Suffolk’s Provincial Grand Master Ian Yeldham made a dramatic entrance by helicopter, as he arrived for the 2019 National Masonic Clay Shooting Championships at High Lodge Shooting School in Darsham, Suffolk
The event was hosted by the Suffolk Masonic Clay Shooting Society of which Ian is the President. Many months of careful planning had resulted in a new national record of 205 clay shooting sportsmen and women entering for the event.
Suffolk knew they had a challenge on their hands if this huge number of entrants were to get round the 100 Bird Competition set over 15 different stands in a safe and timely manner, so Provincial Stewards were enrolled to accompany each of the 15 squads on their journey around the shooting ground to ensure everything ran smoothly.
A fantastic day ensued and after a welcome lunchtime meal and refreshments the prize giving revealed that the Masonic High Gun and the Jonathan Spence Challenge Cup had been won by Dan Bishop from the Province of Hampshire & Isle of Wight with a fantastic score of 93 out of a 100.
The top Masonic Team of Three came from the Province of West Lancashire, with Province of Middlesex a close runner up. The winning Team of Three Ladies was won by Suffolk Ladies with a score of 70 out of 100.
Roger Wilkes, Secretary of the National Association of Masonic Clay Shooting Societies (NAMCSS), commented: ‘I have to say that all of the officers of NAMCSS are in awe. The whole event was created, managed and run with such smoothness you have created a very hard act to follow.’
Despite his own blindness, Leslie Robinson is bringing FMT to other Freemasons who can’t see its pages. Along with voice-over man Chris Connop, he tells Edwin Smith how ‘masonic light’ brightens his life, and why he’s reaching out to blind brothers who may feel left in the dark
When Leslie Robinson was born, his mother knew something was wrong. When a mum smiles at her newborn child, most of the time, the baby smiles back. ‘But,’ says Leslie, ‘I didn’t.’ Even so, at first, his childhood was normal enough for someone born just before the Second World War. He would play on the bomb sites, like most children did. And, occasionally, he would trip on things, like most children did. Nobody thought anything of it.
At school, with wartime classes often numbering well over 40 children, Leslie’s problem went largely unnoticed by teachers. But he began to understand his limitations. ‘Even though I was sitting right at the front of the class, I used to have to ask the child next to me what was on the blackboard. But children can be very horrible, can’t they? “Look for yourself four eyes!” they’d say.’
He remembers getting lost in the playground. ‘I was trying to find the cloakroom,’ he says. Then, more quietly: ‘They wouldn’t tell me where it was.’ He trails off, lost in thought.
Eventually, Leslie was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary condition that affects the back of the eye. His sight deteriorated gradually and today, aged 83, is completely blind. ‘I can’t see the light of day,’ he says, merrily. ‘I sat down in the lounge one evening and my wife Barbara asked me to put the light on. I realised I didn’t use it anymore.’
About 40 years ago, Leslie became a Freemason. When he was initiated into the Craft and asked to name the ‘predominant wish of a new initiate’s heart,’ instead of giving the standard answer of ‘light’, he was permitted to say ‘masonic light’. And that masonic light has been with him ever since. He cites ‘friendship and comradeship’ as the most important things about the Craft. ‘I don’t think you’d find anyone you don’t trust who’s a Freemason.’
‘Leslie is unbelievable. He can lean forward and just press the right button, or find a particular CD just like that. It’s a particular faculty you develop when you lose another faculty, I suppose. He’s a lovely man’
Leslie was a piano tuner for 66 years and as a result has a network of clients and colleagues from his professional life. He also counts many friends among the Eastbourne Blind Society, of which he’s a member. But Freemasonry has proved to be a way of opening up social connections that is ‘something completely different.’
For many partially sighted Freemasons, the connections they enjoy through the Craft can be especially valuable. So, a couple of decades ago, Leslie was inspired to put himself forward to play a role in the production of an audio version of Masonic Quarterly, a predecessor publication of FMT. The idea was to ensure that people in a similar position to him would be able to stay connected to their fellow members and to the Craft, stay up to date with the latest developments and ward off some of the feelings of isolation that can accompany losing one’s sight.
