To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force, the 100th Anniversary of the end of the First World War and the 75th Anniversary of the Dambusters Raid, Derbyshire Freemasons with special guest, Squadron Leader George 'Johnny' Johnson MBE DFM, made generous presentations to Derbyshire Air Cadets

‘Johnny’ was a 21-year-old Sergeant when he took part in Operation Chastise, where he was the bomb aimer in Lancaster AJ-T (T-Tommy) piloted by ‘Joe’ McCarthy RCAF, which conducted the first attack on the Sorpe Dam.

The Squadron was based in Lincolnshire but used the Derwent dams during training so he is no stranger to the county, albeit in those days he was seeing Derbyshire from the air. The connection to Derbyshire also includes Barnes Wallace, the engineer who designed the bouncing bomb and who was born in Ripley.

Looking for a fitting tribute to mark the various anniversaries, the Provincial Grand Master for Derbyshire Steven Varley decided to present all Air Training Corps Squadrons within Derbyshire a cheque for £1,000. In addition, the Squadrons each received a framed print of a Lancaster Bomber signed and presented by Squadron Leader Johnson, who at 96 years of age is the last surviving member of the aircrews that participated in the Dambusters Raid during the Second World War. These prints will no doubt be treasured by future generations of ATC cadets.

All of the donations were funded by the Provincial Grand Charity of the Province Of Derbyshire which regularly gives funding for many worthy causes throughout the County. All of the funds are collected from donations made by their members.

Flight Lieutenant Steve Broomhead RAFAC, Officer Commanding 1890 (Dronfield) Squadron ATC: ‘This is a fantastically generous gift that will certainly help as my Squadron is desperately trying to update our IT capability.

‘The IT is now such so important to the running of the Squadron both in our administration and in the gaining of cadet qualifications. The icing on the evening’s cake was receiving the signed print from, and meeting with, Johnny Johnson, such an inspiring gentleman.’

After the Presentations, Squadron Leader Michael Roe, RAF Rtd, gave an interesting talk about his long and distinguished flying career in the RAF. To cap it all, four lucky cadets will also receive a flight in an historic two-seater Chipmunk aircraft.

In a short but entertaining speech, Johnny Johnson paid tribute to those he flew with and told the cadets that they were the RAF’s future and that the future was looking to be in good hands. After the Presentations and speeches, Johnny Johnson was presented with a cheque for £1,000 for his own charity, Group 617.

The evening ended with a dinner for all present which included the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire, Civic representatives of Derby and Derbyshire and representatives of the Royal Air Forces association along with the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association.

Wing Commander Andy Pass, Officer Commanding South & East Midlands Wing, commented: ‘This was an extraordinarily generous gift to the 15 Squadrons from across the county. The money will be of great benefit to the cadets at the Squadrons and it will be spent wisely on equipment that will greatly enhance the Squadron’s ability to deliver the World class cadet experience for which the RAF Air Cadets are renowned.’

It’s the journey  that matters

Via Rolls-Royce, camper van, horse and cart, speedboat and tandem bicycle, Lifelites chief executive Simone Enefer-Doy travelled 2,500 miles in two weeks to raise the profile of this hard-working charity

Providing life-changing assistive technology, Lifelites helps the 10,000 children and young people in hospices across the British Isles live their short lives to the full. On 25 May 2018, the charity’s chief executive, Simone Enefer-Doy, set off on an epic road, air and river trip to spread the word and raise funds.

The 2,500-mile challenge, called Lift for Lifelites, was to take in 47 famous landmarks in England and Wales in just 14 days. For each leg of the journey, Simone received a lift from Provincial supporters in an eclectic mix of transportation. After setting an initial target of raising £50,000 for Lifelites, the total now stands at over £104,000. Simone says she has been astounded at the support and generosity she encountered as she travelled around the country. 

‘Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that so many people would come out to meet me on my journey and support my challenge. We have received a terrific welcome wherever we have gone, and it really spurred me on to continue whenever I felt myself flagging. I would like to thank everyone – drivers, donors and venues – for helping to make Lift for Lifelites happen. We couldn’t have done it without you.’

