A group of intrepid Freemasons in the Province of Cumberland and Westmorland, supported by their family as well as their dogs, completed the Annual 'Cross Bay Walk', to raise money for the charity Northwest Blood Bikes
45 people signed up for the event, which was organised by Freemason Peter Caunce and his wife Debi. On an exceptionally hot and humid day on 8th July 2018, everyone completed the world famous trek across Morecambe Bay, led by The Queen's Guide to the Sands – the royally appointed guide to crossing the sands of Morecambe Bay – Cedric Robinson MBE.
Leading from the front and one of the first to finish was the Provincial Grand Master Norman Thompson, who afterwards said: 'That was one of the toughest walks across the Bay I've done, but it's been very worthwhile, especially in the knowledge that the Blood Bikes charity will benefit.'
This is the sixth year that Peter and Debi have organised the walk for the Province, helping them to raise in excess of £12,000 during that period for various local charities.
This year over £1,500 has been pledged so far for Northwest Blood Bikes, which may be used towards purchasing a motorcycle.
Over 50 Freemasons, comprising Worshipful Masters or their representatives, of 32 Somerset lodges, together with the Provincial Grand Master Stuart Hadler and his team, were well received by the people of Bridgwater as they paraded through the streets of the market town to celebrate of 250 years since the formation of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Somerset
The parade terminated at St Mary’s Church to be greeted by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Somerset David Medlock and the Chairman of Sedgemoor District Council Cllr. Mike Creswell. Also in attendance were several leaders from various Masonic Orders: John Morgan - Provincial Grand Master of Mark Master Masons; David Nelson - District Grand Master of Royal & Select Masters; C. Trevor Cooper - Provincial Grand Supreme Ruler of the Order of the Secret Monitor and Ray Johnston-Smith - Inspector General of the Ancient & Accepted Rite (Rose Croix).
The Biennial Church Service, which included a congregation of about 250 members and their families, enjoyed music specially written by Martin Emslie to complement the theme of Past, Present and Future. Provincial Grand Lodge - The Past: was a history of the Province given by Peter Russell, John Townsend and Andrew Baird; Provincial Grand Lodge - The Present: was introduced by the Provincial Grand Orator Rev Jeremy Hellier and friends - in the form of an entertaining ‘talking heads’ discussion, and Provincial Grand Lodge - The Future: was a thought-provoking and pertinent address given by the Provincial Grand Chaplain, Robert Moore.
The offertory collection was donated to St Mary’s along with a £500 donation by the Provincial Grand Lodge, generously matched by Tynte Lodge No. 7994.
The entire occasion was overseen by Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Chris Marchmont and his team, who said: 'I am delighted with the way things came together and would especially like to thank the Bridgwater lodges for all their support and practical assistance.'
A nautical charity that operates from Berwick to Hartlepool has received a new boat to assist in training its members and helping the community from Northumberland Freemasons
The Northumbria Unit of the Maritime Volunteer Service (MVS) received a new rigid inflatable boat aptly named 'Northumberland Freemason' at Newcastle’s Quayside after a £15,000 donation from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Northumberland.
A delegation of Freemasons came to watch the naming ceremony which included the Provincial Grand Master of Northumberland Ian Craigs, who christened the vessel with an appropriate bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale; right in sight of the iconic Tyne Bridge.
The organisation aims are to keep the UK’s maritime tradition alive by training and delivering practical seamanship and engineering skills.
Angela Carrington, Head of Unit for the Maritime Volunteer Service, said: 'This is a very generous gift to our charity from the Freemasons that will benefit our members and the community too. We will be using the boat on all of the region’s rivers so she will be a common sight from the Tweed to the Tees.
'She’s a very manoeuvrable craft making her ideal to train people in seamanship and boat handling skills. In turn, we will pass on these skills to help at community events all across the region. We are very grateful and will sail her with pride.'
Provincial Grand Master Ian Craigs said: 'All of our trustees agreed that this was a very worthwhile donation as the vessel is being used on the region’s waterways doing sterling community work. We are proud to be associated with MVS Northumbria and look forward to hearing more about the 'Northumberland Freemasons' good work.'
As part of its ongoing strategic plan to develop closer links with the media, the Provincial Grand Lodge of Sussex invited members of the local press to attend rehearsals, take photographs and witness the pre-meeting arrangements for their Annual Meeting in Worthing
Following a short public procession, the first in Sussex for a considerable number of years, local reporters were able to witness and photograph the entry of distinguished guests and the Provincial Executive into Provincial Grand Lodge – leaving before the opening of the meeting.
The Provincial Grand Master Christopher Moore said: 'Sussex Freemasons are very much part of our local communities and long may that continue. Although Freemasons have been an open and transparent organisation for some time, there are still many misconceptions.
