In 2018, the Leicestershire & Rutland Light Blue Club successfully bid to host the 2019 New & Young Masons Clubs Conference. Beating competition from other clubs throughout the country, the Light Blue Club’s winning theme of 'Building Bonds’ was the foundation for months of hard work, culminating in the conference that was held at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester on 28th September 2019
The New & Young Masons Club (NYMC) was created to bring together all of the Light Blue Clubs from around the country, to share ideas and best practices and to ensure their continued success. Representatives from 31 of these clubs descended on Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester, to enjoy an action packed and informative day, with friends, acquaintances, new members and a great line up of speakers.
After welcoming their guests, a tour was conducted by our Light Blue Club members of the magnificent building we have at London Road, culminating in a talk in the Holmes Lodge Room by Richard Barnett and a viewing of their museum.
By 10am, the 100 seats in the magnificent Holmes Lodge Room were filled as their Light Blue Club Chairman Bob Reay opened the conference. Bob gave a welcoming speech and introduced the Provincial Grand Master for Leicestershire & Rutland David Hagger, who thanked everyone for attending and introduced the day’s guest speakers. Next to take to the stage was the President of the Light Blue Club, Peter Kinder, who gave an insight into the origins of the Light Blue Club, along with his thoughts and aims for the day.
Samuel Harris of the Light Blue Club then took great pleasure in introducing the next two sets of speakers, with whom he had been liaising to secure their time for a ground breaking set of presentations. First to the stage was the Grand Master of the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons, Christine Chapman, to give an insight into the history and background to Women’s Freemasonry in England.
There are two Grand Lodges of Women Freemasons in England, and the second presenter was Elaine Malone, Deputy Grand Secretary, accompanied by Mia Cameron-Dungey, from the Order of Women Freemasons. This presentation was very well received and gave the audience a better understanding of where the Order originated from, as well as an insight into their future plans.
The first ‘Break out session’, with the theme entitled The Foundation Stone, involved a move downstairs to the Oliver Dining Room, which was set up by the superb team at Devonshire Place. The round table discussions proved to be a huge success, with energy and enthusiasm for understanding what it is our New & Young Masons Clubs need to be successful.
After lunch, the team from Solomon, David Pratt, Provincial Grand Master of Yorkshire, West Riding, together with Dr. Craig Johnson and Ken Wootton, gave a valuable insight into the Learning & Development programme.
Breakout sessions two and three, ‘Raising a Superstructure’ and ‘Building Bonds’ were equally a success, with great feedback from all participants as the attendees worked towards sharing ideas and developing a mission statement.
Then in the Holmes Lodge Room. Focusing on the Future of Freemasonry and how we can all help to achieve this bright future, David conducted a captivating presentation, which was followed by a question and answer session before the day's proceedings were brought to a close. To round off an exhausting yet captivating day was Mitch Merrick-Thirlway, the Administrator of the NYMC, as it was down to him to announce the winners who would host the conference to held in 2022. And the winners were, the Fleet House Light Blues Club from the Province of Hertfordshire.
After such a superb day, of learning, listening, education, and sharing of ideas, many of the attendees stayed on to enjoy the hospitality of the Wyggeston Lodge No. 3448 to complete the day.
David Hagger said: ‘I would like to thank all of the organisers and members of our Light Blue Club for what has been an excellent day. I would also like to thank all of our guests and speakers for their valuable time and also to all of the members from up and down the country for their energy and enthusiasm. You are the future of Freemasonry and today has demonstrated what a bright future we have.’
The sun was out and the sunblock was on, as 20 cyclists from the Provincial Grand Lodges of Leicestershire & Rutland, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire gathered in Leicester on Saturday 29th June 2019 for this year’s 83 mile Charity Cycle Ride – raising £7,000 in support of the Rainbows Children’s Hospice and the Masonic Charitable Foundation
To wish them good luck on their journey, Helen Lee-Smith, Head of Individual Giving from Rainbows, said: ‘Thank you so much to all of those taking part today, yet again the support from the Freemasons is essential to Rainbows Children’s Hospice.’
Also there to wave them off was the Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons, David Hagger, who said: ‘We are all extremely proud of the work we do to support Rainbows and the Masonic Charitable Foundation and thank all of those riders for raising such a fantastic amount today.’
