Around 200 West Lancashire Freemasons and their partners enjoyed a ‘grand day out’ at a charity event staged at the very top of their Province, in the town of Grange-over-Sands, and raised £2,500
The very appropriately named Cumbria Grand Hotel was taken over for the evening with the ticket price including overnight accommodation, which was supported by the Provincial Grand Master of West Lancashire Tony Harrison, together with his wife Maureen.
The themed ‘Black and White Ball’ started with a ‘Fizz Reception’, followed by a four-course dinner, a spectacular firework display and then dancing into the early hours to the ten-piece band, ‘Soul Survivor’. To keep the party goers on their feet till late, a ‘Lancashire Hot Pot’ supper was served around midnight.
Organiser Richard Wilcock, who is the local charity steward, was delighted with the success of the event and paid tribute to the immense help given to him by his wife, Jackie. He said: ‘We’ve had yet another fantastic night, well supported not only by our local members but also by our friends from across Morecambe Bay in the Lancaster masonic group.
‘This year the event has raised at least £2,500 for charity and has been so popular that we are considering extending it to run over two nights next year.’
The Province of West Lancashire is currently hosting a festival in support of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, ending in 2021.
A blue heritage plaque was fitted to the side of the Goddard Arms Hotel by Swindon Heritage to mark 200 years of Freemasonry in the town
Swindon’s first Freemasons met at the High Street pub in May 1818. The Royal Sussex Lodge of Emulation No. 355, which initially consisted of just 10 members, continued to meet at the Goddard Arms until 1875.
Noel Beauchamp of Swindon Heritage said: ‘This blue plaque is important because it marks something that happened in Swindon pre-railway. People know Swindon as a railway town, whereas in fact people have been living up here on the hill for a thousand years, if not longer. It brings into context how old Swindon is.
The Provincial Grand Master for Wiltshire Philip Bullock said: ‘This lodge has been associated with Swindon for 200 years and Freemasonry is as strong now as it was then.’
Philip was helped in unveiling the blue plaque by another long-standing Freemason, Past Provincial Grandmaster for Worcestershire Richard Goddard, who is also a relative of the family that owned the nearby Lawns estate for hundreds of years. ‘It was a great honour to unveil the plaque,” he said. ‘Freemasonry has always been about three great principles: brotherly love, relief and truth. That could be translated as friendship, generosity and integrity.
Newly appointed Assistant Provincial Grand Master Simon Leighfield added: ‘Just as this plaque is in the heart of Swindon's Old Town, Freemasonry is at the heart of the community.’
The heritage plaque is the seventh to be installed around Swindon. Others mark the birthplaces or homes of actress Diana Dors, whose father was a Freemason, Votes for Women campaigner Edith New and Swindon Town Football Club hero Sam Allen. The eighth plaque will commemorate local poet Richard Jefferies.
East Kent Freemasons have donated £4,000 to the Kent Surrey Sussex Air Ambulance service
As an independent charity, they strive to save lives by providing the best possible medical care every minute of the day, every day of the year, which means every donation they receive is vital. Last year alone, they were called out to help over 2,000 people in life-threatening conditions.
On 30th October 2018, the Provincial Grand Master of East Kent, Neil Johnstone, presented a cheque to the Kent Surrey Sussex Air Ambulance service at Rochester Airport for £4,000. The grant was donated by the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) and has brought the total Masonic support given to the Air Ambulance Service to over £4 million since 2007, supporting over 22 Air Ambulances across England and Wales.
Presenting the cheque to the Air Ambulance crew, Neil said: ‘Words will never truly describe the life changing differences that you make to the people of our local communities who call upon your services. I am certain that many people today are grateful to you and we are glad that we can help to support the service now and in the future.’
The grant from the MCF was co-ordinated through the main charity for the Masonic Province of East Kent, the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons' Charity. Supporting Neil from the charity were the CEO Peter Rhodes, Chairman Pat Thomas, and the Head of Charities for East Kent, Mark Bassant.
It costs an average of £2,500 every time the Air Ambulance scrambles for another life-saving mission from its base at RAF Waddington.
Lincolnshire’s Provincial Grand Master David Wheeler said: ‘The Air Ambulance provides a vital service in our largely rural Province, and we are pleased to say that by helping to fund it with our donation we have played a small role in ensuring that there will be people alive tomorrow who might otherwise have passed away.
