Freemasons’ Hall in Leicester hosted a wide range of charities and good causes from all over the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland, as £60,875 was presented to benefit the local community and those in need

The donations were presented by the Provincial Grand Master, David Hagger, who was accompanied by the Lord Mayor of Leicester, Ross Grant. 

Leicester-based Reunite International who provide advice and support to parents whose children have been abducted overseas or parents accused of International parental abduction, received a donation of £1,000 which will go towards the replacement of ageing telephone and computer systems. As explained by Reunites Holly Whatsize, Leicester is the largest city outside of London where child abductions in these circumstances takes place, with 22 new cases in Leicester this year alone. Holly added: ‘We take on average 500 to 600 new cases each year.’

Chris Gatfield, of the Dove Cottage Day Hospice, who provide day care respite for those suffering from terminal illnesses, was presented with a donation of £6,800 to help support over 100 families a week who are suffering from cancer and other long term conditions throughout North West Leicestershire and Rutland. 

Members of St Simon and St Jude Lodge No. 8279, who meet at the Masonic Hall in Hinckley, were pleased to join with the Masonic Charitable Foundation in presenting cheques totalling £5,800 to The Air Ambulance Service.

Brian Moore from the The Air Ambulance Service said: ‘The children’s helicopters transfer sick children from one hospital to another who specialises in that particular case.’

In closing the presentation service, the Lord Mayor said: ‘on behalf of the City of Leicester, I would like to thank the Freemasons’ for supporting all of the amazing charities here today.’ David Hagger summarised by thanking the Lord Mayor, all of the charities present and those Freemasons’ involved in the fund raising efforts.

During the first year, over 500 bronze oak leaves with personal inscriptions have been purchased from the Bradgate Park Trust and installed on distinctive feature wooden oak pillars within the Memorial Wood, raising over £70,000 for the charity

The Memorial Wood at Bradgate Park was funded by Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons to celebrate the Tercentenary, along with Leicestershire County Council, and was officially opened by the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes on 5th October 2017

Since then, the wood has settled down nicely after its opening and the Bradgate Park volunteers ensure that it continues to look its best. 

Peter Tyldesley, Director of the Bradgate Part Trust, said: ‘We are delighted by the public reaction to the Memorial Wood, which has become an attractive, peaceful and dignified place of remembrance and reflection.

‘The Memorial Wood has been successful beyond our wildest expectations and we are already planning an extension. The Trust is extremely grateful to all those who have purchased leaves and to the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons for their support in enabling us to make it a reality.’

The Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland David Hagger said: ‘Freemasonry has always been part of the local community and we are thrilled to leave a lasting legacy for the people of Leicestershire and Rutland as part of our 300th anniversary celebrations.’

Monday, 05 November 2018 00:00

The 2018 AMULL Festival: 'King finds a King'

Professor Turi King, the scientist at the heart of the project to find the remains of King Richard III, was the speaker at the 18th annual festival of the Association of Medical, University and Legal Lodges (AMULL) which was held on 6th October in the cathedral city of Leicester

Around 100 people attended and, despite the rain, everyone enjoyed a superb day of fraternity, festivity and fun.

The festival was hosted this year by Wyggeston Lodge No. 3448, the Universities Scheme Lodge for the University of Leicester, with the programme for the event devised and administered by Dr Andy Green with support from AMULL Secretary Athelstane Aamodt.

The festival guests assembled for tea and coffee in cloistral hush of Leicester Cathedral, the resting place of King Richard III and the venue for the interfaith service conducted by the Rev Canon Michael Wilson, Grand Chaplain, whose excellent proceedings and highly topical address were rounded off with a rousing rendition of ‘Jerusalem’ which the assembled congregation sang with gusto. 

After the service, the guests made their way to the beautiful Guildhall, one of the best preserved timber-framed halls in the country and with a history dating back 600 years. There, Professor Turi King gave an entertaining and interesting talk on the excavation in Leicester that led to the discovery of King Richard III, managing to inject wit and humour into subjects like mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosomes. Her talk, which entirely captivated the audience, was rapturously received.

Professor King’s talk was followed by AMULL’s now-traditional champagne reception and then lunch in St. Martin’s House, culminating in a toast to AMULL given by Paul Marvin, the current Master of Wyggeston Lodge, with the response given by the AMULL President, David Williamson. 

