Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:00

Jubilee flotilla on the Thames

A thousand boats gathered on the Thames on Sunday 3 June, in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

It was the largest flotilla in modern times with rowing boats, working boats and pleasure vessels of all shapes and sizes. The flotilla stretched for more than 12 miles, and proved extremely popular – with three boats applying for every place. Among the boats chosen was Knot Arf, owned by Andrew Bernstein, immediate past commodore of the Thames Motor Yacht Club and Master of London-based Lodge of Enterprise No. 6494.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:00


Members of Hesketh Lodge, No. 950, Province of West Lancashire, called in on John Funk, 105, at his home in St Annes, to celebrate his remarkable 80 years in Freemasonry.

John applied to join a Fleetwood lodge at 21, but such was the popularity of Freemasonry at that time, and with only two lodges in the town, he had to wait for five years to join, otherwise his years in the Craft would have been greater. He is the last remaining founder of Lathom Lodge, No. 6286, in Ormskirk and, together with other prominent masons, purchased the building that is now the masonic hall.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:00

Opening up Freemasonry in Penrith

An open day at Penrith saw a steady stream of visitors with local masons on hand to answer questions and give explanations of the exhibits.

Visitors saw a diverse exhibition of masonic regalia, read information about Freemasonry, viewed the many photographs and honours boards displayed throughout the hall, as well as the books featured in the comprehensive library collection. In addition, visitors were able to view a lodge room laid out for a meeting.

The Epilepsy Society has received a £38,000 grant from the Grand Charity to help fund research

Professor Sanjay Sisodiya, the society’s head of genetics, said, ‘I am grateful to The Freemasons’ Grand Charity for this generous grant. Genetics research is very important, with changes such as deletions and duplications in a person’s genome recently emerging as important risk factors for epilepsy.’

Buckinghamshire Provincial Grand Master Gordon Robertson and Provincial Grand Secretary Derek Watts visited the charity’s site at Chalfont St Peter. ‘Sometimes, such changes have led to the identification of a particular gene, alterations in which are a direct cause of the epilepsy. Over time the understanding that this brings may prove to be the best way to find new treatments for epilepsy,’ said Professor Sisodiya.

For more information on the Epilepsy Society please visit

Letters to the editor - No. 20 Winter 2012


Valuing care 




I greatly appreciated your report in the autumn issue on Epilepsy Society. The support that has been given by the Grand Charity is immeasurable. My son, a research scientist, was diagnosed while completing his PhD. However, he went on to research stem cell analysis, cancer of the brain, Alzheimer’s, and epilepsy in the US and Germany. Unfortunately, employment in the UK proved difficult, which emphasises a point made in the article. As parents, although aware of occasional seizures we were never totally aware of the traumatic consequences that could happen at any time. It is this concept that the general public are not aware of.

My son passed away in his sleep three years ago from sudden unexpected death from epilepsy (SUDEP). May I take this opportunity of offering my sincere thanks and gratitude to the generosity of Grand Lodge, individual lodges and members who have supported the charity, which is totally independent of the NHS system and reliant on individual contributions.

Sydney Pycroft, Breaksea Lodge, No. 5358, Barry, South Wales



Published in The Grand Charity
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:00

Scouting in Halifax

Scouting in Halifax

Earlier this year, Halifax children were invested into the new 50th Savile Park Scout Group by the local primary school, where it meets each week.

A grant from UGLE and help from Halifax District Scout Council enabled the group to provide first class scouting in a diverse area of Halifax. The north-east regional development team from the national Scout organisation have also been instrumental in helping the group’s formation.

Cubs and Beavers were invested into the group and the World Wide Scouting Association by District Commissioner Martin Longbottom, Beacon Lodge, No. 4066, Province of Yorkshire, West Riding, and Helen Ridehalgh, Assistant District Commissioner for Beaver Scouts. It is hoped that the group will become a full Cub Pack and Beaver Colony. New members are welcome.

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:00

Restoring independence

Susan Beaumont has been confined to a wheelchair for the past 10 years. Although she lives independently she remains, at 34 years of age, reliant on her parents for both physical and financial support. Susan has limb girdle muscular dystrophy – a progressive condition that causes weakness in her hip, thigh and shoulder muscles – making it increasingly difficult for her to manage in a self-propelled wheelchair. Her mother, as primary carer, spends the majority of each day with Susan, while her parents remain on call at night in case she is unwell or there is an unforeseen household emergency.

