A suitable horse

Riding for the Disabled Centre at Holme Lacy, Hereford, is searching for a suitable new horse. The previous occupant of the now empty stable was Gypsy, a horse sponsored by the Freemasons of Herefordshire

Freemasons wish to continue their two decade support of the centre, and recently donated £2,600 towards the purchase of a replacement horse. The original horse they sponsored was aptly named Mason.

The annual minimum cost of maintenance for each of the 13 horses stabled at Hereford RDA is £1,500. Like all centres, Hereford RDA depends on local financial and physical support in order to provide the much appreciated quality service of compassion and care.

The centre provides 250 sessions per week for their disabled clients. One such client is Nick Jones, now aged 35, who first attended the centre at Holme Lacy when aged six: he is now an Ambassador, voluntarily representing the centre at all public occasions.

The newly appointed manager, Lisa Millman, who has been at the centre for the past 21 years, warmly welcomed the Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire the Rev David Bowen, and the Provincial Grand Charity Steward David Knowles. Lisa emphasised that as a charity, volunteers as well as financial donations are required. She is to contact the fifteen masonic lodges in Herefordshire seeking such physical support.

Rev David Bowen expressed how the quality of life of the individuals who attended the centre would diminish should the centre become non-viable – for some clients the visit to Hereford RDA was their only 'outdoor' activity. He promised continued support on behalf of Herefordshire Freemasons. The most recent donation had been match funded by The Freemasons’ Grand Charity.

The Cobalt medical charity, now approaching its 50th anniversary, supports patients with cancer across Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire

At present, the charity is working with Wye Valley NHS Trust to set up a state of the art Breast Cancer Digital Screening and Biopsy Assessment Centre at Hereford County Hospital. With sufficient funding this project could be realised by the end of the current year.

Mel Bolton, Service Delivery Manager at Hereford Hospital, recently met with representatives of Herefordshire Freemasons, who are continuing in their support of the Cobalt Appeal, and toured the designated hospital area which will accommodate the new facilities. They were accompanied by Sian Syddall, Community Fundraiser for Herefordshire Cobalt Appeal.

In presenting the latest donation, the Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire, Rev David Bowen, praised the work of the charity and the financial support given to the Cobalt Unit by the people of the county. He was pleased to be informed that the realisation of this latest project would make it unnecessary for patients to travel to Bromsgrove and Cheltenham to access these services.

Sian Syddall said: 'One in eight women in Herefordshire will be affected by breast cancer at some stage in their lifetime. We want to ensure that all women across the county have access to the best possible screening and follow-up, close to home and loved ones. New digital breast screening equipment for the county will undoubtedly play a vital role in the detection of breast cancer and help to save more lives. On behalf of the women in Herefordshire we would like to extend our sincere thanks to Herefordshire Freemasons for their generous support of our important local appeal.'

The Provincial Grand Master wishes to place on record the invaluable contribution made by fellow Freemason, Allan Lloyd together with his wife Angela, who have campaigned for the past decade for the provision of comprehensive cancer treatment at Hereford Hospital, of which access to digital mammography is an integral part.

A further development to be initiated by the Cobalt Charity will be the provision of a Mobile Digital Mammogram Unit serving the five market towns in the county.


With some 12,000 adults annually using the service provided by the charity Herefordshire Vision Links, Freemasons are again giving support to this worthy cause

David Knowles, Provincial Grand Charity Steward, in presenting a donation to John Eden, Chief Executive of HVL, stated how pleased Herefordshire masons were to be able to assist the only independent charity providing help and support to blind and partially sighted people in the local area. With its open door policy, a monthly magazine, resource centre facility, home visiting and social networks, the service is proving of significant benefit to the local community.

At the presentation, representatives of the Freemasons were encouraged to be informed that HVL is focusing emphasis on user led activities so as to increase a sense of ownership among its cliental.

Vitruvian Lodge is the second oldest active lodge of Freemasons in Herefordshire, having been founded in 1813

The consecration meeting of Vitruvian Lodge No. 338 had been held in the School Room, now St Mary’s Hall, Ross-on-Wye, on 6th August 1813, when John Tristram, a local builder, was installed as Worshipful Master of the lodge. The other lodge officers recorded at the time were William Hooper, John Collins, Francisco Knowles, Samuel Brookes, John White, John Rudge, Robert Evans, Uriah Delahay and Thomas Morgan.

The lodge initially met in the King’s Head Inn, the former home of the 'Man of Ross' John Kyrle. The present masonic hall building, situated just below the Royal Hotel, the site of the former British and Foreign School, has been its meeting place since 1928.

The original 1813 minute mook and by-laws are still in existence. However, records indicate that an earlier but short-lived lodge was active in Ross between May 1764 and April 1783, and which held its meetings mainly at the Swan and Falcon.

The Bicentenary Festival of Vitruvian Lodge was held at The Chase Hotel on the 3rd September 2013, with Thomas Maguire as Worshipful Master. The lodge history was presented by Worshipful Brother Martin Thorne, and an oration was delivered by the Provincial Grand Chaplain Worshipful Brother Edward Dilley.

At the festival, the Right Worshipful Brother the Rev David Bowen, Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire, dedicated and presented the splendid new bicentenary banner to the lodge. It is fitting that Rev David Bowen, initiated into Freemasonry in Vitruvian Lodge in 1983, and appointed to the highest office of the Province of Herefordshire earlier this year, should lead the celebrations of the bicentenary of his mother lodge.

To commemorate the bicentenary, the brethren of Vitruvian Lodge have donated over £16,000 to local charities aimed at assisting young people in particular.

