The Tercentenary of the United Grand Lodge of England coincided with the end of the Provincial Grand Lodge of North Wales 2017 Festival Appeal, with two major events held in aid of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys

Recognising the unique opportunity that these two milestones presented to involve and interact with the public, they organised events in July and September this year.

A gloriously sunny 1st July saw the Tercentenary being recognised with a hugely successful ‘Big Party’ in the extensive grounds of Queen Elizabeth Court RMBI Care Home in Llandudno. Attracting over 1,400 attendees, including many young families from the local community, the day was a festival of live music, charity and market stalls, games of skill, fun fair rides, circus performers, circus workshops and craft demonstrations all supported by the Goose & Gridiron licensed bar and catering outlets.

A number of national charities that have benefited over the years from funding by the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) were present, giving the public a real insight into the way in which Freemasons have an impact on their local communities.

Visitors were astounded to see a secretly planned landing by a Wales Air Ambulance helicopter on the adjoining school field. Children, in particular, stood in awe as the big red helicopter settled no more than 100 metres from them. Provincial Grand Master Ieuan Redvers Jones, accompanied by the MCF's Chief Operating Officer Les Hutchison, presented a cheque for £4,000 to the helicopter pilot on the big stage.

All proceeds from the day, which amounted to over £21,000, were donated to the Friends of Queen Elizabeth Court to be used for the benefit of the elderly residents.

Following hot on the heels of the Big Party success, a spectacular Welsh flavoured Festival Gala was held at Venue Cymru, a modern theatre complex in Llandudno, on 9th September, during which the Province revealed the total raised by North Wales brethren for their 2017 Festival Appeal in aid of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys.

In the presence of the Assistant Grand Master Sir David Wootton and the Provincial Grand Master for North Wales Ieaun Redvers Jones, members and the public alike watched as short video clips highlighting charitable credentials were tantalizingly shown between acts until, nearing the finale, the stage screen lit up to reveal that the target set at £2.75million had been exceeded by a considerable amount – reaching £3.1 million!

This total raised represented an impressive achievement by the North Wales Freemasons, upon which they were enthusiastically congratulated during the formal addresses. Les Hutchison confirmed that the amount raised represented the second highest total raised per capita for any Festival Appeal.

Throughout the evening, the audience was treated to a spectacular and inspiring mixture of modern and traditional Welsh music and song by artists of local, national and international repute, which provided a most fitting tribute to the brethren of North Wales who have worked tirelessly to achieve such a magnificent Festival Appeal total.

As part of the United Grand Lodge of England’s 300th Anniversary celebrations, Freemasons from across Leicestershire and Rutland took part in a historic parade through the streets of Leicester – which last occurred in 1923

In glorious sunshine, over 100 Freemasons of all ages gathered in Jubilee Square wearing their Masonic Regalia and subsequently paraded to Leicester Cathedral via the High Street, Gallowtree Gate, Market Place, Grey Friars and on to St Martins prior to a Service of Thanksgiving. 

During the 18th and 19th Century, Freemasons regularly took part in public processions including assisting with the laying of many foundation stones for buildings such as the Town Hall and the Children’s Hospital at Leicester Royal Infirmary. The last occasion was on the 24th June 1923, when a special Masonic Service was held at St George's Church to commemorate the Centenary of the laying of the first Foundation Stone in 1823.

A 20-piece brass band, consisting of members from Croft Silver Band, Wigston Band, Kibworth Band and Foresters Band, began to play at precisely 2pm and proceeded on the route. The Freemasons, including several Masters of Lodges, were lined up in two rows, and followed the band in procession and a steady pace. At the rear was the Provincial Standard Bearer bearing the Leicestershire and Rutland Banner, who was leading the Provincial Grand Master David Hagger, Assistant Provincial Grand Master Peter Kinder and the UGLE’s Deputy Grand Secretary Graham Redman.

Many shoppers in the area were intrigued at the unusual sight of the Masonic procession and stopped to watch as it went by. The Procession arrived promptly at Leicester Cathedral at 2.15pm and was welcomed by the Dean, Very Reverend David Monteith who conducted the Service of Thanksgiving. 

The Provincial Grand Master David Hagger said: ‘This was a wonderful occasion to mark the Tercentenary of the formation of the first Grand Lodge in the world. I sincerely thank all the brethren who took part in this historic procession, the likes of which Leicester hasn’t seen for nearly 100 years.

‘I hope that it will lead to further interest and a better understanding of our historic society which has been an integral part of our local communities for 300 years.’

