Rodney Bass, former Essex County Councillor and the current Provincial Grand Master for Essex Freemasons, has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in recognition of his service to Local Government in Essex.

Coincidentally, Mr Bass, who was a member of Maldon District Council for 40 years between 1967 and 2007 and an Essex County Councillor from 1997, first heard about the award in May this year, on his last working day for the local authority.

“I am really delighted and very honoured to have been made an OBE,” said Mr Bass, aged 71 and married to wife Margaret. “It is wonderful for me personally, but I also see it as recognition for all my former colleagues in Local Government who have supported me over the last 50 years and I thank them for all their help.”

“I hope to continue serving the local community through Freemasonry in Essex and the charitable giving associated with our Fraternity and will also continue membership of my local Parish Council.”

A graduate in economics and accountancy, Mr Bass spent 35 years working in the banking industry becoming a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in 1980. He used this specialist knowledge in his Local Government career dealing with finance, constitutional law and more recently highways and transportation.

During his long period of service he was made Chairman of Maldon District Council and became Chairman of Essex County Council for two years and from 2010 to 2012 was Chairman of Essex County Council. He was recently elected an honorary Alderman of Essex.

A peruvian adventure

Emily Lane, 17, contacted a number of north Essex lodges for assistance in raising £5,000 to join an expedition to the Peruvian rainforest with the British Exploring Society. Vic Hodson, Charity Steward for Blackwater Lodge, No. 1977, heard Emily’s pleas. The lodge agreed to help, adding an extra £50 if she would tell them of her experience afterwards. Her stories included spiders as big as dinner plates, eight-foot snakes and eating insects.

A microbrewery has helped ‎Freemasons‬ in Essex ‪create a ‪special Remembrance beer to raise money for military charities

Wibblers Brewery lent their expertise to create the Lest we Forget beer for members of Thorpe Bay Lodge at their annual Lodge Poppy evening on November 11.

Wibblers, which has just opened a new brewery in Southminster, helped create the Lest we Forget beer.

The bitter was the idea of members of Thorpe Bay Lodge who created the beer to keep the members happy at their annual Lodge Poppy evening on November 11.

'Wibblers were fantastic but the beer has been so well received that there is real talk that it could qualify for a CAMRA award and we are now thinking that we could offer it to Freemasons across Essex with all profits going to local charities and other good causes.'

Read the full article here: 

Published in More News

Essex charity champions

In just one weekend Essex Freemasons raised £130,000 for eight local charities, bringing the total raised for 700 Essex charities to more than £1 million in a year. Dozens of events took place over the three-day 8Aid event, from sponsored bike rides and abseiling to a whole host of social functions. The eight charities – which included Essex Air Ambulance, Helen Rollason Cancer Charity, Lifelites and the Teddies for Loving Care Appeal – each received £16,250. The cheques were presented by Provincial Grand Master John Webb at a special ceremony in Saxon Hall, Southend.

Catch the smile

Members of the Masonic Trout and Salmon Fishing Charity (MTSFC) organised a fly-fishing event at Chigboro Fisheries, alongside the Blackwater Estuary near Maldon in Essex, for youngsters from Trinity London Care, St John’s School, Acorn Village and Avelon Road Centre

Each participant was supported by a fly-fisherman, who took them to various points around the lakes for their chance at catching some fish to take away with them. Those casters not having a novice in their charge were also fishing and would pass their rod to the nearest participant when they had a fish on the line. 

Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes, the MTSFC president, attended along with Essex PGM John Webb. The Pro Grand Master presented certificates to each of the participants.

Published in Freemasonry Cares
Thursday, 07 March 2013 00:00

Continued support for Essex hospices

Essex Provincial Grand Master John Webb invited a number of local hospices to the Chelmsford Masonic Hall to present donations totalling £21,496. Also in attendance were Provincial Information Officer Brian Wright and Provincial Grand Almoner Paul Cohen. The Provincial Grand Master said that since The Freemasons’ Grand Charity began to support hospices in 1984, masons have donated more than £10m, with £371,500 of that figure going to hospices in the Essex area.

Published in The Grand Charity
Friday, 14 December 2012 00:00

Missouri sees English degrees

Three years of planning – following a suggestion by Jim Morris of St Clair Lodge, No. 24, in Belleville, Illinois – resulted in a trip by English masons to St Louis, Missouri, that involved four degree demonstrations in 10 days. Members of five London lodges, three from Essex, and one each from West Kent and Cambridgeshire, formed the nine-strong demonstration team. One demonstration was held in St Louis and three in Belleville.

Sunday, 07 October 2012 08:02

A Leap of Faith

Every Essex jumper literally took a step into the unknown, a leap of faith: three words that can mean so much when stepping off a crane into thin air with only a cord as your lifeline. It puts a whole new meaning to the phrase 'of my own free will and a cord'.

Provincial Grand Charity Steward W Bro Colin Felton, coordinated a Masonic bungee jump on Saturday 29th September for 10 Essex brethren, the general manager of Saxon Hall Robert Potter, and Rachael Phillips, daughter of Cliff Phillips of St Laurence Lodge, No. 5511. They all took that leap of faith when stepping off the platform approximately 160ft up to bungee jump, all to raise money for Lifelites.

RW Bro John Michael Webb, Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Essex, has highlighted Lifelites as a 'Friend in Need', this being one of eight Essex-based charities that Essex lodges are supporting following the concentrated efforts in previous years to support the 2011 Festival for the Freemasons' Grand Charity. Lifelites started out as a pilot project in 1999 with the idea of providing education and entertainment technology for children in hospices. Since then, their work has expanded to meet growing demand, and now has 44 children’s hospices throughout the UK.

Through the power of technology and high tech entertainment, Lifelites is the only charity striving to give children in hospices the chance to spend quality time with their families, the means to keep in contact with their school and friends, and simply to enjoy themselves away from the constant reality of their illness. Despite recovering from poor health, Assistant Provincial Grand Master W Bro Nigel Catchpole, who was originally planning to jump but was unable to due to doctor's orders, was also in attendance to support the jumpers and give them that push - I mean support! - they all needed.

With over £3,000 donated online, and a further £4,000 from fringe events and lodges, this event was a huge success. Deri Jones of Lifelites, who is responsible for fundraising, was also there and was very pleased with the attendance and support from the Essex brethren, commenting that he would like to arrange another, and this time actually in Essex.

Lifelites needs £18,000 a year to provide the vital equipment needed for children's hospices in Essex, so our support to this local charity really is the heart of Essex Freemasonry.

Published in Lifelites

British troops in Afghanistan plan to raise funds for the Teddies for Loving Care Appeal

The 30 Hour Endurance Challenge is due to take place on 28th - 29th July 2012 in the Gereshk camp (55m X 30m) in Northern Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

The troops which form 'Advisor 30', their call sign matrix (and hence the 30 hour challenge), is headed up by Bro Ally McMillan and they are a multi cap-badged group of soldiers representing the Royal Engineers, Grenadier Guards, Royal Signals, Royal Army Medical Corps, Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers (REME), Royal Logistic Corps (RLC), Intelligence Corps, Rifles, Regular and TA.

Throughout the 30 hour period someone from the call sign will be on the exercise bike and another on the cross trainer, each solider taking different shifts. This may not seem that onerous but it will take place whilst still continuing to maintain the camp routine and all tasking's at the time and in quite an austere setting. Temperatures at this time of year usually average 3 (90f) but can reach 40c (105f).

On the Saturday of the 28th July 2012 there will also be a charity cake sale taking place in the Market Square, Saffron Walden, Essex, UK, to mirror the event taking place in Afghanistan. This will be undertaken by Emma McMillan, Alistair's wife (also serving with the British Forces), and other 'Military Wives' and friends.

The original idea came from Staff Sergeant Alistair 'Mac' McMillan a bomb disposal officer based at the Wimbish Barracks, Saffron Walden, Essex UK. He felt that whilst in Afghanistan he should continue to help others back in the UK. The event is to raise money and awareness for the TLC Appeal who provides teddies or soft toys to A&E units for the medical staff to give, at their discretion, to children who are in severe distress, where the staff feel that a teddy to cuddle will help alleviate that distress, that will assist them in their urgent work.

Bro. Ally 'Mac' McMillan has ties with the charity both through masonic friends and a personal experience when his son was admitted to hospital at a young age. He wanted to give something back and raise awareness of the Charity itself. Alistair is a Scottish Mason who bacame a joining member of Walden Lodge No 1280 to enable him to continue with his masonry whilst away from his own Scottish Constitution. He is presently the Junior Warden of Walden Lodge and has helped raise large sums of money for the local Injured Soldiers Fund.

If you would like to sponsor 'Advisor 30' during this challenge, you can either download an information flyer or download a sponsorship form.  If you have any questions please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


At the April meeting of the Essex First Principals Chapter No.3256, over 200 members and guests went on to see a demonstation of the 'Ceremony of the Veils' given by the Essex Provincial Stewards Chapter No 8665. The chapter was particularly honoured by the presence of many distinguished Royal Arch masons which included: ME Comp George Pipon Francis, 2nd Grand Principal, ME Comp David Kenneth Williamson, 3rd Grand Principal and our own ME Comp John Michael Webb, Grand Superintendant.

This Ceremony had been authorised by the Committee of General Purposes of Supreme Grand Chapter solely for demonstrations at a Provincial or District level held under the authority of the respective Grand Superintendent.

The basis of the current Royal Arch ceremonies worked in England was established and agreed by Supreme Grand Chapter in 1834. There is some evidence that before the 1834 changes the ceremony of Passing the Veils was practised as a preliminary to the Exaltation ceremony. This was particularly true in Lodges under the former Antients Grand Lodge which worked the Royal Arch within the Lodge, but there is little evidence of it being worked in Chapters under the original Excellent Grand and Royal Chapter.

Today in England the ceremony is solely authorised for use in Chapters in Bristol but it is still very much part of the Royal Arch system in Ireland, the United States of America and in Scotland - where it is known as the Excellent Master Degree. For those wishing to see the Bristol ceremony, the Province and its Chapters are always delighted to receive visitors.

This demonstration is not the ceremony as practised in Bristol, Ireland, Scotland or the USA but necessarily includes material which appears in the ceremonies worked in those countries. It has been compiled from manuscripts in the Library and Museum of Freemasonry and published sources such as Carlile and Claret.

Following the demonstation the 1st Principal, E. Comp Edward A Hilburn, PGStB, presented a cheque on behalf of the Chapter to E Comp Keith Huddlestone, PGStB, PAPrGP, the Essex Provincial Stewards Chapter 'Demonstation Team' represntative, who announced that the very generous donation of £500 would be going to the The Royal Arch Masons 2013 Bicentenary Appeal for 'The Royal College of Surgeons of England'.

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