This sporting life
At the Installation Meeting of the Leicestershire and Rutland Lodge of Installed Masters No. 7896 on the 8th April 2016 the members and visitors were treated to an informative lecture on Freemasonry and Sport by W Bro Rex Hazeldine of the Lodge of Science and Art No. 8429
W Bro Rex, who trained as a Physical Education teacher and taught, coached, lectured in sport, health and exercise science for many years, highlighted the connections between his two great passions: Freemasonry and sport. He began with the comparisons between the two including the closeness, friendship, reliance on one another as part of a team and are guided, coached, taught by knowledgeable, experienced tutors.
The significant contribution made by Freemasons in establishing historic sports organisation such as the Football Association, Middlesex Cricket Club, Amateur Athletic Association and the Modern Olympic Games. There was also the critical contribution of the Reform Bill of 1832 in expanding schools which lead to 'games' being part of their ethos which was lead by Sir John George Lambton, Pro Grand Master.
W Bro Rex recounted the reasons why Manchester City adopted the light blue colour worn by a Master Mason, when the club, which was founded in 1880, was rescued from bankruptcy in 1894 by local Freemasons who requested the playing strip to be changed from red and black to the colour of a Master Mason.
He also mentioned a range of sports-based lodges including, the Sportsman’s Lodge No. 9440, British Sub-Aqua Lodge No. 8997, Flyfishers’ Lodge No. 9347, Silverstone Lodge No. 9877, Lodge of the Chevaliers de Fer No. 9732, Mike Hailwood Lodge No. 9839, Graham Milton Lodge No. 9796 and the Shotokan Karate Lodge No. 9752.
Special mention was made for lodges meeting in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland: the Reynard Lodge No. 9285, which was formed by members of Stoneygate and Westleigh Rugby Football Clubs, and the Joey Dunlop Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 1081 which meets in Lutterworth and was founded for those who are motorcycling enthusiasts.
The brethren were amazed by the number of high profile sportsmen who were Freemasons that had graced their respective sports: football (Alf Ramsey, Stanley Matthews, Jackie Milburn, Don Revie, Ron Greenwood, Sir Stanley Rous) rugby (Don White, Ron Jacobs, Eric Evans, Cliff Morgan), cricket (Len Hutton, Colin Cowdrey, Brian Statham, Clive Lloyd), motorsport (Donald Campbell, Joey Dunlop, Mike Hailwood), martial arts, boxing (Daniel Mendoza, James Figg, Sugar Ray Robinson, Jack Dempsey), and golf (Arnold Palmer).
W Bro Rex said, 'I know from my research that there are few sports in which masonic athletes, coaches and administrators have not made their mark. Freemasonry has contributed to and influenced sport in so many ways and at all levels of participation and performance. In many cases, as I have tried to show, Freemasonry has provided an environment, a value system, a culture which has links and similarities with the world of sport.'
The newly installed Master, W Bro John Peberdy, thanked W Bro Rex on behalf of the brethren, for a very interesting, entertaining and informative talk.
A good catch
Members of Flyfishers’ Lodge, No. 9347, and Saint Oswald Lodge, No. 850, from Ashbourne in Derbyshire, used their annual competition to launch a wheelyboat for disabled anglers. The funding was raised by both Derbyshire and Leicestershire masons, along with the Peter Harrison Foundation and Derbyshire Community Foundation. The boat was launched by Derbyshire Provincial Grand Master Graham Rudd. Ben Hodgson, principal of Carsington Sports & Leisure, said: ‘We’d like to thank the Freemasons. They expected a five-year campaign, but achieved their target in 12 months.’