Freemasons from across Norfolk held their Service of Thanksgiving at King’s Lynn on 15th June 2019, while also parading in full regalia from the Town Hall to the Minster
 
The Rt Revd Jonathan Meyrick Bishop of Lynn gave the sermon, while the service was led by the Revd Canon Christopher Ivory.
 
On behalf of the Freemasons, readings were given by Stephen Allen, Norfolk's Provincial Grand Master, and Canon Richard Butler, the Provincial Grand Chaplain.
 
The colourful procession of blue and gold Masonic aprons and breast jewels, included Masters of Norfolk lodges, Provincial Grand Officers and the Provincial Grand Master and his Executive. The town was represented in the procession and the service by Mayor of Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Councillor Geoff Hipperson, escorted by the town Mace Bearers.

Also present was Her Majesty’s Deputy Lieutenant Peter Wilson. Members of the public watched and joined the service which was open to all.
 
This event highlighted the work and service to the communities by Freemasons and is only the second of it’s kind in Norfolk, with the first being in 2015 at Norwich Cathedral to mark 300 years of Freemasonry. The intention is to repeat every two years, with the 2021 event expected to be held at Great Yarmouth Minster.

The service was followed by a reception at the Town Hall hosted by the Mayor in the impressive Stone Hall and Assembly Room.
 
Stephen Allen, Provincial Grand Master, said: 'Freemasons have always been supporting the local community and charities, but we never shouted about it. We are now a much more open organisation, with an event like this giving us the opportunity to show we are part of local life.'

The Great War Memorial on Nottingham’s Victoria Embankment, which names 13,482 people from Nottinghamshire who died in the First World War, was opened during a moving ceremony on 28th June 2019 – 100 years to the day since the Treaty of Versailles was signed which formally ended the First World War

The memorial is the first of its kind in the UK, after seven years’ of research went into finding the names of every person from the county who lost their lives during the conflict.

A mere 24 hours after unveiling the Victoria Cross Remembrance Stone at Freemasons’ Hall in London, UGLE’s Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, arrived at the Victoria Embankment along with invited guests. The service started at 10am and was followed by the dedication, the Act of Remembrance, the Last Post, HRH Duke of Kent laying the first wreath, the Act of Commitment and the National Anthem. The Grand Master then inspected the memorial and met the families present before proceedings came to an end at 11.30am.

The memorial is a tribute to all the people from Nottinghamshire who lost their lives in the 1914-18 conflict, including civilian casualties, nurses, two people killed in a Zeppelin air raid in September 1916 and the victims of the Chilwell shell filling factory explosion of July 1918.

Families of those who died in the Great War attended the unveiling and dedication service, together with Philip Marshall, Provincial Grand Master of Nottinghamshire Freemasons, Nottinghamshire’s Lord Lieutenant Sir John Peace, Nottingham City Council Leader David Mellen, Nottinghamshire County Council Leader Cllr Kay Cutts MBE, civic heads, the district and borough council leaders, the Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police Craig Guildford, the Chief Fire Officer John Buckley and local MPs.

Among the regiments taking part in the service were members of the Queen’s Colour Squadron RAF, members of the 4th Battalion Mercian Regiment, including regimental mascot Private Derby and members of HMS Sherwood. Former and current officers from Nottinghamshire Police and Royal British Legion standard bearers were also in attendance.

The £395,000 memorial has been constructed on the Victoria Embankment next to the memorial built between 1923 and 1927 on land bequeathed in perpetuity by Jesse Boot. It was principally funded by Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council, along with the seven district councils and generous corporate and private donations.

Also of note is the fact that the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire VC memorial, which has resided at the Nottingham Castle since its unveiling on 7th May 2010, has been moved to the site to join the two Great War memorials. During the Great War of 1914 to 1919, 628 Victoria Crosses were awarded, in total six Nottingham-born war heroes were awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award of the British honours system.

In honour of all English Freemasons awarded the prestigious Victoria Cross (VC), the United Grand Lodge of England’s (UGLE) Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, unveiled a unique Victoria Cross Remembrance Stone at Freemasons’ Hall on 27th June 2019

The Remembrance Stone was commissioned in 2016 by Granville Angell to commemorate all English Freemasons who were awarded the Victoria Cross. The VC is the highest award for gallantry that can be conferred on a member of the British Armed Forces and since its introduction in 1856, more than 200 Freemasons have been awarded the Victoria Cross – making up an astonishing 14% of all recipients.

