Dorset Freemason John Howland proudly presented a donation of £1,000 to Poole Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), which was raised by members of Northbourne Lodge No. 6827
John appreciates the remarkable work conducted by the NICU and reflected: ‘When I became Master of Northbourne Lodge, I realised I had an opportunity to repay them in some small measure for not only saving my granddaughter's but also my daughter’s life.’
John’s 13-year-old granddaughter Hannah, who was born prematurely at 26 weeks in 2005, was present when the cheque was handed over to staff nurse Felicity Metcalfe.
Poole NICU cares for babies requiring special care, whether it is due to pre-maturity, illness at delivery or health problems during the baby’s stay at hospital. The money will go towards procuring one of nine much needed £3,000 state-of-the-art ‘Hot Cots’, which are vital in enhancing the NICUs on-going success in safeguarding premature babies.
Dorset’s Provincial Grand Master Graham Glazier said: ‘This work by Northbourne Lodge is a terrific embodiment of the values of Freemasons all over the UK. We believe in playing a key role in our communities and regularly give time and money to charitable ventures.’
A charity providing life-saving support has received a cash donation of nearly £10,000 from Berkshire Freemasons
This huge sum was gathered through a series of contributions from Berkshire Freemasons and given to the Thames Valley Air Ambulance in January 2019.
The bulk of the funds were from the Masonic Charitable Foundation and the Berkshire Masonic Foundation, while further funds were being provided by individual lodges in Berkshire.
Anthony Howlett-Bolton, the Provincial Grand Master of Berkshire, said: 'We are thrilled to continue supporting the Thames Valley Air Ambulance. Thanks to the tireless efforts of their doctors, paramedics and pilots, many lives of people in the Thames Valley are saved every year.'
Freemasons are very large contributors to the air ambulance charities; Berkshire Freemasons have contributed over £75,000 in the last ten years. Nationally, the contributions are in excess of £2 million.
Thames Valley Air Ambulance operates across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, providing frontline emergency car using four rapid response vehicles and one air ambulance.
Neil Harman, Director of Fundraising for Thames Valley Air Ambulance, said: 'We are very grateful to Berkshire Freemasons for their continuing generosity. Without support like this our crew would not be able to provide advance critical care and our life-saving work could not continue.'
Freemasonry provided its own version of the Six Nations when two Provincial rugby teams locked horns for the first time in Wigan, as they competed for the Freemasons Rugby Challenge Cup on 9th February 2019
Leicestershire & Rutland Light Blues RFC accepted an invitation to participate in the inaugural match of the Province of West Lancashire’s new masonic rugby team, with the cup donated by both clubs to encourage the development of provincial masonic rugby teams and a healthy rivalry.
Wigan, a town more familiar with Rugby League, was the battleground and despite stormy conditions throughout the night, the sun was shining in front of a 200-strong crowd and the pitch in excellent condition.
Both sides began the match with enthusiasm and, with ‘brotherly love’ being temporarily put to one side, a true rugby spirit. Despite it being their first match – and for some of their players, the first ever game – West Lancashire were competitive with resilient defence and probing attacks, but the first half finished with Leicestershire & Rutland holding a narrow 13-10 lead.
While West Lancashire Freemasons Rugby Football Club (WLFRFC) fielded an all-masonic team, part of the ethos of Leicestershire Light Blues RFC, who have been established for a number of years, is to work as a recruiting platform and a conduit into Freemasonry. The fresh, and somewhat younger, legs of the Leicestershire & Rutland team proved decisive and, after a hard-fought second half, they were victorious with a 30-10 victory.
The Freemasons Rugby Challenge Cup was presented to the Light Blues RFC Captain Andrew 'Jock' Keenan by the WLFRFC Honorary Patron, Provincial Grand Master of West Lancashire, Tony Harrison for a well-deserved victory.
WLFRFC Honorary President, linesman and Deputy Grand Superintendent from Royal Arch Province of West Lancashire Dr Paul Renton presented man-of-the-match awards to West Lancs’ Hooker Mark Brant and to Leicestershire & Rutland’s Fly Half Ollie Stanley.
Fundraising on the day raised £960 which included a generous donation of £103 by Leicestershire and Rutland members.
WLFRFC Chairman & Founder Garry Hacking praised the generosity and support of all who attended the match from both Provinces and thanked Daniel Quelch and Andrew Keenan for their guidance, advice and help in setting up the West Lancashire team.
