Provincial Grand Master Stephen Hookey, along with other members of the Provincial Executive, were in attendance to present a cheque for £2,500 to this year’s cast of Guys and Dolls as part of a rolling programme of awards from the Provincial Grand Charity.
University Lodge of Chester No. 4477, welcomed Assistant Grand Master Sir David Wootton, Cheshire Provincial Grand Master Stephen Blank and more than 100 masons to witness the initiation of seven new members
The ceremony was conducted by Professor Andrew Thomas. The Provincial Grand Master presented Sir David with a bottle of Scotch whisky, while the lodge presented him with a bottle of Cheshire gin.
Westmorland Youth Orchestra has received £1,000 from the Province of Cumberland & Westmorland
The cheque was presented to director of music Fredrik Holm by Provincial Grand Master Norman Thompson at a concert at Queen Elizabeth School in Kirkby Lonsdale.
The hall was full to hear the 60 gifted young musicians. Classical and contemporary pieces performed ranged from ‘Danse Macabre’ by Saint-Saëns to ‘Viva la Vida’ by Coldplay and George Gershwin’s ‘An American in Paris’.
Norman said the cheque was the first of five annual £1,000 gifts to help the orchestra’s players reach their fullest potential.
Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons have generously donated nearly £61,000 to 26 charities supporting local communities in many areas including health-related charities.
The charities all gathered at an event at Freemasons’ Hall in Leicester to receive their donations from the Provincial Grand Master, David Hagger, and the Grand Superintendent of the Royal Arch Masons, Noel Manby, on behalf of Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons.
They included Leicester-based Mia Moos Foundation, which provides holidays for children with cancer, receiving a donation of £1,200 from the Leicestershire and Rutland Masonic Charity Association.
Mia Moos was set up in 2016 by Chris Phipps after this daughter Mia was diagnosed with leukaemia at 21-months-old. Chris said: 'Three weeks ago we managed to purchase a static caravan at Butlins so families with children on oncology wards can apply to us for a weekend or week away free of charge with full access to Butlins. They can get a break from their hospital treatment on the east coast for some sea and sand and time away with their families.'
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, who are committed to eradicating type 1 diabetes which affects 29,000 children in the UK, received a donation of £600 from Holmes Chapter No. 4656.
Members of the Morley Lodge No. 8320 donated £1,300 to the Leicestershire Autistic Society, which provides support, information and advice to families and professionals dealing with Autism in Leicestershire, Leicester City and Rutland. It is volunteer led organisation, where the vast majority of their volunteers are parents or carers of someone with Autism spectrum disorder.
Linda Hardcastle from Leicestershire Autistic Society said: 'We do provide a play scheme in the summer holidays for children with very severe autism. We used to get grants for this from the city and county council but we don’t anymore, so the money for this has to be raised. Thank you very much to the Freemasons for this donation which will be so helpful in funding this scheme.'
Provincial Grand Master David Hagger said: 'Freemasonry is now one of the largest charitable givers in the UK, and we are thrilled to be able to support charities working in our local communities.'
Simon Wills, General Manager of Babbacombe Model Village in Torquay, Devon, had invited Ian to view the latest introduction to their collection – an exact replica of the iconic Freemasons' Hall building in Great Queen Street. Ian was also featured in his dress regalia as part of the new model demonstration.
These models had taken many months to build and also included in their new City display is a model of Mark Masons Hall.
The village, which has been open since 1963, houses hundreds of model scenes of famous and iconic buildings which can be found around the country, surrounded by waterfalls and water features and includes over 13,000 miniature residents who live there.
Simon also kindly offered to donate 50% of the entrance fee from Devonhsire Freemasons and their families to help fund the MCF Masonic Charitable Foundation Devonshire Festival 2023.
The ties were sold to Derbyshire Freemasons, with the profits destined for charitable causes.
The tie depicts a poppy with the leaf pointing to 11am to represent the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. The square and compasses point to 5am to represent the actual time that the armistice was first signed. The tie can only be worn by members during November as a mark of gratitude to our armed forces.
