Herefordshire Freemasons have continued their long-standing support for Hereford Riding for the Disabled (RDA) with a donation of £1,100

£1,000 of the donation from the members of the Herefordshire Province as a whole, through the Herefordshire Masonic Charity Association, and £100 from the members of Coningsby Lodge No. 6383 in Hereford.

Hereford RDA has 12 horses, of varied sizes, all of a gentle and friendly temperament, and the money will go towards sponsoring one of them, called Jelly.

The local RDA is one of a network of nearly 500 all over the country. With just four full-time members of staff, it relies heavily on its team of volunteers. Each local group is independent and money raised stays for the benefit of that local group.

RDA’s clients, children and adults, live with a number of physical and learning disabilities, and autism. The charity aims to give them an enjoyable experience, but through that to provide them with a wide range of therapeutic benefits – improving their physical abilities, self-confidence, communication skills, social skills and relationship building among others. One example was a little girl who wouldn’t talk, but a few months of interaction with the horses encouraged her to start to speak.

Children and adults come to the RDA by a number of routes, mainly through word of mouth, and via their website and social media. Seven or eight local schools come on a regular basis.

The Hereford facility at Holme Lacy provides a range of activities, and has equipment such as lifts to enable people with disabilities to mount and dismount easily and safely, with the help of the volunteers. There is an indoor riding school, shown in the photo, and extensive adjoining land for trekking and longer hacks into the country.

David Harding, Chairman, and Sarah Fishbourne, Fundraising Manager, expressed their gratitude to the Freemasons of Herefordshire for their continued support. Herefordshire Freemasons are delighted to be continuing their support for this excellent and very worthwhile charity and plan to follow the career of their newly sponsored horse, Jelly.

A St David’s Day tradition

Every year Coningsby Lodge holds a St David’s Day celebration at its March meeting. This includes the ordeal of eating raw leeks, and current Worshipful Masters are ‘invited’ to take part in the ceremony. This year the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro the Rev David Bowen, agreed to join them for a sponsored leek-eat in aid of the 2020 Festival.

In introducing the event W Bro Roger Tomlinson explained that it was a tradition for all new members of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, of which he had been Bandmaster, to eat a leek on St David’s Day. He said that the tradition dates back to the 6th century when St David advised the commander of the Welsh army that his soldiers should wear a leek on their head-dress to distinguish them from the Saxons, with whom they were about to do battle. Having won the battle, the Welsh celebrated, and honoured St David, by eating the leeks. The tradition has continued among Welsh soldiers, and for a number of years has been re-enacted by Coningsby Lodge.

As well as the PGM, the Worshipful Master of Coningsby Lodge, W Bro Kevin Jones, took part, together with W Bro Keith Farmer, WM of Dean Waterfield, and W Bro David Joyce took part. A salver of raw leeks was carried in by W Bro Gordon Bumfrey, to a drum accompaniment by W Bro Ian Warren. The four participants were then invited to select their leeks, and eat them whole. Having done so, they were rewarded with a drink of Welsh beer.

In recognition of the RW PGM’s participation, and in his role as President of the Festival, the Lodge then presented him with a cheque for £100 in aid of the Festival. The PGM thanked the Lodge, and said how much he had enjoyed taking part.

An invited tour of the extensive new £8 million build at St Michael’s Hospice on the last day of 2014 by Herefordshire Freemasons, reflected the extent of appreciation for their committed support

In the presence of Ruth Denison, Fundraising Manager at the hospice, the RW Bro the Rev David Bowen, Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire, accompanied by fellow Freemasons, was informed that the new building would be the most advanced and highly specified in the country.

The new facilities, including the imaginative and highly technical five clusters of four bedded areas for in-patients, representing a significant increase in capacity, will enable the hospice to sustain its excellent national reputation.

The visiting local Freemasons were also told that the projected £3.2 million refurbishment of the thirty-year-old part of the existing hospice will take place during the coming twelve months, thus completing a challenging period of development.

The Rev David Bowen presented a donation of £2,804 on behalf of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity – since 1984, the charity has donated more than £11 million to hospices in England and Wales – and David Hudson, Worshipful Master of Coningsby Lodge presented an additional £500 on behalf of the members.

Speaking about the donations, David Bowen said: 'Freemasons in Herefordshire are pleased that The Freemasons’ Grand Charity has continued to provide this vital funding for our local hospice. The care, compassion and support the hospice provides to the community is outstanding and we are delighted that we are able to show our continuing dedication to their cause.'

Long service acknowledged

One of the first official duties of the newly installed Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire, the RW Bro the Rev David Bowen, was to award Long Service Certificates to three Herefordshire masons who had completed fifty years membership in Freemasonry.

The men who received this honour at the Three Counties Hotel were Peter Like, of Loyal Hay Lodge No. 2382, John Poyner, of Coningsby Lodge No. 6383, and Stanley Davey, of Saint Peter’s Lodge No. 7368. All three masons are Past Provincial Grand Wardens. Rev David Bowen warmly congratulated the three recipients for their dedication, commitment and loyalty to Freemasonry in the Province of Herefordshire and beyond.

Members of Coningsby Lodge No.6383, known as the `Weekenders’, have raised £360 to support the emergency operations of Longtown Mountain Rescue Team

Longtown Mountain Rescue Team, which is based in the shadow of the Black Mountains and consists of some fifity volunteers, undertakes in excess of thirty search and evacuation missions each year in liaison with other emergency services, particularly RAF Search & Rescue (SARF) and Midlands Air Ambulance.

Chairman of the Longtown Team, Mike Jones, stressed the importance of community and public support to meet the £15,000 annual cost of maintaining this vital public service, and applauded Herefordshire Freemasons for the donations received by both the Mountain Rescue Team and Midlands Air Ambulance.

Gordon Bumfrey, Coningsby Lodge's Charity Steward, with first-hand experience of the expertise of the Longtown Team, said he was privileged to be given the opportunity, on behalf of Herefordshire Freemasons, to support such a worthy, crucial and indispensible local service.

 


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