Dorset Freemasons stepped up to the mark when a 'recovery café' run by the Essential Drugs & Alcohol Service (EDAS) in Poole needed extra funds
Members of the Lodge of Meridian No. 6582 and St Aldhelm's Lodge No. 2559, Magnaura Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine and the Dorset Provincial Grand Master’s Discretionary Fund joined together to fund an information system which will allow the cafe to widen the services it provides.
The Serenitea Café provides an alcohol-free social environment for people in recovery, as well as members of the public. Dorset Freemason Mark Burstow and Lionel Turner of Magnaura Conclave visited the cafe to find out more about its work.
Mark Burstow, who also acts as the Province's Communications Officer, said: ‘A key element of our activities as Freemasons is to play an active part in our communities and support charitable activities such as these. The support that Serenitea will offer is invaluable helping individuals to cope whilst on their path to recovery.’
Kate Allard, of EDAS, said: ‘This donation will help us provide events that members of the community can enjoy in a safe space; we are very grateful for this generous donation.’
Hope Support Services, founded in 2009 in Ross on Wye, provides support for young people aged 11-25 when a close family member is seriously ill with a life-threatening condition, especially those with cancer. They provide support at this stressful time through sessions where young people can gather together in Ross, Leominster and Hereford.
They arrange various activities and outings, and also provide support online, through Facebook and Skype, and are in the process of developing an app with help from Comic Relief which will enable young people to communicate with each other and to link with other charities which might be able to provide help.
Their aim is to provide emotional support for their young clients, of whom there are around 300, and to prepare them for bereavement. They also run a Building Better Opportunities course for those young people who are wanting to find work.
In 2017, they were approached by St Michael’s Hospice to run their services for the children of cancer patients being cared for by the Hospice. Children looked after in this way can be as young as five, and around 130 children and young people are cared for through this initiative.
They have eight full and part-time staff, plus a session worker and two online workers. There is also a Youth Management Team, who have benefited from the services themselves in the past and now help with planning and holding the charity’s range of activities.
On receiving the donation, Hope Support Services warmly thanked the Freemasons of Herefordshire for the generous grant, which will go towards developing the activities provided for young people at this difficult time in their lives.
Only 17 Freemasons have been Provincial Grand Master of Lincolnshire since its formation in 1792 – and four of them are in this picture
Still regularly attending meetings are the men who have been in charge – with one break of two years – since 1981.
They are Gordon Walkerley Smith (1999-2008), David Wheeler (the current incumbent, installed in July 2018). Geoffrey Mawer Cooper (1981-1997) and Graham Ives (2008-2018)
The break in the chain was caused by the unexpected death, two years after taking the office in 1997, of Dr John Allin.
The longest time in office was 41 years, between 1895 and 1936, when the Provincial Grand Master was Lord Worsley, Fourth Earl of Yarborough – though as David Wheeler pointed out: ’In those days it was a largely ceremonial office with others representing the Provincial Grand Master on many occasions.’
Amphibious Lodge No. 9050 in Wimborne, Dorset, have showed their commitment to the care of the wider community by supporting a local charity, The Greenwood Club, with a donation of £510
The Greenwood Club is part of the Dorset Area for Outstanding Natural Beauty project 'Stepping into Nature'. They aim to provide positive shared experiences and memories for those living with dementia and their amazing carers. The members learn green woodworking skills, rural crafts and cooking outdoors in relaxing woodland surroundings.
Amphibious Lodge Charity Steward Stew McKell met with the Club at their site in the woods of Holton Lee, where he spent some time with the group and then presented the cheque to volunteer Jill Hooper.He was asked by several of the carers how the monies were raised and he explained how Dorset Freemasons raise money through a number of ways such as events and raffles to help support local charities.
The Provincial Grand Master of Dorset Graham Glazier said: 'I am delighted that Amphibious Lodge have decided to support such a worthy local charity.
'The Greenwood Club activities are designed to help individuals with dementia gain a sense of achievement, which is terrific for their self confidence and independence.'
Lincolnshire Freemasons have given £5,000 to help improve the quality of life for those most in need in one of the country’s most deprived wards
This is the East Marsh in Grimsby, which has the unenviable status of being in the bottom 1% on a national deprivation league table. The money, which has come through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, has been given to Harbour Place who are based in Hope Street, Grimsby, and support rough sleepers, the homeless and other socially excluded people.
