As the Province of Durham gears up for the launch of their next Festival, starting in 2016 in aid of the Royal Masonic Trust for Boys and Girls, it has been extremely encouraging that their Continuous Giving has been an enormous success
Provincial Grand Master for Durham, Eric Heaviside, has always been a champion of the Continuous Giving scheme and his now famous saying of 'The dripping tap will eventually fill the bath' is known Province-wide!
It was therefore with immense pride that Durham were able to invite President of the RMTGB, Mike Woodcock and Chief Executive Les Hutchinson to their Annual Promotions Meeting at Rainton Meadows Arena in November to present them with a cheque for £500,000.
The cheque was presented during the meeting after the PGM had delivered his Christmas Address and after receiving the donation Mike and Les took to the stage to thank the brethren for their fantastic generosity, explain in more depth about the fabulous work the RMTGB carries out and deliver a small talk on the history of masonic charity. Mike ended with the famous quote 'No man stands as tall as when he is stooped to help a child' and the 500 brethren present showed their appreciation with a rapturous applause.
With over 12 months until Durham officially enters Festival the brethren of the Province have given themselves every chance of making a huge difference to this most worthy cause, may the dripping tap continue till that bath overflows!
Durham masons have presented £50,000 to Durham Cathedral in support of its £10 million Open Treasure Appeal, and the Province has already committed to donating another similar sum. Durham Provincial Grand Master Eric Heaviside said, ‘We as Freemasons are incredibly proud of our heritage and are lucky to have this World Heritage Site on our doorstep. Freemasons have had a strong link with this building for many years and that is why we chose to get involved.’ The donation was presented to the Very Rev Michael Sadgrove, Dean of the cathedral, at the Provincial annual meeting.
The Open Treasure project will create new exhibition spaces for the cathedral, transforming the visitor experience.
Monday 11th August 2014 was an important night in the history of Derwent Lodge No. 4250, special for one man in particular and indeed for anyone lucky enough to be present on this marvellous occasion
At the end of January 2014, the lodge Secretary made representation to the Provincial Grand Master that they were desirous of holding an emergency meeting in August 2014.
They had a very good reason for wishing to hold such a meeting.
The lodge’s oldest and longest serving member, Harold Rutter, reached his 100th birthday on Sunday 10th August 2014, and the lodge wished to celebrate this outstanding achievement. The Provincial Grand Master was delighted to accede to this request and so granted the dispensation.
The brethren of Derwent Lodge sent out their summons, advertising this emergency meeting, and were delighted when about 70 brethren indicated their desire to join together to celebrate Harold’s centenary.
Among the brethren present were the Provincial Grand Master, Norman Eric Heaviside, and the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, George Clark, who had visited Derwent Lodge as recently as Monday 23rd December 2013, when he presented Harold with a certificate congratulating him on 60 years continuous service to Derwent Lodge.
After the Worshipful Master had opened the lodge and the Secretary had read the dispensation for the meeting, the Director of Ceremonies asked the ‘Guard of Honour’ consisting of Harold’s good friends, Colin Urwin, Ronnie Noble, Winston Ridley and Edwin Stanger to retire. After a few moments the Brethren were re-admitted accompanying the man of the moment and guest of honour, Harold Rutter to a thunderous standing ovation by the brethren present.
The Director of Ceremonies then walked the floor of the Lodge to collect Harold and present him to the Worshipful Master, informing the brethren that Harold was the Director of Ceremonies, when he was initiated into the lodge, in 1981, and he was scared of Harold at that time, to which Harold quipped back that he knew the feeling as he was scared of the DC now!
Harold was presented to the Master, who congratulated him on his milestone anniversary, informing him that he would be honoured if Harold would take the chair of Derwent Lodge once again. Harold graciously accepted this honour and the Director of Ceremonies called on the brethren to offer suitable salutation to the centurion, to which Harold thanked them for the warmth of their welcome.
After calling upon the brethren's generosity in the way of a collection in aid of masonic charity, Harold closed the lodge in true Director of Ceremonies fashion, not missing a beat or a word!
The brethren were once again asked to be upstanding, in order to receive the other special guest of the evening, Harold’s daughter Margaret Rutter, there to share in her father’s extra special evening. After photographs, the brethren and Margaret adjourned downstairs to the festive board.
After occupying the Chair of the lodge, Harold also added a first, as he became the first official user of the new stair lift that had been installed by the lodge in Chopwell Masonic Hall, so that members who found stairs a challenge were able to get from the ground floor to the lodge room on the first floor and to the banquet room and bar on the lower ground floor. It is hoped that this chair lift will aid brethren who are infirm attend their Lodge meetings.
