Hundreds of vulnerable children and young people, many in care or in trouble with the law, will gain access to a programme of mentoring and supporting to help them turn their lives around, following a grant from Kent Freemasons to the Young Lives Foundation (YLF)

The £89,000 grant will help develop activities in both Swale and Gravesham, where YLF will deliver a programme of sports, arts, music, drama and occasional field trips to residential centres offering skill-based activities such as water sports, climbing and camping.

There was a 60 per cent increase in referrals to the YLF last year following cuts in funding by local authorities, and more than 700 youth centres have been closed since 2010. YLF intends to respond by opening a youth hub in each of the 13 districts in Kent, providing a safe space for young people to meet, make the right friendships, learn new hobbies and interests, and build valuable relationships with our skilled volunteer mentors.

The cuts coincide with the rise of the so-called 'county lines' drug gangs which target young people and follow a 152 per cent increase in knife crime between 2010 and 2018.

YLF currently works with 1,500 young people in the Kent care system and wish to make the services available to more than 1,700 young people in care who are placed in Kent from other local authorities. They also work with 8,000 young people on the edge of care. There are over 70,000 in the care system nationally, with Kent having the most significant number per head.

The results of the YLF projects are very encouraging, with 81 per cent of young people in the programmes reporting an increase in self-confidence, which is crucial for young people seeking to change their behaviour.

The grant from Kent Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales. Kent Freemasons are currently involved in five years of intensive fundraising for the MCF.

Stephen Gray, Chief Executive of the Young Lives Foundation, said: 'I'm very grateful to Kent Freemasons for their generous grant, which adds to substantial support we've already received from individual Freemasons lodges. We're also grateful to the many Freemasons who volunteer their free time to help us. Thanks to them we'll be able to offer many more very vulnerable young people the advice and support they need to turn their lives around.'

Neil Johnstone from Kent Freemasons said: 'We are pleased we've been able to help the Young Lives Foundation with their hugely important work. YLF provide positive role models and practical advice and support that can have a huge impact on helping vulnerable young people to stay out of trouble.'

Simon Constable of Lodge Neuhaus No. 946, from the Grand Lodge of British Freemasons in Germany, David Purvis of Hervey and Kentish Companions Lodge No. 1692, in the Province of West Kent, and Mark Bryant of Dagenham Lodge No. 4699, in the Province of Essex, took part in the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice Parade in the Belgium town of Ypres on 11th November 2018

Simon and David, both Royal Air Force (RAF) veterans, now serving with RAF Air Cadets youth organisation, marched in the parade with the Cadet Contingent from London and the South East whilst Mark, also a forces veteran, marched in the Veterans Contingent.

The parade started in the Square outside St Martins Church and ended half a mile later at Menin Gate, the famous war memorial in Ypres where the names of the fallen British and Commonwealth soldiers who have no known grave are recorded.

To honour Freemasons who fell during the Great War, three Masonic wreaths were laid at Menin Gate. David and Mark laid wreaths on behalf of the Provincial Lodges of West Kent and of Essex respectively, whilst Simon laid a wreath on behalf of the United Grand Lodge of England, on which the message read ‘In Lasting Memory of those Freemasons who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Great War 1914 – 1918’.

David said: ‘It was an honour to lay these wreaths on behalf of all Freemasons and to pay respect to the Brethren who fell during the Great War, and in all wars since.'

A third generation was welcomed into Helios Lodge No. 8311 when Alexander Burton, at the age of 20, was Initiated at the Wilmington Masonic Centre in Kent on 9th May 2018

Alexander's father, John Burton, Treasurer of the lodge, acted as the Junior Deacon and conducted his son around the lodge room during the ceremony.

He was also looked on by his grandfather, Michael Burton, lodge Secretary, who recorded the ceremony and made sure everything went off properly. It was back in 2001 when Michael then had the pleasure of initiating his son John.

The lodge was honoured by the presence of James Marsh, Assistant Provincial Grand Master of West Kent, who, as the previous Provincial Grand Secretary, arranged for Dispensation to allow the lodge to initiate Alexander three weeks prior to his 21st birthday.

Canterbury Cathedral hosted a Tercentenary thanksgiving service in recognition of its close and long-standing relationship with Freemasonry

More than 1,500 masons and their families came from across the Provinces of East Kent, West Kent, Surrey and Sussex to attend the service, which was held in the presence of the Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Kent and the Lord Mayor of Canterbury. 

The Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, the Very Reverend Dr Robert Willis, thanked the Duke of Kent for his support of the church. He recalled how the royal family helped when the building was damaged by bombing during World War II. He also paid tribute to the generous support of the masonic community, whose relationship with the cathedral dates back more than 100 years.

‘The idea of men coming together to make society a better place is one that has stood the test of time’ Geoffrey Dearing

At the time of the service, the cathedral was undergoing the largest restoration project in its history, the interior and exterior covered in scaffolding to allow the ancient building to be returned to its former glory. A donation of £300,000 from the Freemasons of Kent, Surrey and Sussex funded repairs to the North West Transept, including new tower pinnacles and a spiral stone staircase.

East Kent Provincial Grand Master Geoffrey Dearing said: ‘The existence of Freemasonry for over 300 years bears witness to the fact that the idea of men from all walks of life coming together to make society a better place is one that has stood the test of time and inspired successive generations.’