AMULL was delighted to make hardship grants totalling £5,000 to three excellent students: Naomi Amos, Andrew Slater, and Joshua Holford whose respective stories were filled with inspiring grit and determination. AMULL was also delighted to make an award of £1,000 to Leicester University Scholarship Fund, which was accepted by Michael Turnbull on behalf of the University. This donation was generously matched from the Leicestershire and Rutland Masonic Charitable Association presented by the Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland David Hagger. 

AMULL President David Williamson said: ‘All-in-all a truly memorable Festival from every aspect.’

Next year’s festival will be hosted in London by Think and Thank Lodge No. 4112, one of the latest additions to the Universities Scheme.

Published in Universities Scheme

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

Young people in Leicester not in employment, education or training (NEETS) are to be helped into work thanks to a £35,000 grant from Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons

Around 250 young NEETs between the ages of 11-24, many of whom are also homeless, involved in substance misuse and crime, will be helped by TwentyTwenty through their Journey to Work programme over three years.

These are young disadvantaged people who have failed at school, through being excluded or not being able to engage with mainstream education. They exist in a demoralised state, feeling neglected and without a meaningful future. Being able to come to TwentyTwenty they will gain not only the maths, English and employability skills they need to find and keep a good job but also the vision and confidence to go out and get one.

Young people who come to TwentyTwenty face a wide range of personal and social needs: poor physical and mental health, learning disabilities (many on the autistic spectrum), caring responsibilities (including teenage motherhood), lack of decent housing, family criminality, gross economic disadvantage, low level drug addiction and a complete lack of societal or family support.

Through intensive one-to-one support from a Journey to Work Coach and Tutor, the young people will undergo an eight-month programme of education, life and work skills, work experience and counselling. These will prepare them for either work or further education, during which they will be supported by volunteer mentors.

Mark Vyner, CEO from TwentyTwenty said: 'We’re very grateful for this generous grant from Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons, which will allow us to help hundreds of young people to turn their lives around and see a real reduction in the numbers of local people without jobs.'

The grant from Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

David Hagger, Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland, said: 'We’re very pleased to be able to help TwentyTwenty who are doing outstanding work giving hope and practical help to young people who have had a terrible start in life, by breaking the cycle of worklessness.'

Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons have generously donated nearly £61,000 to 26 charities supporting local communities in many areas including health-related charities.

The charities all gathered at an event at Freemasons’ Hall in Leicester to receive their donations from the Provincial Grand Master, David Hagger, and the Grand Superintendent of the Royal Arch Masons, Noel Manby, on behalf of Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons.

They included Leicester-based Mia Moos Foundation, which provides holidays for children with cancer, receiving a donation of £1,200 from the Leicestershire and Rutland Masonic Charity Association.

Mia Moos was set up in 2016 by Chris Phipps after this daughter Mia was diagnosed with leukaemia at 21-months-old. Chris said: 'Three weeks ago we managed to purchase a static caravan at Butlins so families with children on oncology wards can apply to us for a weekend or week away free of charge with full access to Butlins. They can get a break from their hospital treatment on the east coast for some sea and sand and time away with their families.'

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, who are committed to eradicating type 1 diabetes which affects 29,000 children in the UK, received a donation of £600 from Holmes Chapter No. 4656.

Members of the Morley Lodge No. 8320 donated £1,300 to the Leicestershire Autistic Society, which provides support, information and advice to families and professionals dealing with Autism in Leicestershire, Leicester City and Rutland. It is volunteer led organisation, where the vast majority of their volunteers are parents or carers of someone with Autism spectrum disorder.

Linda Hardcastle from Leicestershire Autistic Society said: 'We do provide a play scheme in the summer holidays for children with very severe autism. We used to get grants for this from the city and county council but we don’t anymore, so the money for this has to be raised. Thank you very much to the Freemasons for this donation which will be so helpful in funding this scheme.'

Provincial Grand Master David Hagger said: 'Freemasonry is now one of the largest charitable givers in the UK, and we are thrilled to be able to support charities working in our local communities.'

The Past Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland RW Bro Derek Buswell celebrated 60 glorious years as a Freemason on 12th April 2018

At the meeting of the Lodge of the Flaming Torch No. 4874, the Provincial Grand Master David Hagger, supported by his Provincial Officers, presented Derek with a certificate celebrating his 60 years continuous service to Freemasonry.

