East Kent Freemasons raise £3.65 million for The Grand Charity

Freemasons in the Province of East Kent celebrated a major fundraising campaign on Saturday 28th June 2014, when a cheque for more than £3.65 million was presented to one of the organisation’s four major charities, The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, which has donated more than £120 million to support people in need since 1981. 

This fantastic achievement has just been published by the Daily Mail online with a reach of 1.9 million people. 

Festival President and guests at the Province of East Kent’s closing dinner for The Freemasons’ Grand Charity’s 2014 Festival.

'We are tremendously grateful to the members of the Province and their families for their contribution to our funds.

'Their hard work and dedication to fundraising means that The Grand Charity can continue to help communities with grants to medical research, support for vulnerable people, youth opportunities, hospice services, air ambulances, Freemasons and their dependents in financial need, and disaster relief work world-wide.' – Richard Hone, QC, President of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity 

Each year The Grand Charity provides grants totalling nearly £8 million, most of which are for individuals and charities across the whole of England and Wales.  In the five years since the Province of East Kent started is special appeal for the Charity, grants given locally have included £117,000 to cover the salaries of two Marie Curie nurses in Kent over three years and £120,000 to train apprentice stonemasons at Canterbury Cathedral.

'All of the money for this appeal has been raised by the members of the Province. I was delighted to be able to announce the culmination of their efforts and present a cheque to the President, Richard Hone, QC, at our celebratory dinner in Folkestone on Saturday night.  

'I know that our donation will help to change the lives thousands of people in need and I am so proud of all our members and their families for their generous support and the huge efforts they have made.' – Geoffrey Dearing, Provincial Grand Master for East Kent

The nave of Canterbury Cathedral welcomed around 1,000 masons, their families and friends for a service to celebrate the bicentenary of Royal Arch Masonry

On Saturday 21 September, a unique event was held at Canterbury Cathedral that not only marked a special milestone in masonic history but also demonstrated a great affinity between Freemasonry and the cathedral’s stonemasons. Freemasonry has its roots in the lodges of medieval stonemasons and to this day supports the training of apprentice stonemasons at the cathedral.

The occasion was a combined celebration for the Provinces of East Kent, West Kent, Sussex and Surrey, each led by their respective Grand Superintendents, Geoffrey Dearing, Jonathan Winpenny, Kenneth Thomas and Eric Stuart-Bamford. The significance of the event was acknowledged by the presence of the Second and Third Grand Principals, George Francis and David Williamson, respectively. Russell Race, the Metropolitan Grand Superintendent, and David Boswell, the Grand Superintendent of Suffolk, were also in attendance, as was the Sheriff of Canterbury, Cllr Ann Taylor, who represented the city and people of Canterbury.

The Archdeacon of Canterbury, the Venerable Sheila Watson, conducted the service, with the grand setting and the superb King’s School Crypt Choir adding to the memorable ambience. The Archdeacon referred to the long connection between the cathedral and Freemasons, in particular the gifts of the Chapter House east window and the Coronation window. She paid tribute to the masonic principles of unity, fellowship and service to the community, and spoke of ‘service beyond ourselves’, a virtue embraced by the Church and Freemasonry alike.

When Folkestone mason Mike Lawrence’s wife joined the Shorncliffe Military Wives Choir, Mike set out to raise £1,250 for a PA system to enhance their performances, arranging 14 lectures in both the East and West Kent Provinces to achieve the target.

The choir is part of the Military Wives Choirs Foundation, a subsidiary charity of SSAFA Forces Help. There are now more than 30 choirs across UK military bases both at home and abroad.

Choir members at the Masonic Centre, Grace Hill, packed 113 boxes of presents for the Royal Gurkha Rifles – normally based at Shorncliffe Camp, but currently on active duty in Afghanistan.

Kent reopening for Library and Museum

The Kent Masonic Library and Museum Trust has been reopened by Geoffrey Dearing, Provincial Grand Master for East Kent, after an extensive 18-month redevelopment

Located in the heart of Canterbury, in St Peter’s Place, just a five-minute stroll from the 11th-century cathedral, the museum was originally opened in 1933, and has probably the finest collection of masonic material in the UK outside London.

