Celebrating 300 years

The memorial paving stones outside Freemasons’ Hall commemorate Freemasons awarded the Victoria Cross during the Great War, and Royal Marine Portsmouth Lodge No. 6423  in Hampshire is fortunate to have one of those members amongst their founders

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the action that saw Sergeant Norman Augustus Finch, Royal Marine Artillery, awarded the Victoria Cross (VC), the lodge dedicated their Installation Ceremony in April 2018 to his memory.

United Grand Lodge of England had commissioned wooden cut-out figures to display the details of each holder at their memorial unveiling, which were subsequently sent to those Provinces in which the individuals had been members. Norman’s one had been presented to his mother lodge, Lodge of Hope No. 2153, who kindly allowed its use at the meeting so that Norman’s presence could be felt by all. 

Additionally, so that present and future members would have a lasting memorial to Norman before them during meetings and festivities, a statuette of a Royal Marine was dedicated to his memory. This statuette had previously been presented to the lodge by Jane Suter, the wife of one of their regular visitors, for use as the lodge saw fit, and it was mounted on a plinth on which Norman’s citation had been engraved by Mark Bizley of Hermes Lodge No. 5532.

Prior to the Installation of their new Worshipful Master Graham Jickells, the statuette was presented to the outgoing Master Gary Spencer-Humphrey, with an explanation of the significance delivered by David Barron. The lodge then fell silent as Ian ‘Taff’ Davies MBE gave an eloquent and moving rendition of the ‘Zeebrugge Citation’. On completion of the ceremony the new Master took ‘Norman’ to their Festive Board where he symbolically represented ‘All Absent Brethren’.

To put these events into context, it was no coincidence that Royal Marine Portsmouth Lodge was consecrated on 23rd April 1947 as this was the date in 1918 that the Zeebrugge Raid took place – a date that ranks with special significance amongst all Royal Marines. A raid that displayed the commitment, bravery, ‘daring-do’ and valour of those members of the Corps (in its then form, Royal Marine Light Infantry) that all those following in their footsteps could aspire to. 

Norman was awarded the Victoria Cross under Clause 13 of the Royal Warrant, which provides for the recipient to be elected by his peers, who were present at the action.

Norman was initiated into Lodge of Hope in September 1918 and was subsequently a founding member of Royal Marine Portsmouth Lodge, when it was consecrated in 1947. He was their first Senior Warden, and the following year was installed as their second Worshipful Master – 30 years after being awarded his Victoria Cross.

Three Hampshire Freemasons have raised over £110,000 for charity while serving as the Right Worshipful Mayor of Winchester

The monies were raised by Michael Read, of Wayfarers Lodge No. 5740, David McLean and Ernie Jeffs, both of King Aelfred Lodge No. 7487, through a number of fundraising events throughout their years in office. David is the current Mayor of Winchester, whilst Ernie served in 2013-14 and Michael in 2008-09.

One of the most popular events was the 'Picture in Coin', which is a drawing of the statue of King Alfred made up of coins which people lay on the drawing. Other events have included charity balls, wine tasting, musical evenings and historic talks on Winchester.

The monies have been donated to local charities operating in the district of Winchester including Rowans Hospice, The Scout Association (Portsmouth and Winchester), Canine Partners, MS Society, Bishop Waltham North Pond Conservation Group and SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Freemasons have donated £15,000 to help local charity Macmillan Caring Locally purchase a new minibus

The charity, which provides palliative care at Christchurch Hospital and in the community, had been fundraising to purchase the vehicle. 

Following a public vote held by the Masonic Charitable Foundation, it was awarded a grant which it put towards the bus. The bus will be used to take terminally ill people out on trips and excursions.

Freemasons Leon Whitfield, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Hampshire and Isle of Wight, and Rodney Dale joined the Mayor of Bournemouth Lawrence Williams and his Mayoress wife Elaine at the handover, together with staff and volunteers.

Lin Sharp, Capital Appeal Director at Macmillan Caring Locally, said: 'We are absolutely thrilled to have been awarded £15,000 from the Masonic Charitable Foundation. We are overwhelmed by the wonderful support of the community that has made this possible. 

'Part of the service that is offered at our hotel and at the Macmillan Unit Day Centre is the opportunity to go out for trips around the local area using a minibus. These excursions take guests to the beaches, local towns and other scenic locations where they can relax and enjoy themselves out in the fresh air for a few hours during the day.'

Leon Whitfield said: 'We are delighted to continue our support for the Macmillan Caring Locally team. Their contribution in the local community is invaluable and this minibus will enhance the work they already do.'

Tuesday, 09 January 2018 10:55

New Year Honours 2018

A number of Freemasons have been honoured in HM The Queen’s New Year’s Honours List 2018

Sir Andrew Charles Parmley

Andrew Parmley was appointed a Knight Bachelor for his services to Music, Education and Civic Engagement.

Andrew served as Lord Mayor of the City of London in 2016/17 and is currently the principal of The Harrodian School in West London. He has been an elected Member of Common Council since 1992, and was elected Alderman of Vintry Ward in 2001.

