Guernsey and Alderney Freemasons have donated £2,160 to bring a number of Chelsea Pensioners to the Channel Islands to celebrate Liberation Day on 9th May
On that day in 1945 the towns of both St Helier in Jersey and St Peter Port in Guernsey were inundated by vast crowds of rapturously joyous islanders thronging the seafront to welcome the arrival of British troops.
The subsequent annual celebrations in Guernsey include a parade prior to a church service of Thanksgiving, a cavalcade of military and vintage vehicles of the era and tea dances for liberated islanders. Chelsea Pensioners have been providing a grand spectacle at all of these events for the past 40 years.
Since 2008, lodges in the Province of Guernsey and Alderney have been providing them with substantial financial support to meet the costs involved with their visits.
The Chelsea Pensioners visit the Masonic Centre every year and those who are Freemasons attend a lodge meeting during their stay. In recent years, they have been accompanied on their visits by a party of Ghurkhas.
The visiting party, which was led by Captain of Invalids Royal Hospital Chelsea, Lt-Colonel Johnny Lowe, was welcomed by Past Provincial Grand Master David Hodgetts.
More than 300 Freemasons and their families attended a service in Guernsey in celebration of the Tercentenary of the United Grand Lodge of England, which was represented by Past Assistant Grand Master David Williamson
The service was held at the island’s principal church and was led by the Dean of Guernsey, the Very Reverend Tim Barker.
Prior to the service, the brethren paraded in full regalia through the town of St Peter Port for the first time since the bicentenary in 1917.
They were joined by Jersey Provincial Grand Master Kenneth Rondel, who formally handed over the South West Provinces Tercentenary banner to Guernsey & Alderney Provincial Grand Master David Hodgetts. The service was followed by a festive lunch, at which the Dean was an honoured guest.
Ongoing support for Guernsey hospice
Guernsey masons have continued their long-standing support of the island’s Les Bourgs Hospice by presenting a cheque for £1,525, which forms their 16th successive annual donation.
Les Bourgs director Jo Boyd MBE thanked Guernsey and Alderney PGM David Hodgetts for the ongoing help of local masons, pointing out that the hospice faces £1.3 million a year in running costs. Among its facilities, Les Bourgs has seven suites, a therapy room, a landscaped garden, a chapel and a day-patient room.
£30,000 for island community groups
Guernsey and Alderney Freemasons have donated more than £30,000 to support local groups, with charity representatives attending a special gathering at the masonic centre in St Martin to receive their cheques. PGM David Hodgetts said the organisation was keen to support as many local groups as possible on the island. Charities receiving funding included Guernsey Jumbulance Holidays, Headway Guernsey, the Guernsey Sailing Trust, Wigwam Support Group and the Bailiwick of Guernsey Scout Association.
Marking Liberation Day
On 9 May every year, the Channel Islands celebrate their liberation from German occupation. For the past 20 years, Chelsea Pensioners have visited Guernsey around Liberation Day for an expenses-paid holiday and to take part in events to mark the occasion.
Guernsey Freemasons have made a significant contribution towards the annual cost of the visit for several years. This year’s donation was handed to the Pensioners by Provincial Grand Master David Hodgetts during their tour of the masonic centre, accompanied by visiting Gurkhas.
Guernsey Cheshire Home (GCH) received a donation of £37,500 towards running costs from Guernsey and Alderney masons. Jurat Stephen Jones, chairman of the home, expressed his gratitude to Provincial Grand Master David Hodgetts, saying it was a magniﬁcent contribution to the annual running costs, none of which are state-funded. GCH provides specialist care with a family atmosphere, and the funds were raised in the islands solely from within masonry, aided by a grant from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity.
refurbish a vital infrared rescue camera.
Provincial Grand Master David Hodgetts explained he remembered when the Air Search organisation was set up and is delighted to be making a contribution towards the team’s high operating costs. CIAS chief officer Colin Ferbrache said the money would help towards the overall running costs, ‘which are now in the region of £85,000 a year’.
Guernsey aids the Services
Two Service charities, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association and Help For Heroes, have received cheques from the brethren of Guernsey and Alderney in a ceremony at the Masonic Centre, St Martin’s. Provincial Grand Master Jurat David Hodgetts presented the cheques to Ben Remfrey of Help For Heroes and John Silvester of SSAFA totalling more than £8,000.
A minibus and a car have been presented by the Province of Guernsey & Alderney, who raised around £23,000 to help the Women's Royal Voluntary Service celebrate its 60th anniversary in Guernsey.
The amount was achieved by a combination raised within the Province during the past year, a matched funding grant of £5,000 from the Grand Charity and deep trade discounts negotiated by a brother active in the commercial vehicle trade.
Provincial Grand Master David Hodgetts presented the keys to both the Hyundai automatic car for their Meals on Wheels service and a fully fitted-out 14-seater Renault minibus to Lorna Hooley, WRVS Bailiwick Organiser.
He praised the WRVS Meals on Wheels service, which provided nearly 400 meals each week for the elderly, sick and disabled, and ran two day centres which provide transport, meals and entertainment for 55 elderly people daily.
He said he knew that the vehicles will be well used and noted that a number of masons wives were members of the WRVS, which is active in all aspects of the community.
Lorna Hooley said that she was ‘absolutely thrilled and rather overwhelmed by the generous support from the masons’. She added that their vehicles were usually replaced, with difficulty, every five years, but their current minibus was a lot older. To have two replaced at the same time was great relief and she was grateful to have the cash from the old vehicles for which the masons had found buyers.