The cheque was presented by the Provincial Grand Master Steven Varley at an informal ceremony, following a talk by staff of their Drop In Centre in Derby explaining the important work undertaken in supporting ex-military personnel returning home.
Lilly Clements, Community Fundraiser for the Royal British Legion, said: ‘We are honoured that the Masons have chosen us to support the Poppy Appeal.’
Disabled people supported by a Harrogate charity will be able to step into a whole new world, thanks to Yorkshire Freemasons
In a bid to equip customers for independent living, Disability Action Yorkshire is turning to virtual reality to help train and prepare them for a host of everyday life experiences, including supermarket shopping and travelling by public transport.
Members of the town’s Spa Lodge No. 7609 secured a grant of £2,000 from the Provincial Grand Master’s Fund, which has been used for the charity’s Virtual Independence Project to purchase a Garmin spherical camera, Oculus Go virtual reality headset and a new laptop computer to edit the recorded footage.
Disability Action Yorkshire Chief Executive Jackie Snape said: 'Thanks to the Spa Lodge nominating us for this generous grant, our training sessions for customers will be totally revolutionised.
'Whilst many are keen to live as independently as possible, the reality is that some people have had little or no experience of everyday life – our Virtual Independence Project will change all that.
'Our customers will be able to experience what it is like to travel on a bus independently, travel around a busy shopping centre or supermarket, or prepare and cook a simple meal. The aim is that once people have gained confidence in a virtual setting they will then go to try new experiences in daily life.'
Doug Mills, Spa Lodge Charity Steward, said: 'Charity is one of the three grand principles of Freemasonry and I’m delighted that we have been able to support Disability Action Yorkshire in kick-starting their Virtual Independence Project.
'With the camera, the charity will now be able to develop a series of 360-degree videos, which will help train and prepare customers keen to explore new experiences. I tried the headset on myself, and whilst it was great fun I could see a real benefit for those who lack confidence in undertaking simple tasks which, to them, can seem like major obstacles.
'The visit to Disability Action Yorkshire’s Claro Road residential care home proved to be a very satisfying experience, particularly in the knowledge that Freemasons in the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding have provided financial support to the wider community.'
People facing homelessness in the Western Bay area of South Wales will have greater support fighting through legal and administrative bureaucracy, thanks to a grant from South Wales Freemasons
Shelter Cymru, the Welsh people and homes charity, has been awarded £20,000 to help deliver a unique project entitled 'Housing Support Plus' working across the Western Bay covering Carmarthenshire, Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.
The grant from South Wales Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation.
This grant will support a vital personal service for people facing homelessness, supporting them at a very difficult time and giving them reassurance. It will see a new Housing Advocacy Volunteer Coordinator recruiting and training volunteers who will themselves directly support more than 200 people or families every year.
The service is aimed at people who are not sufficiently aware of their rights around housing and benefit issues and who need additional support to engage with caseworkers. There is also a special focus on practical issues such as arranging pre-meetings to ensure paperwork is completed, taking notes and providing individuals with a meeting record and information on next steps and actions.
Michelle Wales, Campaigns Manager at Shelter Cymru, said: 'We greatly welcome this grant from South Wales Freemasons. It will help us to provide essential support to people who often do not have a roof over their heads and who are struggling with bureaucracy.'
Speaking at a presentation in Cardiff, Provincial Grand Master of South Wales Freemasons, Gareth Jones OBE, said: 'We are very pleased to be able to support Shelter Cymru, who carry out excellent work with some of the most vulnerable people in our community.'
Monday 14 May 2018 proved to be a memorable day for members of the Lodge of Saint Mark No. 8479 in Dorset, with 92-year- old, World War II veteran Ray Fuller being installed as their Worshipful Master
Ray joined the Royal Navy as a 17-year-old in 1943 and served on HMS Illustrious. The carrier's aircraft attacked targets in Japanese-occupied Dutch East Indies and took part in the Battle of Okinawa.
