United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) has agreed to become the second rest stop for the charity event Walk the Night on Saturday 27 July 2019 – and is encouraging members and their friends to take part

This epic night walk is the only event to bring men and women together in exclusive support of the life-saving prostate and breast cancer charities, Prostate Cancer UK and CoppaFeel!.

You can either walk a marathon (26.2 miles) or a half marathon (13.1 miles) through the night. The event will start and finish at Granary Square in King’s Cross, with a warm-up and entertainment. The route will take you past many of the capital’s famous landmarks, including Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace.

UGLE also have a special discount code for members to use – FREEMASONSWTN25 – which will give you a 25% discount off the registration fee of £45. You would be expected to raise a minimum of £199 for the charities.

UGLE’s Communications & Marketing Director Michelle Worvell is one member of staff who is taking part. She said: 'UGLE is delighted to be taking part in this wonderful fundraising event. I’ll be walking a half marathon through the night and it would be fantastic to see as many of our members and their friends taking part – and even better in regalia!'

This is now the second year that the event is taking place, having raised £500,000 in 2018 for the charities.

Check-in will be open from 5pm to 7pm on the day, with walkers setting off in waves from 8pm.

You can find out more about the event here.

Published in UGLE

The Province of Yorkshire North and East Ridings have helped to fund research, which has been published in the British Journal of Cancer, alongside The Masonic Samaritan Fund, Yorkshire Cancer Research, Prostate Cancer UK and the British Columbia Cancer Agency Strategic Priorities Fund

Medical research scientists at the University of York have found a way of distinguishing between fatal prostate cancer and manageable cancer, which could reduce unnecessary surgeries and radiotherapy.

A recent study showed that for every single life saved through surgical intervention more than 25 men were unnecessarily treated with surgery or radiotherapy. Success rates could be hindered by treating all prostate cancers in the same way. A team at the University of York and the University of British Columbia in Canada have designed a test that can pick out life-threatening prostate cancers, with up to 92% accuracy.

Professor Norman Maitland, from the University of York’s Department of Biology and director of Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: ‘Unnecessary prostate treatment has both physical consequences for patients and their families, but is also a substantial financial burden on the NHS, where each operation will cost around £10,000. 

‘Cancers that are contained in the prostate, however, have the potential to be ‘actively monitored’ which is not only cheaper but has far fewer negative side-effects in patients with non-life threatening cancer.’

It is now understood that to find the differing levels of cancer, scientists have to identify genes that have been altered in different cancer types.

Professor Norman Maitland added: ‘In some diseases, such as cancer, genes can be switched to an opposite state, causing major health issues and a threat to life. To put it another way: how do we distinguish the tiger cancer cells from the pussycat cancer cells when there are millions of patterns of chemical alterations going on, many of which will be perfectly healthy?’

Dr Davide Pellacani, who began these studies in York, before moving to the University of British Columbia, said: ‘Using this computer analysis, not only could we see which tissue samples had cancer and which didn’t, but also which cancers were dangerous and which ones less so.’

To take this method out of the laboratory, the team are now investigating a further trial with new cancer samples and hope to involve a commercial partner to allow this to be used for patients being treated in the NHS.

Ripple effect

Mason Barry Oakley explains why the Province of Derbyshire is offering prostate screenings in masonic halls – just one initiative being undertaken around the country to raise cancer awareness

Already the most common cancer among men, prostate cancer in the UK has now overtaken breast cancer in women in terms of mortality, with figures at the start of 2018 revealing nearly 12,000 deaths annually. Prostate cancer is now the third deadliest form of the disease behind lung and bowel cancers, and Prostate Cancer UK reports that by 2030 it could become the most common form of all diagnosed cancers.

In the latter half of 2017, the Provincial Grand Lodge of Derbyshire launched a prostate-screening initiative for its 2,800-plus members. The programme required a team approach, relying upon the support of the Queen’s Hospital in Burton-on-Trent, which is led by MacMillan consultant urological surgeon Jyoti Shah together with a number of specialist nurses. 

FAMILIAR SURROUNDS

In Shah’s experience, most men tend to avoid prostate examinations in hospital or recognised clinical environments. So the surgeon decided to take the screening programme to more familiar surroundings for those being examined: masonic halls. 

The approach proved highly successful, with the team visiting masonic halls in Burton-on-Trent, Long Eaton, Chesterfield and Buxton in 2017. The second phase of the screening programme commenced in May 2018, and, at the time of writing, 363 Derbyshire masons had been examined, with 14 diagnosed as having the disease. 

