Freewheeling for life
Devon Freewheelers is a life-saving charity that ferries urgent supplies of blood by motorcycle between Devon hospitals round-the-clock. Run by volunteers, the charity relies solely on the money it raises and was running out of funds. Following media coverage of its plight, Devonshire masons came forward with an initial grant of £2,000 before also giving the charity an ex-police motorcycle (now named Masonic Life by the Freewheelers) and funding for a year.
The presentation of the bike and the opening of a new headquarters by Sir John Evans, former chief constable of Devon & Cornwall Police, took place at Honiton.
The Devon Freewheelers’ CEO, Daniel Lavery, says: ‘We cannot thank Devon Freemasons enough. Their initial grant helped us over a very difficult period and this new motorbike will help us to continue providing this life-saving service into the future.’
Stamp of approval
Devon mason Trevor Fray has had an exhibition of his masonic stamp collection displayed at a public library in Plymouth. Trevor, president of the Masonic Philatelic Club, is a member of St John’s Lodge, No. 70, Plymouth, and began collecting stamps 65 years ago, taking up the specialised subject of masonic philately in 1975.
Trevor has shown his masonic stamp collection to numerous philatelic societies and lodges and points out that many countries have issued masonic commemorative stamps – and that more than one thousand individuals who were Freemasons have been depicted on postage stamps.
Devonshire masons and their families have raised a magnificent £3,836,625 in support of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB). The result of the 2012 Festival Appeal, which lasted almost 6 years, was announced during a memorable night at the Riviera International Convention Centre in Torquay.
RMTGB President Mike Woodcock thanked the Province for its efforts during the appeal and spoke about the importance of the charity’s work. Provincial Grand Master Michael Penny praised the members of his Province and the Festival Committee, which had been instrumental in the appeal’s success.
During the dinner, harpist and former RMTGB beneficiary Angelina Warburton played some popular classics before a lively performance by the Devon Youth Jazz Orchestra, whose trumpeter is also a trust beneficiary.
Armed forces day out
It was a special day out for Richard Penelrick and his mother, Margaret, when they attended the Armed Forces Day national event celebrations on Plymouth Hoe, Devon.
Almoner John Pritchard and Master John Speak of Lord Roborough Lodge, No. 5789, Plymouth, in the Province of Devonshire, in partnership with the Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF), arranged the visit.
Richard, aged 35, is the son of Allen Penelrick, who was a member of Lord Roborough Lodge. He has ataxia telangiectasia (A-T) and was presented with a special wheelchair with a power-pack from the MSF in 2009. Margaret Penelrick is also receiving assistance via the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution Care Advice Team.
12 September 2012
An address by the MW the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes
I have recently finished the two yearly Regional Conferences that I have with Provincial Grand Masters. These are relatively informal affairs and cover a wide range of subjects. I find them extremely useful and they are kind enough to say the same – but, of course, what else could they say!
One theme that ran through them all was a determination to see our numbers on the increase by 2017. Indeed, in one or two cases, this has already started. This means that perhaps we are getting some things right.
I have said frequently that we must not be looking for new candidates simply for the sake of increasing numbers, but if we can start this increase with the right candidates there should be a knock on effect.
Enthusing new members is of paramount importance and we heard from Brothers Soper and Lord at the September Quarterly Communication about the work of the Universities Scheme. Following that talk I have asked the Universities Scheme Committee to think about how best we can implement some of the principles that were mentioned, across the whole Craft.
Recruiting and retaining young candidates is our most important task and I am confident that those who have made the Universities Scheme successful can help us with this important challenge. However this is not just down to them and we must all pull our weight in this respect.
Brethren, in November I visited my Great Grandfather’s mother Lodge in Hertfordshire and a splendid occasion it was, with an almost faultless 2nd Degree Ceremony being performed. I can almost hear you all thinking that they would have spent hours rehearsing. Not so, as they didn’t know that I was coming.
The reason for mentioning this today is that in the Reply for the Visitors the Brother speaking referred to the Craft as an altruistic society. Altruism is one of those words that I have often heard used and possibly even used myself without having been completely sure of its meaning. The dictionary definition is “regard for others as a principle of action”. Rather a good description for a lot of what Freemasonry is about.
