Fly high for charity
The end of 2015 saw some fantastic and exhilarating fundraising efforts by members of the masonic community
The Rev David Bowen, Provincial Grand Master of Herefordshire, and Kevin Lyons, Past Master of Delphis Lodge, Hereford, completed freefall tandem skydives from 12,500ft and raised over £7,000 for the Herefordshire 2020 Festival in support of the Masonic Samaritan Fund.
Meanwhile, Nigel Moran and Andrew Paice from the Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight completed the Sky Tower 100ft freefall challenge in Tivoli Friheden, Denmark. They completed the feat dressed as Batman and Robin to raise funds for the 2016 Festival for the RMTGB.
At the top, Andy suggested that Nigel (Batman) should go first. Nigel shouted, ‘So mote it be!’ before plunging into the net below. Their sense of achievement was reinforced by raising over £1,000, double their original target.
During one of many visits to St Michael’s Hospice in Hereford, RW Bro the Rev David Bowen, Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire, was recently given the most welcome opportunity of meeting and greeting hospice patient Colin Tudor and his wife Gill.
Colin, past Master of Delphis Lodge No. 7769, had for some time been a valiant and resolute supporter and fundraiser for the Macmillan Renton Unit and St Michael’s Hospice: following a period of chemotherapy treatment, Colin walked across Mid Wales for such charitable concerns.
David Bowen, accompanied by VW Bro Mike Roff, Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Herefordshire, presented Ruth Denison Fundraising Manager and Paddy Nugent Community Fundraising Manager, with the annual donation awarded to the Hospice by The Freemasons’ Grand Charity.
This year the award was for £3,343. Since 1984 The Freemasons' Grand Charity has donated rising £12m to the 245 adult and children’s hospices in England and Wales.
The Province of Herefordshire has also presented approximately £70,000 to St Michael’s Hospice over the years, and this support will be recognised within the £3.2m refurbishment of the original hospice buildings due to be completed within the next three months.
The Rev David Bowen pledged the continued support of Herefordshire Freemasons to the dedicated care the hospice provides, which is so highly valued by the local community. David Bowen had been Chaplain to the hospice in the past, and truly appreciated the work undertaken at St Michael’s.
The presentation took place in the new £8m In-Patients’ Unit – the most advanced and highly specified in the country. David Bowen emphasised how important it was to be able to show a continued commitment to the outstanding work of the hospice.
Sophie Countess of Wessex pays return visit to the Hereford Haven
Haven is a charity which provides emotional and physical support to women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The Countess of Wessex called the Hereford Haven a 'fantastic organisation', and thanked all the fundraisers gathered for giving their time and backing to the charity for which she is an active supporter.
While visiting the Haven Centre in St Owen Street, she met and greeted the Rev David Bowen, Provincial Grand Master of Herefordshire. She thanked him and his fellow Freemasons for their substantial and continued support of Hereford Haven. The Herefordshire Province is an official Guardian of the Hereford Haven. Earlier in the year The Freemasons' Grand Charity donated £30,000 to Breast Haven Cancer UK.
The Rev David Bowen, in conversation with Frankie Devereux, Manager of the Hereford Haven, said how pleased Freemasons were to be able to contribute to the work of the Haven, through the Grand Charity, the Province of Herefordshire and its individual lodges. He hoped that such support would be maintained well into the foreseeable future.
2020 vision in Herefordshire
The Province of Herefordshire has officially launched its 2020 Festival Appeal by presenting an initial donation of £45,000 to the Masonic Samaritan Fund. Herefordshire Provincial Grand Master the Rev David Bowen opened the appeal at the Provincial Grand Lodge in June.
MSF President Willie Shackell received the donation from the Province and offered his sincere thanks for such a generous contribution towards the Fund’s work. He said, ‘Your generosity will make a tremendous difference to so many people waiting to receive the treatment and care they need to live healthy and independent lives.’
£5k in donations PER YEAR to breast cancer support centre
In 2011, the Rev David Bowen, Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Herefordshire, initiated the desire among Freemasons to become a Guardian of the Haven Breast Cancer Centre in Hereford. As such, this assured and supplemented the long standing local masonic support for the Haven with a guaranteed annual donation of £1,000. Over the last decade, the average donation by local Freemasons to the centre has been upwards of £5,000 per year.
