Thursday, 05 June 2014 01:00

MSF's consultation and assessment grants

During 2013, the Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF) announced that small grants are available to fund initial consultations and occupational therapist assessments for those waiting in excess of eight weeks on the NHS or local authority

Since then, two hundred and thirty-two people have received a consultation and assessment grant at a total cost of more than £92,000. 

Applying for a grant is simple, with no forms to complete or financial assessment required. Enquiries can be made by calling Grants Team Administrator Hema Chouhan (pictured) on 020 7404 1550

Published in Masonic Samaritan Fund

Happy with our homes

After canvassing the opinions of residents and their families, the RMBI has revealed the results from its 2013 Satisfaction Surveys

Conducted among residents and their relatives across its seventeen care homes in England and Wales, the RMBI’s Satisfaction Surveys are a key indicator of the charity’s performance each year. They help to ensure that its services continue to meet the needs and expectations of those using them. 

Encouragingly, RMBI residents’ overall satisfaction levels remain consistent at 96%; 67% of whom are very satisfied – an increase from 61% in 2012. Relatives’ overall satisfaction levels also increased, from 92% to 96%. The RMBI gathered relatives’ opinions through its own independent survey, but the residents’ surveys were, for the first time, conducted through a new care sector initiative, Your Care Rating (YCR). 

Launched in 2012, YCR is an independent survey representing the views of residents from one thousand and fifty-five homes across more than thirty service providers. 

YCR provides service users and care homes with comparable data to inform decisions and is shared with the public and authorities.

RMBI’s Satisfaction Surveys cover key topics such as home environment, staff, food and drink, help and support, and communication and complaints. Overall, the RMBI saw year-on-year improvements in many areas. 

Asked about their home environment, 93% of RMBI residents said that overall they are happy living there – slightly above the average score indicated by YCR. Relatives were also positive, with 94% reporting they are happy with the welcome they receive as visitors. Both groups agree that staff treat them with dignity and kindness; the statement is supported by 97% of residents and 96% of relatives. 

In addition, 96% of residents are happy with the care and support provided, which is in line with YCR, and 91% say they are happy with their access to healthcare professionals. There was a notable increase in the number of residents agreeing that they have a say in how staff provide care and support – 81% in 2013 compared to 71% in 2012. Likewise, relatives gave more positive responses this year. 

The RMBI would like to thank all residents and relatives who participated in the surveys;  this input is vital in helping to ensure that the charity continues to deliver excellent care.

Published in RMBI

Award recognition for James Terry Court

Staff at James Terry Court in Croydon welcomed judges of the Pinders Healthcare Design Awards earlier this year, following the home’s nomination for 2014 Best Care Complex. Following a three-year, £12 million redevelopment, the site now boasts a purpose-built state-of-the-art care home and thirteen independent living flats in an attractive ‘old-meets-new’ design. At the awards ceremony in London, the care home was named a national finalist in the category along with one other home, narrowly missing out on first place. 

In 2013, recognition for the RMBI spanned its staffing, employment, catering and care initiatives. Accolades included winning the Ancillary Worker Award (North East) and becoming a finalist for the Care Employer Award (London) at The Great British Care Awards; the Outstanding WhiteOaks Contract for Scarbrough Court; and for the Recipes and Reminiscences cookbook, the UK Gourmand Award for Best Charity & Fundraising Cookbook, as well as a commendation at the Nursing & Residential Care Awards.

Published in RMBI

TalentAid celebrates first Olympian

 Earlier this year, the impact of the RMTGB’s TalentAid scheme was demonstrated when Lloyd Jones – a former beneficiary – took part in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games mixed ice dancing with his partner Pernelle Carron. 

Lloyd has been ice skating since the age of five. During the first few years he had weekly coaching sessions, and by age nine he was skating six days a week and competing – and winning – nationwide. 

At junior level, it became clear that Lloyd could develop his talent into a successful career; indeed, he was compared to Christopher Dean and received praise from leading figures in skating such as Robin Cousins, now a judge on ITV’s Dancing on Ice. At the age of sixteen, Lloyd took the decision to leave school and concentrate on his ice-dancing career. 

His family were keen to support him, but the costs of training, equipment and travel began to increase. His grandfather, a Freemason, provided some assistance and Lloyd received limited funding from various sports and skating organisations, but it was not enough to cover his essential costs. 

