Local charities gathered at Freemasons’ Hall in Leicester on 6th April 2019 to tell their story and receive generous donations from lodges, chapters and the Leicestershire & Rutland Masonic Charity Association

The Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire & Rutland David Hagger opened proceedings by welcoming everyone and introducing the assembled charities to the work of the Leicestershire & Rutland Masonic Charity Association in the community.   

The first guest to be introduced was the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Michael Kapur OBE, who was not only present to receive £1,000 for his Charity Award for Young People, but to also assist in presenting donations to other well deserving organisations. Michael said: ‘This award scheme helps to shine a light on our brave young people in Leicestershire.’

The Hinckley based SNIPS (Special Needs Integration Project) received £2,000 to aid their mission of providing Saturday sessions, Summer play schemes and residential breaks for children with special needs. Phil Hall of SNIPS said: ‘This donation will go towards supporting the children and help us achieve our funding targets.’

Holmes Lodge No. 4656 from Leicester donated £3,000, split between Wishes 4Kids, Jakin Pregnancy Care and Counselling and Alex’s Wishes. 

The Rainbows Hospice for Children & Young People were represented by Gary Farnfield and Dee Sissons to receive a donation of £8,318. Gary said: ‘We would like to say a huge thank you to the Freemasons’ for their continued support of Rainbows.’

Noel Manby, the Grand Superintendent of the Leicestershire & Rutland Royal Arch Freemasons, was on hand to present £3,700 to local charities including Bloodwise, Hope Against Cancer, Mesothelioma UK, and Shopmobility Melton Mowbray. 

To round off the event, David Hagger said: ‘Freemasons are proud to support you, the workers and volunteers who give up your time to help those in need within our local community.’

Silver service

Holmes Lodge No. 4656, which meets at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester, has been most fortunate to acquire two beautiful silver coffee pots which form a lost part of the lodge's history but they could not have done it without the aid of other brethren in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland.

Initially the items were spotted by W Bro Andy Green who keeps an eye on internet auction sites for items of masonic interest which might be purchased for the Museum. He contacted W Bro Don Peacock who leads the Library and Museum team, and it was then decided to contact Holmes Lodge to see whether they might be interested in making the purchase as the coffee pots were beautifully engraved with the lodge crest.

No time was lost in contacting the vendor who, most fortunately, turned out to be the daughter of a mason and who was most happy to pass the items into the keeping of the lodge for a very reasonable price. The items had come into the vendor's possession via an auction sale, but she had paperwork to show that in the 1980s they had been sold through the London Silver Vaults for a much higher price, and that they had then become the property of a gentleman who lived in Kensington.

The question then arose of how the silver had found its way from Leicester to London. The hallmarks and maker's marks indicated that the silver had been made in 1924, and the original sellers were Pearces who had a very exclusive jewellery shop in Leicester, latterly in the Market Place, but before then in Gallowtree Gate. It was thus clear that the silver had a connection to the early years of the lodge.

At this point W Bro Don Peacock rode to the rescue once more by discovering in the lodge archives a letter from RW Bro Edward Holmes, the then Provincial Grand Master, to W Bro GW Hunt, the founding Master of the lodge. This letter congratulated W Bro Hunt on his year as founding Master. There were further archive references to silver coffee pots and an inscribed salver being given to W Bro Hunt from the Lodge to mark the appreciation felt for all he had done.

W Bro Hunt went on to become Deputy Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent in and over Leicestershire and Rutland, and it must have gratified him greatly when he was able to consecrate Holmes Chapter in 1945, the only Royal Arch Chapter to be consecrated in the Province during the Second World War.

The silver would have formed part of his estate on his death in 1954, and it is now down to 'Lodge Sleuth' W Bro David Hughes to obtain testamentary evidence to cast light on the fate of the coffee pots between the 1950s and the 1980s. The fate of the salver is unknown, however the silver pots are now safely back at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester where they will be displayed on Holmes Lodge nights at the Festive Board.

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