Woking Lodge in Surrey have raised almost £55,000 for a number of worthy causes when members, friends and family attended their charity ball on 9 March 2019
The background to the lodge itself makes very interesting reading. The Home Guard, often referred to as ‘Dad's Army’ as depicted in the BBC sitcom of the same name, was a defence force of the British Army during the Second World War. Operational from 1940 until 1944, the Home Guard comprised of 1.5 million local volunteers too old or otherwise ineligible for military service.
In 1946, members of the Woking branch of the Home Guard and fellow members of Bisley Lodge No. 2317 in Godalming, Surrey, decided to form a lodge of their own to commemorate the friendships made during the war years. Woking Lodge No. 6264 continues to meet today in Godalming and preserves the foundations laid by the Dad's Army founders.
The lodge banner portrays the hill in Old Woking, where, had the Germans invaded, the Home Guard would have lit one of a chain of bonfires across the country, to warn the population of the invasion. In the foreground is Hoe Bridge and the River Wey. Also depicted are the sun and moon to indicate the Home Guard watched over Woking by night as well as by day.
The lodge held its latest Charity Ball at the historic and beautiful setting of 17th century Wotton House, Dorking, with attendees treated to a meal and live entertainment. Auction lots and raffle prizes were donated by various sponsors, as well as members of the lodge. Lots included sports and music memorabilia, signed by the likes of Pele, Lewis Hamilton and George Ezra, a holiday in Bali and a Caribbean cruise.
The star lot was a life-sized Zest Model car, donated by John Bennyworth, a Surrey Freemason, and on the night raised £12,000, of which a third will be donated to Shooting Star, a Surrey Hospice for children.
Ian Chandler, Provincial Grand Master of Surrey, said: ‘This was a night that showed Freemasonry at its very best. Friendships made and renewed while raising a significant sum for very worthy causes. My sincere thanks to everyone who attended and congratulations to Woking Lodge.’
The auction and raffle raised almost £55,000 and the money will be donated to:
- Shooting Star - £4,000, offering a wide range of support for families caring for a life-limited child, including palliative and respite care, and bereavement support
- Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys - £3,500, offering grants to relieve poverty and advance education for children and young people
- Surrey 2019 Festival - £46,750, supporting care homes for over 1,000 elderly people across England and Wales
Rowland Gbedemah of Woking Lodge said: ‘I want to thank you all in no small part for supporting us in our fundraising effort this evening. Charity is at the heart of Freemasonry and the charities who will be the beneficiaries of this evening’s fundraiser do a lot to help people locally, nationally and internationally.’
UGLE’s Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, was at the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford to open the Stokes Centre for Urology on 5 March 2019
This new NHS centre of excellence was jointly funded by The Prostate Project and Royal Surrey County Hospital following 10 years of fundraising.
Colin Stokes launched the Prostate Project in 1998 to raise £250,000 for a scanner, but went on to raise over £8 million. In recognition of the charity’s vital role, the centre has been named after its founder.
While the building has patient access at its core, The Duke of Kent also saw how it is the culmination of the most significant investments in urological services in the UK for over a decade. It is the largest centre for brachytherapy in Europe and third in the world.
The Prostate Project raised £2.85 million of the £5.9 million needed to build the new centre. In the foyer of the centre there is a plaque listing the Prostate Project’s Hall of Fame, recognising all donors who have contributed £3,000 or more and buy-a-brick donors are recognised in reception.
The Hall of Fame is testimony to the efforts of:
- The Provincial Grand Lodge and Chapter of Surrey who achieved a Platinum Award;
- Astolat Lodge No. 5848, who meet in Guildford, Surrey, qualified for a Silver Award;
- Castle Keep Lodge No. 6446, who meet in Godalming, Surrey, qualified for a Bronze Award; and
- Surrey Provincial Lodge of Mark Master Masons, who qualified for a Bronze Award.
During the visit, The Duke of Kent met several Surrey Freemasons who supported the Prostate Project by contributing over £70,000.
