Celebrating 300 years

Nearly £50k of donations distributed in Leicestershire

Representatives from 33 diverse local charities attended Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester on Saturday 27th February 2016 as recipients of awards totalling £43,537 from the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons

Amongst those receiving donations from the kind generosity of the members of the fraternity were:

Heart Link (East Midlands Children's Heart Care Association) received £1,000 to help provide facilities for children with heart defects, their families and providing much needed valuable medical equipment at Glenfield Hospital. Gill Smart, Treasurer of Heart Link, said: 'We are very grateful for this donation which will go towards paying for a latest 4D scanner so that children which a heart defect can have a better quality of life and help the families.'

CHICKS, Country Holidays for Inner City Kids, is a national children's charity providing free respite breaks to disadvantaged children from all over the UK. Kelly Tones, said: 'This money will go towards funding breaks in our new retreat in Derbyshire giving children the opportunity to be involved with activities such as rock climbing and horse riding and let them live their lives and let them be kids again.'

Toys on the Table provides new toys and gifts at the holiday season for those children in Leicester and Leicestershire, regardless of faith, who might otherwise not receive anything. On receiving £1,000 from the Freemasons, Terry Watts, Chairman of the Trustees, said: 'Last Christmas we gave 4,000 children around 8,000 toys. We thank the Freemasons for this donation which will enable us to purchase toys and make certain that no child is left without.'

Melton Community First Responders received a donation of £1,000. It provides voluntary support to the East Midlands Ambulance Service and serves Melton Mowbray, Asfordby and many of the surrounding villages. Peter Scott said: 'On behalf of all of the community of Melton thank you to the Freemasons for their donation. Last year we provided over 19,000 hours on call and attended more than 2,000 patients. As we have been going for 12 years our defibrillators are getting old and therefore this donation will go towards paying for a new defibrillator which will enable us to continue our work.'

The Dove Cottage Day Hospice, which is situated in Stathern, offers palliative day care to those living with advanced progressive life limiting illness received a total donation of £1,000. Chris Gatfield, Registered Manager and Founder of Dove, said: 'Thank you to the Freemasons very much indeed for this wonderful donation. We are a comparatively small hospice started 20 years ago to serve the people in rural communities. We couldn’t do any of this without the support of organisations such as the Freemasons which is very much appreciated.'

Leicestershire and Rutland 4x4 Response, which provides a network of volunteers that are able to respond to situations likely to cause danger to the general public, received a donation of £500. Chairman Simon Dale said: 'Thank you very much to the Freemasons for the donation. Leicestershire and Rutland 4x4 Response are a group of volunteers that help out the emergency services. We are 100% self funded and this money will be used for training our responders.'

Loughborough Group for People with Disabilities received a donation of £500 from the members of Beacon Lodge which meets in Loughborough. Tony Wilkinson from the charity said: 'Thank you so much to the Freemasons for this money. We are very humbled and grateful to receive this donation which will go towards a trip to Lourdes, France and repairs to our minibus.'

Rainbows Children’s Hospice received £3,338 from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity. Dana Simons, Appeal Manager at Rainbows said: 'We are now needing over £5 million pounds each and every year to run the hospice to provide one to one care, respite stay, palliative care, symptom control, end of life care and bereavement support. Sadly that need never goes away and we are increasing our services and extending them for cancer patients and new born babies. Thank you to the Freemasons for this donation which we are extremely grateful.'

On behalf of the Westfield Community Development Association, Dave Roberts received a donation of £1,000. He said: 'We have 65 volunteers delivering over 300 hours a week many of which are centred on our elderly, disabled and socially isolated projects. Thank you to the Freemasons for this generous gift which is help support these projects in the the Hinckley and Bosworth area. It really is an important contribution to the work that we do and it is much appreciated.'

Upon receiving a donation of £2,000 Diane Morgan, Director of the Hinckley Homeless Group said: 'We are small charity that runs a hostel, Lawrence House, for homeless young people aged between 16 and 25 in the Hinckley area. We have lost our statutory funding recently and the trustees would like to thank the Freemasons for this generous donation which will go towards providing the cost of the project workers which really are the key to the success of Lawrence House.'

On behalf of Voluntary Action Rutland, Director Lindsay Henshwaw-Dann received a donation of £1,500 from the Enderby Lodge. She said: 'Thank you so much to the Freemasons for this donation which we are so pleased to receive. We have had our funding slashed by half and this money will allow us to complete the furnishing of a new counselling room at our centre in Oakham which will be used by community groups and other charities.'

