Wednesday, 14 December 2011 09:36

Welcome and thanks

The MSF always enjoys visitors and was very pleased to recently welcome two beneficiaries who made the trip to show their gratitude to the staff for the support they had received throughout their critical surgical procedures.

Noel O’Shea, accompanied by colleagues from Summum Bonum Lodge, No. 3665, in Middlesex, presented a cheque from the lodge as a thank you for the grant he had received to fund hip replacement surgery in 2008.

Before returning to Nigeria, Eddie Obianwu also journeyed to the MSF to thank them for the assistance he received for surgery to amputate his left leg and the subsequent provision of a prosthetic limb. He was accompanied by members of his family and his District Grand Master, Chief Moses O Taiga.
Published in Masonic Samaritan Fund
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 09:33

year of gravity and celebration

Isaac Newton University Lodge, No. 859, decided that celebration of its 150-year history should be spread over much of 2011. Beginning in January, there was the first delivery of the 2011 Prestonian Lecture, as the lecturer was their Immediate Past Master, Dr James Campbell, a Senior Fellow of Queens’ College, Cambridge.

In March, brethren from Apollo University Lodge No. 359 (Oxford) and Loge Robert de Sorbon (Paris) attended a meeting at Freemasons’ Hall, Cambridge, followed at the June meeting with a friends and family garden party. The celebration of the anniversary was held in July, at which the principal guest was the Deputy Grand Master, Jonathan Spence.

The prime purpose of the meeting was to make the substantial charitable donations that the lodge had decided should be the main way in which it celebrated its anniversary year.

The lodge has donated £1,000 for each year of its existence, with £50,000 going to the Grand Charity through the Provincial Festival, £50,000 to other masonic charities and £50,000 to a number of non-masonic charities drawn from suggestions and requests from lodge members.

Past Masters of the lodge presented cheques to the Assistant Grand Master, David Williamson, the Metropolitan Grand Master, Russell Race, and to the Presidents of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institute (RMBI), Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF) and the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB).

The Provincial Grand Master received the cheque for his Festival on behalf of the Grand Charity.
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 09:26

New scouting opportunities

The Scouts can look forward to increased membership thanks to a generous donation from the Grand Charity

In 2008, the Grand Charity donated £500,000 to The Scout Association with the aim of helping to encourage more young people to join the movement. Given over a five-year period, the donation would provide young people with opportunities for personal development and the chance to get involved with many exciting activities, as well as forging closer links between lodges and Scout Groups.

Since 2008, the grant has been used to support local Scouting, providing areas with start-up and activity grants, as well as much-needed equipment such as books and games. It is estimated that the Grand Charity’s grant has so far enabled 500,000 young people to receive new materials and equipment.

There are certain regions where young people want to join Scouting Groups, but insufficient resources and adult provision means that they have been unable to take part. However, thanks to the Grand Charity’s start-up grants, funding has been allocated to expand 250 new Scouting Groups each year and so far more than 3,500 young people have been able to join.

Success so far
Cambridgeshire is one such region that has recently been assisted with Grand Charity-sponsored start-up grants. ‘I hope that this funding will be available to other counties for similar projects and that they have the same or even higher levels of success,’ said Richard Hames, Cambridgeshire District Commissioner. ‘Twenty new members in a Beaver Colony with the associated leaders will grow into Cub and Scout sections, allowing even more people to join the Beavers. As these new sections become established and the first members work their way through the movement, the total number of people this money
can assist could be very considerable.’

As well as introducing more young people to Scouting, there has also been a desire to bring lodges and Scout Groups together. In Norfolk, Scouts are organising a weekend event for local Freemasons where it is hoped that up to 500 people will be able to attend. The aim of the event is to showcase local Scouting activities, as well as providing an opportunity for Freemasons and Scouts to learn more about one another. Many lodges already support their local Scout Group through help with volunteering or the loan of premises and outside spaces, and this grant is helping to further strengthen those ties.

If you would like to find out how you can get in touch with your local Scout Group, please contact The Scout Association on 0845 300 1818

Published in The Grand Charity
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 09:26

Cake with a difference

There was a particularly appropriate surprise for the 60th birthday of Past Deputy Grand Organist Brian Williams at a celebratory dinner with family and friends at a local restaurant.

Unknown to him, Jersey Provincial Grand Master Kenneth Rondel – a guest at the dinner – had secretly commissioned two cakes to be made in the same dimensions as Brian’s full dress regalia. The cakes were made by Mrs Natalie Jordan and took nine hours to create – an extraordinary effort as the cakes looked so much like the real thing.
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 09:24

Clarabelle the Tuk-Tuk

An unusual method of advertising Freemasonry in the community has been organised by the Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight – a runaround tuk-tuk vehicle affectionately known as Clarabelle.

The vehicle was found wasting away in a builder’s yard and after some negotiations and a good clean-up, it was fitted with a ‘Freemasonry in
the Community’ sign and driven around local shopping centres to advertise a masonic presence at the annual Bournemouth Air Festival.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight linked up with the Province of Dorset at the festival – although Bournemouth is officially in Dorset, it masonically remains in Hampshire. The two Provinces promoted Freemasonry through the Hampshire and Isle of Wight exhibition unit.