On the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures well in excess of 33 degrees Celsius, 20 cyclists including Freemasons, friends and family set off from Freemasons’ Hall in Leicester early in the morning before the sun was at its strongest. The route took the four groups out from Leicester and on towards Loughborough before heading through Shepshed and onto Derby in the first leg of the journey of over 33 miles.
The first stop was at the Masonic Hall in Derby, where tea, coffee, bacon sandwiches and much needed water were in abundance. The break was very much appreciated as the day was beginning to warm up, however time was of the essence, and it was not long before the next leg out through Long Eaton and on to Nottingham.
By now the temperatures were soaring, but that did not stop the determined cyclists to battle the searing heat and traffic as they arrived at the Masonic Hall in Nottingham for a rest in the shade and to restock with supplies.
The afternoon sun meant that water stops were frequent, but with determination and hard work, the cyclists made their way from Nottingham back into Leicestershire; finally finishing at Freemasons’ Hall in Leicester at around 6pm.
Local charities gathered at Freemasons’ Hall in Leicester on 6th April 2019 to tell their story and receive generous donations from lodges, chapters and the Leicestershire & Rutland Masonic Charity Association
The Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire & Rutland David Hagger opened proceedings by welcoming everyone and introducing the assembled charities to the work of the Leicestershire & Rutland Masonic Charity Association in the community.
The first guest to be introduced was the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Michael Kapur OBE, who was not only present to receive £1,000 for his Charity Award for Young People, but to also assist in presenting donations to other well deserving organisations. Michael said: ‘This award scheme helps to shine a light on our brave young people in Leicestershire.’
The Hinckley based SNIPS (Special Needs Integration Project) received £2,000 to aid their mission of providing Saturday sessions, Summer play schemes and residential breaks for children with special needs. Phil Hall of SNIPS said: ‘This donation will go towards supporting the children and help us achieve our funding targets.’
Holmes Lodge No. 4656 from Leicester donated £3,000, split between Wishes 4Kids, Jakin Pregnancy Care and Counselling and Alex’s Wishes.
The Rainbows Hospice for Children & Young People were represented by Gary Farnfield and Dee Sissons to receive a donation of £8,318. Gary said: ‘We would like to say a huge thank you to the Freemasons’ for their continued support of Rainbows.’
Noel Manby, the Grand Superintendent of the Leicestershire & Rutland Royal Arch Freemasons, was on hand to present £3,700 to local charities including Bloodwise, Hope Against Cancer, Mesothelioma UK, and Shopmobility Melton Mowbray.
To round off the event, David Hagger said: ‘Freemasons are proud to support you, the workers and volunteers who give up your time to help those in need within our local community.’
Over 720 Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons and guests attended their eagerly awaited Sportsman’s Dinner on 21st March 2019, with former England cricketer Phil Tufnell the guest speaker, and helped to raise over £70,000 to support the Leicestershire & Rutland 2022 Festival and the Masonic Charitable Foundation
The event was held at the Leicester Tigers rugby ground on Welford Road and hosted by Roger Dakin, former England Hockey goalkeeper, with attendees enjoying an evening of fun and entertainment in support of the 2022 Festival.
The evening began with convivial drinks served in the Legends VIP and Final Whistle bars before being seated ready for the entertainment to begin. Roger Dakin delighted the audience with his famed jokes and stories throughout the night.
Aside from an entertaining evening, the more serious side was to raise money for worthy causes, which began with silent auctions for many items of signed sporting memorabilia and relaxing events for family and friends.
A live auction was held, with lots including a holiday to Antigua, tickets to the Monaco Grand Prix and a painting by artist Ben Mosley, with former England Test Cricketer Ed Giddins stepping into the hot seat as the auctioneer.
England and Middlesex left-arm spin bowler Phil Tufnell then took to the stage to recount some of his more famed sporting events throughout the course of his career as a sportsman, and then subsequently his foray into television on shows such as Question of Sport, Strictly Come Dancing and his reign as King of the Jungle on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.
The evening was a huge success, with over £70,000 being raised, which included the proceeds of the live and silent auctions.
