Wednesday, 01 November 2017 00:00

Wiltshire Freemasons visit Houses of Parliament

One of the most memorable events of the year for Wiltshire Freemasons was the visit to London by over 200 members and their partners

Having either attended the Royal Albert Hall Tercentenary celebrations or experienced a Thames River cruise on 31st October, guests made their way to the Houses of Parliament.

Provincial Grand Master Phillip Bullock and his wife Sally joined Black Rod Lt. Gen. David Leakey and Mrs Shelagh Leakey for dinner in the splendour of the Cholmondeley Room in the House of Lords, as they enjoyed views overlooking the magnificent River Thames on the terrace.

Not to be outdone, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master David Davies and Mrs Marian Davies were joined by Swindon North MP Justin Tomlinson in the Churchill Room of the House of Commons, where they entertained a hundred members of the Wiltshire masonic family.

The exceptional record of Jersey Freemasons’ charitable giving was acknowledged when the Province won the Jersey Evening Post Pride of Jersey Award for Fundraiser of the year 2017

Every year the public of Jersey vote on 12 diverse award categories recognising neighbourliness, inspirational leadership, voluntary activity, community involvement and fundraising.

Jersey Freemasons were nominated by Mrs Marteen McCloat who wrote that each year they carry out considerable charitable works, without much noise or fuss. Along with numerous other organisations, charities and individuals, the Province completed an initial assessment and were shortlisted for the public vote.

The awards ceremony was held at St John’s Manor on 23rd September with the Province represented by Deputy Provincial Grand Master VW Bro Graham Spence together with the Provincial Grand Charity Steward W Bro Colin Le Cornu. Needless to say, both were astounded when the judges announced that of the three finalists in their category, it was the Province of Jersey that took the top honour.

Along with a magnificent trophy, the Province was awarded a prize of £1,000 kindly donated by award sponsors The Marketing Bureau. The prize money has been donated equally between the TLC Appeal for Jersey’s General Hospital and Mont a L’Abbe School to help maintain their sensory garden, which was donated by Jersey Freemasons in 2013.

Deputy PGM VW Bro Graham Spence and W Bro Colin Le Cornu collected the award alongside event hosts ex-England football star Graeme Le Saux and singer/songwriter Nerina Pallot.

The Temple Builder

For Alexander Burnett Brown, architecture, charity and Freemasonry were inextricably entwined. Philippa Faulks finds out about the man who built an opulent temple inside London’s Great Eastern Hotel

In 2000, the Conran group was mid-way through renovations of a jaded hotel just south of Liverpool Street Station, London. Puzzled by what appeared to be an additional room on the blueprints, the builders broke down a wall to reveal the double doors of a magnificent masonic temple.

Media intrigue ensued, dubbing the discovery a Dan Brown-style mystery. But for those in the Craft, the temple was an open secret; many masons had long been privy to the Great Eastern Hotel’s Grecian Temple, created in 1912 by architect and eminent Freemason Alexander Burnett Brown.

Born on 25 May 1867 in Newcastle, Northumberland, Brown’s parentage is unknown, but the census of 1871 recorded him as living at Ryde, Isle of Wight, with his grandparents.

Brown was a scholar at Charterhouse school, Godalming, Surrey, and left in 1883 prior to joining the Royal Artillery in 1885. Six years later, the 1891 census describes him as an ‘architect and surveyor’. In 1893, he married Amy Elizabeth Reynolds from Buckinghamshire; they had two sons, Alexander Denis and Geoffrey Trevor.

Brown served as aide-de-camp to the Governor and Commander-in-Chief in Gibraltar from 1893 to 1900, and took part in the China Relief Expedition in 1900, promoted to Major in the same year. His architectural career led him to be elected as Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and The Surveyors’ Institution, and he formed a business partnership – Messrs Brown & Barrow – with Ernest Robert Barrow.

A MAN OF OFFICE

Brown’s masonic career was as varied as it was long. He was initiated in Sir Francis Burdett Lodge, No. 1503, Middlesex, on 8 November 1893; passed on 14 February 1894, and raised on 11 April that same year; and served as Worshipful Master in 1897.

He went on to be a founding and joining member of numerous lodges in and around London. Brown also served as the Provincial Grand Secretary of Middlesex, as well as Deputy Provincial Grand Master and Provincial Grand Master of Middlesex.

