In late 2001, Lichfield mason Roger Manning suggested the creation of a masonic memorial to be sited at the new National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, Burton-on-Trent
It was agreed by all that the masonic garden should serve in the remembrance of all Freemasons, whether they had died in the service of their country or through sickness, accident or old age. There would be no reference on the site to specific lodges, groups or individuals.
Sixteen years later, following four different Provincial Grand Masters, two architects, more than a dozen designs, planting failures, floods, dozens of detailed reports and many meetings, The Masonic Memorial Garden was finally unveiled on 18 April 2017 to more than 300 brethren and civic dignitaries.
The service was witnessed by Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes, Deputy Grand Master Jonathan Spence, Assistant Grand Master Sir David Wootton, then President of the Board of General Purposes Anthony Wilson and Grand Secretary Willie Shackell.
A welcome to all in attendance was given by local builder and mason Eddie Ford, who had been responsible for the garden’s development over the entire 16-year period. The dedication service was then undertaken by the Provincial Grand Chaplain the Reverend Bernard Buttery.
Hundreds of Freemasons from north, south and central America and the Caribbean gathered in Montego Bay, Jamaica, for the United Grand Lodge of England’s Tercentenary
District Grand Master of Jamaica & the Cayman Islands Walter Scott said it was ‘a signal honour for Jamaica to be named hosts of this historical event in the Americas’.
Walter saw the Jamaica celebrations as an opportunity for members of church, state and the community to gather in harmony and share their thoughts and ideas. Running over four days, events included a grand banquet, cocktail reception, special commemorative lodge meeting, a Jamaica Night themed party and a two-day academic programme under the subject ‘Looking back with an eye to the future’.
A $50,000 (£17,566) contribution has come from the Masonic Charitable Foundation to help needy families in remote areas of Fiji in the South West Pacific area of lodges
UGLE Assistant Grand Master Sir David Wootton, on a Tercentenary visit to the island, made the announcement. He was accompanied by Grand Director of Ceremonies Oliver Lodge.
‘It is not the first donation we have made in this part of the world. Following Tropical Cyclone Winston in 2016, Freemasons gave $65,000 (£22,825), some of which came from Freemasons here, some from the charity foundation in London,’ said David.
South West Pacific Grand Inspector and Lodge of Fiji member Ross McDonald added, ‘Locally, we will identify where the need is and normally we give direct to that need, so we are certain that we are giving the best value for every dollar that goes in.’
Medical Detection Dogs (MDD), based in Great Horwood, Buckinghamshire, trains dogs to sniff out cancers in human urine samples, providing an early warning of the onset of the disease
Although at the trial stage, the dogs are incredibly accurate at detecting cancer in controlled samples, and tests are underway to work on identifying other conditions, including Parkinson’s disease.
As part of the Tercentenary celebrations the Masonic Charitable Foundation is distributing £3m to 300 charities, and MDD was granted £15,000.
The final event of the Cambridgeshire Tercentenary year was a dinner hosted by Provincial Grand Master William Dastur, as 300 diners gathered at Churchill College in Cambridge
Representatives of the four charities selected for the Masonic Charitable Foundation Community Awards were in attendance as guests of honour, together with local dignitaries.
The PGM presented the Community Awards certificates for £25,000 to Cam Sight, £15,000 to Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, £6,000 to Maggie’s Wallace Centre and £4,000 to Stars Cambridgeshire Children’s Bereavement Support Service. Entertainment on the night was provided by Covent Garden buskers ZHL Strings.
Bolton District Freemasons took the opportunity to parade to the local parish church in honour of the Tercentenary celebrations in East Lancashire
Members of all ranks wore their regalia, braved the elements and were preceded by the Bolton Caledonia Pipe Band.
It’s been two years in the making, with the United Grand Lodge of England’s Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, brought to life in a striking new bronze bust
Sculpted by Frances Segelman, it is life and a quarter size, with his eyes subtly picked out in blue. It was cast by Bronze Age in Limehouse.
Frances was first approached to sculpt HRH The Duke of Kent back in 2016 by then Grand Secretary Nigel Brown, to mark UGLE’s Tercentenary and his 50th anniversary as Grand Master. As a result, His Royal Highness sat for Frances on a number of occasions at both Kensington Palace and her studio in Wapping, London.
Frances Segelman has sculpted a wide variety of public figures including HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Prince of Wales. Recent projects have included Boris Johnson, Joanna Lumley, Lord Julian Fellowes, Sir Derek Jacobi, Sir Steven Redgrave and Sergei Polunin.
The Grand Master’s sculpture can be seen on display in the Kent Room in Freemasons’ Hall.
International concert organist, Richard Hills, FRCO, will be playing the organ of the Grand Temple at Freemasons' Hall on Wednesday 13th June, 7:15pm
Part of the preparation for the United Grand Lodge of England’s Tercentenary was the overhaul and enhancement of the 1933 Willis III organ in the Grand Temple to coincide with a series of free, public organ concerts. This will be the first organ concert of 2018 to be given by London-based organist Richard Hills.