Rutland Sailability were given £500 from the Beacon Lodge. Chairman of Rutland Sailability Martin Sutcliffe said: 'Thank you very much to the Freemasons for this generous donation and their help. We provide facilities at Rutland Water for people will all varieties of disabilities to enjoy the sport of sailing. This money will go towards training a small group of people representing Team GB at the World Championships in Holland.'

Other charities receiving funds included Lady Gretton, Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire, who received £1,000 on behalf of the Lord-Lieutenant's Award for Young People 2016 which seeks to identify, celebrate and reward the very best examples of achievement by young people in Leicestershire. Upon receiving the donation, Lady Gretton replied ‘We thank the Masons most sincerely for the wonderful support for these awards which recognises young inspirational people in Leicester and Leicestershire for bravery, sport, and volunteering.'

ENRYCH Leicestershire and Derbyshire, based in Coalville, received £1,000. Sonia Lear, Volunteer and Social Event Coordinator, said: 'Thank you very much to the Freemasons for this generous and wonderful donation. Our small charity was formed to support adults with physical disabilities to enjoy leisure and learning activities. This donation will enable us to continue recruiting volunteers that do wonderful work and are the lifeblood of our charity.'

People's Accessible Transport for Harborough (PATH) received a donation of £1,000. Michael Cheeseman, from PATH, said: 'Thank you very much to the Freemasons for this generous donation which will enable PATH to continue to function for a few more years. There is a major shortage of community transport and this funding will support our buses to help mobilise isolated elderly, disabled and vulnerable people in the Market Harborough area.'

A total of £500 was presented to Lutterworth-based Heartsafe by the Head of the Royal Arch Masons Peter Kinder. Heartsafe aims to ensure that every young person passing through secondary education in the County schools is provided with training in Emergency Life Support, including vital cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Dr Doug Skehan said: 'We are run by a group of volunteers who spend time in schools. We have a modest amount of administration costs and therefore are very grateful to the Freemasons for their generous donation.'

David Hagger, the Head of the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons, concluded the meeting by applauding all the charities and their volunteers who give their time to such good causes: 'I’m proud that the Freemasons have been able to make a major contribution to society by supporting charities particularly those helping many children and young people in the local community.'

Fully restored

A portrait oil painting of Earl Howe and Past Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland, has been recently restored and re-installed at the Masonic Hall in Hinckley, Leicestershire

The painting, which has been under the care of the Freemasons of Hinckley since 1985, dates back to around 1845 and had through the course of time suffered degradation and physical damage. When the Hinckley Masonic Hall underwent major reconstruction during the summer of 2011, the painting was removed for safe storage and has since been lovingly restored including the addition of a new frame.

RW Bro Richard William Penn, Earl Howe lived in Gopsall Hall, near to Hinckley, and was Provincial Grand Master of the then Leicestershire Province from 1856 and became the first Provincial Grand Master of the combined Province of Leicestershire and Rutland until 1869. He was also Provincial Grand Master of Warwickshire from 1843 to 1852 and Deputy Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England from 1844 to 1866.

Earl Howe was a much loved and distinguished brother who practised the meaning and teaching of Freemasonry outside the lodge as well as in it. When the Knights of Malta Lodge No. 50 fell into hard times in the 1850’s he agreed to become its Master and served for two years. He was also a great benefactor to the town of Hinckley and started many initiatives to help its residents when many families were destitute after the Napoleonic War. He also donated a large sum of money to repair, renovate and construct churches throughout the county.

The painting of Earl Howe can be seen by every Freemason when negotiating the stairs in Hinckley Masonic Hall and will serve to remind them of role Earl Howe in both Hinckley and beyond.

Och Aye the Blue

The Leicestershire and Rutland Light Blue Club started their 2016 with a visit to Scotland and to two of the oldest masonic lodges in the world and to top it all off a visit to the beautiful Rosslyn Chapel.

On Tuesday 26th January 2016 the group left Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester by bus to travel to Kilwinning in Ayrshire to visit the Lodge Mother Kilwinning. The lodge is said to date back to the building of the abbey in 1140 and up until the formation of the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1736 Kilwinning Lodge was in itself a grand lodge, issuing warrants and charters and is the reason that many Scottish lodges still hold the name Kilwinning in their name.

The Light Blue Club were warmly welcomed by the brethren and had a look around their fascinating museum, followed by an excellent Passing ceremony. Once the lodge had closed, they were treated to an informal festive board, known as a harmony, of pie and beans in the bar and finally a talk about the history of the lodge which is something that is usually incorporated into their first degree ceremony for all new Initiates.