In 1906 he was appointed Grand Superintendent of Works by the United Grand Lodge of England, serving until 1934 with promotions to Past Grand Deacon and Past Grand Warden along the way. His masonic memberships also extended to the Royal Arch and Mark Masonry, and he was a 32nd Degree mason in Ancient and Accepted Rite.

Brown’s support of masonic charities and institutions was just as prolific. He was Vice-Patron of the Royal Masonic Institution for Boys; Patron of the Royal Masonic Institution for Girls; and Chairman of the Building Committee for the new girls’ school in Rickmansworth. He also served on the Board of Management and Committee of the Royal Masonic Hospital, and was an assessor of the architectural competition for the new masonic hospital at Ravenscourt Park.

MASONRY ON TRACK

Brown’s masonic and architectural careers proved harmonious. While Grand Superintendent of Works, his firm Messrs Brown & Barrow was instructed by the Great Eastern Railway (GER) to create the Grecian Temple in the Great Eastern Hotel.

Freemasonry was flourishing and several hotels owned by the railway companies had established close links with the Craft, incorporating masonic rooms into their fabric. In 1901, the Great Eastern added an Egyptian-style temple in the basement, but by early 1912 had decided to create another on a much grander scale, on the first floor.

Using the initial designs made by the chairman of the GER, Freemason Lord Claud Hamilton, Brown and Barrow set about creating a Grecian-inspired masterpiece. This feat, according to author Mark Daly (London Uncovered, 2016), was accomplished through the personal financing of Lord Hamilton, his family and other railway directors.

No expense was spared, with the temple costing around £50,000 – over £5 million at current prices. Marble of the highest quality was used for the columns, wall panelling and flooring, and lavishly carved mahogany chairs sat beneath a dazzling sunburst ceiling.

The Grecian Temple was formally dedicated on Tuesday, 5 November 1912, with the ceremony performed under the banner of Bard of Avon Lodge, No. 778. The Dedicating Officer was Grand Secretary Sir Edward Letchworth, with Brown acting as Worshipful Master. Many lodges have since graced the temple – notably Caledonian Lodge, No. 134, which met there from 1920 to 1947.

The magnificent temple remains unchanged today. The Andaz London Liverpool Street hotel now occupies the building and proudly offers the temple as a venue for events ranging from fashion and art shows to promotions for HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Brown died at the sanatorium at the Royal Masonic School for Girls in Hertfordshire on 1 April 1948. He would likely be proud that his beautiful creation is still being enjoyed by so many.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - NO. 40 WINTER 2017

The Temple in the Hotel

Sir,

Readers of ‘The Temple Builder’ article in the last issue might be interested in further information about Alexander Burnett Brown’s interesting masonic career. His architectural career aside, he was Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Middlesex when HRH The Duke of York was the Provincial Grand Master, and became Provincial Grand Master when HRH became George VI on the abdication of his brother, Edward VIII.

Right Worshipful Brother Alexander Burnett Brown was held in very high esteem by the brethren of Middlesex, so much so that a lodge was consecrated in 1945 as Alexander Burnett Brown Lodge, No. 6133, in his honour. Both his sons were the lodge’s First Master and Senior Warden.

It is unfortunate to record that from 1996 the lodge began to fail despite strenuous efforts. In 2000, I had to inform the Province of the situation, and the Warrant was duly surrendered.

David A Walters, Middlesex Masters Lodge, No. 3420, Staines, Middlesex

Sir,

I very much enjoyed the article on Alexander Burnett Brown, architect and eminent Freemason, especially with reference to the Grecian Temple at the Great Eastern Hotel. I was initiated in that Temple in September 1981 into Semper Fidelis Lodge, No. 4393. The most memorable part of the ceremony was descending the magnificent winding staircase into the Temple.

Within a couple of years, the lodge had to leave the Great Eastern Hotel and move to Great Queen Street as the then-owners found it not economical to have lodge meetings on Saturdays. I would be interested to obtain a copy of any photograph of that winding staircase as a reminder of my 36 happy years in Freemasonry.

Geoffrey Cathersides, Fraternitas Lodge, No. 6046, East Kent

Sir,

For me it was especially interesting to read the article on the Grecian Temple in the autumn edition of Freemasonry Today. Having served in the Rifle Brigade, I became a joining member of its London Life Brigade Lodge, No. 1962, in 1975. I have a vivid memory of my first visit, descending the marble staircase into the temple and being in awe at the ceiling, furniture and surroundings.

