The Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria, James Cropper, were welcomed by Norman Thompson, Provincial Grand Master for Cumberland and Westmorland, and the Provincial Executive at Carlisle Masonic Hall.

The Duke met the Royal Arch Executive and the three most recent recruits to Freemasonry in the Province. He then lunched with members of 15 local charities that have benefitted from masonic support over the past year. These included Cumbria Teddies for Loving Care, Haverigg and Silloth RNLI, the RMBI Scarbrough Court, Chrysalis in Wigton and The Outward Bound Trust.

Cycling from south to north

Campaigning for charity can be exhausting, as Robert Crawford discovered when he spent 65 hours in the saddle to complete the 908-mile Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle ride for the Province of Cumberland and Westmorland 2016 RMBI Festival. Travelling the entire length of Great Britain, at an average speed of 14 miles per hour, Robert, of Trinity Lodge, No. 6730, raised the magnificent sum of £1,700. A keen runner on the fells, he presented a cheque to both the Kendal Mountain Rescue team and the festival.

Grand Charity goes outward bound

The Outward Bound Trust has received a grant of £30,000 from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity which, since 1985, has donated over £250,000 in total. The grant helps fund bursaries that will enable disadvantaged young people to go on three-week outdoor learning programmes. Nearly 25,000 youngsters took part in these activity courses during 2011, and more than 69 per cent were bursary funded.

Mike Clementson, Cumberland & Westmorland Provincial Information Officer, said: ‘Providing support to disadvantaged youths is at the heart of the grant-making funded by the Grand Charity. The masonic community, both locally and nationally, recognises the importance in supporting young people today and we are therefore delighted to be able to show our support for Outward Bound once again.’

Nick Barrett, Outward Bound Trust chief executive, added: ‘We are delighted to have Freemasons’ continued support. This kind of donation enables us to provide crucial bursary support to hundreds more young people each year.’

Published in The Grand Charity
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:00

Boxing for charity

A successful sporting evening at Carlisle was organised by the Province of Cumberland and Westmorland, Kendal Amateur Boxing Club and Custodes Copiae Lodge of Provincial Grand Stewards

The boxing spectacular, now in its second year, raised £13,400 for masonic and non-masonic charities during an evening involving amateur boxers of all ages from clubs across the county, with The Edinburgh Woollen Mill as principle sponsor.

Meanwhile, the Furness & South Lakeland Group in conjunction with Kendal Boxing Club held one of its best boxing nights in 26 years for both masonic and non-masonic charities. The event at the Cumbria Grand Hotel in Grange appealed to boxing enthusiasts and the local business fraternity alike. More than 220 guests watched 10 entertaining rounds of fights. Female boxers were on the bill for the first time, with the event catching the interest of the local paper. More than £6,000 was raised through sponsorship, ticket sales, raffles and an auction which included a Toyota jacket signed by ex-Formula One driver Ralph Schumacher, younger brother of seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012 01:00

One Mason and his hearing dogs

John Broster’s early life was to have a profound effect on his life: at the age of three he caught diphtheria and has been deaf ever since.

John managed to adjust to his disability and attended Hutton Grammar School and Liverpool University. He then trained as a chartered accountant and after qualifying worked for a firm of accountants in Preston. In 1968 he married Mary, who was a teacher, and they have lived in the same house in Preston ever since. Soon after they married, John started his own accountancy business.

John was initiated into Freemasonry in 1970 in the Lodge of Unanimity No.113 in the Province of West Lancashire.  He served as Worshipful Master in 1982 and Treasurer from 1987 to 1992, and received his first Provincial appointment of Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon in 1992.  In 2001 he was promoted to Past Provincial Deputy Grand Superintendent of Works and in November he will receive a further promotion to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden.

He is also a member of Uter Pendragon Lodge No.3481 in the Province of Cumberland and Westmoreland, which is close to their holiday home.

In the Royal Arch, he was exalted into Unanimity Chapter No.113 in 1983, becaming First Principal in 1992, and appointed Treasurer in 1994 - a post he still holds today. In 1996 he was appointed to Past Provincial Assistant Grand Sojourner, and was promoted to Past Provincial Grand Scribe N in 2003.

