Hope Support Services, founded in 2009 in Ross on Wye, provides support for young people aged 11-25 when a close family member is seriously ill with a life-threatening condition, especially those with cancer. They provide support at this stressful time through sessions where young people can gather together in Ross, Leominster and Hereford.
They arrange various activities and outings, and also provide support online, through Facebook and Skype, and are in the process of developing an app with help from Comic Relief which will enable young people to communicate with each other and to link with other charities which might be able to provide help.
Their aim is to provide emotional support for their young clients, of whom there are around 300, and to prepare them for bereavement. They also run a Building Better Opportunities course for those young people who are wanting to find work.
In 2017, they were approached by St Michael’s Hospice to run their services for the children of cancer patients being cared for by the Hospice. Children looked after in this way can be as young as five, and around 130 children and young people are cared for through this initiative.
They have eight full and part-time staff, plus a session worker and two online workers. There is also a Youth Management Team, who have benefited from the services themselves in the past and now help with planning and holding the charity’s range of activities.
On receiving the donation, Hope Support Services warmly thanked the Freemasons of Herefordshire for the generous grant, which will go towards developing the activities provided for young people at this difficult time in their lives.
Lincolnshire Freemasons have given £5,000 to help improve the quality of life for those most in need in one of the country’s most deprived wards
This is the East Marsh in Grimsby, which has the unenviable status of being in the bottom 1% on a national deprivation league table. The money, which has come through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, has been given to Harbour Place who are based in Hope Street, Grimsby, and support rough sleepers, the homeless and other socially excluded people.
In September last year, the charity moved to the Hope Street premises, which allowed it to launch a permanent night shelter in support of its Street Outreach Project, which has been running since April 2011, and has now been expanded.
Project Director Robin Barr said: 'A key part of the project’s activities include supporting and advocating on behalf of clients through signposting, referral and access to a wide range of statutory and voluntary sector agencies. Since opening the Hope Centre in September 2018, Harbour Place has registered over 175 clients for the new service.'
'Since the move to Hope Street more than 50 people have been helped to find permanent accommodation, more than 30 of whom have been through the night shelter.'
Robin said that success was an indication of the significance of the £5,000 donation: 'Our records indicate that if we can work consistently with someone over a short period, we can usually assist them to find accommodation.'
The donation was made by Lincolnshire’s Provincial Grand Master, David Wheeler, and Pete Tong, the Provincial Charity Steward.
Pete said: 'The message we brought away from the staff and volunteers at Harbour Place was that for more people than we might have imagined, the prospect of living on the street was too close for comfort. For many, the financial cushion which keeps the roof over their head is very thin indeed.
'They told us of one man they were helping who had been a respected professional in the community, but after problems resulting from a marriage break-up he had been reduced to living on the street.
'The successes achieved by the team of staff and volunteers are hard won, and we trust our donation will help their efforts to be even more effective.'
Over 70 young people in and around Swindon will receive a major boost to their education, thanks to a £50,000 grant from Wiltshire Freemasons
The grant, which comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, will pay for a Villiers Park Educational Trust learning mentor, as part of the social mobility charity’s Scholars Programme.
The Swindon Scholars Programme is for high ability students in Years 10-13, who face barriers – such as a low household income or eligibility for free school meals – that typically have the knock-on effect of putting them at an educational disadvantage compared to their peers.
As part of the intensive and personalised four-year scheme, students will have regular meetings with their learning mentor, who will provide advice, guidance and support in helping each scholar to reach agreed personal goals.. The programme, which operates in seven schools and colleges in Swindon, has been shown to improve exam results, raise aspirations and motivation and increase vital skills such as confidence and communication.
Villiers Park Educational Trust is a national charity providing support to 14-19 year olds to raise their academic, employability and personal skills. The Swindon Scholars Programme has been running in the area for eight years. Last year, 62% of Year 13 students on the programme achieved A*-B grades in their A-levels (compared to a national average of 53%) and over 64% went to university (compared to 33 % nationally).
