The first official delivery of the 2018 Prestonian Lecture, 'A good workman praises his tools: Masonic metaphors in Ancient Greece', was delivered by Christopher Noon to the Derbyshire Lodge of Installed Masters No. 8509 on Wednesday, 28th March

The Master of the lodge Steven Varley, Provincial Grand Master for Derbyshire, was joined by an audience of around 100, which included two past Prestonian Lecturers, John Wade (2009) and Tony Harvey (2012), both members of the lodge. 

With a combination of well-researched evidence, interesting slides and good humour, Christopher Noon demonstrated that, while Freemasonry did not originate in Ancient Greece, there is a clear similarity between the use of working tools as metaphors in Greek texts and in Masonic ritual. Indeed, the Greeks may well have inspired and influenced the authors of the ritual. 

The evening was rounded off with a typically warm and friendly Derbyshire festive board.

There were smiles all round when 400 children were treated to a visit to Derby theatre

Prior to the show, the day was made extra special when the children were entertained by the cast of the Derby Theatre's production of Peter Pan on 4th January 2017.

Provincial Grand Master for Derbyshire Steven Varley, accompanied by members of Derbyshire Freemasons, were also on hand to help, even distributing 400 ice creams to the children, all of whom have special needs and might not otherwise have had a chance to visit the theatre.

The event was organised and funded by Derbyshire Freemasons as part of their commitment to contribute to the community and to offer care and support for those in need.

If smiling happy faces were anything to go by, this day was certainly one to be remembered for the children.

Guy Raynor-Edwards, Immediate Past Master of Tyrian Lodge No. 253, presented a cheque for £1,500 to Ashgate Hospicecare in Chesterfield

This was Guy's chosen charity for his year in the chair of Derbyshire's oldest lodge, with Ashgate Hospicecare having cared for his mother in the past.

He organised and presented a Wild West evening in June 2017, which was greatly enjoyed by many brethren and family and friends to raise funds for this worthy cause. This included all guests getting into the wild west spirit in suitable attire and taking part in sing-a-longs and line dancing. There was also a performance from the saloon dancing girls from Chaines Dance Studio.

The lodge also kindly agreed to supplement the proceeds of the night from the relief chest to make it a round figure of £1,500.

Guy, along with his wife Linda, and Keith Allen of Cavendish Lodge No. 3055 were given a tour of the hospice and discovered more about the excellent work that they do, as they were warmly thanked by Ashgatecare Hospice's Fundraising Manager Christine Seldon.

Monday, 20 November 2017 12:23

Prostate screening for Derbyshire Freemasons

Given that prostate cancer has become the number one cancer in men with 1 in 8 men being diagnosed with the disease, it may seem common sense that all men over the age of 50 should undergo a prostate examination to make sure all is well

Surprisingly this is not the case, which prompted Jyoti Shah, consultant urological surgeon for Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation, to launch an initiative called Inspire Health – Fighting Prostate Cancer based at Queen’s Hospital, Burton. The idea is to go out to the community and provide screening services to men in a more comfortable atmosphere, in the hope that this encourages as many men as possible to get checked for this male cancer.

When Michael Hitchcock, Provincial Grand Charity Steward of Derbyshire, heard about this initiative he realised that this was an opportunity to encourage members of the province to get on board. With this in mind, and with the co-operation of Inspire Health, Michael took the idea to members within Derbyshire and was quickly inundated with people wanting to take part.

Over 350 members of the Derbyshire province have signed up for the examination, with the first ones being held at the ground of Burton Albion Football Club. In fact, so popular has the initiative been that four masonic halls have needed to be used as venues in the province.

Michael was both surprised and delighted with the response, commenting: 'I think it’s fabulous that Burton Football Club are so keen to raise awareness of prostate cancer and we are extremely pleased to be working with them, as well as being able to make a donation in order to support their ongoing work within our communities.

'We are constantly making charitable donations within our local communities and providing skills and time to further enhance our charitable work. We shall be donating some money to the Fighting Prostate Cancer Campaign to support the ongoing work they do in the community against this very common male cancer.'

Jyoti Shah added: “It is fantastic - the project is growing and it is a really positive message going out to the community. It has already been a phenomenal success in the take up of appointments with Freemasons.”

For more details of the Fighting Prostate Cancer scheme, please click here.

