John Harris is the predominant name in Tracing Boards and his designs are to be seen across the country and indeed the world
He lived from 1791-1873 and is best known for the Boards he painted for Emulation Lodge of Improvement (ELoI) in 1845. They measure six feet by three feet and are still used today.
In the 1850s, Harris suffered a series of strokes which left him blind. Unable to work, he and his wife Mary were some of the earliest residents of the first masonic Old People’s Home. Built in Croydon in 1850, it went by the name of the Asylum for Aged, Worthy and Decayed Freemasons, and was the prototype RMBI home.
A Croydon Freemason, Forbes Cutler, recently searched for and discovered John Harris’s unmarked grave in a Croydon cemetery. To his dismay, the grave was about to ‘reclaimed’ by the local council. To prevent this, he bought the plot from Queen’s Road Cemetery and lodges and chapters donated money to erect a fitting headstone.
On 18th September 2018, a service of memorial was conducted by the Revered Timothy L’Estrange and the headstone was unveiled. Croydon Masonic Centre was filled for a meeting to commemorate the life of the man whose work has influenced masons for the last 200 years.
Those present included Ian Chandler, Provincial Grand Master for Surrey, and Dr David Staples, Grand Secretary and CEO of UGLE. Graham Redman, Deputy Grand Secretary of UGLE and a senior member of ELoI, brought with him one of ELoI’s original 1845 Harris Tracing Boards. John Harris was, belatedly, given the send-off he merited, surrounded by his lodges and chapter and in the company of Freemason he so loved.
The deeds of the plot now belong to Freemasonry, the headstone has been erected, and John Harris and his wife Mary will continue to rest in peace.
Following a successful racing event held at Lingfield Park by Surrey Freemasons, children in Surrey hospitals are continuing to receive teddy bears for comfort and support
Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) is a registered charity distributing around 500 teddies a week to children in a number of A&E units across Surrey regardless of their background, challenge or need. Every child who attends their A&E Units is given a teddy bear for comfort and support thanks to TLC and Surrey Freemasons.
The teddy bears handed out to children in Surrey hospitals are part of a much larger Teddies for Loving Care project which is being led by Masonic Provinces across England and Wales.
‘It’s really heart-tugging to see a distressed child almost immediately calmed when a bear is presented to them and children get to keep the teddy bear too and take it home,’ said Ian Chandler, Surrey’s Provincial Grand Master, following a recent visit to a Surrey hospital.
With TLC now firmly in place, Surrey Freemasons were faced with a new dilemma. Do they stop funding TLC in the hope that hospitals will continue by finding new sponsors, or do they find new and innovative ways to raise funds to continue to support this valuable service? The members of Surrey chose the latter.
Ian Chandler, plus many members with their families and friends, attended a fundraising race meeting at Lingfield Park on Saturday 23 June 2018 to support TLC. All seven races were sponsored by Surrey masons, making this evening event unprecedented in the history of Lingfield Park.
Racegoers enjoyed a fabulous evening of racing, bathed in the Surrey sunshine around the racecourse. Guests were entertained by former Drifters singer Jason Nembhard and tapped their feet to the music of a Michael Jackson tribute band. One lucky guest even won a holiday to the Algarve in the raffle.
Ian Chandler added: ‘This was Surrey Freemasons’ first venture into organising such a high profile public event. Our thanks go to Lingfield Racecourse and all of the racegoers for supporting us on such an enjoyable evening.’
David Toulson-Burk, Executive Director of Lingfield Park, added: ‘We’ve been delighted to welcome Surrey masons to our race meeting. It’s heart-warming to see so many local business people here supporting their local community and we were thrilled to play our part in their fundraising.’
Thanks to the fundraising, every child attending Surrey A&E units continue to receive teddies.
Sometimes it just needs a good cause, some crazy ideas and loads of enthusiasm to make something worthwhile – which is what happened when 60 Surrey Freemasons, alongside family and friends, went down the world’s fastest zip wire and raised over £35,000 for charity
They came together in Snowdonia on Sunday 15th July 2018 to take part in the fifth, and final, of their ‘Big Five Challenge’, in support of the 2019 Festival Appeal for the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution.
As if abseiling down the spire of Guildford Cathedral last year was not crazy enough, this year’s challenge was for 60 Surrey Freemasons to ride Velcity 2, which is also the longest zip wire in Europe.
Reaching speeds of over 100mph during the 1,555 metre descent over Penrhyn Quarry in North Wales, this was to be a white-knuckle experience like no other. Jumps, as they’re called, were in groups of four, with the first group led by Surrey’s Provincial Grand Master Ian Chandler.
Colin Pizey, one of the Surrey Freemasons taking part, said: ‘The zip wire flight down was amazing. As you descend across the quarry lake, perceptions of speed just melt away and you feel like a bird gently gliding on wind. Then the ground and end-point accelerate towards you, before being suddenly braked to a halt and gently lowered back to ground.’
As in every instance, events like this zip wire challenge do not happen without a champion behind the scenes, to organise, liaise, inform and coax all parties towards a successful conclusion. In this instance, the champion was Terry Owens, a seasoned Surrey mason who had previously organised 15 fundraising events.
Terry said: ‘This was the most challenging event I’ve ever organised, but it could never have happened without everyone else stepping forward to support, take part or sponsor us.’
Despite some challenging journeys, everyone who promised to participate was there, enabling the zip wire challenge to raise over £35,000. Provincial Grand Charity Steward David Olliver, who coordinates Masonic charity events in Surrey, said: ‘This was one of the biggest and most successful Provincial charity fundraising events ever.’