The magazine had been put on to tape before, says Leslie. ‘But I don’t think the chap who read it all those years ago really wanted to do it. He mumbled a bit – listening to it made me want to drop off to sleep!’ Happily, when Leslie took up the mantle, he did so with the help of a former BBC radio announcer, Simon Fernie, whose flair for delivery helped to give the recordings a professional sheen.
Simon voiced the audio recordings for several years alongside Chris Connop, a former Personal Secretary to the Grand Secretary and a Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master for Middlesex. When Simon sadly passed away a decade or so ago, it was Chris, now 72, who became the voice of FMT. ‘The first time Chris came to see me, he said, “Do you know, Leslie, I’ve never been to Eastbourne before; I didn’t think I was old enough.”’ Leslie laughs. ‘It’s often called God’s waiting room.’
Leslie and Chris are now a double act, with Chris reading the magazine aloud and Leslie on hand manning the recording equipment. ‘We only have 80 minutes on those discs,’ says Leslie, ‘so we can’t include every last thing that goes in the magazine, but Chris is an ex-headmaster, so he’s quite capable of going through and deciding what to fit in.’ In the 72 editions that Leslie has recorded, ‘there’s quite a lot that has stood out,’ he says. Anything about a fellow member who has ‘done something extraordinary’ tends to pique his interest, but he especially enjoyed a recent article about George VI, who was a Freemason until withdrawing on his accession to the throne. ‘I didn’t know that. I’ve been a Freemason for over 40 years and I’m still discovering things.’‘
Chris’s delivery is very good. What I like is that he reads with considerable expression. He also speaks French and a bit of German, so occasionally there’s a quote in a different language.’
‘I’ve got a radio voice,’ says Chris, ‘or so people tell me. But Leslie, he is just unbelievable. He can lean forward and just press the right button, or find a particular CD just like that. It’s a particular faculty you develop when you lose another faculty, I suppose. He’s a great guy and a lovely man.’
‘People should know about the service, especially as it’s free. And they should know about Leslie, what he does and why he does it. It’s an inspiring, human story’
SPREADING THE WORD
Leslie uses a minidisc recorder hooked up to a microphone to capture Chris’s voice, a method he favours because it enables him to easily go back and edit out any mistakes. Editing tends to take about two hours for each issue of the magazine. After that, once the master CD has been recorded, it takes just a few minutes to create the discs that actually end up being sent out to members. To do this, Leslie uses a special machine which can copy 10 CDs at a time. These discs are then put into plastic wallets with address labels and posted – a process that is aided by Leslie’s wife of 61 years, Barbara.
In the old days, when it was audio tapes rather than CDs that were sent out, they would sometimes come back with messages recorded over them. ‘I’ve got some lovely messages,’ says Leslie. ‘One gentleman said, “I’m 92 and I thought they’d forgotten all about me.” I still get phone calls even today though – especially when the CDs are late!’
When Leslie began making his recordings, he had a list of 200 names and addresses to which he sent the tapes. Now he sends them out to 60 people. ‘It’s dwindling all the time, simply because people are dying off.’ But there’s no doubt in Leslie or Chris’s mind that there are more people out there who would leap at the chance to receive the audio version of the magazine, if only they knew it was available. There are some three million people in the UK who don’t have the ability to read because of a sight problem or reading disability such as dyslexia, according to a report published by the RNIB. Among them, there’s likely to be many more than 60 Freemasons.
So, Leslie and Chris have a message: ‘We want to publicise the recordings and let people know they’re available regularly. So of course it would help if people reading this can pass the word around.’
‘We really want it to be broadcast more widely,’ says Chris. ‘People should know about the service, especially as it’s free. And they should know about Leslie, what he does and why he does it. It’s an inspiring, human story.’
Ivan Martelosso, a new Master Mason and member of Harrow Temple in Unity Lodge No. 1310 in Middlesex, is from Brazil. To be precise, he is from the town of Maringa in the Brazilian Province of Paraná
It just so happened that Ivan was due to be visiting his Brazilian family, with his wife and children, when the prospect of visiting a lodge in Maringa was proposed to him.
