealing with their child’s challenging behaviour
- Support to play and interact with their child
- Enabling parents to facilitate their child’s language development
- Help with their child going to pre-school and school and being school ready
Other issues where parents may seek support include post-natal depression, mental health problems, depression and loneliness and isolation.
Home-Start Mid & West Suffolk’s work is all about early intervention which prevents a problem becoming a crisis. They empower parents to help themselves through the support of trained, dedicated volunteers who are parents themselves or have parenting experience.
Staff train and support the volunteers to enable them to support parents either within the home visiting service or within the family group settings. Through the home visiting service a volunteer will visit and support a parent in their home for two or three hours on a weekly basis for a few months.
The family groups are run by a staff member with the support of the volunteers who help for two hours a week. Parents attend with their children. In some areas the charity also has some groups run by volunteers with the support of staff. Volunteers also help at occasional family groups which are specifically for dads to come with their children for a few hours a month.
Carol Read, Chair of Trustees at Home-Start Mid & West Suffolk, said: 'Anyone who has children knows how difficult it can be in the best of circumstances. We use the skills and experience of our volunteers to help those parents who are in need of support. We’re very grateful to Suffolk Freemasons for their generous grant which will allow us to provide essential advice and encouragement to people who really need it.'
David Clarke, Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Suffolk, commented: 'We are very pleased to be able to help Home-Start Mid & West Suffolk, who do outstanding work providing support for local families. Their trained and dedicated volunteers help to prevent a problem becoming a crisis.'
Suffolk Freemasons Andy Gentle and Nick Moulton cycled all the way down to Freemasons' Hall on 12 September 2018, completing the final part of a four year challenge which has helped to raise over £21,600 towards their Festival 2019 for the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution
The Provincial Grand Master of Suffolk Ian Yeldham, together with his partner Amanda, wishing to show their support, accompanied Andy and Nick on this last cycle. All arrived safely and were greeted by Sir David Wootton, UGLE Assistant Grand Master, and James Newman, Chairman of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, along with around 70 supportive members from Suffolk.
Back in 2014, Andy and Nick came up with the idea of cycling to every lodge within the Province to attend a meeting, looking to raise awareness of the Festival whilst also hoping to gain an extra donation from each lodge they visited. With the added bonus of getting a little fitter and also being some of the very few to have visited all 68 lodges in the Province.
Their original target of £6,600 had to be re-evaluated due to fantastic support, as in the end the total amount raised was over £21,600 with 2,260 miles cycled.
Andy commented: 'The cycling challenge has been just that, no easy task either physically or logistically, with one of the hardest aspects being the juggle with work trying to fit in around all the various lodges meeting dates.
'But it was rewarding in so many ways, seeing the beautiful Suffolk countryside in a way we would never have otherwise seen it, making so many new friends amongst brothers and of course being so very well supported by all the lodges.'
Lifelites Chief Executive Simone Enefer-Doy has left Freemasons' Hall to kick-start her 2,500 mile journey to 47 famous landmarks to raise awareness of Lifelites and £50,000 for the charity
Dubbed 'A Lift for Lifelites', Simone will see Freemasons in nearly every Province in England and Wales and will be stopping at landmarks such as Hadrian’s Wall, Angel of the North and Bletchley Park in vehicles including a classic Rolls Royce, a camper van, a four seater plane, an E Type Jaguar and even a zip wire.
Simone said: 'With the help of Freemasons and their vehicles around the country, I’m on a mission to raise the profile of our work and raise more funds to reach more children whose lives could be transformed by the technology we can provide.'
We'll be updating this page regularly, including images, as Simone continues on her epic quest.
Day 14 – Thursday 7 June
That's a wrap! Simone completed her 14 day challenge and finished in style on ThamesJet speedboat with guests including United Grand Lodge of England Chief Executive Dr David Staples. Her fundraising currently stands at over £103,000.
Day 13 – Wednesday 6 June
It's the penultimate day, starting with a trip to Bedfordshire at the Shuttleworth Collection. The next stop was Silverstone racetrack in Northamptonshire, which included completing a lap in a Jaguar, before driving this to Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire. The last trip was to the home, studios and gardens of former artist Henry Moore in Hertfordshire.
Day 12 – Tuesday 5 June
Day 12 took in journeys across Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. The first stop was Gordon Boswell Romany Museum in Lincolnshire before using two vehicles, a Hudson Straight Six Touring Sedan and a Range Rover, to Bressington Steam and Gardens in Norfolk. There was still time to grab lunch at Bury St Edmunds Abbey in Suffolk before a BMW took Simone to her final stop in Cambridgeshire, which included a punt on the River Cam.
Day 11 – Monday 4 June
Simone crammed in four locations to start the week, with a wide variety of vehicles used. The day started in Yorkshire Sculpture Park before driving a 1977 Bentley to the National Tramway Museum in Derbyshire. It was from here that Simone then picked up a DeLorean to take her to Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire before completing the day by driving a gold Rolls-Royce to Victoria Park in Leicestershire.
Day 10 – Sunday 3 June
The week concludes with trips to Northumberland, Durham and Yorkshire and East Riding, as well as the news that Simone had already hit her £50,000 target. Trips included the Millennium Bridge in Northumberland, the Angel of the North and a scenic drive across the Yorkshire Moors to Bolton Castle.
Day 9 – Saturday 2 June
Day nine saw visits to the Provinces of West Lancashire and Cumberland and Westmorland, with landmarks including Hadrian’s Wall in Cumbria and transport provided by a horse and cart.