To celebrate the United Grand Lodge of England's Tercentenary, Derbyshire Freemasons made awards to 14 charities in the county, totalling £25,000

The awards recognise the good work these charities do for local people and the impact their work has on the community. As well as a financial contribution, each charity was presented with a crystal award engraved with the charity name and the Derbyshire provincial logo.

Pictured on 26th July at Pride Park Stadium in Derby, the Provincial Grand Lodge of Derbyshire held their first ever Community Charity Awards ceremonial dinner.

Stepping Stones

The first award was to a Centre in Heanor who care for the elderly during the day. Stepping Stones provide transport to the centre where fresh hot meals and drinks are provided as well as entertainment and professional care. They were represented by Jo Dixon, Eileen Cheeseman and Julie Riley.

The Drop Inn

In 1999 in Belper, reports of the youth of the town causing trouble, taking drugs, taking part in vandalism and intimidation prompted one person to address the concerns of those young people. She didn't believe that they could all be so bad. That person was Andrea Fox and in 2000, The Drop Inn was founded where the young people set the ground rules and formulated the policies and since then it has grown and developed into what today is a Foundation for Youth Innovation. They were represented by Andrea Fox and Layton Davies.


In Chesterfield, Fairplay are a group whose aim is to improve the lives of children and young people with disabilities. They offer support to children and young people up to the age of 25 and to their parents and siblings. That support is in the form of play schemes, Saturday clubs, youth clubs, activity days, independent living groups, parent support groups and family trips for parents and siblings. Representing them at the event were Thomas Boden, Elaine Pauk, John Chambers and Heather Fawbert.

The Place Project

Housing expansion in villages brings all sorts of problems for schools, doctor's surgeries and shops. It also creates a need for somewhere for youngsters to play, and two years ago The Place Project was established as a community group to transform the run- down and underused recreation ground that serves the villages of Crich, Fritchley and Whatstandwell. Whilst the local Parish Council gave them a small grant over three years they realised that nothing would happen without hard work and a willingness to raise the money needed.

They are now on their way, progress is being made and a re-vamped playground and recreation ground are no longer just a pipe-dream. Representing the Group were Paul Yorke, Carole Bowskill and Ian and Caroline Pendleton.

Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre

Derbyshire Children’s' Holiday Centre were probably the oldest Charity amongst the recipients on the evening. Established in 1891, the Charity provides holidays for children from Derbyshire whose lives are such that they will benefit from a change to and respite from their daily lives. They were represented by Bill Tomlinson and David Harris.

The Hardy Group

“Life doesn't end when Dementia begins”

That is the opening line on the website of The Hardy Group, a thriving group of people living with dementia, as well as current and past carers who through their own experiences support each other along their journey with dementia.  A Foundation Derbyshire Awards winner in 2016, they were represented by Bernard Crowther and Dave Roberts.

Helen's Trust

Based in Bakewell in North Derbyshire and The High Peak, Helen's Trust is an end of life Charity which provides support to terminally ill people who wish to be cared for and to die at home. They fund and co-ordinate non-nursing care such as sitting services overnight and regular carer respite during the day.

Now in their 16th year, they work with respect, compassion and dignity and are motivated to go that extra mile for the beneficiary showing professionalism and a willingness to become engaged with and embedded in the local communities of North Derbyshire. Zoe Woodward and Debbie Fennell were there to collect their award.


In the Derbyshire Dales and based at St Oswald's Hospital in Ashbourne are a group called Careline. Careline offers a free telephone befriending service to people in the Derbyshire Dales. They aim to make people's lives better by calling those who feel in need of support – they could be elderly, less able to get out, recently bereaved, lonely or isolated but Careline offer friendship and a social interaction. Representing them were Annette Eley and Gordon Hart.

P3 Artemis House

People from all walks of life and through a variety of circumstances can find themselves homeless - the Erewash area is no different to many others. P3 Artemis House in Long Eaton provides a safe place for homeless adults to live and combines with it a personalised support package to tackle the root cause of their homelessness.. Erewash Borough Council work closely with them and often refer those in need to them. Representing them were Jo Fieldhouse, Christine Nutt, Kerry Dungavel and Katrina Bucklehurst.