The Remembrance Stone was carved by Emily Draper, who was Worcester Cathedral’s first female Stonemason apprentice, having been sponsored by local Freemasons. During the preparation stage of the stone, Emily also found out that her Great Uncle was a Freemason VC recipient.

The event was opened by Dr David Staples, UGLE’s Chief Executive and Grand Secretary, followed by readings from Robert Vaughan, Provincial Grand Master of Worcestershire (My Boy Jack by Rudyard Kipling) and Brigadier Peter Sharpe, President of the Circuit of Service Lodges (The Soldier by Rupert Chawner Brooke).

Over 130 guests were in attendance including serving military personnel, a group of Chelsea Pensioners and Sea Cadets, as well as Sergeant Johnson Beharry, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for saving the lives of his unit – Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment – while serving in Iraq in 2004. Johnson is also a Freemason and a member of Queensman Lodge No. 2694 in London.

Music was provided by Jon Yates from the Royal Marines Association Concert Band, who performed the ‘Last Post’, a minute’s silence and the ‘Reveille’.

This was proceeded by the grand Unveiling and Dedication of the Remembrance Stone by The Duke of Kent, as a fitting tribute to the service and sacrifice of those Freemasons awarded the VC. The Duke of Kent also presented Emily with a stone carving toolset to aid her future projects.

The event was concluded with a speech by Brigadier Willie Shackell CBE, Past Grand Secretary of UGLE and Past President of the Masonic Samaritan Fund.

Dr David Staples, UGLE’s Chief Executive and Grand Secretary, said: “It’s been a huge honour to mark the dedication of this wonderful Victoria Cross Remembrance Stone and another significant milestone in our longstanding history.

“It is even more remarkable in the context that 14% of all recipients of the Victoria Cross have been Freemasons and I can think of no more fitting home than for it to be placed here at Freemasons’ Hall – a memorial to the thousands of English Freemasons who lost their lives during the Great War.”

Read Dr David Staples' speech here

Read the Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent's, speech here

Read Willie Shackell's speech here

Published in UGLE

Dozens of local charities and good causes were presented with cheques totalling just under £30,000 by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Freemasons

Lodges that meet in Lymington, New Milton, Ringwood and Brockenhurst raised the money throughout the year. It is on top of their regular donations and is designed to boost those in the community who do such valuable work.

The Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Mike Wilks, attended with his wife Kay. Also at the event held at the masonic centre in the high street were Mike Wilks’ assistant Leon Whitfield and Cllr David Rice-Mundy, Mayor of New Milton, Cllr Anne Corbridge, Mayor of Lymington and Cllr Tony Ring, Mayor of Ringwood.

The Freemasonry in the community event is designed not only to give the donations but for representatives of the organisations receiving the money to explain who they are and what they do.

Andrew Ferguson was the organiser of the evening, and on behalf of Freemasonry in the community he welcomed all those present – well over 100 - and acted as MC for the evening.

Money totalling £29,473 was presented to 44 local charities and good causes, which was 10 more than last year.

Andrew said: ‘It’s amazing how much money is raised by the local lodges and how many small charities benefit as a result. Each year I am humbled by hearing about the work these lesser known charities carry out. Freemasonry has always been about giving and we are proud to continue the tradition of helping within the local community.’

Mike Wilks said: ‘It is always enlightening to meet those who work within our communities and hear what their charities and good causes do.

‘Our members are committed to charity and it is important for us as Freemasons to help our local areas. In the South West area of the province we have centres in Bournemouth and Christchurch and they will be holding their own, similar event.’

Those receiving donations included the Friends of Lymington Scanner Appeal, New Forest Young Carers, Macmillan Caring Locally, The Acorns Project and Cruise Bereavement Care.

A new lodge in Buckinghamshire has been established for Freemasons with an interest in caravanning, camping and motorhomes

Nomadic Lodge No. 9978 will meet several times a year both in Buckinghamshire and nearby counties.

The lodge meeting will take place in the nearest masonic hall to the chosen site and will be followed by a festive board or barbeque back at the campsite, which will be open to friends and family members who are attending the event.

