As part of the Tercentenary celebrations back in 2017, Norfolk Freemasons decided to create a single source containing a definitive written historical record of all their lodges
To that end a small committee was formed with the aim of gathering together and compiling all available histories into a single document. The overriding brief being that the histories included must have been produced by and for the Lodges – their own histories, in their own words.
The resultant three-volume history of their individual lodges provides a comprehensive overview of Freemasonry in Norfolk and includes all available material to 31st December 2018.
Ahead of Grand Lodge Quarterly Communications in September, the Provincial Grand Master for Norfolk Stephen Allen, together with other members of the Norfolk Provincial Executive and two members of Norfolk Blues, their group for newly joined Norfolk Freemasons, were pleased to present a copy of the Compiled History of Norfolk Lodges to Martin Cherry, Librarian at the Museum of Freemasonry, at Freemasons' Hall.
Martin Cherry said: 'It was a real pleasure to meet Stephen and his team to receive this fantastic record of Norfolk Freemasonry into the Museum collection.'
Freemasons from across Norfolk held their Service of Thanksgiving at King’s Lynn on 15th June 2019, while also parading in full regalia from the Town Hall to the Minster
The Rt Revd Jonathan Meyrick Bishop of Lynn gave the sermon, while the service was led by the Revd Canon Christopher Ivory.
On behalf of the Freemasons, readings were given by Stephen Allen, Norfolk's Provincial Grand Master, and Canon Richard Butler, the Provincial Grand Chaplain.
The colourful procession of blue and gold Masonic aprons and breast jewels, included Masters of Norfolk lodges, Provincial Grand Officers and the Provincial Grand Master and his Executive. The town was represented in the procession and the service by Mayor of Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Councillor Geoff Hipperson, escorted by the town Mace Bearers.
Also present was Her Majesty’s Deputy Lieutenant Peter Wilson. Members of the public watched and joined the service which was open to all.
This event highlighted the work and service to the communities by Freemasons and is only the second of it’s kind in Norfolk, with the first being in 2015 at Norwich Cathedral to mark 300 years of Freemasonry. The intention is to repeat every two years, with the 2021 event expected to be held at Great Yarmouth Minster.
The service was followed by a reception at the Town Hall hosted by the Mayor in the impressive Stone Hall and Assembly Room.
Stephen Allen, Provincial Grand Master, said: 'Freemasons have always been supporting the local community and charities, but we never shouted about it. We are now a much more open organisation, with an event like this giving us the opportunity to show we are part of local life.'
Thousands of men with prostate cancer will be able to avoid the damaging side effects of surgery thanks to a new research scanner that will be installed in Norwich
Thanks to fundraising by Norfolk Freemasons, a state-of-the-art Affymetrix Microarray Scanner will be used to differentiate between the majority of harmless prostate cancers, known as pussycat cancers, and the 10 per cent which are aggressive, known as tiger cancers.
The Freemasons raised not only the £144,000 needed for the scanner, which will be in a new screening laboratory at the University of East Anglia, but also another £46,000 for prostate cancer research.
On top of that, the Masonic Charitable Foundation have given a grant of £100,000 to further fund the research project.
Up until now there has been no way for doctors to tell the difference between the two types of the cancer, which led to tens of thousands of men having unnecessary operations with serious side-effects including incontinence and impotence.
Each operation costs the NHS £7,500 to perform, so there are also significant savings to be made from performing less unnecessary surgery.
The clinical research team behind the test, which is enabled by the scanner, is led by Professor Colin Cooper, who is developing the new test after a laboratory breakthrough made using artificial intelligence.
He is hoping to raise £2 million to continue his vital research into this condition over the next three years, to create the new clinical test.
Prof Cooper said: 'I am extremely grateful to Norfolk Freemasons for their generous grant, which will fund not only the scanner itself, but also the continuing research into prostate cancer. Many lives will be saved as a result and many unnecessary operations will be avoided, saving patients from some very unpleasant side-effects. There is a critical problem at the moment of men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer.'
