Nottinghamshire Freemason Haydn Jakes has been awarded the Gold medal in his category Aircraft Maintenance at the WorldSkills competition

WorldSkills, which was held in the last week of August, featured over 1,300 competitors from 63 countries, and was the largest international event held in Russia in 2019. The welcoming address was given by Vladimir Putin and the closing address by Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, which will host the next competition in 2021.

Haydn, 22, is a Master Mason and subscribing member of Daybrook Lodge No. 5522 in the Province of Nottinghamshire. Daybrook has been a Universities Scheme Lodge since January 2008 and serves both Universities in Nottingham, and counts the Grand Secretary as one of its subscribing members.

Haydn is currently reading for a MEng (Hons) Degree in Aerospace Engineering with a Foundation Year at the University of Nottingham, which he began in September 2017. Prior to this, he completed an Advanced Apprenticeship with Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group in Cambridge. During his apprenticeship, Haydn was entered into the WorldSkills UK national heats in the Aircraft Maintenance category, along with 15 other competitors from other apprenticeship providers, including the Royal Navy and Airbus. As one of the top 8 in the heats, he then took part in the WorldSkills UK National Finals held at the NEC in Birmingham, where he secured a Silver medal.

It was in March 2019 when Haydn was again selected as the Team UK representative in the Aircraft Maintenance Skill category at the world final event to represent the UK.

Given the training, assessment and competition requirements of participating in this event and its prestige, Haydn gained agreement from his university to take a Voluntary Interruption of Studies from the April to September 2019.

As a result, he will be repeating the first year of his degree, starting in September. In addition, although Haydn would ordinarily work over the summer months to support himself at university, due to the sporadic nature and duration of training events this year, he has been unable to find employment and has had no income. Realising the issues this presented for Haydn, his Lodge Secretary Ian Gascoigne approached Association of Medical, University & Legal Lodges (AMULL) of which Daybrook is also a member. The AMULL Committee was so impressed by Haydn’s commitment and promise that they have awarded him a £1,500 grant to support his return to studies.

The award will be presented by AMULL’s President David Williamson, former the President of the Universities Scheme, at the AMULL Festival, which will be held in London on Saturday, 12th October 2019.

The fourth and final session of the Provincial Prostate Cancer Screening programme running in Nottinghamshire was accomplished at Worksop Masonic Hall on 27th June 2019

The Head of the Urology Department at Burton on Trent Hospital, Miss Jyoti Shah, and her team undertook the testing ably supported by Nottinghamshire’s Provincial Almoners, namely: Urban Burrows, Provincial Grand Almoner, Keith Hollingworth, David Snowden, Ron Nuthall and Paul Freeman.

The idea for a Nottinghamshire testing programme was born early in 2017 when Urban, on a visit to London, heard that a Province was considering Prostate Cancer Screening for its members. Picking up on their initiative, he made enquiries, subsequent to which the Graham Fulford Trust was contacted. The Trust, on payment of a fixed fee per examination, would carry out a PSA blood test; however, the team had discovered information indicating that a blood test was not 100% conclusive. Further enquiries identified that Jyoti and her team performed the same blood test plus an internal examination of the prostate gland – a far more dependable check.

As Jyoti was in the process of planning a Prostate Cancer Screening Campaign for the Province of Derbyshire (as part of her remit for a Nationwide Screening Service) the Derbyshire Almoner, George Frost, was contacted and the Nottinghamshire Almoner’s team were invited to attend sessions at Derby and Burton. After discussion, Urban and the team realised that it was a feasible scheme for Nottinghamshire, so a proposal was put to their Provincial Grand Master Philip Marshall who immediately embraced the proposal and gave the team the go-ahead.

A fundraising campaign was launched to cover the cost of the examinations, such was the reaction that not only were the cost of 400 examinations covered (the original number of requests from members wishing to undertake the test), but also sufficient funds to make a donation to Jyoti’s Prostate Cancer Research Programme and to both the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Branches of Blood Bikes who would support the programme.