Also in recognition of this auspicious anniversary the new toilets on the ground floor were named after Harold, they would be known as the Harold Rutter Centenary Restrooms for the foreseeable future.
65 brethren joined Harold and his daughter, Margaret, for an excellent festive board of Harold’s favourites. These dishes were thoroughly enjoyed by all the brethren present. On the completion of the meal the immediate past master of Derwent Lodge, Dr Paul Mundell, stood to deliver the toast to the special guest, by outlining his life and achievements, both personal and masonic.
Paul also read an email from Peter Kipps, President of the River Lodges Association, in the email he wished Harold a happy birthday and informed him that the greeting was also posted to their Twitter account reaching 18,500 followers.
At the completion of the toasts and being a birthday party after all, the birthday boy received his presents and a fabulous birthday cake on behalf of the lodge and his many friends, before being visibly moved as the brethren stood and sang happy birthday to him.
In his reply, Harold thanked everyone for coming, but felt overwhelmed by the turnout. He thanked the brethren of Derwent Lodge for their friendship over the years and Margaret, well, just for being there!
At 10pm Harold and his daughter took their leave, mentioning that even at the age of 100 years old he still needed his beauty sleep! He left to a standing ovation!
All of the brethren present on this magnificent occasion had spent the evening in the company of a very special man and mason and a true gentleman in every sense of the word!
When the Provincial Grand Master of Durham, Norman Eric Heaviside, announced earlier in the year an exciting new initiative to finance the re-flooring of the Great Kitchen at Durham Cathedral as a legacy from Durham Freemasons to celebrate our tercentenary, it was hoped that it would be well received
The manner in which this project has captured the hearts of the Brethren of Durham has been staggering, with donations flooding in from every possible avenue. 'Paving the Way' as it has been dubbed, has already seen over £70,000 pledged as lodges, chapters, individual members and other masonic orders dig deep to support our world heritage site.
To mark the milestone of achieving half the desired target, the Dean of Durham Cathedral, Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove was invited to the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham held at the Lancastrian Suite, Dunston in June.
In a historic moment, Provincial Grand Lodge was 'called off' to admit the Dean who was applauded on entering and taking his seat on the stage. Norman Eric Heaviside then delivered his address to the brethren and invited the Dean to address the brethren and tell them a little more about 'Open Treasure' the major multi phase development project taking place at Durham Cathedral.
The Dean delivered an outstanding talk to the Brethren in which he explained why the project was so important to the cathedral and what part the great kitchen would play in the new display area. He also took the opportunity to thank the Freemasons of Durham for their generosity and enthusiasm and hoped that this partnership that had existed for decades would continue to flourish.
On conclusion of this address the Provincial Grand Master presented the Dean, with a cheque for £50,000 representing half of the money pledged, to rapturous applause by the brethren.
All aboard the Trincomalee
Built in 1817, HMS Trincomalee is a wooden sailing frigate constructed shortly after the Napoleonic Wars. Following the Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, visiting the oldest Royal Navy warship still afloat in 2012, it was fitting that Grand Secretary Nigel Brown would start his visit to Durham Province with a dinner aboard this world-famous vessel in Hartlepool. The Durham masonic group, headed by Provincial Grand Master Eric Heaviside, was greeted at the entrance to the interactive museum by HMS Trincomalee Trust members, and given an insight into the upkeep and restoration of the ship.
Arranging the opportunity to present cheques to the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) resulted in a very pleasant interlude for a group of Durham Freemasons at the distinctive Rockcliffe Hall Hotel at Hurworth near Darlington. The Provincial Grand Master Eric Heaviside was joined by Assistant Provincial Grand Master John Webster and Provincial Grand Secretary Phil Rann, plus 3 representatives of Agricola Lodge No. 7741 as cheques totalling £8,000 were presented.
This combined fund-raising and thank you reception was held in the magnificent setting that is the hotel's Victorian building and grounds, and recognised its own association with GNAAS – the hotel's favoured charity.
The sequence of events included an explanation of how the Air Ambulance is both funded and administered, some harrowing case histories and innovative money-raising ideas. It was hoped that one of the aircraft from nearby Durham Tees Valley Airport would make an appearance, and eventually the late morning sun dispersed the lingering mists and allowed GNHAA to land in the grounds. Everyone was able to meet the crew and examine the aircraft in detail.
Mandy Drake, deputy director of fundraising for GNAAS, said: 'Once again we find ourselves indebted to the Freemasons who have come forward with yet another generous donation.