Prof Cooper had been working on the issue for 15 years, but it was only when he came to the University of East Anglia (UEA) he was able to get to the bottom of the issue. His research will be the only of its sort in the country, and could have ramifications worldwide.
Norfolk's Provincial Grand Master Stephen Allen, said: 'I'm delighted that we've been able to not only achieve our goal of buying the scanner, but we've raised more than double the amount needed. This will allow us to make a very significant contribution to Professor Cooper's ongoing research.'
The Human Milk Foundation has teamed up with SERV Norfolk to give mums across Norfolk access to donated breast milk – thanks to a £8,776 donation from Norfolk Freemasons to purchase the vital specialised breast milk storage fridge
This will give support to mothers in the community whose babies need short-term donor milk to help establish their own milk supply, or where they are unable to breastfeed for medical or practical reasons. The donor breast milk hub is the very first of its kind and will be located in Norwich.
Dr Natalie Shenker from The Human Milk Foundation said: ‘We are overjoyed to have received this support to establish the very first Human Milk Foundation donor milk hub. This will help more mothers across Norfolk to donate their milk, including those who have been sadly bereaved.
‘Donor milk will be more easily available to the hospitals in Norfolk caring for very sick or premature babies, for whom human milk can be lifesaving, as well as to mothers diagnosed with cancer or other illnesses that mean they cannot breastfeed. This will be a model which can be rolled out across the country.’
Transport will be provided by SERV Norfolk, whose blood bike volunteers currently carry blood, plasma, platelets, samples and vaccines to hospitals.
SERV Norfolk Operations Manager Colin Farrington added: ‘We have quietly been working on this project for a while, but the funding from Norfolk Freemasons means we can now move forward. It will also reduce the number of journeys to the milk banks in Cambridge and Hertfordshire currently made by the SERV Norfolk volunteers.’
Stephen Allen, Norfolk Freemasons Provincial Grand Master, presented the cheque to Dr Natalie Shenker from The Human Milk Foundation and Colin Farrington SERV Norfolk Operations Manager.
Stephen said: ‘We have previously supported SERV Norfolk with three bikes and local lodges have also given their own financial support. The donated breast milk hub is a first for Norfolk. We saw the need and are proud to fund the specialist fridge to get the service up and running and benefit the community.'
Following the successful Tercentenary exhibition at the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell, Norfolk Freemasons have now opened their own museum
With a lot of hard work and help by the curators from the Norwich Museum Services, a brand new museum has been created. Situated in the centre of the city at their headquarters at 47 St Giles Street, Norwich, it’s easily accessible to members and the public alike.
Its highlights include the Provincial Grand Master’s chair and the Provincial sword with a flame shaped blade and a 17th century portrait of a Freemason wearing a long operative apron in lodge. With new cabinets and lighting installed, visitors can learn about jewels, aprons, rare books, regalia, glassware, pottery and other masonic items mostly associated with Norfolk Freemasonry.
There is also a rolling TV screen with pictures showing recent local masonic events and the work of Freemasons in the community.
Provincial Grand Master Stephen Allen said: 'We hold regular open days, 'Introduction to Freemasonry' evenings and our information trailer attends many and varied events, all with the aim of widening the understanding of Freemasonry's role in the community.
'What we now have is a permanent facility allowing us to showcase informative displays on local and national masonic history, presented through a variety of media, artefacts and collections.'
The museum is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 10am until 2pm.
Sam Carter, the 26 year old son of Russell Carter, the Norfolk Provincial Charity Steward, was Installed as Worshipful Master of the Lodge of Marksmen No. 9755 on 23rd March 2018
The lodge was honoured by a full Norfolk Provincial team visit giving a total number attending of 90 squeezed into the small temple in Harleston. The Installing Master David Meekings started the evening at 6pm prompt, and within 10 minutes the doors opened to allow the Provincial Grand Master Stephen Allen, alongside his deputy Charles Hall and assistants Michael Goffin and Michael Gooderson, entry to the lodge together with 22 Active Provincial Grand Officers.