The four two-day screening sessions took place in Masonic centres across the Province: West Bridgford; Nottingham; Mansfield; and finally Worksop. In order to allow Jyoti to concentrate on the medical aspects of the sessions, the Almoners’ team, supported by two of very willing helpers, undertook all the planning. This approach maximised the number of examinations performed per session, more in fact than the original expectations. All the Masonic centres and their staff kindly made for rooms available to provide refreshments free of charge.

Of the 400 Freemasons examined, 10% have had a follow-up examination, of which four individuals have started treatment. Four lives have been saved, which is a massive outcome for the campaign.

Grateful thanks for their donations the overall Campaign fund go to the Provincial Charity Committee, Lodges, Other Orders and Units, local Regalia Stores, together with a number of individuals. Furthermore, the Hall Companies for the use of their facilities and of course, the 400 examinees for their generosity.

The Province’s success has been proven and their knowledge will be shared – three other Provinces have already asked the Nottinghamshire Almoners’ team to give them guidance on how to effect a similar campaign. Because of this Campaign, the Province of Nottinghamshire hope that more individuals have been made aware of this disease, its symptoms and what to do. Jyoti also expressed her hope that more men will be happy to talk openly about Prostate Cancer to their spouses and other men.

The sun was out and the sunblock was on, as 20 cyclists from the Provincial Grand Lodges of Leicestershire & Rutland, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire gathered in Leicester on Saturday 29th June 2019 for this year’s 83 mile Charity Cycle Ride – raising £7,000 in support of the Rainbows Children’s Hospice and the Masonic Charitable Foundation

To wish them good luck on their journey, Helen Lee-Smith, Head of Individual Giving from Rainbows, said: ‘Thank you so much to all of those taking part today, yet again the support from the Freemasons is essential to Rainbows Children’s Hospice.’

Also there to wave them off was the Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons, David Hagger, who said: ‘We are all extremely proud of the work we do to support Rainbows and the Masonic Charitable Foundation and thank all of those riders for raising such a fantastic amount today.’

On the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures well in excess of 33 degrees Celsius, 20 cyclists including Freemasons, friends and family set off from Freemasons’ Hall in Leicester early in the morning before the sun was at its strongest. The route took the four groups out from Leicester and on towards Loughborough before heading through Shepshed and onto Derby in the first leg of the journey of over 33 miles.

The first stop was at the Masonic Hall in Derby, where tea, coffee, bacon sandwiches and much needed water were in abundance. The break was very much appreciated as the day was beginning to warm up, however time was of the essence, and it was not long before the next leg out through Long Eaton and on to Nottingham.

By now the temperatures were soaring, but that did not stop the determined cyclists to battle the searing heat and traffic as they arrived at the Masonic Hall in Nottingham for a rest in the shade and to restock with supplies.

The afternoon sun meant that water stops were frequent, but with determination and hard work, the cyclists made their way from Nottingham back into Leicestershire; finally finishing at Freemasons’ Hall in Leicester at around 6pm.

The Great War Memorial on Nottingham’s Victoria Embankment, which names 13,482 people from Nottinghamshire who died in the First World War, was opened during a moving ceremony on 28th June 2019 – 100 years to the day since the Treaty of Versailles was signed which formally ended the First World War

The memorial is the first of its kind in the UK, after seven years’ of research went into finding the names of every person from the county who lost their lives during the conflict.

A mere 24 hours after unveiling the Victoria Cross Remembrance Stone at Freemasons’ Hall in London, UGLE’s Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, arrived at the Victoria Embankment along with invited guests. The service started at 10am and was followed by the dedication, the Act of Remembrance, the Last Post, HRH Duke of Kent laying the first wreath, the Act of Commitment and the National Anthem. The Grand Master then inspected the memorial and met the families present before proceedings came to an end at 11.30am.

