Windsor open day marches to success

Beneath the imposing shadow of the magnificent 11th-century Windsor Castle, Berkshire Freemasons and their friends were a high-profile addition to the street scene to promote the Windsor masonic open day.

The centrepiece of the promotions was the ‘Freemasonry – What’s it all about?’ gazebo. Nearly 100 people visited Windsor Masonic Hall during the day, with 27 expressing an interest in becoming a member. 

The local council provided a special dispensation to site the gazebo on the Guildhall concourse, giving a prime location for the display – with the unexpected benefit of seeing a Guards Band pass by during the event.

Thursday, 19 March 2015 09:07

Windsor Masonic Open Day 2015

Beneath the imposing shadow of the magnificent 11th century Windsor Castle, Berkshire Freemasons and their friends were a high profile addition to the street scene on 31st January 2015, there to promote the Windsor Masonic Open Day

The centrepiece of the day's external promotion was the 'Freemasonry – What's It All about?' gazebo. The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council provided a rare special dispensation to site this gazebo on the Guildhall concourse, giving a prime location for our display. This centrepiece caused considerable interest from passers-by, who were encouraged by the team to visit the open day at the masonic hall. The team even wondered at one point whether HM The Queen had turned out her guards to parade past!

The masonic hall in Church Lane, located just behind the Guildhall, is a building of some antiquity having been built in 1725 to house a charity school. It was sold to Castle Lodge (now Windsor Castle Lodge No. 771) in 1862 for £500 and remains under Windsor Castle Lodge ownership to this day.

It has the most superb painted lodge room and is well worth a visit, for its beautiful décor alone. There is no documentary evidence, contrary to common myth, that it was built by Sir Christopher Wren, who actually built and designed the nearby Guildhall in 1702. The Guildhall has unique architectural features such as the cantilever roof with pillars of an exquisite design and workmanship, that do not actually touch the actual ceiling, and is well worth a visit. The masonic hall might not have actually been built by Wren, but he did live in Windsor during some of that period, so one can see why this story perpetuates.

The masonic hall itself was dedicated on 24th November 1864 by VW Bro Aeneas J McIntyre QC, Grand Registrar in charge of the combined Province of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. The ceremony was followed by a banquet held at the Guildhall for some eighty Freemasons. The bill for this dinner was £26.6s.0d.

When guests went through that famous red door they were met and greeted by a dedicated team answering the key question: 'So... Freemasonry – What is it really all about?'

Ask a hundred Freemasons this question and you probably would get a hundred different answers. Explanations were given about Freemasonry's huge charitable giving programme, individual personal development, masonic symbolism and the fact we all have serious fun! However, the summary had to be, 'Taking the good man on a journey of self-discovery and making him even better.' Visitors were offered a tour round the centre, including its magnificent painted temple and if really lucky given a cup of tea.

Nearly 100 people visited the Windsor Masonic Hall during the day and 27 of them expressed an interest in becoming new members. More importantly, Berkshire Freemasons once again demonstrated the spirit of openness and the benefits of Freemasonry to our community.

A review was printed and posted online in the Windsor Observer: http://www.windsorobserver.co.uk/news/roundup/articles/2015/02/04/107309-freemasons-of-berkshire-thrown-open-the-doors-of-their-windsor-hall-for-open-day/

Everyone involved agreed the event had surpassed all expectations and it has set the benchmark for all future events.

The next Open Day will be at Berkshire Freemason's headquarters in Sindlesham on 25th April 2015.

Berkshire Freemasonry - Coming to a town near you, very, very soon!

On a warm and sunny morning in February members of Henley Sea Cadets, TS Guardian, gathered at their Wargrave Road headquarters in Henley on Thames to name their brand new training and safety boat. The state of the art plastic rigid hulled power boat is believed to be the first of its kind in use in the Sea Cadets. 'It gives us a more up to date and capable craft to allow both training of cadets and also for assisting in major events held in Henley on Thames,' said the Officer Commanding Sub Lieutenant Carl Newman. 'And it adds to the variety of craft we can now teach the cadets how to use.'
 
Sea Cadet units are standalone units responsible for their own funding. 'The cadets have been working hard raising money toward this boat,' said the Chairman of the Henley Sea Cadets Phil Fletcher, 'and had been making inroads towards the total required so this kind offer to provide the remaining money by both Berkshire Freemasons and the national masonic charity has allowed us to buy it right now. That means Henley’s Sea Cadets will be using the boat from this spring without waiting another 6 months to a year to collect the money needed'. All local Sea Cadet units will benefit as Newman explains: 'being based here on the river our base is used by many other cadet units for all sorts of training from sailing to wind surfing, having a hugely effective safety boat makes us able to put more cadets out on the water. In all over 450 cadets from the local area could benefit directly from this investment.'
 
Martin Peters, Provincial Grand Master for Berkshire said 'it was a pleasure to be able to help. Henley Sea Cadets helped us to organise a major fundraising event last year at the Chiltern Centre and we felt that we should offer some support. When they told us what their main fundraising effort was it was a perfect fit.'  Pouring some bubbly over the new boat he named it The Berkshire Freemason.  'It was a real honour that the Sea Cadets decided to name the boat after the county Freemasons,' said Martin Peters. 'Masons quietly donate millions of pounds to charities each year with the National Charity donating over 10 Million to good causes.'
 
Phil Fletcher also thanked all the other groups present who help to support the unit. 'I am quite overwhelmed with the level of support today; from ex-Sea Cadets to local Rotarians and other groups it is a huge turnout, thank you for the support.'
 
Henley Sea Cadets are a thriving unit with both the Sea Cadets and Royal Marine Cadets but always need staff and of course cadets from the age of 12 to 17, help with fundraising and many other things.  Visit their website to find out more at www.henleyseacadets.org or e mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
 
Parade timings are: Senior Cadets (12-17 years) and Marine Cadets (13-17 years); Mondays and Fridays  7:15pm - 9:30pm. Junior Cadets (10 & 11 year olds); Fridays only 7:15pm - 9:30pm.

All aboard for a fun day

Masons from Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire raised over £42,000 at the Chiltern Centre Diamond Jubilee Family Day at Fawley Hill, near Henley, in Oxfordshire. Held at the Fawley Hill Railway and Museum, thanks to the generosity of Sir William and Lady McAlpine, the event was in aid of the Chiltern Centre for Disabled Children, which has lost significant government funding.

Chiltern Centre Chair of Trustees, Paul Barrett, said the day ‘exceeded expectations with more than 3,000 people attending’. The masonic team was led by John Clark (Buckinghamshire), Roger Hampshire (Oxfordshire) and Gerry Hann (Berkshire).

Friday, 16 September 2011 17:15

BERKSHIRE RACES AHEAD

Berkshire Freemasons have broken a new record, raising £2,276,000 over a five-year period – the highest amount per member ever recorded for aN RMBI festival.

 

The grand total - vastly exceeding the initial £1.5 million target - was announced at a dinner at Ascot Racecourse to mark the end of the 2011 Festival. The event was attended by 520 guests, including Assistant Grand Master David Williamson and Festival President Michael Hooton. The RMBI is immensely grateful for the support of the Festival, which will enable it to continue and develop its important work.

Published in RMBI
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