Open door policy for CLOSE HOUSE in Hereford 

According to its 2012 Annual Report, Close House: 'exists to help young people aged 13–24 in Herefordshire, mostly through leisure time activities, to develop their physical, mental and spiritual capacity that they may grow to full maturity as individuals and members of society.'

Approaching its 10th year, 300 young people and rising use the facilities annually. The manager, Ben Lea, who nine years ago was Hereford’s first voluntary youth worker, states that: '2012 has been an epic year' of achievements and self-belief among the young people involved.

The wearing of I AM EPIC wristbands and t-shirts by the young people has led to increased confidence, self-regard and positivity, as readily perceived by David Knowles, Provincial Grand Charity Steward representing Herefordshire Freemasons on a visit to Close House.

Herefordshire masons are doing everything they can to support the work undertaken at Close House, and a donation has recently been presented, see above.

Confidential, compassionate, ethical, affordable

Such is the message from the Marches Counselling Service (MCS) based at 57 St Owen Street, Hereford. Formed as a not-for-profit registered charity in March 2011, Jennifer French, Clinical Director, states that the service provides high quality, professional, confidential counselling for adults in Herefordshire and the Welsh Marches, who feel that talking therapy might help overcome personal distress.

Herefordshire Freemasons are supporting this service, especially the pilot scheme aimed at increasing outreach activities in the more rural areas. The masons are also trying to increase public awareness of the counselling service provided by MCS, particularly among the elderly and their carers.

David Knowles, Provincial Grand Charity Steward of Herefordshire, in presenting a donation to Jennifer French, emphasised the importance of supporting local people, helping them to regain or hold on to a sense of health and well-being, when difficulties threaten to overwhelm them.

Ringing the changes at Ledbury

There is nothing like showing the flag, and members of Eastnor Lodge, No. 751, in the Province of Herefordshire set up a stall outside the Feathers Hotel in Ledbury to celebrate Community Day alongside other organisations in the town. The lodge displayed photographs and literature on Freemasonry, and explained how it supported both local and national masonic and non-masonic charities. They were in good voice, assisted by town crier Bill Turberfield (pictured above).

Sunday, 18 August 2013 10:26

Ross-on-Wye First Responders recognised

Ross-on-Wye First Responders were once again recognised for the dedicated service with a donation of £750 from the Freemasons of Ariconium Lodge and the Kyrle Lodge of Mark Master Masons.

Worshipful Brother Bob Ratcliffe, Charity Steward of Ariconium Lodge, is a strong advocate of giving support to organisations which assist those who are in need within the local area, while at the same time appreciating that each year The Freemasons’ Grand Charity distributes £8 million nationally and internationally.

Charity backing for neighbour scheme

The Royal Voluntary Service (formerly WRVS) has been awarded £50,000 by The Freemasons’ Grand Charity to fund the establishment of a county-wide Good Neighbours Scheme for older people in Herefordshire.

The project will support one hundred older vulnerable people at home, providing practical help and companionship and using trained volunteers. Herefordshire RVS will require an additional fifty volunteers, over and above their existing 500 volunteers, to promote this new venture. In the words of George Driver, RVS local Service Manager, the scheme will enable the elderly receiving this support 'to retain their independence, give them choice, provide them with the opportunity of involvement, and positively encourage a feeling of being valued.'

Speaking about the donation, the Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire, The Rev David Bowen, said: 'The wellbeing of the older members of our local community is of real importance to Herefordshire Freemasons and we are therefore delighted to support the Royal Voluntary Service with this grant to establish the Good Neighbours Scheme in this county. In other areas around Britain such schemes have shown real benefits and positive outcomes. This scheme will enrich the lives of the older people in our county.'

Claire Print, Locality Manager RVS Herefordshire, emphasised that 'We are very grateful for this substantial support from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity to set up a vital Good Neighbours Scheme in Herefordshire. Good Neighbours volunteers will make a huge difference to the lives of older people who find getting out and about difficult. Knowing that there is a friendly face willing to help will have a real impact on the wellbeing of older people who use the service.'

The Freemasons’ Grand Charity is a grant-making charity dedicated to supporting people in need. The charity provides grants totalling about £8 million annually in areas of medical research, support for vulnerable people, youth opportunities, hospice services, air ambulances and disaster relief, as well as providing assistance to Freemasons and their dependants in financial need.

For further information about this grant please contact Allan Lloyd at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Siobhan McCarthy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in The Grand Charity

Dial-A-Ride has been awarded £1,000 by the Freemasons of Herefordshire

The charity provides affordable and accessible transport to the elderly, and those local people who have no means of suitable transport. There are nearly 300 people who are supported in this way by 20 volunteers. Brian Bentley has been a volunteer driver since the start of Dial-A-Ride in Hay back in January 1995.

The service operates within nine miles of Hay, mainly in rural areas and isolated villages with no public transport access. It operates in Hay and Talgarth, and such areas as Bronllys, Erwood, Gwernyfed, Llanigon, Clyro, Gladestry, Glasbury, Glascwm and Painscastle – on both sides of the English/Welsh border. The service assists people in leading independent lives.

The charity’s community transport includes a 12-seater mini bus and a six person people carrier. These vehicles have to be insured, maintained and provided with fuel.

Master of Loyal Hay Lodge No. 2382, Nigel Boothby, supported by his Charity Steward Brian Bevan, in presenting the donation of £1,000, emphasised how important it is for Freemasons to support local as well as national charities. Charity Chairman and present Mayor of Hay, Robert Golesworthy, stated that such financial assistance is fundamental to the continued success of the Hay and District Dial-A-Ride, and that the charity in is desperate need of such support.

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