Care home celebrates two special birthdays

In September, an RMBI care home in Mid Glamorgan celebrated its fortieth anniversary and the one-hundredth birthday of resident Lina Joshua.

To mark the anniversary, Albert Edward Prince of Wales Court care home and its Association of Friends planned a weekend of parties and activities. Lina’s birthday in September means she has joined a growing number of centenarians in RMBI care homes. 

Mayor of Porthcawl, Cllr Michael Clarke, spent the day at the home and read Lina’s birthday cards to her, and the Albert Edward Prince of Wales Court choir entertained residents and guests. Later, residents enjoyed an afternoon tea dance with music from the Jeff Guppy Band. Residents and staff took turns around the dance floor and the home’s choirmaster brought everyone together for a singalong.

A joyful occasion

In the evening, a gala dinner was held in honour of the anniversary, attended by the new Provincial Grand Master of South Wales, Gareth Jones. RMBI Chief Executive David Innes and his wife Annemarie; Deputy President Chris Caine; and trustee Dr John Reuther and his wife Maggie also attended. The dinner raised more than £1,000 and the RMBI is grateful to all those who supported the event. Phil Dando and his band provided the entertainment for the evening.

Father Dowland Owen held a special church service the following day. Residents and many of the home’s supporters enjoyed a lunch followed by a performance by the Garw Valley Male Voice Choir, organised by the Association of Friends of Albert Edward Prince of Wales Court. 

The care home was purpose-built in 1973 and refurbished in 2000. 

Set in landscaped grounds, it caters for seventy-two residents, providing residential, nursing and dementia care. 

Published in RMBI

Recipes and Reminiscences

The RMBI is delighted to announce a special promotion of its unique recipe book, Recipes and Reminiscences.

In time for the festive season, the RMBI has published a limited-edition Christmas recipe card to complement its Recipes and Reminiscences cookbook launched earlier this year. In addition, an online payment facility has been introduced, enabling customers to purchase the book quickly and easily via the website. 

Created from recipes contributed by residents, staff and their families at RMBI care homes, Recipes and Reminiscences explores how food is linked to memory and can bring people together through shared history and experiences. Spanning the 1940s to the present day, it provides a fascinating insight into the way food has changed in Britain over the decades. Published in hardback with a foreword by Mary Berry, food writer and co-presenter of the BBC’s The Great British Bake Off, the book features fifty much-loved recipes alongside beautiful illustrations and nostalgic photographs.

All proceeds from the book will go to the RMBI care homes’ Amenity Funds, to pay for activities and events for RMBI residents.

Christmas offer

Recipes and Reminiscences costs £12.50, which includes postage and packaging and a limited-edition Christmas recipe card. Buy online at, call 020 7596 2400 and pay with debit or credit card, visit your nearest RMBI care home, or send a cheque (made payable to RMBI) with a completed order form to: Recipes & Reminiscences, RMBI, 60 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ

Published in RMBI

Maddie’s story: a moving new video highlights the work of the RMTGB

The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys has produced its first video case study, ‘Maddie’s story’, to highlight its work. Each year the RMTGB supports around two thousand children and young people from masonic families. Each of these children has experienced a life-changing event that has led to financial hardship for their family. This new video features Nottinghamshire Freemason Howard Mace and his wife Alex, who explain the difference that the RMTGB’s support has made to their seven-year-old daughter, Maddie.

In the video, Howard describes being diagnosed with kidney cancer and secondary cancer of the spine, a condition that means that he is unable to work. Alex goes on to explain how the RMTGB has helped by providing a regular maintenance allowance, which enables them to give Maddie the essential items that she needs.

RMTGB Chief Executive Les Hutchinson said, ‘This video has been a great success, really demonstrating the value of our work. I encourage all Freemasons and their families to visit our website and watch it.’

More than one thousand people viewed the video within the first week of its release at and the RMTGB has plans to produce further videos.

Published in RMTGB

Enthusiasm and commitment in Monmouthshire

In September, Monmouthshire Freemasons celebrated the conclusion of their 2013 Festival Appeal and a magnificent total of £1,219,414 for the RMTGB.