In September last year, the charity moved to the Hope Street premises, which allowed it to launch a permanent night shelter in support of its Street Outreach Project, which has been running since April 2011, and has now been expanded.
Project Director Robin Barr said: 'A key part of the project’s activities include supporting and advocating on behalf of clients through signposting, referral and access to a wide range of statutory and voluntary sector agencies. Since opening the Hope Centre in September 2018, Harbour Place has registered over 175 clients for the new service.'
'Since the move to Hope Street more than 50 people have been helped to find permanent accommodation, more than 30 of whom have been through the night shelter.'
Robin said that success was an indication of the significance of the £5,000 donation: 'Our records indicate that if we can work consistently with someone over a short period, we can usually assist them to find accommodation.'
The donation was made by Lincolnshire’s Provincial Grand Master, David Wheeler, and Pete Tong, the Provincial Charity Steward.
Pete said: 'The message we brought away from the staff and volunteers at Harbour Place was that for more people than we might have imagined, the prospect of living on the street was too close for comfort. For many, the financial cushion which keeps the roof over their head is very thin indeed.
'They told us of one man they were helping who had been a respected professional in the community, but after problems resulting from a marriage break-up he had been reduced to living on the street.
'The successes achieved by the team of staff and volunteers are hard won, and we trust our donation will help their efforts to be even more effective.'
Over 70 young people in and around Swindon will receive a major boost to their education, thanks to a £50,000 grant from Wiltshire Freemasons
The grant, which comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, will pay for a Villiers Park Educational Trust learning mentor, as part of the social mobility charity’s Scholars Programme.
The Swindon Scholars Programme is for high ability students in Years 10-13, who face barriers – such as a low household income or eligibility for free school meals – that typically have the knock-on effect of putting them at an educational disadvantage compared to their peers.
As part of the intensive and personalised four-year scheme, students will have regular meetings with their learning mentor, who will provide advice, guidance and support in helping each scholar to reach agreed personal goals.. The programme, which operates in seven schools and colleges in Swindon, has been shown to improve exam results, raise aspirations and motivation and increase vital skills such as confidence and communication.
Villiers Park Educational Trust is a national charity providing support to 14-19 year olds to raise their academic, employability and personal skills. The Swindon Scholars Programme has been running in the area for eight years. Last year, 62% of Year 13 students on the programme achieved A*-B grades in their A-levels (compared to a national average of 53%) and over 64% went to university (compared to 33 % nationally).
Rosie Knowles, Deputy Director of Development at Villiers Park, said: 'We’re very grateful to Wiltshire Freemasons for their grant which will make a tremendous difference to the lives of the young people we work with. By providing support that’s tailored to their specific strengths, as well as areas for development, we know they will be helped to understand their options and accomplish their best.'
Philip Bullock, Provincial Grand Master of Wiltshire, said: 'The best possible start in life is to get a good education. By helping promising young people in our community to gain confidence and other vital skills, Wiltshire Freemasons donation will give them the opportunity to access top universities and transform their life chances.'
The first ever meeting of Burbach Lodge No. 8699, in the Province of Leicestershire & Rutland, was held 43 years ago on 13th April 1976 at the Masonic Hall in Hinckley – now 300 meetings later, on 8th January 2019, the lodge gathered to celebrate this landmark achievement
The Master of the lodge Michael Kennedy began the evening’s celebrations by welcoming the Provincial Grand Master David Hagger together with the Provincial Team to Hinckley, making for a well-attended meeting with nearly 90 members in attendance.
David Hagger began with an explanation of the lodge shield and the origins of the name, which is deep rooted in history, having been derived from the words 'BUR' meaning thistle, and 'BACH', meaning a lake or stream. Both symbols are present on the lodge shield.
There is also a symbol showing a Maltese cross. This refers to the fact that Burbach Lodge, along with Sparkenhoe Lodge No. 8063 and St Simon & St Jude Lodge No. 8729, are daughter lodges of the Knights of Malta Lodge No. 50, all of whom meet at the Masonic Hall in Hinckley.
The first ever summons circulated for the April 1976 meeting was read out by one of the founding members, Clive Kidd, followed by a brief history of the lodge by Alan James. It was then the turn of Michael Kennedy to lead his team in the raising of Nick Bryan to the degree of a Fellowcraft, before retiring for the festive board.
David Hagger said: 'The work that has gone into this celebration is testament to the energy and enthusiasm within this lodge, which will put Freemasonry in good stead for another 43 years in Hinckley.'