Globe and Laurel Lodge 4657

Globe and Laurel

Masonic News and Initiatives


Quarterly magazine of the United Grand Lodge of England, featuring freemasons' news, interviews, and features. Free to view online alongside exclusive content.
Published Thu, 21 Jan 2021 01:30:34 +0000

Homeless to receive more than £850,000 in donations from Freemasons to help protect them this winter

Homeless to receive more than £850,000 in donations from Freemasons to help protect them this winter

Having donated £1m between April and July to help those impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, Freemasons are now focusing on protecting the homeless, with a new series of donations across England and Wales

The homeless crisis has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, with many people losing their jobs and finding themselves either living on the streets or in unsuitable living conditions. In 2019 Shelter estimated that 280,000 people were homeless in England whilst the Greater London Authority reported 4,227 people sleeping rough in London between April and June, of which 2,680 were sleeping on the streets for the first time.

The funds raised will help provide safe living conditions, healthcare, meals, and employment opportunities for the homeless; as well as helping protect them from the winter weather, which kills hundreds of homeless people every year. In addition, Freemasons will be volunteering their time at 26 homeless support organisations.

Freemasons will be providing the following support to homeless people across the country:

  • More than 40,000 homeless people will be provided with essentials, transport and support, as well as help accessing services such as counselling, healthcare and benefits;
  • Almost 197,000 meals will be provided to homeless people;
  • Approximately 600 people are being given employment and training opportunities;
  • Nearly 1,400 individuals are being provided with accommodation and support.

Dr David Staples, chief executive of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), said: 'We are expecting a harsh winter this year and so it’s essential to protect and support the homeless. Hundreds die every year on our streets during the winter, which is a shocking statistic, and due to the pandemic many vulnerable people have found themselves on the streets for the first time.

'In this second phase of donations, following our initial contributions during the Covid-19 crisis, we have donated the largest part of the funding towards helping the homeless. We hope this will provide those in need with somewhere safe to stay during winter but also offer them more long term help to get off the streets and into secure accommodation.'

Among the organisations being prioritised by UGLE, the governing body for Freemasons in England and Wales, are local arms of homeless charity Emmaus. The money is being distributed to Emmaus centres located in Surrey, Yorkshire, Kent, Oxford, Bedfordshire, Lancashire, Hampshire, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Middlesex.

In London, Freemasons are supporting Only a Pavement Away – a charity, which provides employment for the homeless, ex-offenders and veterans into careers within the hospitality industry. The donation will fund courses in the charity's life skills programme for homeless people, which will help them to live independently and sustainably. The Freemasons’ donations will also fund an in-home starter kit containing a cookery book, a cooking utensils starter park, and an essential ingredients box. This is in addition to the provision of key kitchen equipment including a cooker, microwave and fridge. Participants will continue to be supported by the charity after the course finishes with access to the Employment Pathway Support service

In Wales, Brenda Fogg started Hope Restored back in 2010 in order to distribute food and blankets to the homeless community, having been homeless herself for a time. The Freemasons are now supporting the project to help make the lives of homeless that little bit more bearable.

Ms Brenda Fogg said: 'Each and every person who comes through our doors is met with a smile and a warm welcome. Our relaxed friendly atmosphere provides a welcome respite from the harsh realities of their lives, if only for a few hours. I want to thank the Freemasons for their generous support.'

For the last few years, Freemasons in Northumberland have donated both their time, and Christmas gifts, to the residents of homeless veterans’ charity Launchpad and will visit the charity on 23 December to deliver fresh fruit and Christmas presents.

These initiatives are just the start of phase two of the Freemasons’ donations, and in January, UGLE will announce the next round of donation packages and charitable initiatives.

Published Wed, 16 Dec 2020 08:47:01 +0000

Winter 2020 column - Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe E Dr David Staples

From the Grand Secretary & Grand Scribe E

Before I moved to Cambridgeshire, I sang at Southwell Minster. The 30-minute journey from my home took me through the farmlands of Nottinghamshire, and I found myself noticing the changing of the seasons much more than in my previous city existence. The crops being sown and harvested, lambs suddenly appearing in the spring (and disappearing in late summer), the bare fields giving way to pasture and the cycle of life starting over again. For a decade or so, this rhythm seeped into me and I began to take great comfort in the fact that, whatever else was going on in my life, there was a solid predictability in the land and seasons that surrounded me.

Freemasonry also imparts a rhythm to life. The unfamiliarity of those first few meetings, the curious words and all those strangers gradually giving way to lifelong friendships; the measured transformation from the unexpected to the comforting. A yearly cycle of election, installation, well-performed ceremonies and good meals afterwards seeps into us all, month after month, year after year, decade after decade, as it did our many predecessors over the centuries. I didn't realise quite how much I missed it, and relied upon it, until all of a sudden it changed and stopped.

Of course, those of us who come through the pandemic with only the disruption of a well-loved hobby to show for it would do well to consider ourselves very fortunate. For many, including members of our own lodges and chapters, things may have been significantly worse. Many have lost their jobs or their loved ones, some have even lost their homes or the businesses they have built up over decades. Relationships have been strained, some may have broken and, for many, latent anxieties, long suppressed in the regular rhythm of daily life, have bubbled unbidden to the surface.

'As we begin a new chapter in our history, as I am sure the passing of this pandemic will mark, let us embrace our future boldly, rekindling the rhythm of our masonic lives'

As the nights draw in and we look forward to perhaps a stranger Christmas period than usual, we remember Thomas Fuller's famous quote, 'the night is always darkest just before the dawn'. Complete nonsense literally, but metaphorically we all know what he meant. If predictions and models hold true, the pandemic is, at last, more behind us than ahead and 2021 will be the year when things get back to normal. We may not know exactly when, but it is enough to know that with each passing day, these strange times are drawing to a close. We will meet again, as we used to, before the year is out.

For many of us, myself included, this will involve picking up a ritual book for the first time in a while, and learning those things I should have learnt 10 months ago -prevarication, for once, paying off. Lodge committees will be wondering when to start planning for normality, and traditions, so often defined as those things insisted on by the Director of Ceremonies before the current one, will be dusted off and relied upon to justify all sorts.

Yet things will not be the same. We have all been changed by the experiences of the past year, and the way we do things has changed too, perhaps forever. Many lodges and chapters have been forced to confront those same traditions, and adapt them to serve the circumstances, realising in the teeth of adversity that tradition should always be our servant, never our master.

Successful organisations adapt and overcome whatever chance or circumstance can throw at them, and there can be few organisations so successful as Freemasonry.

Dynasties have waxed and waned while our Ancient Order was still in its youth. It has stood firm above that deluge that swept away the men and the institutions contemporaneous with its rise, but even now, in these trying times, it is not some ruin or wreck of past greatness. On the contrary, our members are numerous and found the world over. Our resources are ample, and our means exist in every county, city and town in the land.

The reason for this great success? Because Freemasonry teaches the same lessons, inculcates the same principles as it did in the remote days of its foundation. Those lessons and, more importantly, their worth, have been weighed in the balance of more than 300 years and have not been found wanting.

As we begin a new chapter in our history, as I am sure the passing of this pandemic will mark, let us embrace our future boldly, rekindling the rhythm of our masonic lives, as together we rekindle our lodges and chapters.

We are safe in the knowledge that we are part of an institution that has weathered greater storms than this - whose members have drawn strength and support from coming together to share the good times and the bad, both in their own lives and the life of the nation, and who will continue to do so until time with us all shall be no more.

Dr David Staples
Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe E

Published Wed, 09 Dec 2020 16:06:05 +0000

Freemasons’ Hall opens high-end retail experience in the heart of London

Freemasons’ Hall opens high-end retail experience in the heart of London

The new 'Shop at Freemasons’ Hall' is launching this week at the Covent Garden headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE). It will offer an enhanced retail experience to both visitors and members, with an extensive range of high-quality gifts and souvenirs related to Freemasonry

The shop is located in the heart of the Grade II* listed building and is twice the square footage of the previous shop. The new location has been sympathetically designed by specialist design studio Lumsden, which has respected the heritage of Freemasonry while designing a new and improved visitor experience, which combines Savile Row tailoring with an enriched museum gift-shop look and feel.

The magnificent room is lined with portraits of past Freemasons – which stayed in situ as part of the new design – with the project maintaining the historic feel of the old Drawing Room by retaining several pieces of the original furniture.

The new shop offers a wide range of merchandise for both members and visitors to the headquarters of UGLE, the governing body of Freemasonry in England and Wales. A comprehensive selection of new products is to be sold in the store, which includes not only books but a range of quality Freemason regalia, men's grooming ranges, ladies jewellery, scarves and ties, as well as several gift ranges based on the museum, library, art deco and Freemasonry in general.

Dr David Staples, chief executive of UGLE, said: 'I am delighted to launch this project, which we planned with so much attention and dedication during the lockdown. When Freemasons' Hall opens once again this week, visitors will be able to enjoy an eye-catching shop, with a wide product range for all ages.

'One of the finest art deco buildings in London still used for its original purpose, Freemasons' Hall welcomes more than 200,000 people from across the world through its doors every year. Freemasons’ Hall was recognised as a 2020 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice award winner. Winners of the award are known for consistently receiving great traveller feedback, placing them in the top 10% of hospitality businesses around the globe. Now we are able to provide a retail offering, which will match the high quality of the existing visitor experience.'

Perry Bushell, head of trading at Freemasons' Hall, said: 'We believe we have delivered a shop that combines Savile Row tailoring with the best museum gift-shop experience. The way the customer flow has been constructed, alongside the Freemasons' brand, will deliver on a commercial level, as well as enhancing the visitor experience.'

Lumsden was chosen as partner on the project because it specialises in working in historic and protected buildings throughout the world, and it ensured that the new shop was sympathetically designed to complement the Grade II* listed interiors.

The expanded product range can be viewed here, while a new website to support the redesigned shop will be launched in March 2021.