'As a mark of gratitude for their ongoing support we have added the Freemasons’ logo onto our aircraft.'
Agricola Lodge members Trevor Dent, Philip Twizell and current Worshipful Master Richard Tait were thanked for their contribution of £3,000. This resulted from the sale of refreshments at their handily located premises in Old Elvet on Durham Miners' Gala days, with a further £4,000 from the Freemasons' Grand Charity and £1,000 from Durham Benevolence.
Launched in 1986, the Relief Chest Scheme provides administrative support for the fundraising activities of masonic units. The Freemasons’ Grand Charity operates the scheme for free, enabling masonic organisations to manage their charitable donations more efficiently by offering individual chests that can be used to accumulate funds for charitable purposes. The scheme maximises the value of charitable donations by pooling funds to ensure that they earn the best possible rate of interest and by claiming Gift Aid relief on all qualifying donations. By taking on this administrative function the scheme saves valuable time and resources involved in lodge fundraising.
The scheme is particularly useful to Provinces running charitable fundraising campaigns, including festivals, with Provinces able to request that the Relief Chest Scheme open special chests. ‘Following our very successful 2010 RMBI Festival, we decided to maintain the culture of regular charitable giving by making use of the Relief Chest Scheme, which had not been previously used by our Province,’ explains Eric Heaviside, Durham Provincial Grand Master. ‘The scheme is a very efficient way to generate funds, as it not only makes giving regularly easy but also provides the opportunity for tax recovery via the Gift Aid allowances. All of this is professionally managed by the Relief Chest Department in The Freemasons’ Grand Charity office in London.’
With over four thousand chests, the scheme is helping Freemasons give charitable support to the people who need it most. Grahame Elliott, President of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, explains how the scheme has evolved over the years, ‘When the idea for the Relief Chest Scheme was announced in September 1985, it was hoped that it would provide a simple and effective way for lodges to give to charity. Lodges would be able to give practical proof of an ever-increasing attachment to the first two of the grand principles on which our order is founded – brotherly love and relief. Twenty-five years later, it is clear to me that the scheme has successfully met these aims, evolving as an excellent way of helping lodges to spend less time on the administrative work involved in processing donations, giving them more time to spend on other important activities.’
With over £14 million donated to charitable causes via the Scheme in 2010, it is hoped that this success will continue, assisting the masonic community in its charitable giving for many years to come.
To find out more, go to www.grandcharity.org
| Provincial supporters
Provincial Grand Masters from around the UK give their experiences of working with the Relief Chest...
‘We opened our Relief Chest in the name of the Provincial Benevolent Association principally to take advantage of the Gift Aid tax reclaim facility. In addition, by utilising the expertise of the team we have been able to develop a much more efficient and thorough analysis of donations. The Province looks forward to our continuing association with the Relief Chest team and thanks them for their ongoing advice and assistance.’
Cambridgeshire Provincial Grand Master
‘Relief Chests have proved an immense boon to London charity stewards and treasurers in easing the administration of charitable giving. For our big appeals – the RMBI, the CyberKnife and the Supreme Grand Chapter’s 2013 Appeal – the support given by the Relief Chest team is vital.’
Metropolitan Grand Master
‘The record-breaking success of the 2011 Essex Festival for the Grand Charity was not only due to the generosity of the brethren, but also to the support we received from the Relief Chest Scheme. The scheme’s online reports and personal support made the tracking of donations, interest accumulated and Gift Aid recovery
a seamless operation for our administration.
That information enabled us to keep the lodges and brethren informed of their totals.’
Essex Provincial Grand Master
Relief chest breakdown
Who can receive a donation from a Relief Chest?
• Charities registered with the Charity Commission
• Any organisation holding charitable status
• Any individual in financial distress
The benefits provided by the Relief Chest Scheme:
• Interest added to your donation: A favourable interest rate is earned on funds held for each Chest and no tax is payable on interest earned
• Tax relief: The Gift Aid Scheme means HMRC gives 25p for every £1 donated to a Chest, where eligible
• Easy depositing: Make donations by direct debit, cheque and the Gift Aid Envelope Scheme
• Ease of donating to charities: Once a donation is authorised, the payment is made by the Relief Chest Scheme
• Free: There’s no direct cost to Relief Chest holders
• Easily accessible reports: Annual statements are provided, plus interim statements and subscribers’ lists are available upon request
• Additional help for Festival Relief Chests: Comprehensive performance projection reports and free customised stationery are available
Matthew Scanlan reports on a pilot scheme
The comedian Bob Hope once quipped, ‘If you haven’t any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.’ And as every Freemason knows, Freemasonry places great emphasis on a generous heart and charitable giving, even though not every member is aware of the charitable help that is available to both himself and his loved ones. Therefore, in the wake of a recent pilot scheme which was specifically launched to help raise awareness of the work of the masonic charities, Freemasonry Today decided to speak with those involved to see how the initiative went.