A pioneering programme of non-contact boxing, combined with intensive one-to-one support will be helping young people from deprived backgrounds in South Wales to turn their lives around, thanks to a grant from South Wales Freemasons

The £16,000 grant will pay for 150 young people go through the Empire Fighting Chance charity’s programme of non-contact boxing combined with intensive, tailored support focused on education, employability and wellbeing.

Run from boxing gyms in Torfaen, Merthyr Tydfil and Barry, the programme uses punch bags, skipping and a focus on technique, which improves discipline and physical and mental health. Participants also receive regular mentoring, numeracy and literacy classes, counselling and help preparing for the job market.

The grant from South Wales Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends from across England and Wales.

Despite significant progress over recent years, there are still parts of South Wales that suffer from some of the worst poverty in the UK. Young people face a devastating mix of issues that limit life chances, most notably low academic achievement, poor mental health and high unemployment. Despite the huge challenges they face, few services exist to support them.

Results from the charity’s pilot programme in Bristol point to success. An impressive 87% of the pilot’s participants progressed into employment, education or further training, while 92% reported that they felt more confident in themselves after completing the programme.

One young person suffering from very low self-esteem, depression and anxiety had this to say about the Empire Fighting Chance programme: 'Getting involved has changed my life, I now have a job, my own property and life is looking good. I feel more confident in pursuing my career and I no longer have any problems with my rent.'

Martin Bisp, CEO of Empire Fighting Chance, is confident that the new project will be a success: 'We’re very grateful to South Wales Freemasons for their help in making this project possible. Together we’ll transform the lives of many vulnerable young people.'

Alan Gardner from South Wales Freemasons commented: 'We’re very pleased to be able to help Empire Fighting Chance. This is a charity that does what it says on the tin – it helps some of our most deprived young people to have a fighting chance of making something of their lives.'

Following a brief encounter with young Marshall Janson - the exceptionally courageous quadruple amputee who was violently struck down with Meningococcal Meningitis, aged just one year - Freemason Mike Trevorrow from Penwith Lodge No. 8538 in West Cornwall, made it his ambition over a 12-month period to organise a fund-raising campaign with the support of fellow Lodge members

Marshall had just celebrated his first birthday on the 22nd December, 2008. A few days later on Boxing Day morning, Marshall was rushed into hospital following an attack of the brutal, unforgiving disease, Meningococcal Meningitis. While Marshall thankfully escaped brain damage, regretfully, due to the devastating effects of the disease, he had to have both his hands and both his legs amputated. Marshall is now facing a lifetime of rehabilitation while adapting to the use of prosthetic limbs.

Because Marshall is so young he will continually require new prosthetic limbs as he grows. He will however, celebrate his 10th birthday in a few months. To put this into perspective, Marshall will require at least one pair of hands per year, and then every year until he is 18. Marshall's first legs cost £9,727 each and his first hands cost £14,172 each. As Marshall continues to grow, and as the functionality required from his prosthetic limbs increases, so too will the costs. Those costs will easily escalate upwards of £850,000 - £950,000.

Mike has dedicated the last 12 months of his Masonic career by visiting the local Lodges from Penzance to Perranporth. During the business agenda of the Lodge meetings he’s visited, he has been allowed to address the brethren and inform those present of his aims and ambitions in support of young Marshall.

Mike Trevorrow said: ‘I was so upset hearing about Marshall’s plight that I had to do something to help this incredible young lad. It really touched me and I simply couldn’t imagine for one minute how he and his family cope each day. Right away I knew I could do something to assist, especially with the support of my fellow brethren, so I set out with a goal to try and raise £1000.

'The support I have received has seriously moved me to tears. Each Lodge has its own special charities they nominate and fund raise for throughout their calendar year, and yet every single Lodge I’ve attended without hesitation have helped boost my fund. It was only recently as the 12 months drew to a close was I given the final figure raised, by my Lodge Charity Steward. I’m absolutely delighted to report but virtually lost for words at the same time to announce we’ve raised the unbelievable sum of £2,000. I simply cannot thank everyone enough for all they have done in supporting Marshall and myself.'

A presentation was arranged at the Masonic Centre in Perranporth for Mike Trevorrow and representatives of all the Lodges who donated funds to assist in helping to present the money raised to young Marshall Janson and his father Moss.

Fellow Freemason Martin Brockman said: ‘Mike made it his goal to set out and fund raise for Marshall and he’s delivered in true style, we are so proud of him and in awe of his determination. Today was such a privilege for all those who attended todays presentation as Marshall is such an incredible inspiration for everyone. I could never imagine how anyone could cope with the life altering changes that he has had to deal with. To meet Marshall and watch him adapt to daily life and the surroundings of a Lodge room here today, is amazing.'