If you’d like Lifelites to come to one of your Provincial meetings to make a presentation about Simone’s adventure and how the charity will use the money, please get in touch via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0207 440 4200.

Published in Lifelites

Derbyshire Freemasons have donated £1,700 to the Jon Egging Trust, which supports young people who find themselves in difficult circumstances

On 20th August 2011, Flt Lt Jon Egging lost his life whilst completing a display at the Bournemouth Air Festival. He was coming to the end of his first year with the world-famous Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team ‘The Red Arrows’, flying in the position of Red 4.

In 2012, the Jon Egging Trust was formed to help realise Jon’s dream of inspiring young people through his love of aviation, teamwork and leadership – helping them to overcome adversity, identify their strengths and work towards their ambitions.

The staff and volunteers for the Trust are all chosen for their ability to act as positive role models; in turn they inspire and enthuse young people to reach their full potential. Their accredited programmes increase young peoples’ self-confidence, self-esteem and other vital life and work skills, empowering them to become role models within their own communities. 

Derbyshire Freemason Adrian Clarke, Worshipful Master of Bradelei Lodge No. 9205, and his brother-in-law Flight Lieutenant Chris Lyndon-Smith (Red 4) were acutely aware of this very worthy charity and inspired the lodge to make a much welcome contribution to the Trust. The funds principally came from the fundraising from Adrian’s Lodge Ladies Evening, where the Red Arrows had generously donated some of the raffle prizes.

When match funded by the Provincial Grand Charity of Derbyshire Freemasons, they were pleased to be able to present the Jon Egging Trust with a donation of £1,700. They were then invited to make the presentation at RAF Scampton where the Red Arrows are stationed and met with the pilots and ground crew.

This donation is a fitting preface to even more Derbyshire masonic support for organisations associated with the RAF taking place this year in the Province. In October 2018, the Provincial Grand Lodge of Derbyshire will be making substantial donations to the each of the Air Training Core units in Derbyshire.

St Thomas Lodge No. 2583 in Derbyshire has donated £2,000 to Swanwick School and Sports College to enable them to purchase a much-needed minibus

The school identified that a new nine-seater minibus was required for school outings, which could be driven by all school personnel, and would offer more flexibility for an enhanced programme of activities for the children.

A programme of fundraising followed through various events, including a parachute jump, and a substantial amount of money was raised, but despite these efforts there was still a shortfall. The lodge became aware of the school’s need and offered their assistance.

They donated £2,000 and this was match funded by the Derbyshire Provincial Grand Charity to raise £4,000 and enable the school to purchase the minibus.

Swanwick School and Sports College is a community special school providing high quality education for around 80 children between the ages of 5 and 16. The school caters for children with a wide range of social and educational needs.

A blue plaque, commemorating the life and works of Derbyshire Freemason Dr John Hollis Pigot, who was recognised for reviving Freemasonry in Derby, is now on display

The first recorded Freemasons lodge in Derbyshire was founded in 1732 and met at the Virgins Inn in Derby market place. As was customary in those days when lodges typically took the name if the establishment they met at, the Virgins Inn Lodge No. 104 came into being.

It was founded in 1732, only 15 years after the formation of the first Grand Lodge in London in 1717 and remained in existence for 44 years. It was formally erased in 1777 but became the springboard for Tyrian Lodge No. 253 which was founded in 1785 and is now the oldest remaining lodge in Derbyshire.

Dr Pigot was a founding member of Tyrian Lodge and its first Worshipful Master, a role in which he served for four years. He was also a founding member of the Derby Philosophical Society.

Derbyshire Freemasons are proud to see this commemorative plaque appear at the site of  Dr Pigot’s former house, believed to be the first such plaque known to have been placed on an historic site marking the life and achievements of a Freemason anywhere in England.

The plaque was formally unveiled by Steven Varley, Provincial Grand Master for Derbyshire, accompanied by members of the Derby Civic Society, a local councillor and the Mayor for Derby.

