Cornwall backs 28 local charities
A recent charity event held by the Province of Cornwall was attended by more than 100 people from 28 local charities – as well as many friends and volunteers – who received donations totalling more than £46,000. Provincial Grand Master Peter George said, ‘A joint event like this, with the national masonic Grand Charity and the Cornwall Masonic Benevolent Fund, allows us to make larger combined donations across a wide range of local charity groups.’
Helping hand for special horse charity
Nyanza Lodge, No. 1197, in Ilminster, Somerset, has presented a cheque for £1,400 to the Horseshoes and Handprints charity, which provides sensory therapy and special riding for adults and children with behavioural and communication difficulties. Close contact with horses can relieve stress within people with conditions such as Asperger’s, autism and neurological disorders.
Nyanza Lodge raised £700 from a charity lunch that attracted matched funding from the Charities Committee of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Somerset, with the total figure of £1,400 adorning the neck of one of the charity’s horses, Josh.
Symposium for UGLE bicentenary
Lodge of Research, No. 2429, in the Province of Leicestershire & Rutland, has marked the 200th anniversary of the formation of the United Grand Lodge of England by organising a symposium and dinner at one of its regular meetings.
There were both masonic and non-masonic visitors, including the then Assistant Grand Master David Williamson and Provincial Grand Master David Hagger, who heard a number of papers delivered by prominent masonic historians, including Professor Andrew Prescott. Among other guests was Philippa Faulks, publishing manager at Lewis Masonic, which sponsored the event.
Phoenix Hall restorers
One of England’s oldest purpose-built masonic temples, in Henden, Sunderland, is to be given a new lease of life.
Students at Sunderland College are set to take on other local colleges in a competition to design a revival and extension scheme for Phoenix Hall, a Grade I listed building. The hall was the first to be purpose built by Freemasons to hold their meetings in 1785.
Still in use today, Phoenix Hall is in need of an update and it is hoped that the winning project will be carried out with funding from Heritage Lottery Grants. The hall has many original features, including a pipe organ built by John Donaldson and an 18th-century organ, which sits in its own purpose-built gallery.
The project has received help from local firm Precision Geomatics, which carried out a laser scan of the building, providing intricate details of the structure itself.
Supporting Staffordshire hospices
Staffordshire Provincial Grand Master Sandy Stewart paid a visit to Katharine House Hospice in Stafford recently, and presented cheques totalling £2,443 to representatives of three of the hospices within the Province, all seven of which received grants.
The funds were distributed by The Freemasons’ Grand Charity as part of its annual grants to hospices. A total of £600,000 has been distributed to the 239 hospices in England and Wales, £23,000 of which has been given to the hospices in Staffordshire.
Katharine House Hospice chief executive Dr Richard Soulsby said, ‘This donation will make a real difference to the support we can provide to our patients.’
It was an unusual way to raise money for charity when representatives of 28 lodges and 11 chapters from Slough joined in a game of bubble football. The eye-catching event, organised by Denver Lynn of Bucks masons, saw participants encase themselves in a large plastic cocoon before kicking for goal and raised £1,000. As a result, help will be provided for those who have fallen on hard times through redundancy, illness or bereavement.
Scouting and masonic parallels
Mirfield Masonic Hall in West Yorkshire was packed to capacity when Woodsmoke Lodge, No. 9317, which is a member of the Kindred Lodges Association, hosted an additional presentation of the 2012 Prestonian Lecture by Tony Harvey.
The lecture, ‘Scouting and Freemasonry: two parallel organisations?’, was adapted to allow non-masons to be present and among the audience of more than 100 were 40 non-masonic members of the Scout movement.
Among those who attended the event were David Pratt, Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding and Mayor of Kirklees, and a Grand Officer, Cllr Martyn Bolt.
Tracing masonic ancestry
An article about tracing ancestry through Freemasonry has appeared in the March issue of the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? magazine. It was produced through a collaboration between St David’s Lodge, No. 393, Berwick-upon-Tweed; The King’s Own Scottish Borderers (KOSB) Association Regimental Museum; and Berwick Record Office.
‘We get a lot of people researching family trees asking us about their masonic ancestry and we can trace Freemasonry in Berwick back to 1647,’ said Master of St David’s Lodge, Steve Newman.
‘The regiment had its own lodge,’ added KOSB Association secretary and lodge member Ed Swales. ‘Many soldiers joined St David’s Lodge when they were stationed here at the depot.’
A tribute to Hugh Stubbs
It is with great sadness that the Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF) reports the passing of Hugh Stubbs. Following a short illness, he passed away on 31 January 2014. Hugh was first appointed to the Board of the MSF in September 1996. For five years, he was Chairman of the Grants Committee and spent three years on the Board of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity. Hugh then returned to the MSF in 2007, where he served for six years as President of the Board of Trustees until his retirement in April 2013.
During his fourteen years with the Fund, Hugh dedicated his time, energy and experience on behalf of those in need. He was instrumental in many of the changes that have seen the Fund continue to develop to meet the evolving needs of its beneficiaries. The MSF Counselling Careline is the most recent initiative introduced under his enthusiastic leadership. Hugh will be sadly missed by all those who had the privilege to know and work with him.
Counselling careline demand
The MSF Counselling Careline was launched in January 2013 in order to help people negotiate change in their lives and proactively deal with problems. Following a bereavement, or perhaps retirement, redundancy or family breakdown, the MSF Counselling Careline can connect callers with a qualified and experienced counsellor.
The MSF Counselling Careline offers up to six face-to-face or telephone counselling sessions. Since the launch, two hundred and forty-four people have had access to this vital support line at a total cost of £151,808.
Freemasons, their wives, partners, widows and dependants can access the free and confidential helpline by calling the Grants Team on 020 7404 1550, who will issue callers with an individual reference number and access to the Careline.