This was orchestrated by Middlesex Freemason Nigel Codron, who knew that the new Grand Lodge of Paraná in Brazil was to be formally recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England. This particular news was advised in the Paper of Business for the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge (QC) held in December 2018 and was duly approved by those present.
So, with a letter of good standing from his lodge and his Grand Lodge Certificate from UGLE, Ivan was invited to attend the 9th July Lodge, No 66 in the newly recognised Masonic Province of Paraná. The lodge is named after the popular constitutional revolution that took place in Brazil on the 9th July 1932.
There can be no doubt that Ivan never stopped for breath as the actual meeting he attended was on the 14th December, two days after QC. Strictly speaking it might be correct to surmising that Ivan was the first English Constitution Member to visit; certainly the first Middlesex Mason.
Ivan describes his visit glowingly and he was made to feel especially welcome. The lodge works Scottish Rite, so some of the Masonic symbolism would have been new and different to him. However, although it was the lodge’s regular meeting, the highlight was the reading of the letter from UGLE recognising the Grand Lodge of Paraná.
It didn’t stop there, of course, and the presence of an English Freemason would have been very well received. Unlike the English Constitution, this particular lodge meets on a Friday about 35 to 40 times a year.
There are 42 members of whom about 25 attended on this occasion and the membership is generally made up of professionals; architects, engineers and the medical profession.
Ivan, anxious to present a gift to the Master of the lodge, took off his Middlesex tie, which was duly presented to the approbation of all present. It being so close to Christmas, the lodge held its Christmas party a few days later in the heat of a Summer’s day and over 180 people attended, including family members and Ivan’s wife and children together with guests of the lodge members.
This was a special moment for Ivan and the links that now may be forged between the respective lodges is proof of the universality of Freemasonry and the sharing of brotherly love.
A number of Freemasons have been honoured in HM The Queen’s New Year Honours list 2019, which recognises the outstanding achievements of people across the United Kingdom
Charles Pearson was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to West Mercia Police.
Charles has been a special constable for 45 years, holding the rank of a Sergeant, serving his community in Shropshire with postings to Bridgnorth, Much Wenlock and presently, Church Stretton. In May 2014, he was awarded the Freedom of Much Wenlock for services to the local community, with 40 years police service in the town of Much Wenlock.
He was initiated into Caer Caradoc Lodge No. 6346 in Shropshire in 1997 and joined West Mercia Lodge No. 9719 three years later, where he is the current Master.
In 2012, Charles was named Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon for Shropshire and in 2017 was promoted to Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works.
Thomas Clive Johnson
Clive Johnson was awarded the Queen's Fire Service Medal (QFSM) for Distinguished service to Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service.
Clive joined the Westmorland Fire Service as a Retained Firefighter in 1968 and was based at Staveley where he lives. In 1974, the Fire Services of the region amalgamated and then became the Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service.
Clive continued his service at Staveley until he retired on 31st May 2018, having achieved the high rank of Station Watch Manager. To mark his retirement having completed 50 years of exemplary service, he and his wife Julie were invited to attend a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, hosted by Her Majesty.
He was initiated into Eversley Lodge No. 4228 in 2001 in the Province of Cumberland & Westmorland. In 2016, he received Provincial Honours when he was appointed Provincial Senior Grand Deacon.
Bill Edward Bowen
Bill Bowen was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community of Oswestry in Shropshire.
This included actively serving in The Lions Club of Oswestry for 44 years and being honoured in the Lions Clubs International organisation as District Governor which necessitated training in Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii.
Bill also served as Churchwarden at the Parish Church of St. Oswald for 25 years, followed by 14 years as a licensed local minister in the Church of England. He also organised a Christian Men's Fellowship Breakfast for 22 years and served as Chaplain to the RJAH Orthopaedic Hospital for 15 years. In fact, he is still serving in all these different organisations.
Bill was initiated in 1986 into the Lodge of St Oswald No. 1124 in Oswestry in the Province of Shropshire and was made Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works in 2014.
Michael Goldthorpe was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to Naval Personnel.