Ripple effect

Mason Barry Oakley explains why the Province of Derbyshire is offering prostate screenings in masonic halls – just one initiative being undertaken around the country to raise cancer awareness

Already the most common cancer among men, prostate cancer in the UK has now overtaken breast cancer in women in terms of mortality, with figures at the start of 2018 revealing nearly 12,000 deaths annually. Prostate cancer is now the third deadliest form of the disease behind lung and bowel cancers, and Prostate Cancer UK reports that by 2030 it could become the most common form of all diagnosed cancers.

In the latter half of 2017, the Provincial Grand Lodge of Derbyshire launched a prostate-screening initiative for its 2,800-plus members. The programme required a team approach, relying upon the support of the Queen’s Hospital in Burton-on-Trent, which is led by MacMillan consultant urological surgeon Jyoti Shah together with a number of specialist nurses. 

FAMILIAR SURROUNDS

In Shah’s experience, most men tend to avoid prostate examinations in hospital or recognised clinical environments. So the surgeon decided to take the screening programme to more familiar surroundings for those being examined: masonic halls. 

The approach proved highly successful, with the team visiting masonic halls in Burton-on-Trent, Long Eaton, Chesterfield and Buxton in 2017. The second phase of the screening programme commenced in May 2018, and, at the time of writing, 363 Derbyshire masons had been examined, with 14 diagnosed as having the disease. 

As part of the screening process, blood samples are taken and evaluated in a lab to look for certain proteins, called prostate-specific antigens (PSAs), that are present in all men. Abnormally high levels of PSAs are an indicator that cancer may be present in the prostate gland, but apparently certain non-cancerous conditions can also raise PSA levels.

The initiative is part of a much wider health campaign called ‘Inspire Health: Fighting Prostate Cancer’ that founder Shah, assisted by MacMillan advanced nurse practitioner Sarah Minns and a team of nurses, has been spearheading throughout Derbyshire.

IMPROVING OUTCOMES

‘For those men who have been screened and diagnosed, the cancer has been detected in time for effective treatment to commence and has probably saved lives,’ says Shah. ‘Without screening, the cancer would go undetected and continue to develop, giving rise to a potentially negative, life-threatening outcome.

‘Screening programmes can create a positive ripple effect. The word gets spread, which encourages more to come forward for screening. And the more who come forward, the sooner we can detect any presence of the disease and create positive outcomes.’

In backing the project, Derbyshire Provincial Grand Charity Steward Michael Hitchcock says, ‘We have been only too willing to support financially from our Provincial charity fund what is a potentially life-saving initiative. And despite the fact that charges would not be asked for, we felt it only right that a donation should be made on behalf of the Province.’

Medical research surrounding prostate cancer continues in many centres of excellence throughout the world, particularly in the UK, with the aim of further perfecting screening, diagnosis and treatment.

The Provincial Grand Lodge of Derbyshire have presented the Royal British Legion with a cheque for £1,400, which was raised by the sale of a special remembrance tie

The ties were sold to Derbyshire Freemasons, with the profits destined for charitable causes.

The tie depicts a poppy with the leaf pointing to 11am to represent the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. The square and compasses point to 5am to represent the actual time that the armistice was first signed. The tie can only be worn by members during November as a mark of gratitude to our armed forces.

The cheque was presented by the Provincial Grand Master Steven Varley at an informal ceremony, following a talk by staff of their Drop In Centre in Derby explaining the important work undertaken in supporting ex-military personnel returning home.

Lilly Clements, Community Fundraiser for the Royal British Legion, said: ‘We are honoured that the Masons have chosen us to support the Poppy Appeal.’

Lifelites Chief Executive Simone Enefer-Doy has left Freemasons' Hall to kick-start her 2,500 mile journey to 47 famous landmarks to raise awareness of Lifelites and £50,000 for the charity

Dubbed 'A Lift for Lifelites', Simone will see Freemasons in nearly every Province in England and Wales and will be stopping at landmarks such as Hadrian’s Wall, Angel of the North and Bletchley Park in vehicles including a classic Rolls Royce, a camper van, a four seater plane, an E Type Jaguar and even a zip wire.