Those present included Surrey’s Deputy Provincial Grand Master Richard Wileman, who was supported by Surrey Freemason Vic Simmons, who is also an Ambassador and Trustee of The Prostate Project, and Peter Wood, the Master and Charity Steward of Astolat Lodge.
A number of Freemasons have been honoured in HM The Queen’s New Year Honours list 2019, which recognises the outstanding achievements of people across the United Kingdom
Charles Pearson was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to West Mercia Police.
Charles has been a special constable for 45 years, holding the rank of a Sergeant, serving his community in Shropshire with postings to Bridgnorth, Much Wenlock and presently, Church Stretton. In May 2014, he was awarded the Freedom of Much Wenlock for services to the local community, with 40 years police service in the town of Much Wenlock.
He was initiated into Caer Caradoc Lodge No. 6346 in Shropshire in 1997 and joined West Mercia Lodge No. 9719 three years later, where he is the current Master.
In 2012, Charles was named Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon for Shropshire and in 2017 was promoted to Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works.
Thomas Clive Johnson
Clive Johnson was awarded the Queen's Fire Service Medal (QFSM) for Distinguished service to Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service.
Clive joined the Westmorland Fire Service as a Retained Firefighter in 1968 and was based at Staveley where he lives. In 1974, the Fire Services of the region amalgamated and then became the Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service.
Clive continued his service at Staveley until he retired on 31st May 2018, having achieved the high rank of Station Watch Manager. To mark his retirement having completed 50 years of exemplary service, he and his wife Julie were invited to attend a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, hosted by Her Majesty.
He was initiated into Eversley Lodge No. 4228 in 2001 in the Province of Cumberland & Westmorland. In 2016, he received Provincial Honours when he was appointed Provincial Senior Grand Deacon.
Bill Edward Bowen
Bill Bowen was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community of Oswestry in Shropshire.
This included actively serving in The Lions Club of Oswestry for 44 years and being honoured in the Lions Clubs International organisation as District Governor which necessitated training in Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii.
Bill also served as Churchwarden at the Parish Church of St. Oswald for 25 years, followed by 14 years as a licensed local minister in the Church of England. He also organised a Christian Men's Fellowship Breakfast for 22 years and served as Chaplain to the RJAH Orthopaedic Hospital for 15 years. In fact, he is still serving in all these different organisations.
Bill was initiated in 1986 into the Lodge of St Oswald No. 1124 in Oswestry in the Province of Shropshire and was made Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works in 2014.
Michael Goldthorpe was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to Naval Personnel.
Michael served in the Royal Navy from 1978 until 2010, reaching the rank of Commander. His most recent activity has been as CEO of the Association of Royal Navy Officers and the Royal Navy Officers Charity.
He was initiated into Pinner Hill Lodge No. 6578 in Middlesex in 1989, although the lodge has since been erased. Michael is also a member of Fortitude Lodge No. 6503 in the Province, where he is their current Master, and was appointed Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works in 2018.
Francis Wakem QPM
Francis Wakem was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to victims of crime.
This involved working with the charity Victim Support, which provides emotional and practical support to victims of crime, since it was founded 30 years ago, originally as a serving police officer and later as a volunteer.
Francis remains an active volunteer in Wiltshire and in London where he serves on committees dealing with governance of the charity.
Francis was initiated into Corsham Lodge No. 6616 in Wiltshire in 1976 and went on to serve as Provincial Grand Master in the county for over 10 years (March 2004 - October 2014).
Frank Handscombe was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to Judo in the community in South Molton, North Devon.
Frank is a 4th black belt and has been involved with South Molton Judo Club for 38 years, where he has served as chief instructor and principal.
Frank was initiated into Temple Bar Lodge No. 5962 in Hertfordshire in 1961 and later joined Loyal Lodge of Industry No. 421 in Devonshire, where he gained Provincial honours including Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 2005 and Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden in 2006.
In 2009, he was given Grand Lodge honours when he was named Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies.
Trevor (Tex) Calton
Army Cadet Force Major Tex Calton has been awarded an MBE by Her Majesty the Queen in the annual New Year Honours list.