Marshall didn’t need any prompting from his father Moss, as he proudly sat in the Worshipful Masters chair in the Lodge room, he turned and said to Mike: ‘Thank you for all you have done to help me, you are so kind.'

The cost of providing Marshall with a decent quality of life is quite breathtaking - and beyond the resources of Marshall’s family or, indeed, most families. It is because of the huge cost involved that the family have launched ‘HANDSTAND -The Appeal for Marshall Janson’.

For more information on the HANDSTAND Appeal and to donate, please click here.

More than 1,000 Lincolnshire Freemasons and their families and friends gathered in Lincoln Cathedral for a unique service

Wearing Masonic regalia and parading in the Cathedral for the first time, they were marking the United Grand Lodge of England's Tercentenary and the formation of the first Grand Lodge. The service was conducted by the Dean of Lincoln, the Venerable Christine Wilson, and the Provincial Grand Chaplain of Lincolnshire, the Rev John Spriggs.

The Rev Spriggs said: 'What we know is that 300 years ago four London Lodges formed the first Grand Lodge. From that small beginning, Freemasonry has grown and spread throughout the world.

'As Freemasons we are justly proud of our craft and all it achieves in the lives of its members and their families, and in the wider community.'

Also in attendance were the Provincial Grand Master Graham Ives, with the Lord Lieutenant Mr Toby Dennis and Lincolnshire County Council leader Martin Hill.

After the service, the PGM Graham Ives presided at a lunch a few miles away at the Epic Centre at Lincolnshire Showground.

The final journey of the Provincial Tercentenary travelling banner made its way through Cornwall on Saturday 14th October, terminating with a Civic Parade through the streets of St. Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly

The Provincial travelling banner has been specially designed by all eight Provinces that make up the South West region. Each of these Provinces have enjoyed being the custodian of the banner throughout its entire journey arriving at many special locations.

The final leg was supported by the Provincial Grand Masters for Cornwall, RW Bro Stephen C Pearn, and Devonshire, RW Bro Ian Kingsbury, together with a special guest, the United Grand Lodge of England's Assistant Grand Master Sir David Wootton.

Despite the arrival of the impending Storm Ophelia, the weather, whilst overcast, remained dry and warm. Proceedings started with a bumper lunch at The Mermaid Inn on St. Mary’s Quay, followed by an enthusiastic Civic Parade in full Masonic regalia through the streets, which was supported by local islanders.

The parade continued its way through the streets until it reached Godolphin Lodge No. 7790, where those who had paraded assembled in the Lodge room together with several lady guests to hear an historic oration by the Provincial Orator for Cornwall, W Bro Mike Murton.

The special events then concluded with a Festive Board held in the stunning conservatory at the Star Castle Hotel.

Shropshire Freemasons celebrated the United Grand Lodge of England's Tercentenary with a magnificent Choral Evensong in Shrewsbury Abbey on Sunday 1st October

With over 300 people in attendance, the banners of the Province were paraded into the Abbey and the brethren were invited to wear full regalia for the service. The event was held in the presence of Provincial Grand Master RW Bro Peter Taylor, his Deputy Roger Pemberton and many distinguished guests.

A procession of banners from the province lodges began proceedings with a pageant of colour and ceremony, with the Provincial Sword, Banner and Standard holding pride of place before the High Altar.

The sermon was preached by the Grand Chaplain Revd Canon Michael Wilson, and the service conducted by the Provincial Grand Chaplain Revd Phil Niblock.

The Abbey's great organ was also played by W Bro Jeremy Lund and as proceedings ended, it was agreed by all those in attendance that the Evensong was a memorable way to mark 300 years of Freemasonry.

Nearly 1,000 Freemasons and their families gathered for a special evening of thanks and celebration in style in the world heritage site that is Durham Cathedral in September, as the Province of Durham marked the United Grand Lodge of England’s Tercentenary

As well as brethren and their families from all corners of the Province, the Provincial Grand Master RW Bro Eric Heaviside was honoured to have as his special guests HM Lord-Lieutenant of County Durham, Mrs Sue Snowdon, His Worship the Mayor of Durham, Councillor Bill Kellett, the Dean of Durham, the Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett and the Assistant Grand Master RW Bro Sir David Wootton.

With the cathedral near to capacity, the service was conducted with precision and splendour; tributes associated with any formal Provincial Masonic occasion and with Durham Cathedral. Looking across the cathedral, the rows of pews were awash with gold and masonic blue. The evening was further enhanced with hymns from both the Cathedral Choir and Durham’s very own Masonic Choir, conducted by W Bro Paul Debenham.

