11 December 2019
An address by the MW the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes
Brethren. If you look up, you will see one of the finest mosaics in London. It took Italian craftsmen 10 man-years to create and, like so much of our Craft, it is laden with symbols, allegory and meaning. But look more closely, especially in the South-West and you will see that all is not quite as it should be. Cracks have been appearing over the last few years. Tesserae have fallen, and the Grand Superintendent of Work’s brow has furrowed, but he informs me that you are not in immediate danger!
After extensive research, chemical analysis, ultrasounds, X-Rays, thermal studies, endoscopies, not to mention all manner of expert opinion, we are now able to confidently conclude that we have no idea why. We do know the many things that are not responsible for these cracks, and contrary to scurrilous rumour, hot air from this chair has nothing whatsoever to do with it, but pinning down the exact cause has proved elusive. Take a good look Brethren because in a few weeks’ time, it will be shrouded in scaffolding, and for the first time in nearly a hundred years, men, and probably women, will begin work on restoring it to its former splendour.
We recently heard from the Grand Superintendent of Works about his role within the organisation and some of the work being done by his team to ensure that not only this building, but all of our masonic halls up and down the country are up to scratch. A huge amount of work has been put into producing the Masonic Halls Guide, available in the members’ section of the UGLE website, to provide a ‘Best Practice’ guide to help Lodges and Provinces improve their Halls and meeting places, and how they are managed.
I was recently told of a Lodge in Cambridgeshire (Stone Cross) which has transformed its own hall from a rather dingy affair to something the whole community can be proud of. Members, under the guidance of more expert Craftsmen – also members of that Lodge – have spent weekends, and time over consecutive summers to transform it into a venue that they can all look forward to using – and it has made a huge difference to the first impressions and attendance of new members.
As we actively seek out new members to join us, we should ensure that we are examining what it is that we would expect them to find – not just in the physical spaces we occupy, but in our Lodges too.
Many of us find a great deal of fulfilment in volunteering and giving of our time for the benefit of the community at large. We will shortly be sending out a survey to estimate just how great an impact we, as Freemasons have within our local communities – our last estimate was that our members contribute over 5 million hours volunteering for worthy causes.
We must be unique as an organisation in that we have premises embedded in almost every community in the Country. Just as we draw our members from all walks of life and all backgrounds, so our halls are found in village and cities, in areas rich and poor. Over the next few months, the Communications Working Party of the Board, made up of Provincial Grand Masters from each region of the country, will be looking at what we might do to raise our profile by putting these to better use – not only for ourselves, but also for those communities from which we are drawn. What does your Hall say about you, and the wider organisation, to a person seeing it for the first time and, indeed, to that potential new member, or that member of public giving blood, being screened, or just looking around?
Many of our Halls are both precious and beautiful; some, cracking a little around the edges and in need of loving care. But I’m sure, Brethren, we all feel like that at times. Let us remember that we are custodians not just of the Craft and its heritage and traditions, but also those meeting places which have, for generations, inspired our members.
I wish you and your families a very Happy Christmas period and I look forward to seeing you again in the New Year.
Hundreds of children with mental or emotional health issues will receive the therapy they need, thanks to a £15,000 grant from Cambridgeshire Freemasons to the charity Blue Smile
Blue Smile works with children between 3 and 13 years old, who may experience difficulties such as anxiety, self-harm or obsessive-compulsive behaviours. They are given a weekly session with an expert therapist, based on arts and play, providing support for each child for as long as they need it. During term time, Blue Smile helps around 200 children every week.
In Cambridgeshire, roughly one in eight children have a diagnosable mental health condition, which equates to each class in a Cambridgeshire school having three affected children. The county has an estimated 13,900 children and young people under the age of 16 with mental health issues, which is the highest in the East of England and a higher percentage than England as a whole, which has 400,000 under 16s who were referred to the NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in the last year.
Blue Smile aims to intervene when a child has emerging mental health difficulties, particularly those who have suffered trauma such as abuse, bereavement or domestic violence. Through this, they aim to prevent problems worsening and protect each child's ability to stay in school and participate fully in school life. Half of all lifetime mental health problems emerge by the age of 14, so by supporting children who are experiencing difficulties, the charity believes that it can give them the best possible chance of recovery.