Day 8 – Friday 1 June
Two Rolls-Royces helped provide the transport on day nine, with Simone starting at the Avoncroft Museum in Worcestershire, driving down to New Place in Warwickshire and then to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. There was still time to conclude the day by visiting Manchester Cathedral in East Lancashire.
Day 7 – Thursday 31 May
At the halfway point, Simone made trips to Cheshire, Shropshire and Herefordshire – starting out at the Georgian Hall Dunham Massey, then heading to the RAF Museum Cosford in a custom built Rewaco Bike and finally, to Arthur’s Stone.
Day 6 – Wednesday 30 May
Day six was solely focused in North Wales where Simone took on the challenge of the fastest zip wire in the world. This was then followed by making the journey to Chester in a six month old blue McLaren Spider and flanked by the Widows’ Sons motorcyclists and Blood Bike volunteers.
Day 5 – Tuesday 29 May
Day five was a journey across the borders for Simone as she ventured to Oxfordshire before heading west to Monmouthshire and continued to South Wales and West Wales. Landmarks included Radcliffe Camera in Oxford, Caerleon Amphitheatre in Newport, the Donald Gordon theatre in Cardiff and ending the day in the county town of Carmarthen to meet the Provincial Grand Lodge of West Wales.
Day 4 – Monday 28 May
Simone began day four by driving an Aston Martin DB9 to the Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare with help from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Somerset. A 1928 MG Riley saloon then took Simone to her next port of call, Clifton Suspension Bridge where the Provincial Grand Lodge of Bristol had a 1966 Austin Mini Cooper waiting to take her to Caen Hill Locks. It was here that Simone met representatives from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Wiltshire, before the final stop of the day saw her clock up the miles to Shaw House in Berkshire to be greeted by members of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Berkshire.
Day 3 – Sunday 27 May
Day three involved journeys to Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. It started with a visit to Lulworth Cove in Dorset to be met by members from the Provincial Grand Lodge in a yellow camper van and to receive a donation of £2,000. Simone then ventured to Buckfast Abbey to receive a donation of £5,000 from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Devonshire before departing in a classic Rover to head to Lanhydrock House and Garden in Cornwall, where she received another donation of £1,750.
Day 2 – Saturday 26 May
Simone took to the sky for day two, meeting a representative from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Hampshire and Isle of Wight who drove her to Southampton to board a flight to Jersey, to meet members of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Guernsey and Alderney.
Day 1 – Friday 25 May
Simone has begun her challenge, leaving in a taxi escorted by a fleet of Widows Sons motorcyclists. This is the start of her 14 day road trip with a difference, using a variety of unusual and extraordinary forms of transport.
The next destination for Friday was Richmond Park where Simone was met by representatives from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Middlesex after arriving in a Porsche 550 Spyder. Further destinations included Guildford Cathedral, where Simone was met by a Noddy car, and Brighton Royal Pavilion, where the Provincial Grand Lodge of Sussex made a donation of £5,000.
Lifelites has a package of their magical technology at every children’s hospice across the British Isles and their work is entirely funded by donations. Through the journey they are seeking to raise £50,000 – that’s the cost of one of their projects for four years.
You can sponsor Simone by clicking here
Suffolk makes a dream come true
Dreamflight has expressed its thanks for the 192 bears received from Suffolk Freemasons. Every year the charity takes 192 children aged 8-14 with a serious illness or disability on a holiday to Orlando.
It has 12 regional groups, each made up of 16 children and their volunteer support team. The idea is for the parents to stay at home and have a valuable break while the children concentrate on enjoying their holiday. Previous attendees include Liz Johnson, who won Gold at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics.
Dreamflight relies on help from fundraisers, corporates and trusts to fund the trip and is grateful for support from Freemasons.
Historic milestone for prudence
It is quite a milestone when a lodge reaches its 1,500th regular meeting, but it is an event that was recently celebrated by Lodge of Prudence, No. 388, which meets at Halesworth in Suffolk.
Among the distinguished guests welcomed at the meeting by Worshipful Master Ian Ansell was Ian Yeldham, Provincial Grand Master for Suffolk, who witnessed an initiation ceremony.
The date of the lodge warrant is 23 June 1827, but research by lodge Past Master Charles Bedingfield uncovered an old Minute Book that referred to the first meeting of the Lodge of Prudence, No. 500, which took place on 12 October 1791. Records state that the meeting was held at the Three Tuns Inn, Halesworth, which is now a social club.
The Province of Suffolk itself was formally recognised in 1772 and now includes 66 lodges.
Seventy years in Suffolk
At a meeting of Babergh Lodge, No. 8122, which meets at Sudbury, Suffolk, there was a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the initiation of Lionel Bell by his father into Stour Valley Lodge, No. 1224. Suffolk Provincial Grand Master Ian Yeldham delivered a fitting tribute and a certificate recognising his achievement.
At the same meeting, Graham Pearce was initiated into the lodge and it was thought an appropriate gesture for him to present Lionel, a founder member, with a fine selection of red wine.
The Ipswich Treehouse Children's Hospice was formally opened by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, Royal Patron, on 19 March 2012. The Province of Suffolk raised over £171,000 towards the £3m total cost to build and equip this new children’s hospice in Ipswich, for life-threatened children and their families in Suffolk & North Essex.
Barry Ross, Provincial Grand Master of Suffolk, stated: "We were absolutely delighted that we were able to support this very worthy cause in this way. Our Suffolk lodges really got behind this initiative and the magnificent total was raised in under two years. The Duchess was very charming and most impressed with the support given by Suffolk Freemasons”.