Long Eaton and District Friendly Invalid and Handicapped Group

This group was recommended for their work in helping the disabled and those with an invalidity. They are called the Long Eaton & District Friendly Invalid & Handicapped Group who have been in existence for over 50 years. Their aim is to create an outlet not only for the handicapped but also for able-bodied elderly individuals who rarely get the opportunity to do anything or see anyone. Amonst the representatives were Mahrie Harvey, Kath Haywood, Beryl Ash and Marion Drage.

The Chapel-en-le-Frith Mobile Physiotherapy Service

Some years ago, a charity called The Chapel-en-le-Frith Mobile Physiotherapy Service was started whose objects were to promote and maintain a mobile physiotherapy service in the rural district of Chapel-en-le-Frith, and to make available treatment to patients physically incapable of attending hospital and who were not able to afford the cost of home treatment by a private physiotherapist.

That service has been welcomed by all those living in the area and is recognised as having made a difference to the lives of all those who use it. Representing the service was Lesley Boler.

The Bureau

In Glossop, North Derbyshire, is a charity called The Bureau or Glossop's Voluntary and Community Network. They believe that all members of the community will have both support needs of their own and a capacity to support others at various times in their lives – in some cases simultaneously.

They offer a huge range of services which include helping people who are struggling to manage, or live independently by accessing a wide range of local services. Julie Farley, Cheryl Pike, John Harris and Martin Gallagher were there to collect their award.


Shoutout is an inclusive group in South Derbyshire for people with additional needs, and also for their families and friends. They aim to encourage people of all abilities to come together on equal terms and to encourage inclusion within the wider community. Representing them were Kia Higham, Sue Dixon, Kim Coe and Robert Coe.

Staunton Harold Sailability Trust 

The final award went to the Staunton Harold Sailability Trust - a relatively new charity who offer sailing to children with physical or mental disabilities. Whilst the charity may be new it will continue the work of the sailing club at Staunton Harold who have been supporting sailing for children and young adults with varying disabilities for the past 15 years. Representing them were Kevin and Lesley Needham and Richard and Jackie Tivey.

The Ripley-based charity Amber Trust has received a £1,000 donation from Derbyshire Freemasons

The donation was given in recognition of Amber Trust’s ongoing work to support and promote the positive mental health and wellbeing of residents in Amber Valley in Derbyshire.

The donation was presented on Ripley Market Place by Master of Cantelupe Lodge No. 8247 Ady Gotheridge to Amber Trust’s Community Development Coordinator Tracy Litchfield.

Tracy Litchfield commented: ‘This donation will enable us to continue to provide valuable and much needed services to support people’s mental health across Amber Valley.

‘My sincere and heartfelt thanks go to Cantelupe Lodge and the Freemasons' Provincial Grand Charity of Derbyshire for their generosity.’

Fun day out for Derbyshire kids

Derbyshire children with additional or special educational needs had a fantastic day on Friday, 22nd April, when they attended the fifth annual funfair organised and supported by the Derbyshire Provincial Grand Charity.

Over 1,200 children from 27 different groups from all around the Province enjoyed free coach transfers from and back to their schools. They were treated to as many free fairground rides as they could fit in, as well as hot dogs, candy floss and refreshments.

Since its inception in 2012, when the first 500 children attended, it has now become the highlight of the year for many and continues to grow from strength to strength.

The fair was initially organised after showmen noticed that some children with special needs were being ridiculed by some less sympathetic members of the public. Children with autism, downs syndrome, learning difficulties and mobility problems were not attending due to these taunts.

This was distressing for the children and their parents and carers. A survey had revealed that 79% of these children felt socially isolated and 28% questioned had actually been asked to leave a public place.

As a result, the Derbyshire Provincial Grand Charity was asked whether it would be prepared to organise and support a funfair if the showmen provided the rides and facilities at one of their sites. The Freemasons of Derbyshire are delighted to work in partnership with Erewash Borough Council, who provide the site, to arrange such an event for the enjoyment and betterment of the community at large.

The children come from schools and other specialist provisions in Buxton, High Peak, Burton-on-Trent, Central Derby, Alfreton, Chinley and other areas from around the Province.

As usual the Fire and Rescue Service, Police and St John's Ambulance all attended to support the event. This year saw Emporium Productions filming for a documentary to be screened on Sky TV early next year, as well as Radio Derby reporting live on the day and articles in the press from the Derby Evening Telegraph and Nottingham Post. The event will also be covered in the Showman’s trade newspaper, The World’s Fair.

