As part of the celebrations of 25 years of Heritage Open Days, England’s largest festival of history and culture, Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons were invited to supply curiosities from their extensive museum at Freemasons’ Hall in Leicester to form part of a ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ at their birthday party in London

The event was held at the exquisite Two Temple Place in London which is one of London’s architectural gems, an extraordinary late Victorian mansion built by William Waldorf Astor on the Embankment.

The items on display were a jelly mould emblazoned with a square and compasses and a set of light bulbs with the square and compasses as filaments. The jelly mould is an interesting relic of days gone by. One of the most enjoyable features of a night at the Masonic Lodge is to sit together with your fellow members and enjoy a good meal after the ceremony.

This jelly mould would enable the members to have a very interesting (and no doubt tasty) jelly put before them for their dessert with the various symbols so familiar to them adorning its surface. It is likely that this mould came from the latter half of the 19th century.

The Masonic light bulbs were (and are) very popular for lighting the stations of the three principal officers  in American Lodges. The usual Masonic symbols of the square and compasses are often used as the shape of the filament of the bulb.

These bulbs are quite collectable and rare examples of the bulbs illustrating various American Masonic associations for men and women can fetch high premiums. These particular bulbs are of a more standard type.

Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Dr. Andy Green, who took the items to the event, said: 'Our masonic items certainly stood well in the Cabinet of Curiosities and evoked a lot of interest with those attending the reception.'

Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester, will be opening its doors on Saturday 21st September 2019 as part of the Heritage Open Days. More details can be found here.

The sun was out and the sunblock was on, as 20 cyclists from the Provincial Grand Lodges of Leicestershire & Rutland, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire gathered in Leicester on Saturday 29th June 2019 for this year’s 83 mile Charity Cycle Ride – raising £7,000 in support of the Rainbows Children’s Hospice and the Masonic Charitable Foundation

To wish them good luck on their journey, Helen Lee-Smith, Head of Individual Giving from Rainbows, said: ‘Thank you so much to all of those taking part today, yet again the support from the Freemasons is essential to Rainbows Children’s Hospice.’

Also there to wave them off was the Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons, David Hagger, who said: ‘We are all extremely proud of the work we do to support Rainbows and the Masonic Charitable Foundation and thank all of those riders for raising such a fantastic amount today.’

On the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures well in excess of 33 degrees Celsius, 20 cyclists including Freemasons, friends and family set off from Freemasons’ Hall in Leicester early in the morning before the sun was at its strongest. The route took the four groups out from Leicester and on towards Loughborough before heading through Shepshed and onto Derby in the first leg of the journey of over 33 miles.

The first stop was at the Masonic Hall in Derby, where tea, coffee, bacon sandwiches and much needed water were in abundance. The break was very much appreciated as the day was beginning to warm up, however time was of the essence, and it was not long before the next leg out through Long Eaton and on to Nottingham.

By now the temperatures were soaring, but that did not stop the determined cyclists to battle the searing heat and traffic as they arrived at the Masonic Hall in Nottingham for a rest in the shade and to restock with supplies.

The afternoon sun meant that water stops were frequent, but with determination and hard work, the cyclists made their way from Nottingham back into Leicestershire; finally finishing at Freemasons’ Hall in Leicester at around 6pm.

The Province of Leicestershire & Rutland has been awarded the prestigious honour of hosting the 2019 New and Young Masons Clubs Conference at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester

The Light Blue Club for New and Young Masons within the Province of Leicestershire & Rutland is part of a larger New and Young Masons Clubs (NYMC) network which brings together ‘Light Blue’ and Young Masons’ Clubs from around the Constitution to share ideas and best practice. 

The prestigious annual NYMC Conference, hosted this year by Leicestershire & Rutland’s Light Blue Club, will be held on 28 September 2019. This year’s theme is ‘Building Bonds’ and it will look at ways to increase and improve links between clubs across the country, including more inter-club social visits and sporting matches.

The conference also acts as a mechanism for building on the bonds these clubs have made with the Universities Scheme lodges within the respective Provinces. 

During the morning session, there will be a talk on women’s Freemasonry by Christine Chapman, the Grand Master of the Honourable Fraternity Of Ancient Freemasons. To close the conference, UGLE Grand Secretary Dr David Staples will provide the keynote address to the members.

Find out more about the event here.

Published in Initiatives & Clubs

Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons, from St. Mary's Lodge No. 7164, gathered to enjoy the talented renditions of a young tuba player, Olly Douglas

Olly is 14-years-old and plays for the National Youth Orchestra and Uppingham School Concert Band. He recently received a grant from the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) to support the purchase of a professional standard instrument and also to be provided expert tuition.