'Part of our plan is to become more open about our activities, our charitable work and how we support our local communities. This can only help to explain the part we, as an organisation with a long and distinguished history, play in modern society.'
The positive press story has generated a great interest in Sussex Freemasonry, resulting in their membership team receiving a number of enquiries. The article can be viewed here.
Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes was the guest of honour at the conclusion of the Nottinghamshire 2018 Festival, which raised over £2.6 million for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys
Festival President Philip Marshall, the Provincial Grand Master of Nottinghamshire, presented a cheque to the Pro Grand Master for £2,645,907, which was raised by Nottinghamshire Freemasons over the six years of the festival appeal.
The day started with a celebration for young people. Children’s charities supported by Nottinghamshire Freemasons were invited to a spectacular outdoor event, free of charge, in the grounds of Kelham Hall near Newark. Over 1,000 people attended the event which included riding for the disabled, face painting, craft workshops, fairground rides and bouncy castles. The young people enjoyed a day of fun in a safe environment which was marshalled by Freemasons and the Nottinghamshire Scouts.
The evening celebration was attended by Freemasons from Nottinghamshire who had generously supported the 2018 Festival. A drinks reception in the late afternoon sunshine was followed by a banquet held in the Great Hall and Carriage Court of Kelham Hall. Over 560 Freemasons and their partners attended along with Freemasons from the surrounding Provinces and leaders of the Masonic Charitable Foundation.
Following a series of speeches by the leaders of the Festival and VIP’s, the Chief Operating Officer of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, Les Hutchinson, revealed the Festival total to the expectant gathering. He explained that the amount raised of £963 per member was the second highest ‘per-capita’ figure raised in any Masonic Festival – and second only to Nottinghamshire’s total from their previous Festival.
The incredible six year period of fundraising was concluded with a spectacular concert. World renowned girls’ choir Cantamus started the concert with enchanting performances of popular music tracks.
The girls were followed by Jasmine Ellcock, a recipient of support from The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys and finalist in Britain’s Got Talent 2016. The concert, and Festival, was then brought to an appropriate crescendo by the winners of Britain’s Got Talent 2014, Collabro.
The University Lodge of Chester No. 4477 and the Association of Medical, University & Legal Lodges (AMULL) have recognised Connor Elliman for his outstanding contribution and commitment to Performing Arts over his three years of study at the University of Chester
Connor was delighted to receive an award for academic and artistic excellence at level 6 and equally pleased to learn that the award is complimented with a cheque to support his progression and help him through his Masters year.
The award was presented by Professor Andrew Thomas, Worshipful Master of the University Lodge of Chester, at the University’s Valedictory Prize-Giving held on 9th June 2018.
Professor Thomas said: 'It was a fabulous evening and Connor is a worthy recipient of the award. During his time at the University he has shown complete dedication to do well and it’s great to see this is paying off.'
Stephen Blank, Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Cheshire, said: 'The AMULL’s Student Prize-Giving programme is a great example of Freemasonry working hard for the wider community, in this case in higher education. I would like to congratulate Connor for his achievements to date and wish him well with his future studies.'
The President of AMULL, David Williamson, said: 'We congratulate Connor on his outstanding achievements and are thrilled that the University Lodge of Chester has awarded him this prize in recognition of this.'
Supported by AMULL, this activity is part of a five year commitment to support excellence in achievement by outstanding individuals.
A blue plaque, commemorating the life and works of Derbyshire Freemason Dr John Hollis Pigot, who was recognised for reviving Freemasonry in Derby, is now on display
The first recorded Freemasons lodge in Derbyshire was founded in 1732 and met at the Virgins Inn in Derby market place. As was customary in those days when lodges typically took the name if the establishment they met at, the Virgins Inn Lodge No. 104 came into being.
It was founded in 1732, only 15 years after the formation of the first Grand Lodge in London in 1717 and remained in existence for 44 years. It was formally erased in 1777 but became the springboard for Tyrian Lodge No. 253 which was founded in 1785 and is now the oldest remaining lodge in Derbyshire.
Dr Pigot was a founding member of Tyrian Lodge and its first Worshipful Master, a role in which he served for four years. He was also a founding member of the Derby Philosophical Society.
Derbyshire Freemasons are proud to see this commemorative plaque appear at the site of Dr Pigot’s former house, believed to be the first such plaque known to have been placed on an historic site marking the life and achievements of a Freemason anywhere in England.
The plaque was formally unveiled by Steven Varley, Provincial Grand Master for Derbyshire, accompanied by members of the Derby Civic Society, a local councillor and the Mayor for Derby.