Michael served in the Royal Navy from 1978 until 2010, reaching the rank of Commander. His most recent activity has been as CEO of the Association of Royal Navy Officers and the Royal Navy Officers Charity.
He was initiated into Pinner Hill Lodge No. 6578 in Middlesex in 1989, although the lodge has since been erased. Michael is also a member of Fortitude Lodge No. 6503 in the Province, where he is their current Master, and was appointed Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works in 2018.
Francis Wakem QPM
Francis Wakem was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to victims of crime.
This involved working with the charity Victim Support, which provides emotional and practical support to victims of crime, since it was founded 30 years ago, originally as a serving police officer and later as a volunteer.
Francis remains an active volunteer in Wiltshire and in London where he serves on committees dealing with governance of the charity.
Francis was initiated into Corsham Lodge No. 6616 in Wiltshire in 1976 and went on to serve as Provincial Grand Master in the county for over 10 years (March 2004 - October 2014).
Frank Handscombe was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to Judo in the community in South Molton, North Devon.
Frank is a 4th black belt and has been involved with South Molton Judo Club for 38 years, where he has served as chief instructor and principal.
Frank was initiated into Temple Bar Lodge No. 5962 in Hertfordshire in 1961 and later joined Loyal Lodge of Industry No. 421 in Devonshire, where he gained Provincial honours including Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 2005 and Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden in 2006.
In 2009, he was given Grand Lodge honours when he was named Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies.
Trevor (Tex) Calton
Army Cadet Force Major Tex Calton has been awarded an MBE by Her Majesty the Queen in the annual New Year Honours list.
Tex enjoyed a successful military career of 26 years with the last eight serving as the Bandmaster of the famous Black Watch Regiment. He retired from teaching music in schools at the end of 2013 and now serves in the Army Cadet Force in the rank of Major, as National Music Advisor.
Tex became a Freemason in 1988 when he joined Phoenix Lodge in Berlin. On being posted to Tern Hill, near Market Drayton, he joined St Mary’s Lodge No. 8373 in 1992. Tex was given Provincial honours in Shropshire when he was named Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon in 2014.
Cheshire Freemason Steven Leigh was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to local businesses and the economy in Yorkshire.
Steven has had an impressive business career, including the flotation of his company to a full listing on the London Stock Exchange in 1993, and running it as Chief Executive.
Steven will celebrate 50 years as a member of the Lodge of Harmony No. 4390 in November 2019, a month after taking the Chair of the Lodge as Master for the second time (previously in 1976). He was also Director of Ceremonies from 1978 – 1983, following in the footsteps of his father, George Leigh, who was Director of Ceremonies of the lodge for many years.
Reg Dunning was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to education and the community in Sandbach, Cheshire.
Reg has been a Governor of two local schools for over 40 years concurrently and has been the parade marshal for the Royal British Legion in Sandbach for over 60 years.
92-year-old Reg is an honorary member of Penda Lodge No. 7360 and Sanbec Lodge No. 8787 in Sandbach. He joined Freemasonry in April 1955 when he was initiated into Kinderton Lodge No. 5759 in Middlewich.
Tony Brian Arthur Rowland
Tony Rowland has been awarded an MBE for services to undertaking and the community in Surrey.
Tony is a Funeral Director who has supported bereaved families through their grief for 65 years and has done voluntary work for many local charities and community projects. He became an apprentice at the age of 15 in 1953 and is now, at the age of 80, still working full-time.
Tony is a member of Croydon Sincerity Lodge No. 7575 in Surrey, where he was made a Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer in 2016.
Lodge Centenaries are always special occasions and Thursday 13th September 2018 was such an occasion for Edgware Lodge No. 3886 in Middlesex
The Centenary meeting of Edgware Lodge No. 3866 meeting was held at the Harrow District Masonic Centre and it was special for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was to be the first official visit for the new Pro Provincial Grand Master Peter Baker.
Secondly, it was a member of Edgware Lodge who had conceived the idea of the Harrow District Masonic Centre. Sadly, this member did not live to see his vision come into being. Indeed, Edgware Lodge was the third largest contributor to the fund raised to create the centre which finally saw light of day in 1954.