‘We see ourselves as part of a community, with a duty to help everyone in it. Support for the Air Ambulance is a positive way to do that at life-changing moments for patients and their families.’
The £4,000 grant came from the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), and was part of the latest round of Air Ambulance funding, which totals over £4 million since 2007. This year, 20 services will share in £192,000 from the MCF, which administers funds raised through personal contributions from Freemasons.
The Lincs and Notts donation was handed over by Provincial Charity Steward Peter Tong, who said: ‘The Air Ambulance service in our region has been there to help more than 192,000 people since its inception in 1994.
'It already flies two or three times a day, but the organisation’s ambition is to make itself available to fly to where it’s needed on a 24/7 basis. That could lift the number of missions to five a day, which is a tremendous financial commitment. We wanted to play a small part in helping to make that happen.’
Sally Crawford, the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance head of Fundraising and Communications, said: ‘Thank you so much for supporting the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance; £4,000 is an incredible amount of money and we are most grateful. The critical care we provide gives people their very best chance of survival and recovery. We receive no direct Government funding, and are not part of the NHS, so your donation really is essential in helping us to save lives.’
After their meeting on 10 November 2018, on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the First World War Armistice, Delphis Lodge No. 7769 in Herefordshire presented the Province with a plaque commemorating those Herefordshire members who lost their lives in the First World War
In a special ceremony, Paul Young, Worshipful Master of Delphis Lodge in 1991, presented the plaque, which was received by the Provincial Grand Master The Rev David Bowen. Paul then read the complete poem by Laurence Binyon, 'For the Fallen', with the assembled members joining in repeating the well-known middle verse - 'They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old'.
In receiving the plaque on behalf of the Province, The Rev David Bowen, thanked members of Delphis Lodge for this thoughtful gift to the Province and read the Wilfred Owen poem, 'The Parable of the Old Man and the Young'. Bugler Colin Davies gave added further dignity and poignancy to the occasion, rounding off the ceremony with The Last Post.
The plaque commemorates the six members known to have died, from Palladian, Vitruvian, Eastnor, Arrow and Loyal Hay Lodges. Their identities and history were researched by Tim Fycun, Worshipful Master of Delphis Lodge 2015-2016. The plaque, with its fine wooden frame made by Keith Farmer, will occupy a prominent and permanent position within the Hereford Masonic Hall.
On the same occasion, a statuette was unveiled of a soldier commemorating the memory of all Herefordshire members who lost their lives in the service of their country, generously provided by Wilf Charles.
Devonshire Freemasons have donated £4,000 to the Devon Air Ambulance, bringing the total masonic support given to air ambulances across the country to OVER £4 million since 2007
Ian Kingsbury, Provincial Grand Master of Devonshire, was on hand to present the grant to Devon Air Ambulance, which comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, accompanied by Dr. Reuben Ayres, Provincial Grand Charity Steward. The total contribution to Devon Air Ambulance since 2007 by Freemasons is £55,000 and when adding the donations made by individual Devon lodges, the total reaches over £116,000.
The Air Ambulance operates right across Devonshire and in 2017 assisted 990 patients, more than any other year. 50% of these incidents were medical emergencies such as heart attacks, with 49% being trauma related (for example, road traffic collisions and accidental injuries). 12% of all jobs attended were to children.
Devon Air Ambulance relies entirely on charitable grants and donations from the community, businesses and friends of Devon.
Caroline Creer, Fundraising and Communications Director for Devon Air Ambulance, said: ‘We would like to thank the Devonshire Freemasons for their continued support and generosity. Support like theirs really does mean a lot and helps to keep Devon’s two Air Ambulances flying.’
Ian Kingsbury said: ‘We are proud to be able to support the Devon Air Ambulance. Thanks to their team’s tireless efforts, many lives of local people are saved every year.’
During 2018, Freemasons from around the country will be presenting 20 regional air ambulances with grants totalling £192,000.
One of the key figures of the suffragette movement, Annie Besant, was not only a socialist, rights activist, author and orator, but also one of the founders of the society of Co-Freemasonry, which has evolved into the present day The Order of Women Freemasons organisation
This was one of the interesting facts revealed by Geraldene Greenhalgh from The Order of Women Freemasons in an absorbing talk she gave to West Lancashire Freemasons at Barrow-in-Furness Masonic Hall. The host lodge was Lonsdale Lodge of Installed Masters No. 9422.