Rosie Knowles, Deputy Director of Development at Villiers Park, said: 'We’re very grateful to Wiltshire Freemasons for their grant which will make a tremendous difference to the lives of the young people we work with. By providing support that’s tailored to their specific strengths, as well as areas for development, we know they will be helped to understand their options and accomplish their best.'
Philip Bullock, Provincial Grand Master of Wiltshire, said: 'The best possible start in life is to get a good education. By helping promising young people in our community to gain confidence and other vital skills, Wiltshire Freemasons donation will give them the opportunity to access top universities and transform their life chances.'
The first ever meeting of Burbach Lodge No. 8699, in the Province of Leicestershire & Rutland, was held 43 years ago on 13th April 1976 at the Masonic Hall in Hinckley – now 300 meetings later, on 8th January 2019, the lodge gathered to celebrate this landmark achievement
The Master of the lodge Michael Kennedy began the evening’s celebrations by welcoming the Provincial Grand Master David Hagger together with the Provincial Team to Hinckley, making for a well-attended meeting with nearly 90 members in attendance.
David Hagger began with an explanation of the lodge shield and the origins of the name, which is deep rooted in history, having been derived from the words 'BUR' meaning thistle, and 'BACH', meaning a lake or stream. Both symbols are present on the lodge shield.
There is also a symbol showing a Maltese cross. This refers to the fact that Burbach Lodge, along with Sparkenhoe Lodge No. 8063 and St Simon & St Jude Lodge No. 8729, are daughter lodges of the Knights of Malta Lodge No. 50, all of whom meet at the Masonic Hall in Hinckley.
The first ever summons circulated for the April 1976 meeting was read out by one of the founding members, Clive Kidd, followed by a brief history of the lodge by Alan James. It was then the turn of Michael Kennedy to lead his team in the raising of Nick Bryan to the degree of a Fellowcraft, before retiring for the festive board.
David Hagger said: 'The work that has gone into this celebration is testament to the energy and enthusiasm within this lodge, which will put Freemasonry in good stead for another 43 years in Hinckley.'
A number of Freemasons have been honoured in HM The Queen’s New Year Honours list 2019, which recognises the outstanding achievements of people across the United Kingdom
Charles Pearson was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to West Mercia Police.
Charles has been a special constable for 45 years, holding the rank of a Sergeant, serving his community in Shropshire with postings to Bridgnorth, Much Wenlock and presently, Church Stretton. In May 2014, he was awarded the Freedom of Much Wenlock for services to the local community, with 40 years police service in the town of Much Wenlock.
He was initiated into Caer Caradoc Lodge No. 6346 in Shropshire in 1997 and joined West Mercia Lodge No. 9719 three years later, where he is the current Master.
In 2012, Charles was named Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon for Shropshire and in 2017 was promoted to Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works.
Thomas Clive Johnson
Clive Johnson was awarded the Queen's Fire Service Medal (QFSM) for Distinguished service to Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service.
Clive joined the Westmorland Fire Service as a Retained Firefighter in 1968 and was based at Staveley where he lives. In 1974, the Fire Services of the region amalgamated and then became the Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service.
Clive continued his service at Staveley until he retired on 31st May 2018, having achieved the high rank of Station Watch Manager. To mark his retirement having completed 50 years of exemplary service, he and his wife Julie were invited to attend a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, hosted by Her Majesty.
He was initiated into Eversley Lodge No. 4228 in 2001 in the Province of Cumberland & Westmorland. In 2016, he received Provincial Honours when he was appointed Provincial Senior Grand Deacon.
Bill Edward Bowen
Bill Bowen was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community of Oswestry in Shropshire.
This included actively serving in The Lions Club of Oswestry for 44 years and being honoured in the Lions Clubs International organisation as District Governor which necessitated training in Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii.
