Fun day out for Derbyshire kids
Derbyshire children with additional or special educational needs had a fantastic day on Friday, 22nd April, when they attended the fifth annual funfair organised and supported by the Derbyshire Provincial Grand Charity.
Over 1,200 children from 27 different groups from all around the Province enjoyed free coach transfers from and back to their schools. They were treated to as many free fairground rides as they could fit in, as well as hot dogs, candy floss and refreshments.
Since its inception in 2012, when the first 500 children attended, it has now become the highlight of the year for many and continues to grow from strength to strength.
The fair was initially organised after showmen noticed that some children with special needs were being ridiculed by some less sympathetic members of the public. Children with autism, downs syndrome, learning difficulties and mobility problems were not attending due to these taunts.
This was distressing for the children and their parents and carers. A survey had revealed that 79% of these children felt socially isolated and 28% questioned had actually been asked to leave a public place.
As a result, the Derbyshire Provincial Grand Charity was asked whether it would be prepared to organise and support a funfair if the showmen provided the rides and facilities at one of their sites. The Freemasons of Derbyshire are delighted to work in partnership with Erewash Borough Council, who provide the site, to arrange such an event for the enjoyment and betterment of the community at large.
The children come from schools and other specialist provisions in Buxton, High Peak, Burton-on-Trent, Central Derby, Alfreton, Chinley and other areas from around the Province.
As usual the Fire and Rescue Service, Police and St John's Ambulance all attended to support the event. This year saw Emporium Productions filming for a documentary to be screened on Sky TV early next year, as well as Radio Derby reporting live on the day and articles in the press from the Derby Evening Telegraph and Nottingham Post. The event will also be covered in the Showman’s trade newspaper, The World’s Fair.
The event as always was organised for the Provincial Grand Charity by W Bros Philip Bowler and Graham Sisson.
Derbyshire Freemasons were visibly present at many of last years Remembrance Services around the county. The Provincial Grand Master, Steven Varley, gave his permission for those Derbyshire Freemasons who were also Forces Veterans to wear their Masonic collars at the public parades and services.
In Derby, the Provincial Grand Master, Arthur S. Varley, wearing his chain of office, laid a wreath in memory of fallen brethren, while members of Arboretum Lodge No. 731, Tudor Lodge No. 9635, Derbyshire Dales Lodge No. 9436 and United Service Lodge of Derbyshire No. 3993 also attended wearing their collars. Arrangements were made by W Bro. John Wood, MBE, a former Artificer Sergeant Major (WOI) in REME and the Standards Marshall for Derby and District Ex Service Associations.
In Chesterfield, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Stephen Jones, laid a wreath at the War Memorial, also in his chain of office, supported by members of all five Chesterfield Craft Lodges. The party then attended a service in the packed Parish Church.
The aim for 2016 is to have a Masonic wreath laid at every town and village in the Province that has a Masonic Hall, with Freemasons wearing collars being present at the services, either in the Veterans’ Contingent or as spectators.
Derbyshire’s festival finale
Freemasons and their families in Derbyshire have made a £2.4 million donation to the MSF after a six-year fundraising appeal
More than eight hundred Derbyshire Freemasons and guests gathered at the magnificent Devonshire Dome in Buxton for a gala dinner to celebrate the finale of the Derbyshire 2014 Festival, which raised the tremendous sum of £2,414,016.
During the meal, diners were entertained by the Three Waiters, singing popular operatic tunes, and a Fab Four tribute band playing Beatles hits. For the first time in an MSF Festival, and the second time in Derbyshire’s history, every masonic unit in every order made a donation. Members of Craft lodges in the Province donated an average of £741 each.
Assistant Grand Master Sir David Wootton congratulated the Province on its fundraising and on organising the occasion. MSF President Willie Shackell added, ‘Not only will this generous donation help the Fund to support the health and care needs of individuals but it will also enable us to continue funding much-needed medical research.’
Supporting wider needs
The MSF has expressed its thanks to all its fundraisers for their generosity in ensuring that sufficient funds are available to meet demand
Commenting on the MSF’s achievements in the last financial year (Oct 2013-Sep 2014), Chief Executive Richard Douglas notes that the Fund has allocated more grants than ever before: ‘1,578 grants have been given to support 1,462 applicants covering all areas of the Fund’s work: medical, dental, mobility, home adaptation, respite, counselling and consultation needs. This is a 12% increase in funds allocated and a 21% increase in the number of individuals supported compared with the previous year. The Fund allocated nearly £4.4 million to individuals, or £12,000 a day, across the year.’
Freemasons and their families in Derbyshire have made a donation of over £2.4 million to the Masonic Samaritan Fund
The Province of Derbyshire raised this magnificent figure following their six year Festival Appeal
Over 800 Freemasons and partners attended a spectacular finale event at the Dome in Buxton to celebrate the successful conclusion of the six year fundraising appeal.