David Hagger, Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire & Rutland, said: ‘I would like to praise and thank the organisers of this event, to raise over £70,000 in support of such worthy causes is a testimony to the generosity of all who attended.’
There was a big surprise at the meeting of Wiclif Lodge in Leicestershire, as they joined forces with Edward Sherrier Lodge to make a joint donation of £10,000 to charity
At the meeting of Wiclif Lodge No. 3078 in Lutterworth on 13th March 2019, the Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire & Rutland David Hagger was in attendance to present a certificate in recognition of 50 years in Freemasonry to the Lodge Secretary, Malcolm Longley.
Yet, unbeknown to the Provincial Grand Master, the two lodges who meet in the market town of Lutterworth, Edward Sherrier Lodge No. 6757 and Wiclif Lodge, had arranged a surprise presentation of a cheque totaling £10,000 to the 2022 Festival Appeal, which is raising money for the Masonic Charitable Foundation.
The cheque presentation was made by Clive Weston, who was representing Lutterworth Freemasons, which will go towards the target of raising £1.8 million by 2022.
David Hagger said: ‘What a wonderful surprise to receive this most generous donation towards our appeal, a fantastic example of the generosity of our members.’
The money was raised by the members, friends, and families of Lutterworth Freemasons from events and fundraising activities on behalf of both lodges and the Sherricliff Fund.
The first ever meeting of Burbach Lodge No. 8699, in the Province of Leicestershire & Rutland, was held 43 years ago on 13th April 1976 at the Masonic Hall in Hinckley – now 300 meetings later, on 8th January 2019, the lodge gathered to celebrate this landmark achievement
The Master of the lodge Michael Kennedy began the evening’s celebrations by welcoming the Provincial Grand Master David Hagger together with the Provincial Team to Hinckley, making for a well-attended meeting with nearly 90 members in attendance.
David Hagger began with an explanation of the lodge shield and the origins of the name, which is deep rooted in history, having been derived from the words 'BUR' meaning thistle, and 'BACH', meaning a lake or stream. Both symbols are present on the lodge shield.
There is also a symbol showing a Maltese cross. This refers to the fact that Burbach Lodge, along with Sparkenhoe Lodge No. 8063 and St Simon & St Jude Lodge No. 8729, are daughter lodges of the Knights of Malta Lodge No. 50, all of whom meet at the Masonic Hall in Hinckley.
The first ever summons circulated for the April 1976 meeting was read out by one of the founding members, Clive Kidd, followed by a brief history of the lodge by Alan James. It was then the turn of Michael Kennedy to lead his team in the raising of Nick Bryan to the degree of a Fellowcraft, before retiring for the festive board.
David Hagger said: 'The work that has gone into this celebration is testament to the energy and enthusiasm within this lodge, which will put Freemasonry in good stead for another 43 years in Hinckley.'
Freemasons’ Hall in Leicester hosted a wide range of charities and good causes from all over the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland, as £60,875 was presented to benefit the local community and those in need
The donations were presented by the Provincial Grand Master, David Hagger, who was accompanied by the Lord Mayor of Leicester, Ross Grant.
Leicester-based Reunite International who provide advice and support to parents whose children have been abducted overseas or parents accused of International parental abduction, received a donation of £1,000 which will go towards the replacement of ageing telephone and computer systems. As explained by Reunites Holly Whatsize, Leicester is the largest city outside of London where child abductions in these circumstances takes place, with 22 new cases in Leicester this year alone. Holly added: ‘We take on average 500 to 600 new cases each year.’
Chris Gatfield, of the Dove Cottage Day Hospice, who provide day care respite for those suffering from terminal illnesses, was presented with a donation of £6,800 to help support over 100 families a week who are suffering from cancer and other long term conditions throughout North West Leicestershire and Rutland.
Members of St Simon and St Jude Lodge No. 8279, who meet at the Masonic Hall in Hinckley, were pleased to join with the Masonic Charitable Foundation in presenting cheques totalling £5,800 to The Air Ambulance Service.
Brian Moore from the The Air Ambulance Service said: ‘The children’s helicopters transfer sick children from one hospital to another who specialises in that particular case.’