The grant from Cambridgeshire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Jess Manley, Charity Director of Blue Smile, said: 'We're very grateful to Cambridgeshire Freemasons for their generous grant, which will help us to offer support to hundreds of children every week during term time. Often people don't realise the scale of this issue, with, on average, three children in every class being affected by mental health difficulties.'
Pat Kilby, from Cambridgeshire Freemasons, said: 'I'm very pleased we've been able to help Blue Smile with their hugely important work. By getting to children early on, they can give them the support they need to prevent problems worsening, and protect each child's ability to stay in school and participate fully in school life.
'Their work is quite literally life-changing.'
80 members from Cambridgeshire and its neighbouring Provinces attended an Emergency Meeting of the Cambridgeshire Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge No. 9927 on 19th September for a unique event within the history of the Province – their Provincial Grand Master William Dastur was the Candidate for Initiation
The acting officers for the ceremony at Freemasons’ Hall in Cambridge were members of 10 out of the Province's 30 lodges, who had made the highest bids to participate.
A very enjoyable evening saw the acting officers (and the Initiate) perform an impeccable ceremony and raise a total of well over £2,500 for Cambridgeshire's Festival 2023, in aid of the Masonic Charitable Foundation.
It’s full steam ahead for Cambridgeshire's Festival 2023 Appeal after £1,000 was raised at a Garden Party jointly run by the Gild of St Mary Lodge No. 7288 and Alma Mater Lodge No. 1492
It was a first class event and there were no problems with the timetable on the day – the main attraction being the 220-yard long 1/8th scale model railway, which was built by and runs in the garden of Cambridgeshire’s Provincial Grand Scribe E Edmund Brookes.
The model of a 1930 Southern Railway U Class 2-6-0 tender engine in full steam ensured that over 90 adults and many children and grandchildren had a wonderful afternoon.
Some were even lucky enough to be driven round by the guest driver – UGLE’s Deputy Grand Master Jonathan Spence, who is a member of Alma Mater Lodge.
Members attending the meeting of Kynaston Lodge No. 5810 in Cambridgeshire on 6th December 2018 witnessed a rare event with the twin sons of Past Master Lee Wilson both initiated by their father in a moving and memorable ceremony
The Worshipful Master, Ted Ridgway Watt, vacated the Chair to Lee Wilson for him to initiate his sons, William Lee Wilson and James Patrick Wilson. The ceremony was carried out by Lee and the Lodge Officers with precision and concluded with the Ancient Charge being presented by their uncle, Andrew Fordham.
Andrew presented them each with a scrolled and personalised copy of the Charge together with a copy of the First Degree Ritual book before introducing them to their Personal Mentor.
Lee has been a working operative stonemason since 1982 and has worked on many fine buildings across the country.
In his toast to his sons at the Festive Board, Lee said: ‘I am immensely proud to have initiated my twin sons into Freemasonry. Both William and James’ achievements have exceeded my dreams for them and bringing them into Kynaston Lodge will further strengthen their bond together and also with their new brethren in masonry.’
26 years ago both boys had spent eight weeks in intensive care after being born. After schooling at Comberton Village College and Hills Road Sixth Form College, William attended Reading University to read History and Archaeology and gained a Master’s degree in Archaeology. He now works at Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, the very place that inspired his passion for both subjects.
James’ path lead him to the University of Nottingham after a short spell working for his father and there gained a degree in Agriculture and Livestock Production Science. He is now back at Nottingham and working toward a PhD in Management of the lameness in cattle and is a member of the University Shooting Club.
David Atkinson, a member of Granta Lodge No. 6179 in the Province of Cambridgeshire, has returned to the Falkland Islands for the first time since the war ended in 1982
David joined the Royal Navy in 1972 (Naval Canteen Service) and was selected to join the crew of HMS Endurance during the Falklands conflict. He later served on board the Royal Yacht Britannia, but had to retire from the Royal Navy in 1991 due to loss of his sight.
As a recipient of the South Atlantic Medal, David took advantage of a concessionary flight and travelled by Voyager, the largest Royal Air Force aircraft, on the ‘air bridge’ between RAF Brize Norton and the Falklands.
