UGLE's Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, attended a luncheon at the Provincial Grand Lodge of Lincolnshire and presided over a £100,000 donation to the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF)

The event took place in Spalding, where the Duke had a variety of other engagements during the day. It was hosted by Lincolnshire’s Provincial Grand Master David Wheeler and had been arranged at the Masonic Hall at the request of the Lord Lieutenant of the county.

Also in attendance was the President of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, Richard Hone, who was pleased to accept the donation of £100,000 for the MCF, which marked the start of Lincolnshire’s 2025 Festival.

Marcus Mckay McLeod is celebrating 80 years in the Craft, a few months shy of his 100th birthday, with the occasion marked by a presentation from the Provincial Grand Master of North Wales John Hoult

Marcus was born on 11th April 1919 in Scotland. He was initiated into Lodge St Fergus No. 466 Wick, under the Grand Lodge of Scotland, on 13th December 1938 and became a Life Member in December 1941.

Having joined Freemasonry at the age of 19, the following day he was called up into HM Forces, serving with the Royal Engineers, based in Andover. From there, Marcus went on to serve in France, Italy, Norway and North Africa.

After demobilisation, he decided to remain in England, working as a building inspector for local government. His next move was to the National Westminster Bank, once again using his experience as a building inspector.

Marcus was transferred to North Wales in 1970 and now lives in Rhos-on-Sea. He joined Sincerity Lodge No. 4424, in the Province of North Wales, in 1993.

Following the closure of Sincerity Lodge, Marcus joined Colwyn Lodge No. 7675 on 31st January 2018. He also received Life Membership of John O’Groats RA Lodge No. 230 on 11th February 1946 and Lodge Sterling RA Chapter No. 76 on 27th January 1947, both in Scotland.

The Provincial Grand Master of North Wales John Hoult visited Colwyn Lodge to present Marcus with a certificate marking his 80th anniversary. Accompanied by the Provincial Team, the lodge room and subsequent festive board were full with members wanting to share this special evening and to honour Marcus' achievement.

Marcus has enjoyed Freemasonry to the full, playing an active part throughout, including his Installation as Master of Sincerity Lodge in 2001, at the age of 82.

Marcus was appointed Past Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 2009, followed by promotion to Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon in 2015. During the meeting, the Provincial Grand Master John Hoult was delighted to promote Marcus to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden, which was received by a rapturous round of applause from everyone.

The Provincial Grand Master also marked this very special occasion by presenting a letter from the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes congratulating Marcus on achieving this milestone and sending his personal best wishes.

Marcus enjoyed a wonderful evening surrounded by members, who were proud to honour the newly appointed Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden.

Two hospices in Berkshire have received over £3,000 in grants from Berkshire Freemasons

Thames Hospice in Windsor received a grant of £1,650 and Alexander Devine Hospice in Maidenhead received a grant of £1,350. These are just two of 237 grants to hospices around the country from Freemasons. In total £600,000 will be donated to hospices all over England and Wales this year and, since 1984, contributions from Freemasons to hospices have exceeded £13 million.

Anthony Howlett-Bolton, the Provincial Grand Master of Berkshire, said: 'I’m very pleased we’ve been able to assist our local hospices. They do an outstanding job helping people with life threatening or life limiting conditions, as well as supporting their families through very difficult times.'

Thames Hospice is the local charity providing expert care for people living with life-limiting illnesses in East Berkshire and South Buckinghamshire. A vital part of their work is also supporting their families and carers. It costs £8 million every year to keep the hospice running. They rely on the community for over 50% of the funds they have to raise annually to provide their services free of charge, 365 days a year, to the people who need them most.

Debbie Raven, Chief Executive of Thames Hospice, said: 'We’re very grateful to Berkshire Freemasons for their generous grant, which will support patients who are accessing our Day Therapy Services. Art therapy activities include making artwork for patients’ families, which often become treasured items for their loved ones.'

Alexander Devine Children's Hospice Service now funds Alexander's Nurses, who support families across Berkshire in their own homes, providing much needed respite, palliative care, emotional and practical support. They are working towards building Berkshire's very own children's hospice for these local families which will be supported by a home care team.

Claire Coldicott, Director of Fundraising from Alexander Devine Children's Hospice Service said: 'This generous grant will enable us to provide 16 sessions of specially designed play activities that will make a huge difference to the emotional and physical well-being of the children we support.'