Olly’s father Stefan Douglas, a member of St. Mary's Lodge, based in in Melton Mowbray, asked Olly to play his tuba at the festive board as a thank you to the lodge and Freemasonry as a whole for the support he has received in developing his musical career. He was only too delighted to oblige and gave a flawless rendition of the Hindemith Tuba Sonata and then, to lighten the mood, the theme from The Muppets.

Stefan Douglas spoke over dinner about the importance of the Talent Aid programme within the MCF and how it supports many gifted and talented young adults. He also expressed his sincere gratitude to all Freemasons who support the MCF through their charitable donations.

The Master of St Mary’s Lodge, Michael Brooman, said: ‘Helping the members understand the local work of the MCF alongside their national work is vital to ensuring the ongoing support of the Foundation.’

In attendance was the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire & Rutland, Peter Kinder, and Tony Molyneux, who both supported Olly’s application.

The pursuit of friendship has often brought people from all walks of life together and this is true for a group of friends in Leicester with a common interest in both motorbikes and Freemasonry

The East Midlands Chapter of the Widows Sons Masonic Bikers Association, who represent the Province of Leicestershire & Rutland, have been out and about to promote both Freemasonry and biking, as well as helping a number of local good causes.

Two such organisations who have benefited from a visit of the Widows Sons are the Melton Mowbray Scouts and the Peter Le Marchant Trust, both of who received generous donations of £200 each. Earlier this year, the Widows Sons also visited Devonshire Court, the retirement home in Oadby, Leicestershire, to distribute Easter Eggs and bring fun and entertainment to the residents.

And the Loughborough Bike & Trike Festival was another event where the Widows Sons visited to chat with visitors about all things bike related, to discuss where the Widows Sons originated and their connection to Freemasonry.

Local charities gathered at Freemasons’ Hall in Leicester on 6th April 2019 to tell their story and receive generous donations from lodges, chapters and the Leicestershire & Rutland Masonic Charity Association

The Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire & Rutland David Hagger opened proceedings by welcoming everyone and introducing the assembled charities to the work of the Leicestershire & Rutland Masonic Charity Association in the community.   

The first guest to be introduced was the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Michael Kapur OBE, who was not only present to receive £1,000 for his Charity Award for Young People, but to also assist in presenting donations to other well deserving organisations. Michael said: ‘This award scheme helps to shine a light on our brave young people in Leicestershire.’

The Hinckley based SNIPS (Special Needs Integration Project) received £2,000 to aid their mission of providing Saturday sessions, Summer play schemes and residential breaks for children with special needs. Phil Hall of SNIPS said: ‘This donation will go towards supporting the children and help us achieve our funding targets.’

Holmes Lodge No. 4656 from Leicester donated £3,000, split between Wishes 4Kids, Jakin Pregnancy Care and Counselling and Alex’s Wishes. 

The Rainbows Hospice for Children & Young People were represented by Gary Farnfield and Dee Sissons to receive a donation of £8,318. Gary said: ‘We would like to say a huge thank you to the Freemasons’ for their continued support of Rainbows.’

Noel Manby, the Grand Superintendent of the Leicestershire & Rutland Royal Arch Freemasons, was on hand to present £3,700 to local charities including Bloodwise, Hope Against Cancer, Mesothelioma UK, and Shopmobility Melton Mowbray. 

To round off the event, David Hagger said: ‘Freemasons are proud to support you, the workers and volunteers who give up your time to help those in need within our local community.’

Over 720 Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons and guests attended their eagerly awaited Sportsman’s Dinner on 21st March 2019, with former England cricketer Phil Tufnell the guest speaker, and helped to raise over £70,000 to support the Leicestershire & Rutland 2022 Festival and the Masonic Charitable Foundation

The event was held at the Leicester Tigers rugby ground on Welford Road and hosted by Roger Dakin, former England Hockey goalkeeper, with attendees enjoying an evening of fun and entertainment in support of the 2022 Festival.

The evening began with convivial drinks served in the Legends VIP and Final Whistle bars before being seated ready for the entertainment to begin. Roger Dakin delighted the audience with his famed jokes and stories throughout the night.

Aside from an entertaining evening, the more serious side was to raise money for worthy causes, which began with silent auctions for many items of signed sporting memorabilia and relaxing events for family and friends.

A live auction was held, with lots including a holiday to Antigua, tickets to the Monaco Grand Prix and a painting by artist Ben Mosley, with former England Test Cricketer Ed Giddins stepping into the hot seat as the auctioneer.

England and Middlesex left-arm spin bowler Phil Tufnell then took to the stage to recount some of his more famed sporting events throughout the course of his career as a sportsman, and then subsequently his foray into television on shows such as Question of Sport, Strictly Come Dancing and his reign as King of the Jungle on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

The evening was a huge success, with over £70,000 being raised, which included the proceeds of the live and silent auctions. 