Published Tue, 01 Dec 2020 00:00:00 +0000

Freemasons’ Hall brings some early Christmas cheer with its first virtual organ concert this December

Freemasons’ Hall brings some early Christmas cheer with its first virtual organ concert this December

Freemasons are organising their first virtual Organ Concert, to take place on 9 December at 7pm. The event aims to showcase the magnificent Willis Pipe Organ, and will be streamed from the majestic Grand Temple in Freemasons’ Hall, London, an Art Deco masterpiece built in 1933

The virtual audience will be able to watch Christopher Stokes, the present Senior Organist at the Freemasons, and organist and Master of the Choristers at Manchester Cathedral. He previously held posts as organist and Master of Music at St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square, and director of music at St Margaret's, Westminster Abbey.

Mr Stokes is a renowned soloist, but has also appeared with numerous orchestras, including the Hallé Orchestra, the Manchester Camerata, the Northern Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Golden Age.

The artist has selected eight memorable melodies to enchant audiences:

  • Sonata in G – Edward Elgar
  • Toccata Giocosa (William Mathias)
  • Psalm Prelude Set 1 No 1 (Herbert Howells)
  • Tuba Tune (Norman Cocker)
  • Chanson de Matin (Edward Elgar)
  • Tune in E, in the style of John Stanley (George Thalben-Ball)
  • Sonata in Eb, BWV 525(i) (Johann Sebastian Bach)
  • Crown Imperial (William Walton)

Dr David Staples, chief executive of the United Grand Lodge of England, commented: 'The country has faced two national lockdowns in the past year, which has left many feeling isolated and lonely, at UGLE we wanted to spread some early Christmas cheer with a virtual concert to bring music and joy into people's homes. During the virtual presentation, the audience will have the opportunity to appreciate some of the stunning architecture of our Headquarters here in London at the same time.'

Freemasons’ Hall, was designed as a pentagon to suit the irregular area in which it is located. Built in the central courtyard of the splendid art deco building, the Grand Temple is rich in multicolored details of blue, gold and white.

Inside the Grand Temple, visitors cannot miss the majestic 1.25-tonne organ with its ornate pipes, the golden thrones and sturdy bronze doors, each measuring 3.6 metres by 1.2 metres.

The original organ was installed in 1933 by Henry Willis, the third generation of an extended family line of organ builders. It originally had three manuals and 43 stops, giving a total complement of some 2,220 pipes, and was the last big organ built by the Willis firm. After 80 years it was in need of a complete renovation, and this was carried out in Durham by Harrison & Harrison who designed the new case above the console to houses a further six stops (approximately 400 pipes) to enhance its sound.

To participate in the event, members of the public can book for free here.

Published Wed, 25 Nov 2020 00:00:00 +0000

Women’s refuges becomes priority issue for Freemasons

Women’s refuges becomes priority issue for Freemasons

In November 2013, 19-year-old Amelia Arnold, the mother of an 11-month-old baby, was murdered by her partner. Her father Laurence Arnold, who is a Sussex Freemason, said: 'I lost my daughter seven years ago. She was 19 years old, had a small child and was in a troubled relationship. I wish she’d had the support that a women's refuge can provide. If she had, she might be alive today.'

After this tragic incident local Freemasons provided an annual financial contribution to The Sussex Refuge in memory of Amelia. They also stepped in to donate almost 100 police approved panic alarms to another refuge, RISE, (Refuge, Information, Support and Education) after it requested help for women in need.

These are only two of thousands of stories about women at risk across the UK, which have prompted Freemasons to offer their continued support across England and Wales.

In the first four weeks of lockdown in the UK, 16 women and girls were killed in suspected domestic homicides — more than triple the number from the same period in 2019. After that, 10 more have died in the two following months. The oldest was 82 years old and the youngest, killed with her mother and 4-year-old sister was only two.

In Nottinghamshire, childhood sexual abuse has quadrupled over the last four years. To try and bring these numbers down, Freemasons are also helping S.H.E. (Supporting, Healing Educating) with business costs from home such as telephone bills and providing apps to enable online meetings.

According to their projections, the institution looks after more than 1,000 exploited girls, women and men; and now, during the pandemic they have 50% more cases than normal. Freemasons also helped Nottinghamshire Independent Domestic Abuse Services (NIDAS) as well, with donations of 11 laptops, 10 smart phones and telephone bills.

Cases have also increased substantially in Devon during the Coronavirus pandemic. The services of SAFE (Stop Abuse For Everyone) have come under incredible pressure and financial strain, so the Freemasons, hearing of their plight, funded a grant of more than £3,000 to enable them to continue their essential work.

Lucy Skye, SAFE Fundraising Manager said: 'We are very grateful to the Devonshire Freemasons. SAFE is a grassroots local charity and this money will help us to continue to deliver vital recovery services. It is only by working together that we will succeed in achieving our aim of ending domestic abuse.'

More than 600 care packages with items being sourced locally are being donate to women and their children in Women’s Refuges in Bedfordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire and Nottinghamshire.

Elsewhere in London, Hestia Refuge and Solace Women’s Aid are receiving more than 430 care packages. The packages contain basic items and also school supplies for children and Teddy bear for babies.

Women’s refuges are also a topical subject for Somerset. There, the plight of the women came to the Freemasons’ attention and they pledged to help the Taunton Women’s Refuge – with Father Julian Lawrence – the Priest in Charge of the Holy Trinity Church, by donating £3,000 in support.

Dr David Staples, the chief executive of the United Grand Lodge of England, said: 'No individual should be subjected to violence, or be in fear for their life, within their own home. Calls to the National Domestic Abuse helpline run by Refuge was 25% above average in the second week of lockdown and 49% higher than normal after three weeks. This is a national crisis that needs to be addressed.

'As the United Grand Lodge of England, Freemasons are doing everything possible to support, protect and help women, children and men who are victims of these crimes and in extremely vulnerable situations. We should not forget that men also suffer from domestic abuse with the Men’s Advice Line reporting a 35% increase in calls in the first week of the lockdown. 

'By providing this much needed support to refuges across the country we are assisting vital charities who are struggling under the additional cases due to Covid-19. Freemasons have supported their work before and during the pandemic and this vital aid will continue as the country returns to normal.'

They are helping all over the country, in Herefordshire for example, Freemasons are supporting West Mercia Women’s Aid. They are providing temporary housing for women with children, or elderly domestic abuse victims who – due to their age – cannot be housed with other women and need to be in isolation. In Bedfordshire, Freemasons have donated £ 5,000 for the five safe houses, who are currently caring for 75 families in the county.

While the Swindon Women's Refuge (SWA) receives constant help from the Freemasons in Wiltshire. In addition to creating and running a charity shop for survivors, they donate an Easter egg collection and a Christmas checkbox each year to the SWA.

These are only few of many initiatives supported by Freemasons to aid vulnerable women and children. In West Wales, for example, Freemasons are supporting four women’s refuges. The West Wales Domestic Abuse Service, the Carmarthenshire Domestic Abuse Services, and Hafan Cymru domestic abuse charity with TV/DVD combos and furniture for the family rooms in the refuge.

Meanwhile, in Yorkshire North and East Ridings, Freemasons are supporting Hull Women's Aid, Evas Women's Aid, and Hull Refuge, providing safe refuge accommodation, free from abuse and offering time and space to recover from their experiences and start to take control of their lives. Elsewhere in Staffordshire Freemasons have donated £10,000 to the Black Country Women’s Aid Women’s Refuges, Savana Women's Refuge, Staffordshire Women’s Aid and The Haven Refuge.

St Leonards Y&C Centre, The Crossing Point, the Swan Centre, and SWACA (Sephton Women’s and Children’s Aid) received £8,000 from West Lancashire Freemasons to provide free practical and emotional support to help them to survive the impact of domestic violence and abuse.

The funding is being used to support a young women’s counselling service aimed at the 14-18 age group to support women who have had children removed from their care following trauma and relationship breakdown. They are also offering therapeutic support and open access service to women in the community so that they can come to a safe space and receive advice, guidance and support.

In Leicestershire & Rutland, for example, they are supporting ‘Quetzal’ to continue helping thousands of women over 16 years. They provide long-term counselling, crisis counselling and a telephone helpline to support women, who are recovering from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. While in Gloucestershire, Freemasons have donated £5,000 to Stroud Women’s Refuge.

More than £9,000 had been donated by Warwickshire Freemasons. They are supporting Birmingham Crisis Centre, Birmingham Rape and Sexual Violence Project, Coventry Haven Women’s Aid, Nuneaton Domestic Abuse Counselling Service, St Chad’s refuge, Roshni – South Asian Women’s support following domestic abuse, Warwickshire Refuge, and Women Acting in Today’s Society.

Elsewhere, in North Wales, Freemasons are helping DASU (Domestic Abuse Safety Unit). They usually arrive with very few personal belongings and are in need of items such as clothing, toiletries and toys. When moving into their own accommodation items such as bedding sets, home appliances and other items, are very much needed for victims to be able to start afresh in their own properties.

In East Lancashire, Freemasons are supporting two existing properties of the Salford Women’s Aid, and they are also funding the new one exclusively for use by women and children who are the victims of domestic abuse and who need help and guidance to set themselves on the pathway to a life where they are free from fear, violence and abuse. 

The United Grand Lodge of England’s Covid-19 Response group, which has been coordinating the relief programme, will continue to support women’s refuges in the second phase of its donation initiatives.

Published Fri, 30 Oct 2020 00:00:00 +0000

UGLE shortlisted for both “Health and Wellbeing” and “Leader of the Year” at Investors in People Awards 2020

UGLE shortlisted for both “Health and Wellbeing” and “Leader of the Year” at Investors in People Awards 2020

The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is delighted to announce it has been shortlisted for the Health and Wellbeing and Leader of the Year categories at the Investors in People Awards 2020

Dr David Staples, Chief Executive of UGLE, said: 'Over the past few years, UGLE has put enormous effort into understanding, and supporting, the health and wellbeing of its staff. It is great to see that hard work has been recognised by Investors in People. Through these troubling times, we will continue to look after our most precious asset, those men and women who keep our organisation working and serve our 200,000 members.'