Geraldine is a Senior Grand Warden in The Order of Women Freemasons and holds responsibility for Lancashire. She further explained how Annie had become head of the Order and had led a public march through the streets of London by her members, dressed in their regalia, during one of the important demonstrations in support of the campaign for universal suffrage.
Previously the lodge had been opened, the business conducted and duly closed before Geraldene was then welcomed into the lodge room to give her talk. She was not the only woman in attendance as the wives and partners of Lonsdale members were also admitted to enjoy the oration. Amongst the attentive onlookers was the Provincial Grand Master of West Lancashire Tony Harrison who was accompanied by his wife Maureen together with Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Grainger and his wife Beryl.
Geraldene outlined how the Order was founded and its subsequent history. It shares many of the principals of Freemasonry and its ceremonies reflect those performed by their male counterparts. The first head of the order in 1908 had in fact been a man, the Rev Dr. William Cobb. Since 1912, the Grand Masters have all been women and in 1920, it was decided to restrict admission exclusively to females which continues to this day.
One of the principal objects of The Order of Women Freemasons, which is open to all faiths, is charity. It was revealed that the ‘Race for Life’ fundraiser in aid of Cancer UK in 2016 saw the Order raise £100,000 for the campaign. Recent years have also seen donations of £100,000 each to charities in aid of Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer research. In its centenary year in 2008 donations of £250,000 had been made to Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK. Rather than a levy on the members, the Order relies on charitable funds being raised at social events. A Gentleman’s Festival replaces the Ladies Night held by Craft lodges.
The Order, which now boasts 6,000 members in this country and abroad in 350 lodges, is administered from premises in Pembridge Gardens in Notting Hill which were left to them by a member. Their Grand Lodge meetings are held in Birmingham and regularly attract over 1,000 members.
In addition to the Craft, The Order of Women Freemasons also has a degree equivalent to the Holy Royal Arch Chapter as well as several other orders. Geraldine added that women who wished to enjoy Freemasonry could also join The Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons which also only admits women as members.
The lodge’s Master Bill Edmonds thanked Geraldene for a talk which had proved both informative and interesting and kept everyone enthralled throughout.
'A force for good,' was how Dame Janet Trotter, Lord Lieutenant for Gloucestershire, described Freemasons in the county and the wider area
Dame Janet was responding to the announcement at a celebratory gala at the DeVere Cotswolds Water Park Hotel that both national and local charities would be benefitting to the tune of £1.75 million, following a five year fund-raising drive by Gloucestershire Freemasons.
‘This money goes beyond masonic charities,’ said the Provincial Grand Master for Gloucestershire, Tim Henderson-Ross. ‘It will benefit the wider Gloucestershire community, hopefully helping to dispel the myth that Freemasons only look after themselves.
‘Gloucestershire masons have risen to the challenge, delivering a tremendous result. In so doing, you will help those less fortunate than ourselves; spreading a little happiness and, all being well, leaving the world better than we found it.’
To mark her retirement from office, the Provincial Grand Master presented the Lord Lieutenant with a cheque for £5,000, destined for a charity of her choice. Dame Janet disclosed she was currently championing a new charity – the Cyber Trust – which seeks to protect those most at risk in the area of personal cyber and online security.
Holding the cheque aloft, she said: ‘I promise this will be positively used, particularly in the county’s schools.’
Professor Turi King, the scientist at the heart of the project to find the remains of King Richard III, was the speaker at the 18th annual festival of the Association of Medical, University and Legal Lodges (AMULL) which was held on 6th October in the cathedral city of Leicester
Around 100 people attended and, despite the rain, everyone enjoyed a superb day of fraternity, festivity and fun.
The festival was hosted this year by Wyggeston Lodge No. 3448, the Universities Scheme Lodge for the University of Leicester, with the programme for the event devised and administered by Dr Andy Green with support from AMULL Secretary Athelstane Aamodt.
The festival guests assembled for tea and coffee in cloistral hush of Leicester Cathedral, the resting place of King Richard III and the venue for the interfaith service conducted by the Rev Canon Michael Wilson, Grand Chaplain, whose excellent proceedings and highly topical address were rounded off with a rousing rendition of ‘Jerusalem’ which the assembled congregation sang with gusto.