Tex enjoyed a successful military career of 26 years with the last eight serving as the Bandmaster of the famous Black Watch Regiment. He retired from teaching music in schools at the end of 2013 and now serves in the Army Cadet Force in the rank of Major, as National Music Advisor.
Tex became a Freemason in 1988 when he joined Phoenix Lodge in Berlin. On being posted to Tern Hill, near Market Drayton, he joined St Mary’s Lodge No. 8373 in 1992. Tex was given Provincial honours in Shropshire when he was named Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon in 2014.
Cheshire Freemason Steven Leigh was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to local businesses and the economy in Yorkshire.
Steven has had an impressive business career, including the flotation of his company to a full listing on the London Stock Exchange in 1993, and running it as Chief Executive.
Steven will celebrate 50 years as a member of the Lodge of Harmony No. 4390 in November 2019, a month after taking the Chair of the Lodge as Master for the second time (previously in 1976). He was also Director of Ceremonies from 1978 – 1983, following in the footsteps of his father, George Leigh, who was Director of Ceremonies of the lodge for many years.
Reg Dunning was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to education and the community in Sandbach, Cheshire.
Reg has been a Governor of two local schools for over 40 years concurrently and has been the parade marshal for the Royal British Legion in Sandbach for over 60 years.
92-year-old Reg is an honorary member of Penda Lodge No. 7360 and Sanbec Lodge No. 8787 in Sandbach. He joined Freemasonry in April 1955 when he was initiated into Kinderton Lodge No. 5759 in Middlewich.
Tony Brian Arthur Rowland
Tony Rowland has been awarded an MBE for services to undertaking and the community in Surrey.
Tony is a Funeral Director who has supported bereaved families through their grief for 65 years and has done voluntary work for many local charities and community projects. He became an apprentice at the age of 15 in 1953 and is now, at the age of 80, still working full-time.
Tony is a member of Croydon Sincerity Lodge No. 7575 in Surrey, where he was made a Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer in 2016.
Tracing the past
An artist and engraver who specialised in pen and ink work, John Harris created a set of tracing boards that are still used in ritual today
The principles of Freemasonry are communicated using symbols during the ceremonies and then afterwards by illustrated lectures. Early lodges used to draw these motifs on the floor of their lodge room and wash them off after the meeting. By the late 1700s, floor cloths and symbolic tablets for the master’s pedestal were being used. Then from the early 1800s a set of three tracing boards in a variety of sizes and materials became the standard, to help to illustrate one of the three ceremonies.
Royal Arch chapters do not usually employ tracing boards, but some older chapters do have them. These examples were produced by John Harris (1791-1873) along with his Craft versions, but were not adopted as the former were.
A LIFE OF DEVOTION
Harris was an artist and engraver who specialised in pen and ink facsimile work, notably for the British Museum, but he is best known to Freemasonry as a designer of tracing boards. He became a Freemason in 1818 and by 1820 was selling his designs of portable miniature tracing boards. In 1825 he dedicated, with permission, a set of miniature Craft boards to the Grand Master, the Duke of Sussex. This was taken as an official seal of approval and helped to increase sales.
In 1845, the Emulation Lodge of Improvement, which is the largest masonic ritual association, organised a competition to design a standardised set of boards to be used in all lodges that worked Emulation ritual. Harris won the competition and his boards can be seen in every Emulation ritual book published today.
In later life, Harris suffered from ill health and blindness. He moved into the Asylum for Worthy, Aged, and Decayed Freemasons, later the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution, in Croydon. He is buried with his wife Mary in the town’s Queen’s Road Cemetery, Croydon. His grave was recently rediscovered and the Provincial Grand Lodge of Surrey, which now owns the plot, has provided the grave with a new headstone.
You can find several examples of Harris’s tracing boards at the Library and Museum of Freemasonry.
John Harris is the predominant name in Tracing Boards and his designs are to be seen across the country and indeed the world
He lived from 1791-1873 and is best known for the Boards he painted for Emulation Lodge of Improvement (ELoI) in 1845. They measure six feet by three feet and are still used today.