Dr Staples, who became CEO in 2018, has also been named a finalist in Investors in People – Leader of the Year up to 250 category. Since being appointed, he has worked tirelessly to create a positive and pleasant work environment, where staff enjoy coming into work.

Also competing for the Health and Wellness Award, the HR department has implemented a comprehensive strategy to ensure employees feel highly valued within the organisation. This has included:

  • The creation of a staff committee, made up of employees nominated by staff, who share any concerns or recommendations from staff directly into the HR Director and CEO;
  • The introduction of an Employee Assistance Programme, with access to a health e-hub and gym membership;
  • Provision of free fruit for the office to encourage staff to think about their eating habits;
  • Implementation of flexible working;
  • Appointment of four mental health departmental champions available for staff who need a friendly ear, support and advice;
  • Organising annual Mental Health Week and Learning at Work week events with high levels of engagement from staff;
  • The introduction of new organisational values, a revamped appraisal system, and a new recognition and reward scheme. 

In addition managers and senior team members are trained and equipped to deal with difficult and challenging situations and with the support of HR, ensure staff are supported, recognised and given relevant help and guidance where required.

In a recent Back to Work survey following Covid-19 sent by the HR department to staff, 84% agreed that they has access to the things they need to succeed when working from home, and 86% agree that they are just as productive working from home as they are at Freemasons’ Hall.

Elizabeth Gay, Director of Human Resources, said: 'I am passionate about health and wellbeing and the benefits of having a defined strategy and one that supports and fosters our culture and values. As an organisation, we are committed to providing a healthy working environment and improving the quality of working lives for all members of staff. I am absolutely delighted that UGLE is a finalist in the Health and Wellbeing awards category and proves that our hard work in this area has been recognised.'

This is an enormous achievement in such a short space of time, during a period where a major restructure is taking place centred on delivering improved services for members. In addition a new internal communications department was created, which is focussed on improving and implementing communications between its 100 employees.

UGLE were originally awarded Investors in People accreditation in 2018 shortly after Dr Staples’ appointment and was accredited at ‘Developed Level’ until 2021. The winners will be announced on the 24 November.

Published Tue, 29 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0100

Pro Grand Master's address - September 2020

Quarterly Communication

9 September 2020 
An address by the MW the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes

There are points in history when things change; times when the status quo jolts forward whether we like it or not. After such events, things never quite seem the same again because they change us as individuals, and the way that we look at the world is never again quite as it was. 

In our over three-hundred-year history, Freemasonry will have experienced a number of such events, but since the Second World War it is difficult to think of one that has had such a profound effect on society, on the economy and on us all by what I am told is a little bundle of fat and protein hundreds of times smaller than the width of a human hair.

In our response to it, and in the decisions we have taken, UGLE has followed two guiding principles: The first - obey the law of the land, and follow any official guidance issued. The second - trust our members and our Lodges to decide what is right for them, facilitating and encouraging those that wish to meet, whilst supporting, understanding and respecting those who feel that the time is not yet right for them. 

There are also changes of which we had notice today which, by comparison, seem almost mundane, yet just a year ago were the subject of quite some debate. The decision to lower the age of Initiation to 18 without dispensation brings Freemasonry into line with the age of majority adopted by the UK parliament in 1969. The creation of Provincial and Lodge membership officers as recommended by the Membership Working Party of the Board will introduce a new Collared Office with new responsibilities to the Craft, whilst changing the rules around unattached masons and visiting will, we hope, make it easier for members to understand the character of a lodge they may wish to join.

These changes have been widely consulted and widely approved, but as with all things, they will not please everyone. I’m sure you know the joke about how many masons its takes to change a light bulb? Whilst respecting our traditions, UGLE does not, and never has moved at the speed of the slowest ship in the convoy, and we have shown, perhaps, over the last few months, that we are not quite the oil tanker that some people took us for.

During Lockdown we have received some unusually good publicity for the immense amount of wonderful voluntary work carried out World Wide and I will make further reference to this. The excellent by-product of this is a larger than usual number of potential Initiates waiting in the wings. However, Lodges were unable to make any progress due to the necessary Social Distancing rules and were in danger of stagnating as a result. It was for this reason that we asked a zealous and expert Brother, and the Ritual Committee of the Emulation Lodge of Improvement to look at ways that we could temporarily vary the Ritual to enable Lodges to, at least, Initiate and Pass Candidates. We never expected everyone to agree with all the suggestions, but we are confident that the changes will allow Freemasonry to bring in new blood to the benefit of all concerned. Surely that is what matters, not the dotting of Is and crossing of Ts as far as the Ritual changes are concerned. We want Lodges and therefore Chapters to come alive again for the enjoyment and benefit of all concerned.

Brethren, I feel it only right that in these closing remarks I pay tribute to those who have quietly and steadfastly ‘Done Their Bit’.  There are far too many to mention, but you will know who you are.  Up and down the country, across the world in our Districts and here in Freemasons’ Hall in London, Members, Staff and Volunteers have given of themselves in ways that they might never have imagined less than half a year ago – quietly doing what they can to make things better.  The organisation has responded magnificently to the needs of the public, and to those of our friends and neighbours.  As we continue to navigate uncharted waters, I take comfort in the simplicity of the messages our rituals convey and exhort you ever to act in accordance with them in the weeks and months ahead:  Respect each other and all humanity; improve yourself, and make your life and actions count.

Published Wed, 09 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0100

Autumn 2020 column - Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe E Dr David Staples

From the Grand Secretary & Grand Scribe E

There is a lot of talk in business circles about the benefits of ‘disruptors’. People or events which bring about a re-examination of how and why things are done in this particular way or that. It cannot be denied that COVID-19 has been perhaps the biggest disruptor since the invention of the internet. For those that can, many people are finding that they work rather well from home, and are wondering why they ever fought their way into work on packed buses, trains or tube trains when they might have had an extra hour or two in bed instead.  

Similarly, in the masonic world, things which traditionally have taken decades, or even longer, have been created in a couple of weeks. ‘How could we alter our ceremonies to incorporate social distancing?’ asks the Pro Grand Master. 

‘We can’t,’ comes the reply.  

‘Try again,’ he says. 

Some months previously, the mere suggestion would have had monocles dropping into the soup in abject horror. Is the result to everybody’s liking? For certain, no, but it allows the Masters and Principals of lodges and chapters to choose for themselves what they are comfortable with doing, and what they might wish not to do until things can return to normal – and make no mistake, that may be some significant time yet.

Over the summer, masonic halls have seen a marked increase in Emergency Meetings, but the real work, and the real challenge, begins this autumn as the new season begins.

Sadly, we will all have come across those brethren who cannot contemplate the possibility that a lodge – their lodge – might meet without them; that Freemasonry may, out of necessity, continue in a different way to that which has gone before – at least for the moment. Those that feel that because their personal circumstances mean they cannot yet return to us, or they choose to stay home, that everything should be put on hold. Lodges can sometimes be dominated by such personalities, and perhaps the disruption of the status quo will remind us that our lodges and chapters are there for all their members, not just those few with the most strident opinions and the loudest voices. Members will need to be flexible and tolerant over the coming few months.

Another great change that has come out of this disruption is the way Provinces are working together to roll out national initiatives through the COVID Community Fund – a joint UGLE/MCF partnership. To date, it has delivered more than 300,000 meals to the vulnerable, donated 380 tonnes of food to food banks, provided tens of thousands of pieces of PPE to care homes and hospitals, supported hundreds of young carers, the homeless, women’s refuges up and down the country, and donated more than 1,000 tablets to allow relatives to meet virtually at times when visiting was so restricted. Our efforts have not gone unnoticed by the press, and speaking openly about what we are doing has, for the first time, brought about a real change in attitude, even from those who have traditionally been our most dogged detractors.  

It is worth also reflecting on all the little things we have been doing that have perhaps gone unnoticed. They are just as important, and perhaps more so than headline-grabbing initiatives. There are many things we have found the time to do that have a small effect on those around us, as well as perhaps those who we have not seen for some considerable time. The small acts of contact and of kindness. The checking in on a brother or their family to make sure that all remains well. The expansion of online communications to keep members in touch and to rekindle sometimes neglected friendships. Some say that we are extremely fortunate that COVID-19 hit in a time where keeping in touch is so easy. Those enduring the Spanish Flu in 1918 did not have the luxury of broadband internet with email or Zoom.  Most would not even have had access to a telephone.  

We are mindful, however, that a few of our members have no access to technology, and it is for them that UGLE has just published a guide to help all of our members connect. It is being sent in hard copy format to all Provincial Communications Officers, so please do ask for one if this might be of use to you. Anybody that has mastered elements of Masonic Ritual will have no problems navigating the digital world, if they are only able to overcome their nervousness. Both of my parents, in their late 80s, are on email and picked it up more easily than they anticipated.  

Let us all return to the ‘new normal’ gladly. We are all looking forward to joining together again to continue our masonic journeys, even if our path might be more winding and unfamiliar than usual. Companions and brethren, it’s good to be back. I wish you the very best for the new season.

Dr David Staples
Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe E

'Another great change that has come out of this disruption is the way Provinces are working together to roll out national initiatives through the COVID Community Fund’

Published Fri, 04 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0100

Freemasons support young carers with cookery, dance and drama workshops

Freemasons support young carers with cookery, dance and drama workshops

Freemasons across England and Wales are lending a helping hand to young carers who are under increasing pressure as they support family members during lockdown

The 200,000 members of the United Grand Lodge of England are pulling out all the stops to lend their support to vulnerable young people to help relieve the stress of looking after parents or older siblings who have mental and physical health issues.