The consecration was also unusual as it was held in a large marquee at the showground in Winslow on 14 June 2019, where many of the founders had gathered in an array of caravans and motorhomes. A spectacular ceremony was conducted by the Provincial Grand Master John Clark, with Michael Clanfield installed as the lodge’s Primus Master.

Over 160 attended the event and the lodge is keen to welcome members and guests from Buckinghamshire and further afield.

Suffolk’s Provincial Grand Master Ian Yeldham made a dramatic entrance by helicopter, as he arrived for the 2019 National Masonic Clay Shooting Championships at High Lodge Shooting School in Darsham, Suffolk

The event was hosted by the Suffolk Masonic Clay Shooting Society of which Ian is the President. Many months of careful planning had resulted in a new national record of 205 clay shooting sportsmen and women entering for the event.

Suffolk knew they had a challenge on their hands if this huge number of entrants were to get round the 100 Bird Competition set over 15 different stands in a safe and timely manner, so Provincial Stewards were enrolled to accompany each of the 15 squads on their journey around the shooting ground to ensure everything ran smoothly.

A fantastic day ensued and after a welcome lunchtime meal and refreshments the prize giving revealed that the Masonic High Gun and the Jonathan Spence Challenge Cup had been won by Dan Bishop from the Province of Hampshire & Isle of Wight with a fantastic score of 93 out of a 100.

The top Masonic Team of Three came from the Province of West Lancashire, with Province of Middlesex a close runner up. The winning Team of Three Ladies was won by Suffolk Ladies with a score of 70 out of 100.

Roger Wilkes, Secretary of the National Association of Masonic Clay Shooting Societies (NAMCSS), commented: ‘I have to say that all of the officers of NAMCSS are in awe. The whole event was created, managed and run with such smoothness you have created a very hard act to follow.’

Buckinghamshire’s Provincial Grand Master John Clark and Assistant Provincial Grand Master Gary Brodie have completed the first in a series of challenges undertaken by the Provincial Executive – raising over £6,000 on behalf of the Bucks 2021 Festival, in aid of the Masonic Charitable Foundation

The challenge was to row 26 miles in two canoes along the River Thames, one being rowed by PGM John Clark and his son Jack, the other by APGM Gary Brodie and Simon Williams, with Peter Lawrence following in a single canoe.

The rowers, accompanied by a support team, set off on Thames Paddle at 6am on 15th June 2019. As they reached each lock the support team plucked the canoes from the Thames and transferred them to the other side to allow them to continue their journey.

Along the way they were greeted by a host of well-wishers and supporters. At Cookham Lock, John Keeble, Grand Superintendent of Buckinghamshire, was waiting with his wife to offer his support, while at Boulter’s Lock they were greeted by Deputy Provincial Grand Master Hugh Doughas-Smith and John’s wife Sarah.

The weary, but jubilant, team arrived at their final destination many hours later to the cheers of a reception group. The glow of a job well done pervaded the air and with over £6,000 raised for the Bucks 2021 Festival, it was indeed a mammoth feat of endurance and tenacity.

A donation of £75,000 from Lincolnshire Freemasons has given a welcome early boost to a relief fund set up in readiness for the rebuilding of homes in and around Wainfleet after the floods

And in a surprise presentation to Steve Hallberg, Provincial Grand Master of Lincolnshire’s Mark Master Masons, the Mark Masons of Cumberland and Westmorland added a further £2,000 to the pot, taking the donation to £77,000.

The fund has been set up by the Lincolnshire Community Foundation, which is bringing together fundraising efforts behind the long-term recovery plan which will swing into action once the floodwaters have receded.

Already there have been about 500 people from a number of agencies working around the clock to provide an emergency response to the incident, which has forced the evacuation of almost 300 homes.

But it’s the recovery phase that will take time, and that’s where the Freemasons’ donation will be directed. Provincial Grand Master Dave Wheeler said: ‘To see anyone driven from their home by flooding is heartbreaking, especially when it’s in your own community.

‘The emergency response to the incident has been extremely effective through the days after the torrential rainfall followed by the breach of the banks of the River Steeping, but that is only part of the story. The recovery phase will be long, and will take considerable effort.

‘I’m pleased that we have been able to move so quickly in making this donation of £75,000. It underlines that Lincolnshire Freemasons are determined to help put the heart back into this part of Lincolnshire, and we have every confidence that the Lincolnshire Community Foundation will make sure the money is used effectively in making that happen.’