To celebrate the United Grand Lodge of England’s Tercentenary celebrations 130 Grand Masters from all parts of the world attended a reception at Mansion House on 30th October 2017, where they were welcomed by Andrew in his role as the Lord Mayor of London at the time.

John Allan Hunter

John Hunter, lately chair of the Argentine-British Community Council, was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the Anglo-Argentine community in Argentina in the Diplomatic Service and Overseas Honours list.

The Diplomatic Service and Overseas Honours List is in recognition of truly exceptional and outstanding service to Britain internationally and overseas.

John was Chairman of the Argentine-British Community Council from 2013 to 2016. The Argentine-British Community Council was founded in 1939 and its mission statement reads: ‘The object of the Argentine British Community Council is to promote the welfare of the Argentine British Community in Argentina.

‘With that end in mind it will assure the closest coordination and cooperation amongst its members, and the social, cultural and welfare entities of the Community. It will endeavour to assist and conduct all activities within the spirit of the Constitution and the Laws of the Argentine Republic, strengthening in this way the links between the Community and the country.’

John is currently Worshipful Master of The Pampa Lodge No. 2329 which meets in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is also the Assistant District Grand Master of the District Grand Lodge of South America – Southern Division.

John Mervyn Cornish

John Cornish was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community in Stewkley, Buckinghamshire.

After moving to Stewkley in 1963 to a rented farm, John joined the Stewkley Village Hall committee in 1967 and 20 years later took on the role of Chairman. John has always considered the Hall to be his main hobby and during this time as Chairman, worked tirelessly raising money to ensure it stayed a viable community asset including two major refurbishments.

John is a member of Leighton Cross Lodge No. 6176 and in 2013, was named Past Provincial Grand Pursuivant for Bedfordshire.

PAUL ANTHONY WATSON

Paul Watson was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for voluntary services to veterans. He is the Vice Chairman of the Lee-on-Solent Branch of the Royal Naval Association.

Paul was initiated into Pendenis Lodge No. 7520 in Cornwall in 1985 whilst serving in the Royal Navy. Paul would later move to Bristol where he became a joining member of Jerusalem Lodge No. 686 in 1989, before going on to become a founding member of the Lodge of Seafarers No. 9589 in South Gloucester in 1995.

Paul eventually moved to Hampshire and joined Fareham Lodge No. 8582 in 2011, where he is currently the Lodge Caterer and Lodge Almoner. Paul was named Past Provincial Assistant Grand Standard Bearer for Hampshire and Isle of Wight in February 2018.

Professor Christopher Liu OBE

Professor Christopher Liu was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to Ophthalmology.

Christopher is a Senior Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at the Sussex Eye Hospital in Brighton and has worked there for more than 20 years.

He was the first surgeon in the UK to learn a pioneering technique that involved restoring sight through the reconstruction of a new eye using a small plastic lens and one of the patient’s own teeth. Christopher also founded the Sussex Eye Foundation, a registered charity with an aim to create a state-of-the-art eye facility for the South East of England.

Christopher is a Past Master of Royal Clarence Lodge No. 271 and last year, was named Provincial Senior Grand Deacon for Sussex.

Do you know other Freemasons who were honoured in the New Year Honours list? Please let us know by emailing: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in More News

Hampshire and Isle of Wight PGM Michael Wilks visited the Tall Ships Youth Trust at Gunwharf Marina, Portsmouth, in July, and presented £22,000 donated to the charity by the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF)

The donation will support young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET). Wilks talked to the young people who had recently arrived to start their adventure and were looking forward to playing their part in assisting the crew, whatever the weather and sea conditions.

CEO Richard Leaman explained, ‘This bursary will allow us to get 50 NEET young people on board our vessels for sail training.

'We are immensely grateful to the Masonic Charitable Foundation for their generosity and support.’

A recent grant of £4,000 to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance from Freemasons in the Province has helped to bring the total masonic support given to Air Ambulance charities across the country to £2.1 million since 2007

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight grant will go towards the purchase of syringe drivers that will be used by the Air Ambulance team to deliver critical care drugs to seriously ill patients.

A syringe driver functions as a pump that ‘drives’ a syringe, allowing a drug to be administered continuously to a patient at a controlled rate. Syringe drivers have many uses in pre-hospital medicine, including anaesthesia, cardiac support and intensive care transfers.

Tuesday, 05 September 2017 00:00

Somerset deliver Tercentenary banner to Devon

Despite inclement weather, the Province of Somerset safely delivered the special south west Tercentenary banner to the Province of Devonshire in the magnificent Exeter Cathedral

The banner recognises the special fraternal bond that exists between the South West Provinces and has toured to the Provincial Grand Lodges of Jersey, Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Wiltshire, Dorset and Somerset. Devonshire will pass it on to the Provincial Grand Lodge of Cornwall later in the year.