In Bristol and Gloucestershire Freemasons are providing virtual activities for young carers with a summer activity programme. Whilst in Hampshire and Isle of Wight, they have identified, and are supporting, 1,000 young carers who are often left alone to cope.

There are almost seven million carers across the UK. This numbers represents one in ten people. Today 13,000 young and young adult carers, regularly provide care for more than 50 hours a week. Moreover, up to 1.5 million people in the UK care for someone with a mental health problem and approximately 840,000 thousand care for people with learning disabilities. [1]

In Bristol, Freemasons are working with the Carer Centre to deliver online activities for young carers, including a six-week summer holiday programme, to give them a break from their caring role. Plans include: arts activities, online home cookery, cookery, dancing and drama workshops, home science experiments; wellbeing and resilience classes and a virtual festival day.

Meanwhile, Reading and West Berkshire Carers Hub has 420 carers struggling with no face-to-face help. To help improve their situation Freemasons are donating PC tablets so the carer can make contact with the charity outreach workers. The aim of their programme is for young carers to receive continuity of service and can link up with peers. They can also gain specific skills from activities which will help in their caring role e.g. financial skills and well-being techniques.

In Wiltshire a substantial number of Freemasons are carers in their own right. Nigel Dalby, for example, said: 'Although I’m a retired NHS employee I am still in touch with my old team (a crisis team for adults with severe learning disabilities, challenging behavior and mental health issues) and although I am currently unable to be physically active due to recent surgery I am providing telephone support to one of the service users I used to work with.' This is in addition to Wiltshire Freemasons donating £1,000 to Swindon Carers Centre.

While in Hampshire and Isle of Wight, they are identifying and supporting 1,000 young carers who are in crisis and need immediate intervention. They are assisting the Honeypot Children’s Charity, who are posting out coloring books, birthday and post cards, puzzles, games and arts & crafts supplies to combat anxiety and loneliness. In addition they are helping to provide virtual activities and signpost young carers to other useful online resources.

Elsewhere, in Buckinghamshire the Freemasons are supporting Cares Bucks and Milton Keynes, providing cooked meals to the homes of Young Carers. They are also donating and distributing ‘Pamper Packs’ and craft materials to all their registered Carers. By supplying and delivering the above items the staff are given an opportunity to talk to the carers at length and for carers to interact with each other.

Buckinghamshire Freemasons are also helping Slough Carers provide support to unpaid carers. They are donating tablets to provide face-to-face contact for the most vulnerable individuals being cared for by Slough Carers.

While in Worcestershire the Cubit Club continues to offer help to those in need during these times. Freemasons have 55 members who are offering their services for anyone in need. The volunteers are spread around the province and are responding to multiple requests for help from carers.

In Staffordshire, Freemasons are helping Omega Support Givers providing care for carers some of whom are children caring for siblings or parents. They are also supporting Sandwell Crossroads Care with donation to help them continue their job providing a telephone advice service for people living with dementia. Lastly they are also helping The Carers Trust to improve support services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friends who are ill, frail, disabled or have mental health or addiction problems.

Dr David Staples, the chief executive of the United Grand Lodge of England, said: 'We want to recognise the enormous contribution young carers make to families and communities throughout the UK. During Covid-19 they have been living in very challenge circumstances and need our support now more than ever. They do their best because they want to make a difference and care deeply for their family members. Freemasons are supporting these amazing individuals across England and Wales to show our gratitude for their efforts and the brilliant job they do every minute of every day.

'Freemasons stand behind our core values of Friendship, Integrity, Charity and Respect and are eager to help provide support for these cross-generational relationships and to highlight our respect and admiration for carers across UK.'


[1] Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee – report.

Published Mon, 29 Jun 2020 15:37:50 +0100

Freemasons provide 120,000 people with donations of 300,000 meals and 38 tonnes of food during the Covid-19 pandemic

Freemasons provide 120,000 people with donations of 300,000 meals and 38 tonnes of food during the Covid-19 pandemic

With many families struggling to put food on the table Freemasons across England and Wales are currently working on hundreds of initiatives to help minimise the daily pressure on households across the UK [1]

During this difficult time, the United Grand Lodge of England, the governing body for Freemasonry in England and Wales, formed the Covid-19 Response Group to support those in need. The group identified food banks and people in vulnerable situations in need of help and set about galvanizing its network to provide food donations, deliveries, cooking fresh meals; as well as opening up local Lodges’ kitchens to cook meals.

Freemasons have been rolling up their sleeves and helping nationwide. In Bristol, 14 volunteer Freemasons are packing and labelling food parcels which are being delivered to those suffering food poverty. While in Bedfordshire, Freemasons provided 11 tonnes of food in May alone.

Elsewhere, food banks in North Cumbria, Windermere, Penrith and South Lakes are being supported with a £24,000 donation from Cumberland and Westmorland Freemasons. In addition, Worcestershire Freemasons helped six food banks and donated food and refreshment to NHS staff at the local Alexandra Hospital.

In Warwickshire, the Freemasons have donated £18,000 to the Fairshare Foodbank and Warwickshire foodbanks. While in Wiltshire, they are delivering to more than 30 homes and the list is growing every week.

While in Middlesex, they donated £41,000 and are providing meals 2,500 meals per week. According to their projections, Middlesex Freemasons will be providing more 45,000 meals to help vulnerable people.

In Norfolk, Somerset, South Wales, Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Dorset, Durham, Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Staffordshire, East Lancashire, Leicestershire and Rutland, Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire, Cornwall, Monmouthshire, Somerset, Lincolnshire, Herefordshire, Jersey and Sussex, local Freemasons are preparing meals and packages of food to be distributed to residents. In Sussex, for example, they have donated £28,000 to 14 foodbanks in the area.

Freemason Ezra McGowan – after suffering with the coronavirus himself – has been delivering food to those in isolation in West Lancashire, and has already donated more than two and a half tonnes of food.

Freemasons are also involved in another touching story. They received a call from David Matthews and his son Bailey looking for a place with a kitchen to cook Sunday lunches for more than 100 people. Freemason David Purdy supplied some catering equipment and the Devonshire Province immediately agreed to loan its facilities when its members heard it was to help vulnerable people.

Mr Matthews said: 'I tried many places but the Freemasons were the only organisation to reply; I couldn’t do it if it wasn’t for their support. I now realise what a wonderful organisation it is and that its ethos is the same as mine. I'm sure when this current situation is over, and Lodges open again, I'll definitely be applying to join.'

Devonshire Freemasons have also donated £15,000 to enable them to continue this work, in addition to donating five tonnes of food for Foodbanks, which adds up to 12,000 meals. While in Cheshire they have distributed more than 400 food parcels to the local community and Freemason Richard Pitt is preparing 80 portions of Fish and Chips every Friday and donating to frontline workers and the homeless.

London Freemasons have helped 40,000 people with 55,000 meals. While in Shropshire, they have donated £47,000 to help the community and to buy a van for the Shrewsbury Food Hub. In Buckinghamshire, Freemasons are providing 350 meals per week to Aylesbury Women’s Aid refuge, which houses 60 women, their children and others in vulnerable situations. In Somerset, local Freemasons have donated more than 20,000 meals.

In North Wales, Freemasons are cooking approx. 700 meals every Sunday and distributing them in Bangor and Anglesey and received a heartfelt message from local resident. Pete Williams said, 'Many thanks to the Freemasons for including my 95-year-old grandmother in this very generous endeavour and delivering to her door. She was truly grateful.'

In East and West Kent meanwhile, Freemasons donated £65,000 to buy 3.6 tonnes of food and support the community. The Family Food Bank and many other food banks, are now able to supply in excess of 80,000 meals. In addition, they are helping Bexley Food Bank, Swanley Food Bank, Bromley Borough Food Bank and Nourish Community Food Bank.

Freemasons are also supporting the NHS. In Yorkshire, each week they are preparing and delivering 80 ready-packed meals (20kg), to the late-shift emergency services at Dewsbury’s hospital. They are also delivering 300 meals to local elderly housing every week. Since March, Derbyshire Freemasons have provided more than 1,000 meals at masonic centre kitchens, with 30 Freemason volunteers ensuring that they receive freshly prepared and tasty meals. In addition, Nottinghamshire Freemasons are helping 1,000 families each week.

In Surrey they are delivering frozen meals for distribution to families in need. Sarah Abellan from Nutfield Parish Council said: 'Thank you for your generosity in providing frozen meals which are delivered to people in need. It has made a huge difference too many families.' In addition, Northumberland Freemasons cooked 800 meals in the Masonic Halls to run “Meals on Wheels”, and delivered freshly food to the emergency services, self-isolating people and care homes.

Dr David Staples, the chief executive of the United Grand Lodge of England, said: 'No one, in this day and age, should have to worry where there next meal is coming from. With foodbanks across the UK being used more than ever before the crisis has put untold pressure on this vital network.

'We are so glad that we are able to provide thousands of families across the UK with a hot meal or food donations to get them through this current crisis. Freemasons have achieved all of this in just a few months and have also given their time to produce and deliver food to the vulnerable. We will continue to raise money and donate our time until we are able to return to normality.

'Freemasons stand behind our core values of Friendship, Integrity, Charity and Respect and are proud to help so many in their time of need.'

[1] The Food Foundation (FF) report has found that 5.1 million people have experienced food insecurity during the lockdown.

Published Mon, 01 Jun 2020 11:06:32 +0100

More News

Quarterly magazine of the United Grand Lodge of England, featuring freemasons' news, interviews, and features. Free to view online alongside exclusive content.
Published Thu, 21 Jan 2021 01:30:34 +0000

Derbyshire Freemason shows the true meaning of Christmas

Freemasonry has always had certain tenets which it holds dear and which our members practise every day

We say that Freemasonry stands for Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth and we still use these words in our ceremonies but perhaps in more modern language four words sum up what our organisation is about; Integrity, Friendship, Respect and Charity.

Charity is often said to be the cornerstone of the organisation and there can be no doubt that Freemasonry enthusiastically supports charities at local, Provincial and national levels.