Lloyd began receiving support from the RMTGB in 2006, and for four years he received assistance towards coaching, skates, clothing and travel to ensure he could attend competitions and continue his career development. Once an established professional, Lloyd moved to France to partner with Pernelle and within a few years realised one of his ambitions by participating in Sochi. Lloyd said, 

‘I want to thank the Trust for the support I received when I was younger. It really helped me achieve my dream of competing at the Olympic Games.’

About TalentAid

During the past twelve years, the financial support the RMTGB has provided to young people with career ambitions in sport, music or the performing arts has enabled many to realise their potential. 

All applicants enter a competitive process and undergo a financial test, with around fifty receiving support each year. Successful applicants can expect to receive contributions towards the cost of equipment, travel or coaching expenses. 

For more details, go to

Published in RMTGB

Summer grants

Children love the school holidays, but for many families the long summer break can be a financial struggle. That’s why, each summer, the RMTGB provides grants of up to £175 to children from masonic families with particularly low incomes.

On average, around two hundred children under the care of the RMTGB receive a summer grant to help their family pay for essential costs – which often increase during the holiday months – and to provide them with the opportunity to enjoy a few days out together.

The grants may be small but they make a big difference to the well-being of the children supported by the RMTGB, many of whom have experienced tragedy and distress in their early years.

Published in RMTGB

Garibaldi in London

To mark the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Garibaldi’s trip to London, the Library and Museum explores his extraordinary impact on Victorian society

In April 1864 the Italian patriot Giuseppe Garibaldi arrived in Britain. His leadership of the Expedition of the Thousand in southern Italy in 1860 had already captivated public opinion. On his arrival Garibaldi was greeted by vast crowds, met the Prince of Wales and dined with the nobility. The Italian also met with exiled revolutionaries, working men and those who had fought alongside him in the struggle for Italian unification. 

Garibaldi was ruler of the Supreme Council Grand Orient of Italy based in Palermo, so English and Scottish Freemasons also responded to his visit. He received a deputation from Polish National Lodge, No. 534, led by its Master, the artist Sigismund Rosenthal, and the lodge presented him with one of its distinctive lodge jewels. 

While Garibaldi was at the theatre, one of his entourage, Giuseppe Basile, attended a meeting of Salisbury Lodge, No. 435, in Soho. He relayed Garibaldi’s request for membership of the lodge, which was agreed. Towards the end of his trip, Garibaldi also visited Colonel John Whitehead Peard, known as ‘Garibaldi’s Englishman’ and a member of Fowey Lodge, No. 977. 

Garibaldi’s ‘celebrity’ was marked in contemporary media and through souvenirs. The summer exhibition at the Library and Museum will include many of the items associated with him, including one of his swords, now in the possession of an English lodge, Italia Lodge, No. 2687. 

The exhibition at the Library and Museum runs until 29 August 2014, Monday-Friday. Admission is free

Published in More News

In an unprecedented auction result, almost every one of the 560 lots belonging to the late Albert Nice offered for sale was sold

Collectors of masonic memorabilia from all over the UK and continental Europe converged on South London to battle it out for the extraordinary collection encompassing jewels, medals, ceramics, glass, books and ephemera. The saleroom was full and there were more than 200 people bidding online and on the telephone, many from Russia and the United States.

The owner of the collection, the late Mr Albert Edward Collins Nice, died in 1969 and the lots were kept locked away for almost 50 years meaning they were fresh to the market.

The vendor was completely taken aback when Roseberys valued the collection at £100,000. He was delighted when the total ended up being more than double that figure. He was also pleased that the collection has gone to others who will love and appreciate the items as much as his father did.

Roseberys’ Peter Greenway said, 'We knew this was a very significant collection and this was borne out by conversations with masonic collectors who rated it the best to come onto the market in living memory. Twitter has been buzzing with positive comments about the lots on offer and it is thought the auction catalogue will become a collectors’ item in its own right.'

Masonic jewels proved to be the most popular lots with a 100% sold rate. The most expensive (Lot 88, pictured above) sold for a hammer price of £3,000. It was of an unusually large size and set with multi-colour paste, making is one of the most attractive in the auction. It also had Scottish interest due to the inscription which made it as rare as it was aesthetically pleasing. 