In the 1850s, Harris suffered a series of strokes which left him blind. Unable to work, he and his wife Mary were some of the earliest residents of the first masonic Old People’s Home. Built in Croydon in 1850, it went by the name of the Asylum for Aged, Worthy and Decayed Freemasons, and was the prototype RMBI home.
A Croydon Freemason, Forbes Cutler, recently searched for and discovered John Harris’s unmarked grave in a Croydon cemetery. To his dismay, the grave was about to ‘reclaimed’ by the local council. To prevent this, he bought the plot from Queen’s Road Cemetery and lodges and chapters donated money to erect a fitting headstone.
On 18th September 2018, a service of memorial was conducted by the Revered Timothy L’Estrange and the headstone was unveiled. Croydon Masonic Centre was filled for a meeting to commemorate the life of the man whose work has influenced masons for the last 200 years.
Those present included Ian Chandler, Provincial Grand Master for Surrey, and Dr David Staples, Grand Secretary and CEO of UGLE. Graham Redman, Deputy Grand Secretary of UGLE and a senior member of ELoI, brought with him one of ELoI’s original 1845 Harris Tracing Boards. John Harris was, belatedly, given the send-off he merited, surrounded by his lodges and chapter and in the company of Freemason he so loved.
The deeds of the plot now belong to Freemasonry, the headstone has been erected, and John Harris and his wife Mary will continue to rest in peace.
Following a successful racing event held at Lingfield Park by Surrey Freemasons, children in Surrey hospitals are continuing to receive teddy bears for comfort and support
Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) is a registered charity distributing around 500 teddies a week to children in a number of A&E units across Surrey regardless of their background, challenge or need. Every child who attends their A&E Units is given a teddy bear for comfort and support thanks to TLC and Surrey Freemasons.
The teddy bears handed out to children in Surrey hospitals are part of a much larger Teddies for Loving Care project which is being led by Masonic Provinces across England and Wales.
‘It’s really heart-tugging to see a distressed child almost immediately calmed when a bear is presented to them and children get to keep the teddy bear too and take it home,’ said Ian Chandler, Surrey’s Provincial Grand Master, following a recent visit to a Surrey hospital.
With TLC now firmly in place, Surrey Freemasons were faced with a new dilemma. Do they stop funding TLC in the hope that hospitals will continue by finding new sponsors, or do they find new and innovative ways to raise funds to continue to support this valuable service? The members of Surrey chose the latter.
Ian Chandler, plus many members with their families and friends, attended a fundraising race meeting at Lingfield Park on Saturday 23 June 2018 to support TLC. All seven races were sponsored by Surrey masons, making this evening event unprecedented in the history of Lingfield Park.
Racegoers enjoyed a fabulous evening of racing, bathed in the Surrey sunshine around the racecourse. Guests were entertained by former Drifters singer Jason Nembhard and tapped their feet to the music of a Michael Jackson tribute band. One lucky guest even won a holiday to the Algarve in the raffle.
Ian Chandler added: ‘This was Surrey Freemasons’ first venture into organising such a high profile public event. Our thanks go to Lingfield Racecourse and all of the racegoers for supporting us on such an enjoyable evening.’
David Toulson-Burk, Executive Director of Lingfield Park, added: ‘We’ve been delighted to welcome Surrey masons to our race meeting. It’s heart-warming to see so many local business people here supporting their local community and we were thrilled to play our part in their fundraising.’
Thanks to the fundraising, every child attending Surrey A&E units continue to receive teddies.
Sometimes it just needs a good cause, some crazy ideas and loads of enthusiasm to make something worthwhile – which is what happened when 60 Surrey Freemasons, alongside family and friends, went down the world’s fastest zip wire and raised over £35,000 for charity
They came together in Snowdonia on Sunday 15th July 2018 to take part in the fifth, and final, of their ‘Big Five Challenge’, in support of the 2019 Festival Appeal for the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution.
As if abseiling down the spire of Guildford Cathedral last year was not crazy enough, this year’s challenge was for 60 Surrey Freemasons to ride Velcity 2, which is also the longest zip wire in Europe.