I deem myself very fortunate to have had this experience. Sadly, thereafter it was closed to Freemasonry. However, being a listed structure the Grecian Temple will remain unique.

Bernard Dribble, Wellington Lodge, No. 341, Rye, Sussex

Published in Features

The Classic 300 has been continuing in full force, with two runs held on the same day in Leicestershire and Bristol on July 2nd

In Leicestershire, several Freemasons participated with classic and future classic cars along with their motorcycles. The route was arranged by W Bro David Crocker and W Bro Mark Pierpoint, which started at the Devonshire Court RMBI Home in Oadby. This gave the residents a chance to look at the vehicles including the special edition Mike Tunnicliffe E-type Jaguar.

The classic car and bike enthusiasts then drove in convoy for the 15 mile journey to Bradgate Park on the outskirts of north Leicester. Upon arrival, they were warmly greeted by the Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland, RW Bro David Hagger.

Many then walked through the park to the site of the Memorial Wood which is being funded by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Leicestershire and Rutland and the United Grand Lodge of England as part of the Tercentenary celebrations.

The Park Ranger Peter Tyldesley gave an interesting talk on the history of the park and also the construction of the Memorial Wood which is due to be opened by the Pro Grand Master RW Bro Peter Lowndes on Thursday October 5th 2017. The visitors were shown the newly installed 14 tonne granite stone, which is to be the centrepiece for the wood along with a walk around the paths, which have been created to meander throughout the one acre wood.

South West – Route 2

On the same day, the crowds also gathered on a lovely summer's morning at Ashton Gate Stadium, home of Bristol City FC and Bristol Rugby, to await the arrival of a wonderful selection of classic cars. This was the departure point of the South West Route 2 run to the world famous Haynes Motor Museum in Somerset.

A giant electronic screen on the side of the stadium welcomed all the crews as they entered the car park and after light refreshments the first cars were ready to leave. The Provincial Grand Master of Bristol Alan Vaughan, accompanied by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Jonathan Davis, presented the "travelling gavel" to John Slade, who was driving a beautiful 1967 E-Type Jaguar.

The Union Jack was raised and then at 30 intervals the other 23 cars began their scenic journey, where they passed through Cheddar Gorge, Wookey Hole and the Somerset Lowlands.

Morgans, a Sunbeam Tiger, an Aston Martin, a Triumph Stag, a Royal Sceptre, a Bentley and a Mini Cooper, to name but a few, were then cheered by the spectators as they left.

Members of three Universities Scheme Lodges meeting in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland - Wyggeston Lodge No.3448, which is the Universities Scheme Lodge for the University of Leicester, Castle of Leicester No.7767 (De Montfort University) and Lodge of Science and Art No.8429 (Loughborough University) - met together for a joint meeting to celebrate the success of the Universities Scheme in the Province together with the Tercentenary of the United Grand Lodge of England.

The meeting, which was held at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester, on Saturday 25th February 2017 was attended by over 90 brethren who witnessed 3 ceremonies (an Initiation, a Passing and a Raising) with multiple candidates and conducted in turn by each of the lodges.

The Lodges were extremely honoured to welcome the Assistant Grand Master, RW Bro Sir David Wootton, who is President of the Universities Scheme, along with the Scheme Chairman, W Bro Edward Lord. Also attending were the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VW Bro James Buckle, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, VW Bro Peter Kinder, brethren representing ten other Scheme Lodges, and with other visitors.

After the Master of Wyggeston Lodge Master, W Bro Yogesh Patel, opened the meeting at 2.30pm, the Master of Castle of Leicester Lodge, W Bro Daniel Hayward, along with members of the lodge conducted a triple Raising. Following a short tea break it was the turn of Lodge of Science and Art to conduct a Passing. Finally, after a further tea break, Wyggeston Lodge conducted an Initiation ceremony for three new members, two of whom are students at the University of Leicester.

The meeting was followed by a wonderful Festive Board, where the lodges enjoyed a hearty three course dinner and the company of the guests and visitors. A raffle held in aid the Alderman Newton’s Educational Foundation, which is a local charity offering financial support to individuals and schools to help people access education or training opportunities in Leicestershire, raised £420. A collection for the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2022 Festival also raised £422 including Gift Aid.

W Bro Andy Green, organiser of the event and Vice-Chairman of the Universities Scheme, said: “Getting the three lodges together provided a wonderful occasion to celebrate the Universities Scheme in the Province and to mark the Tercentenary of Grand Lodge. It was encouraging to see so many younger members enjoying their Freemasonry, which created a real buzz throughout the day.”

