Thanks to local masonic support, a Festival of Carols was held at Ely Cathedral in December. The event was attended by more than 1,100 people and raised the record sum of £34,000, which will be divided between Cam Sight and the Ely Cathedral Trust.
A Cambridge-based charity, Cam Sight has been supporting blind and partially sighted people in the region since 1912. It serves more than 2,000 visually impaired people from
its offices in Cambridge and Chatteris.
Saving a piece of history
A £500,000 appeal has been launched to save a Victorian church at the centre of Rochdale. St Edmund’s Church has strong masonic associations and has been described as ‘Rochdale’s temple to Freemasonry’. The Grade I-listed building is now in the hands of the Churches Conservation Trust, which hopes to finish the first phase of urgent repairs this spring at a cost of around £215,000. A second phase for internal repairs will include the organ and cost around £300,000. The church was built in the 1870s and given to the people of Rochdale by Albert Hudson Royds, a former DPGM of East Lancashire.
The Reverend David Bowen, Provincial Grand Master designate for Herefordshire, has kept his promise in ensuring that the Province remains a Guardian of the local Haven Breast Cancer Support Centre, with the presentation of a yearly donation on behalf of local masons.
In the presence of the national Haven Chief Executive, Pamela Healy OBE, David Bowen presented the Haven Manager Frankie Devereux with the customary £1,000 donation, as part of the annual financial support for this local charity.
David Bowen, who speaheaded the Province becoming a Guardian of the charity, is mindful of the fact that this vital service, freely available to breast cancer sufferers, is entirely dependent on charitable giving.
Pamela Healy celebrated the continued and significant support of the Freemasons with a timely reference to the quotation to be found on the illustrated Tree of Life displayed at the Hereford Haven Centre – 'Fear will take you a prisoner: hope will set you free' – by stating how such local support is crucial to the fulfilment of such hope and freedom.
Last October, eighty-six-year-old George Hoggett, a resident of Ecclesholme, RMBI’s care home in Manchester, proudly walked his daughter Sandra down the aisle and gave her away at her wedding to local Freemason John Hesketh.
Ecclesholme care support team kitted George out in a top hat and tails and helped ensure he was looking his best for the big day. He was picked up by the wedding car and taken to St Michael’s Church in Aughton, near Ormskirk, Lancashire, for the service.
Wedding guests were asked to give donations to Ecclesholme in place of wedding presents, and cheques were received to the value of £500. The money will be used to purchase two glass-fronted refrigerators for the home’s communal dining areas.
George was living in sheltered accommodation prior to a fall and subsequent hospital stay. Fortunately, Ecclesholme had a room available for George to move in. Sandra says, ‘Dad settled in straight away thanks to the wonderful staff and lovely environment. We particularly appreciate the way the staff show respect to dad. Their training is first rate.’
A legacy donation to an RMBI care home has expanded facilities for residents, with the opening of a new lounge and dining room
A new addition to the nursing facility was officially opened at RMBI’s care home in Chislehurst, Prince George Duke of Kent Court, by Metropolitan Grand Master Russell Race.
The Hinton Lounge and new dining room followed a generous £70,000 donation to the Home from St Paul’s Column Lodge, No. 7197, which meets in London. The donation had been left in legacy by Brenda Hinton, the widow of local Freemason Roy Hinton.
Roy was initiated into St Paul’s Column Lodge in March 1977, becoming the Assistant Secretary in April 1979. As well as being a passionate Freemason, Roy worked for more than thirty years at The Times and was greatly respected by both colleagues and brethren. Sadly, Roy died in October 1981, aged just fifty-four.
Brenda kept in close contact with the lodge and on her own death in 2010, left a substantial gift to be used as deemed appropriate by the Master, Wardens and brethren. On further discussion between the lodge and the Grand Charity Steward, it was agreed that some of the donation should be used to support improvements at Prince George Duke of Kent Court. The new lounge and dining room were named in lasting memory of the Hinton family.
The opening ceremony was attended by representatives of the Metropolitan Grand Lodge, St Paul’s Column Lodge, the Province of West Kent, the RMBI and the local Association of Friends. Following a welcome by RMBI President Willie Shackell, a formal presentation of the £70,000 cheque was made by Warren Thomas, Master of St Paul’s Column Lodge, and the brethren were appropriately thanked. Russell Race then unveiled the plaque for the Hinton Lounge and cut the ribbon.
Prince George Duke of Kent Court was purpose built in 1968 and is situated in a popular part of Kent. The home can accommodate seventy-four residents for both residential and nursing care and, like all RMBI homes, can cater for people with dementia. The home benefits from individual rooms and attractive communal areas, as well as wheelchair-accessible gardens, a fully stocked library and a hairdressing and pamper salon. There’s also a full programme of entertainment, social events, outings, gentle exercise classes and creative, cultural and intellectual activities.