During the trip David, together with his guide Phil Drewery, who also served on HMS Endurance, stayed at Liberty Lodge in Port Stanley. There they visited a number of battlefields including Goose Green and Fitzroy. David also presented Nigel Phillips CBE, Governor of the Falklands, with a Blind Veterans UK tie and laid a wreath at the 1982 Liberation Memorial.
David said: ‘I wanted to go back to pay my respects and see how things had changed. It was a very emotional trip and an honour to remember those who fell in battle.
‘My thanks go to Blind Veterans UK and the Falklands Veterans Foundation for helping to make this trip happen. The support I have received from Blind Veterans UK has been brilliant. I have received training and equipment which has enabled me to do everyday tasks which were otherwise impossible. I was a keen canoer before losing my sight and Blind Veterans UK gave me the opportunity to get back on the water.’
It’s the journey that matters
Via Rolls-Royce, camper van, horse and cart, speedboat and tandem bicycle, Lifelites chief executive Simone Enefer-Doy travelled 2,500 miles in two weeks to raise the profile of this hard-working charity
Providing life-changing assistive technology, Lifelites helps the 10,000 children and young people in hospices across the British Isles live their short lives to the full. On 25 May 2018, the charity’s chief executive, Simone Enefer-Doy, set off on an epic road, air and river trip to spread the word and raise funds.
The 2,500-mile challenge, called Lift for Lifelites, was to take in 47 famous landmarks in England and Wales in just 14 days. For each leg of the journey, Simone received a lift from Provincial supporters in an eclectic mix of transportation. After setting an initial target of raising £50,000 for Lifelites, the total now stands at over £104,000. Simone says she has been astounded at the support and generosity she encountered as she travelled around the country.
‘Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that so many people would come out to meet me on my journey and support my challenge. We have received a terrific welcome wherever we have gone, and it really spurred me on to continue whenever I felt myself flagging. I would like to thank everyone – drivers, donors and venues – for helping to make Lift for Lifelites happen. We couldn’t have done it without you.’
Lifelites Chief Executive Simone Enefer-Doy has left Freemasons' Hall to kick-start her 2,500 mile journey to 47 famous landmarks to raise awareness of Lifelites and £50,000 for the charity
Dubbed 'A Lift for Lifelites', Simone will see Freemasons in nearly every Province in England and Wales and will be stopping at landmarks such as Hadrian’s Wall, Angel of the North and Bletchley Park in vehicles including a classic Rolls Royce, a camper van, a four seater plane, an E Type Jaguar and even a zip wire.
Simone said: 'With the help of Freemasons and their vehicles around the country, I’m on a mission to raise the profile of our work and raise more funds to reach more children whose lives could be transformed by the technology we can provide.'
We'll be updating this page regularly, including images, as Simone continues on her epic quest.
Day 14 – Thursday 7 June
That's a wrap! Simone completed her 14 day challenge and finished in style on ThamesJet speedboat with guests including United Grand Lodge of England Chief Executive Dr David Staples. Her fundraising currently stands at over £103,000.
Day 13 – Wednesday 6 June
It's the penultimate day, starting with a trip to Bedfordshire at the Shuttleworth Collection. The next stop was Silverstone racetrack in Northamptonshire, which included completing a lap in a Jaguar, before driving this to Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire. The last trip was to the home, studios and gardens of former artist Henry Moore in Hertfordshire.
Day 12 – Tuesday 5 June
Day 12 took in journeys across Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. The first stop was Gordon Boswell Romany Museum in Lincolnshire before using two vehicles, a Hudson Straight Six Touring Sedan and a Range Rover, to Bressington Steam and Gardens in Norfolk. There was still time to grab lunch at Bury St Edmunds Abbey in Suffolk before a BMW took Simone to her final stop in Cambridgeshire, which included a punt on the River Cam.
Day 11 – Monday 4 June
Simone crammed in four locations to start the week, with a wide variety of vehicles used. The day started in Yorkshire Sculpture Park before driving a 1977 Bentley to the National Tramway Museum in Derbyshire. It was from here that Simone then picked up a DeLorean to take her to Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire before completing the day by driving a gold Rolls-Royce to Victoria Park in Leicestershire.