The memorial is a tribute to all the people from Nottinghamshire who lost their lives in the 1914-18 conflict, including civilian casualties, nurses, two people killed in a Zeppelin air raid in September 1916 and the victims of the Chilwell shell filling factory explosion of July 1918.

Families of those who died in the Great War attended the unveiling and dedication service, together with Philip Marshall, Provincial Grand Master of Nottinghamshire Freemasons, Nottinghamshire’s Lord Lieutenant Sir John Peace, Nottingham City Council Leader David Mellen, Nottinghamshire County Council Leader Cllr Kay Cutts MBE, civic heads, the district and borough council leaders, the Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police Craig Guildford, the Chief Fire Officer John Buckley and local MPs.

Among the regiments taking part in the service were members of the Queen’s Colour Squadron RAF, members of the 4th Battalion Mercian Regiment, including regimental mascot Private Derby and members of HMS Sherwood. Former and current officers from Nottinghamshire Police and Royal British Legion standard bearers were also in attendance.

The £395,000 memorial has been constructed on the Victoria Embankment next to the memorial built between 1923 and 1927 on land bequeathed in perpetuity by Jesse Boot. It was principally funded by Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council, along with the seven district councils and generous corporate and private donations.

Also of note is the fact that the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire VC memorial, which has resided at the Nottingham Castle since its unveiling on 7th May 2010, has been moved to the site to join the two Great War memorials. During the Great War of 1914 to 1919, 628 Victoria Crosses were awarded, in total six Nottingham-born war heroes were awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award of the British honours system.

Haydn Jakes, a member of Daybrook Lodge No. 5522 in Nottinghamshire, is aiming for gold in the global WorldSkills Competitions and has already shown his mettle by recently winning silver in a warm-up heat in Russia

Haydn, 22, who trained with Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group as an apprentice between 2013 and 2017, beat dozens of hopefuls in regional and national skills competitions to win a coveted place in the WorldSkills TeamUK, as the only UK representative in the Aircraft Maintenance category. Haydn now faces 18 of the world’s top young aircraft engineering hopefuls from around the world in the international finals in Kazan, Russia in August.

Haydn said: ‘I want to thank Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group for their continued support and allowing me to use their training workshop, their technical instructors are second to none and have been extremely helpful.’

Haydn is one of 1,600 competitors from more than 60 countries competing in 56 skills at the final. Part of his training for the international competition is working on his concentration and mindset with Team GB’s Olympic sports coaches, to ensure he’s head is really in the game.

WorldSkills UK is a partnership between businesses, education and governments that accelerates young people’s careers and aims to give them the best start in work and life. TeamUK believes that the International Finals will boost the UK economy, drive up training standards and increase productivity.

He will head to the Houses of Parliament next month to meet with the Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships, Anne Milton, who will present him with a commemorative enamel plaque.

Haydn’s apprenticeship has led him to study for a degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Nottingham, after which he plans to come back to Marshall to work as an aircraft engineer.

Nottinghamshire Freemasons hosted a special evening at their headquarters on 5 April 2019, where they donated £8,000 in recognition and support of the life-saving work on prostate cancer carried out by Jyoti Shah and Sarah Minns

Jyoti Shah, Macmillan Consultant Urological Surgeon with University Hospitals of Derby & Burton NHS Foundation Trust, along with Sarah Minns, specialist Macmillan Nurse, operate an innovative health campaign designed to raise awareness of prostate cancer and alleviate the ‘fear factor’ of being screened.

The ‘Inspire Health: Fighting Prostate Cancer’ campaign, which has been running since early 2016, enables men to seek advice and get screened by visiting a ‘pop-up’ clinic in venues based within local communities across the region where they feel more comfortable and which are easily accessible. There is no charge to attend a screening event, with costs covered by donations and fundraising.

When it comes to prostate cancer, the numbers are damning. In this country, prostate cancer claims a new victim every 45 minutes. It is the number one cancer in men, with one in eight men over the age of 50 being diagnosed.