In the middle of the service, the Dean of Durham handed over proceedings to the Provincial Grand Master who conducted a special award presentation from Durham Benevolence, distributing £100,000 in community support grants to 10 local charities and organisations who support children or young adults in need.

Award Recipients included:

  • Sunderland Minster – £25,800
  • Friends of Carlton Camp (Hartlepool) – £10,000
  • Enter CIC (Ferryhill) – £10,000
  • Cheesy Waffles (Durham) – £10,000
  • Home on the Range (Spennymoor) – £10,000
  • Heel & Toe Children’s Charity (Chester-le-Street) – £10,000
  • 2505 Squadron RAF Air Cadets (Bishop Auckland) – £10,000
  • Co Durham Young Farmers Clubs (Durham) – £7,000
  • Kayaks (South Shields) – £5,000
  • Hug In a Bag (Durham and Darlington) – £5,000

After the presentation, the Dean delivered his sermon, in particular paying tribute to the charitable giving of Durham Freemasons and went on to commend the very foundations on which Freemasonry is built – a respect for one another, kindness, honesty and trust.

Once again, the Province of Durham showed that when they do something, they do it in style. A wonderful evening was enjoyed by all who attended, with the Tercentenary celebrated in a fitting manner and local worthy causes supported for the future.

As part of their Tercentenary celebrations, Cumberland and Westmorland Freemasons have donated a brand new fully equipped and liveried motorcycle to Blood Bikes Cumbria to support them in their vital work across Cumbrian communities

The bike carries the Province of Cumberland and Westmorland’s provincial emblem and the square and compasses symbol.

Since May 2014, Blood Bikes Cumbria have provided an out of hours, 365 days a year transport service for urgently needed blood, drugs, human tissue and other medical requirements between hospitals, medical centres and blood banks across Cumbria. The Great North Air Ambulance Service also receives supplies daily to keep their helicopters stocked.

Blood Bikes Cumbria is run entirely by volunteers, the drivers all undergo specialist advanced training to operate the bikes under ‘blue light’ conditions. There is also a specialist team of volunteer dispatchers who take calls and co-ordinate the deliveries.

At a special presentation evening in Kendal, the motorcycle was handed over to a team of drivers from Blood Bikes Cumbria by Past Pro Grand Master The Marquess of Northampton and Provincial Grand Master, Rt W Bro Norman James Thompson DL.

W Bro Thompson said: ‘The Freemasons of Cumberland and Westmorland are delighted to be able to support this relatively new charity who do vital work for our Cumbrian communities, often behind the scenes.

‘Our brethren and families will be pleased to see this motorcycle put to good work for the benefit of all who need emergency medical supplies in the county.’

Sunday 3rd September may have been cold and wet in rural Wiltshire, but that didn't stop over 1,000 Freemasons and their families from braving the elements to attend Salisbury Cathedral for a very special evensong service

The Provincial Grand Master RW Bro Philip Bullock welcomed civic leaders including the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire Mrs Sarah Rose Troughton, who was accompanied by her husband Mr Peter Troughton CBE, as well as the High Sheriff Lady Marland who joined Masonic leaders RW Bro Anthony Wilson and RW Bro George Francis PAGM for lunch before the service. 

The service itself was the culmination of two years preparatory work by Assistant Provincial Grand Master W Bro Stephen Bridge who worked very closely with Canon Precentor Rev Tom Clammer in organising the event.

W Bro Stephen Bridge said: ‘It was a truly remarkable event - looking down the nave of the Cathedral it was quite incredible to see so many people present and proudly wearing Masonic regalia, which was a moment of intense and humbling delight and something that will stay fresh in the memory for many years to come. It’s at times like these that all of the planning, negotiation and apprehension became worthwhile.

‘We have celebrated the Tercentenary in Wiltshire’s most beautiful and impressive place of worship. In doing so we have not only honoured those Brethren who founded the first Grand Lodge, but also the generations of operative masons who built and maintain such an inspiring building. I can think of no more appropriate place for us to mark such an important Masonic event and I trust we have also contributed to the start of a mutually supportive relationship with the Cathedral, something that can only help promote Freemasonry in Wiltshire and beyond.’

RW Bro Philip Bullock was effusive in his praise of the event and the support it received. He commented: ‘It was a thrill to see the nave of the Cathedral so full. The support was quite amazing and we had Brethren from every part of the Province attending. It was also a particular pleasure to welcome members of the three branches of our Masonic Widows Association.’

By attending a service that was part of the Cathedral’s ordained pattern of worship, Wiltshire Freemasons provided an admirable public window, helping local communities understand the true values of Freemasonry. It is hoped that the service might be repeated in the not too distant future.

Please scroll through the gallery at the top to view photos from the service

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