In 1996 whilst on holiday in Devon, Mary noticed a market stall which was selling goods for the charity, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, and exchanged addresses with Mrs Guymer who was running the stall.

A few months later their pet dog Robbie sadly died. Having taken some details about the charity John applied for a dog. Following an interview he was accepted and in January 1997 John spent a week with ‘Coppers’ at the charity's northern training centre.

Whilst John was training, Mary researched the charity and was surprised to discover that Hearing Dogs for Deaf People had benefited considerably from a grant from United Grand Lodge of England, which had provided funding to buy and build their first training centre plus a working balance for the first 18 months of being formed.

Coppers had already had intensive sound training and been ‘puppy socialised’ at weekends by Ian Frinthian Franks, who was coincidentally at that time preparing to go into the chair of Lodge of St Germain No.566 in the Province of Yorkshire North and East Riding.  Coppers had become increasingly familiar with masonic ritual during long walks with Ian!

The charity said they were delighted they were able to place Coppers with John, as Coppers was the first ‘Hearing dog’ to be placed with a Freemason. Having spoken to staff at Freemasons Hall in London the charity asked John “to go out and reach as many Freemasons as possible to thank them and show them how well the money donated by UGLE had been spent.” John and Mary were pleased to do this and they immediately started to tell people how they had been given Coppers who quickly carved out a Masonic role for himself!

Coppers quickly became John’s most valuable hearing aid and constant companion. Since he was already a Master Mason it was only natural that Coppers should accompany John to the Lodge of Unanimity, and the first time Coppers attended the lodge it was recorded in the minutes.  Coppers quickly became familiar with the ritual, enjoyed walking in procession, knew when to sit and stand and was known to give a prompt to others in the lodge! 

In February 1997 Coppers had his first studio photograph taken, which appeared in Freemasonry Today and is also displayed at Preston Masonic Hall.  His television debut came in December 1999 when John was interviewed about Freemasonry for the deaf by BBC2 ‘See hear’.

In July 2000 when John went to London to receive a certificate from another masonic order, Coppers also received his own certificate, proclaiming him ‘Illustrious Bro Coppers 30th Degree’. John later that day visited Freemasons Hall and was photographed with Coppers in Grand Lodge.

In August 2001, Coppers was featured by Grand Lodge on their website and he was awarded the 'rank' of 'Masonic Hearing Dog of United Grand Lodge'.

The idea of Coppers wearing a coat had been that of John Hamill (UGLE's Director of Special Projects). UGLE enlisted the help of Mary, who was sworn to secrecy and asked to obtain permission from the charity, supply the paper pattern and liaise with the Craft and Regalia Department at Freemasons Hall. John Hamill had the coat designed and arranged for it to be crafted to the template Mary had supplied. When it arrived by post it was a complete surprise for John and Coppers.

In September 2001, Coppers was photographed in full regalia with John in the George Bath Suite at Preston Masonic Hall. The photographs were displayed in Preston Masonic Hall, Freemasons Hall and the Hearing Dogs Centre in Buckinghamshire. Coppers was also featured in the first issue of ‘The West Lancashire Freemason’.

Coppers accompanied John to Provincial Grand Lodge in 2001 when he was promoted to the rank of Past Provincial Deputy Grand Superintendent of Works and again in April 2003 when John was promoted to the rank of Past Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah in Provincial Grand Chapter.

Coppers continued to work hard in the home, with his sound work. He was also an ambassador of the Hearing Dogs charity and accompanied John and Mary when she gave many talks about Coppers and the charitable side of Freemasonry. Their talks and PR work have reached a wide cross section of the public in an area of a 100 miles or so radius of Preston and considerably large sums of money have been sent to Hearing Dogs as a result of their work.

In 2004 Coppers was given an award for working over and above the call of duty. He alerted John when Mary needed help one night as she had collapsed and thus saved her life. He gradually worked for both John and Mary when Mary developed mobility and health problems.

The extraordinary and unique Masonic life of Coppers came to an end in July 2008. The end was quick and unexpected. At 13 years old Coppers had refused to retire. John said he was a perfectionist and most professional in all his work. In partnership with John he achieved a great deal for Freemasonry in the wide community portraying the charitable aspect.

