A looted book has been returned to its rightful owners after more than 70 years of searching
In January 1941, the four Masonic temples in the Channel Islands were ransacked by the Germans. The contents were loaded on to a ship called the SS Holland and taken to Granville, France. Most of the items were lost forever – some were exhibited in Berlin – but three cases were intercepted and captured by the French resistance in the area. Three members of that group were French Freemasons of Lodge Perservance No. 27, working English ritual.
From the items they recovered they realised that the cases were from the Channel Islands and kept them safe for the rest of the war. Through connections with Guernsey, arrangements were made to return the items to Guernsey Freemasons.
'We were missing one of the many books that were returned in the case, so assumed it was ours', explained Simon Hamon, President of the Guernsey and Alderney Library and Museum Committee. 'Everything else we sent across to Jersey'.
When Michael Beacham, historian and researcher for Guernsey and Alderney Museum, was studying the books, he recognised a Jersey book plate inside one of them. ‘If we had just opened it when it was returned to us and hadn't just put it straight into storage, we would have known that it belonged to Jersey,' said Michael.
The book, Kennings Masonic Encyclopaedia from about 1850, was formally returned to the Province of Jersey, where it was accepted by their Museum and Library Curator Geoff Morris in Guernsey. 'This really goes to show that items that were looted are still out there,' he said.
Simon Hamon said that Guernsey were delighted to be able to return the book to its correct home. 'It's unbelievable that it has taken us nearly 74 years – to figure out that it belongs to Jersey – when the book plate was in there the whole time. The books are so fragile we don't like to open them too much.’
The Masonic Temple on Stopford Road in Jersey is one of the most impressive of its kind, so much so that local Freemason Julian Spurr believed it would be a fitting venue for his wedding
The Temple has recently benefitted from a complete refurbishment which saw the addition of a new bar, provincial robing room, disability access points, lady’s toilets plus a complete interior and exterior redecoration. Once again, the building is a fantastic hub for the members of the Island and fit to serve the Craft long into the future.
It wasn’t always so well polished, built in 1864 the property suffered heavily during the Nazi Occupation of Jersey and was ransacked by Nazi treasure hunters in 1941. Those dark days are now a distant memory and a new chapter has begun. Earlier in the year, history was made once more when Julian Spurr, of St Aubin's Lodge No. 958, and his blushing bride Karen tied the knot in the Corinthian-styled surroundings of the Jersey temple.
Julian said: 'Karen and I were discussing wedding venues one evening, and I reminded her that someone had mentioned to me that the Province had been toying with the idea of possibly promoting weddings at the Temple.'
When Julian and Karen arrived at the Temple, he took her inside and told her to close her eyes before turning the lights on – she said: 'This is the place. This where I want us to get married.'
The couple had already decided on a Great Gatsby theme and felt that the building would more than lend its colours and majesty to the 1920s style, not to mention the beauty of the exterior featuring in the all-important photographs. The newlyweds entertained 85 guests, with everyone throwing themselves into the glamorous theme.
Pre-ceremony drinks were held in the rear courtyard of the Temple, and the reception and sumptuous buffet wedding feast in the dining room.
Julian said: 'We danced the night away to music from the Charleston and Gatsby eras, the fifties and sixties, right up to Jess Glynne and Ed Sheeran – the Temple had never rocked like that before.'
During and after the event, countless guests commented on the fact that they had never been to such a wedding before, in such magnificent surroundings – a hugely successful first wedding held in Jersey’s Masonic Temple.
Jersey Freemasons have won a prestigious community award for their charity work
Voted for by the island’s people, the Jersey Evening Post Pride Of Jersey Awards has 12 categories that recognise neighbourliness, voluntary activity, community involvement and fundraising. Jersey’s masons were nominated in the Fundraiser of the Year category by Marteen McCloat.
With the event hosted by ex-England football star Graeme Le Saux and singer-songwriter Nerina Pallot, the Province was represented on the night by Deputy PGM Graham Spence and Provincial Grand Charity Steward Colin Le Cornu.
Along with a trophy, the Province was awarded £1,000 donated by The Marketing Bureau, which has now been donated to two local charities.
The exceptional record of Jersey Freemasons’ charitable giving was acknowledged when the Province won the Jersey Evening Post Pride of Jersey Award for Fundraiser of the year 2017
Every year the public of Jersey vote on 12 diverse award categories recognising neighbourliness, inspirational leadership, voluntary activity, community involvement and fundraising.
Jersey Freemasons were nominated by Mrs Marteen McCloat who wrote that each year they carry out considerable charitable works, without much noise or fuss. Along with numerous other organisations, charities and individuals, the Province completed an initial assessment and were shortlisted for the public vote.
The awards ceremony was held at St John’s Manor on 23rd September with the Province represented by Deputy Provincial Grand Master VW Bro Graham Spence together with the Provincial Grand Charity Steward W Bro Colin Le Cornu. Needless to say, both were astounded when the judges announced that of the three finalists in their category, it was the Province of Jersey that took the top honour.
