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Royal Arch club formed by Leicestershire and Rutland

Following the success of Craft Freemasonry social groups such as the Light Blue clubs, the Royal Arch Executive in Leicestershire and Rutland has sanctioned the creation of a similar scheme for the Royal Arch. Named after the white breast jewel worn by newly exalted companions, the White Ribbon Club will work alongside the Province’s Light Blue Club for master masons. 

The aim is to attract and inspire members and to encourage retention through chapter visits and social events. Grand Superintendent Peter Kinder said, ‘It is hoped the encouragement and recruitment of many new Craft members will equally apply to the Royal Arch membership.’ 

Published in SGC

Breathing easier

Six nebulisers were presented by local Freemasons to the children’s ward at the Leicester Royal Infirmary via the Asthma Relief charity

The presentation was made at a special event held at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester on the 28th April 2016 hosted by the Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland RW Bro David Hagger.

Nebulisers are devices that converts liquid medication into aerosol droplets suitable for inhalation, using compressed air, thus enabling patients to breathe more easily. Each nebuliser will help 150 children over a six-year life.

Dhiraj Vara, Clinical Investigations Manager, said: 'On behalf of the Trust and the children's ward thank you to the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons. There is always a shortage of nebulisers on the wards so this will certainly help provide those therapies and therefore they are going to make a big difference.'

Members of the Grey Friars Lodge No. 6803, which meets in Leicester, also donated a total of £1,400 to the Leicestershire Royal Infirmary Children and Young People’s Cancer Unit to provide play equipment and materials together with updating medical equipment.

Kamlesh Mistry, Community and Events Fundraising Manager at Leicester Hospitals Charity, said: 'Thank you to the Grey Friars Lodge for raising a fantastic amount. The Children’s Cancer Unit at the Leicester Royal Infirmary really appreciate the money, so thank you from the kids, young adults, staff, and everyone on the wards.'

David Hagger said: 'I’m proud and delighted that the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons have been able to make a contribution to society by supporting the Leicester Royal Infirmary particularly helping many sick children and young people in the local community.'

Junior's journey

Two-year-old Junior, who was born with cerebral palsy, won the hearts of all those present at a recent charity award ceremony held by the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons as he determinedly walked the length of the room, with the aid of special walking sticks, to collect a donation of £2,310 on behalf of the members of the Granite Lodge No. 2028, which meet in Leicester, and the Leicestershire and Rutland Masonic Charity Association.

Cerebral palsy affects the part of the brain responsible for the control of body movement senses, co-ordination and muscle tone and it is estimated that 1 in 400 babies in the UK are born with the condition. Junior was diagnosed with cerebral palsy 11 months after he was born and as he grew has suffered from muscle and joint stiffness in his legs.

Richard Barnett from Granite Lodge said: 'Junior's Journey was chosen by the Lodge to support because of the heart warming story and pure dedication shown by Rosie, the family and friends, in raising money to improve Junior's quality of life. When the suggestion was put before the lodge, it was quickly agreed that we would hold a raffle as well as receive donations from individual lodge members.'

Junior's mum, Rosie Exon, who lives in Shepshed, Leicestershire said: 'The kindness and generosity of the Freemasons has been extremely overwhelming and the donation will make a massive difference to Junior’s rehabilitation. Junior has recently undergone an operation known as selective dorsal rhizotomy which means they go into the spine, take a piece of bone out and cut the damaged nerves that are sending the bad signals from brain to the legs. This has enabled him to walk flat-footed. However his legs are still quite weak and he has to build his strength every single day. The money will go towards transforming one of the rooms in our house into his very own physio room which will enable him to keep his strength and mobility going.Thank you to all of the Freemasons for their amazing help and support.'

The Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons, RW Bro David Hagger, who hosted the event said: 'We are full of admiration for Junior and Rosie and it has been very humbling to be able to support the family via the Tree of Hope charity.' He continued: 'I’m proud and delighted that the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons continue to make a large contribution to society by helping many children and young people, such as Junior, in the local community.'

Thursday, 12 May 2016 07:28

Young mason visits lodge in France

Channel hopping

On the 3rd May 2016, three members of the Beacon Lodge No. 5208 travelled to France to accompany Bro Joshua Symonds to a meeting of La Loge Ad Augusta, Per Angusta No. 617

Bro Joshua Symonds was initiated, on his 18th birthday in May 2015, into the Beacon Lodge No. 5208 in Loughborough. Joshua, who is a gamekeeper, subsequently gained a position as under-keeper on a large estate at the Chateau de La Verrerie in Aubigny-sur-Nere in France. This meant that, as Joshua was working abroad, he was unable to regularly attend his Mother Lodge. His father, W Bro Garry Symonds and other brethren, therefore decided to arrange a visit to a French lodge in Bourges, near to where Joshua works.