 

Published in Universities Scheme
The introduction of the Cheshire Master Masons Forum in August 2011 – the first forum of its kind under the banner of UGLE – encouraged a wave of new ideas from less experienced brethren around the Province. While there are several exciting projects in the pipeline, one particularly interesting initiative – The Rough Ashlar Club – has recently had its inauguration after many months of effort and planning.
 
The Rough Ashlar Club is a group of less experienced Freemasons from around the Province of Cheshire, who meet socially to share friendship and fellowship with other like-minded Freemasons from the Province. Offering Freemasons the opportunity to meet new friends and share their experiences, the Rough Ashlar Club aims to organise social events for Freemasons, and sometimes to organise events for their friends and families as well.
 
In the face of declining membership, for a host of reasons, the Cheshire Master Masons Forum hopes that the Rough Ashlar Club will encourage retention of less experienced members of our lodges, by being inclusive to all Freemasons and to their families, as well as generating some recruitment opportunities at events where non-masons are encouraged to attend.
 
Part of this process of appealing to younger and less experienced Freemasons, is the use of the internet and social media. The Rough Ashlar Club has its own website at www.roughashlarclub.org where information can be found about the club as well as future events, reviews of past events and an area for joining the club itself (which is of course, free). The Rough Ashlar Club also sports a Facebook page and a Twitter feed. The Twitter feed (@RoughAshlarClub) is very active and currently has over 200 followers. The Master Masons Forum is well aware of how important social networking is in modern day life and the Twitter feed keeps all of the Rough Ashlar Club’s followers up-to-date, with news, comments and even photographs.
 
On Wednesday 7th November 2012 the first event to be held by the Rough Ashlar Club was staged at Leicester-Warren Hall in Knutsford, Cheshire. This first event was well supported with around 40 brethren present for a Greek-themed evening, that was attended by the Provincial Grand Master, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master and two Assistant Provincial Grand Masters who gave the initiative their full support, and encouraged the club’s new members to make all they could of the opportunities that the Rough Ashlar Club would present to them over the coming years.
 
After a few drinks in the bar and some very badly posed photographs (just look at the website!), traditional Greek food was served, the members sat down to begin some serious networking, the topics of conversation naturally turned to what the first members of the Rough Ashlar Club wanted their club to do in the future. With a quick and simple questionnaire to fill in, it is maybe not surprising that amongst this group of Freemasons, anything involving food and drink seemed to rank very highly for them.
 
Taking note of the consensus, the Rough Ashlar Club is to host a number of informal meets in local pubs to wish everyone the best for the Christmas season, before the next large event which is a race night to be held on 2nd February 2013 at Sale Masonic Hall. Details of this and other events will be posted to the website and to Twitter as they become known. Other events that are currently in the planning phase include a beer festival, cheese and wine evenings and a Christmas Ball. The Rough Ashlar Club hopes to welcome many more new members over the coming months. The club may have be born out of the Cheshire Master Masons Forum, but it belongs to the Freemasons of Cheshire and Freemasonry in general, to help the Craft live, thrive and survive for many, many more years to come.
 

Mike Roff, Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Herefordshire, received a conducted tour of St Michael's Hospice, Herefordshire, in the company of Ruth Denison Head of Fundraising. On the tour he met and spoke with staff, patients and visitors, including Nurse Debbie Emmett and volunteer Carmel Gwinnett.

Mike expressed his delight and sense of privilege, not only in his visit, but also in meeting Carmel, the recent recipient of the Dr Richard Miller Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award. Carmel has served the hospice faithfully as one of the 900 designated volunteers for over twenty years.

An annual donation was presented to the hospice, which formed part of the total £600,000 awarded this year by The Freemasons’ Grand Charity to hospice services throughout England and Wales. Since 1984, Freemasons have supported St Michael’s Hospice with donations in excess of £60,000 – and local Masons will continue to do so, especially during the forthcoming public appeal in aid of the planned refurbishment and re-development programme due to be launched in the new year.

Mike went on to express how the planned new building programme, together with the superb team of staff and volunteers, would enable the hospice to retain its notable national and international recognition as a provider of Specialist Palliative Care.

The Deputy Provincial Grand Master stated how greatly impressed he was with the facility, the care, the dedication, and the positive vision so evident at St Michael’s Hospice. Ruth Denison emphasised the importance of the support of Freemasons in that the hospice greatly relies on voluntary donations and fundraising activities.