Bill also served as Churchwarden at the Parish Church of St. Oswald for 25 years, followed by 14 years as a licensed local minister in the Church of England. He also organised a Christian Men's Fellowship Breakfast for 22 years and served as Chaplain to the RJAH Orthopaedic Hospital for 15 years. In fact, he is still serving in all these different organisations.
Bill was initiated in 1986 into the Lodge of St Oswald No. 1124 in Oswestry in the Province of Shropshire and was made Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works in 2014.
Michael Goldthorpe was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to Naval Personnel.
Michael served in the Royal Navy from 1978 until 2010, reaching the rank of Commander. His most recent activity has been as CEO of the Association of Royal Navy Officers and the Royal Navy Officers Charity.
He was initiated into Pinner Hill Lodge No. 6578 in Middlesex in 1989, although the lodge has since been erased. Michael is also a member of Fortitude Lodge No. 6503 in the Province, where he is their current Master, and was appointed Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works in 2018.
Francis Wakem QPM
Francis Wakem was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to victims of crime.
This involved working with the charity Victim Support, which provides emotional and practical support to victims of crime, since it was founded 30 years ago, originally as a serving police officer and later as a volunteer.
Francis remains an active volunteer in Wiltshire and in London where he serves on committees dealing with governance of the charity.
Francis was initiated into Corsham Lodge No. 6616 in Wiltshire in 1976 and went on to serve as Provincial Grand Master in the county for over 10 years (March 2004 - October 2014).
Frank Handscombe was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to Judo in the community in South Molton, North Devon.
Frank is a 4th black belt and has been involved with South Molton Judo Club for 38 years, where he has served as chief instructor and principal.
Frank was initiated into Temple Bar Lodge No. 5962 in Hertfordshire in 1961 and later joined Loyal Lodge of Industry No. 421 in Devonshire, where he gained Provincial honours including Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 2005 and Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden in 2006.
In 2009, he was given Grand Lodge honours when he was named Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies.
Trevor (Tex) Calton
Army Cadet Force Major Tex Calton has been awarded an MBE by Her Majesty the Queen in the annual New Year Honours list.
Tex enjoyed a successful military career of 26 years with the last eight serving as the Bandmaster of the famous Black Watch Regiment. He retired from teaching music in schools at the end of 2013 and now serves in the Army Cadet Force in the rank of Major, as National Music Advisor.
Tex became a Freemason in 1988 when he joined Phoenix Lodge in Berlin. On being posted to Tern Hill, near Market Drayton, he joined St Mary’s Lodge No. 8373 in 1992. Tex was given Provincial honours in Shropshire when he was named Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon in 2014.
Cheshire Freemason Steven Leigh was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to local businesses and the economy in Yorkshire.
Steven has had an impressive business career, including the flotation of his company to a full listing on the London Stock Exchange in 1993, and running it as Chief Executive.
Steven will celebrate 50 years as a member of the Lodge of Harmony No. 4390 in November 2019, a month after taking the Chair of the Lodge as Master for the second time (previously in 1976). He was also Director of Ceremonies from 1978 – 1983, following in the footsteps of his father, George Leigh, who was Director of Ceremonies of the lodge for many years.
Reg Dunning was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to education and the community in Sandbach, Cheshire.
Reg has been a Governor of two local schools for over 40 years concurrently and has been the parade marshal for the Royal British Legion in Sandbach for over 60 years.
92-year-old Reg is an honorary member of Penda Lodge No. 7360 and Sanbec Lodge No. 8787 in Sandbach. He joined Freemasonry in April 1955 when he was initiated into Kinderton Lodge No. 5759 in Middlewich.
Tony Brian Arthur Rowland
Tony Rowland has been awarded an MBE for services to undertaking and the community in Surrey.
Tony is a Funeral Director who has supported bereaved families through their grief for 65 years and has done voluntary work for many local charities and community projects. He became an apprentice at the age of 15 in 1953 and is now, at the age of 80, still working full-time.