The event as always was organised for the Provincial Grand Charity by W Bros Philip Bowler and Graham Sisson.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015 00:00

Derbyshire Freemasons at Remembrance Services

Derbyshire Freemasons were visibly present at many of last years Remembrance Services around the county.  The Provincial Grand Master, Steven Varley, gave his permission for those Derbyshire Freemasons who were also Forces Veterans to wear their Masonic collars at the public parades and services. 

In Derby, the Provincial Grand Master, Arthur S. Varley, wearing his chain of office, laid a wreath in memory of fallen brethren, while members of Arboretum Lodge No. 731, Tudor Lodge No. 9635, Derbyshire Dales Lodge No. 9436 and United Service Lodge of Derbyshire No. 3993 also attended wearing their collars.  Arrangements were made by W Bro. John Wood, MBE, a former Artificer Sergeant Major (WOI) in REME and the Standards Marshall for Derby and District Ex Service Associations.

In Chesterfield, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Stephen Jones, laid a wreath at the War Memorial, also in his chain of office, supported by members of all five Chesterfield Craft Lodges. The party then attended a service in the packed Parish Church.

The aim for 2016 is to have a Masonic wreath laid at every town and village in the Province that has a Masonic Hall, with Freemasons wearing collars being present at the services, either in the Veterans’ Contingent or as spectators.


Derbyshire’s festival finale

Freemasons and their families in Derbyshire have made a £2.4 million donation to the MSF after a six-year fundraising appeal

More than eight hundred Derbyshire Freemasons and guests gathered at the magnificent Devonshire Dome in Buxton for a gala dinner to celebrate the finale of the Derbyshire 2014 Festival, which raised the tremendous sum of £2,414,016.

During the meal, diners were entertained by the Three Waiters, singing popular operatic tunes, and a Fab Four tribute band playing Beatles hits. For the first time in an MSF Festival, and the second time in Derbyshire’s history, every masonic unit in every order made a donation. Members of Craft lodges in the Province donated an average of £741 each.

Assistant Grand Master Sir David Wootton congratulated the Province on its fundraising and on organising the occasion. MSF President Willie Shackell added, ‘Not only will this generous donation help the Fund to support the health and care needs of individuals but it will also enable us to continue funding much-needed medical research.’

Supporting wider needs

The MSF has expressed its thanks to all its fundraisers for their generosity in ensuring that sufficient funds are available to meet demand

Commenting on the MSF’s achievements in the last financial year (Oct 2013-Sep 2014), Chief Executive Richard Douglas notes that the Fund has allocated more grants than ever before: ‘1,578 grants have been given to support 1,462 applicants covering all areas of the Fund’s work: medical, dental, mobility, home adaptation, respite, counselling and consultation needs. This is a 12% increase in funds allocated and a 21% increase in the number of individuals supported compared with the previous year. The Fund allocated nearly £4.4 million to individuals, or £12,000 a day, across the year.’

Published in Masonic Samaritan Fund
Thursday, 18 September 2014 03:27

Derbyshire Freemasons raise £2.4 million for MSF

Freemasons and their families in Derbyshire have made a donation of over £2.4 million to the Masonic Samaritan Fund

The Province of Derbyshire raised this magnificent figure following their six year Festival Appeal

Over 800 Freemasons and partners attended a spectacular finale event at the Dome in Buxton to celebrate the successful conclusion of the six year fundraising appeal.

In receiving the cheque Brig Willie Shackell CBE, President of the charity, said: 'We are tremendously grateful to the members of Derbyshire. Their hard work and dedication to fundraising, despite difficult financial times, will help to change the lives of thousands of individuals in need and national charities pioneering cutting edge research.'

Graham Rudd, Freemasons’ Provincial Grand Master, said: 'This six year fundraising appeal has given us a shared ambition to help our vital and life-saving charity. We move forward with the hope and ambition that Freemasonry and its charities can continue to thrive and contribute within the great Province of Derbyshire.'

The donation will be used to fund MSF grants, totalling £4.5 million each year, which are awarded in support of members’ health and care needs as well as to medical research charities. The Masonic Samaritan Fund has donated over £62 million in grants since it was established in 1990.

Published in Masonic Samaritan Fund
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