Simone said: 'With the help of Freemasons and their vehicles around the country, I’m on a mission to raise the profile of our work and raise more funds to reach more children whose lives could be transformed by the technology we can provide.'

We'll be updating this page regularly, including images, as Simone continues on her epic quest.

Day 14 – Thursday 7 June

That's a wrap! Simone completed her 14 day challenge and finished in style on ThamesJet speedboat with guests including United Grand Lodge of England Chief Executive Dr David Staples. Her fundraising currently stands at over £103,000.

Day 13 – Wednesday 6 June

It's the penultimate day, starting with a trip to Bedfordshire at the Shuttleworth Collection. The next stop was Silverstone racetrack in Northamptonshire, which included completing a lap in a Jaguar, before driving this to Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire. The last trip was to the home, studios and gardens of former artist Henry Moore in Hertfordshire.

Day 12 – Tuesday 5 June

Day 12 took in journeys across Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. The first stop was Gordon Boswell Romany Museum in Lincolnshire before using two vehicles, a Hudson Straight Six Touring Sedan and a Range Rover, to Bressington Steam and Gardens in Norfolk. There was still time to grab lunch at Bury St Edmunds Abbey in Suffolk before a BMW took Simone to her final stop in Cambridgeshire, which included a punt on the River Cam.

Day 11 – Monday 4 June

Simone crammed in four locations to start the week, with a wide variety of vehicles used. The day started in Yorkshire Sculpture Park before driving a 1977 Bentley to the National Tramway Museum in Derbyshire. It was from here that Simone then picked up a DeLorean to take her to Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire before completing the day by driving a gold Rolls-Royce to Victoria Park in Leicestershire.

Day 10 – Sunday 3 June

The week concludes with trips to Northumberland, Durham and Yorkshire and East Riding, as well as the news that Simone had already hit her £50,000 target. Trips included the Millennium Bridge in Northumberland, the Angel of the North and a scenic drive across the Yorkshire Moors to Bolton Castle.

Day 9 – Saturday 2 June

Day nine saw visits to the Provinces of West Lancashire and Cumberland and Westmorland, with landmarks including Hadrian’s Wall in Cumbria and transport provided by a horse and cart.

Day 8 – Friday 1 June

Two Rolls-Royces helped provide the transport on day nine, with Simone starting at the Avoncroft Museum in Worcestershire, driving down to New Place in Warwickshire and then to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. There was still time to conclude the day by visiting Manchester Cathedral in East Lancashire.

Day 7 – Thursday 31 May

At the halfway point, Simone made trips to Cheshire, Shropshire and Herefordshire – starting out at the Georgian Hall Dunham Massey, then heading to the RAF Museum Cosford in a custom built Rewaco Bike and finally, to Arthur’s Stone.

Day 6 – Wednesday 30 May

Day six was solely focused in North Wales where Simone took on the challenge of the fastest zip wire in the world. This was then followed by making the journey to Chester in a six month old blue McLaren Spider and flanked by the Widows’ Sons motorcyclists and Blood Bike volunteers.

Day 5 – Tuesday 29 May

Day five was a journey across the borders for Simone as she ventured to Oxfordshire before heading west to Monmouthshire and continued to South Wales and West Wales. Landmarks included Radcliffe Camera in Oxford, Caerleon Amphitheatre in Newport, the Donald Gordon theatre in Cardiff and ending the day in the county town of Carmarthen to meet the Provincial Grand Lodge of West Wales.

Day 4 – Monday 28 May

Simone began day four by driving an Aston Martin DB9 to the Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare with help from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Somerset. A 1928 MG Riley saloon then took Simone to her next port of call, Clifton Suspension Bridge where the Provincial Grand Lodge of Bristol had a 1966 Austin Mini Cooper waiting to take her to Caen Hill Locks. It was here that Simone met representatives from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Wiltshire, before the final stop of the day saw her clock up the miles to Shaw House in Berkshire to be greeted by members of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Berkshire.