Tony is a member of Croydon Sincerity Lodge No. 7575 in Surrey, where he was made a Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer in 2016.
On New Year's Eve, Peter Boyd, Immediate Past Master of Ashley Lodge No. 6525, presented a cheque for £2,950 to Janine Golding of the charity SPRING, which stands for ‘supporting parents and relatives through baby loss’
This was Ashley Lodge’s nominated charity during Peter's year as Master, with a large proportion of the monies raised donated under the Gift Aid scheme, increasing the benefit to SPRING by more than £500; giving total in excess of £3,450.
SPRING is part of Poole Hospital Charity and supports parents and relatives through baby loss. Everything they do is to benefit bereaved parents and relatives who experience the loss of a baby. They offer support for baby loss that occurs at any stage of pregnancy, at, or just after birth – whatever the circumstances and however long ago.
Graham Glazier, Provincial Grand Master of Dorset, said: 'I am proud that Ashley Lodge has been able to assist SPRING, a great local charity helping to support bereaved families at their lowest ebb.’
SPRING’s services include: emotional and practical support at the point of loss; professional counselling; open support meetings for parents and relatives; and ways to remember their babies. They are also there to support bereaved parents through subsequent pregnancies.
They work closely with medical professionals, and others who come into contact with parents and relatives whose babies die. By sharing their experience, they help ensure bereaved parents are treated sensitively and with genuine care.
For the fourth year running, Berkshire Freemasons have organised a toy appeal for underprivileged children, who are under the care of Reading Family Aid, and those seriously ill children in the three children’s wards at Royal Berkshire Hospital
With the support from the Provincial Grand Master Anthony Howlett-Bolton, the appeal was funded by a £6,000 grant from the Berkshire Masonic Charity (BMC). In addition to the financial support from the BMC, volunteers to deliver and purchase the toys came from several lodges within Berkshire.
The planning for this event started in October 2018 and once the orders were received, the sourcing of the toys began and following many diligent hours in front of a computer, several hundred different toys were ordered. The next step was the long task of cross-checking and boxing the toys up for delivery.
The first batch of toys were delivered to Reading Family Aid on 3rd December 2018. Reading Family Aid have over 1,700 children under their supervision throughout the Reading area and Ruth Perkins, chair of the charity, was overwhelmed by this support from Berkshire Freemasons.
The toys for Royal Berkshire Hospital were delivered on Monday 17th December 2018 and on Christmas Day, they were given to children in the Lion and Dolphin Wards and the Buscot Baby unit. There was a huge range of toys, as well as computer games through to old-fashioned board games. The matron and nursing staff were overwhelmed by the generosity and the children and their families thoroughly enjoyed their individual gifts.
Emma Stone, from Royal Berkshire Hospital said: ‘These were wonderful gifts that help make Christmas Day for those children who had to spend it in hospital. Thank you for your generosity and thoughtfulness.’
On 18th December 2018, the Province of Sussex came together to dedicate a Provincial Standard, to confer Provincial Appointments and Promotions on several members and to dedicate a Memorial Window
The original Provincial Standard which had been in use since the early 1920’s had seen better days and had not been used for several years. Thanks to the exceptional skill of Daphne Dedman, wife of the Province Charity Steward, Paul Dedman, this Standard has now been completely renovated and will be seen around the Province. Mrs Dedman had also been able to recover some parts of the original Standard to make it a true work of art.
2018 was a very significant year marking the end of the First World War and to recognise this event, Provincial Grand Master Christopher Moore gave permission for a Memorial Window to be commissioned and installed at 25 Queens Road, the home of Sussex Freemasonry. Ian Shearer of Baldwin Studios in Eastbourne was commissioned to design and make the Memorial Window.
In a most impressive and moving Ceremony, the Provincial Grand Chaplain delivered a highly charged and thought-provoking Oration at the end of which the Last Post was sounded and both Provincial Standards were lowered as a mark of respect to those who had paid the ultimate sacrifice.