Paul Healey, Almoner of Susan’s father’s lodge, applied to the Masonic Samaritan Fund in the hope of securing a grant to supply a powered wheelchair. The application was successful and Susan is now enjoying a new-found freedom and increased independence without the need to rely on others to push her around. One of her first outings was to the Provincial carol service held at the Penistone Parish Church, near to her home. Susan is now hoping to acquire a car through the Motability scheme that can be driven from her wheelchair, thereby further increasing her independence and mobility.

Published in Masonic Samaritan Fund
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:00

Neil Smith is 2012 Paralympic torchbearer

Carrying the torch

To coach a world champion is the pinnacle of the career of many coaches, but to achieve this twice takes a very special individual

Since 2005, Monmouthshire Freemason Neil Smith has lifted athletes to some of the greatest heights in Paralympic world cycling, well supported with grants from masonic charities in the Province.

Neil cares passionately for his individual riders, and they have shown their gratitude by successfully nominating him as a 2012 Paralympic torchbearer. His first world champion cyclist, Jody Cundy, benefitted from Neil’s coaching, which was paramount in his transition from Paralympic swimmer to cyclist. Now he has a second world champion, Mark Colbourne, who won the Paracycling World Championships in Los Angeles in February.

This winter witnessed the successful completion of the Scott-Amundsen Centenary Expedition to the South Pole comprising two teams, each team including three serving members of HM Forces.

One such serving member of the British Army was Warrant Officer Kevin Johnson. His team retraced the longer 900 mile plus route undertaken by Captain Robert Falcon Scott from Cape Evans.

Like the intrepid Scott, Amundsen and Shackleton before him, Kevin Johnson is a Freemason. He is a relatively new Master Mason of Cantilupe Lodge No.4083. On successfully completing the Antarctic expedition, Bro Kevin Johnson proudly unfurled the blue and gold Masonic Flag, given to him by the Brethren of his Lodge, at the Geographic South Pole – a true celebration of past heroic achievements. Bro Kevin is, at 43, the same age as Captain Scott in 1911.

All members of the Expedition attended a royal reception at Goldsmiths’ Hall, Foster Lane, London Friday 26th April. In attendance were the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Prince William is patron of both the Expedition and the Royal British Legion – the expedition has raised vital funds for the Royal British Legion’s £30 million commitment to the Battle Back Centre in Lilleshall to help wounded, injured and sick Service personnel on their journey of recovery.

Monday, 21 May 2012 01:00

Leaving a gift to the RMBI

The RMBI has recently produced a guide outlining how to leave a gift in your Will. The guide contains useful information for yourself, your solicitor and how your gifts can be used.

The average age of an RMBI resident when they first move into our care homes is 88 years. Older people have complex care needs so we need to continue to develop our Homes to ensure that the care provided, the buildings and the Home environment meet the changing needs of older people as well as legislative requirements.

The RMBI is committed to providing high standards of care and support, both now and in the future, ensuring that residents get the most out of life whilst living at any one of our Homes.

Your gift helps to ensure that the RMBI continues to meet the needs of older Freemasons and their dependants by making sure that people choosing to live in an RMBI Home have a home for life, regardless of any change in their financial circumstances, as long as we can cater for their needs. Such a service gives confidence and reassurance to residents who take comfort in knowing they will be cared for in their old age.

Legacies are a vital source of income to the RMBI and fund about a fifth of all our charitable activities.

The guide is available to download from the website, or contact the Legacies and Donations department.

Published in RMBI
Saturday, 21 April 2012 19:13

“Hereford Masons Gypsy”

'Gypsy' is the 20 year old horse supported by the Herefordshire Freemasons at the Riding for the Disabled Association's Herefordshire riding school at Holme Lacy.  When competing at the National Dressage Centre Hartpury College in Gloucester, it goes under it's full name of 'Hereford Masons Gypsy'.

In presenting the annual donation to the Janet Alderton, Centre Manager, Rodney Smallwood, Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire,  again praised the RDA for its wonderful and significant work with the disabled, and paid tribute to the 130 volunteers involved.

Rodney Smallwood was informed that there would shortly be an addition to the 14 horses in the stables at Holme Lacy: a sponsored mechanical horse was soon to be installed which would enhance the flexibility of exercise and experience possible for those who use the service, whose ages range from 2 to that of 90 years old.

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