W Bro Garry Symonds said: 'The lodge is a small Provincial Lodge way off the beaten track and had never received foreign visitors before; we received a very warm and generous welcome.'

At the Festive Board, the hand of friendship was further extended to Bro Joshua when the Master, W Bro Frédéric Heurtebise, invited him to attend the lodge at their next meeting and for him to continue this practice through the next season.

The brethren from the Beacon Lodge kindly presented an engraved silver loving cup to the lodge, to mark their visit and to be used in ceremonial form at the Installation meetings.

Fairytale finale

Freemasons across Leicestershire and Rutland, including the Provincial Grand Master, have been celebrating their local football team, Leicester City Football Club, on their fairytale end to the season when they were crowned unlikely champions of the English Premier League

Having been near to relegation in the previous season, Leicester City Football Club had odds of 5000/1 to win the Premiership at the start of the 2015/16 season. Under the management of Claudio Ranieri and players such as Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, the Foxes have beaten those odds in an extraordinary climb to the Premiership title, the first in their 132-year history.

Former player and captain of Leicester City and Past Master of the Lodge of Welcome No. 5664, W Bro Jeff Blockley, said: 'I would like to offer my congratulations to all the staff and supporters. What a fantastic once in a lifetime achievement brought about by the owners, manager, players and supporters which has brought untold success to Leicester.'

Provincial Grand Mentor W Bro Ken Wylie, of St John's Lodge No. 279, missed the last home game when the champions lifted the trophy: 'After supporting Leicester City for years and not missing a home match all season we have ended up on holiday in Cologne Germany on a river cruise on the most prestigious game of our life. Not to be outdone we were wearing our shirts with pride and cheering them on lifting the Premier League Cup.'

Bro Karl Coles, Edward Sherrier Lodge No. 6757 said: 'I've waited since 1983 for this dream to come true!'

W Bro Jamie Mollart, Past Master of the Wyggeston Lodge No. 3448, said: 'What we’re seeing is beyond my wildest dreams. I can’t believe it’s happening in my lifetime and I’ve been in the stadium to witness it throughout the season. If you’d have told me at the start of the season that we would claim the world’s biggest football prize, I would have just laughed it off. It is truly an amazing achievement.'

The Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland, RW Bro David Hagger said: 'As a season ticket holder for Leicester City, I congratulate them on behalf of the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons on their wonderful achievement which has captured the hearts across the footballing community. I very much look forward to the year ahead when Leicester City are competing in Europe.'

Foxes never quit

Bro Monty Katchick, Junior Warden of the Wayfarer Lodge No. 8679 which meets in Coalville, Leicestershire, is one of the singers appearing on a charity song Foxes Never Quit (Glory Glory Leicester City) in aid of Prostate Cancer UK

Bro Monty was selected to add his vocals to the song after Leighton Morrell, music producer, made an appeal for local talent to appear on the charity single. Leighton was originally approached by his close friend Peter Bullard, who is suffering from prostate cancer, with the idea of making a record to celebrate the fairytale season of Leicester City Football Club who recently won the English Premier League.

The collaboration, called the Foxee Singers of Leicester, consists of over 25 local singers and musicians from Leicestershire who have subsequently recorded the charity song based on the Battle Hymn of the Republic in a reggae style. It was released for download on iTunes and Amazon on the 15th April 2016 and and is currently at No. 6 on the UK reggae charts as well as No. 90 on the Worldwide Amazon Singles Chart.

Bro Monty said: 'I was approached to appear on the song as I was a singer in Leicester during the 1970s and they were looking for singers from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and today. When Leighton told me it was all for prostate cancer I was very interested, so we all got together in the recording studio and recorded Foxes Never Quit. Approximately 33p from each download will go to Prostate Cancer UK.

Leighton said: 'We want to let as many people know about the song as possible to try and make Leicester City top of the music charts as well as top of the Premier League. We also want to raise as much money as possible for this worthwhile cause.'

This sporting life

At the Installation Meeting of the Leicestershire and Rutland Lodge of Installed Masters No. 7896 on the 8th April 2016 the members and visitors were treated to an informative lecture on Freemasonry and Sport by W Bro Rex Hazeldine of the Lodge of Science and Art No. 8429

W Bro Rex, who trained as a Physical Education teacher and taught, coached, lectured in sport, health and exercise science for many years, highlighted the connections between his two great passions: Freemasonry and sport. He began with the comparisons between the two including the closeness, friendship, reliance on one another as part of a team and are guided, coached, taught by knowledgeable, experienced tutors.