In early 1944, the aircraft of HMS Illustrious and USS Saratoga joined forces to strike a naval base at Sabang in northern Sumatra.
Nearly 80 Brethren gathered in the village of Kinson to see Ray take the chair, which created a fantastic atmosphere on this remarkable evening. It wasn't Ray’s first time in the chair though having previously been Master of Bisley Lodge No. 2317 in Surrey, but that didn't detract from making this a special occasion for him. Over £700 was also raised for three charities during a bumper raffle.
Giving a moving response to the visitors toast was one member who had travelled down in a minibus from Surrey. He had known Ray since they were seven-years-old and they're both proud holders of the Burma Star, a military medal awarded to those who served in World War II.
The Provincial Grand Master for Dorset, Richard Merritt, commented that it was a remarkable coincidence that it was Ray's second time in the chair and that he was the 46th Master, as doubling this figure equalled Ray's exact age.
He went on to add that having made enquiries with UGLE, Ray was one of the oldest brothers to be installed into the chair of a lodge.
Over the past year, Manchester Freemasons have given £55,000 in donations to non-Masonic charitable organisations and on 3 May 2018 hosted a Giving Evening at Manchester Hall where cheques were presented to a number of exceptional organisations from Greater Manchester
The 109 attendees included Brethren, their guests and representatives from the good causes they have supported. The Provincial Grand Master of East Lancashire, Sir David Trippier, and The Lord Lieutenant for Greater Manchester, Warren Smith, were both in attendance.
Each of the organisations receiving donations had laid out a stand in the Goulburn Lodge Room and the evening began with the guests navigating their way around the room, learning about the amazing services they provide to the larger community, whilst enjoying the drinks reception and canapés.
The focus of the evening then turned to the Goulburn Dining Room, where the donations would be presented. As everyone made their way into the room, the Drum Corps of the Manchester Army Cadets demonstrated their new instruments that were bought for them earlier this year, with help from a grant from the East Lancashire Masonic Charity. This part of the evening was hosted by Stephen Thomson and Tony Stephenson, District Charity Stewards for the Manchester Districts.
The guests were formally welcomed by Chris Welton, Assistant Provincial Grand Master for Manchester Districts, and then Sir David Trippier spoke about the commitment Manchester masons have to supporting their local community and commended the achievements attained, often voluntarily, by the organisations they aim to help as Freemasons.
Warren Smith was then introduced to the podium and, describing Manchester masons as philanthropists, praised the valuable contribution they make to the community. A number of representatives from the organisations that received donations gave short talks on the difference the money they have received has made on the lives of people in their area.
The lodges and chapters were then invited to present their cheques to their beneficiaries and the following donations were made to:
- Friendship Lodge No. 44 presented to Blythe House Hospice
- Arkscroll Lodge No. 6594 and Ark Menorah Chapter No. 6594 presented to Bury Hospice
- Ashbury Lodge No. 1459 presented to Centrepoint
- Arkscroll Lodge No. 6594 and Ark Menorah Chapter No. 6594 presented to The Christie
- Felicity Lodge No. 4365 presented to Day Trippers
- Arkscroll Lodge No. 6594, Ark Menorah Chapter No. 6594 and Zion Menorah Lodge No. 1798 presented to The Federation of Jewish Services
- Ashbury Lodge No. 1459 presented to Mustard Tree
- Felicity Lodge No. 4365 presented to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital
- Friendship Lodge No. 44 presented to St Anne’s Hospice
- Zion Menorah Lodge No. 1798 and Ark Menorah Chapter No. 6594 presented to The Nicky Alliance Centre
- Ark Menorah Chapter No. 6594 presented to Wood Street Mission
The evening was closed by Chris Welton, who declared it to have been a great success and commended the hard work and dedication displayed by Stephen Thomson and Tony Stephenson in delivering this momentous event.