Clarabelle can look forward to future outings following the decision by Hampshire and Isle of Wight to work with the Jubilee Sailing Trust charity to help disabled sailors put on their annual pumpkin festival. The aim is to set a world record of the greatest number of scarecrows in one field.
Published in Freemasonry Cares
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 09:21

promoting student values

Year 10 students from The Beaconsfield School have won £5,000 in the ihelp competition, organised by Buckinghamshire Freemasons, for running sporting activities that suit vulnerable adults in care homes in the area.

The two-hour-long games included indoor and outdoor activities such as darts, skittles, boccia, indoor archery and golf, giving both generations
a chance to chat and mingle. Provincial Grand Master Gordon Robertson said, ‘The judges were amazed at the way all the pupils at the school were inspired by ihelp to help others. They developed their ideas to fit the aims of the competition, particularly the way they worked together as a team to have fun helping others. Their efforts mirror perfectly Freemasonry’s aims of friendship, decency and charity. We started the ihelp project to show that youngsters do so much for the Bucks community. They are our future.’

The students beat Stokenchurch Scouts into second place, who won £1,000 for regenerating a local graveyard. The finals were held at the Beaconsfield Masonic Centre, and all the finalists received £250 for reaching the last stage. A total of £14,000 was available, and heats were organised at various masonic centres around the Province.
Published in Freemasonry Cares
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 09:19

Extraordinary discovery

There was incredulity when a team from The British Institute of Organ Studies discovered a 19th-century organ at the Saxmundham Masonic Hall in Suffolk.

The organ was originally built for and installed in nearby Sibton Hall and the date 1830 can be seen inside it, along with the name of Leeds organ builder Joseph Greenwood. The records of Abiff Lodge, No. 2810, show that in 1935 ‘a single manual mahogany-cased pipe organ was purchased from the widow of Mr W Hall, stone mason, for the sum of £22’. The instrument is in good condition and only requires tuning occasionally. It still boasts its polished mahogany case but to restore it to its original condition, including its gold leaf-finished front pipes, would run into several thousand pounds.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011 09:19

New chapter for Chile

On 16 May 2011 one of the most far-flung lodges in the English Constitution realised its dream of more than a century – to establish a Royal Arch Chapter.

In 1872, the Lodge of Harmony, No. 1411, was consecrated in ValparaÍso, Chile. It is the only English Lodge meeting on the west coast of all the Americas and comes under the immediate supervision of our District for South America Southern Division. It was formed with the agreement of the Grand Lodge of Chile, then just 10 years old, and has always had happy relations with that body and its lodges.

There was no tradition of Royal Arch Masonry in Chile, where Master Masons who wished to extend their masonic experience joined the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of 33 degrees. That changed last year when the Grand Lodge of Chile agreed to its three lodges being able to work the Royal Arch. The Lodge of Harmony immediately contacted one of their initiates, now resident in England, Nicholas Bosanquet, Grand Sword Bearer and a former Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, and asked him to liaise with Grand Chapter on their behalf.

Nicholas contacted the then Deputy Metropolitan Grand Superintendent for London, Charles Grace, who put him in touch with Wandle Chapter, No. 2699. This Chapter was in the sad position of being about to close only two years short of achieving their centenary. The Wandle companions were delighted that their Chapter would be able to continue, rather than dying, albeit many thousands of miles from London. They readily agreed to be taken over, and on 15 February 2011, 15 companions from South America Southern Division became joining members of Wandle Chapter. The first meeting was held in ValparaÍso, with great celebrations, on 16 May.
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 09:18


Britannia Lodge, No. 139, in Yorkshire, West Riding, has marked its 250th anniversary with a £10,000 donation to the city’s only hospice, St Luke’s

Lodge Master Roger Farris, pictured above at the lodge’s anniversary celebrations, declared, ‘One of the principal philosophies of Freemasonry is charitable work in the community and we were delighted to be able to support St Luke’s as it celebrates its 40th anniversary.’ Una Moran, director of St Luke’s fundraising, echoed Roger’s sentiments, ‘The Freemasons have been great supporters of St Luke’s and this donation is extremely important to us. It costs £700 per hour every day of the year to simply maintain the service we provide and a donation like this means so much to our work now and in the future.’

There are around 900 Freemasons in Sheffield and 26 different lodges, but Britannia Lodge, No. 139, is the city’s oldest. ‘Freemasons do a tremendous amount of good work and offer their brethren real camaraderie. I hope Britannia Lodge will celebrate its 500th anniversary,’ resolved Roger.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011 09:14

In tune for a very good cause

St Edburg’s Lodge, No. 9233, together with other Oxfordshire Freemasons, have backed the Manor Farm Music Festival, which raises money for charities that use creativity as therapy.

The festival was held at Ardley, near Bicester in Oxfordshire, raising funds for the Brackley charity Creative Activities for the Elderly, which provides care home residents with stimulating craft activities, and Thomas’s Fund, which provides music therapy for children with life-limiting illnesses. The successful event arose out of the ladies’ day organised by St Edburg’s Lodge, and the music was an entertaining mix of folk, blues and jazz.
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