Stephen Allen was amazed at the speed and precision of the ceremony, as the Lodge of Marksmen hit the target with an impeccable ceremony.
At 26 years old, Sam is the youngest Worshipful Master of a Norfolk Lodge in recent times. In fact, it has been suggested that he could possibly be the youngest Master in the Province for 100 years.
Sam was initiated into the lodge by his father Russell Carter on 29th October 2010. He joined the Stewards bench and began working his way towards the chair passing through each office en route. Sam also took part in the Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge lectures for four seasons, with a very high standard each time.
In 2013, Sam was awarded the Lord Lieutenants Certificate for good service, recognising his commitment to the Army Cadet force. Outside of Freemasonry, Sam is a teacher at a local junior school, Secretary of the local branch of the Royal British Legion, a Duke of Edinburgh Assessor and a local councillor.
A charity which helps people with disabilities take part in sport has received a £4,500 donation from a group of Norfolk Freemasons
Members of the Wroxham-based Boileau Lodge No. 6862 have completed a triathlon to raise funds for WheelPower, which offers opportunities for disabled people to get active.
As part of the celebrations to mark the United Grand Lodge of England's 300th anniversary, Lodge Charity Steward W Bro Robin Rush cycled 300km in Norfolk whilst Worshipful Master Steve Kemp ran 20km and his wife Michelle completed a 3km swim, one for each century.
Chris Rattenbury, an ambassador for WheelPower, the national charity for wheelchair sport, said: 'I was delighted to receive the cheque and meet those who have made this very generous donation possible. The money will go towards a second Primary Sports Camp to be held in Norfolk. The first, held in 2016, introduced 69 children to cricket, wheelchair basketball, boccia, table games and golf.'
W Bro Robin Rush, who is 76 years old but still very active, commented: 'There are so many youngsters with disabilities wanting to join in with activities, so this has been my charity focus in our Tercentenary year.'
W Bro Steve Kemp, who is also a keen sportsman, added: 'I have been involved with WheelPower helping to organise events and have seen how much support is given to help people with disabilities participate in sport. Robin and I have experienced so much pleasure from sport and wanted to help others do the same.'
Almost all of Norfolk’s 76 lodges had joined in fundraising activities following a call from Provincial Grand Master Stephen Allen to give extra support to local charities during the Tercentenary year.
Critical prostate analysis in East Anglia
The Grand Charity has awarded a £100,000 grant to the Cancer Genetics team at the University of East Anglia to help fund research that will focus on distinguishing between aggressive and non-aggressive forms of the disease. Lead researcher Professor Colin Cooper explained that a critical problem in clinical management is an inability to distinguish this at the time of diagnosis.
‘The Grand Charity award will allow us to tackle this critical question head-on through the analysis of large amounts of information already obtained from prostate cancer patients,’ said Cooper. The grant supports part of an ongoing study previously funded by the Grand Charity with two grants of £50,000, bringing the total donated to this project to £200,000.
Maurice King, from Diss in Norfolk, celebrated his 80th birthday with a parachute jump to raise money for the Norfolk 2016 Festival on behalf of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity
His friend, Jim Carter, immediately signed up to join him, and Deputy Provincial Grand Master Stephen Allen gave permission to see if anyone else in the Province was interested, and it soon became a group jump with several lodges raising money for the festival.
Between them they managed to convince 44 people, including Nigel Riley, 84, to take part. Younger Freemasons, wives and family members all joined them for the 10,000 ft parachute jump, raising more than £20,000. Some 250 spectators turned up to watch the sponsored jumpers take to the sky at Ellough Airfield near Beccles, Suffolk, in April. Jim Carter raised more than £2,000 in sponsorship for his jump – mostly from members of Great Yarmouth lodges.