The next day, the group left for Edinburgh to visit Canongate Kilwinning Lodge No. 2. After a short ceremony to confer Honorary Membership on Bro David Begg, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Scotland the annual banquette to Burns and Hogg was held. In attendance was the Grand Master Mason Bro Charles IR Wolrige Gordon of Esslemont, who was very welcoming of the Light Blue Club and even joined them for a late night selfie!

The banquette itself was excellent from an initial parading and address to the haggis, complete with piper, to some wonderful singing and fiddling of traditional Scottish songs from Jess Conway as well as an entertaining and humorous talk from Bro David Venard entitled ‘The Immortal memories of Robert Burns and James Hogg’.

The final part of the Scottish tour was a visit to Rosslyn Chapel where the Light Blue Club enjoyed a talk on the history of the chapel followed by a masonic tour that pointed out all its masonic references, which was described by Bro Bob Reay as, 'a fascinating experience'.

Masonry, Migrants and Mariners

At the meeting of the Lodge of Research No. 2429, held on 25th January 2016 at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester, the lodge welcomed the Prestonian Lecturer for 2015, W Bro Roger Burt, who delivered his lecture Masonry, Migrants and Mariners in the 19th Century.

This lecture was a further development of his original lecture, Wherever Dispersed: The Travelling Mason in the 19th Century, showing that historical knowledge never stands still.

W Bro Burt based his findings on lodges in Canada and America, as well as England and Scotland, and showed how men were able to move around and benefit from Freemasonry Universal. He also showed how the less scrupulous abused the brotherly generosity. It also showed the pride that brothers had in masonry, and from slides showing the development of towns, the importance placed on the citing of the Masonic Hall. This talk, delivered without notes, was well received by all those present.

At the end of the lecture W Bro Burt was thanked by the Master, W Bro David Sharpe, and presented with copies of the last two editions of the lodge’s Transactions. Those present then showed their hearty appreciation for enabling everyone to make a great advancement in their masonic knowledge.

W Bro Burt has kindly agreed that the lodge can publish his paper in the next edition of the Transactions, which will be issued in October 2016.

In July 2015, 36 Scouts between the ages of 12 and 18 from the South Leicestershire Scouts visited Kandersteg in Switzerland for an International Expedition which was made possible by a generous donation of £1,500 by the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons

Kandersteg International Scout Centre is the world centre of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement. The centre began in 1923 with Lord Baden-Powell, who, after the first World Scout Jamboree, had a dream about a place where all Scouts from all over the world could meet: the Permanent Mini Jamboree.

The Centre allows Scouts to have an international experience in fantastic surroundings. The Scouts visiting from south Leicestershire participated in a week of International and Friendship Activities at the Campsite including river rafting as well as experiencing part of the Swiss Alps.

Jospeh, one of the Scouts who attended the Expedition said: 'This is best thing I've ever done in my life,' whilst Edmund asked after river rafting: 'We don't have to paddle back upstream do we?'

Robert Row, Contingent Leader for the South Leicestershire Scouts said; 'In Scouting, international activities play a huge part and scouts of all ages work towards badges to show their increased understanding of religion and cultures. They help our members to understand the part that they play in the worldwide organisation of Scouting. Their experiences will remain with them or the rest of their lives and we thank the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons for their help in giving them that opportunity.'

RW Bro David Hagger, Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland said: 'There are many similarities between Freemasonry and Scouting both providing a unique environment for people from all backgrounds to learn skills, make lasting friendships, and achieve their potential. We are therefore very pleased to have been able support our local Scouts on their expedition.'

scientists from the University of Leicester, funded by Kidney Research UK and with the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons, are working towards understanding which exercise methods will best help those with kidney disease

Dr Alice Smith and a team of doctors, psychologists, and physiotherapists, based at the General Hospital, Leicester, aim to determine how exercise can be used to help kidney patients maximise their health, quality of life and, independence.

A total of 4,000 patients in the Leicester region currently suffer from early stage kidney disease. It is common for these patients to die from heart disease, rather than kidney disease, partly due to inactivity and muscle wasting. The research team have already recorded the attitudes to exercise in 2,000 kidney patients from across the country to understand their exercise habits. Dr Smith said: 'Those with kidney disease don’t know if the general advice around exercise applies to them and whether they should exercise or not as a kidney patient.'