Derek was Initiated into Freemasonry in the Lodge of the Flaming Torch on 10th April 1958 and was its Master in 1971.

He subsequently became Master of the Leicestershire and Rutland Lodge of Installed Masters No. 7896 in 1984 and the Lodge of Research No. 2429 in 1987. Derek was a Founder of the Gayton Taylor Lodge No. 9176 which meets in Leicester in 1986.

He is also an Honorary member of Chetene Lodge No. 9516 in the Province of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire and a joining member of of Good Neighbour Lodge No. 8378 in the Province of East Kent.

Derek was appointed Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies at the Craft Annual Investiture in 1986, and was installed as Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland in 1989, continuing for 13 years until 2002.

During this time, Derek oversaw the 2001 Festival for the Grand Charity which raised £1.875 million, Freemasonry in the Community Week, the launch of Leicestershire and Rutland's Provincial website, the launch of the Leicester Square newsletter predecessor Masonic News and the first open day at Freemasons' Hall in Leicester followed by many future modernisations including the installation of stair lifts, a new heating system and the bar in the front lounge.

David Hagger said: 'It was a great pleasure for me as Provincial Grand Master on behalf of the Province to present Derek with a 60 year certificate of service. Derek has had a very distinguished career in Freemasonry, not only in this Province but also Freemasonry in general.

'His dedication to Freemasonry has been second to none. I wish him good health to enjoy many more happy years in Freemasonry.'

David Kenneth Williamson Lodge No. 9938 held its first meeting outside of London at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester, to conduct a quintuple Passing ceremony on behalf of the three Universities Scheme Lodges in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland

The lodge is the Installed Masters Lodge for the Universities Scheme and whilst consecrated in London in 2016, it was agreed that the lodge meet around the English constitution to undertake second and third degree ceremonies on behalf Universities Scheme lodges.

The meeting was held in the very decorative surroundings of the Holmes Lodge Room on 4th May 2018 and was opened in due form by the Master Oliver Lodge, Grand Director of Ceremonies, with 66 Brethren in attendance, including David Kenneth Williamson, Immediate Past Master, Sir David Wootton, Assistant Grand Master, David Hagger, Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland, David Pratt, Provincial Grand Master of Yorkshire, West Riding, Peter Kinder, Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland, and Derek Buswell, Past Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland.

The five candidates David Hames of Wyggeston Lodge No. 3448, Jonathan Haslam and David Veryan Jones of Castle of Leicester Lodge No. 7767, and Marat Guysin and Steven Brian Szukielowicz of Lodge of Science and Art No. 8429 were Passed to the degree of a Fellowcraft in a superbly conducted ceremony.

Sir David Wootton, President of the Universities Scheme, provided an update on the Scheme and made mention of a recent audit undertaken of all Scheme lodges to help identify those who may benefit from extra help and support. He also highlighted the four strategic aims the Scheme was pursuing, namely: 

  • Providing support to lodges and producing ‘know how’ guides on topics such as lodge finance and ritual. Also suggesting to Lodge Almoners that they could focus on understanding their student members and when they have exams coming up, when they are graduating, and celebrating their successes. 
  • Talent transfer - how to assist members to find a new masonic home after leaving university.
  • The Royal Arch – the Scheme now has five Royal Arch Chapters and is looking at how best to develop this important part of the Scheme. 
  • Overseas - students from districts graduation in England and helping Districts attract students in their home countries.

Also mentioned was the important work of the New and Young Masons Clubs (NYMC) and that the Scheme was increasing its engagement with NYMC both on a local and national level to ensure that with items, such as talent transfer, both groups can work together. He also referenced the links with the Association of Medical, University and Legal Lodges (AMULL). 

David Kenneth Williamson, Past Assistant Grand Master, concluded: 'It was a perfect demonstration of how a multiple ceremony can be done without detriment to the candidates, and brought much credit to the lodge.' 

The Brethren retired to the Holmes Lounge were they were welcomed with reception drinks before a four-course dinner.

After grace, Mo Afsa, of Old Mancunians’ with Mount Sinai Lodge No. 3140 in Manchester, presented the DKW Loving Cup to the lodge. Under the watchful eye of David Kenneth Williamson, whose initials the cup bears the name, as Founder President of the Universities Scheme, the Loving Cup circulated around the room. There being six members of Apollo University Lodge No. 357 present, Paul Grier rose to claim the Cup on behalf of that lodge and announced that the next meeting would be held on Saturday 2nd June 2018. 