The Provincial Teams from Somerset and Devon paraded in regalia and met in the nave of Exeter Cathedral where the banner was formally passed over.

Stuart Hadler, Provincial Grand Master of Somerset, and Ian Kingsbury, Provincial Grand Master of Devon, greeted one another and expressed their delight to be able to publicly show and acknowledge the 300th anniversary of the formation of the Premier Grand Lodge.

W Bro Barrie Hewitt, PAGDC, has been presented with the Badge of the Order of Mercy by Lord Lingfield, President of The League of Mercy at Mansion House, London

The presentation ceremony on Tuesday 11th July 2017 was followed by an informal tea with the Sheriff of the City of London Lord Lingfield and the Trustees of the League of Mercy. Also in attendance were Barrie’s wife Christine, Provincial Grand Master Mike Wilks and his wife Kay and W Bro Les Hutchinson, Chief Operating Officer of the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

Barrie Hewitt received the award in recognition of his outstanding contribution over the course of six years as Provincial Grand Charity Steward of Hampshire & Isle of Wight, towards their 2016 Festival which raised over £7.7 million for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys. Barrie drove hundreds of miles around the Province to attend numerous Lodge meetings and deliver his presentation about the Festival in order to encourage Brethren to support it by making contributions and organising fundraising events.

At a national level, Barrie attended annual Festival Forums, giving advice and sharing his expertise with Provincial Grand Charity Stewards across the country. As well as working tirelessly for the Festival, Barrie also managed the Province’s ‘Teddies for Loving Care’ and carried out his other duties as Provincial Charity Steward.

Barrie has been a Freemason for over 30 years and was appointed to the Grand Rank of Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 2013.

Provincial Grand Master Mike Wilks commented: ‘I am so pleased that Barrie has been honoured in this way by a non-Masonic organisation which recognises distinguished voluntary work across the country. Barrie was one of just 25 to receive an award this year – a great accolade to a dedicated and committed Freemason.’

The League of Mercy was founded in 1899 by Royal Charter of Queen Victoria at the instigation of the then Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII. The object of the League was to establish a body of volunteers who would assist with the maintenance of voluntary hospitals and otherwise relieve sickness and suffering. Central to the activities of the League was an annual ceremony at which about 50 people were awarded a medal known as the Order of Mercy. When the 1948 National Health Act abolished these hospitals, the League was quietly wound up.

The League of Mercy was re-founded in 1999 as a registered charity, exactly 100 years to the day after it was first established. Central to its aims are “the encouragement and recognition of distinguished voluntary work within the areas of care, which include the sick, injured or disabled, young people at risk, the homeless, the elderly, the dying and those who are impaired in mind”.

Each year the League receives many nominations from charities and other recognised organisations from which the Trustees select about 25 outstanding volunteers, who are then invited to receive the Badge of the Order of Mercy. This is a hallmarked silver gilt representation of the original 1899 design.

Freemasons from the Bordon, Alton and Petersfield Masonic Centres held a charity presentation evening to celebrate the United Grand Lodge of England’s Tercentenary

Held at the Bordon Masonic Centre, the evening was well attended by local charity and community representatives and Freemasons including Chairman of East Hampshire District Council Lynn Evans, Mayor of Alton Dean-Paul Phillips and Mayor of Whitehill & Bordon Colin Leach.

Provincial Grand Master of Hampshire and Isle of Wight RW Bro Mike Wilks opened with a talk about Freemasonry and the values it represents and teaches its members. A total of 26 local charities and community organisations were supported and then given the opportunity to talk about the amazing support and services that they provide to the local communities.

Over £17,500 was presented to the below charities:

This money is achieved by Freemasons holding charity evenings or by regularly contributing to a Lodge charity fund, which is then used for the benefit of local causes. 

Mike Wilks commented: ‘Listening to the charity representatives explain the work they do was very humbling. It provided even more motivation for us to keep raising funds for such worthy causes. 

‘For 300 years we have been supporting charities and I hope we’ll still be doing it in another 300 years.’

The evening concluded with a social gathering in the dining hall of the centre. This provided a great opportunity for the charities to further explain what they do and to learn about Freemasonry from its members.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017 06:00

Tercentenary banner continues its journey

On what was one of the warmest days of the year so far, Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes joined Provincial Grand Master RW Bro Michael Wilks at Hampshire and Isle of Wight's Provincial Grand Lodge meeting in Southampton

One of the highlights of the day was the official handover of the Tercentenary banner from the Province to RW Bro Philip Bullock - Provincial Grand Master for Wiltshire

The specially commissioned banner has now been carried through the Provinces of Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney and Hampshire and Isle of Wight and on 19th July it will be formally handed to RW Bro Richard Merritt, Provincial Grand Master for Dorset.

This year not only marks the Tercentenary of the United Grand Lodge of England but also the conclusion of the Masonic Samaritan Fund 2017 Wiltshire Festival, which provides the ideal excuse to hold a celebration lunch in Trowbridge’s Civic Centre on Saturday 23rd September 2017.

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