The Provincial Grand Master and Festival President, the Rev Malcolm Lane of the Welsh Province, launched the appeal just over five years ago. Malcolm, who also serves as a trustee of the RMTGB, congratulated his Province for their generosity and hard work. ‘I commend to you all the work of the RMTGB and in doing so I express on behalf of the Province my grateful thanks, bless you for your enthusiasm and commitment.’

After the total sum was revealed by RMTGB Chief Executive Les Hutchinson, the charity’s President Mike Woodcock expressed his heartfelt thanks to the one thousand three hundred members of the Province and their families during a passionate address in which he recalled his own childhood holidays in Monmouthshire.

The brethren of Monmouthshire and their families raised £1,002,013 towards the appeal – a remarkable achievement for a Province of only thirty lodges. Metropolitan Grand Lodge and other Provinces and Districts added a further £200,000.

The Festival event, held at the Celtic Manor Resort, was attended by Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes. More than four hundred guests enjoyed an evening of entertainment including Welsh harpist Sian Williams, the Only Boys Aloud choir (finalists of Britain’s Got Talent), Abertillery Orpheus Male Choir and soloist Robert Knight. Also in attendance was David Davies, Conservative MP for Monmouth.

‘Bless you for your enthusiasm and commitment.’ Rev Malcolm Lane 

Published in RMTGB

The Royal Arch Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight has taken an innovative approach to its fundraising for the Bicentenary Appeal for the Royal College of Surgeons Research Fellowship

The Province invited chapters to nominate an individual who has undergone major surgery, showing exceptional fortitude and bravery, to qualify for a Badge of Courage Award (BOCA). 

Chapters were invited to sponsor individuals by pledging a donation of £1,000, of which £500 would be donated to the appeal with the £500 balance going to a non-masonic charity nominated by the award recipient. A gala BOCA ball was held at HMS Collingwood in Gosport, at which Grand Superintendent Alan Berman presented Second Grand Principal George Francis (pictured above) with a cheque for £80,000 for the appeal.

Eight donations of £500 each were also made to the charities nominated by the BOCA winners.

The nave of Canterbury Cathedral welcomed around 1,000 masons, their families and friends for a service to celebrate the bicentenary of Royal Arch Masonry

On Saturday 21 September, a unique event was held at Canterbury Cathedral that not only marked a special milestone in masonic history but also demonstrated a great affinity between Freemasonry and the cathedral’s stonemasons. Freemasonry has its roots in the lodges of medieval stonemasons and to this day supports the training of apprentice stonemasons at the cathedral.

The occasion was a combined celebration for the Provinces of East Kent, West Kent, Sussex and Surrey, each led by their respective Grand Superintendents, Geoffrey Dearing, Jonathan Winpenny, Kenneth Thomas and Eric Stuart-Bamford. The significance of the event was acknowledged by the presence of the Second and Third Grand Principals, George Francis and David Williamson, respectively. Russell Race, the Metropolitan Grand Superintendent, and David Boswell, the Grand Superintendent of Suffolk, were also in attendance, as was the Sheriff of Canterbury, Cllr Ann Taylor, who represented the city and people of Canterbury.

The Archdeacon of Canterbury, the Venerable Sheila Watson, conducted the service, with the grand setting and the superb King’s School Crypt Choir adding to the memorable ambience. The Archdeacon referred to the long connection between the cathedral and Freemasons, in particular the gifts of the Chapter House east window and the Coronation window. She paid tribute to the masonic principles of unity, fellowship and service to the community, and spoke of ‘service beyond ourselves’, a virtue embraced by the Church and Freemasonry alike.

On show at the Library and Museum, the Sussex Plate silver candelabrum reveals details about the union of the Grand Lodges in 1813

One of the Library and Museum’s greatest treasures has a prominent role in its latest exhibition. The Sussex Plate is a large silver candelabrum, which was presented to the Duke of Sussex in 1838 to mark his twenty-five years as Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England. 