With depression affecting one in five older people, the Masonic Samaritan Fund has launched a new service: the MSF Counselling Careline – a free, confidential helpline operated by trained counsellors who will listen and offer professional guidance
Most of us manage our physical health far better than our emotional well-being, leaving unresolved issues that may cause real harm. Concerns can start as a simple worry but can grow into a panic where life events feel like a never-ending staircase of new challenges. It often helps to talk to loved ones, but there may be times when your family and friends don’t have the expertise to help.
Feelings of depression, anxiety and stress are very common and can affect anybody for all kinds of reasons, such as bereavement, redundancy, family breakdown or illness. The cause could be a mixture of events or there could be no obvious reason at all; you may just be feeling a little low right now.
The good news is that help is available. The first step is to talk to someone, and a single phone call to the MSF is all that is required to access the MSF Counselling Careline. More than two hundred and eighty thousand people in the UK use services similar to the Careline each year.
Freemasons, their wives, widows, partners and dependent children can call the MSF Counselling Careline. It is free, confidential and operated by trained counsellors waiting to help.
Call the Fund on 020 7404 1550 to access the service
All of the young people supported by the RMTGB have experienced tragedy and hardship. Rosanna is just one of them and tells her story here.
‘History is my true love. It completely captivates me and it would be hard to imagine not being an historian. My dream of studying history at university was threatened, however, when my father – a Freemason in the Province of Essex – had a brain haemorrhage and became unable to work. Immediately my life changed. Would I be able to afford to go to university? Or live away from home? Who would support my mother and brother while I was away?
‘As it turned out, I would have the most amazing support from a silent yet ever-present source. This support has encouraged me to be the best I can be.
It has proved to me that no challenge is impossible and no dream is unachievable. What is this brilliant support? And where can it be found? Well, it’s you, dear reader.
‘My family were lucky enough to be visited by Guy Charrison, a wonderful Case Almoner for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys. He proved to be an invaluable lifeline for me, arranging support and financial help when I needed it most. The grant I received meant that I could go to university and pay for the essentials that I needed, such as books and other materials.
‘At the time of my graduation – one of my proudest achievements – I still felt academically unfinished and I wanted another challenge. My tutor suggested I apply for a Master’s degree. I thought about the competitive job market and knew that this would make my applications stand out, but could I justify another year of study and the cost?
Again, the RMTGB stepped in and I was delighted that they were able to support my tuition and, having moved back home to be with my family, the additional cost of my travel to and from university. This year I achieved my final mark: a distinction.
'Support from the RMTGB has proved to me that no challenge is impossible and no dream is unachievable'
‘I recently met up with Guy and it was lovely to catch-up and for him to see how I had grown since our last meeting.
I would like to thank everyone who made all this possible. I have achieved goals beyond my wildest dreams that would not have been realised without the support from Guy, the RMTGB and the generosity of Freemasonry.’
Rosanna is now training to be a history teacher at the Institute of Education and is on a path to a happy and fulfilled future. Sadly, her father died on 7 October 2012, aged fifty-seven
The special Bicentennial Convocation of the Chapter of St John, No. 327, which meets at Wigton, Province of Cumberland and Westmorland, was attended by the Second Grand Principal, George Francis, and a deputation from the Supreme Grand Chapter in celebration of its 200th year.
Bob Aird gave a brief history of the chapter’s origins in the town as well as a flavour of the local industry and notable people of the time, John Hamill read the bicentenary charter, and Third Provincial Grand Principal, the Reverend Robert Roeschlaub, gave an oration.
At the Festive Board, George Francis had special gifts for Grand Superintendent Norman Thompson and the Principals of the Chapter. The Second Grand Principal is renowned for wearing red socks to chapter convocations and so presented the Grand Superintendent and Principals with their own stylish pairs.
A new record in relieving poverty
In 2012, the RMTGB accepted the highest number of new applications for support in its long history, with grants being approved for four hundred and sixteen additional children and young people. These latest grants push the total number of masonic children and grandchildren to have benefitted from support during the last year to almost two thousand.
The grants are designed to help relieve the effects of poverty following a distress that has led to financial hardship. Last year’s record increase is primarily a consequence of the difficult economic conditions, which continue to have an impact on families throughout the country. In addition, the number of children supported as a result of the death, disability or desertion of a parent has also increased.
Currently, eighty-five per cent of the children and young people being supported attend their local state school, college or university and most receive help in the form of regular maintenance grants or scholarships to meet some of their basic costs.
Please visit www.rmtgb.org to find out more.
Helping out Georgia
Warwickshire masons from 17 lodges have given support to teenager Georgia Pickard, who is fighting one of the world’s rarest forms of bone cancer.
Georgia’s grandparents have provided catering for a number of lodges in Tamworth and Sutton Coldfield for many years. Grandfather Walter Richardson and the Sutton Coldfield-based Lodge of St Blaise, No. 6113, led the fundraising with £1,600 from a ladies evening. The cheque was presented by Master Pete Woodfield.