In September 2009 the four main masonic charities – the Freemasons’ Grand Charity, the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution and the Masonic Samaritan Fund – launched a joint pilot scheme called Freemasonry Cares to try and better inform members about their work.
For seven months the provinces of Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Durham and Yorkshire West Riding piloted the scheme, which focused on informing members and their dependents, as well as lapsed members (those who may have fallen on hard times or who have become too infirm to attend meetings), about the wide range of charitable help and support that they are eligible to apply for in times of need. And in all instances the message was simple: if you have a masonic connection and you are experiencing financial or healthcare problems, contact Freemasonry Cares.
In the words of Eric Heaviside, the Provincial Grand Master of Durham, ‘One of the most surprising things we discovered with Freemasonry Cares was just how many brethren and their families were totally unaware of the potential guidance and assistance available to them. Many simply go to their lodge and afterwards put away their regalia, and that’s it. And many in the province didn’t realise what they were entitled to; for some it never occurs to them to even seek advice in this regard.’
To tackle this shortfall in knowledge, a specially produced booklet was distributed throughout the four pilot provinces to members and widows of deceased masons. The booklets addressed commonly posed questions relating to both eligibility and the type of help available; help that typically ranges from purely financial related issues such as funeral costs or education support, to healthcare and family support, including hospital treatment, respite care and child maintenance. And in every province the booklets seem to have proved an unqualified success.
A key initiative of the scheme, information about which was also featured in the booklets, was the setting up of a confidential helpline number and this also appears to have won universal approval. For as Eric Heaviside once again explained, ‘One of the problems we frequently encounter is that a lot of our people are very proud people and they don’t want to call on charities. But we have tried to explain that it’s Anyone who wishes to contact Freemasonry Cares should ring the confidential helpline number: 0800 035 6090 more of an entitlement and not charity as such, and that appears to have helped somewhat’.
John Clayton, the Provincial Grand Master of Yorkshire West Riding, also noted that because calls made to the helpline number are dealt with in strict confidence, a greater number of masons have been encouraged to come forward and enquire about possible help, far more than was the case in the past.
He also pointed out that in the case of Yorkshire West Riding where there were already wellestablished charities such as Provincial Grand Master’s Fund, which in 2009-10 donated £425,662 principally to non-masonic charities, they have noticed an upturn in charitable applications by as much as sixty percent since the launch of the Freemasonry Cares scheme in the autumn of 2009. Therefore it was generally agreed that even in provinces such as this, the new initiative can not only better inform masons and their dependents about the good work of the charities, but it can also provide a boon for public relations.
The conclusion of the Provincial Grand Master of Cambridgeshire, Rodney Wolverson: ‘the initiative was very good, well presented and well thought out, and overall it was received very well, but most importantly, it also shows that Freemasonry really does care’.
This optimism is also borne out by the facts. For during the pilot year the number of grants awarded in the four test-case provinces saw an increase of thirty-six percent on the previous year, compared to a thirteen percent average increase across the rest of the country. Consequently, the initiative is now being rolled out nationally and over the next eighteen months provinces across England and Wales will be invited to introduce Freemasonry Cares in the hope that the pilot success can be repeated across rest of the country.
In summer 2008, Durham Province was selected by the Freemasons’ Grand Charity to trial a match-funding scheme of up to £5,000 for a local charity.
In only a few months, lodges and individual masons throughout the province raised £10,000 in excess of the £5 million target, which was made up to £20,000 by the Grand Charity.
During the 2008 Provincial meeting, GNAAS members attended and expressed their wish to purchase a road vehicle, to be equipped similar to the GNAAS aircraft for use by the medical air crew when technical or weather conditions prevented the helicopter taking off .
A new vehicle was out of reach, but when a six-month old Skoda VRS Octavia Cleveland police traffic car became available, it was purchased and rebranded with the GNAAS logo – as well as a square and compass logo ‘Donated by Freemasons’ on the rear windows.
A further appeal by Durham Mark Provincial Grand Master Peter Croft to the Mark Masons Fund of Benevolence resulted in them purchasing outright a second vehicle.