The significant contribution made by Freemasons in establishing historic sports organisation such as the Football Association, Middlesex Cricket Club, Amateur Athletic Association and the Modern Olympic Games. There was also the critical contribution of the Reform Bill of 1832 in expanding schools which lead to 'games' being part of their ethos which was lead by Sir John George Lambton, Pro Grand Master.

W Bro Rex recounted the reasons why Manchester City adopted the light blue colour worn by a Master Mason, when the club, which was founded in 1880, was rescued from bankruptcy in 1894 by local Freemasons who requested the playing strip to be changed from red and black to the colour of a Master Mason.

He also mentioned a range of sports-based lodges including, the Sportsman’s Lodge No. 9440, British Sub-Aqua Lodge No. 8997, Flyfishers’ Lodge No. 9347, Silverstone Lodge No. 9877, Lodge of the Chevaliers de Fer No. 9732, Mike Hailwood Lodge No. 9839, Graham Milton Lodge No. 9796 and the Shotokan Karate Lodge No. 9752.

Special mention was made for lodges meeting in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland: the Reynard Lodge No. 9285, which was formed by members of Stoneygate and Westleigh Rugby Football Clubs, and the Joey Dunlop Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 1081 which meets in Lutterworth and was founded for those who are motorcycling enthusiasts.

The brethren were amazed by the number of high profile sportsmen who were Freemasons that had graced their respective sports: football (Alf Ramsey, Stanley Matthews, Jackie Milburn, Don Revie, Ron Greenwood, Sir Stanley Rous) rugby (Don White, Ron Jacobs, Eric Evans, Cliff Morgan), cricket (Len Hutton, Colin Cowdrey, Brian Statham, Clive Lloyd), motorsport (Donald Campbell, Joey Dunlop, Mike Hailwood), martial arts, boxing (Daniel Mendoza, James Figg, Sugar Ray Robinson, Jack Dempsey), and golf (Arnold Palmer).

W Bro Rex said, 'I know from my research that there are few sports in which masonic athletes, coaches and administrators have not made their mark. Freemasonry has contributed to and influenced sport in so many ways and at all levels of participation and performance. In many cases, as I have tried to show, Freemasonry has provided an environment, a value system, a culture which has links and similarities with the world of sport.'

The newly installed Master, W Bro John Peberdy, thanked W Bro Rex on behalf of the brethren, for a very interesting, entertaining and informative talk.

Jewels in the crown

After W Bro James Noel Pitts, Howe and Charnwood Lodge No. 1007 and Lodge of Science and Art No. 8429, passed away in June 2013 his family asked the Almoner of Howe and Charnwood, W Bro Ray Hardy, to dispose of his masonic regalia and deal with some masonic curios

W Bro Ray faithfully returned regalia to the lodges of which W Bro Jim had been a member, but there was an old toffee tin containing a number of masonic jewels and other assorted items. W Bro David Sharpe from the Lodge of Research No. 2429 was then asked to help identify them and to deal with them as he thought best.

Many of the jewels were duplicates of those held at the Masonic Hall at Loughborough, and so he took them to the Provincial museum in Leicester to include in their collection. Four of these jewels are of special interest:

The first is a bicentennial jewel issued in 1917 during World War 1, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the formation of the Grand Lodge of England. On the obverse is an engraving of the MW Grand Master The Duke of Connaught, and on the reverse appear the arms of UGLE and the dates 1717–1917.

There are also two silver Masonic Million Memorial Fund Commemorative Jewels. These were in recognition of money donated to the Masonic Peace Memorial, later to become known as Freemasons’ Hall, in memory of the many brethren who had given their lives in the First World War. These were issued to any lodge member under the English Constitution who donated ten guineas (£10.50) or more. They were given to W Bros JS Potter, PPJGW and H Mallinson. Some 52,334 individual jewels were issued. Any individual mason donating 100 guineas or more was eligible for one of these jewels in gold. Was there a gold one for W Bro Potter, since he donated over 100 guineas? If so, what became of it? If not, why not?

A slightly larger medal in gold on a light blue collarette to be worn by successive Masters of lodges was awarded to those lodges contributing an average of ten guineas per member, which were to be known as Hall Stone Lodges. Howe and Charnwood did not qualify, but there are two such lodges in the Province who did, Albert Edward Lodge No. 1560 and Enderby Lodge No. 5061. In all, 1,321 lodges at home and abroad qualified as Hall Stone Lodges.

The final jewel in the tin was perhaps the most interesting. It was created to be awarded to those individual masons who had donated at least 240 guineas (£252). 956 of these Jewels were issued. This was given to W Bro Potter, and is inscribed M.M.M. and his name. Does this mean it was donated through the Howe Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 21, of which he was a member and by 1930 Director of Ceremonies?

Whilst these jewels are, of course, of considerable interest, they are only in the museum in Leicester due to the thoughtfulness of W Bro Jim’s family, and will form part of a display of his curios and works donated the museum.