In closing the presentation service, the Lord Mayor said: ‘on behalf of the City of Leicester, I would like to thank the Freemasons’ for supporting all of the amazing charities here today.’ David Hagger summarised by thanking the Lord Mayor, all of the charities present and those Freemasons’ involved in the fund raising efforts.
During the first year, over 500 bronze oak leaves with personal inscriptions have been purchased from the Bradgate Park Trust and installed on distinctive feature wooden oak pillars within the Memorial Wood, raising over £70,000 for the charity
The Memorial Wood at Bradgate Park was funded by Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons to celebrate the Tercentenary, along with Leicestershire County Council, and was officially opened by the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes on 5th October 2017
Since then, the wood has settled down nicely after its opening and the Bradgate Park volunteers ensure that it continues to look its best.
Peter Tyldesley, Director of the Bradgate Part Trust, said: ‘We are delighted by the public reaction to the Memorial Wood, which has become an attractive, peaceful and dignified place of remembrance and reflection.
‘The Memorial Wood has been successful beyond our wildest expectations and we are already planning an extension. The Trust is extremely grateful to all those who have purchased leaves and to the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons for their support in enabling us to make it a reality.’
The Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland David Hagger said: ‘Freemasonry has always been part of the local community and we are thrilled to leave a lasting legacy for the people of Leicestershire and Rutland as part of our 300th anniversary celebrations.’
Professor Turi King, the scientist at the heart of the project to find the remains of King Richard III, was the speaker at the 18th annual festival of the Association of Medical, University and Legal Lodges (AMULL) which was held on 6th October in the cathedral city of Leicester
Around 100 people attended and, despite the rain, everyone enjoyed a superb day of fraternity, festivity and fun.
The festival was hosted this year by Wyggeston Lodge No. 3448, the Universities Scheme Lodge for the University of Leicester, with the programme for the event devised and administered by Dr Andy Green with support from AMULL Secretary Athelstane Aamodt.
The festival guests assembled for tea and coffee in cloistral hush of Leicester Cathedral, the resting place of King Richard III and the venue for the interfaith service conducted by the Rev Canon Michael Wilson, Grand Chaplain, whose excellent proceedings and highly topical address were rounded off with a rousing rendition of ‘Jerusalem’ which the assembled congregation sang with gusto.
After the service, the guests made their way to the beautiful Guildhall, one of the best preserved timber-framed halls in the country and with a history dating back 600 years. There, Professor Turi King gave an entertaining and interesting talk on the excavation in Leicester that led to the discovery of King Richard III, managing to inject wit and humour into subjects like mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosomes. Her talk, which entirely captivated the audience, was rapturously received.
Professor King’s talk was followed by AMULL’s now-traditional champagne reception and then lunch in St. Martin’s House, culminating in a toast to AMULL given by Paul Marvin, the current Master of Wyggeston Lodge, with the response given by the AMULL President, David Williamson.
AMULL was delighted to make hardship grants totalling £5,000 to three excellent students: Naomi Amos, Andrew Slater, and Joshua Holford whose respective stories were filled with inspiring grit and determination. AMULL was also delighted to make an award of £1,000 to Leicester University Scholarship Fund, which was accepted by Michael Turnbull on behalf of the University. This donation was generously matched from the Leicestershire and Rutland Masonic Charitable Association presented by the Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland David Hagger.
AMULL President David Williamson said: ‘All-in-all a truly memorable Festival from every aspect.’
Next year’s festival will be hosted in London by Think and Thank Lodge No. 4112, one of the latest additions to the Universities Scheme.
The Masonic Annual Charity Event (MACE) came to Melton Mowbray Bowling Club on 10th August 2018, bringing together 14 Provinces from around the country
MACE is an annual national inter-provincial bowling competition and was hosted by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Leicestershire & Rutland. Rather frustratingly, the day experienced the first rain after weeks of warm fine weather, but undeterred by showers in the afternoon, a good day of bowling was completed with Gloucestershire emerging as winners after a close-fought final against Sussex, who will be next year’s hosts.
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Leicestershire & Rutland produced £4,000, boosted by a generous raffle and auction, to add to the £45,000 already raised by MACE since it began eight years ago.
Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire & Rutland David Hagger was on hand to present cheques to their two worthy charities, Rainbows and Dove Cottage, who expressed their delight at such meaningful support for the fantastic work they do.