Shifting gears

The success of the Classic 300, a nationwide series of classic car runs supporting UGLE’s Tercentenary celebrations in 2017, has given rise to Square Wheels Lodge, No. 9966, consecrated in the British Motor Museum in Warwickshire. Edwin Smith meets the lodge that’s making a lot of noise

You have to be a certain sort of person to have a love for classic cars,’ says Peter Manning, Primus Master of Square Wheels Lodge. ‘And there’s an affinity between classic cars and Freemasonry.’

If the early days of the lodge are anything to go by, he’s not wrong. The lodge was only consecrated a few months ago, but already it has 90 members and a calendar brimming with events. 

The genesis of the lodge, Peter explains, can be traced back to the Classic 300 – a series of 17 classic car rallies that took place across the country during the Tercentenary year, under the auspices of what was then the Masonic Classic Vehicle Club. When chairman John Cole chose to retire, the decision was taken to move the club from its base in Reading. ‘We settled on Warwick,’ says founding Secretary, now Senior Warden Peter Hughes, ‘because it’s at the centre of the country, it’s close to a lot of motor production, and it’s got a lovely masonic hall.’

The name of the classic car club was also changed to Square Wheels. It’s not necessary to be a Freemason in order to be a member of the car club but, Peter says, ‘the consensus was that the club could easily give birth to a lodge. We created a petition and David Macey, the Warwickshire Provincial Grand Master, who’s a petrolhead himself, supported it wholeheartedly.’ 

With the two Peters on the case, along with Lodge Secretary Bernard Foad tinkering under the bonnet, preparations accelerated. The warrant was secured in July last year and the consecration took place in October at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon – a ‘brilliant venue, full of classic cars,’ says Peter Manning. Some 253 people attended, including three Provincial Grand Masters: David Macey was the Consecrating Officer, Mike Wilkes of Hampshire & the Isle of Wight was the Consecrating Senior Warden, and Bob Vaughan of Worcestershire was the Consecrating Junior Warden. 

The oil used during the ceremony was, appropriately, ‘Castrol R’ motor oil. ‘I wanted to burn it by putting a few drops in the censer,’ says Peter. ‘You really get the smell when it’s burning, but our Provincial Grand Chaplain suffers from asthma, so it wasn’t a good idea.’

'We'll take our wives and partners with us. They'll have the morning off while we have our meeting and then we'll go for a run around the Cotswolds and head home.’

The lodge has 75 founding members, 20 honorary members and welcomed a further 15 members early this year. It will primarily be based at Alderson House, a handsome Grade-II-listed Georgian building on the High Street in Warwick. Some of the lodge’s meetings in 2019, however, will take place elsewhere. 

‘We’ll have four meetings a year,’ says Peter Manning. ‘Two in Warwick and the other two will be peripatetic – we’re taking the lodge to the members around the country.’ On 4 May, the lodge will meet in Bristol. ‘We will be taking wives and partners down with us. They can have the morning off while we have our meeting. After lunch, we will go for a run around the Cotswolds, have afternoon tea, and then head home.’ 

Another meeting is planned for Burton-on-Trent in July. ‘We want to spread the word around the country,’ says Peter Manning. ‘That’s one of the principal aims: for the lodge to visit its members rather than waiting for them to come to us.

‘I hope it’s going to be an extremely active lodge,’ he adds, ‘both masonically and socially. We want to make sure that partners get involved. At a lot of lodges, I think a problem can be that wives occasionally feel alienated, or at least not a part of it. But, clearly, we don’t want that to be the case.’ To that end, Peter Manning and others have also planned to organise an informal picnic every six weeks at a beauty spot or a National Trust venue. 

There’s a need to keep ‘clear water’ between the car club and the lodge itself, but it is hoped that by touring around the country and remaining open to non-Freemasons, the club will fuel the future of the lodge. ‘The idea is to promote Freemasonry to the public through the club,’ he says. ‘We’re hoping it will be a feeder for initiates into the lodge.’ 

The cars themselves may prove to be a draw as well, with a huge range of vehicles in the club, from legendary marques to cute vintage runabouts. ‘There are some fairly heavy motors in the club,’ says Peter Hughes, but it’s his 1970 Fiat 500 that he describes as his ‘pride and joy’. ‘The biggest problem with my Fiat is keeping it away from my daughters,’ he says. It’s a far cry from the challenges he came up against in his early motoring life. He raced in Formula 3, and even shared a grid with the late, great Ayrton Senna. ‘I emphasise “shared a grid with”,’ he says, laughing. ‘It wasn’t “racing”. He went one way while I seemed to go backwards by comparison.’