Richard’s musical background began when he commenced classical organ studies at Rochester Cathedral, before he became Organ Scholar at Exeter College, Oxford. Richard has numerous awards to this name alongside national and international TV and radio appearances, and is Organist at St Mary's Bourne Street in London.
The Organ Concert is free to attend, with doors opening one hour beforehand – to book your place, please click here.
Letters to the Editor
My wife and I took the opportunity to attend the organ recital by Richard Hill at Grand Lodge on 13 June 2018 as it was open to all.
We were pleased such an event took place, really enjoyed it and were delighted to experience the different features of the organ and, of course, the magnificent setting in Freemasons’ Hall. The evening was well attended and well organised, and thanks should also go to the stewards who assisted with the seating arrangements.
It was a memorable evening and I hope more can be arranged in future; it must make us proud to be members of such a fraternity. I would urge others to make the effort in supporting these initiatives.
David Crocker, Lodge of the Round Table, No. 7762, Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland
The Lodge of Research No. 2429 held a Symposium to celebrate 'Three Hundred Years of Leicestershire Freemasonry' at their Lodge meeting on 22nd January 2018 in Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester
Aubrey Newman OSM PJGD put together four exciting short papers which were delivered by members of the Lodge. The Master Alf Sharman presided over the Symposium which was very well received by the members and visitors who were in attendance.
The Symposium was started by Andy Green, who explored the formation and demise of the early and short-lived lodges across Leicestershire which form the very foundation of the lodges existing today in the Province.
Aubrey Newman then focused on the various Provincial Grand Masters of Leicestershire and Rutland, discussing how far they reflected the ways in which there have been changes in the 'ruling social classes' in the Province, and additionally reflecting on the Provincial Grand Master during 1870-1873, William Kelly, emphasising how unusual his career was.
The Symposium continued with David Herbert speaking about the Duke of Sussex, who was the first Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, and the record of one famous Lodge meeting at which a prominent Leicester Freemason also played a significant part.
Finally, Don Peacock picked out some of the highlights of the transition from the Provincial headquarters at Halford Street, Leicester, to the new Hall at London Road, highlighting how the move, although very successful, also brought with it a number of problems that had to be addressed.
The Provincial Grand Master David Hagger then gave a summary address: 'Last year was a momentous year for Freemasonry with the celebration of the Tercentenary of the founding of the first Grand Lodge.'
'I am therefore pleased to hear the papers celebrating 300 years of Freemasonry in this Province and to congratulate the brethren who delivered them this evening. A splendid example of dedicated research, which places this Province, particularly this Lodge, at the forefront of this research. We can be extremely proud of their efforts and may I congratulate all involved in arranging this evening. Clearly a lot of hard work and research has been involved and we are the beneficiaries of it.'
The papers will be published in the Lodge of Research Transactions later this year, titled as below:
Early Lodges in the Province – Dr. Andrew R. Green PAGStB
Thee Provincial Grand Masters – Aubrey N. Newman OSM PJGD
The Duke of Sussex and his Royal Brothers – David Herbert PProvJGW
Behind the scenes - Provincial Hall Committee meetings – Donald A. Peacock PAGDC
A new external defibrillator for Sutton Valence
Parishioners in Sutton Valence, Kent, received a belated Christmas present this week in the form of an Automatic External Defibrillator which has been installed outside their village hall in North Street
Each year over 100,000 people in the UK suffer sudden cardiac arrest in a public space. Their chances of survival are increased by up to 50% if a defibrillator is used promptly.
Modern defibrillators are completely automatic and can safely be used by members of the public without previous training. A recent handover demonstration was attended by representatives of the Women’s Institute, a local Dancing Society, Football Teams, Sutton Valence Gardening Association, Flower Arranging and Fine Arts Societies all of whom use either the Village Hall or the adjacent Sports Field. As well as familiarising themselves with the defibrillator, delegates were able to try Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on specially designed mannequins.
This defibrillator has been provided as part of a community partnership between Suffolk-based charity the Community Heartbeat Trust, who provided technical expertise and training, Sutton Valence Parish Council, who will be responsible for ongoing maintenance, and East Kent Freemasons, who provided the funding as part of their celebrations for the 300th Anniversary of the founding of the Premier Grand Lodge.
Speaking at a recent handover ceremony, Eve Poulter, Chair of Sutton Valence Parish Council, said: ‘I would like to thank all those who have made this possible. The generosity of our local Freemasons and the support of the Community Heartbeat Trust mean that our parishioners can use our facilities confident in the knowledge that should a problem arise, the most up to date and effective equipment is on hand.’
Bill Laidler, speaking on behalf of the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons Charity, said: ‘We are delighted to be able to support such a worthwhile and important community project. We hope that this partnership will become a model for others in the coming years.’
Community Heartbeat has so far provided over 3,000 public access defibrillators.
If a friend or member of your family is suddenly taken ill in a public space, phone 999. If appropriate, the Ambulance Service will guide you to your nearest defibrillator.