In receiving the cheque Brig Willie Shackell CBE, President of the charity, said: 'We are tremendously grateful to the members of Derbyshire. Their hard work and dedication to fundraising, despite difficult financial times, will help to change the lives of thousands of individuals in need and national charities pioneering cutting edge research.'
Graham Rudd, Freemasons’ Provincial Grand Master, said: 'This six year fundraising appeal has given us a shared ambition to help our vital and life-saving charity. We move forward with the hope and ambition that Freemasonry and its charities can continue to thrive and contribute within the great Province of Derbyshire.'
The donation will be used to fund MSF grants, totalling £4.5 million each year, which are awarded in support of members’ health and care needs as well as to medical research charities. The Masonic Samaritan Fund has donated over £62 million in grants since it was established in 1990.
Nice footwork in Derbyshire
Derbyshire masons from Morcar Lodge, No. 8458, which meets at Alfreton, and the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys have helped a young woman achieve her ambition in the dancing world.
Joanne Howarth, granddaughter of widow Mavis Howarth, whose late husband Jerry was a lodge member, was able to complete a three-year residential course at the world-famous Brian Rogers Performers College in London.
Now principal of the JL Dance Academy in Ripley, Joanne puts her success down to the eight years she was supported by Freemasonry.
Belper aid for autism centre
Holbrook Centre for Autism, which provides specialist schooling for students with autism and learning disabilities between the ages of four and 19, has received £1,200 for teaching aids from Belper masons in Derbyshire. The fundraising was started by Brian Smith, Master of Lodge of St John, No. 8070, aided by the Belper Masonic Benevolent Association and the Provincial Grand Lodge of Derbyshire.
Julian Scholefield, the centre’s head teacher, said the funds would be used to buy additional iPads and supporting software to enhance the existing technology portfolio available to all students.
Everyone’s a winner
More than 700 children and carers visited the second annual funfair for people with additional needs. Organised at Long Eaton by Derbyshire masons, the event was held for children with conditions such as Down’s syndrome and autism, and for those with extreme learning difficulties. Also involved were Erewash Borough Council, the Showmen’s Guild, McKean’s Amusements, St John Ambulance, and the local police and fire service. Showmen’s Guild president David Wallis, Erewash Mayor Cllr Jennifer Hulls, Derbyshire PGM Graham Rudd and Michael McKean all gave their support, while the children each went home clutching a teddy bear provided by the Province.
To find out more about the work of the Showmen’s Lodge>>>
Established in 2005 to connect lodges with students country-wide, the Universities Scheme is flourishing, enabling a new generation to experience Freemasonry
Hartington Lodge, No. 1085, in the Province of Derbyshire, has become the 55th lodge to join the Universities Scheme, opening a path for it to welcome members of the University of Derby into the Craft from the age of 18.
The lodge was accepted into the scheme after a sub-committee, led by Alan Cudworth, met with Assistant Grand Master David Williamson, Scheme Chairman Edward Lord
and Midlands Co-ordinator David Staples.
David Williamson explained how the Universities Scheme makes it easier for young men to join the Craft, with Provincial Grand Master Graham Rudd then presenting the Assistant Grand Master with a Derbyshire tie and a Festival barbecue cook’s apron.
Hartington Lodge has proven successful in bringing young men into Freemasonry, with members including graduates and former staff of the University of Derby.
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.’
W Bro Steve Wright is currently in the chair of two Craft lodges: St Wilfrid Lodge, No. 4453, in the Province of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire, and Fons Vitae Lodge, No. 8744, in the Province of Derbyshire.
This inspired him with the idea of walking between his two lodges, Fons Vitae in Long Eaton and St Wilfrid in Oundle – a distance of some 60 miles – to raise money for the respective festival appeals in the two provinces: the Derbyshire 2014 Festival in aid of the Masonic Samaritan Fund, and the Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire 2013 Festival for the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution.
On the morning of Tuesday 8th May, accompanied by his intrepid and long-suffering partner, Miss Sue Leaver, and their toy rabbit mascot Alistair McAlistair, he set off from Long Eaton in Derbyshire, cheered on by members of the Fons Vitae Lodge.
After many trials and tribulations – as well as the occasional well-earned break for refreshments at hostelries along the way – Steve and Sue (and Alistair, of course) finally arrived in Oundle on Saturday, 12th May, to be greeted warmly by members of St Wilfrid Lodge.
In total, W Bro Wright succeeded in raising over £1,200 with the walk, to be divided between the two festivals. Many congratulations to him and his good lady, Sue, and a sincere thank you to the brethren in both provinces for their generous sponsorship.