At an emotionally charged 125th anniversary meeting the White Horse Lodge No. 2227 installed W Bro John Moorehouse as Master.

RW Bro Francis Wakem, Provincial Grand Master for Wiltshire, presided at the special meeting held by special dispensation on the very day on which the White Horse Lodge No. 2227 was consecrated in October 1887. The same year, in which Queen Victoria celebrated the fiftieth year of her reign, the Prince of Wales was Grand Master and the second Lord Methuen was Provincial Grand Master for Wiltshire.

The meeting, held in the Laverton Hall, was attended by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, who is a subscribing member of the Lodge and by RW Bro Byron Carron, Past Provincial Grand Master. 

The meeting was conducted in an excellent manner by the Installing Master, W Bro Mike Allen. 

To universal acclaim two stalwarts of the Lodge received the special attention of the Provincial Grand Master. W Bro Bob Aitkenhead, PJGD, was presented with a Masonic Samaritan Fund 2017 festival jewel, and W Bro Bruce Chisholm was promoted to the rank of Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden. 

There were two presentations made to the Provincial Grand Master, with cheques for the Masonic Samaritan Fund 2017 festival being presented by the Lodge and the Westbury OSM Conclave.

At the celebration lunch held in Warminster Civic Hall the Provincial Grand Master related how 'The Lodge is still a vibrant and living part of Westbury life and community which is testament to the tenacity and energy of the founding members and their successors'. 

Not that it has been an easy journey; in terms of members the Lodge was quite small but always well supported and in the first hundred years of its history the minutes were recorded by only eleven Secretaries. 

It was said that on production of the summons, Freemasons could purchase return tickets on the Great Western Railway for the price of a single fare.   

It is interesting to note that between 1915 and 1935 one past Master initiated 20 candidates – a task never likely to face the new Master. 

The Provincial Grand Master for Wiltshire, RW Bro Francis Wakem, concluded his short address by reminding everyone present that while 'The White Horse Lodge is a small Lodge it has a big heart which beats strongly through the tenacity and interest of like-minded men. Since the first meeting of the Lodge it has served to unite, maintain and uphold the three great but simple ideals of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, or rather in the words which I much prefer to use, and which accurately describe what we are all about: Live Well; Laugh Often; and Love Much. The White Horse Lodge and pure antient masonry in general will continue to give future generations the pleasure that we and those who have gone before us have found in it.'

Friday, 14 September 2012 01:00

On the right lines

When it comes to brightening someone’s day, never underestimate the power of fishing. Miranda Thompson signs up for an afternoon with the Masonic Fishing Charity to find out how young people are finding companionship and catching the smile

Matthew’s smile is radiant as the sunlight glints off the scales of the mirror carp in his hands. It’s reflected in the face of George Brutnall, the Freemason fisherman who’s helped him land perch and roach, and is now pointing out the translucent dragonflies. On one of July’s rare sunny days, this is not your usual fishing expedition. Organised by the Northamptonshire branch of the Masonic Fishing Charity (MTSFC), a team of volunteers together with 20 disabled and disadvantaged children and adults have gathered for a day of coarse fishing.

The proceedings are brought alive by the volunteer fishermen, who smile as their companions spray feed into the water – good for getting the fish to nibble around the bait. They spring into action as the fluorescent floats disappear under the water, the tell-tale sign that they’ve hooked a fish. The group will fish throughout the day, only breaking for lunch, before a special prize-giving in which every participant will be rewarded for their efforts.

HUMBLE ORIGINS
Inside the gazebo-cum-kitchen, burgers are already sizzling ahead of the barbecue lunch. Chief executive of the Masonic Fishing Charity Ken Haslar recalls how, under the leadership of Jim Webster, a group of six Middlesex and London Freemasons with a common interest in fishing first came up with the idea 12 years ago. ‘We ran a raffle to raise a bit of money for something where the prize was a day’s fishing. The winner wasn’t a fisherman and he was partially sighted, so he said, “Don’t take me, take some children.” He organised it with a school he was associated with and so we had our very first event at Syon Park in Brentford.’