As part of the screening process, blood samples are taken and evaluated in a lab to look for certain proteins, called prostate-specific antigens (PSAs), that are present in all men. Abnormally high levels of PSAs are an indicator that cancer may be present in the prostate gland, but apparently certain non-cancerous conditions can also raise PSA levels.

The initiative is part of a much wider health campaign called ‘Inspire Health: Fighting Prostate Cancer’ that founder Shah, assisted by MacMillan advanced nurse practitioner Sarah Minns and a team of nurses, has been spearheading throughout Derbyshire.

IMPROVING OUTCOMES

‘For those men who have been screened and diagnosed, the cancer has been detected in time for effective treatment to commence and has probably saved lives,’ says Shah. ‘Without screening, the cancer would go undetected and continue to develop, giving rise to a potentially negative, life-threatening outcome.

‘Screening programmes can create a positive ripple effect. The word gets spread, which encourages more to come forward for screening. And the more who come forward, the sooner we can detect any presence of the disease and create positive outcomes.’

In backing the project, Derbyshire Provincial Grand Charity Steward Michael Hitchcock says, ‘We have been only too willing to support financially from our Provincial charity fund what is a potentially life-saving initiative. And despite the fact that charges would not be asked for, we felt it only right that a donation should be made on behalf of the Province.’

Medical research surrounding prostate cancer continues in many centres of excellence throughout the world, particularly in the UK, with the aim of further perfecting screening, diagnosis and treatment.

Foxes never quit

Bro Monty Katchick, Junior Warden of the Wayfarer Lodge No. 8679 which meets in Coalville, Leicestershire, is one of the singers appearing on a charity song Foxes Never Quit (Glory Glory Leicester City) in aid of Prostate Cancer UK

Bro Monty was selected to add his vocals to the song after Leighton Morrell, music producer, made an appeal for local talent to appear on the charity single. Leighton was originally approached by his close friend Peter Bullard, who is suffering from prostate cancer, with the idea of making a record to celebrate the fairytale season of Leicester City Football Club who recently won the English Premier League.

The collaboration, called the Foxee Singers of Leicester, consists of over 25 local singers and musicians from Leicestershire who have subsequently recorded the charity song based on the Battle Hymn of the Republic in a reggae style. It was released for download on iTunes and Amazon on the 15th April 2016 and and is currently at No. 6 on the UK reggae charts as well as No. 90 on the Worldwide Amazon Singles Chart.

Bro Monty said: 'I was approached to appear on the song as I was a singer in Leicester during the 1970s and they were looking for singers from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and today. When Leighton told me it was all for prostate cancer I was very interested, so we all got together in the recording studio and recorded Foxes Never Quit. Approximately 33p from each download will go to Prostate Cancer UK.

Leighton said: 'We want to let as many people know about the song as possible to try and make Leicester City top of the music charts as well as top of the Premier League. We also want to raise as much money as possible for this worthwhile cause.'

The silver shortlist

To mark the 25th anniversary of the Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF), the trustees are making available £1 million in support of medical and care research projects

 The MSF is planning to award grants of up to £100,000 in 10 regions across England and Wales. Its Silver Jubilee Research Fund originally received 62 grant applications, seeking nearly £9 million in support. However, with only £1 million available through the fund, the charity will need to make some difficult decisions.

Since 2011, the MSF has supported research projects that aim to improve the prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment and care available for illnesses and disabilities that affect masonic families and the wider community. Nearly £2 million has been awarded to large and small research organisations such as Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Carers UK and the A-T Society

Several research projects funded by the MSF have achieved significant success in their field. A £181,000 grant awarded to Alzheimer’s Research UK has helped to develop a new blood test that, it is hoped, will predict whether someone with early memory problems will develop Alzheimer’s within a year. Two grants totalling £75,000 awarded to RAFT (the Restoration of Appearance and Function Trust) have helped to develop a working prototype of a bionic arm fit for human trials, in a bid to compensate for the loss of a limb. A grant of £34,000, presented to Prostate Cancer UK, has helped Dr Hayley Whitaker and her team to identify that the presence of a specific protein can distinguish prostate cancers that are aggressive from those that may never seriously harm the patient. 

