Rock and a hard place
A gruelling European cycle challenge is being organised by local Freemasons for the Buckinghamshire Masonic Benevolent Fund (BMBF) alongside non-masons riding for other charities.
Rock Ride 2 will see the cyclists ride 1,500 miles from the Rock of Gibraltar to Buckinghamshire in 14 days at the beginning of June. The original Rock Ride event took place in 2010, but Rock Ride 2 is much bigger with 18 cyclists raising funds for 10 charities.
Grants from the BMBF, which began in 1902, top up any state welfare benefits an individual is entitled to receive, as well as any additional help from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity. Much of the BMBF’s expenditure is for one-off emergency payments to assist with unforeseen circumstances caused by sudden illness or death, and the level of annual grants is around £60,000. For more information about the cycle challenge, visit www.rockride2.com
Teeing off for tents
Derbyshire Masonic Golfers Association (DMGA) Secretary Keith Allen and Warren Hutson, captain, presented 3rd Wingerworth Scout Group leader Denise Booth with a seven-man patrol tent to enable them to continue their camping expeditions with adequate shelter.
The existing stock of camping equipment is more than 30 years old and in urgent need of replacement. The donation came from the DMGA and the Chesterfield Masonic Benevolent Fund.
Atholl lodges celebrate union
Egyptian Lodge, No. 27, hosted an event organised by the Association of Atholl Lodges to mark the bicentenary of the union. Representatives were present from many of the 122 Atholl-warranted lodges still working under the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE). Among the guests were the Metropolitan Grand Master and President of the Association of Atholl Lodges, Russell Race, and UGLE Director of Special Projects John Hamill, a Vice President.
Sanctuary help for youngsters
Thanks to West Yorkshire Freemasons, 20 children from an inner-city primary school in Leeds enjoyed a Christmas-themed party at the Hope Pastures horse and donkey sanctuary. As well as rescuing and rehoming horses, ponies and donkeys, Hope Pastures aims to educate people in animal welfare and provide a city sanctuary for community groups.
David Wignall of Allerton Lodge, No. 3047, applied to the Provincial Grand Master’s Fund of the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding for funding for the party, and a cheque for £500 was presented to Sue Huggins-Geering, a Hope Pastures trustee.
With Sir David Wootton succeeding him, outgoing Assistant Grand Master David Williamson looks back at his achievements and the support he has received
During my thirteen years as Assistant Grand Master, I have visited every continent for a variety of purposes: to install District Grand Masters and Grand Inspectors, to attend landmark meetings of private lodges, and to represent the Grand Master at other Grand Lodges. Here at home, I have installed Provincial Grand Masters, attended charity festivals and lodges in their Provinces, and in Metropolitan London. I have always received a warm welcome, for which I thank them all.
There are many other people to whom I owe personal debts of gratitude for the support and encouragement they have given me during my term of office, not least the several Rulers I have been privileged to serve under, and the many people at Freemasons’ Hall.
Over the years I have witnessed many changes, such as the formation of Metropolitan Grand Lodge, in which I was privileged to play a part. Nine years ago, I started the Universities Scheme, which now has fifty-nine lodges, many of which I have visited. I am proud of what they are achieving and grateful to my organising committee for the time they have devoted to promoting the scheme.
In parallel with the growth of the scheme, I have seen the mentoring initiative have an increasingly positive effect in making masonry meaningful to new masons and aiding retention. One of the biggest changes has been in the way we portray ourselves to the outside world, through social media and our publications, all of which contribute to what we know as ‘openness’, helping us regain what the Grand Master has called ‘our enviable reputation in society’.
As I reflect on the past thirteen years, I can say that it has been an honour to have had the opportunity to contribute to English Freemasonry; I have enjoyed every moment.
My sincere thanks to the many masons it has been my privilege to meet. I will always remember the collective and individual encouragement you have given me over the years.
Bronte church clock ticking again
When members of Brunswick Chapter, No. 408, noticed that the clock on Haworth Church in West Yorkshire had stopped for several weeks, they started making enquiries.
They discovered that the church in the famous village with Brontë connections needed to complete essential repairs and develop health and safety measures for the volunteers who wound the clock.
The Brontës came to Haworth in 1820 when their father, Patrick, became vicar of the church – a position he held for 41 years.
The church, which carried out a £237,500 refurbishment of its south roof in 2012, needed a further £700 to complete the safety measures.
Haworth-based Brunswick Chapter made a successful application to the Grand Superintendent of Yorkshire, West Riding’s Charitable Fund and presented a cheque for £700 to the church.
The Rev Peter Mayo-Smith, priest-in-charge at Haworth Parish Church, said, ‘The funding from the Grand Superintendent of Yorkshire, West Riding has made all the difference and now we can look forward to seeing the historic clock tick on for many years. We must thank Brunswick Chapter for coming to our aid.’
Brunswick First Principal John Barnes added, ‘We were delighted to get a great public service restarted and now people in Haworth will know the time again.’
Good causes in pyjamas
Pupils at The Royal Masonic School for Girls, at Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire, have raised hundreds of pounds for BBC Children in Need and for the typhoon victims in the Philippines.
Year Four pupils organised a cake sale and a non-uniform day to raise money for the BBC’s appeal, with many of the youngsters going to school in ‘onesies’ and pyjamas. Parents organised another cake sale in the playground after school to raise money for the people of the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan.
State-of-the-art technology that works by tracking its user’s eye movement has been donated to Tŷ Hafan children’s hospice by award-winning charity Lifelites. The Eye Gaze technology, unveiled at the hospice in south Wales, means that all children – whatever their disability or illness – will have access to the benefits of technology.
Lifelites has been supported by funding from the Province of Monmouthshire and Thomas Cook Children’s Charity, among others. Monmouthshire PGM the Rev Malcolm Lane, a Lifelites trustee, said: ‘We know the money donated will be put to excellent use, providing specialist technology for children at the Lifelites project closest to our hearts here in south Wales.’
The Corby Masonic Players of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire Province performed their latest pantomime, Dick Whittington, written and directed by Jack Summerfield. The cast included three ruling Masters of Corby lodges: William Glover (Lodge of Unity, No. 495), Scott Morton (Thistle and Rose Lodge, No. 6644) and Wayne Summerfield (Corbie Lodge, No. 9155). Dick Whittington is the Players’ sixth pantomime and was supported both on and off stage by family members.
Green-fingered guides win top prize
Gardening Guides have won the top prize in an annual competition organised by Buckinghamshire masons that rewards youngsters who work hard in their local communities. Members of 4th Taplow and Hitcham Guides won the £2,500 for producing planters for the elderly at a Burnham care home.
The runners-up received £1,000, three other groups were awarded £500 each, and sponsoring lodges received £500 each for a charity of their choice. The teams were invited to visit their local masonic centres, while the sponsoring lodges visited their chosen projects, providing an additional way to promote Freemasonry in the community.