Some of the original lodge furniture used by many Secretaries and Treasurers over the years had also been presented by the lodge. Since the building of the Centre, members of the lodge have given time and devotion in assisting with the administration and running of the Centre.
Edgware Lodge was founded at the end of the First World War by a group of local tradesmen and worshippers at the St Lawrence Church in Little Stanmore. Indeed, the Lodge Crest shows this church which had special relevance to the composer Handel whose Organ is to be found there. A former Rector of St Lawrence Church was non other than John Theophilus Desaguliers, the son of a French Hugenot Minister, who became the third Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England in 1719.
The lodge was Consecrated by the Right Worshipful Lord George Francis Hamilton GCSI (Knight Grand Commander of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India), the Provincial Grand Master in 1918, and the Installing Master was the Very Worshipful Alexander Burnett Brown, Deputy Provincial Grand Master at the time as well as holding Office as Grand Superintendent of Works.
Like many lodges formed at that time, it flourished meeting in the Abercorn Hotel at the bottom of Stanmore Hill and then for many years at the Railway Hotel Edgware. About 25 years ago the lodge fell on hard times with a fall in membership but struggled on for some years. In 2003, the remaining members finally concluded that sadly it was not possible to continue and made plans to surrender its warrant.
However, a chance meeting between a member and another brother at a meeting in Ealing determined that a group of Freemasons, all members of Lions Club International, were looking for a home. So approximately six months later at the Installation meeting, 10 new members joined the lodge with many instantly appointed to office as Wardens, Deacons and Inner Guard. With so many new candidates, the lodge was able to support other lodges with work for some time after. Edgware Lodge now has a rosy future as it moves ahead into its second century.
The centenary meeting was a splendid evening. All those members who were involved in its organisation are to be congratulated and the Worshipful Master, Umesh Ragwhani, conducted the evening in a relaxed and friendly way. Members were presented with a commemorative pin whilst all those attending received a set of cuff links and a copy of the Lodge History to date. The oration by the Provincial Chaplain the Reverend Dr William Dolman was most interesting and was packed with historical facts.
A number of other historical documents relevant to the lodge were presented to form part of a Lodge archive and there was also a display of Jewels. The following Provincial Officers attended: Peter Baker, ProProvGM, Paul Huggins, PSGD AProvGM, Peter Annett, PGStB AProvGM, The Rev Dr Bill Dolman, ProvGChap, Howard Walters, PAGDC PPrJGW, ProvGTreas, Michael Dean, PJGD PProvJGW, Acting ProvGSec, Jim Mitchell, PAGDC ProvGDC, Brian Shaw, ProvGSwdB, Liam Delahunty, ProvSGD, Stuart Smith, ProvAGDC, Chris Pugh, ProvGStB, Phil Cooper, ProvGStwd, Frankie Whelan, ProvGStwd, and Tom James, PProvAGSwdB, ProvGTyler.
The members of the Lodge were absolutely delighted to receive this visit from Province and the presentation of a Centenary Warrant. This visit and the introductory address given by the Pro Provincial Grand Master Peter Baker made the entire evening something those present will never forget.
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Middlesex held their first ‘Discover Freemasonry’ open evening at their headquarters in Twickenham on 19th September 2018, giving members of the public a unique insight into Freemasonry
Middlesex decided to attract the attention of potential members using social media, which led to a total of 164 members of the public registering for the event. Simultaneously, it was promoted within the Province, particularly to Secretaries of lodges in Twickenham, which led to another 21 people registering to attend.
The evening was designed to be engaging and inspiring, to present Middlesex’s message in a relevant and appealing way. Attendees were greeted and registered by a group of Provincial Stewards – in their collars. The evening took place in the lodge room and was introduced by Nigel Codron – the Chairman of the Provincial Communications Committee. He welcomed the attendees, shared his journey into Freemasonry, explained how the order is structured in England and Wales and introduced the Leaders.