David Hagger, Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire & Rutland, said: ‘I would like to praise and thank the organisers of this event, to raise over £70,000 in support of such worthy causes is a testimony to the generosity of all who attended.’

Granite Chapter No. 2028, in the Province of Leicestershire & Rutland, was honoured to receive many distinguished guests at the installation of Daniel Hayward as MEZ for the ensuing year on 18th March 2019

The Chapter at first was pleased to receive the Grand Superintendent Noel Manby together with his Provincial team. With Daniel being a member of the committee of the Universities Scheme, he was also pleased to have present at his installation the Past Third Grand Principal, and UGLE’s Assistant Grand Master, Sir David Wootton, as President of the scheme, and also the Chairman Mark Greenburgh.

The Holmes Lodge room at Freemasons' Hall in Leicester was in full splendour with the Royal Arch banners ready for the evening. All were treated to a superb installation ceremony as Don Salt handed over the running of the chapter to Daniel and his new team. 

The warrant was expertly presented by the Grand Superintendent before everyone retired to enjoy the festive board, where Noel presented the Past Third Grand Principal with a bottle of Burleigh’s Tigers Gin, sporting the full colours of the Leicester Tigers.

Noel Manby said: ‘What a great occasion to have nearly 80 Companions present, a truly magnificent sight of all in their striking Royal Arch regalia.’

There was a big surprise at the meeting of Wiclif Lodge in Leicestershire, as they joined forces with Edward Sherrier Lodge to make a joint donation of £10,000 to charity

At the meeting of Wiclif Lodge No. 3078 in Lutterworth on 13th March 2019, the Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire & Rutland David Hagger was in attendance to present a certificate in recognition of 50 years in Freemasonry to the Lodge Secretary, Malcolm Longley.

Yet, unbeknown to the Provincial Grand Master, the two lodges who meet in the market town of Lutterworth, Edward Sherrier Lodge No. 6757 and Wiclif Lodge, had arranged a surprise presentation of a cheque totaling £10,000 to the 2022 Festival Appeal, which is raising money for the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

The cheque presentation was made by Clive Weston, who was representing Lutterworth Freemasons, which will go towards the target of raising £1.8 million by 2022. 

David Hagger said: ‘What a wonderful surprise to receive this most generous donation towards our appeal, a fantastic example of the generosity of our members.’

The money was raised by the members, friends, and families of Lutterworth Freemasons from events and fundraising activities on behalf of both lodges and the Sherricliff Fund.

Freemasonry provided its own version of the Six Nations when two Provincial rugby teams locked horns for the first time in Wigan, as they competed for the Freemasons Rugby Challenge Cup on 9th February 2019

Leicestershire & Rutland Light Blues RFC accepted an invitation to participate in the inaugural match of the Province of West Lancashire’s new masonic rugby team, with the cup donated by both clubs to encourage the development of provincial masonic rugby teams and a healthy rivalry.

Wigan, a town more familiar with Rugby League, was the battleground and despite stormy conditions throughout the night, the sun was shining in front of a 200-strong crowd and the pitch in excellent condition. 

Both sides began the match with enthusiasm and, with ‘brotherly love’ being temporarily put to one side, a true rugby spirit. Despite it being their first match – and for some of their players, the first ever game – West Lancashire were competitive with resilient defence and probing attacks, but the first half finished with Leicestershire & Rutland holding a narrow 13-10 lead.

While West Lancashire Freemasons Rugby Football Club (WLFRFC) fielded an all-masonic team, part of the ethos of Leicestershire Light Blues RFC, who have been established for a number of years, is to work as a recruiting platform and a conduit into Freemasonry. The fresh, and somewhat younger, legs of the Leicestershire & Rutland team proved decisive and, after a hard-fought second half, they were victorious with a 30-10 victory.

The Freemasons Rugby Challenge Cup was presented to the Light Blues RFC Captain Andrew 'Jock' Keenan by the WLFRFC Honorary Patron, Provincial Grand Master of West Lancashire, Tony Harrison for a well-deserved victory. 

WLFRFC Honorary President, linesman and Deputy Grand Superintendent from Royal Arch Province of West Lancashire Dr Paul Renton presented man-of-the-match awards to West Lancs’ Hooker Mark Brant and to Leicestershire & Rutland’s Fly Half Ollie Stanley.

Fundraising on the day raised £960 which included a generous donation of £103 by Leicestershire and Rutland members.

WLFRFC Chairman & Founder Garry Hacking praised the generosity and support of all who attended the match from both Provinces and thanked Daniel Quelch and Andrew Keenan for their guidance, advice and help in setting up the West Lancashire team.

Published in Initiatives & Clubs
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