After the service, the guests made their way to the beautiful Guildhall, one of the best preserved timber-framed halls in the country and with a history dating back 600 years. There, Professor Turi King gave an entertaining and interesting talk on the excavation in Leicester that led to the discovery of King Richard III, managing to inject wit and humour into subjects like mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosomes. Her talk, which entirely captivated the audience, was rapturously received.
Professor King’s talk was followed by AMULL’s now-traditional champagne reception and then lunch in St. Martin’s House, culminating in a toast to AMULL given by Paul Marvin, the current Master of Wyggeston Lodge, with the response given by the AMULL President, David Williamson.
AMULL was delighted to make hardship grants totalling £5,000 to three excellent students: Naomi Amos, Andrew Slater, and Joshua Holford whose respective stories were filled with inspiring grit and determination. AMULL was also delighted to make an award of £1,000 to Leicester University Scholarship Fund, which was accepted by Michael Turnbull on behalf of the University. This donation was generously matched from the Leicestershire and Rutland Masonic Charitable Association presented by the Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland David Hagger.
AMULL President David Williamson said: ‘All-in-all a truly memorable Festival from every aspect.’
Next year’s festival will be hosted in London by Think and Thank Lodge No. 4112, one of the latest additions to the Universities Scheme.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force, the 100th Anniversary of the end of the First World War and the 75th Anniversary of the Dambusters Raid, Derbyshire Freemasons with special guest, Squadron Leader George 'Johnny' Johnson MBE DFM, made generous presentations to Derbyshire Air Cadets
‘Johnny’ was a 21-year-old Sergeant when he took part in Operation Chastise, where he was the bomb aimer in Lancaster AJ-T (T-Tommy) piloted by ‘Joe’ McCarthy RCAF, which conducted the first attack on the Sorpe Dam.
The Squadron was based in Lincolnshire but used the Derwent dams during training so he is no stranger to the county, albeit in those days he was seeing Derbyshire from the air. The connection to Derbyshire also includes Barnes Wallace, the engineer who designed the bouncing bomb and who was born in Ripley.
Looking for a fitting tribute to mark the various anniversaries, the Provincial Grand Master for Derbyshire Steven Varley decided to present all Air Training Corps Squadrons within Derbyshire a cheque for £1,000. In addition, the Squadrons each received a framed print of a Lancaster Bomber signed and presented by Squadron Leader Johnson, who at 96 years of age is the last surviving member of the aircrews that participated in the Dambusters Raid during the Second World War. These prints will no doubt be treasured by future generations of ATC cadets.
All of the donations were funded by the Provincial Grand Charity of the Province Of Derbyshire which regularly gives funding for many worthy causes throughout the County. All of the funds are collected from donations made by their members.
Flight Lieutenant Steve Broomhead RAFAC, Officer Commanding 1890 (Dronfield) Squadron ATC: ‘This is a fantastically generous gift that will certainly help as my Squadron is desperately trying to update our IT capability.
‘The IT is now such so important to the running of the Squadron both in our administration and in the gaining of cadet qualifications. The icing on the evening’s cake was receiving the signed print from, and meeting with, Johnny Johnson, such an inspiring gentleman.’
After the Presentations, Squadron Leader Michael Roe, RAF Rtd, gave an interesting talk about his long and distinguished flying career in the RAF. To cap it all, four lucky cadets will also receive a flight in an historic two-seater Chipmunk aircraft.
In a short but entertaining speech, Johnny Johnson paid tribute to those he flew with and told the cadets that they were the RAF’s future and that the future was looking to be in good hands. After the Presentations and speeches, Johnny Johnson was presented with a cheque for £1,000 for his own charity, Group 617.
The evening ended with a dinner for all present which included the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire, Civic representatives of Derby and Derbyshire and representatives of the Royal Air Forces association along with the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association.
Wing Commander Andy Pass, Officer Commanding South & East Midlands Wing, commented: ‘This was an extraordinarily generous gift to the 15 Squadrons from across the county. The money will be of great benefit to the cadets at the Squadrons and it will be spent wisely on equipment that will greatly enhance the Squadron’s ability to deliver the World class cadet experience for which the RAF Air Cadets are renowned.’