The donation is made up of three Masonic grants of £25,000 each, from The Province of Lincolnshire, the Mark Benevolent Fund, and the Masonic Charitable Foundation. The latter two are national charities subscribed to by Freemasons all over the country, including those in Lincolnshire.

James Murphy, Joint CEO of the Lincolnshire Community Foundation, said: ‘There are lots of people for whom properties in Wainfleet are their "forever home". We shall be doing what we can to return things to normal for this community. It’s when something like this happens that you find out how good a community is, and Wainfleet’s is particularly strong.

‘The Lincolnshire Community Foundation is working in partnership with the Recovery Coordinating Group to raise funds and support Wainfleet and the surrounding area. Money donated will help to relieve hardship, complete repairs, make good loss or damage, help to prevent the flooding happening again, and to improve the response in the event that it ever does. 100% of donations will be spent in and around Wainfleet.’

To donate online, please go to the Total Giving page at this link.

For over 30 years, Warwickshire Freemasons have been making annual donations in support of non-masonic charities who provide health and support to some of the most vulnerable adults and children in Warwickshire

In 2019, the Provincial Grand Master David Macey approved donations to 138 charities totalling £148,500. David met with 29 of these charities at the Tally Ho Conference and Banqueting Centre in Birmingham to personally present them with their cheques.

The High Sheriff of Warwickshire, Clare Sawdon, thanked the Provincial Grand Master and all the Freemasons of Warwickshire for their tremendous generosity which enables local charities to support the most vulnerable people in their local communities.

The donations were split across a number of categories to ensure that they make a difference across a wide range of organisations needing support. The largest being hospitals, hospices and rescue services with £5,000 each going to Acorns Children’s Hospice, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Myton Hospice and both of the region’s Air Ambulances.

Community and Education projects received a total of £25,500, going to charities ranging from specialist education to domestic violence and crisis centres.

Read the full list of recipients here.

Every spring and autumn, Freemasons from all across Devon meet to support local organisations and charities who require financial assistance – and this year was no exception with £26,000 donated to Schools, Youth Centres and locally-based charities including Hospices, Hospital Services and Cancer Charities

The money is raised through the ‘WAKE FUND’ a trust conceived by William Alexander Kneel, the Provincial Grand Master of Devonshire from 1970 to 1984. Since the idea was initiated the fund has grown through the continued generosity of Devonshire Freemasons and wise investments which today stands at almost £2 million, from which the trustees distribute the income generated, currently £50,000 each year.

Since the first disbursement in 2001, almost £775,000 has been given to over 800 worthy non-masonic organisations and charities throughout Devon, selected by members of the 131 lodges based throughout the county.

On Friday 31st May 2019, Ian Kingsbury, Provincial Grand Master for Devonshire Freemasons, presented cheques to 23 deserving causes at a meeting held at the Masonic Hall in Plymouth. The charity representatives, accompanied by a member from their nominating lodge, were able to enjoy a superb reception and buffet, have a tour around the lodge building, ask any questions they wished and receive their cheques totalling the magnificent sum of £26,000.

Making the contributions, Ian Kingsbury said: ‘I am delighted that the Freemasons of Devon are able to continue to contribute to these important local causes many of which are totally run by volunteers and hopefully these donations will make a real difference to the lives of many people.’

Among the organisations that will benefit are:

  • Parkinsons Plymouth
  • Plymouth & District Guide Dogs
  • Friends of Woodland School Plymouth
  • Plympton & Plymstock Scout Troops
  • Trevi House Rehab Unit Plymouth
  • Hospital Radio Plymouth
  • ATC Squadron 2171 Plymouth
  • riends of Exeter Cathedral
  • Exmouth in Bloom
  • Ayrton’s Dream Exeter RDNE
  • Gateway Homeless Action Group Sidmouth
  • Devon & Cornwall Lupus Group
  • Axminster Medical Practice
  • Exmouth Sea Scouts
  • Hospiscare Exeter
  • HCPT the pilgrimage Trust Torbay
  • SAMS Totnes
  • PHABS Torquay
  • Teignbridge Citizens Advice
  • A.I.M.S Dawlish
  • Families for Children Buckfastleigh
  • St James Church Swimbridge
  • Bishop Tawton Playing Fields
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