Anthony Henderson, Bedfordshire’s Provincial Grand Master, announced the exciting news that work has now begun on a new Accommodation and Amenities Lodge for Bedfordshire Scouts – following a £500,000 donation from Bedfordshire Freemasons
The Lodge, which will accommodate 40 Scouts and eight Leaders – and even more during the day – has abled and disabled facilities, as well as a kitchen, drying room and a large activities area. It has a log cabin appearance and is designed to blend in with the 17-acre ancient woodland in which it will be built.
Following the arrival of the first delivery of logs, Bedfordshire Freemasons held a BBQ and log laying ceremony at the Leslie Sells Activity Centre on 4th August 2019, where all those present were able to see the size and footprint of the building, which is due to be complete by Spring 2020.
Anthony Henderson said: ‘To mark our Tercentenary – celebrating 300 years of Freemasonry in 2017 – we in Bedfordshire wanted to create a lasting legacy that would benefit our Province for many years to come. We discussed ideas with a number of Bedfordshire-based charities and decided to support the Scouts, because we felt we shared common values and the inscription I wrote on the First Log laid, ‘Freemasonry and Scouting – Sharing One Ethos’, reflects our shared aims and values.
‘The lodge we are providing for Bedfordshire Scouts should last for in excess of 100 years. We hope it will bring great joy to many hundreds of thousands of Scouts over the coming years. I would like to take this opportunity to place on record, my most sincere thanks to the members of Bedfordshire, for their truly amazing support and generosity. Without your support and enthusiasms, we could not have created this amazing building.
‘I would also like to thank all those companies and individuals who have donated goods and services – valued at just under £100,000 – to help us deliver this project. I look forward to next Spring, when the lodge should be echoing to the sound of Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts, Scouts, Explorers Scouts and the Scout Network enjoying themselves.’
Scott Robert, County Chairman of Bedfordshire Scouts, said: ‘We were approached some four years ago by Bedfordshire Freemasons, to explore how we could work together for the benefit of Scouting in Bedfordshire. We had known for many years that our existing accommodation facilities were no longer fit for purpose, but just did not have the money to replace them.
‘When the Freemasons first approached us, we hoped they might make a donation towards replacing our accommodation facilities. We never imagined that they would design, construct and most importantly pay for a 48 Bed State of the Art Accommodation Lodge. On behalf of Bedfordshire Scouting and all the tens of thousands of Scouts, not just from Bedfordshire, but from across the whole of the UK and the world, who will use this facility, I would like to place on record, our most grateful thanks to Bedfordshire Freemasons for their most generous donation.’
Steve Holloway, County Commissioner was delighted to take ownership of the vehicle and on receipt of the keys said: ‘We are very grateful to the Cheshire Freemasons for providing us with the minibus which will be used to carry Scouts, Cubs and Beavers to Camps and other outdoor events and the fact it has a wheelchair ramp at the rear is a real bonus.’
In recognition and thanks of the £33,000 vehicle, Steve presented the Cheshire Freemasons with unique ‘neckers incorporating both Masonic and Scouting emblems. They were delighted to be informed that they could be worn at all Scouting events as they were presented by a County Commissioner.
After the official presentation, the delegation were given a tour of the ‘Join in Jamboree’ site which occurs every four years and were advised there were over 1,600 adults and young people taking part in the three day event.
They were encouraged to join in some of the activities and David Dyson, Cheshire's Deputy Provincial Grand Master, proved to have a talent for Tomahawk Throwing, which was just one of the many activities available to the attendees during the weekend.
On Sunday 28 April 2019, more than 2,000 children from York and North Yorkshire marched through York in what is believed to have been the biggest St George’s Day parade in the country
Brownies, Guides, Cubs, Scouts, Sea Scouts and Explorers processed from the Eye of York to York Minster with banners flying in a display of music and colour to mark the day of England’s national saint. The parade was so long it took 20 minutes to process into the Minster when it arrived and included three marching bands.
Among the dignitaries waiting for the parade at the Minster were the Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Keith Orrell, and heading the entire York Civic Party, County and District Commissioners from the Scout and Guide Movements, Johanna Ropner Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant for North Yorkshire, Rachel Maskell MP for York Central, the Rt Hon the Lord Mayor, the Sheriff of York and proudly representing Freemasons Michael McCloud, Master of York Lodge No. 236.
Michael’s invitation by York Minster to represent local Freemasons in the parade is detriment of the great connection Yorkshire North and East Freemasons now have in supporting the Apprentice tools and the sponsoring of stonemason Apprenticeships.
On completion of a celebratory service in the Minster led by the Rev Francis Loftus, the parade marched passed assembled dignitaries in Duncombe Place before returning to the York Eye. Duncombe Place Masonic Hall was open to all the VIP guests where light refreshments served.
Guests were then invited to a tour of the lodge building with a well-received briefing on Freemasonry and its local and national charitable activities.
After the service and as an additional celebration, 1st Heworth Scouts Group were presented with a commendation from North Yorkshire Police for 100 years’ of service to the community.