Day 3 – Sunday 27 May

Day three involved journeys to Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. It started with a visit to Lulworth Cove in Dorset to be met by members from the Provincial Grand Lodge in a yellow camper van and to receive a donation of £2,000. Simone then ventured to Buckfast Abbey to receive a donation of £5,000 from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Devonshire before departing in a classic Rover to head to Lanhydrock House and Garden in Cornwall, where she received another donation of £1,750.

Day 2 – Saturday 26 May

Simone took to the sky for day two, meeting a representative from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Hampshire and Isle of Wight who drove her to Southampton to board a flight to Jersey, to meet members of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Guernsey and Alderney.

Day 1 – Friday 25 May

Simone has begun her challenge, leaving in a taxi escorted by a fleet of Widows Sons motorcyclists. This is the start of her 14 day road trip with a difference, using a variety of unusual and extraordinary forms of transport.

The next destination for Friday was Richmond Park where Simone was met by representatives from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Middlesex after arriving in a Porsche 550 Spyder. Further destinations included Guildford Cathedral, where Simone was met by a Noddy car, and Brighton Royal Pavilion, where the Provincial Grand Lodge of Sussex made a donation of £5,000.

Lifelites has a package of their magical technology at every children’s hospice across the British Isles and their work is entirely funded by donations. Through the journey they are seeking to raise £50,000 – that’s the cost of one of their projects for four years.

You can sponsor Simone by clicking here

Published in Lifelites

As many people are now living beyond what was once considered a normal life span, there is an increasing awareness of age-related mental health problems, dementia being uppermost

The problem has recently been brought to the attention of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Derbyshire and the Derby-based Spencer Lodge No. 8773 to seek their practical help in assisting hospital clinical staff. The notice was brought by Mrs Val Haylett, recently appointed to the position of Hospital Governor for the City of Derby, and who retired from the NHS in 2014 after 26 years working at the Royal Derby Hospital.

Whilst attending last year, at a meeting during which radiology staff explained the frequent difficulties of encouraging anxious dementia patients to enter the tunnel of a MRI scanner, Val spoke of her practical experience and how she had witnessed distressed children in A&E departments and on wards, effectively comforted by being given a teddy bear. She suggested that they might well prove useful for distressed adult dementia patients.

Hitherto essentially for children, the teddy bears are regularly given to hospitals throughout Derbyshire by the Derbyshire Provincial Grand Charity and recently it gave the county’s hospitals the 50,000th teddy through the Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) scheme.

Responding readily to the dementia-related request, the Derbyshire Provincial Grand Charity set aside a sum of £1,000 to provide for supplies of TLC bears over a trial period of 12 months. These will be used for dementia patients at the London Road Community Hospital, the Royal Derby Hospital and outpatient departments.

A larger sum of £1,500 has also been presented directly from Spencer Lodge to the hospital for the purchase of more expensive and proven comforting aids, specifically for dementia patients.

Proof that the use of dolls and bears can bring great benefits to some dementia-diagnosed patients, particularly those in the latter stages, is supported by the charity Dementia UK through its Admiral Nursing section. It has been shown that simply giving a patient a doll to hold can be comforting and enjoyable, and possibly improve their verbal communication ability.

The first official delivery of the 2018 Prestonian Lecture, 'A good workman praises his tools: Masonic metaphors in Ancient Greece', was delivered by Christopher Noon to the Derbyshire Lodge of Installed Masters No. 8509 on Wednesday, 28th March

The Master of the lodge Steven Varley, Provincial Grand Master for Derbyshire, was joined by an audience of around 100, which included two past Prestonian Lecturers, John Wade (2009) and Tony Harvey (2012), both members of the lodge. 

With a combination of well-researched evidence, interesting slides and good humour, Christopher Noon demonstrated that, while Freemasonry did not originate in Ancient Greece, there is a clear similarity between the use of working tools as metaphors in Greek texts and in Masonic ritual. Indeed, the Greeks may well have inspired and influenced the authors of the ritual. 

The evening was rounded off with a typically warm and friendly Derbyshire festive board.

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