The auction also included not one but 35 jewels by the pre-eminent 18th century designer and maker, Thomas Harper. Roseberys had been concerned about flooding the market but demand was such that they all made more than twice their high estimate and some very much more.

The Thomas Harper jewel which made the most money was Lot 75 which sold for a hammer price of £1,500.

The book section of the auction was also highly competitive with several museums from around the world bidding. The highest hammer price was £5,500 for Lot 496, a Scottish Rite Album, with exquisite water-colour drawings of the regalia of the 33 degrees of the Scottish Rite.

Other masonic items in the auction included ceramics, glass, snuff boxes and regalia. One of the most popular was a large cowrie shell and silver masonic snuff box, the base of which was engraved with freemasonry symbols. It achieved a hammer price of £1,150.

A limited number of catalogues for this auction are still available for sale at £10 each (£12 with postage and packaging). The hammer prices for every lot can be viewed on Roseberys’ website at 


Published in More News

Megan Baker House at Moreton Eye near Leominster, is seen as a 'centre of excellence' in conductive education for children and adults with neurological disorders

The charity is in its final year of a three-year project to REACH OUT - taking its services into schools and community centres for an ever growing number of beneficiaries.

Lottery funded project REACH OUT has to date delivered conductive education sessions into eleven schools for 62 children in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.

Megan Baker House has over recent years, been supported with donations from Herefordshire Freemasons, particularly from members of Royal Edward Lodge in Leominster. Now, Paul Beaumont, Worshipful Master of Saint Peter's Lodge in Bromyard, has initiated further support with a donation of £750 towards activities such as the REACH OUT project.

Paul and his wife Elizabeth were made aware of the 'deserving nature of this local charity', now in its second decade of activity, when working with Megan Baker House Chief Executive, Lee Gough, at various fund raising events. Paul, and Freemasons generally, appreciate that the charity does not receive statutory funding and does not charge for its services, and therefore needs as much support as possible. Richard James, Charity Steward in Saint Peter's Lodge, stated that 'local Freemasons will hopefully continue to assist Megan Baker House in its vital and fundamental role within the wider community.'

Zoe White, Office Manager at Megan Baker House, emphasised that such support was essential to maintain the services of the charity 'which provided an important pathway towards maximum physical independence of the individuals concerned.'

Freemasons from Bromyard are championing Macmillan Cancer Support in Herefordshire by sponsoring the charity’s Not Alone campaign which was launched just over a year ago

Paul Beaumont, Worshipful Master of Saint Peter’s Lodge in Bromyard, together with Richard James, Lodge Charity Steward, presented donations totalling £600 to Jenny Goddard Fundraising Manager of Herefordshire and Forest of Dean – money raised personally by the Bromyard members in a variety of ways including a recent Farm Walk, with match funding from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity.

The presentation took place in the Patient Garden Area of the Macmillan Renton Cancer Unit, Hereford. Jenny Goddard in thanking the Freemasons, emphasised that such support will enable Macmillan Cancer Support, 'to create more vital new services and reach more people than ever before, and together with the public of Herefordshire, we can make sure that no one faces cancer alone.'

Richard James indicated that he would keep in contact with Macmillan Cancer Support in Herefordshire in the hope of maintaining support for this worthy cause. Every day over 900 people in the UK hear the news that they have cancer, and a quarter of them will have no support from family and friends.

Keyboard legend and Chelsea Lodge No. 3098 member Rick Wakeman was recently elected King Rat of the Grand Order of Water Rats

In May he will be installed as the Worshipful Master of the Chelsea Lodge. This is the first time in history that one person has been at the helm of the two show business fraternities.

The GOWR predates the Chelsea Lodge by around seventeen years being formed in 1880. Many of its founders were Freemasons and some of its objectives were based around the lodge format, such as raising money for charity.

Chelsea Lodge and GOWR have enjoyed a very long association with many 'Rats' also being members of the Lodge, such as Joe Pasquale, Jess Conrad, and Roger De Courcey. Many King Rats have also been master of the lodge, but Rick will be the first to hold both titles.

Rick is about to commence a world tour  to mark the 40th anniversary of  the release of his landmark concept album Journey to the Centre of the Earth, based on the novel by Jules Verne. The show opens at the Albert Hall in April. 

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