Freemasons in Hampshire have formed a new lodge for those involved or interested in air travel as it attempts to attract members
It is the latest specialist lodge in the province following the creation of a Scouting lodge, football lodge, rugby lodge, sailing lodge and two motorsports lodges, which are proving highly popular.
The Samuel Cody Aviation Lodge No. 9953 – named after the early 19th century flying pioneer - meets in Bordon. Among its number are members and former members of the RAF, members and former members of civil aviation and ground crew, those from air traffic control as well as aeroplane enthusiasts.
It is run in the same way as any other lodge and its first master is Roger Bricknell who spent 25 years as a Concorde flight engineer – clocking up 14,000 flying hours.
Roger said: 'After the success of the other specialist lodges it became clear that there was enough interest to form a ‘flying’ lodge. There were many Freemasons from Hampshire and further afield who were keen to help.
'We do the same things as in other lodges, but just have a shared interest which makes meetings even more enjoyable.'
Mike Wilks, the Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight, consecrated the lodge. He said: 'We are using various methods to increase membership in the province and specialist lodges have proved a great way of doing it.
'Samuel Cody was a Wild West showman who became a flying pioneer and made the first ever flight in the UK in Farnborough in 1908. His name was a great choice and the lodge has got off to a flying start with interest from around the province and beyond.'
One of the new lodge’s members is Bernard Brown, well into his 90s, a world renowned air traffic controller who, amongst his achievements, is credited with the requirement that all pilots must be able to converse in English.
Chelsea Lodge stalwart Freddie Davies compered a musical extravaganza at a Northern Masonic Variety show, which raised £10,860 for the West Yorkshire Mark Benevolent Fund
Bradfordians Lodge No. 9886 Past Master Sir David Wootton, UGLE Assistant Grand Master, attended with Yorkshire, West Riding Provincial Grand Master David Pratt at Bradford Grammar School along with Bradford Lord Mayor Clr Abid Hussain and West Yorks Lord Lieutenant Dame Ingrid Roscoe.
Artistes included internationally acclaimed vocalist Gordon Cree and electric violinist Lauren Hinds, who both produced outstanding virtuoso performances.
David Pratt, Provincial Grand Master of Yorkshire, West Riding, was a special guest at the consecration of the Britannic Lodge of Madeira No. 134 under the Grand Lodge of Portugal (Legal)
The consecration was held on 17th March 2018 at the O Lagar Restaurant in Câmara de Lobos by the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge (Legal) of Portugal Julio Meirinhos, with around 70 brethren in attendance including visitors from local lodges, the Portuguese mainland, United Grand Lodge of England, Grande Loge Nationale Française, Regular Grand Lodge of Serbia and Grand Lodge of India. This was followed by a sumptuous celebration banquet of local delicacies and wine where the brethren were joined by their families and friends.
The history of Freemasonry in Madeira goes back to 1767, and Britannic Lodge of Madeira No. 3683 was a lodge under UGLE which was consecrated in Funchal, the capital of Madeira, in 1913. The lodge moved to London in 1935 after Freemasonry had been banned in Portugal, and handed in its warrant after its last meeting in 2006. It wasn’t until 2009 that a new lodge, Zarco Lodge No. 71, was consecrated under the Grand Lodge of Portugal (Legal) – 74 years after the ban.
The new Britannic Lodge of Madeira’s founders are mainly expats, and the lodge will work in English using Emulation Ritual and meet four times a year at the Masonic Hall in central Funchal. The lodge’s badge pays tribute to its predecessor with a similar design and they have adopted the former lodge’s motto: ‘Labor Omnia Vincit’ ('Work conquers all').
David Pratt’s involvement came about from both a passion for Madeira and an inquisitive nature to discover more about the former UGLE lodge, Britannic Lodge of Madeira No. 3683 at the request of the founders.
David said: ‘The history is fascinating and I've managed to track down some of the former members who are delighted that a new lodge bearing that distinguished name is being formed. I’ve been the ‘go-between’ to research information about the former UGLE Lodge.
'The consecration was a wonderful event, and it’s fascinating that a number of the former members of the UGLE lodge travel to Madeira on holiday frequently and had no knowledge of the local masonic activity.
‘I pay tribute to the founders from UGLE lodges who are keen to promote Freemasonry as full participating members of the family of the four lodges now on the Island. Ed Barrow, Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon (East Lancashire), the Founding Master, and Stuart Condliffe, Past Provincial Assistant Grand Superintendent of Works (Cheshire), the Founding Secretary, have worked tirelessly to create the new lodge. Octavio Sousa of the Grand Lodge (Legal) of Portugal also provided excellent support and guidance to bring about this momentous achievement.’
The lodge welcomes visitors from UGLE – please remember to contact the Grand Chancellor’s Office before visiting any foreign Grand Lodges.