Day 10 – Sunday 3 June
The week concludes with trips to Northumberland, Durham and Yorkshire and East Riding, as well as the news that Simone had already hit her £50,000 target. Trips included the Millennium Bridge in Northumberland, the Angel of the North and a scenic drive across the Yorkshire Moors to Bolton Castle.
Day 9 – Saturday 2 June
Day nine saw visits to the Provinces of West Lancashire and Cumberland and Westmorland, with landmarks including Hadrian’s Wall in Cumbria and transport provided by a horse and cart.
Day 8 – Friday 1 June
Two Rolls-Royces helped provide the transport on day nine, with Simone starting at the Avoncroft Museum in Worcestershire, driving down to New Place in Warwickshire and then to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. There was still time to conclude the day by visiting Manchester Cathedral in East Lancashire.
Day 7 – Thursday 31 May
At the halfway point, Simone made trips to Cheshire, Shropshire and Herefordshire – starting out at the Georgian Hall Dunham Massey, then heading to the RAF Museum Cosford in a custom built Rewaco Bike and finally, to Arthur’s Stone.
Day 6 – Wednesday 30 May
Day six was solely focused in North Wales where Simone took on the challenge of the fastest zip wire in the world. This was then followed by making the journey to Chester in a six month old blue McLaren Spider and flanked by the Widows’ Sons motorcyclists and Blood Bike volunteers.
Day 5 – Tuesday 29 May
Day five was a journey across the borders for Simone as she ventured to Oxfordshire before heading west to Monmouthshire and continued to South Wales and West Wales. Landmarks included Radcliffe Camera in Oxford, Caerleon Amphitheatre in Newport, the Donald Gordon theatre in Cardiff and ending the day in the county town of Carmarthen to meet the Provincial Grand Lodge of West Wales.
Day 4 – Monday 28 May
Simone began day four by driving an Aston Martin DB9 to the Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare with help from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Somerset. A 1928 MG Riley saloon then took Simone to her next port of call, Clifton Suspension Bridge where the Provincial Grand Lodge of Bristol had a 1966 Austin Mini Cooper waiting to take her to Caen Hill Locks. It was here that Simone met representatives from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Wiltshire, before the final stop of the day saw her clock up the miles to Shaw House in Berkshire to be greeted by members of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Berkshire.
Day 3 – Sunday 27 May
Day three involved journeys to Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. It started with a visit to Lulworth Cove in Dorset to be met by members from the Provincial Grand Lodge in a yellow camper van and to receive a donation of £2,000. Simone then ventured to Buckfast Abbey to receive a donation of £5,000 from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Devonshire before departing in a classic Rover to head to Lanhydrock House and Garden in Cornwall, where she received another donation of £1,750.
Day 2 – Saturday 26 May
Simone took to the sky for day two, meeting a representative from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Hampshire and Isle of Wight who drove her to Southampton to board a flight to Jersey, to meet members of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Guernsey and Alderney.
Day 1 – Friday 25 May
Simone has begun her challenge, leaving in a taxi escorted by a fleet of Widows Sons motorcyclists. This is the start of her 14 day road trip with a difference, using a variety of unusual and extraordinary forms of transport.
The next destination for Friday was Richmond Park where Simone was met by representatives from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Middlesex after arriving in a Porsche 550 Spyder. Further destinations included Guildford Cathedral, where Simone was met by a Noddy car, and Brighton Royal Pavilion, where the Provincial Grand Lodge of Sussex made a donation of £5,000.
Lifelites has a package of their magical technology at every children’s hospice across the British Isles and their work is entirely funded by donations. Through the journey they are seeking to raise £50,000 – that’s the cost of one of their projects for four years.
You can sponsor Simone by clicking here
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.
The first Tercentenary event of the Province of Cambridgeshire was deemed a huge success when more than 1,000 people enjoyed a special concert at Ely Cathedral in association with the Dean and Chapter
Suffolk soprano Laura Wright was the star attraction, accompanied by the cathedral choir and the Ely Imps (a choir of children aged seven to 13), under the direction of the cathedral’s director of music Paul Trepte and assistant organist Edmund Aldhouse.
Provincial Grand Master William Dastur welcomed everyone to the concert and thanked the Dean and Chapter of the cathedral together with the sponsors for their support. The concert raised £25,000, to be divided between the Ely Cathedral Trust and East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices.