£27,500 donation cuts cancer treatment waiting time

The Peterborough Cancer Treatment Appeal (PCTA) is a registered charity dedicated to fundraising for equipment used in the treatment and diagnosis of cancer for the Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which the trust would otherwise be unable to afford.

They were established in 1981 by the late Dennis Bracey, Medical Director of Peterborough Hospitals, and Dr Clement Brown, a visiting oncologist from Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge.

The achievement is an excellent example of what can be achieved by the collaborative efforts of a dedicated group of locals.

Lodges in Peterborough, led by W Bro Mervin Roberts, Charity Steward of Petriburg Lodge No. 8767, with assistance from the Provincial Grand Charity, have raised the magnificent sum of £27,500. This has helped cut cancer treatment waiting times in Peterborough and district.

PCTA had recently appealed for funds for a new computer-aided technique which improves the accuracy of radiotherapy treatment. This significant help has enabled them to complete their fundraising and have the equipment commissioned much earlier than would have otherwise been the case.

In a ceremony at the Peterborough Masonic Centre in December last year the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VW Bro Dr Vivian Thomas, presented the cheque to Keith Fisher, the Chairman of the PCTA.

Trust Secretary, Ron Douglas said: 'We launched the appeal with a target of £100,000. This tremendous donation represents over a quarter of the appeal and has quickly taken us over our target. Without it we would have taken much longer. This donation by local masons means we can immediately buy the equipment which will now be operational by January 2014. Without it patients of Peterborough and district might have had to travel as far afield as Liverpool for this specialist treatment. We - and I’m sure they - are very grateful.'

Monday, 05 August 2013 01:00

MV Arcadia's return trip

Having sailed all the way down to the southern hemisphere it was time for MV Arcadia to set sail from Sydney for the return journey back to Southampton

The three officers of the committee remained the same as the south bound journey, Mike Walker, a member of Gratitude Lodge No. 6514 in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland, president, John Strange, a member of Three Kindred Lights Lodge No. 5066 in Metropolitan Grand Lodge, secretary and Frank Parle, a member of Victoria Lodge No 4629 in the Province of West Lancashire, treasurer.

16 members attended the first meeting on the return leg, and as on the south-bound journey there was a wide range of masonic ranks, with members from across England, Australia and New Zealand. As a number of brethren would be leaving the ship at San Francisco it was decided that we would have a coffee morning and a cocktail party for this leg and carry over the money raised for charity to be distributed at the cocktail party on the journey from San Francisco to Southampton. Chris Hamer, a member of Fitzwilliam Lodge No 3023 in the Province of Yorkshire West Riding volunteered to act as DC at the cocktail party on the journey to San Francisco.

Whilst heading in a north, north easterly direction from Auckland to the Samoan islands in the South Pacific the ship underwent three more time warp turbulences. The first occurred when it got stuck on a Sunday for two days, this was immediately followed by the ship jumping from Monday to Wednesday and then being stuck on Thursday for two days! Another strange time phenomenon kept on affecting the ship’s time, some of the days would be 25 hours while others would be 23 hours.

Again, there was no damage to the ship and no ill effects to the passengers, although some lucky passengers did enjoy a two day birthday while others never got theirs. But that wasn’t the end to it, on the second Thursday the passengers had King Neptune to contend with as he demanded the same procedure for crossing his equator north bound as when south bound.

Fortunately, all passengers complied with his demand and the ceremony and all the slimy pollywogs were changed to shell backs and awarded certificates.

After getting through the time warp turbulences unscathed and dealing with King Neptune, it was time for the coffee morning en route to San Francisco. This was held in the Orchid Bar and was felt as a great success by all who attended. One new member joined at this event.

The next event was a cocktail party in the Viceroy Room which was held before arriving at San Francisco, as some of the brethren would be leaving the ship. Guest of honour was Captain Sarah Breton, accompanied by Deputy Captain Derek Grey, Executive Purser Alisdair Ross and Cruise Director Neil Oliver. Again, the party was a great success and well attended with 17 masons and their wives, one lady mason and her husband, five masonic widows, six guests and four members of the ship’s company.

To formalise the program for the final leg of the journey, a meeting was held after completing the north-bound passage along the Panama Canal. 21 members attended this meeting. As more time was available, it was agreed that a coffee morning, lunch and a cocktail party would be arranged. Bob Taylor, a member of Royal Sovereign Light Lodge No. 6630 in the Province of Sussex, and Stanley Broderick, a member of National Westminster Lodge No. 3647 in the Province of London, volunteered to assist in coaxing prizes from the onboard shops. Michael Collins, a member of Liverpool Mercantile Lodge No. 4319 in the Province of West Lancashire, volunteered to act as DC.

It was agreed that the charity donations this time would go to the widow of Allan Lili, a member of the ship’s crew in his late 30’s, who was medevac’d off the ship towards the end of Arcadia’s previous cruise with heart problems and sadly passed away not long after the Arcadia left Southampton. Allan was an Electrical Technician from the Philippines, who was well liked and respected and won the Outstanding Performer award for November and was being put forward for the Outstanding Performer of the Year award. He leaves a wife and three children, the eldest of which is about to start university. Another donation would be made to the captain’s charity the RNLI.

The first event after leaving San Francisco was a coffee morning in the Orchid Bar and this was followed five days later with a lunch in the Meridian Restaurant. Both these events were very well attended by masons and their wives, along with five masonic widows and two lady masons.

The third event was the Cocktail Party reception in the Retreat. Over 70 masons and their wives, masonic widows, two lady masons and guests attended and enjoyed drinks and canopies in very good company. Guest of honour was Captain Sarah Breton, accompanied by Deputy Captain James Brown, Chief Engineer Paul Yeoman and Cruise Director Neil Oliver.

Mike Walker proposed the loyal toast and Michael Collins proposed the toast to the ladies and guests to which Yvonne Franklin gave the response. The toast to the health of the captain and ship's company was proposed by Don Lunn, a member of Isle of Thorney Lodge No. 6194 in the Province of London. Sarah Breton gave a very good response to this toast and mentioned that the donation to Allan Lili’s widow was a magnificent gesture and would by very much appreciated. Sarah also thanked everyone for the donation to the RNLI.

There was a very good response from the onboard shops and members to help raise money for the charities, with a good number of prizes donated. The prizes were a book about MV Arcadia, a meal for two in the Orchid and Ocean Grill Restaurants, two bottles of wine, three bottles of whisky and a box of chocolates. The captain made the draw for the lucky winners and the raffle raised £456 for the charities.

A big thank you was given to Bar Supervisor John Ribeiro for all his help in organising the locations for the events and making them such a success and to Neil Oliver for his help in getting raffle prises.

The last meeting of the cruise was arranged to report on the charity donations as the epic journey back to Southampton would soon be over. Everyone agreed that all the events had been a great success, as the total raised for charity for this part of the cruise was £921. John Strange made arrangements for the donations of £691 to the Allan Lili Fund and £230 for the RNLI to be handed over to the captain.

The following are extracts from an email sent by Allan’s daughter to the captain and forward to the treasurer: 'We, the Lili Family, would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the officials and crew of the MV Arcadia, its passengers and all of those who had offered help to our family during a crucial event in our lives.'

Comments from the captain: 'I would like to join her and his family in once again saying thank you to you all for raising so much money for them. The total the ship has now sent amounts to £5,263; this includes £691 which I received from passengers during the RWC for them.'

Letters to the editor - No. 26 Summer 2014


While on a cruise from the UK to the Adriatic, my wife noticed an item in the ship’s daily bulletin, referring to a proposed meeting of Freemasons on board. Being between meals and excursions, I went along and found various groups of men chatting in the bar. 

Most of us had never experienced an informal meeting like this. To break the ice, we decided to introduce ourselves by name, rank and Province, and found that there were members from London, Devon, Dorset, Monmouthshire, Cheshire, Yorkshire, Essex, East Kent, Cumberland, Leicestershire, Middlesex, Durham and Surrey. 

Someone suggested we could do something for our ladies. A meal was not really appropriate as we had food aplenty, so a light afternoon tea with some drinks was arranged for fifteen brethren and their partners, plus two widows. We had a raffle that raised £145 for the ship’s charity, and we gave a toast to the Queen.  

We are still in contact, which is great, considering it sprung from a mention in the ship’s bulletin. This is Freemasonry at its best – being happy and spreading happiness.

John Banks, The Friends’ Lodge, No. 9789, Surbiton, Surrey

Wednesday, 14 December 2011 09:51

Deputy Grand Master Jonathan Spence on openness

Speaking openly

Deputy Grand Master Jonathan Spence believes that it is vital to show the rest of the world why Freemasonry is enjoyable 

I would like to share with you some thoughts on some essential aspects of ‘pure antient masonry’. I am prompted to do this after listening to an interview given by the Grand Chaplain to the BBC in May in which it became clear there are still substantial misunderstandings about the Craft, when frankly there ought not to be.