Ken explains that the original intention was for the day to be a one-off event: ‘But when the school left saying, “When can we come again?” we realised that we’d started something that was worth pursuing.’ Now some 1,400 volunteers are involved in the 60 events that the Masonic Fishing Charity will be holding this year, welcoming around 1,000 children across the country to fly-fishing as well as the coarse fishing events. ‘At the moment we have 25 branches in 25 different provinces,’ Ken says. ‘And we’re always on the lookout for volunteers. People are vital to us and they don’t need to be masons – about 60 per cent of our volunteers are not.’

But what is it about fishing that makes the day work? ‘Teachers find that the children who will run riot in class will happily sit here and hold a rod. I’ve lost count of the number of times that teachers have said to me, “Can we bring them here again?”’ says Ken.

WONDERFUL CAMARADERIE
Today, little blonde-haired Izzy – known by her teachers for her non-stop ‘twiddling’ and fidgeting – has stunned them by becoming quietly absorbed in the activity. Further down the bank, Freemason Richard Cullinan sits in companionable silence with William, who will later go on to win ‘Most Patriotic Outfit’ for his England cap and Union Jack wellies. As William sprays a shower of sweetcorn onto the still water, Richard reflects on the experience. ‘It’s incredible how much it’s grown since it started,’ he says. ‘The very first time I attended was at Syon Park, with a little girl who was blind. We caught the largest trout that day.’ Why does he come back? ‘I just like being able to do something for the adults and the children.’

That sense of companionship is the crux of the project, explains Ken. ‘They sit next to their fishermen who will show them as much as they are able to do. We say to them that it’s not for you to prove how good you are, but to show them how good they can be,’ he says, adding that there are also charity days for young offenders. ‘The relationship that’s formed is just as important. For many of these children, it restores a confidence in adults that they maybe don’t get at home.’

The day has certainly captured the imagination of teacher Nikki Clark, who is here with children from the Corby Business Academy. Pointing to a young teen in a pink baseball cap, she says: ‘If you see Jessica with Howard, she’s been a real star today. She’s never been fishing before and yet caught 20 fish this morning. She’s learning new skills, mixing with people she doesn’t know and really improving her communication.’

Nikki’s days out with the Masonic Fishing Charity have inspired her to create an AQA (Awarding Body for A-levels, GCSEs and other exams) award that children can gain if they do a day’s coarse fishing experience – with an award for the slightly trickier fly-fishing also in the pipeline.

‘We have a list of six different outcomes for them to achieve, then it’s accredited by AQA and they receive a separate external certificate. Anyone who is signed up to the AQA unit award can sign up to the unit and then be accredited for it.’

For Ken, the AQA award is the icing on the cake. ‘It’s amazing,’ he says, shaking his head. ‘It means that any special needs child or young adult can achieve something. It never ceases to amaze me.’

BENEFICIAL TO ALL
VIP of the day Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Northants & Hunts Dr Viv Thomas is in charge of presenting the certificates. He believes that the charity benefits Freemasonry just as much as its participants. ‘It takes Freemasonry away from the masonic halls and gets us out in the community. It gives so many people opportunities to get away from another existence. The most important thing is the joy that people have on their faces.’ Ken has coined the phrase ‘Catch the Smile’ to capture the mood of these days spent by the water. ‘We’re catching fish, we’re catching smiles,’ he says. ‘Why do people come back? We are all volunteers and what started as a simple idea of taking a few disabled children fishing has turned into a major organisation that not only catches fish but delivers a whole lot more – that’s the number one reason for everything we do.’

 

The Masonic Fishing Charity is on the lookout for more volunteers, Freemasons and non-Freemasons alike, especially fishermen willing to give up a day or two a year to help. People with organisational skills are also needed to help introduce this simple idea into more Provinces. The charity is a masonic initiative and relies on donations from masonic units and individuals. You will find all the information you need on the website at www.mtsfc.org.uk. 
You can also email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or write to Freepost – RSRE-AUSX-EAAK, MTSFC, Greenhill House, 26 Greenhill Crescent, Watford WD18 8JA

  

WIDENING THE NET

Formed by 30 or so Freemasons who were part of the Masonic Fishing Charity, the Lodge of Opportunity, No. 9777, is a Hertfordshire lodge that was founded in 2004.  

As with the MTSFC, it was Jim Webster’s idea to found the lodge and to spread the word of the charity into other Provinces. The lodge is therefore inter-Provincial and has members who decided to become Freemasons after attending events. The lodge’s badge represents the link between Freemasonry and fishing with a rainbow trout leaping against a blue sky – the intention is to show that the lodge wants to bring happiness to those less fortunate by introducing them to fishing.

