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.
Old school chums receive 60-year certificates
Two old school chums Griffith Roberts and Robert Price, who were in the same year at the former Portmadoc Grammar School, have each received 60-year certificates from north Wales Provincial Grand Master Ieuan Redvers Jones as members of Madoc Lodge, No. 1509.
Two other brethren in Madoc Lodge, Oscar Williams and Eric Roberts, were also in the same year at Portmadoc and have been previously presented with 50-year certificates.
Independent lives for veterans
Representatives from the Provincial Grand Lodge of North Wales visited the Blind Veterans UK centre in Llandudno to award the charity a £100,000 donation from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity. Provincial Grand Master Ieuan Redvers Jones presented the cheque to Blind Veterans UK chief executive Major General Nick Caplin.
The money will help in the refurbishment of buildings being turned into residential units for Blind Veterans UK’s Life Skills for Independent Living project in Llandudno. Delivering tailored, specialised training programmes to young, blind or limbless veterans at risk of homelessness, the project will focus on ensuring the most vulnerable ex-servicemen and women can live as independently as possible.
Holy trinity celebrations in North Wales
Llandudno’s Holy Trinity Church has celebrated its 150th anniversary. A sermon was delivered by Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales, who also dedicated a new plaque for the cornerstone of the building.
Lodge of Saint Tudno, No. 755, was instrumental in the foundation of the church, with the first Rector, John Morgan, being its first initiate. Church architect George Felton was also a lodge member. At the laying of the cornerstone in 1865, masonic ceremony was performed by the Provincial Grand Master of North Wales and Shropshire, Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn.
Current PGM Ieuan Redvers Jones recited the prayer read at the original cornerstone ceremony, while masonic memorabilia connected with the foundation was on display.
Help for Welsh flood victims
The small picturesque cathedral city of St Asaph and the market town of Ruthin in North Wales suffered devastating floods when the rivers Elwy and Clwyd burst their banks, following torrential rain, last November. One person was killed and more than 1,100 people were affected. In response to the disaster, the Province of North Wales raised £3,000 to help the St Asaph and Ruthin flood appeals. Provincial Grand Master Ieuan Redvers Jones was delighted when The Freemasons’ Grand Charity was able to support the efforts of local masons to help families in distress through the provision of a £10,000 emergency grant.