Reaching speeds of over 100mph during the 1,555 metre descent over Penrhyn Quarry in North Wales, this was to be a white-knuckle experience like no other. Jumps, as they’re called, were in groups of four, with the first group led by Surrey’s Provincial Grand Master Ian Chandler.
Colin Pizey, one of the Surrey Freemasons taking part, said: ‘The zip wire flight down was amazing. As you descend across the quarry lake, perceptions of speed just melt away and you feel like a bird gently gliding on wind. Then the ground and end-point accelerate towards you, before being suddenly braked to a halt and gently lowered back to ground.’
As in every instance, events like this zip wire challenge do not happen without a champion behind the scenes, to organise, liaise, inform and coax all parties towards a successful conclusion. In this instance, the champion was Terry Owens, a seasoned Surrey mason who had previously organised 15 fundraising events.
Terry said: ‘This was the most challenging event I’ve ever organised, but it could never have happened without everyone else stepping forward to support, take part or sponsor us.’
Despite some challenging journeys, everyone who promised to participate was there, enabling the zip wire challenge to raise over £35,000. Provincial Grand Charity Steward David Olliver, who coordinates Masonic charity events in Surrey, said: ‘This was one of the biggest and most successful Provincial charity fundraising events ever.’
Monday 14 May 2018 proved to be a memorable day for members of the Lodge of Saint Mark No. 8479 in Dorset, with 92-year- old, World War II veteran Ray Fuller being installed as their Worshipful Master
Ray joined the Royal Navy as a 17-year-old in 1943 and served on HMS Illustrious. The carrier's aircraft attacked targets in Japanese-occupied Dutch East Indies and took part in the Battle of Okinawa.
In early 1944, the aircraft of HMS Illustrious and USS Saratoga joined forces to strike a naval base at Sabang in northern Sumatra.
Nearly 80 Brethren gathered in the village of Kinson to see Ray take the chair, which created a fantastic atmosphere on this remarkable evening. It wasn't Ray’s first time in the chair though having previously been Master of Bisley Lodge No. 2317 in Surrey, but that didn't detract from making this a special occasion for him. Over £700 was also raised for three charities during a bumper raffle.
Giving a moving response to the visitors toast was one member who had travelled down in a minibus from Surrey. He had known Ray since they were seven-years-old and they're both proud holders of the Burma Star, a military medal awarded to those who served in World War II.
The Provincial Grand Master for Dorset, Richard Merritt, commented that it was a remarkable coincidence that it was Ray's second time in the chair and that he was the 46th Master, as doubling this figure equalled Ray's exact age.
He went on to add that having made enquiries with UGLE, Ray was one of the oldest brothers to be installed into the chair of a lodge.
James Radford of Onslow Lodge No. 2234 was raised to the Third Degree on 5th May 2018 in a ceremony which took place at Remembrance Lodge No. 6188, at their Masonic Hall in Glenmore House, Surrey
At the age of 19 years and three months, he has become the youngest current subscribing Master Mason in the Province of Surrey.
Special thanks was given to Onslow Lodge's Worshipful Master Paul Cope and Remembrance Lodge's Senior Warden David Reeve for making such a night possible.
Paul Baggett, Immediate Past Master of Dunckerley Lodge No. 3878 in Poole, Dorset, travelled to the Menin Gate war memorial in Ypres, Belgium, to take part in The Last Post Ceremony
This poignant ceremony has become part of the daily life at Menin Gate and takes place every night at 8pm. It is a simple but moving tribute to the courage and self-sacrifice of those who fell in World War I. Every evening the busy road through the memorial is closed to traffic before the ceremony and 'Last Post' will be played.
A member or guest of the Last Post Association, a visiting dignitary or a visitor, will say the words of the Exhortation, taken from Laurence Binyon's poem 'For the Fallen'. Standing in the centre of the road under the arch of the Hall of Memory, the person will say the words:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn,
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Afrer laying a wreath on behalf of Dorset Freemasonry, Paul Baggett, who was accompanied by Phil Conway of Lumen Lodge No. 4922 in Surrey, was honoured to be the one to read those words and help continue this most important tradition – watch the video here.