Peter Manning is also very keen to emphasise that the club isn’t all about luxury or high-powered sports cars. On the contrary, ‘there’s a huge cross-section of vehicles,’ he says. ‘We’ve got loads of members who have MGBs and Austin 7s and goodness knows what. We’ve also got some beautiful pre-war Bentleys, but the nice thing is that it’s reflective of Freemasonry.’ What does he mean by that? ‘It might sound a bit poetic,’ Peter says, ‘but I mean it in the sense that everybody here has got the same passions: motoring and Freemasonry. It doesn’t really matter what you drive – we all enjoy it for what it is. It’s a great atmosphere we’ve created.’

Looking to the future, Peter Hughes is adamant that Square Wheels Lodge has the pulling power needed for further growth. Some of his back-of-the-envelope calculations based on research carried out by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs suggest that there might be as many as 10,000 Freemasons who own classic cars. ‘It’s predominantly a hobby for males over the age of 40,’ he says. ‘Which sounds a bit like Freemasonry.’ 

Other specialist motoring lodges are also beginning to spring up. ‘There’s a new one at the Mini factory in Oxfordshire, as well as Derbyshire, Cheshire and West Wales. I think a lot of Provinces are looking at this.’ He points to the Widows Sons, the association of Freemason motorcyclists, as an example of a community that can be built around a special interest. ‘They are huge on the charity side of things and everybody knows them – they have done very well. I think it’s a pattern we could follow.’ 

In fact, Peter Hughes sees no reason why there couldn’t be a national Freemasons’ association for classic vehicle enthusiasts. ‘I’d quite like us to take a lead; it would encourage people to visit other Provinces and build ties through meetings and cross-visiting. That’s got to be the next project.’

Dorset Freemason John Howland proudly presented a donation of £1,000 to Poole Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), which was raised by members of Northbourne Lodge No. 6827

John appreciates the remarkable work conducted by the NICU and reflected: ‘When I became Master of Northbourne Lodge, I realised I had an opportunity to repay them in some small measure for not only saving my granddaughter's but also my daughter’s life.’

John’s 13-year-old granddaughter Hannah, who was born prematurely at 26 weeks in 2005, was present when the cheque was handed over to staff nurse Felicity Metcalfe.

Poole NICU cares for babies requiring special care, whether it is due to pre-maturity, illness at delivery or health problems during the baby’s stay at hospital. The money will go towards procuring one of nine much needed £3,000 state-of-the-art ‘Hot Cots’, which are vital in enhancing the NICUs on-going success in safeguarding premature babies.

Dorset’s Provincial Grand Master Graham Glazier said: ‘This work by Northbourne Lodge is a terrific embodiment of the values of Freemasons all over the UK. We believe in playing a key role in our communities and regularly give time and money to charitable ventures.’

A charity providing life-saving support has received a cash donation of nearly £10,000 from Berkshire Freemasons

This huge sum was gathered through a series of contributions from Berkshire Freemasons and given to the Thames Valley Air Ambulance in January 2019.

The bulk of the funds were from the Masonic Charitable Foundation and the Berkshire Masonic Foundation, while further funds were being provided by individual lodges in Berkshire.

Anthony Howlett-Bolton, the Provincial Grand Master of Berkshire, said: 'We are thrilled to continue supporting the Thames Valley Air Ambulance. Thanks to the tireless efforts of their doctors, paramedics and pilots, many lives of people in the Thames Valley are saved every year.'

Freemasons are very large contributors to the air ambulance charities; Berkshire Freemasons have contributed over £75,000 in the last ten years. Nationally, the contributions are in excess of £2 million.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance operates across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, providing frontline emergency car using four rapid response vehicles and one air ambulance.

Neil Harman, Director of Fundraising for Thames Valley Air Ambulance, said: 'We are very grateful to Berkshire Freemasons for their continuing generosity. Without support like this our crew would not be able to provide advance critical care and our life-saving work could not continue.'

Freemasonry provided its own version of the Six Nations when two Provincial rugby teams locked horns for the first time in Wigan, as they competed for the Freemasons Rugby Challenge Cup on 9th February 2019

Leicestershire & Rutland Light Blues RFC accepted an invitation to participate in the inaugural match of the Province of West Lancashire’s new masonic rugby team, with the cup donated by both clubs to encourage the development of provincial masonic rugby teams and a healthy rivalry.

Wigan, a town more familiar with Rugby League, was the battleground and despite stormy conditions throughout the night, the sun was shining in front of a 200-strong crowd and the pitch in excellent condition. 

Both sides began the match with enthusiasm and, with ‘brotherly love’ being temporarily put to one side, a true rugby spirit. Despite it being their first match – and for some of their players, the first ever game – West Lancashire were competitive with resilient defence and probing attacks, but the first half finished with Leicestershire & Rutland holding a narrow 13-10 lead.