As well as masonic paintings, glassware and porcelain, the displays include unique 19th-century stained-glass windows that originally adorned the old Freemasons’ Hall in London. The solid oak entrance doors came from St Mary’s College, part of the Jesuit Monastery in Hales Place, Canterbury, which was demolished at the same time as the museum was being designed by its architect, Brother FG Haywood of Market Square, Dover.

The first change evident to visitors is a striking new entrance in St Peter’s Place that catches the eye of the thousands of passers-by. The building is open daily from 10am to 4pm and is wheelchair accessible. Entry is free of charge, with donations welcome.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:00

Compassionate care in Kent

Six local hospices received cheques from East Kent Province on behalf of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity at a meeting of Maidstone’s Millennium Lodge of Charity No. 9730

Since 1984, the Grand Charity has donated £8.7 million to hospices in England and Wales, supporting the ongoing compassionate care that they give to patients and their families. Last year, £600,000 was distributed to 226 hospices, including an allocation of £100,000 specifically for services dedicated to caring for children. As well as supporting individuals who need hospice care, staff also support families and close friends during illness and bereavement.

Published in The Grand Charity
Thursday, 15 March 2012 00:00

Catching the fishing bug

Fishing days out organised by masons have been growing in popularity

The Province of East Kent members of the Masonic Trout and Fishing Club certainly rose to the occasion when the club staged its final day out of the season with rod and line for Portal School Dover at the Chart Fisheries in the Weald of Kent. For the local masons it had been a successful season of fishing arranged especially for disadvantaged young people, and the prizes and certificates of achievement for Portal School pupils were presented to the youngsters by Deputy Provincial Grand Master Roger Odd.

Thursday, 15 March 2012 00:00


Geoffrey Dearing has been installed as both Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent of the Royal Arch in the Province of East Kent by Jonathan Spence, Deputy Grand Master and Past Second Grand Principal.

The two ceremonies took place at the Winter Gardens theatre and functions building in Margate. Jonathan Spence reminded the companions and brethren that East Kent is his home Province, being a member of Pentangle Chapter and Sir Joseph Williamson Lodge, both meeting at Rochester.

Thursday, 09 February 2012 14:59

East Kent Hospice Awards

Since 1984, the Freemasons’ Grand Charity has donated £8.7 million to hospices throughout England and Wales, supporting the ongoing compassionate care (physical, social and spiritual) which they give to patients and their families. During last year a total of £600,000 was distributed to 226 hospices. This included an allocation of £100,000 specifically for services dedicated to caring for children. As well as supporting individuals who require hospice care, staff will also support families and close friends during the illness and bereavement.

These grants are awarded and distributed each year via Provinces. On Saturday, 7th January 2012, at the meeting of the Millennium Lodge of Charity, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Roger Odd, and the Master of the Lodge, Brian Monk, had the great pleasure of presenting the grants for 2011 to the representatives of 6 local hospices.

Roger said ‘Our hospices provide an invaluable service to many patients and families in times of great need and personal distress and we, the members of the Masonic Province of East Kent, are proud to help sustain this important service through our charitable giving by the Grand Charity and supported by our 2014 Festival’.

During the presentations, each representative gave a brief and informative outline of the work of their hospice and the services that they provide and paid tribute to all the members of the Masonic Province of East Kent for their unparalleled acts of charity that enables such a difference to be made to people’s lives. Dr John Reuther, a Grand Lodge Officer, also gave a talk on ‘The Changing Face of Charity’.

In concluding the awards, the Provincial Grand Charity Steward, Wayne Smith announced that the 2014 Festival had now raised £2 million, two thirds of our target.

Wayne said ‘The words ‘thank you’ are often lost in our selfless and untiring efforts to raise money for our 2014 Festival. It is therefore an honour, on behalf of the Province, for me to praise you all in the work so far and for your future efforts which I know will make the Festival a huge success’.