In November 2009 a new hearing dog ‘Hayden’ was placed with John. Hayden was a beautiful six years old black Labrador who is very lovable, friendly and always wags his tail when spoken to and praised.

John says Hayden has had a difficult act to follow. As it was impossible to replace Coppers, a dog with a completely different disposition was requested, bearing in mind the role he would be expected to follow.

Hayden like Coppers before him alerts John to the door bell, telephone and wakes him up in the morning when the alarm goes off. Mary say’s the most valuable job he does is to find John wherever he is in the house and tell him Mary wants him!

John says Hayden has different strengths and so he is being allowed to carve out his own role and not emulate Coppers.

In order to mark the Bi-centenary of the Lodge of Unanimity a new Masonic coat was made for Hayden by Denise Croasdale at DMC Regalia in Preston who crafted it personally for him. Hayden is proud to wear it and grows in stature when on parade in the lodge.

Friday, 16 September 2011 16:24


Cumberland and Westmorland masons were in fighting form when they raised £8,000 to aid the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (RMBI).

The Province’s first organised charity event in support of its 2016 Festival saw The Shepherds Inn in Carlisle transformed to accommodate a central boxing ring, complete with ringside tables.

The evening included a fabulous Cumberland roast-beef dinner, followed by 14 bouts of amateur boxing, while Provincial Stewards ran a tote, an auction and a very successful raffle for the RMBI.
Friday, 16 September 2011 11:34

Pond Skippers

When brothers Mathew and Christian Cleghorn decided to row across the Atlantic Ocean for charity, little did they realise they would have to contend with lost rations, a capsized boat and a bird called Elton.

On 8 March 2011, brothers Mathew and Christian Cleghorn rowed into English Harbour, Antigua, having crossed the Atlantic Ocean in just over sixty-four days. Their arrival was greeted by the sound of ship horns, loud cheers and rounds of applause, marking the culmination of a dramatic and exhausting three-thousand, one hundred-mile journey.

This epic voyage was not undertaken on a whim. The brothers had embarked on their mammoth enterprise with one aim in mind – to raise as much money as possible for a charity that is dear to their hearts: Parkinson’s UK.

The masonic connection is Lewis Lodge, No. 872, in the Province of Cumberland and Westmorland. With Mathew and Christian initiated in 2007 and 2008 respectively, there is an extensive Cleghorn family connection with the lodge. Their uncle, John Cleghorn, is a Past Master and Provincial Officer and their cousin, also named John Cleghorn, is presently Junior Warden.

‘I really enjoy attending lodge meetings,’ explains Mathew. ‘Unfortunately I don’t get to them as often as I would like, as my job takes me to many far-flung places, not to mention spending two months on the Atlantic Ocean. I see the Atlantic challenge as an extension of my Freemasonry, as the whole aim
has been to benefit a worthy charity.’

Originally from the coastal town of Whitehaven, Cumbria, Mathew, 27, and Christian, 32, are no strangers to the high seas, both being ex-Royal Marines and highly trained in seamanship. But getting the project off the ground and into the sea was a feat in itself, requiring significant funding. It took nearly three years, but once the sponsorship began to materialise, the Cleghorns’ dream became a reality.

The journey began on 3 January 2011, when Mathew and Christian set off from Puerto de Mogán, Gran Canaria on Papa Delta, their twenty-three foot boat made in Dorset and Whitehaven. It was equipped with satellite-navigation devices, allowing it to be tracked twenty-four hours a day, while friends and relatives were kept informed via a daily blog and a map that pinpointed the Cleghorns’ position.

The journey provided a rare opportunity to view incredible wildlife; along the way, the brothers encountered whales, dolphins and sharks. For much of their journey they were befriended by a bird, which continually tailed them. The rowers are still not sure what species it was, but it became an honorary third member of the crew – so much so that, with the help of the children at Christian’s son’s junior school back home, it was christened ‘Elton’.

Naturally, the daily grind of rowing two hours on, two hours off, began to take its toll. But exhaustion was just the beginning of their challenges. At one point, they were nearly mown down by a passing commercial ship in rough seas; Mathew reported that he ‘was rowing like a man possessed’ to get out of the way, and the tanker eventually slid by about 150 metres away. They also suffered problems with steering, were blown completely off-course, and experienced as many extremes of emotions as they did changes of weather conditions.