While West Lancashire Freemasons Rugby Football Club (WLFRFC) fielded an all-masonic team, part of the ethos of Leicestershire Light Blues RFC, who have been established for a number of years, is to work as a recruiting platform and a conduit into Freemasonry. The fresh, and somewhat younger, legs of the Leicestershire & Rutland team proved decisive and, after a hard-fought second half, they were victorious with a 30-10 victory.

The Freemasons Rugby Challenge Cup was presented to the Light Blues RFC Captain Andrew 'Jock' Keenan by the WLFRFC Honorary Patron, Provincial Grand Master of West Lancashire, Tony Harrison for a well-deserved victory. 

WLFRFC Honorary President, linesman and Deputy Grand Superintendent from Royal Arch Province of West Lancashire Dr Paul Renton presented man-of-the-match awards to West Lancs’ Hooker Mark Brant and to Leicestershire & Rutland’s Fly Half Ollie Stanley.

Fundraising on the day raised £960 which included a generous donation of £103 by Leicestershire and Rutland members.

WLFRFC Chairman & Founder Garry Hacking praised the generosity and support of all who attended the match from both Provinces and thanked Daniel Quelch and Andrew Keenan for their guidance, advice and help in setting up the West Lancashire team.

Published in Initiatives & Clubs

Dorset Freemasons stepped up to the mark when a 'recovery café' run by the Essential Drugs & Alcohol Service (EDAS) in Poole needed extra funds

Members of the Lodge of Meridian No. 6582 and St Aldhelm's Lodge No. 2559, Magnaura Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine and the Dorset Provincial Grand Master’s Discretionary Fund joined together to fund an information system which will allow the cafe to widen the services it provides.  

The Serenitea Café provides an alcohol-free social environment for people in recovery, as well as members of the public. Dorset Freemason Mark Burstow and Lionel Turner of Magnaura Conclave visited the cafe to find out more about its work.

Mark Burstow, who also acts as the Province's Communications Officer, said: ‘A key element of our activities as Freemasons is to play an active part in our communities and support charitable activities such as these. The support that Serenitea will offer is invaluable helping individuals to cope whilst on their path to recovery.’

Kate Allard, of EDAS, said: ‘This donation will help us provide events that members of the community can enjoy in a safe space; we are very grateful for this generous donation.’

The Masonic Charitable Foundation, through the Province of Herefordshire, has supported local charity Hope Support Services with a grant of £4,719

Hope Support Services, founded in 2009 in Ross on Wye, provides support for young people aged 11-25 when a close family member is seriously ill with a life-threatening condition, especially those with cancer. They provide support at this stressful time through sessions where young people can gather together in Ross, Leominster and Hereford.

They arrange various activities and outings, and also provide support online, through Facebook and Skype, and are in the process of developing an app with help from Comic Relief which will enable young people to communicate with each other and to link with other charities which might be able to provide help.

Their aim is to provide emotional support for their young clients, of whom there are around 300, and to prepare them for bereavement. They also run a Building Better Opportunities course for those young people who are wanting to find work.

In 2017, they were approached by St Michael’s Hospice to run their services for the children of cancer patients being cared for by the Hospice. Children looked after in this way can be as young as five, and around 130 children and young people are cared for through this initiative.

They have eight full and part-time staff, plus a session worker and two online workers. There is also a Youth Management Team, who have benefited from the services themselves in the past and now help with planning and holding the charity’s range of activities.

On receiving the donation, Hope Support Services warmly thanked the Freemasons of Herefordshire for the generous grant, which will go towards developing the activities provided for young people at this difficult time in their lives.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019 00:00

Four 'Lincs' in the Lincolnshire chain

Only 17 Freemasons have been Provincial Grand Master of Lincolnshire since its formation in 1792 – and four of them are in this picture

Still regularly attending meetings are the men who have been in charge – with one break of two years – since 1981.

They are Gordon Walkerley Smith (1999-2008), David Wheeler (the current incumbent, installed in July 2018). Geoffrey Mawer Cooper (1981-1997) and Graham Ives (2008-2018)

The break in the chain was caused by the unexpected death, two years after taking the office in 1997, of Dr John Allin.

The longest time in office was 41 years, between 1895 and 1936, when the Provincial Grand Master was Lord Worsley, Fourth Earl of Yarborough – though as David Wheeler pointed out: ’In those days it was a largely ceremonial office with others representing the Provincial Grand Master on many occasions.’

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