But what of individual members who undertake simple acts of random kindness? Such a man and Derbyshire Freemason is David Greenway, whose Christmas plans had been to spend time with his daughter, an intensive care nurse in Plymouth - the first opportunity she had to have Christmas with family in Derby for five years.

Unfortunately, changes to the current lockdown rules prevented this, leaving David with more food than was needed. His partner Elaine had noticed a man sleeping rough near a major road in Derby, so David decided to deliver Christmas dinner to him and two other rough sleepers they found in the City Centre. They were all most grateful and in David’s words: 'it brought the spirit of Christmas to its true meaning, a good result from the sadness of being away from family, here's hoping for a better time next year.'

David is not a man to seek publicity, but on this occasion relented in the hope that this act would remind us all what Freemasonry stands for and hopes that any of us may be inspired to act in a similar way should we find ourselves in a position to help those less fortunate than ourselves. David explained that he is often reminded of a quote that he has been inspired by over many years from Amelia Earhart; 'A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions and the roots spring up and make new trees.'

Published Thu, 14 Jan 2021 16:07:12 +0000

Christmas lunch safely delivered by Suffolk Freemasons

Suffolk Freemasons were pleased to assist Felixstowe Town Mayor, Mark Jepson and the Salvation Army in the distribution of 107 meals and Gift Boxes on Christmas Day

The meals and gift boxes were distributed to those who in normal circumstances would have visited the Salvation Army Hall to celebrate Christmas.

Major Katherine Lennox said she was delighted to have our support as many of their usual volunteers were having to self isolate and it ensured all the meals could be delivered in time for Christmas Lunch.

Published Thu, 14 Jan 2021 11:45:10 +0000

Help for rough sleepers from East Kent Freemasons

Local Authorities’ street counts, and estimates show that 4,266 people were sleeping rough in England on a single night in autumn 2019. In Autumn 2019 London accounted for 27% of the total number of people sleeping rough in England

The South East accounted for the next largest percentage of rough sleepers with 21%. London and the South East are the only regions to have a rough sleeping rate that is higher than the England rate.

In Kent, every Christmas, Time for the Homeless, which is a local charity that covers Maidstone, and some parts of Medway hosts a Christmas Day meal for the homeless. The festivities usually take place at a local venue in Maidstone.

The challenges of 2020 have had effects on everybody, but for some it meant the loss of homes for various reasons which resulted in the increased need for charities such as Time for the Homeless.

The increased numbers that required the services of the charity has put a strain on their resources and it was brought to the attention of East Kent Freemasons - Maidstone Group 5 Chairman, Roy Brooks.

A conversation between Roy and Marie Jordan from the Charity took place to ascertain what assistance the Freemasons of East Kent could provide.

Marie asked if East Kent Freemasons could provide any Christmas food items to help them provide a Christmas dinner to some of the 55 homeless individuals and low-income households that they were supporting.

Roy contacted members in his area asking if they could help in providing any of the items requested by the charity.

A Covid-19 secure drop off and collection point was arranged in the car park of the Maidstone Masonic Centre in Tovil on the 12th Dec between 10.00am and Noon.

At 9.45am, there were already Freemasons waiting to make their donations, over the next 2 hours the cars kept arriving with the donations of food and other items including clothing and toiletries.

One Freemason kindly donated 45 brand new pairs of Thermalite Gloves and 45 brand new Thermalite beanie hats along with 50 boxes of Roses, Quality Street and Heroes.

While another, a landlord of a public house local to Maidstone, donated catering packs of meat, vegetables, sauces, tea, coffee and soft drinks. In addition to all of the other individual donations. the prohect also had a truly awesome response from the Freemasons of Maidstone, West Malling, Cranbrook, & Paddock Wood.

The Fleur de Lis Lodge No 8969 donated £290.00 which will assist the Charity to continue their work through the worst of the winter months.

So much was donated that 2 carloads were sent to Wateringbury Village Fridge Food Bank.

Roy said, 'It just shows with a little determination to help someone, can have a great effect on peoples lives.'

Published Wed, 13 Jan 2021 12:07:21 +0000

Freemasons welcome upturn in interest about joining 300-year-old fraternity

Lincolnshire Freemasons are welcoming an increase in the number of people seeking to explore the possibility of joining the 300-year-old fraternity – and it’s believed to be the pressure of the pandemic that’s behind the upsurge in interest for two reasons, says Lincolnshire’s Provincial Grand Master Dave Wheeler

He said: 'I’m sure it’s about our values and our work in the community,' he said. 'We’ve read extensively about how individuals’ mental wellbeing is coming under pressure because of the uncertainty that’s been part of our lives for almost a year. Such an uncertain world has created a need for people to search for something positive they can feel part of; something which has secure values of integrity, friendship, respect and charity. Having existed for more than 300 years, Freemasonry can clearly offer those values and that degree of stability. 'History bears that out; after both World Wars the number of Freemasons rose significantly – and whilst the pandemic can hardly be compared to a World War, the fear and uncertainty that comes with it is certainly very similar.'

The second reason, he believes, is based on the greater degree of publicity being generated by the way in which Freemasons are supporting their communities, either through financial assistance or in kind. 'The kind of person who becomes a Freemason is someone who wants to be part of a community, and to support those who need help. That’s manifested itself in the large cash donations we’ve been able to make through the Freemasons Charity the MCF, and the time and effort people have been putting in to improve the quality of life for people who need support. I’ve no doubt that like-minded people who are not Freemasons have seen that, and have been motivated to explore how they might become part of what we do.'

So far almost 150 people have come forward to find out more, making their approaches through the internet and social media. 'Not all of those will become members, but we are talking to all of them to explain a little more of what we are and what we do. Some have decided they don’t want to be involved, and discussions are being progressed with others. Women have been amongst those making approaches to us, and we have passed their details to members of the Order of Women Freemasons, whose Lincolnshire members meet in Lincoln, Scunthorpe, and Grimsby.

'We are also running pilot projects with Facebook, using the expertise of one of our Grantham members, and early results from that have been very encouraging,' he added. 'I anticipate that the number of people expressing an interest about becoming Freemasons will only grow in the months ahead. I’m sure my fellow Freemasons are looking forward to welcoming new members to our ranks when the restrictions are lifted, when we are once again able to meet in our 21 centres through the historic county of Lincolnshire.'

• Could Freemasonry offer something lacking in your life? Visit these web sites to find out more: and

Published Tue, 12 Jan 2021 16:29:05 +0000

Free Falling - in memory of Lincolnshire Freemason Bob Smith

Committed Freemason Bob Smith has passed away only a few weeks after leaping into the record books as the oldest Freemason ever to have made a tandem parachute jump for charity

Bob, 85, died at home in Horncastle on 27 October, with his daughter Alison beside him. His incredible feat had come after a tough year for Bob. He lost his wife Pam in March, and on top of all his other illnesses, he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. But he refused to let that stop him from going through with his parachuting ambition to raise funds for the Lincolnshire 2025 Festival.

Bob shared his thoughts on the jump and a week of surprises, which we include here:

'I came up with the idea, and they said I was mad,' said Bob, about how the jump had grown out of a conversation between friends who were discussing how to make a positive contribution to the fund.

Just after his 85th birthday, Bob plunged in freefall before his instructor at Skydive Hibaldstow opened the parachute for the rest of the descent, which took 15 minutes. 'It was a fantastic experience,' said Bob. 'We took the scenic descent and I could see the North Sea, the River Humber and all the local villages laid out beneath me. I didn't close my eyes once. I had a huge rush of adrenaline and a massive sense of achievement.

'Although I've done the jump, my feet haven't touched the ground since because of everything else that has happened.'

'Everything else' includes Bob being bestowed with the honour of the Knight of the Ancient Masonic Order of Alfred the Great by the Grand Master of the Order of Athelstan Paul Weldon Johnston. He was also promoted to the rank of Past Provincial Grand Burgh for his contribution to Freemasonry, especially in the Masonic Order of Athelstan and the Court of Hyrnecastre No.102.

Bob enjoyed a surprise birthday party- under the guise of a meeting to discuss urgent masonic business. And Lincolnshire's PGM Dave Wheeler presented him with photos on behalf of the Province as a memento. 'What people have given is astonishing, and I'm really grateful,' said Bob.

Published Tue, 12 Jan 2021 15:13:32 +0000

West Kent Freemason gets awarded MBE in the New Year Honours List

West Kent's Provincial Grand Master, Mark Estaugh, formally congratulated Dean Wilson for being awarded the MBE in the New Year Honours List.

Dean Wilson is a member of Trismegistus Lodge 9020 and was initiated on 23 November 2006. Dean served in the London Fire Brigade for over 30 years, retiring in July 2019. Dean is now proprietor of Dean Wilson Independent Family Funeral Directors and served as a Magistrate in Bexley and Bromley for 11 years. Dean also served as a member of the Independent Monitoring Board of two South London prisons for 7 years.

Dean received his MBE in the 2020 New Year's Honours List fo Public and Voluntary Services in South East London.

Published Tue, 12 Jan 2021 11:48:47 +0000

Masonic Centres in West Kent opening up as Vaccination Centres

Two Masonic Centres in the Province of West Kent are being used as vaccination centres to aid in the effort to vaccinate the vulnerable against Covid-19

Tunbridge Wells Masonic Centre will be hosting COVID-19 vaccination arrangements in the local area from Thursday the 14th January.

The Westwood Centre in Welling is hosting COVID-19 vaccination in Bexley. Over 2,000 people have been vaccinated over the weekend of the 9th/10th Jan 2021, with several hundred on Monday and a further 2,000 expected on Wednesday and Thursday.

Published Tue, 12 Jan 2021 11:46:05 +0000

Dr David Staples joins virtual meeting of Cheshire Masters' and Masons' Forum

The Grand Secretary & Grand Scribe E Dr David Staples was kind enough to address the Cheshire Masters’ and Masons’ Forum in the first week of January. With an online audience of over 250 Freemasons in attendance, Dr Staples wished the members a Happy New Year, describing 2021 as 'the year Freemasonry gets going again.'