Hospice Grants

Hospice Received by
Demelza House Children's Hospice Pat Flanagan
Ellenor Lions Hospice (Adult) Linda Trew & Elaine Higgins
Heart of Kent Hospice Jenny Watkins
Pilgrims Hospice - Canterbury (Pilgrims Hospice in East Kent) Dr Richard Morey
Pilgrims Hospice - Thanet (Pilgrims Hospices in East Kent) Dr Richard Morey
Hospice - Ashford (Pilgrims Hospices in East Kent) Dr Richard Morey
Published in The Grand Charity
Thursday, 01 December 2011 15:50

A season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

As if we need reminding of the fact that the summer had slipped away, when the strident tones of the alarm announced the arrival of the day of the final East Kent Fishing Charity's event of the season and it was still dark - groan! However all gloomy thoughts of short days were dispelled on the journey to Chart Fisheries in the beautiful Weald of Kent as we enjoyed a morning of clear blue skies, a warming sun and pockets of mist trapped in the low ground. As my good friend Bro Len Hopkinson remarked after extensively quoting Keats - 'not even a coarse fisherman could fail to be moved by the beauty of the day'!

Yes indeed, this was to be the last of four events in 2011 in what can only be described as a highly successful season of fishing for disadvantaged young people. With a now well established and enthusiastic team, all of the usual routines had swung effortlessly into action as we prepared to receive our fishing partners from the Portal School, Dover. At the stroke of ten and promptly on cue, a group of very excited young men disembarked from their transport, each one keen to learn and anxious to get started.

 From the outset the competition was fierce to be the most successful young fisherman of the day and in barely no time at all, excited cries heralded the first of many catches of the day. The school staff in attendance were surprised and amazed in equal measure by how attentive the young people were and how they remained focussed on what they were doing. It was also heartening to witness the obvious rapport being generated between the casters and their young charges, evidence if any were needed, of the benefits of our work within the community.

We were very pleased to receive the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Roger Odd, who met with all of the young people and kindly agreed to award the certificates of achievement and prizes. In his closing address, Roger paid tribute to the members who gave their time so freely in support of such a worthwhile cause and for the happiness they generated.

Particular thanks are due to Ray Smith, Event Organiser, Len Hopson, Caster Manager, Pat Flanagan, Branch Secretary and Tim Pierpoint, Branch Treasurer - thanks guys for all your hard work in preparing for and delivering a wonderful season.

The calling notices for the Investiture meeting on Thursday 20th October were termed 'Special' and how right that proved to be. Many attending would be used to the pomp and ceremony of the annual Provincial Craft and Royal Arch Festivals, but few would have experienced the spectacle served up in the Winter Gardens at Margate that day under the ecellent direction of RWBro Jonathan Spence, Deputy Grand Master, and the careful control of VWBro Oliver Lodge, Grand Director of Ceremonies, and his team. Such a treat has not been served up since 2004 when Michael Robin Bailey was invested, and another is unlikely to be witnessed this decade.

The comment 'that's another one done' was pronounced by one of the distinguished guests on retiring to the East Room after the morning ceremony. He hadn't appreciated that he was passing a secondary staircase which was open to the Kings Hall and his remark was clearly audible to all those assembled within, to their combined amusement. It wasn't just 'another one done' as far as the members of the Province were concerned, it was their Geoffrey Gordon Dearing who had just been invested as Grand Superintendent in and over the Province of East Kent that morning and later after the lunch interval, Provincial Grand Master of East Kent.

The day was very much a Kent affair, as Jonathan Spence reminded the companions and brethren that East Kent is his home Province, he being a member of Pentangle Chapter No. 1174 and Sir Joseph Williamson Lodge No. 4605, both meeting at Gundolph Square, Rochester.

In his addresses Geoffrey Dearing gave tribute to those who had worked to make the day such a success. He acknowledged that he was not yet well known in every Centre in the Province and intended to put that right, but not all at once, so requested all to exercise patience. He remarked that he would never have believed how rapidly one could advance in Freemasonry in just six months!

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