For further details about the Silver Jubilee Research Fund and the research studies shortlisted for a grant in your Province, please visit www.msfund.org.uk/research

Consulting for consolidation

The 2015 MSF members’ meeting was hosted at Freemasons’ Hall in March and marked the start of the formal process of consultation with the charity’s members regarding the proposal to consolidate the four central masonic charities. 

The proposed consolidation seeks to ensure that the full range of support currently provided by the central masonic charities will continue to be available to all eligible applicants and will be delivered in the most cost-effective manner.

Throughout the transition process and beyond, health and care grants will be accessible for eligible beneficiaries seeking treatment, care and support without undue delay or expense. 

Full details of the information provided by the MSF president and CEO are available at www.msfund.org.uk/news.php  

The consultation will conclude at the next members’ meeting on 29 October 2015. For further information on the consolidation of the charities, see www.masoniccharities.org.uk/review 

Published in Masonic Samaritan Fund

Chelsea pensioner takes the chair

Former Coldstream Guardsman John Gledhill added a dash of distinctive colour in his Chelsea Pensioner’s uniform at his installation as Worshipful Master of Symphony Lodge, No. 4924, which meets in Blackpool. Donations to charities on the night included £1,400 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, £200 each to Prostate Cancer and the Blackpool Group Sponsored Walk, and £100 each to Violet’s Light and the Children’s Hearing Service.

A rare a special sighting in West Lancashire

One of the most treasured and iconic images of British history and tradition is the distinctive scarlet-plumaged Chelsea Pensioner with its characteristic tricorne hat. Whilst this exceptional species is frequently observed in its native habitat amongst the shrubberies and lawns of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, it is an infrequent migratory visitor to the sandy shores of the Fylde coast and, when away from its more familiar surroundings, it sheds its iconic headwear and dons its shako, a less flamboyant peaked hat.

In a rare sighting, believed to be the first of its kind ever in West Lancashire, an extremely fine specimen was spotted perching on the chair of King Solomon in Symphony Lodge No. 4924 in the masonic hall at Blackpool.

Former Coldstream Guard John Gledhill, proudly sporting his Chelsea Pensioner finery, was installed as Master of the lodge with military precision and in magnificent style by installing Master Steve Smith, Mentor for the Blackpool group of lodges. The lodge is proud that since its consecration in 1927 no member has served a year’s tenure as WM on more than one occasion. This has been aided by many joining members volunteering to occupy the exalted position. And so it was with John, another ‘willing’ volunteer!

Adding his dignified presence to the proceedings was Peter Elmore, representing the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. Unscathed by the wear and tear of modern society and its decline in general courteousness and etiquette, Peter is one of those individuals who has retained a consistency of poise and demureness, embodying the perfect gentleman.

The general business of the lodge having been completed with expediency and exactitude by Roy Fenton, the procession of dignitaries bowled in. Shedding further lustre on this already special event were other distinguished Grand and Provincial Grand Officers and acting Provincial Officers. Grand Officers Bill Eardley and Peter Bentham, chairman of the Blackpool group of lodges commanded pole position behind Peter Elmore, followed by John Turpin vice chairman of the group, and supported by acting Provincial Officers Martyn Jones, Gordon Ivett, and Chris Walpole.

Steve Smith, the installing Master, in the course of his masonic career has had many ambitions. As a young mason, he had yearned someday to become Master of a lodge. At one time he had entertained aspirations of being a Director of Ceremonies. Later he leaned towards being Secretary of a lodge. But now having elevated his status to group Mentor, all these desires were cast aside and forgotten. The sole thing that seemed most worthwhile to him now was to install John in the best possible manner and to this task he addressed himself with all the energy and enthusiasm he could muster. The resulting ceremony was delightful, impeccable and entertaining.

Equal to the task in hand too was Alistair Still, the formidable Director of Ceremonies of the lodge who had evidently whipped the company into great shape yet, being the perfectionist that he most certainly is he appeared to be ruminating on whether a few extra lashes may have paid dividends in some quarters.

Of particular note in the ceremony were the brethren who presented the working tools. Kicking off was Bill Snell with a delightful delivery of the tools of an installed Master, followed by Vinnie Carte’s presentation of the third degree tools. David Wilson, a professional magician, thrilled the throng by conjuring up a wonderfully vibrant rendition of the second degree tools and, bringing up the rear, a marvellous recital of the first degree tools by Keith Roberts.

