Bucks initiative raises prostate cancer awareness
To raise awareness of prostate cancer, Buckinghamshire Freemasons held PSA testing sessions at three masonic centres. PSA is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland and the test measures the level of PSA in a man’s blood.
The Buckinghamshire sessions invited any mason in the Province to bring a friend along and for both to be tested at no charge. Around 10 per cent of those tested had elevated levels and were referred on to their GPs. Tony Dyckes of Hall Barn Lodge, No. 8480, had a raised PSA, prompting further tests in December that confirmed he had prostate cancer. APGM Peter Moody and Teddies for Loving Care programme organiser Mel Shah brought the two initiatives together and presented Tony with a friend to keep him company in hospital.
Aylesbury children receive a boost
Children enjoying their end of term day at the PACE centre in Aylesbury welcomed Buckinghamshire Provincial Grand Master Gordon Robertson when he popped in to see the covered playground that local Freemasons had donated £10,000 to fund in action.
PACE is a family-centred charity that provides an innovative education for life for children with sensory motor disorders, such as cerebral palsy. The play area is part of the first stage of a building project that is eventually going to be the new Early Years and Independence Training Centre for the charity.
New university recruits in Bucks
The Universities Scheme is well underway in Buckinghamshire with Marlow Lodge, No. 2752, joining Grenville Lodge, No. 1787, in the recruitment of graduates and students. At its first meeting under the scheme, Marlow Lodge initiated graduate Jed Russell (23), and students Mohammad Malik (19) and Nathan Kapoor (24) from Buckinghamshire New University, which is based at High Wycombe.
Top marks for Universities Scheme
It was a special occasion when six students at the University of Buckingham joined Grenville Lodge, No. 1787, which meets on the campus, at the same time. Among the guests at the initiation were Past Assistant Grand Master and President of the Universities Scheme David Williamson and Buckinghamshire PGM Gordon Robertson. Lodge Secretary Andrew Hough said, ‘I am pleased that increasing numbers of people are recognising the advantages of joining Freemasonry, which stresses friendship, decency and charity. It’s also great fun.’
Not to be outdone, Castle of Leicester Lodge, No. 7767, has also undertaken a sextuple initiation ceremony. It was a fitting day for Master Bryan Weston in his final meeting, having initiated 13 brethren in 2014. The lodge has seen a steady influx of candidates since joining the Universities Scheme in January 2013. Indeed, the ceremony came just days after the lodge conducted a quintuple passing in the Leicestershire and Rutland Lodge of Installed Masters, No. 7896.
Support for Search Dogs
Buckinghamshire masons in the Slough area have donated £2,800 to Search Dogs, a charity that trains handlers and their animals to help Thames Valley Police find vulnerable adults and children who have vanished from their communities. Volunteers and their dogs are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to save lives throughout the area. Deputy PGM Mike Stimson commented, ‘We are supporting Search Dogs because the people involved demonstrate our shared values of friendship, decency and charity.’
It was an unusual way to raise money for charity when representatives of 28 lodges and 11 chapters from Slough joined in a game of bubble football. The eye-catching event, organised by Denver Lynn of Bucks masons, saw participants encase themselves in a large plastic cocoon before kicking for goal and raised £1,000. As a result, help will be provided for those who have fallen on hard times through redundancy, illness or bereavement.
Green-fingered guides win top prize
Gardening Guides have won the top prize in an annual competition organised by Buckinghamshire masons that rewards youngsters who work hard in their local communities. Members of 4th Taplow and Hitcham Guides won the £2,500 for producing planters for the elderly at a Burnham care home.
The runners-up received £1,000, three other groups were awarded £500 each, and sponsoring lodges received £500 each for a charity of their choice. The teams were invited to visit their local masonic centres, while the sponsoring lodges visited their chosen projects, providing an additional way to promote Freemasonry in the community.
Press talk comes to Beaconsfield
Bowen Lodge, No. 2816, which meets at Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, has hosted the 2013 Prestonian Lecture, ‘As we were seen: The Press & Freemasonry.’ Given by journalist and academic Paul Calderwood, the lecture was an historical account of Freemasonry’s relationship with the press over nearly three centuries. The event raised around £900 for various charities, including the National Autistic Society.
On the right track at High Wycombe
Bucks masons have created an oasis of peace outside a transport hub with a £4,000 garden funded as part of the Freemasonry in the Community scheme.
Members of the 21 lodges and nine chapters who meet in Beaconsfield are contributing to the plot outside High Wycombe railway station.
A team of green-fingered masons will tend the garden in the future. They include Tony Dyckes, Master of Hall Barn Lodge, No. 8480, in Beaconsfield. He said: ‘The aim was to create a garden which emphasised Freemasonry’s core aims of friendship, decency and charity.’
High Wycombe station manager Rob Munday added: ‘It has made a real difference to the station approach – the garden is now so appealing that even bumble bees want to live there!’
Inspiration in Bucks
Local masons have given their support to a county-wide scheme launched by the Buckinghamshire Advertiser and Buckinghamshire Examiner to reward those who play an inspirational role within the community. Bucks masons sponsored the Young Carer award, which was won by Georgie Church, who had been nominated by her wheelchair-bound father Richard. Georgie, 14, has only ever known her father as a paraplegic after he broke his back in a motorcycle accident in 1977. Richard said that his daughter helps with the shopping, recycling and gardening, washes his car and even decorated his bedroom for a birthday present one year.