Monday 14 May 2018 proved to be a memorable day for members of the Lodge of Saint Mark No. 8479 in Dorset, with 92-year- old, World War II veteran Ray Fuller being installed as their Worshipful Master
Ray joined the Royal Navy as a 17-year-old in 1943 and served on HMS Illustrious. The carrier's aircraft attacked targets in Japanese-occupied Dutch East Indies and took part in the Battle of Okinawa.
In early 1944, the aircraft of HMS Illustrious and USS Saratoga joined forces to strike a naval base at Sabang in northern Sumatra.
Nearly 80 Brethren gathered in the village of Kinson to see Ray take the chair, which created a fantastic atmosphere on this remarkable evening. It wasn't Ray’s first time in the chair though having previously been Master of Bisley Lodge No. 2317 in Surrey, but that didn't detract from making this a special occasion for him. Over £700 was also raised for three charities during a bumper raffle.
Giving a moving response to the visitors toast was one member who had travelled down in a minibus from Surrey. He had known Ray since they were seven-years-old and they're both proud holders of the Burma Star, a military medal awarded to those who served in World War II.
The Provincial Grand Master for Dorset, Richard Merritt, commented that it was a remarkable coincidence that it was Ray's second time in the chair and that he was the 46th Master, as doubling this figure equalled Ray's exact age.
He went on to add that having made enquiries with UGLE, Ray was one of the oldest brothers to be installed into the chair of a lodge.
James Radford of Onslow Lodge No. 2234 was raised to the Third Degree on 5th May 2018 in a ceremony which took place at Remembrance Lodge No. 6188, at their Masonic Hall in Glenmore House, Surrey
At the age of 19 years and three months, he has become the youngest current subscribing Master Mason in the Province of Surrey.
Special thanks was given to Onslow Lodge's Worshipful Master Paul Cope and Remembrance Lodge's Senior Warden David Reeve for making such a night possible.
Paul Baggett, Immediate Past Master of Dunckerley Lodge No. 3878 in Poole, Dorset, travelled to the Menin Gate war memorial in Ypres, Belgium, to take part in The Last Post Ceremony
This poignant ceremony has become part of the daily life at Menin Gate and takes place every night at 8pm. It is a simple but moving tribute to the courage and self-sacrifice of those who fell in World War I. Every evening the busy road through the memorial is closed to traffic before the ceremony and 'Last Post' will be played.
A member or guest of the Last Post Association, a visiting dignitary or a visitor, will say the words of the Exhortation, taken from Laurence Binyon's poem 'For the Fallen'. Standing in the centre of the road under the arch of the Hall of Memory, the person will say the words:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn,
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Afrer laying a wreath on behalf of Dorset Freemasonry, Paul Baggett, who was accompanied by Phil Conway of Lumen Lodge No. 4922 in Surrey, was honoured to be the one to read those words and help continue this most important tradition – watch the video here.
Canterbury Cathedral hosted a Tercentenary thanksgiving service in recognition of its close and long-standing relationship with Freemasonry
More than 1,500 masons and their families came from across the Provinces of East Kent, West Kent, Surrey and Sussex to attend the service, which was held in the presence of the Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Kent and the Lord Mayor of Canterbury.
The Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, the Very Reverend Dr Robert Willis, thanked the Duke of Kent for his support of the church. He recalled how the royal family helped when the building was damaged by bombing during World War II. He also paid tribute to the generous support of the masonic community, whose relationship with the cathedral dates back more than 100 years.
‘The idea of men coming together to make society a better place is one that has stood the test of time’ Geoffrey Dearing
At the time of the service, the cathedral was undergoing the largest restoration project in its history, the interior and exterior covered in scaffolding to allow the ancient building to be returned to its former glory. A donation of £300,000 from the Freemasons of Kent, Surrey and Sussex funded repairs to the North West Transept, including new tower pinnacles and a spiral stone staircase.
East Kent Provincial Grand Master Geoffrey Dearing said: ‘The existence of Freemasonry for over 300 years bears witness to the fact that the idea of men from all walks of life coming together to make society a better place is one that has stood the test of time and inspired successive generations.’
Steve Axon, chairman of the riding centre trustees, said, ‘The £15,000 will be spent on 3,000 bales of hay, a year’s feed for our 29 horses and ponies.’
When Tandridge Hundred Lodge No. 5767 heard that a local disabled riding group was raising funds for a ramp for their pupils, the decision was made that they would fund the whole project
The ramp now means that the group can offer lessons to wheelchair bound pupils - something that was not previously possible. The work has now been completed at a cost of £2,500.
Receiving the cheque, Chairman of Godstone Group RDA (Riding for the Disabled), Gill Morrison, explained that the group depended entirely on charitable donations to be able to sustain the group.
Godstone Group RDA have been offering riding classes to disabled children and adults from the local area for more than 30 years and currently teach 62 riders, 45 of whom are under 25 years of age.
As part of the Tercentenary celebrations, Guildford Freemasons entertained over 70 elderly and underprivileged local people to high tea, with the assistance of Age UK Surrey, Contact the Elderly and the local Lions and Rotary Clubs
Held at the Guildford Masonic Centre on 20th August, entertainment was provided by the Surrey Fringe Barbershop Singers and magician George Kimber, whilst the event was also attended by the Guildford Deputy Mayor and Mayoress Cllr Mike and Mrs Jean Parsons.