The Memorial Window has been installed on the top processional corridor of 25 Queens Road and during the day, natural light will be able to shine through whilst at night cleverly designed lighting will illuminate the magnificent colours.
Motorcycling Freemasons in Hampshire, many dressed as Santa, delivered 1,500 presents to the local charity SCRATCH, which will distribute them to youngsters this Christmas
The Widows’ Sons Masonic Bikers Association (Southern Chapter) also presented a cheque for £2,153 for the charity’s Christmas Complete project.
Boxes were placed in Masonic centres across the county where toys were donated by Freemasons, whilst some lodges also raised money through raffles. The bikers, led by the Provincial Grand Master of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Mike Wilks, then set off from the Province’s HQ to Southampton where the donations were handed over.
SCRATCH (Southampton City Region Action to Combat Hardship) was formed in 1999 to relieve the effects of poverty in the area. Last Christmas the charity gave parcels of toys to almost 2,000 children and young people across Hampshire.
A spokesman from SCRATCH said the support from the Freemasons was ‘amazing’ and added: ‘Donations of over £2,000 will allow us to purchase items when we have shortages for particular age groups.’
Mike Wilks said: ‘As Freemasons we are committed to helping our communities. Our members raise money for many charities and good causes but it is especially at this time of year we think of those less fortunate than ourselves.
‘It’s an honour to support SCRATCH and assist them with the wonderful work they do in our communities. We hope our donations will make Christmas a little easier for children and young people.’
Every Spring and Autumn, Freemasons from all around Devon meet to support local organisations and charities who require financial assistance, amongst those included are schools, youth centres and locally based charities including hospices, hospital services and cancer charities
The money is raised through the ‘WAKE (William Alexander Kneel Endowment) Fund’, a trust conceived by William Alexander Kneel, the Provincial Grand Master of Devonshire from 1970 to 1984.
Since the idea was initiated, the fund has grown through the continued generosity of Devonshire Freemasons and wise investments which today stands at almost £2 million, from which the trustees distribute the income generated, currently £50,000 each year.
Since the first disbursement in 2001, almost £725,000 has been given to over 760 worthy non-masonic organisations and charities throughout Devon, selected by members of the 133 masonic lodges based throughout the county.
On 23rd November 2018, Nicholas Ball, Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Devonshire, presented cheques to 25 deserving causes, held at Uffculme Masonic Hall.
The charity representatives accompanied by a member from their nominating lodge were able to enjoy a superb reception and buffet, a tour around the lodge building, ask any questions they wished and receive their cheques totalling £25,000.
Making the contributions, Nicholas Ball said: ‘I am delighted that the Freemasons of Devon are able to continue to contribute to these important local causes many of which are totally run by volunteers and hopefully these donations will make a real difference to the lives of many people.’
Among the organisations to benefit this year are:
- The Care of the Next Infant, Plymouth
- Plymouth Hospital Ion Chef Appeal
- Lee Moor Village Hall
- Friends of Plympton St. Maurice Guildhall
- Friends of Erme Primary School
- Parkinson’s UK, Plymouth
- South Brent Brownies
- Hatherleigh Primary School PTFA
- D’Arts Exeter
- Woodbury Community Playing Fields
- Southwest Multiple Sclerosis Centre, Exeter
- Sense DeafBlind Group, Exeter
- Health & Local Food for Families, Axminster
- Devon Racqueteers Para Badminton Club, Exeter
- Raleigh Federation of Schools, Budleigh Salterton
- Force Cancer Care, Exeter
- Crediton RFU
- Cruse Bereavement Care, Newton Abbot & Torbay
- Torbay Holiday Helpers Network
- Forde Park Pavillion, Newton Abbot
- Torbay Sea Cadets
- Kingsbridge in Bloom
- Mid Devon Messenger
- South Molton Meddlers