Along with a magnificent trophy, the Province was awarded a prize of £1,000 kindly donated by award sponsors The Marketing Bureau. The prize money has been donated equally between the TLC Appeal for Jersey’s General Hospital and Mont a L’Abbe School to help maintain their sensory garden, which was donated by Jersey Freemasons in 2013.
Deputy PGM VW Bro Graham Spence and W Bro Colin Le Cornu collected the award alongside event hosts ex-England football star Graeme Le Saux and singer/songwriter Nerina Pallot.
More than 300 Freemasons and their families attended a service in Guernsey in celebration of the Tercentenary of the United Grand Lodge of England, which was represented by Past Assistant Grand Master David Williamson
The service was held at the island’s principal church and was led by the Dean of Guernsey, the Very Reverend Tim Barker.
Prior to the service, the brethren paraded in full regalia through the town of St Peter Port for the first time since the bicentenary in 1917.
They were joined by Jersey Provincial Grand Master Kenneth Rondel, who formally handed over the South West Provinces Tercentenary banner to Guernsey & Alderney Provincial Grand Master David Hodgetts. The service was followed by a festive lunch, at which the Dean was an honoured guest.
Despite inclement weather, the Province of Somerset safely delivered the special south west Tercentenary banner to the Province of Devonshire in the magnificent Exeter Cathedral
The banner recognises the special fraternal bond that exists between the South West Provinces and has toured to the Provincial Grand Lodges of Jersey, Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Wiltshire, Dorset and Somerset. Devonshire will pass it on to the Provincial Grand Lodge of Cornwall later in the year.
The Provincial Teams from Somerset and Devon paraded in regalia and met in the nave of Exeter Cathedral where the banner was formally passed over.
Stuart Hadler, Provincial Grand Master of Somerset, and Ian Kingsbury, Provincial Grand Master of Devon, greeted one another and expressed their delight to be able to publicly show and acknowledge the 300th anniversary of the formation of the Premier Grand Lodge.
Sea cadet support in Jersey
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Jersey has donated £10,000 to the Jersey Sea Cadets to fund staff training as well as the purchase of items such as kayaks, archery and diving apparatus, and IT equipment. Provincial Grand Master Ken Rondel said, ‘The core values our two organisations share are so similar, it is an honour to be able to assist the Sea Cadet Corps in their valuable work.’
A nationwide maritime youth organisation, the Sea Cadets gives young people aged 10 to 18 opportunities for personal development, through learning new skills – such as sailing and rock climbing – challenging themselves and working in teams. Those aged 13 to 18 may also join the Royal Marines Cadets.
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Jersey is delighted to announce that following an approach last year from the Jersey Sea Cadets, the Freemasons of Jersey donated £10,000 yesterday at the Sea Cadets weekly parade
This donation is to purchase a variety of items, including Kayaks, Archery and Diving equipment, as well as IT software and hardware and also to provide important staff training.
The aim of the Sea Cadet Corps (SCC) is to give young people the best possible head start in life through nautical adventure and fun, teaching them essential life skills and moral values.
The SCC is a nationwide voluntary youth organisation open to young people aged 10 to 18. Junior Sea Cadet sections are open to young people aged 10 to 12 years of age. Those aged from 13 to 18 may also join Royal Marines Cadet Detachments (RMCD), where established within Sea Cadet units, as Royal Marines Cadets. The local branch of the Sea Cadets, particularly at the present time, is very much in need of support.
The Provincial Grand Master, Ken Rondel, said when presenting the donation: 'The core values our two organisations share are so similar, it’s an honour to be able to assist the Sea Cadet Corps in their valuable work, keeping teenagers’ activities focused on positive mental and physical attributes.'
Vital support for Jersey hospital
Jersey masons reached the highlight of their 2013-14 charity appeal when a paediatric colonoscope was donated to the Endoscopy Unit at the General Hospital for its bowel cancer screening programme. Jersey masons raised £40,000 through donations and charity events ranging from lunches and raffles to clay pigeon shooting. The new colonoscope will enable the department to prevent a significant number of cases of bowel cancer on the island.
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Jersey is delighted to announce that Tuesday the 2nd September will the see the culmination of its chosen 2013/14 charity appeal when a paediatric colonoscope shall be donated to the Bowel Cancer Screening Department of the General Hospital
The £40,000 to purchase this vital piece of equipment was raised by the Freemasons of Jersey over the past year through donations and various charity events, ranging from lunches, raffles, BBQs and even clay pigeon shooting!
The importance of the work done for all the people of Jersey by the Bowel Cancer Screening Department was highlighted to the Freemasons of Jersey, when Dr Linda Diggle and her team gave a presentation at an annual event to welcome newly joined members and their family and friends. It was made clear that the additional colonoscope, by virtue of allowing for more screenings, would enable the department to catch and therefore prevent a significant number of cases of bowel cancer in the island.
Whilst the name suggests the equipment is for use in regard to children, it should be highlighted that in this instance 'paediatric' also refers to the size of the apparatus, which, being smaller, is far less invasive for those undergoing screening procedures.
The Provincial Grand Master of Jersey, Kenneth Rondel (along with other Jersey Freemasons), presented the equipment to the General Hospital on Tuesday 2nd September, see image above.