Worse was to come when their food store – rations that provided essential energy for rowers burning five-thousand calories a day – was nearly destroyed in a storm. Luckily, the brothers were re-supplied by a passing Italian vessel.

The intrepid brothers even capsized and lived to tell the tale. With a violent sea creating waves seven to eight metres high, a combination of wind gust and changing direction tipped them over. Mathew, who was at the oars, was thrown out of his seat, hanging half out of the boat, while Christian was flung about inside the rear cabin. But the boat is designed to right itself, and their voyage continued.

After sixty-four days of drama and adventure, the Cleghorns finally made it to Antigua. Their feeling of euphoria and pride couldn’t be topped – until Mathew proposed to his girlfriend Colleen, and she said ‘yes’. Then the celebrations really began.

Mathew and Christian will never forget their experience, and know it has all been worthwhile. ‘If our journey across the pond has made just one more person aware of Parkinson’s and the daily suffering involved, then we have succeeded in our goal.’ Having raised £30,000, they are still short of their target to raise £50,000. Donations can be made by visiting:

The Spanish hero: How a mason of Spanish descent discovered his father's extraordinary masonic roots is revealed by Tom Forsyth

When retired Keswick hotelier Teodoro Lopez, a Spaniard by birth, applied to become a Mason in Derwentwater Lodge No. 6375 in the Province of Cumberland and Westmorland, he was anxious to follow in the footsteps of his late father, Teodoro Lopez Serrano, who had been a Freemason in Spain. 

He knew nothing about his father’s Masonic career, but was anxious for the Lodge to help him trace any background that would help enlighten him, given that Spanish Freemasonry was banned during the dictatorship of General Franco. 

The story that was to unfold was remarkable and terrifying, as it transpired that Teo’s father was no ordinary Mason. Indeed, following research in England and Spain, it was revealed that his father had been none other than the Grand Secretary of the Grand Orient of Spain. 

Moreover, his father had been sentenced to 18 years imprisonment for his Masonic beliefs, and served seven years of this sentence, being released in 1948. During this difficult time the needs of the family had been assisted by persons unknown to Teo. 

His father, undaunted by his years in prison for his Masonic beliefs, had been proactive in the reintroduction of Freemasonry into Spain, joining the reincarnated Lodge la Matritense No. 7 of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Castille, which meets in Madrid. 

This Lodge itself has a most distinguished history, having been consecrated as Lodge No. 1 in Spain in 1728, but following turbulent times in Spanish Freemasonry, has twice been reorganised. As the current Grand Lodge of Spain is recognised as regular by the United Grand Lodge of England, it seemed appropriate that Teo and other members of Derwentwater Lodge should visit his father’s old Lodge in Madrid. 

Contact was made with Manuel Calvo, then Master of Lodge la Matritense No. 7, and 14 brethren and three wives flew out to Spain for a meeting last September. A lecture was given at the meeting for the benefit of the visitors, who also included a Mason from Cuba and one from Chile. 

At the meeting Teo presented the new Master, Primitivo Mendoza, with a wall clock manufactured from Lakeland slate and suitably inscribed with Masonic symbolism and a presentation plaque, a fitting and lasting tribute to his father. The Master broke with tradition and embraced Teo in open Lodge and presented him with his father’s application form to Lodgela Matritense No. 7 and a Lodge tie. 

The toast to Absent Brethren included Lionel Nutley of Derwentwater Lodge who, at 100 years of age, thought the trip would be too much for him. Then the visiting Masons rounded off the evening with a rendition of the Absent Brethren song. For the two Lodges, regular communication now takes place, and Derwentwater Lodge has added Spain to its list of overseas countries it has visited for Masonic gatherings such as Canada, the United States, Thailand and Australia, underlining Masonry worldwide. 

The trip was a great success, due largely to the arrangements made the Master and the Immediate Past Master, Manuel Calvo, and one Brother has discovered the courage and tenacity of his father. 

Tom Forsyth is secretary of Derwentwater Lodge No. 6375

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