The special event, organised by Michael Shiels, Chairman of the Cheshire Masters’ and Masons’ Forum, was framed around a series of questions put forward by the audience, which included many distinguished guests, who were also addressed by the Provincial Grand Master of Cheshire, Stephen Martin Blank, who was very pleased to congratulate Brian Mayoh on reaching exactly 50 years in Freemasonry that evening. Amongst some of the areas discussed, Dr Staples told the assembly that a key priority for Freemasonry this year will be to ensure an even greater level of transparency between the fraternity and the general public, in order to finally put an end to the often talked about misconceptions surrounding the organisation.

He was also able to shed light on some of the valid fears surrounding the manner in which Freemasons meetings will be held in a post-vaccination world, stating that the medical guidance is at the forefront of their rationale behind UGLE’s decision. Linked to the pandemic, the work done by Masonic Halls across the country was applauded, with a special mention to the use of Cheshire View which is being used as a vaccination station.

Following a series of questions discussing the use of online meeting platforms such as Zoom, Dr Staples indicated that modernisation of the fraternity will inevitably take place, but will be proportionate. He assured members that such modernisation would not dilute the significance of actual Lodge meetings, stating that they need take place in a tyled room. However, new forms of communication such as the successful First Rising will continue after the pandemic is over, with Dr Staples recognising the importance of communication and its relationship with membership retention. As a result, UGLE are now moving to a position where there is an expectation for all of its members to use email, highlighting that emails are now a fact of life.

On a light hearted note, Dr Staples confessed to the fact that one of his more humbling moments was during the Tercentenary celebrations in 2017, whilst acting in his then role as Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, he arrived at his seat in the Royal Albert Hall to find that had been acquired by none other than one of the Grand Master’s Royal Protection Officers, and forcing him to stand up throughout the duration of the three hour event.

The opportunity to pose questions, and to have the Grand Secretary respond in such a knowledgeable, forthright and clear manner was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone involved, with Dr Staples noting that the audience number did not drop at all once the Manchester City v Manchester United football match started 45 minutes into his address, much to his relief!

Published Thu, 07 Jan 2021 14:25:15 +0000

Masonic documents dating back 167 years lift lid on Bradford members’ Germanic roots

Historical records from a Bradford Masonic order are giving a fascinating insight into the German heritage of its early membership

Included with items of regalia including aprons, robes, banners, collars and certificates from the now closed Chapter of Sincerity - which was consecrated in 1854 and initially met at The Literary Institute, on Darley Street - were detailed minute books and financial ledgers.

The records reveal that a good number of those who founded the Chapter were German, or from Germanic decent, who came to Bradford to work in the city’s burgeoning cloth and textiles industry.

The Founder and First Principal was Joseph Arnold Unna, who is recorded as taking a great interest in local trade and charitable organisations. Born in Hamburg in 1800, he came to Leeds in 1836, and then to Bradford in 1844, to take charge of the local branch of a Manchester merchanting house, Messrs SL Behrens & Co.

In the second quarter of the 19th Century, when Bradford was extending in leaps and bounds both in size and population, Germans settled in Bradford to merchant the wool and cotton goods manufactured in the district.

A local directory of 1853 counts more than 50 German Merchanting Houses in the city. The number of Freemasons in Bradford increased considerably by a large influx of members of German extraction, with ceremonies and conversations performed and carried on in a mixture of English and German.

Other founders named in the Chapter of Sincerity’s first minutes include Hermann Neumann, Salomon Bardsdorf, Michael Schonfeld, Ferdinand Spiro and John Grupper.

Early members listed include Julius Wolffsohn, Isidor Ahrens, Anton Engelmann, Moritz Rothenstein, John Ludwig Siltzer and Charles Unna.

Whilst there was a break in meetings of the Chapter from March 7, 1867 until April 6, 1871, the Franco-German War, which began in 1870, not only saw a boom in the export of cloth to the continent, it coincided with a marked increase in Masonic activity.

Four new members were ‘exalted’ (initiated) into the Chapter of Sincerity in April 1871, with a further four proposed for membership at the same meeting.

Following on from its consecration 167 years ago, the Chapter met at various locations apart from The Literary Institute. These were The Connaught Rooms, Spring Bank Place off Manningham Lane, and finally from December 2015 until its closure last October, Pudsey Masonic Hall.

Whilst the minute books detail the events of each Chapter meeting - namely the ceremonies conducted and who attended them - the itemised bills specify the food and drink purchased for the ‘Festive Board’ - the meal traditionally held after each meeting.

At one occasion, which took place on November 21, 1888, at the Alexandra Hotel, on Great Horton Road, the Chapter racked up a bill of five pounds and four shillings for 13 bottles of whiskey, a bottle of sherry, a bottle of brandy and cigars.

On October 2, 1894, the ‘supper’ order included 21-and-three-quarter pounds of mutton leg and beef crop, a scalded calf’s head, four pounds of cheese, two stone of potatoes, four cauliflowers, one butter and three dozen dinner buns. Also on the list was the loan of four plants and the purchase of cut flowers.

Ahead of another meeting on September 18, 1899, the Chapter purchased six bottles of Glenlivet whisky, six bottles of Irish whiskey, two bottles of gin and 72 bottles of Bass ale from Gladstone and Conghar wine and spirit merchants.

John Watson, who joined the Chapter of Sincerity in 1997, said: 'The Chapter minute books give a fascinating insight into its first meetings and the Masons who helped found it back in 1854.

'The minute books are beautifully written and detail the events of each meeting, the ceremonies conducted, and who attended them.

'It’s clear from these records that the Chapter of Sincerity had a strong German cohort, and Bradford Freemasonry in general benefitted greatly from these migrants drawn to the city by its flourishing textiles industry.

'Whilst it’s a great pity the Chapter of Sincerity is no more, Bradford still has a strong Masonic community, with members drawn from across the community who are keen to be part of our fraternal organisation.

'My hope is that these records, and those from Masonic Lodges and Chapters from across our Province, are digitised and made available for the general public to access.'

John added: 'Whilst the nature of our meetings has not altered much from the 1850s, the festive boards certainly have. They are still highly enjoyable but possibly not quite as boozy as those enjoyed in the later part of the 19th Century.'

Additional information regarding Freemasonry in the Province of Yorkshire West Riding is available from its website.

Published Mon, 04 Jan 2021 13:09:31 +0000

Lodge of Research No.2429 in Loughborough publishes the lost Fleeman Papers

When the Loughborough Hoard of Masonic artefacts were discovered behind a panel in the storeroom at Loughborough Masonic Hall in September 2017, they were found to contain many handwritten lectures by Frederick Fleeman, who had been Master of Howe and Charnwood Lodge, No.1007, in 1916, Founder and Primus Master of Beacon Lodge, No.5208, in 1930 and Master of The Lodge of Research, No.2429, in 1940

The earliest paper was written in 1911 and delivered to the Howe and Charnwood Lodge of Instruction in February 1911 and the last was his Inaugural Address to the Lodge of Research just three months before his death.

Many of these papers had never been printed; indeed the 1939 History of Howe and Charnwood Lodge was only known to have existed from the Lodge Minute Book. Similarly, his paper on the Rancliffe Lodge, No.608, which is a development of the chapter in his 1919 book on Freemasonry in Loughborough, was not known to have been written. (His 1919 book, The History of Freemasonry in Loughborough is not included, although the final proofs were among the artefacts.)

The e-book, which can be accessed via the Lodge of Research, No.2429 website, brings together all the known papers he wrote and include some fascinating facts. His histories of the early days of Freemasonry in Loughborough are of great interest, including a reference which shows a direct family link between one member of the Craft, a previous Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire, and H. M. Queen Elizabeth ll.

David Sharpe, Editor Transactions of the Lodge of Research, No.2429, has now brought together all the known papers that Fleeman wrote for the first time in ‘The Fleeman Papers’ which can be read online at the page dedicated to the Fleeman papers on the Lodge of Research No.2429 website.

Published Sat, 02 Jan 2021 10:28:44 +0000

Freemasonry Cares

Quarterly magazine of the United Grand Lodge of England, featuring freemasons' news, interviews, and features. Free to view online alongside exclusive content.
Published Thu, 21 Jan 2021 01:30:35 +0000

Provincial Grand Mentor of the Brevity Lodge in Hampshire and Isle of Wight shares his personal story about why he became a Lifelites Gold Benefactor

John Donoghue of the Brevity Lodge in Hampshire and Isle of Wight is a Lifelites gold benefactor. Here is John’s moving story about why he decided to become a benefactor, and make a regular monthly gift to Lifelites

'When my oldest daughter was a child, she suffered with several health conditions and was on kidney dialysis. When she was 22 years old, it was discovered that her only chance of survival was to have a kidney transplant, and that the most likely match would be one of her siblings. Even though her brother and sister were only 15 and 17 years old at the time, we went ahead and had them tested to see if they would be a match. Sadly, both came back negative. It was then that I asked the doctor if I and my wife could be tested, and we were told that it was highly unlikely that we would match. We went ahead and had ourselves tested anyway, as this was the only chance our daughter had at survival; if neither of us matched, she would be given just six weeks to live.

'I will never forget the day that my wife and I received our test results back. Heartbreakingly, we heard first that my wife was a 0% match, so there was no way she could donate. Then the doctor told us, in total surprise himself, that against all of the odds, I was a complete match and could donate a kidney to save my daughter’s life. It was after spending time in the hospital and meeting families like mine, who were going through difficulties with their children’s health that I decided I had to stand up and do something important to help.