If we can instil this ethos into our candidates, we won’t be going far wrong. Of course it is not all that we are about, but it is not a bad starting point, as it should naturally lead to a practice of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, which in itself leads on to our charitable giving, which seems to be second nature to us.
During this year the Festivals for our Charities in our Provinces have raised a total of nearly £10m, of which Leicestershire and Rutland raised £1.7m for the RMBI; Warwickshire raised £3.16m for the MSF; Cambridgeshire £1.285m for the Grand Charity and Devonshire £3.836m for the RMTGB. In these troubled economic times this, Brethren, is remarkable and I congratulate all those concerned.
I hope that our membership, as a whole, are far more familiar with the activities of all our Charities than might have been the case 20 or so years ago. The promotion of their activities by the Charities is excellent and the Freemasonry Cares campaign has enlightened many people at home and abroad about what support is available.
Whilst 3 of our Charities are Masonic in their giving, and there is nothing to be ashamed of in that - quite the contrary in my view, the Grand Charity, of course, has a wide brief for giving to non Masonic bodies, provided that they are also Charities. Not everyone appreciates this aspect, or how much money is involved and we should be quick to point it out.
Brethren, since 2007 we have had excellent and amusing talks on the past at the December Quarterly Communication from Brothers Hamill and Redman and we should be proud of our history, but it is of paramount importance that we look forward and ensure that we go from strength to strength in the future in both numbers and our usefulness to the society in which we live.
Brethren, I wish you all a very relaxing break over Christmas, particularly if, like me, you will be having your Grand Children to stay.
Les Hutchinson, chief executive of the RMTGB, and Conrad Donaldson, Provincial Grand Charity Steward for Devonshire, presented a Supreme Gold Certificate to John Hodkinson, Master of Loyal Lodge of Industry, No. 421, to recognise the magnificent achievement of raising more than £50,000 towards Devonshire’s 2012 Festival.
Les thanked the members on behalf of the children and young people who will benefit from their donation, saying, ‘They are a shining example of what can be achieved with organised fundraising, enthusiastic support and generosity.’
With just under a year to go, Devon has already raised £3m and the appeal will conclude with an event on Saturday 17 November at the Riviera International Conference Centre in Torquay.
In recent years, the RMTGB has held its AGM in various Provinces away from London. As a result, an increasing number of Freemasons and members of the public have been able to hear about the life-changing charitable support that the RMTGB is able to provide.
This year’s meeting was held at the Langstone Cliff Hotel in Dawlish under the chairmanship of Michael Penny, Provincial Grand Master for Devonshire. The RMTGB’s President and Chief Executive, together with members of Council and staff, explained the work of the charity to over 200 guests, including the Lord Lieutenant of Devon and the Lord Mayor of Exeter.
The presentations highlighted how the RMTGB’s annual expenditure, which this year amounted to over £9 million, makes a positive and lasting difference to more than 1,800 children and grandchildren of masonic families, all of whom have suffered a distress such as the death of a parent or have been adversely affected by unemployment or redundancy.
Talking about Talent
The RMTGB’s TalentAid scheme, which this year celebrates a decade of providing support to those who are exceptionally gifted in music, sport and the performing arts, was also highlighted at the meeting.
During an interlude in proceedings, Clio Williams, a former beneficiary of the scheme, delivered an operatic performance to demonstrate the very high level of ability that TalentAid encourages and supports.
The RMTGB’s ongoing support for those with no connection to the Craft was also promoted at the meeting, including the Choral Bursary and Stepping Stones schemes, as well as the in-kind support provided to the separate charity Lifelites. This charitable organisation supplies valuable entertainment and educational technology to children’s hospices.
Don received a big surprise from his wife Edna, which left the lodge with a raising to perform while he was away on holiday.
It seemed a good idea to hold a Past Masters night and invite the Grand Officers of the Lodge to undertake the work.
Benevolent Lodge was blessed with enough members of that rank to fill all offices on the night.
The out-turn was a truly remarkable event with a ‘sell-out’ of visitors to witness a ‘top draw’ ceremony the like of which the candidate, Norrie Millen, is unlikely to witness again.
Searching the Lodge archives since 1794, no record can be found of the Lodge having ever undertaken a ceremony entirely conducted by Grand Officer members.
The Provincial Grand Master for Devonshire, Michael Penny, didn’t believe it had happened before in the Province of Devonshire.