A number of Somerset’s Freemasons, with a shared interest of cycling, formed the Somerset Masons' Cycle Association in July 2020, just as we were emerging from the first Covid lockdown. Encouraging the promotion of health and wellbeing, through cycling, for its members, their friends and families was one of the groups many goals
Fundraising for local community charities whilst promoting the relevance of Freemasonry in today’s challenging world were also at the forefront of the founders’ aims.
Since then, their membership has grown and they now enjoy a regular schedule of well attended organised social rides, taking in many of the beautiful cycling routes available to us in Somerset.
Their first dedicated fundraising event was held between Friday 6th and Monday 9th May and involved a core group of twelve, cycling a continuous route, visiting each of the 26 Masonic Halls spread throughout the County. They were joined on some of the legs by other Brethren and supporters keen to provide encouragement en-route.
A total of 264 miles were ridden, with 13,412 feet of hills climbed. No mean feat, especially in the warm conditions!
The core group included Somerset’s current Assitant Provincial Grand Master, Richard Winter, together with Ray Guthrie, Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master, who is now (from May 19th) Grand Superintendent in and over the Province of Somerset. The tour was supported throughout by David Maddern, Past Provincial Grand Charity Steward, who drove the support van whilst enjoying the luxury of its fully air-conditioned splendour!?!
The charities chosen to receive the proceeds of their considerable effort are:
Designability, a Bath-based national charity providing greater independence to those with disabilities by providing innovative products, the best known of which being the Wizzibug powered wheelchair for children.
On Your Bike, a Somerset charity formed to provide help to those who have suffered social exclusion and long-term unemployment by professionally training them to refurbish old or unwanted cycles for re-use.
Life Cycle UK based in Bristol and the West of England helps around 9,000 people a year to get cycling for the benefit of their health and the environment.
Starting at Minehead Masonic Hall and successfully concluding at Bath Masonic Hall, the ‘Tour de Temples’, as it was dubbed, was met with enthusiasm and support wherever they went.
So much so, that the sum raised to be shared between the three charities climbed to over £10,000, including two £999 donations from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Somerset and the Masonic Charitable Foundation.
Other pledges and donations are still being received which could see the total exceed £12,000.
Steve Collings, a Yatton-based Mason and Somerset Masons' Cycle Association Chairman, said: 'We always knew this was going to be quite a challenge for the riders, and it really was, but the sum raised from the support received in the communities we visited was truly magnificent.'
The members of the Somerset Masons' Cycle Association wish to thank all those who supported their 'Tour de Temples' fundraising event and look forward to welcoming new members to their peloton.
Steve Collings can be contacted on:
Submitted by Andy Baird, PCO, Somerset.