'I decided to become a Lifelites benefactor after Lifelites CEO Simone came and gave a talk at my Lodge. Having had first-hand experience of the unimaginable lives that some of these children lead, I felt it was my duty to help. In Freemasonry, we have four values; integrity, friendship, respect and charity. In my opinion, the value of charity embraces all of the finest things a person can be. For the children using hospice services, communication is so often their only hope and that’s what Lifelites gives them, through donating their amazing technology packages. It’s just priceless to see the smile of a child who can communicate with their family for the first time.

'Giving £8 a month to become a Lifelites gold benefactor equates to just 26p a day, and would mean the world to some of the most vulnerable children in our society. As Lifelites was started as a Freemasons project, I believe it is our duty to ensure that this wonderful charity is fully supported by Freemasons all over the country. I would like to see each one of our 200,000 brothers across the British Isles pledge to change the lives of life-limited and disabled children, by signing up to become a Lifelites benefactor.'

Lifelites is the only charity that donates and maintains assistive technology for the 10,000 life-limited and disabled children using every children’s hospice service across the British Isles. The technology gives these children the opportunity to play with their brothers and sisters, be creative, communicate with their parents and control something for themselves, for as long as it is possible.

Since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, we can all better understand how being isolated and disconnected from friends and family can make us feel. The pandemic means that the vulnerable children using hospice services are more isolated than ever, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. The technology that your support will help us to provide will enable them to learn, play, communicate and, most importantly, to express how they feel during this difficult and unsettling time.

If you would like to learn more about Lifelites or become a Lifelites bronze, silver, or gold benefactor, please visit or contact Sam Davies at


Notes to Editor

Lifelites empowers 10,000 children and young people in hospices with life-limiting, life-threatening illnesses and disabling conditions by providing them with opportunities to benefit from the power of assistive and inclusive technologies to learn, to be creative, to communicate and to take control. There is a Lifelites project in every children’s hospice service across the British Isles. The hospices do not pay a penny towards their Lifelites project and all of Lifelites’ work is funded by donations: the equipment, ongoing technical support and training at each hospice costs around £50,000 over four years.

Charity Number: 1165791

Published Thu, 29 Oct 2020 17:08:34 +0000

Devonshire Freemasons help abuse victims stay safe with £3,270 grant

Survivors of abuse across the county will continue to receive the help they need, thanks to a grant of £3,270 from Devonshire Freemasons to the” SAFE” charity (Stop Abuse For Everyone)

Incidents of domestic abuse have risen considerably since the lockdown began, leading to SAFE’s finances coming under real strain. SAFE works in the community, in schools, with social services and from their SAFE hub in Exeter employing 12 staff and up to 40 volunteers to help survivors of abuse regain control of their lives.

Abuse can affect any or all the members of a household and helping to eradicate this traumatising, controlling behaviour is at the heart of what they do, centring on goals, strengths and needs of those effected and help them regain control of their lives.

SAFE are passionate about ending abuse both mental and physical and have been working towards this goal for over 40 years and give support to families and individuals throughout Devon. The charity hold courses and also give support on a one to one basis, whatever is needed to end the cycle of abuse for survivors and their families which can be so isolating and lonely for those effected.

The grant from Devonshire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the Freemasons' Charity, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

In response to the extraordinary need created by the coronavirus pandemic, Freemasonry is providing special funding of £2.75 million for projects helping those who are particularly affected by the virus. This extra money comes on top of the estimated £45 million given to charity every year by Freemasons.

Dr. Reuben Ayres, from Devonshire Freemasons, said: 'I’m very pleased we’ve been able to support the wonderful work of SAFE in our community. During the lockdown the problem of domestic abuse has become even worse, with survivors often trapped inside with their abuser. SAFE has never been more important.'

Lucy Skye of SAFE, replied by saying: 'We’re very grateful to the Devonshire Freemason for this generous donation. SAFE is a grassroots local charity and this money will help us to continue to deliver vital recovery services to children and their parents in all parts of Devon. It’s only by working together that we’ll succeed in achieving our aim of ending domestic abuse.'

Published Tue, 21 Jul 2020 11:24:13 +0100

Appeal by Lifelites patron and rock star Rick Wakeman helps life-limited children isolated in London

The 2019/20 seasonal appeal from the music star Rick Wakeman on behalf of the charity Lifelites has raised over £42,000 for life-limited and disabled children using hospice services

The Covid-19 pandemic has left many people feeling overwhelmed by the sudden change of routine and isolation. Everyone is now getting a living insight into what it is like to be a life-limited and disabled child; unable to leave the house independently, or speak to people and socialise naturally, or even carry out all sorts of everyday activities that we usually take for granted – and these are all the challenges that Lifelites is seeking to help these children overcome through the provision of their special technologies.

Lifelites donates and maintains assistive and inclusive technology for the 10,000 life-limited and disabled children using every children’s hospice service across the British Isles. This technology gives these children the opportunity to play, be creative, communicate and control something for themselves, for as long as it is possible.

The appeal, organised by London Freemasons, was sent to Freemason Lodges all over London late last year, and the charity was staggered by the response it received, raising £42,785. This is the fifth year of this festive appeal to London Freemasons for Lifelites, and the total now stands at a staggering £178,000 raised for Lifelites’ vital work.  

Lifelites Chief Executive, Simone Enefer-Doy, said: 'It has been astonishing how enthusiastic Freemasons across London are with their support for Lifelites. We’d like to thank everyone for their incredible generosity and give special thanks to Rick Wakeman for his commitment to supporting our work. The funds raised will help life-limited and disabled children across London to escape the confines of their conditions and do things they never thought possible. In such difficult times like these, it is brought home to us how every moment is precious for these children and their families and these funds will ensure they can make every second count.'

Rick Wakeman said: 'I am delighted to be a patron of this remarkable charity. It’s so wonderful to see children facing life-threatening challenges use technology in ways that many of us take for granted. As we all are isolated now, we understand the need for technology to communicate and socialise so much more. Lifelites gives them the opportunity to communicate and play in ways they aren’t able to otherwise – it’s simply magic.'

Would you like to find out more? If you have speaking opportunities at future Lodge meetings or events later in the year, the team can come and showcase their magical technology and speak about the impact it has on life-limited and disabled children using hospice services.

Alternatively, Lifelites are holding online video calls to introduce their technology and demonstrate the impact it has on life-limited and disabled children at every children’s hospice service across the British Isles. If this is something you’re interested in, please get in touch with Samuel Davies by emailing

Published Wed, 03 Jun 2020 14:18:58 +0100

£500 donation helps Friendship at Home let the vulnerable know they're not forgotten

A £500 donation from the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), The Freemasons’ Charity, is helping a Cleethorpes-based organisation to beat the lockdown misery for elderly and vulnerable people no longer able to meet

Friendship at Home offers a volunteer befriending service to older people in North East Lincolnshire who are lonely and isolated – but has had to modify the way it works as a result of the ongoing lockdown faced by its clients.

The value of the service is summed up by Sally, a 90-year-old user of the Friendship at Home service. She's really missing the Tuesday Club and lunch club session she regularly attended. In a tearful phone call she said: 'People don’t realise it’s not just the staying in; it’s the fact that I have no-one to call and nothing to do or look forward to. The days seem endless.

'That club was my weekly lifeline and the activities gave me something to look forward to. The phone calls I receive from the volunteers mean so much, as they ask not only about whether I have bread and milk but about my personal hobbies and interests and if I’d like anything picking up. I was really having a down day, and out of the blue there was a knock at the door. I opened it and there on the step was a beautifully wrapped parcel with a big puzzle, ‘Life Story’ Journal and bag of wool to knit for the Special Care Baby Unit. It was a great surprise which will keep me busy for a long time, and I’m doing something useful for those little babies. Thank you my friends at Friendship at Home; it truly is the right name for you.'

Doreen said: 'How kind to think that people are sending me this lovely present. I am 94 and I am on my own as all my family and friends have passed away. It is really kind of you to deliver something to keep my brain going as well as the shopping you have done for me.' Her thoughts were echoed by Iris, who said: 'Thank you so much for thinking of me. I will enjoy doing the word search and the crafts will keep me out of trouble. It just means a lot to know that I haven’t been forgotten.'

Friendship at Home Operational Manager Lyse Stephenson said: 'The £500 grant will make such a difference to our members as it enables them to take part in activities that they would usually be able to enjoy at our clubs and with their friends. By taking part in these activities it not only passes many solitary minutes, but communicates they have not been forgotten in these lonely times. We are seeing such a positive bearing on their mental health; thank you, Freemasons and the MCF.'

The Friendship at Home website says: 'It is recognised that loneliness can lead to depression and in turn, lack of confidence, low self-esteem and the withdrawal from social groups and activities.

'Our volunteer befrienders are there to offer company and friendship to those who are, primarily, living on their own. We at Friendship at Home work on a one-to-one basis, which means strong bonds are formed between the member and their befriender. The service ensures, through careful matching with our volunteers, that they have something in common – which is a foundation on which to build.

'The benefits of having someone to sit and talk to, share a trip to the garden centre, read a book or play a game of cards, can really make a difference to an older person’s wellbeing. We offer befriending either in the member’s own home, or in a residential home setting. It is apparent that although people are placed in residential care, some may still feel loneliness and isolation. We now have our volunteer befrienders who spend one-to-one time with those who need it in several care homes with in North East Lincolnshire.'

Names have been changed to protect the identity of those interviewed.

Published Mon, 18 May 2020 10:45:00 +0100

English and Welsh Freemasons give $150,000 for victims of Australian bush fires

People who have lost everything in the catastrophic Australian bushfires will be among those to benefit from a grant of AUS $150,000 from the Masonic Charitable Foundation to the Disaster Relief Funds set up by Australian Freemasons

The grant from the English and Welsh Freemasons’ charity will see $50,000 given to the Australian Freemasons’ Disaster Relief Funds in each of the three states most affected by the blaze, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

The unprecedented fires have seen 27 deaths, including a number of firefighters. 2,136 homes have been destroyed in New South Wales alone, more than 1,200 of which have burned down since New Year’s Eve. Thousands of Australians are living in more than a dozen large evacuation centres, having been forced to flee the blaze.