At the centre of the Sussex Plate, set within a circular temple, is a six-sided plinth supporting a cushion, on which is a Volume of the Sacred Law, a set square and a compass. The figure of Apollo is mounted on the top of the temple dome, around which is a frieze featuring the twelve signs of the zodiac. Outside sit four figures: Astronomy, Geometry, Sculpture and Architecture.

The temple is mounted on a four-panel base decorated with pomegranates, olives and corn. Two of the panels depict biblical scenes and the third, an inscription. The fourth is unusual in representing the union between the premier and the Atholl Grand Lodges in December 1813, two hundred years ago, showing the two Grand Masters – the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Kent – with their Grand Officers. Although this image is much later than the event, there are no other depictions of the union. The depiction is best seen in one of a series of reproductions published in the Freemasons’ Quarterly Review in 1838. The two Royal Dukes can be identified from their portraits – the Duke of Sussex shown facing out. 

Excellent Companions: Celebrating the Royal Arch is open from 14 October 2013 to 2 May 2014, Monday-Friday. Admission is free.

Published in SGC

Cornwall digs deep for Samaritan Fund

There has been a magnificent effort by the Province of Cornwall in raising £1,876,879 in its Festival on behalf of the Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF).

Provincial Grand Master Peter George commented, ‘This amount greatly exceeded the target I set when I became Provincial Grand Master, and demonstrated yet again that one of the core principles of our Order is very much alive within our membership.’ The guest of honour at the Atlantic Hotel, Newquay, was Assistant Grand Master David Williamson.

Published in Masonic Samaritan Fund

Vitruvian Lodge is the second oldest active lodge of Freemasons in Herefordshire, having been founded in 1813

The consecration meeting of Vitruvian Lodge No. 338 had been held in the School Room, now St Mary’s Hall, Ross-on-Wye, on 6th August 1813, when John Tristram, a local builder, was installed as Worshipful Master of the lodge. The other lodge officers recorded at the time were William Hooper, John Collins, Francisco Knowles, Samuel Brookes, John White, John Rudge, Robert Evans, Uriah Delahay and Thomas Morgan.

The lodge initially met in the King’s Head Inn, the former home of the 'Man of Ross' John Kyrle. The present masonic hall building, situated just below the Royal Hotel, the site of the former British and Foreign School, has been its meeting place since 1928.

The original 1813 minute mook and by-laws are still in existence. However, records indicate that an earlier but short-lived lodge was active in Ross between May 1764 and April 1783, and which held its meetings mainly at the Swan and Falcon.

The Bicentenary Festival of Vitruvian Lodge was held at The Chase Hotel on the 3rd September 2013, with Thomas Maguire as Worshipful Master. The lodge history was presented by Worshipful Brother Martin Thorne, and an oration was delivered by the Provincial Grand Chaplain Worshipful Brother Edward Dilley.

At the festival, the Right Worshipful Brother the Rev David Bowen, Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire, dedicated and presented the splendid new bicentenary banner to the lodge. It is fitting that Rev David Bowen, initiated into Freemasonry in Vitruvian Lodge in 1983, and appointed to the highest office of the Province of Herefordshire earlier this year, should lead the celebrations of the bicentenary of his mother lodge.

To commemorate the bicentenary, the brethren of Vitruvian Lodge have donated over £16,000 to local charities aimed at assisting young people in particular.

It was horses for courses when Cambridgeshire masons attended a banquet to mark the bicentenary of the Holy Royal Arch in the Millennium Suite overlooking the Rowley Mile at Newmarket racecourse

The climax of the evening was when Grand Superintendent Rodney Wolverson presented a £40,000 cheque to Helen Fernandes, consultant neurosurgeon at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, representing the Royal College of Surgeons.

Fernandes talked of the work of the Royal College of Surgeons, specifically the support for the young surgeons with ideas for research that had the potential to lead to major advances in medicine. She expressed her delight and thanks for the magnificent sum raised by Cambridgeshire Royal Arch Masons.

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