We need to be absolutely clear when we discuss our pure ancient masonry that we belong to a secular organisation, that is to say a non-religious organisation. This was a point made very eloquently by the Grand Chaplain in his interview. It is, however, a secular organisation that is supportive of religion: it is an absolute requirement for all our members to believe in a supreme being. As the late and sadly missed Dean Neil Collings so eloquently put it, this gives ‘a context and background to the individual’s way of life as they seek to live it’.

Freemasonry itself, as we all know, is neither a substitute for nor an alternative to religion. It certainly does not deal in spirituality – it does not have any sacraments or, indeed, offer or claim to offer any type of salvation. Freemasonry, in fact, absolutely fails to meet any of the tests of what it is to be a religion. The fact that men from different faiths can meet easily in harmony and friendship, without compromising their particular religious beliefs, demonstrates that one of the greatest strengths of the Craft, dating from its earliest beginnings, is that of tolerance. Therefore, to ensure this tolerance remains untroubled, discussions of religion, like discussions of politics, are strictly prohibited.

Encouraging our ideals

Organised Freemasonry, from its beginnings in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries – which was a time of religious intolerance – was always concerned with teaching and encouraging morality. Our forefathers were very aware of human nature and its flaws, particularly those of self-absorption and selfishness. The Craft sought to encourage men to be loyal to their country, to obey the law, to try to be better behaved, to consider their relations with others and to make themselves more extensively serviceable to their fellow men – that is to say their wider communities. In other words, to pursue a moral life. The ceremonies were used as the main means of teaching and illustrating the principles of the Craft: they were, and still very much are, a dramatic and effective set of morality plays.

The Craft, as a secular organisation, remains just as concerned today to encourage these ideals. In today’s language, we can articulate the fundamental principles to which our members subscribe as integrity, honesty, fairness, kindness and tolerance. These are principles that we should be very proud of and we should not hesitate to articulate them, when appropriate opportunities present themselves, to our family, friends and, indeed, the wider community in which we live. We should also make it very clear that we very much enjoy ourselves and what we do. I have no doubt that our principles will appeal to those who are not masons if they are aware of them.

The future of the Craft is dependent on attracting and retaining good quality candidates. Our principles should be attractive to many men of good reputation and integrity. The other side of this coin is that we should therefore be careful in our choice of candidates. This is something every new Freemason is told in the charge after initiation and for a very good reason – unsuitable candidates are likely to damage the Craft in general as well as their own lodges in particular.

Every one of us has an important part to play in articulating clearly what the Craft is and encouraging appropriately qualified candidates to be members. To support this, our strategic communications direction, together with the results from the working party on mentoring, will go a long way to help us to speak openly and in an informed way about Freemasonry. Our success will help to ensure Freemasonry’s long-term future.

Letters to the editor - No. 26 Summer 2014

Surprise visitor


A word of warning for younger Freemasons: be careful what you wish for! Eighteen months ago as part of the annual visit made by the masons of the southern area of the Province of East Lancashire, one of the younger visitors, Steve Stanley, was making his first visit. He was the Junior Warden of the Lodge of Union, No. 268, from Ashton-under-Lyne. 

During luncheon, the Deputy Grand Master, Jonathan Spence, spent some time chatting to every brother who was present. When Steve took his turn to have a few words with such an eminent guest, he didn’t miss the chance to ask, ‘Would you like to attend my installation on 16 January?’ There was a pause before the Deputy Grand Master responded, ‘We’ll have to see what is possible.’ And that was that.

The Deputy Grand Master must get similar requests all the time and the other members of the lodge had to work on Steve to convince him that there was little, if any, chance of his actually receiving a visit from such an august Freemason.

However, some sixteen months later it became clear to one or two members of the Lodge of Union that there was a distinct possibility that something special might just be about to happen. On the evening of 16 January, after Steve was presented, it was announced that the Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies sought entry into our lodge! When he announced that Jonathan Spence, the Deputy Grand Master, demanded to be admitted you could have heard a pin drop. Steve looked up and I saw him mouth a few syllables that demonstrated that he understood what was about to happen. 

The Deputy Grand Master entered with a small retinue, and as he walked past, he gave the Master Elect a clear and definite wink. Nor did the surprise end there. Right Worshipful Brother Spence accepted the gavel, took the Chair and performed the whole ceremony in a brisk, exact and perfect way that demonstrated to seventy-eight other masons just how it could be done. Steve was well and truly installed. The rest of us saw a ceremony that will not soon be forgotten. 

Kevin Hall, Lodge of Union, No. 268, Ashton-under-Lyne, East Lancashire


Deputy Grand Master Jonathan Spence surprised a young Freemason at his installation

Published in UGLE
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