Two highly experienced masons, Tom Bullen and Brian Sharples then gave exemplary addresses to the WM and wardens respectively. Following quickly on the heels of excellence, came brilliance. Peter Elmore rose with his customary dignity and delivered the address to the brethren in the most eloquent and articulate of fashions.

On occupying the chair John felt and looked quietly happy. He seemed to have brought sunshine with him from Chelsea. All eyes were now upon him and, being a chap of a demure and unassuming disposition who never seeks attention and shies away from limelight, he had acquired a complexion that perfectly complemented his splendid scarlet tunic.

But the Coldstream guards train their sons well. Once John had digested the fundamental fact that his installation had been concluded, he grasped the role of master with the tenacity of a lithe mongoose pouncing on a dastardly king cobra and adopted a stance of supreme efficiency. He seemed to be so energised that, should he have had any desire to do so, he could have felled a two ton hippopotamus with a single blow of the gavel. One may pontificate, with a degree of reluctant trepidation, that even the ubiquitous Steve Smith was reduced to a meagre shadow of his former resplendence by John’s alluring performance. 

During his years in the Coldstream Guards John had served in Kenya, Aden, and Bahrain. He was stationed at Gilgil camp in Kenya during the Mau Mau rebellion of 1952 to 1960. Posted to the camp in 1959, it is rumoured that John’s arrival there was the sole reason that the Mau Mau surrendered the following year, although, being the modest man that he is, John refuses to take full credit for the regiment’s success.

The Coldstream Guards is the oldest regiment in the regular army in continuous active service and dates back to the English Civil War when Oliver Cromwell gave Colonel George Monck permission to form his own regiment as part of the New Model Army. The Monck’s Regiment of Foot was formed in August 1650 and less than two weeks later it took part in the Battle of Dunbar at which the roundheads defeated the forces of Charles I. After Richard Cromwell’s relinquishment of his position as Lord Protector, Monck gave his support to the Stuarts and in January 1660 he crossed the River Tweed into England at the village of Coldstream from where he made a five-week march to London. He arrived in London in early February and helped in restoring Charles II to the throne. Such is the glory of the regiment that John is so proud to represent.

And this was one of the points that Peter Elmore spoke of in conveying the best wishes of the Provincial Grand Master. Adding further glitter to the dazzling ceremony, John presented Peter with handsome donations to charities, including £1,400 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, £200 to Prostate Cancer research, £200 to the Blackpool Group Sponsored Walk, £100 to Violet’s Light, and £100 to the Children’s Hearing Service.

The day was an occasion to celebrate and remember. The rare sighting of a Chelsea Pensioner alighting the chair of King Solomon in West Lancashire was made extra special by the endearing, modest and enigmatic personality behind the tunic. 

Epic charity run wins award

Lincolnshire mason Larry Riches has raised more than £12,000 for Prostate Cancer UK after he drove his 1914 Model T Ford from Lancaster Lodge, No. 9413, near Lisbon, Portugal, to Witham Lodge, No. 297, in Lincolnshire – a distance of some 2,000km – in 10 days. Larry was recognised for his efforts at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show at the Birmingham NEC in November. He was presented with the award for Best Contribution to Charity at the Classic & Sports Car Club Awards ceremony.

Freemason Larry Riches has raised more than £5,000 for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys and Prostate Cancer UK by driving a 100-year-old Model T Ford from Lisbon to Lincoln

Together with co-drivers Richard Barrett and Dimas Pestana, Larry travelled the 2,000km journey over 10 days in support of the two charities. During the final leg of the epic journey, the 1914 Model T passed through central London and stopped at Freemasons’ Hall where the trio were greeted by Deputy Grand Master Jonathan Spence, the presidents of the four central masonic charities, and Lincolnshire Deputy PGM John Hockin.

The route was selected as Larry is a member of lodges in Portugal and the Province of Lincolnshire – the latter of which has supported the RMTGB for the past six years and is due to end its Festival appeal this November.

Lifting the worry

Each year, the Masonic Samaritan Fund and individual lodges contribute to prostate cancer research. The moving story of Freemason Ian Mcilquham and his family shows why this support is so vital, writes Andrew Gimson

In January this year, Ian Mcilquham saw some posters about prostate cancer. He had no symptoms, but his father and another member of his family had suffered from it, so he decided that it would be a good idea to go for a blood test. The result showed that he had a raised level of PSA (prostate-specific antigen), which can indicate the presence of the disease. A biopsy, carried out at the University Hospital of Wales, later confirmed that Ian had prostate cancer. 

