In 1927, Hinckley Freemasons saw an opportunity to take masonry forward in the Midlands town and purchased land on which to erect a masonic hall.
Now, the building has been refurbished. To finance this, members purchased bonds of £93,000 – some £9,000 of this being donated. This left a shortfall of £10,000, which the board sought from outside commercial sources, with a mortgage agreed with a local building society.
A successful sporting evening at Carlisle was organised by the Province of Cumberland and Westmorland, Kendal Amateur Boxing Club and Custodes Copiae Lodge of Provincial Grand Stewards
The boxing spectacular, now in its second year, raised £13,400 for masonic and non-masonic charities during an evening involving amateur boxers of all ages from clubs across the county, with The Edinburgh Woollen Mill as principle sponsor.
Meanwhile, the Furness & South Lakeland Group in conjunction with Kendal Boxing Club held one of its best boxing nights in 26 years for both masonic and non-masonic charities. The event at the Cumbria Grand Hotel in Grange appealed to boxing enthusiasts and the local business fraternity alike. More than 220 guests watched 10 entertaining rounds of fights. Female boxers were on the bill for the first time, with the event catching the interest of the local paper. More than £6,000 was raised through sponsorship, ticket sales, raffles and an auction which included a Toyota jacket signed by ex-Formula One driver Ralph Schumacher, younger brother of seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher.
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.
Herefordshire Freemason Kip Waisell and his wife Carmen are intrepid travellers for charity
They began in 2005 when they drove two new 125cc scooters back from Almaty in Kazakhstan, raising £5,000 for Macmillan Cancer Care. Two years later they travelled from Peking to Paris in a 750cc 1930 Austin Seven Chummy. They completed the journey of some 7,800 miles in 46 days and raised £10,000 for UNICEF, which was used to buy mosquito nets for Kenyan children.
The couple raised a further £500 for the Hereford Historic Churches Trust and £900 for St Michael’s Hospice, Hereford, with talks about their travels. For the hat-trick, Kip and his wife Carmen decided to repeat the Peking to Paris challenge, but taking a slightly different route, Carmen driving a 1930 Austin Seven while Kip travelled in a 1928 Austin Seven Ulster.
This time money was raised for Smile Train, the cleft lip and palate charity, visiting their clinics en route. Smile Train has benefited by over £9,000 to date, with £150 transforming a child’s life in an operation that takes just 45 minutes.
The hospice has strong links with the school, as does their chairman, David Ellis of Tudor Lodge No.7280. Hospice staff, including clinicians and nurses, were available to chat with guests about their work.
Hertfordshire Provincial Grand Master, Colin Harris, said, ‘Charitable giving is a huge part of Freemasonry and hearing from hospice staff really brings home how vital their work is and just how much financial help they need. This charity supports local people from across south-west Hertfordshire free of charge, and we are honoured to be playing a part in that.’
Hospice community fundraising manager, Gill Crowson, said, ‘This evening was really a celebration of the close ties between the hospice, the lodges and the school. We are very grateful for all the support they give to the hospice. All of us care deeply about our community and are well aware of the necessity to be available to those who need our help, both now and in the future.’
The recently registered charity appeal ROBOCAP, which uses state-of-the-art robotic technology treatment for prostate cancer, was officially launched in Herefordshire, in an event organised by local Freemason Howard Pitts.
Appeal chairman Les Kinmond introduced the three consultant urologists of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, Graham Sole, Biral Patel and Aloysius Okeke. They described this advanced form of keyhole surgery, which offers surgeons three-dimensional imaging and magnification in order to give greater precision and allow for minimally invasive surgery with the reduced incidence of complications.
Cllr Olwyn Barnett, chairman of Herefordshire Council, urged local mayors to support this appeal, and local mason Brian Wilcox, Mayor-elect for Hereford City, said that ROBOCAP would be his official charity during his term of office.
A visit by Sandy Khouri, secretary of the Lodge of Freedom & Courtesy No.4762, to his family in Italy has led to the prospect of a twinning of his lodge, which meets at Mark Masons’ Hall in London, with the Lodge Raimondo di Sangro No.167.
After his visit to the Barletta lodge, Khouri invited a group of Italian masons to a Lodge of Freedom & Courtesy meeting in London, where they also visited the Grand Temple. As a result, formal application has been made for the two lodges to be twinned.
For the fourth successive year, the Northern Conference has proved a success at Salford Masonic Hall with an audience of over 100 listening to speakers on the theme of Ritual Unravelled.
An experienced team, including two former Prestonian lecturers, Rev Neville Barker Cryer and Gordon Davie, together with Tony Baker, Chris Powell, John Acaster and Chris Oversby, made the event a huge success. The day comprised of an opening plenary session led by Tony Baker followed by five interactive break-out sessions and a final summing up by Rev Neville Barker Cryer.
Freemasons’ Hall is one of London’s landmark buildings and, as part of the process of maintaining it, there are a small number of highly skilled artisans working there.
The skill base is maintained partly by recruiting junior craftsmen and training them to a level not usually found elsewhere.
A recent recruit as a junior painter is Arthur Smith. He is just 18 and last year started an NVQ course at Lambeth College in Painting and Decorating. He has done so well that he was asked by the college, as part of their Ofsted inspection, to allow the inspector to visit him during his work at Freemasons’ Hall. With Arthur about to progress to the second year, the college is now considering entering him into various local, national and European skills competitions.
Grenville Lodge No. 1787, is the first lodge in the Province of Buckinghamshire to be admitted to the UGLE Universities Scheme. With two Nigerian students from the University of Buckingham joining the lodge in April 2012, it is the 52nd lodge to be admitted to the scheme.
Buckingham is the only private university in the United Kingdom and was opened in 1973. It was the first UK university to condense the academic content of a standard three-year degree into a two-year programme, running over four terms per year, and 80 per cent of its students come from overseas, although many stay in England to work or gain postgraduate qualifications. It is hoped that the scheme will also further enhance the link between the lodge, the university, the Province and Freemasonry in general.