Published in Universities Scheme

Edward Sherrier Lodge No. 6757, in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland, held an historic meeting on the 4th May 2018 when they conducted a quadruple Passing ceremony for the first time in their 70 year history

In recent years, a large number of members has left the lodge with a growing list of ceremonies to conduct, leading potentially towards a long wait to becoming a Master Mason.

The lodge therefore agreed to pass four of their members to the Second Degree. Neil Rathbone, Paul Johnson, David Walters and Kevin Rider were Passed in a single ceremony after being granted dispensation by the Provincial Grand Master David Hagger.

Lodge Secretary Rob Surman said: 'It proved a most successful and hugely enjoyable for the candidates and participating Brethren alike, as well as our large group of visitors from the neighbouring Province of Warwickshire. The evening concluded in fine form and conviviality at the Festive Board.'

Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons have donated £22,595 to 19 local charities at a special awards ceremony at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester, on 13th January 2018

The charities receiving the awards included those helping and assisting others in the local communities with disabilities, children who are deprived or have limited life expectancy and the elderly suffering from dementia.

Rainbows Children’s Hospice, based in Loughborough, received a total of £2,145 from the Masonic Charitable Foundation and the Lodge of the Argonauts No. 8210 which meets in Leicester. Gary Farnfield, Leicestershire Community Fundraiser for Rainbows, said: 'Thank you very much to the Freemasons for the wonderful donation. This money will help us to create special memories for families whilst they are with us.'

A £1,000 donation from the Leicestershire and Rutland Masonic Charity Association was also given to Shepshed-based Steps, a conductive education centre, which provides an innovative learning process for children with motor disabilities to develop in the same way as their able-bodied peers.

Camp Charnwood, based at Beaumanor Hall in Woodhouse Eaves, which provides five day holidays for Leicestershire youngsters aged between 7 and 16 with T1 Diabetes, also received a donation of £1,000.

The NHS charity Raising Health for the Advanced Dementia Care Wards at the Evington Centre received a donation of £1,500. 

Lindsay Woodward, the Charitable Funds Manager for Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, said: 'Thank you so much to the Freemasons. We have two lovely courtyard areas which we wish to turn into dementia-friendly gardens including activity sheds which will engage a person and make them feel more calm and cope with their dementia.'

Step Out Youth Club, which operates in South Wigston, offers children different activities in a safe area, received a donation of £500 to provide new classes for cooking and growing vegetables to emphasise healthy eating. Carl Walters from Step Out said: 'Step Out has 60-80 kids at present from 8 to 16 years old and they are now learning how to cook healthily.'

Harborough Community Bus is a small charity local to Market Harborough which runs minibuses for community groups and certain individuals who would otherwise have some difficulty getting out. The charity received a donation of £1,000.

John Feavyour, Chairman and Trustee of the Harborough Community Bus, said: 'It costs about £12,000 per year to run the Community Bus including fuel and safety checks and all the rest of it. This donation will pay for a whole month.' 

Voluntary Action South Leicestershire, which is dedicated to improving  lives in the Harborough District and the wider community of Leicestershire, also received a £1,000 donation. Hannah Currington, Carers Delivery Officer, said: 'The group meets in Market Harborough, but because we are open to all of the Harborough District one of our main costs is transport. Lots of the kids live up to 12 miles out and if the voluntary drivers didn’t physically go and get them, they just wouldn’t be unable to come. This £1,000 will go largely to supporting the reimbursement of the voluntary drivers.'

Stathern-based Dove Cottage Day Hospice received an award of £500. Dove Cottage offers quality palliative day care to people living in north east Leicestershire, Rutland and south east Nottinghamshire to fund improved services. 

Chris Rowley, Charity Director of Dove Cottage Day Hospice, said: 'During the last 12 months, we have been running dementia workshops for both dementia sufferers and their carers. This donation is very gratefully received from the Freemasons which will go towards working with people with dementia.'

The Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland David Hagger said: 'Freemasons have always been deeply involved in charity; from its earliest days the organisation has been connected with caring for orphans, the sick and the elderly. We are thrilled to continue to support our local communities by making donations to these worthy charities.'

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