As he was only fifty-two years old, Ian decided to undergo a radical prostatectomy – the removal of the prostate gland. However, the NHS in Wales only offers this procedure as an open (more invasive) operation, and Ian was told it could have bad side-effects – including incontinence, erectile dysfunction and being unlikely to be able to go back to work. His consultant advised him to have a robotic (less invasive) operation that is available from the NHS in some hospitals in England.

Because Ian lives in Wales, the only way to have this procedure in England would be at a private hospital, which would be very expensive. A member of Juventus Lodge, No. 8105, in South Wales Province, Ian works as a radiographer, and his wife, Penny, is a specialist nurse. They have three children: Kinsey, aged seventeen, Jourdain, aged fifteen and Kai, aged eleven – who at first was worried his father would die from the disease. 

Ian approached the Masonic Samaritan Fund for help. On the day he telephoned, the Fund emailed him back with authorisation for a private consultation in Bristol.

In Ian’s words, ‘The relief was unbelievable.’ The MSF then swiftly approved the funding application for his operation. ‘It wasn’t just the financial support from the MSF that helped, it was also the emotional support offered to me and my family. Lifting this worry was of greater importance, in some ways, than the financing of the surgery – they helped the entire family unit.’ 

Complete success

With his lodge providing support, Ian remembers that it was ‘weird’ having a major operation while feeling fine, but he knew that the longer he waited for treatment, the more likely it was that the cancer would spread. Five weeks after having the operation, laboratory analysis of his prostate tissue revealed that the surgery had been a complete success. Ian will now be monitored by an NHS hospital and his GP, meaning that he can focus on getting strong enough to return to work.

Richard Douglas, Chief Executive of the MSF, explains his charity’s approach: ‘We fund people who have a positive diagnosis, but can’t get the treatment they require on the NHS in a reasonable timescale.’ 

The MSF helps masons and their dependants, aiming to respond quickly in order to alleviate the anxiety of waiting. The charity is able to fund the cost of treatment for most eligible applications, and is also able to consider requests for research funding.

To save the lives of men with prostate cancer, early diagnosis is essential. Unfortunately, the PSA test does not always turn out to be correct. ‘Accurate diagnosis is the starting point to help men survive and have a better quality of life post-treatment,’ explains Richard. ‘With over 10,000 men dying each year from this disease, it’s time to give the experts the resources they need to beat prostate cancer for good.’

‘With over 10,000 men dying each year from this disease, it’s time to give the experts the resources they need to beat prostate cancer.’ Richard Douglas

The MSF has donated £34,625 to Prostate Cancer UK and has helped fund a research project at Cambridge University by Dr Hayley Whitaker, lead scientist of the Biomarker Initiative. She explains that the PSA test can detect lots of things that aren’t cancer, such as an enlarged prostate gland or inflammation. Moreover, only one in four cancers will become aggressive. 

Whitaker and her team of four researchers are trying to find new markers they can use to improve the PSA test. Their aim is to come up with half a dozen markers that will help provide a more accurate diagnosis. It may then be possible to avoid having a rectal examination, and, for some men, to avoid having a biopsy. 

The team at Cambridge have found a number of markers that are very promising, including two that identify patients who are more likely to relapse following surgery. ‘This means we can watch these patients more closely and attack the cancer harder,’ Whitaker explains, adding that the donation from the MSF has made a huge difference. ‘It’s given us such a great opportunity to do the work and we’re incredibly grateful.’

Gabriella Bailey, head of community fundraising at Prostate Cancer UK, is keen to raise the awareness of the disease, which has been far less intensively researched than many other forms of cancer. 

‘Every one of the masonic lodges that’s raised money for Prostate Cancer UK is part of this movement for men, and we’re incredibly grateful for the support,’ says Bailey. ‘Since 2005, local masonic lodges have raised £476,000 for Prostate Cancer UK – a fantastic contribution to the work we’re doing.’

Between one hundred and one hundred and thirty lodges a year support Prostate Cancer UK, which employs a group of specialist nurses to provide support through a free telephone, email and web chat service and who are able to answer questions about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. In the UK, around one in eight men will get this disease. If you have any concerns, the Prostate Cancer UK website is a great place to start.

For more information about the disease and giving support, please visit www.prostatecanceruk.org 

Published in Masonic Samaritan Fund
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