Omaid Hiwaizi, Provincial Communications Officer, then took on the baton and led an interactive session asking the audience ‘What is Freemasonry?’ – gaining a few interesting responses. The attendees were well-informed, the wild descriptions only being those shared by Omaid as comments which had been made on social media. He then went on to ask if a series of famous historical and current characters were Freemasons – or not. Finally, he shared insights into what happens when a member joins and described the journey – alluding to the metaphor of the rough and smooth ashlars, which he pointed out in the lodge room, much to the interest of the audience.
Then followed seven Master Masons who each briefly described why and how they joined and their initial experiences. Amongst these was Vishakha Jain who is a member of the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons (HFAF), who was particularly inspiring. The broad selection of different voices, backgrounds and stories was particularly engaging and inspiring and attracted loud applause.
Prestonian Lecturer 2019 Michael Karn then delivered a spirited canter through the history of Freemasonry, alluding to the ancient Egyptians, the medieval cathedral builders and concluding on the wonderful Tercentenary event at the Royal Albert Hall last year. It complimented the very real and personal stories which had proceeded. Provincial Membership Officer Nigel Harris-Cooksley also described what those interested needed to do now and what would happen next.
Lastly, the HFAF Grand Master Christine Chapman took to the stage and presented a passionate and inspiring description of Women’s Freemasonry, which again was greeted with wild applause.
The feedback given verbally and through the anonymous forms was universally positive. However, the best feedback was that 18 men filled out enquiry forms on the evening, implying that the content shared very much served its purpose in describing Freemasonry in terms the audience would relate to.
As a result, Middlesex are already planning to hold their next event at Harrow’s masonic centre on 19th November 2018.
Hungary is a long way from Middlesex, but in the quest for disseminating masonic enlightenment and learning, several Royal Arch Freemasons from Middlesex made the journey
Their destination was the City of Kecskemét, which is the eighth largest city in Hungary with a population of circa 110,000. On the weekend of 29th/30th June 2018, a team of Middlesex Royal Arch Provincial Grand Stewards, with permission from Supreme Grand Chapter and accompanied by Andrew Ford from Surrey and Sean Austin from Middlesex, made a visit to the Symbolic Grand Chapter of Hungary, to deliver a demonstration of the Passing of the Veils ceremony.
The demonstration gives an insight into what precedes the Exaltation ceremony in a Bristol Chapter. Since 1834, within the jurisdiction of the Provincial Grand Chapter of Somerset, it is the only Province in England where the ritual is performed, but only in Chapters in the City of Bristol itself. However, it is used elsewhere as part of the Royal Arch workings in the United States of America, Scotland and Ireland. English Royal Arch Masons in the other Provinces will know of this working and of the fraternal invitation that extends to them by Freemasons in Bristol to witness the working.
The Passing of the Veils ceremony refers to and uses the Ark of the Covenant: ‘a table on which rested the Ark of the Covenant containing the tablets of stone and the pot of manna.’ One was not available in Hungary, and given the significant size and weight of transporting this piece of furniture, Middlesex Freemason Steve Heynes requested that one be produced locally. This was duly done using supplied photographs.
However, there was no scale supplied and the Hungarian craftsman looked up the dimensions – some wires were crossed though and an impressively larger version was produced instead.
An informal BBQ was held on the Friday night after arrival where, as well as being treated to a wonderful feast, the demonstration team were entertained by Márk Beke, Hungary's young musician of the year who gave a lovely evening of Trombone playing interspersed with traditional Hungarian dancing from children from the Kodály Zoltán School of Music. The following morning, the Symbolic Grand Chapter of Hungary held a meeting with the team from Middlesex delivering the demonstration of the Passing of the Veils ceremony, which was enjoyed by all that attended.
On the Saturday afternoon, the St Stephen Lodge No. 7 of the Symbolic Grand Lodge of Hungary held its Installation meeting. St Stephen’s Lodge under the guidance of Mark Walton and Seamus Conlan hosted the weekend. This was also an unusual meeting as St Stephen Lodge use the old workings and did the full Installation in the Board of Installed Masters, including proving the Master Elect in all three degrees before he was entrusted.
The Festive Board took place afterwards where each member of the visiting team was presented with a decanter of Pálinka (Hungary fruit brandy) engraved with the crest of the Symbolic Grand Chapter.