Amy Clarke, a Researcher in Health and Behavior Psychologist in the team, said: 'This large survey has given us a picture of how kidney patients behave. The main questions they asked included: Is exercise safe for me? Will it benefit me? Could it make my condition worse? There are also the emotions of having an illness, such as kidney disease, where patients want to know if they can get back to the activities they used to do before diagnosis.'

Dr Smith continued: 'Having collated the patient perceptions on their exercise, we are now taking the project forward to start to produce a programme to help kidney patients become more active in their daily lives. This is a new kind of concept and consists of talking to patients, members of staff, and an expert panel to get a consensus about the programme, and then testing it in practice. It also aims to understand which type of exercise, such as walking or swimming, can be embedded into patient's lifestyles rather than relying on supervised gym sessions which are not sustainable and often doesn’t fit into patients’ lives easily.'

The project has already developed a self-directed exercise programme to help patients with kidney disease to be more active on an individual basis. The SPARK, Self-management Programme to Increase Health through Physical Activity in Chronic Kidney Disease programme is currently undergoing further revision based on patient feedback already received. A further programme is also being developed which patients will attend in groups to discuss the role of exercise in their lives and help them to formulate a plan and put it into practice. The team are also recruiting patients from Nottingham to broaden and expand the study.

Suzanne Baines, Major Gifts Officer of Kidney Research UK said: 'With over three million people at risk of chronic kidney disease, we are very grateful for the generous donation that the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons have given to support this important and groundbreaking research project which has the potential to benefit patients across the country.'

RW Bro David Hagger, Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland, said: 'The Freemasons are extremely pleased and proud to have been able to support this vital research which affects so many people in the local community.'

Wednesday, 09 December 2015 13:34

A tale of two Alan Hurdleys

W Bro Alan Hurdley of the Lodge of the Argonauts No. 8210, meeting in Leicester, had a very unusual guest at their recent meeting on the 1st December 2015, one that has united the two brethren from different Provinces.

W Bro Alan Hurdley met with his namesake W Bro Alan Hurdley from Prince of Wales Lodge No. 2520 which meets in the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding.

The meeting came about when W Bro Alan Hurdley from Yorkshire contacted W Bro Alan Hurdley after noticing the similarity in their names whilst using ADelphi 2, the United Grand Lodge of England's membership system. While not directly related, it seems that the two possibly share an ancestor originating from the village of Hurdley in Powys, Wales.

Both W Bro Hurdley’s enjoyed the evening in each other’s company and may well be the start of many visits between the two as members of the Craft.

Online safety education

Children’s educational centre Warning Zone has received a £10,000 donation from Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons towards an interactive experience highlighting the dangers of the internet. The new E-Safety Zone is based on a trip to the fairground and aims to educate Year 6 children (ages 10-11) about online safety, including learning about internet security, cyber bullying, grooming, digital identity and unsuitable material. It was opened by Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire Sir Clive Loader, with PGM David Hagger, Provincial Almoner Anthony Molyneux (both pictured) and other members of the fraternity in attendance.

During the summer, the Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works of Leicestershire and Rutland led the redecoration of the Provincial headquarters on London Road, Leicester.

W Bro Fred Harris and his son Bro Freddie Harris, both of Beacon Lodge No. 5208, along with a small team, began the four week process in mid-June 2015 and is focussed on a complete redecoration including repairs to joinery and preparation of external surfaces prior to the complete repainting of the façade.

No doubt these efforts by W Bro Fred Harris over the summer will not only prolong the life of the building but vastly increase the appearance of Freemasons' Hall doing justice to the magnificent Grade II listed Georgian building that many Leicestershire and Rutland masons call home.

Friday, 04 December 2015 05:48

Granite Lodge balloon race reaches Sweden!

During the summer barbecue held by Granite Lodge No. 2028 at the home of W Bro Mark Stewart-Halford, guests were encouraged to purchase a helium balloon which would be set free with a tag attached asking the finder to contact the lodge via its website.

Guests old and young were eager to try their luck and keen to see how far the balloons would go.

After the barbecue, results started to come in of balloon sightings, starting in Lincolnshire and then all the way out to Belgium in the North Sea.

Nothing however prepared the lodge to expect the farthest distance travelled, over 1,000 miles to Kullaberg in Sweden where a local diver, Mr Ian Fernheden spotted one of the balloons underwater on one of his dives. The moment the diver found the balloon underwater can be seen here: Granite Lodge balloon find.

The day raised over £1,000 for the Master's chosen charity, the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

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