Published in UGLE

On the 22nd January, following much planning and armed with the necessary official clearances, 17 members of Holmesdale Lodge No. 874 in Royal Tunbridge Wells joined their Junior Warden Jean Baptiste Puyraud on a visit to a meeting of his French Lodge, Benjamin Franklin Lodge No. 52 – held at the Grande Loge Nationale Française (GLNF) in Paris

The visitors were treated to exceptional hospitality throughout their visit. French brethren organised a lunch, ahead of an initiation ceremony worked in the Scottish Rite.

An exchange of gifts took place with Neil Scott, Worshipful Master of Holmesdale Lodge, presenting an engraved firing glass commemorating the occasion to Fabrice Huet, Worshipful Master of Benjamin Franklin Lodge. The English brethren each received a bottle of champagne bearing Benjamin Franklin Lodge’s own label.

The evening concluded with a reception and dinner in a Parisian restaurant where representatives of both lodges spoke. Many distinguished brethren were present including the Provincial Grand Master of the Ile de France Province Denis Martial and, representing the GLNF, Gérard Icart.

Holmesdale Lodge in the Province of West Kent is the oldest Lodge in Royal Tunbridge Wells and celebrated its sesquicentenary in 2012.

Benjamin Franklin Lodge was consecrated in 2005, reviving the name of a lodge formed in 1956 by Americans based in central France.

Published in International
Friday, 01 September 2017 11:39

West Kent backs Lifelites

Terminally ill and disabled children at the Demelza children’s hospice in south-east London have received a brand-new package of assistive technology worth £50,000, thanks to West Kent Freemasons’ support of specialist technology charity Lifelites

Lifelites has provided a range of specially adapted technology, including a Magic Carpet, which is a portable unit that projects interactive images onto a floor, bed or wheelchair tray, and equipment that enables children with limited mobility to make music or operate a computer using just their eyes.

Ann Fagg, care services lead at the hospice, said: ‘This very generous donation from Lifelites has made a world of difference to the children who use our facilities.’

Find out more: To learn more about the charity’s work, or to lend your support, visit www.lifelites.org

Published in Lifelites
Tuesday, 13 June 2017 15:08

West Kent turns out for prostate test

West Kent masons took a break from their usual weekend chores to queue up for a procedure that could save their lives: a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) screening test for prostate cancer

The Province funded the screening, which was open to Freemasons, their friends and relations, and saw 376 men take part – twice the number expected. It was held at Bromley, courtesy of PGM Mark Estaugh, and the tests were carried out by a team from The Graham Fulford Charitable Trust, based at Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.

The tests were free but donations came to £2,431, with Gift Aid taking the figure above £3,000.

Canterbury Cathedral hosted a Tercentenary Thanksgiving service  in recognition of its long-standing relationship with Freemasonry

More than 1,500 masons and their families came from across the Provinces of East Kent, West Kent, Surrey and Sussex to attend a service in celebration of 300 years of the United Grand Lodge of England.

The event was held on 18 February in the presence of the Grand Master HRH The Duke of Kent, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Kent and the Lord Mayor of Canterbury, and was led by the Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, the Very Reverend Dr Robert Willis.

During his sermon, Dr Willis thanked the Duke of Kent for his long-standing support of the cathedral. He recalled how the Royal Family helped when the cathedral was damaged by bombing during World War II. He also paid tribute to the generous support of the masonic community, whose relationship with the cathedral dates back more than 100 years.

Canterbury Cathedral is currently undergoing the largest restoration project in its history. The interior and exterior are covered in scaffolding to allow the ancient building to be restored to as close to its original condition as possible. A donation of £300,000 from the Freemasons of Kent, Surrey and Sussex has funded repairs to the North West Transept, including new tower pinnacles and a spiral stone staircase.

East Kent Provincial Grand Master Geoffrey Dearing said: ‘The existence of Freemasonry for over 300 years bears witness to the fact that the idea of men from all walks of life coming together to make society a better place is one that has stood the test of time and inspired successive generations.’

Published in UGLE

Mark at the helm in West Kent

Mark Estaugh has been installed as Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent for West Kent by Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes.

In his acceptance speech, Mark said, ‘Our strategy will revolve around a trident of three key initiatives – membership, communication and the development of our masonic premises.’

Mark also announced the launch of the Province’s appeal to mark UGLE’s 2017 Tercentenary celebrations. The funds raised will go towards a major building project at Canterbury Cathedral. 

Howzat for a charity fundraiser?

The Province of West Kent organised the ideal opportunity to celebrate raising £3.25 million for the MSF at its Howzat! Festival day. The event featured a charity cricket match as well as arena entertainment and food and drink, and attracted Freemasons, their families and members of the local community to The Warren in Bromley. 

Children were entertained by fairground stalls, bungee runs and a climbing wall. For others, there were beer and Pimm’s tents; performances by the Scout and Guide Marching Band; and a duck herder, who held particular interest. 

The Province’s donation cheque was proudly displayed at its stand, which stood alongside stalls for the Masonic Fishing Charity and Hi Kent, a local charity for the deaf and hard of hearing. MSF Chief Executive Richard Douglas said, ‘It was a fantastic day and gave me the opportunity to meet the Freemasons of West Kent and thank them personally for their incredibly generous donations to the Masonic Samaritan Fund.’

Published in Masonic Samaritan Fund
Page 1 of 2

ugle logoSGC logo