At the event, held at their headquarters in Goldsmith Street, Nottingham, both Jyoti Shah and Sarah Minns were in attendance, alongside Philip Marshall, the Provincial Grand Master of Nottinghamshire, his wife Ann, along with other masonic leaders, their spouses and partners. Other attendees includes VIPs from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, and local Freemasons and their spouses and partners, gathered in support of this life-saving campaign.

Whilst handing over a cheque for £8,000 to Jyoti and Sarah, Philip Marshall said: 'Nottinghamshire Freemasons are proud to be associated with this campaign which, though based in Derbyshire, benefits the male population of Nottinghamshire where several screening sessions have taken place.'

Jyoti and Sarah Minns were also presented with two other cheques, each for £1,000, from other masonic leaders.

Also in attendance at the event were volunteers from Derbyshire Blood Bikes, co-ordinator, Mark Vallis, and Nottinghamshire Blood Bikes, Jim McRury. The former being presented with a cheque for £1,000 and the latter £500. Mark personally delivers blood samples from the screening sessions, wherever in the UK), to the lab at Queens Hospital, Burton, on a twice-daily basis. The Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes provide a free transportation service to the National Health Service.

For more information on prostate cancer screening, please contact your GP.

Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes was the guest of honour at the conclusion of the Nottinghamshire 2018 Festival, which raised over £2.6 million for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys

Festival President Philip Marshall, the Provincial Grand Master of Nottinghamshire, presented a cheque to the Pro Grand Master for £2,645,907, which was raised by Nottinghamshire Freemasons over the six years of the festival appeal.

The day started with a celebration for young people. Children’s charities supported by Nottinghamshire Freemasons were invited to a spectacular outdoor event, free of charge, in the grounds of Kelham Hall near Newark. Over 1,000 people attended the event which included riding for the disabled, face painting, craft workshops, fairground rides and bouncy castles. The young people enjoyed a day of fun in a safe environment which was marshalled by Freemasons and the Nottinghamshire Scouts.

The evening celebration was attended by Freemasons from Nottinghamshire who had generously supported the 2018 Festival. A drinks reception in the late afternoon sunshine was followed by a banquet held in the Great Hall and Carriage Court of Kelham Hall. Over 560 Freemasons and their partners attended along with Freemasons from the surrounding Provinces and leaders of the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

Following a series of speeches by the leaders of the Festival and VIP’s, the Chief Operating Officer of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, Les Hutchinson, revealed the Festival total to the expectant gathering. He explained that the amount raised of £963 per member was the second highest ‘per-capita’ figure raised in any Masonic Festival – and second only to Nottinghamshire’s total from their previous Festival.

The incredible six year period of fundraising was concluded with a spectacular concert. World renowned girls’ choir Cantamus started the concert with enchanting performances of popular music tracks.

The girls were followed by Jasmine Ellcock, a recipient of support from The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys and finalist in Britain’s Got Talent 2016. The concert, and Festival, was then brought to an appropriate crescendo by the winners of Britain’s Got Talent 2014, Collabro.

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

Published in Lifelites
Tuesday, 13 March 2018 00:00

Sam Derry's great escape to Rome

Escaping German capture many times, Sam Derry went on to aid the rescue of thousands of Allied soldiers from occupied Italy

Samuel Ironmonger Derry was born in Newark, Nottinghamshire on 10 April 1914. He embarked on his army career in 1936 at the age of 22. While serving in the Western Desert in 1942, he was captured by the Germans but managed to escape by hurling himself into a ravine. Ironically, some five months later and 800 miles away, Major Derry was recaptured near El Alamein by the same German unit. Alas, this time there would be no quick escape and he was transported to Italy to be interned with 1,200 officers at Chieti (Camp 21). 

After the Italian armistice in September 1943, the camp was taken over by the Germans, with Derry put on a prison train for transportation to Germany. However, en route between Tivoli and Rome, he managed to escape for a second time when, in broad daylight, he evaded a German paratrooper guard and jumped off the moving train. Badly bruised, he headed for the hills and was taken in by an Italian family.