Meanwhile hundreds of homes and businesses have been lost in Victoria and South Australia. Many Australians have lost everything and the impact on the livelihoods of ordinary people is vast. The economy will take many years to fully recover.

An estimated 18 million acres of land have been burned – an area almost as large as Ireland. There has been an enormous impact on the environment, with up to a billion animals being killed. The death toll among koala bears alone has led to calls for the animals to be placed on the endangered species list.

The Masonic Charitable Foundation is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

David Innes, Chief Executive of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, said: 'These terrible fires are an ongoing disaster for thousands of Australians. I’m very pleased that English and Welsh Freemasons are working together with Freemasons in Australia to raise funds to help the victims of the blazes, many of whom have lost everything.'

Published Tue, 14 Jan 2020 14:07:28 +0000

Berkshire Freemasons donate £4,000 to Thames Valley Air Ambulance

A grant of £4,000 to the Thames Valley Air Ambulance from Berkshire Freemasons has been added to the total masonic support of £2.4 million given to air ambulances across the country since 2007

Apart from this grant, which comes from the Masonic Charitable Foundation, The Berkshire Masonic Charity has contributed over £4,500 to help patients with breathing difficulties. These donations and many others bring the total contribution to Thames Valley Air Ambulance by Freemasons over the last few years to £132,000.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance operates across Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire bringing advanced medical care to the most critically ill and injured patients. Between 1st October 2018 and 30th September 2019, the helicopter and Critical Care Response Vehicles responded to 2670 incidents in the region; 1013 of these were in Berkshire. They delivered advanced medical care to 1,667 patients.

Neil Harman, Director of Fundraising at Thames Valley Air Ambulance, said: 'We are very grateful to Berkshire Freemasons for their continuing generosity. Without support like this our teams of doctors, paramedics and pilots would not be able to continue delivering our life-saving work.'

Anthony Howlett-Bolton, Leader of Berkshire Freemasons, said: 'We are proud to be able to support the Thames Valley Air Ambulance. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the crew, many lives of local people are saved every year.'

Published Tue, 26 Nov 2019 19:05:17 +0000

Devonshire Freemasons donate £28,000 to Exeter Royal Deaf Academy

Whilst on a visit to the House of Lords Ian Kingsbury, Provincial Grand Master for Devonshire Freemasons, was inspired by a presentation given by Steve Morton, Director of Development for the Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education

Outlining the Academy’s aims and development plans for the future academy, which is to be relocated to a new site in Exmouth, - Ian was inspired so much so that he came back to Devonshire with the desire to help those who are affected by this very difficult sensory disability. To this end, he approached the Devonshire Freemasons Benevolent Fund Committee for help, and they immediately responded by giving him a cheque for £5,000.

Following their visit to meet Steve Morton in October 2018 there has been an approach to the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) who have agreed further funding of £28,380 to equip a Multi-Sensory Immersive Space within the new centre in Exmouth, bringing the total donated to £33,380. 

Dr Reuben Ayres, Devonshire Provincial Grand Charity Steward, accompanied by Clive Eden, visited the Deaf Academy. Here they met up again with Steve Morton and Appeals Manager Sarah Shaw and presented them with a certificate denoting the £28,380 which is going to support the wonderful work undertaken by the Academy.

Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education has been located in Exeter for over 190 years and the current location is a property purchased many years ago which is no longer fit for the needs of the deaf students. The property and the land has now been sold and the proceeds will partially fund the new academy which is being been built with all the latest facilities available to the architects, to give the students what they really require.

All the students have additional needs, including multi-sensory disabilities, autism, epilepsy, and physical disabilities which is why, when designing the new building so much thought has gone into making each part of the facility user friendly. It is planned that completion of the new building will be by Easter 2020.

When presenting the certificate, Dr. Reuben Ayres said: ‘Young people all need us to be there to help them grow for the future, none more so than those with a lack of hearing who are denied the normal things that we take so much for granted in the world we live in.’

When receiving the certificate Steve Morton said: ‘We are extremely grateful for the ongoing support from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Devonshire and now the Masonic Charitable Foundation. Without the support of generous organisations like these we wouldn’t be able to change the lives of some of the most vulnerable Deaf young people in UK.

‘Our work helps young people, who have often been isolated in the past, to access education and opportunities for development which ultimately will enable them to have more independent lives. The immersive room is there to help those facing the greatest challenges to benefit from our work and Ian, Reuben and their fellow Freemasons have played a large part in making that a reality.’

Published Wed, 20 Nov 2019 00:00:00 +0000

Staffordshire Freemasons launch unique advertising campaign to promote MCF across Europe

Staffordshire’s Provincial Grand Master John Lockley endorsed and launched a unique advertising campaign to support the Masonic Charitable Foundation and the work they do to help communities throughout England and Wales with donations to local charities

A large advert has been placed on the side of an articulated trailer owned by local Freemason Danny Poole who runs a specialist chilled food distribution and transport business based in Stoke on Trent.

This giant trailer is decorated in specially commissioned MCF colours and branding and has been launched on the roads of the UK and Europe – in particular England, France, Germany and Belgium.

The idea was generated by Danny and his wife Jackie. Danny approached the Staffordshire MCF Representative Andrew Tomblin and generously offered a trailer for decoration in full MCF colours to carry the masonic message of Charity For All across the country and into Europe.  These trailers never stand still and rather like aircraft are out there somewhere constantly working and being seen by all.

Andrew took the idea and discussed the plan with the MCF marketing department team, which resulted in the creation of the new artwork designed to carry the Masonic message across the entire length of the trailer and the rear doors. The vehicle is breathtakingly large and very eye catching and will take Freemasonry’s caring message far and wide.

John Lockley said: ‘Many thanks to Danny and Jackie for their great idea and for allowing the use of this magnificent vehicle to help Staffordshire Freemasons promote the Masonic Charitable Foundation, nationally and internationally.’

Published Tue, 22 Oct 2019 00:00:00 +0100

Knowle Masonic Centre working in partnership with Age UK Solihull thanks to £63,000 grant

To tackle daily problems caused by loneliness and isolation, such as financial hardship, decline in physical or mental well-being or life transitions including retirement and bereavement, the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) launched a £1 million three-year partnership with Age UK in 2018 to fund a new project called ‘Later Life Goals’

Thanks to this project, Age UK advisers have been helping older people identify their goals for later life. So far, the project has supported over 2,370 older people.

There are 3.6 million older people in the UK, of whom over two million are over 75 years of age and live alone. The downside effects of loneliness on human body is equivalent to harm caused by 15 cigarettes a day which makes it even worse than obesity.

Research over loneliness shows that it is associated with a 50% increase in mortality from any cause. According to Age UK, it is associated with depression, sleep problems, impaired cognitive health, heightened vascular resistance, hypertension, psychological stress and mental health problems.

Age UK Solihull in Warwickshire, one of 13 branches in this project, has been working closely with Knowle Masonic Centre (KMC). During the summer, Keith Reynolds, Deputy Chairman of KMC, presented Anne Hastings, CEO of Age UK Solihull, the certificate sent by MCF granting £63,000 as part of the 3-year partnership. The level of co-operation between KMC and Age UK Solihull goes even beyond funding projects. KMC had gladly welcomed Age UK Solihull to have their regular meetings and social gatherings at KMC’s premises.

Futhermore, Age UK Solihull has initiated a significant service called ‘Linking People Together’ which aims at promoting individual independence, confidence and well-being. The service calls on volunteers to visit and befriend older people in their local areas. Volunteers are expected to create a personal connection with an older person who could be homebound or suffering from a long-term disease or having no family living locally. Volunteers can befriend someone either by phoning at an agreed time for a chat or by visiting them at their home.

It is also possible to accompany them to an activity or appointment. KMC is delighted to be part of this partnership and committed to support Age UK Solihull. To contribute the project, members of the KMC are encouraged to participate with their families.

Published Wed, 09 Oct 2019 21:52:01 +0100

Mark Master Masons donate £141,000 to Lifelites

Lifelites has received an incredible donation of £141,423 from the Mark Benevolent Fund, which will change the lives of thousands of life-limited and disabled children across the country

The Mark Benevolent Fund is the official charity of The Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, a registered charity that began in 1868 as an efficient way to donate money to the charities of the Mark Master Masons.

Lifelites donates assistive technology to over 10,000 life-limited and disabled children in hospices across the country, and this vital funding will support a brand new project being launched by the charity this year – the Tech Trunk.

The Tech Trunk is a solution for Hospice at Home services across the country that deliver palliative and respite care for children out in the community. The portable trunks enable hospice staff to take the Lifelites technology with them wherever they go, giving children the opportunity to have access to life-changing technology in their own home.

The trunks will include accessible, portable technology such as a Virtual Reality Headset, specialist iPads, games consoles and an Eyegaze, which enables children to use a computer just with the movement of their eyes. All of this technology gives these children the opportunity to play, be creative, control something for themselves and communicate, for as long as it is possible.

This funding will also help Lifelites to donate Interactive Entertainment Hubs, Mobile Magic Carpets, and other technology as well as vital training for children’s hospice staff on how to use it.

Simone Enefer-Doy, Chief Executive of Lifelites, said: ‘Our small team works tirelessly to raise the funds we so desperately need, and to have this unbelievably generous gift from the Mark Benevolent Fund is a complete game-changer for Lifelites.

‘It will help us provide technology to thousands of children across the country, children who don’t have the same opportunities that we do. Every moment is precious, and thanks to this donation we can help these children and their families make the most of every second.’

Darren Coleman-Heald, Charities Manager at the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, said: ‘We are delighted to have joined forces with Lifelites in this all-important project that reaches deep in to the heart of your community giving enjoyment and stimulation to life-limited and disabled children.

'Our 36,000 members will be pleased to know that their donations are being used wisely by helping those in need across the UK.’

Published Wed, 02 Oct 2019 12:23:25 +0100
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