Kenelm Lodge No. 8225 in Middlesex has made the generous gift of £10,000 to the Harrow Mencap Centre
The donation has come from the Middlesex Masonic Charity (MMC) and will support the purchase of a new minibus to be used for the benefit of those attending the Centre. The donation was presented on 19th July 2018 by lodge members Ken Sinclair, Charity Steward, and Harihar Patel, Secretary.
Kenelm Lodge has supported Mencap on a number of occasions which has resulted in the MMC providing the grant.
Mencap helps those who find it difficult to perform some of the more easier tasks in life which most of us take for granted. This support will also depend on the each individual’s particular needs and extends to providing friendships, socialising opportunities and the chance to run independent lives. At the same time those with severe or profound learning disability may need additional support by way of full-time care.
The Middlesex Masonic Charity has made the substantial donation of £25,000 to the St Mark’s Hospital Foundation in Harrow for robotic colon surgery
St Mark's Hospital specialises in colorectal and anorectal procedures and hopes to raise the sum of £2 million through charitable donations and from leading philanthropists to develop a Surgical Robotics Programme for bowel cancer and bowel disease surgery. At present, they have almost reached the £0.5 million mark.
David Yeaman, a Trustee of the Middlesex Masonic Charity, presented the cheque for £25,000 to St Mark’s Hospital Foundation Chairman, Sir Tom Troubridge.
At the presentation, a talk was given by Danilo Miskovic, one of the consultant colorectal surgeons at St Mark’s and an established robotic surgeon. He has specialised in the surgical treatment of bowel cancer, with a focus on advanced minimally-invasive surgery, such as laparoscopic (key hole), trans-anal and robotic surgery.
Robotic surgery is an extremely important development in surgical innovation and the goal of the team in utilising these newer technologies and procedures is to ensure higher survival rates and improved long-term quality of life for those who have undergone surgery. The impact of surgical innovation on the cancer survival rate is striking: the five-year survival rate for bowel cancer has doubled over the past 40 years, primarily as a result of innovations in surgical procedures.
However, bowel cancer is the second highest cause of cancer fatalities and claims more than 630,000 lives annually worldwide. Although the overall survival rate is 50%, this can be improved on by continued surgical innovation. St Mark’s Hospital is committed to researching and implementing robotic surgery in its specialist field and also to disseminate the best clinical practice in colorectal robotic surgery worldwide.
The contribution made by Middlesex Masons, together with all other charitable giving, will immensely improve the longer term prognosis of sufferers.
After Freemason Keith McBride died in 2016, solicitors dealing with his residual estate found that there was a sum of £66,200 which had been bequeathed to the 'Royal Union Charity Association’ – but the difficulty was that there did not appear to be an entity with such a title
They desperately tried to make the connection and after some time, it appeared that the name of Royal Union had a masonic connection in the Province of Middlesex.
Royal Union Chapter No. 382 was approached, but records did not show a Companion Keith McBride. The Royal Union Lodge No. 382 was then contacted and the link made. Both the lodge and chapter worked together to organise the distribution of the legacy and to make sure that the charities receiving the donation were worthy of such a bequest.
It had been decided that each charity should receive a minimum of £3,000 and that cheques should be presented personally by lodge and chapter members. The charities receiving the bequest were particularly involved with the care and welfare of disadvantaged youngsters, those in hospice care and also other groups of vulnerable people.
Donations were made to the following charities:
1. Help for Heroes
2. The National Autistic Society
3. Alzheimer’s Society
4. Harlington Hospice
5. Michael Sobell Hospice
6. The Hay Centre in Middlesex, which particularly seeks to improve the education, development and aspirations of disadvantaged and young children
7. Thames Hospice – who received an enhanced gift of £12,000 to support not only those in care, but those members of the family who need emotional and moral support under the difficult circumstances of end of life care.
Even after death, the kind and generous wishes of a departed Freemason are able to transform lives and bring happiness to people. There is still a residue of the bequest available and in due course, subsequent charitable donations will be made by the members of Royal Union Lodge and Chapter.