While hidden 120 miles behind enemy lines, Derry discovered there were another 50 Allied prisoners living in conditions of extreme hardship, and so, with winter setting in, he decided to obtain help from the neutral Vatican in Rome, some 15 miles away.

REFUGE IN THE VATICAN

Derry wrote a letter to the Vatican asking for money and clothing to ease the plight of his adopted men. The communication reached the desk of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, who had toured prisoner of war (POW) camps during the early years of the conflict seeking news of prisoners who had been reported missing in action. If he found out that they were alive, he tried, through Vatican Radio, to reassure their families.

When Italy changed sides in 1943, thousands of POWs were released but remained in grave danger of recapture when Germany forced occupation. Some, remembering O’Flaherty’s visits, managed to reach Rome to ask for his help. Instead of waiting for permission from his superiors, O’Flaherty promptly set up an underground movement to assist them. Looking for someone to bring a little order to the growing number of escaped soldiers, the Monsignor decided that Derry should be brought into Rome.

On 19 November 1943, with the Germans established in the district, Derry journeyed to Rome at great personal risk. O’Flaherty requested that he stay in the city and assume control of the Rome Escape Line, which was helping Allied escapees but only operating in a small way at that time.

Under Derry’s leadership, the organisation grew, and the German authorities became aware of the existence of the Rome Escape Line as early as January 1944, which meant that there had been a great danger of infiltration. Yet by April 1944, a total of 3,975 escaped Allied POWs were under Derry’s care.

After the liberation of the city, Derry was granted an audience with Pope Pius XII, who had been totally unaware that the young officer had been his ‘guest’ in the Vatican for many months. In recognition of his work with the Rome Escape Line, the now Lieutenant Colonel Sam Derry was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.

Following demobilisation in 1946, Derry returned home to Newark. He was a prominent Freemason in Newark and was initiated into Corinthian Lodge, No. 5528, on 13 January 1949, remaining a member until his death on 3 December 1996. In June 1970, he was a founder member of Newark Lodge, No. 8332, resigning on 30 March 1993.

THIS IS YOUR LIFE

In 1963, Derry was surprised by Eamonn Andrews and his big red book outside the BBC Television Theatre, where he became the subject of This Is Your Life. While a national television audience watched, old colleagues and former POWs came forward and spoke about the occupation of Rome and the escape organisation to which most of them owed their lives.

As the tributes came to an end, a surprise guest was announced and O’Flaherty walked falteringly from the wings to embrace his old friend. This was to be the last time the two men would meet. Eight months later, O’Flaherty died peacefully at his home in County Kerry, Ireland.

Did you know?

Derry escaped from his German captors by leaping out of a moving prison train in broad daylight

Words: Tony Narroway

Published in Features

After-school clubs and weekend classes are a great way to keep children  busy and entertained. But did you know they are also a fun way for them to  learn new skills and gain fresh experiences?

A study of more than 6,400 children found that as well as achieving more at school, children who take part in extracurricular activities develop social, emotional and behavioural skills such as time management, confidence, teamwork and creativity.

The recent study, carried out by the Institute of Education at University College London, showed activities outside of school hours could help close the attainment gap between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and those from wealthier families.

However, it also found there were still inequalities, as many low-income families struggled to afford the costs of sports clubs, private tuition and music lessons. With this in mind, the MCF provides opportunities for children and young people both within the masonic community and in wider society.

The MCF recently awarded a £37,000 grant to Boccia England, a charity that provides accessible activity opportunities for disabled people aged twelve to eighteen. Boccia is a ball sport especially designed to test muscle control and accuracy. It is practised in more than 50 countries and is also a Paralympic sport.

The grant will allow Boccia England to continue supporting young people with physical, learning and visual disabilities and encourage inclusion in physical activity for all.

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