How easily they could be now in some antique shop or a flea market. One must ask, will families know what to do with masonic regalia, books and curios when the owners pass away?

This is the point made by W Bro Walters in the conclusion of his inaugural address to the Lodge of Research in 1977 when he said: 'Many masons have interesting material. When they die their wives or executors may not appreciate it and it would be a service to posterity if arrangements could be made to deposit it either with their lodges, or an established library or archive before it gets into the hands of persons who may not appreciate its value.'

Ferociously magnificent

On 12th March 2016, W Bro David Hughes (Rothley Temple Lodge No. 7801), ably assisted by W Bro Donald Salt (Guthlaxton Lodge No. 7717) and Bro Carl Heslop (Highcross Lodge No. 4835), welcomed the Leicester and District Organists' Association (LDOA) to the Holmes Lodge Room in Freemasons' Hall, Leicester to experience the rebuilt organ

LDOA is very proud of the local organ building tradition established by the firm started by Stephen Taylor and who built the magnificent concert organ in the De Montfort Hall. Taylors, a firm with strong masonic connections, also created the organ which initially stood in the old Halford Street Masonic Hall, and which still forms the core of the Holmes Temple organ following its rebuild by Bro Carl Heslop.

The first thing to strike the notice of the members of LDOA was the Edwardian Baroque splendour of the Holmes Lodge Room and to say they were impressed by its beauty and fine acoustic property is to put it mildly. W Bro David Hughes, who is himself an LDOA member and organist of Newton Harcourt and Wistow churches, gave a short history of the lodge room and how it came to be built, and then handed over to Bro Carl Heslop to talk about his work and how he been drawn to both Freemasonry and the task of undertaking the rebuilding of the instrument.

Bro Carl demonstrated the various stops on the organ and how they can work either in solo form or in combined patterns. He put the organ through its paces from delicately mild to ferociously magnificent. The members of the association, many of whom are local church organists, were then invited to try their hands on the organ and quite a number responded to the challenge. What impressed all those present was the way in which the rebuild has combined traditional organ pipe work with current digital technology to produce an instrument of astounding versatility. And, yes, Bro. Carl did end the afternoon by sending everyone off to Blackpool in Theatre organ style with 'I do like to be beside the seaside!'

The members of the association were entertained for two hours and went on their way having declared themselves more than happy with what they had heard and also highly delighted to have been given the chance to see inside our fine Provincial Headquarters.

Silver service

Holmes Lodge No. 4656, which meets at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester, has been most fortunate to acquire two beautiful silver coffee pots which form a lost part of the lodge's history but they could not have done it without the aid of other brethren in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland.

Initially the items were spotted by W Bro Andy Green who keeps an eye on internet auction sites for items of masonic interest which might be purchased for the Museum. He contacted W Bro Don Peacock who leads the Library and Museum team, and it was then decided to contact Holmes Lodge to see whether they might be interested in making the purchase as the coffee pots were beautifully engraved with the lodge crest.

No time was lost in contacting the vendor who, most fortunately, turned out to be the daughter of a mason and who was most happy to pass the items into the keeping of the lodge for a very reasonable price. The items had come into the vendor's possession via an auction sale, but she had paperwork to show that in the 1980s they had been sold through the London Silver Vaults for a much higher price, and that they had then become the property of a gentleman who lived in Kensington.

The question then arose of how the silver had found its way from Leicester to London. The hallmarks and maker's marks indicated that the silver had been made in 1924, and the original sellers were Pearces who had a very exclusive jewellery shop in Leicester, latterly in the Market Place, but before then in Gallowtree Gate. It was thus clear that the silver had a connection to the early years of the lodge.

At this point W Bro Don Peacock rode to the rescue once more by discovering in the lodge archives a letter from RW Bro Edward Holmes, the then Provincial Grand Master, to W Bro GW Hunt, the founding Master of the lodge. This letter congratulated W Bro Hunt on his year as founding Master. There were further archive references to silver coffee pots and an inscribed salver being given to W Bro Hunt from the Lodge to mark the appreciation felt for all he had done.

W Bro Hunt went on to become Deputy Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent in and over Leicestershire and Rutland, and it must have gratified him greatly when he was able to consecrate Holmes Chapter in 1945, the only Royal Arch Chapter to be consecrated in the Province during the Second World War.

The silver would have formed part of his estate on his death in 1954, and it is now down to 'Lodge Sleuth' W Bro David Hughes to obtain testamentary evidence to cast light on the fate of the coffee pots between the 1950s and the 1980s. The fate of the salver is unknown, however the silver pots are now safely back at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester where they will be displayed on Holmes Lodge nights at the Festive Board.

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