Monday, 10 June 2019 00:00

Kick off for Welsh Rugby Clubs Lodge

Plans to create a Welsh Rugby Clubs Lodge were well and truly endorsed by a fantastic turn out for its first social night at Penarth Masonic Stadium

The social night was created by Club Captain Paul Haley to assess the viability of seeking Consecration of a lodge that encompasses all those that have played within or supported Welsh club rugby. 

The occasion was even more historic as research has proven that Penarth Masonic Hall is built on the former Penarth RFC ground where the Barbarians and Penarth played their first historic games against Penarth from 1901 to 1914.

Paul Haley explained: ‘The intention is to make this a rugby themed “must visit” lodge. It will be unique in recognising the special place rugby has in South Wales and ensuring the rugby club atmosphere is engendered in the Festive Board.’

In welcoming guest Founders from Adrian Davies Lodge of Rugby Union No. 9884 in the Province of Gloucestershire, Paul set out how the lodge intends to attract members and visitors from Monmouthshire, Gloucestershire, Bristol, Bath, London Welsh, Leicestershire and Oxford, as well as from international rugby visitors on evenings prior to international fixtures.

Paul Haley welcomed his inspirational mini-rugby coach and artist Jeff Giggs as a guest, who drew the splendid club dragon logo which was unveiled on the night.

Former Barbarian and Pontypool, Wales, British Lions rugby legend Graham Price MBE was the guest speaker. He eloquently regaled humorous tales of his 41 caps for Wales, which included two Grand Slams and three consecutive Triple Crowns, as well as his record 12 Tests for the British Lions. He also answered interesting questions from the enthralled audience, and then stayed to make presentations, and have photographs taken.

Jeff Giggs also sketched and donated a picture of Graham Price as the star raffle prize which Graham kindly autographed and presented to winner Wayne Pike.

The evening was a tremendous success with nearly £700 raised in the raffle for Newbridge RFC Vikings under 9's Mini-Rugby Team towards their new kit.

Clive Thomas, Immediate Past Master of Services Lodge No. 7139, who will be the Mother Lodge, presented a cheque to the Wooden Spoon rugby charity for £3,500. This was the proceeds from Clive’s year as Master of the lodye, along with a further £1,000 raised at the Ladies Night which was donated to Tenovus.

Anthony Evans of Wooden Spoon Charity thanked Clive and explained the work of Wooden Spoon which is to transform the lives of young people and children with a disability or facing disadvantage across the UK and Ireland through the power of rugby.

'A force for good,' was how Dame Janet Trotter, Lord Lieutenant for Gloucestershire, described Freemasons in the county and the wider area

Dame Janet was responding to the announcement at a celebratory gala at the DeVere Cotswolds Water Park Hotel that both national and local charities would be benefitting to the tune of £1.75 million, following a five year fund-raising drive by Gloucestershire Freemasons.

‘This money goes beyond masonic charities,’ said the Provincial Grand Master for Gloucestershire, Tim Henderson-Ross. ‘It will benefit the wider Gloucestershire community, hopefully helping to dispel the myth that Freemasons only look after themselves.

‘Gloucestershire masons have risen to the challenge, delivering a tremendous result. In so doing, you will help those less fortunate than ourselves; spreading a little happiness and, all being well, leaving the world better than we found it.’

To mark her retirement from office, the Provincial Grand Master presented the Lord Lieutenant with a cheque for £5,000, destined for a charity of her choice. Dame Janet disclosed she was currently championing a new charity – the Cyber Trust – which seeks to protect those most at risk in the area of personal cyber and online security. 

Holding the cheque aloft, she said: ‘I promise this will be positively used, particularly in the county’s schools.’

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. 

Published in Initiatives & Clubs

A 15-year-old son and grandson of two Bristol Freemasons has completed four endurance challenges in six weeks to raise over £5,000 for a national prostate cancer charity

When Dr Richard Hayes was suddenly and unexpectedly diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer in April this year, his grandson Edward felt pretty powerless and didn’t know what to do to help, so he decided to undertake a series of challenges to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK. A retired GP, Richard was having an annual PSA blood test due to a family history of the disease.

Even though he had no symptoms, his PSA level was a little bit raised, which prompted referral to a specialist. The specialist turned out to be a member of his own lodge in Bristol, but unfortunately after he was investigated it was shown that the cancer had already spread to his bones.

Edward spoke to his teachers at Beechen Cliff School in Bath about what he could do to try and raise money. As Edward recalls: 'My school organises lots of outdoor activities and the teachers organise training and supervision to allow us to take part in a number of events. Normally, we would do one or two of these, but this year I thought I would do the Ten Tors, The March for Men, National Three Peaks Challenge and Centurion Challenge all together, to try to raise money to support Prostate Cancer UK and make sure that more people are aware of this disease and try to help men get diagnosed earlier so that they can be treated.'

For the Ten Tors, Edwards was the leader of his team which involved hiking 35 miles over the rough terrain of Dartmoor at the end of May 2018, visiting 10 different nominated tors in under two days. In the middle of June, he took part in The March for Men in Bristol. Organised by Prostate Cancer UK, it gives families the opportunity to walk in support or in memory of someone they know with prostate cancer. Edward did this walk with the rest of his family, but to make sure it was a proper endurance challenge he ran the whole 10K course twice.

In the last weekend in June, Edward completed the National Three Peaks Challenge with lots of other pupils from his school. This involved climbing the three highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales over one weekend – Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Mount Snowdon. They walked 23 miles and climbed the overall total of 10,052ft.

The last challenge was the school’s annual Centurion Challenge. This event has been running at the school for 50 years now and is a 100 mile walk from Bath to Hungerford and back. It must be completed within 48 hours in order to be a “Centurion”. Yet because it was so hot this year, for safety reasons, the walk was shortened to 50 miles in 24 hours. 

Edward added: 'I was really disappointed because I wanted to do the full 100, but the teachers had to make sure we were all safe. Even though he’s on chemotherapy at the moment, my grandpa got to watch me come in at the finish and gave me a massive hug. We were both a bit tearful. I had a big blister on my heel, but I managed to complete the course in 8hrs 57 minutes.

'My dad is a Freemason in Bristol and last year he was Provincial Senior Grand Warden, so when they heard about grandpa’s illness, lots of the people in Bristol lodges sent me sponsorship money to support my fundraising. It’s brilliant what fundraising support the Bristol masons have given me and I hope that I can join my grandpa’s lodge when I’m old enough.

'When I got home after the Centurion Challenge, my great uncle Roy, who is a Freemason in Gloucestershire, presented me with an old ice axe. He was one of the first young people to do the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award in 1959 and went on an expedition to Greenland with Sir John Hunt and Sir Edmund Hillary, who were both famous mountaineers. This was the axe that he took on that expedition and he gave it to me to celebrate successfully finishing these challenges. I’m really grateful to everyone who has sponsored me for doing these four events, to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK.'

Prostate Cancer affects one in eight men in the UK. A man who has a father or brother who has been diagnosed, is two and a half times more likely to also be affected. You can contribute to the fundraising initiative here.

Builder, plumber, security officer and transport manager; these are some of the varied lines of work followed by recent candidates to Royal Lebanon Lodge No. 493 in Gloucestershire

They are all keen to progress through the lodge too. In fact, at their installation meeting in November 2018, there will be 'light blues' in the six offices from Inner Guard to Master, which means it will be the first time they have stepped into the role – with not a Past Master in sight.

'Four short years ago, we were in the doldrums and contemplating a shorter calendar,' said current Master John Owen. 'But thanks initially to Andy Fautley (lodge Secretary) and his positive action, we reinvented the lodge instead.'

Andy and John have each done a two-year stint to oversee this remarkable turnaround, resulting in an abundance of candidates to the point of considering dispensation applications for additional meetings to help cope with the workload.

John was deliberating on the current lifeforce which is surging through the lodge, stressing that these days, they actively encourage members to visit other lodges, especially the newest members. Recent visits include Belfast, Birmingham and Glasgow, with upcoming trips to Dublin and Gibraltar, whilst regular social gatherings in local restaurants have also proved popular with the members and potential candidates alike.

Colin Pulman, the Master Elect, said: 'I am looking forward to continuing this 'can-do' spirit of lodge development, ensuring a very special year with many visitors to help it go with a bang.'

Sunday, 12 April 2015 12:25

Annual boost for Midlands Air Ambulance

A welcome annual award to Midlands Air Ambulance from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, was jointly presented by the Provincial Grand Masters for Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire

RW Bros Tim Henderson-Ross, the Rev David Bowen and Robert Vaughan presented Annie Newell, Fundraising Manager at Strensham air ambulance base, with a combined donation of £12,000 as part of Grand Charity's support to all 22 rescue services in England and Wales – financial support which since 2007 has totalled nearly £2m.

The country’s air ambulance service, without either government or National Lottery funding, relies on such voluntary donations to operate its critical role. Annie Newell, in her final year as Fundraising Manager, expressed her sincere gratitude for the continued commitment and generous support given to the charity by Freemasons over many years. Michelle McCracken will be taking over Annie’s responsibilities in September.

Gloucestershire garden party marks foundation milestone

Dame Janet Trotter, the Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire and president of the Gloucestershire Community Foundation (GCF), held a garden party to celebrate the GCF’s 25th anniversary, together with the foundation’s chairman, Dr Roger Head, and trustees. 

The event was held at the house and gardens of Highnam Court. There were many Gloucestershire Freemasons among the guests, including PGM Tim Henderson Ross and his wife. They enjoyed afternoon tea and heard from some of the inspiring groups who have received funding from the GCF. Dame Janet explained how the GCF is strategic in directing its funding, working with the donating bodies to ensure funds get to the right people. 

Health awareness with Sir Steve

Together with the Gloucester Citizen, local charity CRY, which heightens awareness of the cardiac health of youngsters involved in sport, was looking to raise the sum of £7,000. Gloucestershire’s then PGM Adrian Davies stepped in with the £2,000 required – the cost of screening sessions for 200 young sportsmen and women. Charity patron and five-time Olympic rowing champion Sir Steve Redgrave was present at the University of Gloucester School of Sport and Exercise in Longlevens to draw attention to the screenings on offer.

Triple boost for air ambulance

The Provincial Grand Masters for Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire collectively presented a combined donation of £12,000 to Midlands Air Ambulance from the Grand Charity.

Air ambulances, without either government or National Lottery funding, rely on voluntary donations to be able to operate. Annie Newell, fundraising manager for Midlands Air Ambulance, expressed her sincere gratitude for the continued masonic commitment. 

The logo of the masonic square and compass is displayed on the tail fins of the air ambulance based at Strensham, Worcestershire.

Published in The Grand Charity
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 17:57

Grand Master's address - April 2014

Craft Annual Investiture 

30 April 2014 
An address by the MW The Grand Master HRH The Duke of Kent, KG 

Brethren, I want to start by saying a very warm welcome to you all, and to thank you for re-electing me as Grand Master at the last meeting in March. I particularly congratulate all those that I have had the pleasure of investing today.

Whether you have been appointed to or promoted in Grand Rank, I want to emphasise that two of your key tasks are recruitment and retention. It has become clear from the research carried out by the Membership Focus Group chaired by the Deputy President of the Board of General Purposes that these tasks are more important than ever before. I am particularly concerned to hear that very few members recruit at all, and that there is an unacceptably high loss rate after each of the three degrees and indeed during the first ten years of membership.

The Membership Focus Group has been formed to analyse the statistics and to make proposals to stem the loss of members. It is already clear that the Mentoring Scheme will play a vital role going forward. It is therefore important that Lodge Mentors appoint appropriate personal mentors to look after each new candidate, rather than trying to do all the mentoring themselves. I look to you all, as Grand Officers, supporting the Mentoring Scheme.

Naturally, I expect you will also be good examples to others whatever their rank – not only in your good conduct and supportive approach but also by demonstrating your enjoyment of Freemasonry.

Yesterday evening I hosted a dinner for Provincial and District Grand Masters. The support of and direction from your respective Provincial and District Grand Masters is paramount and I am pleased to hear how closely they, in turn, are working with the Centre, here at Freemasons’ Hall. This inclusive approach is core to the future of the English Constitution.

I continue to hear of the good work done by the Provinces in their local communities and no better example has been the help given to the victims of the recent floods, especially in the West Country. This good work was supported when I recently had the opportunity to visit two Provinces. In Gloucestershire where I also attended their annual service in Gloucester Cathedral and also in Cornwall. I was impressed by the enthusiasm of the members I met in both Provinces.

Finally Brethren, I want to express our thanks to the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his Deputies for the smooth running of the impressive ceremony that you have just witnessed, as well as to the Grand Secretary and his staff for all their hard work leading up to today’s investiture.

Published in Speeches
Page 1 of 2

ugle logoSGC logo