 

 

 

Published in More News

Eight days after celebrating his 100th birthday Cyril McGibbon was installed as Worshipful Master of one of the oldest lodges in the Province of West Lancashire - the Lodge of Perseverance No.155.

This lodge, which meets in the Britannia Adelphi Hotel in the centre of Liverpool, dates from 1803 and has several unique traditions, one of which is that the only guests to the installation are invited by the new Worshipful Master. It was also the first time that any member has served as Worshipful Master on two occasions.

To mark this extraordinary occasion this tradition was broken and an open invitation issued for the first time in the lodge’s history. The membership of this venerable lodge is restricted to 25 brethren and the fact that there were 125 attendees, 23 members and 102 guests gives testimony to the high regard and affection felt by the Freemasons of West Lancashire for Cyril McGibbon.

An inspection of the Masonic year book will immediately show the calibre of the members, which includes a large number of Grand Officers many of whom have held high acting Provincial offices as well.

Indeed Cyril’s Masonic CV is very impressive. He was initiated in 1951 into his mother lodge University Lodge of Liverpool and was installed as its Master in 1964. In 1970 the then Provincial Grand Master, Sir Knowles Edge Bt recognised his qualities in appointing him as Provincial Senior Grand Warden  Barely had Cyril relinquished that position when he was appointed as Assistant Provincial Grand Master an appointment that he held from 1973 to 1987, a run of 15 years continuous service. Prior to this Cyril became a joining member in 1971 of Lathom Lodge No 2229 and Setentia Lodge of Installed Masters No 7755 and then in 1974 joined The Lodge of Perseverance, becoming Master of this lodge for the first time in 1976.

The calibre of the members of Lodge of Perseverance would eclipse most meetings but this evening the calibre of the guests has exceeded that of the members. Principal guest was Howard Jones (Deputy Provincial Grand Master) accompanied by Colin Wright (Past Provincial Grand Master), Brian Gillbanks and Michael Hill, both of whom are Past Deputy Provincial Grand Masters and four Assistant Provincial Grand Masters Phil Gunning ,Tony Bent, Tony Harrison and Roy Skidmore. It should also be pointed out that another tradition of the Lodge of Perseverance is that all members and guests, no matter what their rank, are clothed in Entered Apprentice aprons.

After opening the lodge the Worshipful Master Robert Hall greeted the principal guest and proffered the gavel which was immediately returned. The normal business of the lodge was conducted during this part of the ceremony the lodge was introducing a joining member. Once the business was transacted the only Entered Apprentice retired and the lodge was then opened in the Second Degree.

The Master elect, Cyril McGibbon, Past Senior Grand Deacon, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master of the Province of West Lancashire was the presented by Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master John Moore to the Installing Master Robert Hall who, after congratulating  Cyril on his election to Master elect proceeded with the installation ceremony. Having been installed in the chair of the worthy lodge in a very dignified manner by his predecessor Cyril was then invested with the Hall Stone Jewel of the lodge. As is customary an explanation of the origin and meaning of the jewel was delivered, on this occasion by John Price.

On completion of the ceremony of installation Howard then rose to deliver the congratulations and thanks of the Provincial Grand Master to Cyril which on this occasion took the form of a personal letter expressing his profound regret at being unable to attend the installation ceremony in person.

Before closing the lodge Cyril took the opportunity to thank the members for all their work and the multitude of guests for their support. He also informed the gathering that he had received 91 cards on his birthday which were decorating his dining room, at least until the end of the month! With such a large number he was unable to reply to them all but as a larger number of senders were present, he thanked them verbally.

The lodge was then duly closed and although there is no formal recession normally, all stood to allow the new master to retire first. The assembly were then transferred to the dining room where after the drinks were served an excellent meal was served by the hotel.

Another tradition of this lodge is that there are only three formal toasts and no others, yet another tradition  was a casualty of this special evening when the Installing Master then with a few short words proposed a toast to  the health of the newly Installed Worshipful Master. Cyril was then called upon to respond which he duly did. Citing some of the founding principles of the Lodge of Perseverance he concluded by thanking all the members of the lodge for their hard work, in particular the lodge's Director of Ceremonies, Sidney Ford, and his wife who had manufactured 70 extra white aprons for the occasion. He also thanked all the brethren for making a special day unforgettable. On taking his seat all those present rose and gave a prolonged acclamation to a very special man and Freemason.

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