Through the pages of the Hereford Times, the Rev Bowen has now issued a challenge to other organisations within the county of Herefordshire, to join the Province in becoming Guardians of the Haven in support of the latest Haven appeal to raise £30,000 to pay for an additional qualified nurse, as public demand for the service has recently increased by 51%.
Frankie Devereux, Manager of the Hereford Haven said that the £30,000 will be set against the £270,000 a year that it takes to run the centre, and with no government funding, the Haven is entirely dependent on charity and its future network of Guardians, Trusts and community fundraisers.
With the level of central funding frozen for the past three years and the prospect of the freeze continuing for the immediate future, community support for the pupils of Blackmarston Specialist School is becoming increasingly important.
The Worshipful Master of the Hereford Delphis Lodge No. 7769, Worshipful Brother John Crooks, carried on the well established tradition among Herefordshire Freemasons, of supporting Blackmarston School with a presentation of a cheque for £628 on behalf of the brethren of his own lodge and that of Vaga Lodge No. 3146, when he visited the school on sports day.
John Crooks was taken on a tour of the school by Jackie Preece, the School Administrator, before meeting the Class Teacher Juliet Alexander and the 9 – 11 year old pupils of Galaxy Class, where the presentation took place.
Jackie Preece warmly thanked John Crooks for the continued and most welcome support for Blackmarston School and its 78 pupils with special educational needs.
RW Bros Tim Henderson-Ross, the Rev David Bowen and Robert Vaughan presented Annie Newell, Fundraising Manager at Strensham air ambulance base, with a combined donation of £12,000 as part of Grand Charity's support to all 22 rescue services in England and Wales – financial support which since 2007 has totalled nearly £2m.
The country’s air ambulance service, without either government or National Lottery funding, relies on such voluntary donations to operate its critical role. Annie Newell, in her final year as Fundraising Manager, expressed her sincere gratitude for the continued commitment and generous support given to the charity by Freemasons over many years. Michelle McCracken will be taking over Annie’s responsibilities in September.
Katie Farmer, Fundraiser for Wye Valley NHS Trust Charitable Fund, recently met with W Bro Richard James and Alison, the wife of W Bro Keith Price, the Past Master of Bromyard’s Saint Peter’s Lodge No. 7368
The meeting took place in the glorious spring sunshine at the Hop Pocket, Bishop’s Frome, where Alison Price on behalf of her husband and the members of Saint Peter’s Lodge, presented Katie with a £1,500 donation in support of Macmillan Nurses.
Charity Steward Richard James stated that such funding was in keeping with local Freemasons’ policy of supporting local charities whenever possible, and was confident that this approach would be fully maintained.
Katie Farmer sincerely thanked the representatives present for the significant and continued support for Wye Valley Trust.
Elgar connection honoured in Hereford
The grave of mason Dr George Robertson Sinclair, an associate of composer Sir Edward Elgar (pictured), has been restored and rededicated at a ceremony in Hereford attended by Freemasons from the Province and Elgar Society members.
Fundraising was initiated by Robert Green, Past Provincial Grand Organist of Herefordshire and Yorkshire, West Riding, with £500 donated by the Elgar Society and £1,000 by Herefordshire Province – including support from Vaga Lodge, No. 3146, and Dean Leigh Masters Lodge, No. 3687, of which Dr Sinclair was a founding member.
Sinclair, an organist at Hereford Cathedral, was responsible for Elgar coming to live in the county, where his mother was born.
It was at Sinclair’s house that Elgar found the peace and quiet he needed to compose.
Ancient fountain restored
Freemasons, family and friends of Hereford Cathedral accompanied the Dean of Hereford, the Very Rev Michael Tavinor, in celebration of the completion of the refurbishment of the fountain in the cloister. Relatives and friends of the late Rev Philip Barrett, vicar choral at Hereford, and of the late Tony Hunter-Choat, Past Master of Palladian Lodge, No. 120, sponsored the work to mark the 250th anniversary of the foundation of Herefordshire’s oldest lodge. Palladian Lodge donated £1,000, maintaining its long-standing link with the cathedral.