Globe and Laurel Lodge 4657

Globe and Laurel


Masonic News and Initiatives



UGLE

Quarterly magazine of the United Grand Lodge of England, featuring freemasons' news, interviews, and features. Free to view online alongside exclusive content.
Published Mon, 22 Jul 2019 19:22:40 +0100

United Grand Lodge of England seeks a Personal Assistant (PA)

This position has now closed

United Grand Lodge of England seeks a Personal Assistant for the Private Office

This role will be to support and work under the Executive Assistant (EA), who reports to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with the day-to-day running of the Private Office. You will be the main liaison between Board member and UGLE and will cover for the EA to the CEO/Grand Secretary when out of office. This role requires a great deal of flexibility initially working 3 days per week.

Duties:

  • Management of incoming phone calls and emails as required.
  • Receive and interact with visitors.
  • Main liaison between Board members and UGLE.
  • Work closely with the Masonic services and External Relations teams to provide event itineraries for overseas travel.
  • Typing of business emails and letters.
  • Arrange committee meetings, prepare documentation and create agendas for distribution in advance of meetings.
  • Attend and take minutes of meetings.
  • Manage incoming post.
  • Make sure bookings in the private flat diary and travel calendar are updated on a daily basis.
  • Devise and maintain up-to-date soft copy filing and retrieval systems.
  • Additional similar tasks will be delegated by the EA in order to support the organisation’s objectives.
  • Expenses for the EA and CEO using an online system (Sage).

Must have skills:

  • Achieving measurable success in implementing major responsibilities and key tasks to agreed timescales, budgets and costs.
  • At all times working within organisational procedures and supporting the activities and requirements of the Board and Committee of General Purposes, and Senior Management.
  • Demonstrating visible activity, creativity, effort and commitment toward the achievement of objectives.
  • Commitment to work harmoniously and efficiently with and support the Board and Committee of General Purposes, Senior Management and other departments and staff at Freemasons’ Hall.
  • Retaining confidential information as it is required to be retained and refraining from creating, participating in rumour and innuendo detrimental to the focus, direction and objectives of the organisation.

Salary:

Competitive salary and benefits package:

Holiday 25 days (increasing to 30 days with length of service (LOS)
BUPA private medical cover
Pension (3.5% employee & 9% employer contributions – increasing to 12% with LOS)
Interest free season ticket loan
Gym membership (subsidised)
Employee Assistance Programme

Thank you for your interest. The closing date for applications for this position has now closed.


Published Tue, 02 Jul 2019 10:39:02 +0100

UGLE’s Grand Master, The Duke of Kent, unveils Victoria Cross Remembrance Stone at Freemasons’ Hall

In honour of all English Freemasons awarded the prestigious Victoria Cross (VC), the United Grand Lodge of England’s (UGLE) Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, unveiled a unique Victoria Cross Remembrance Stone at Freemasons’ Hall on 27th June 2019

The Remembrance Stone was commissioned in 2016 by Granville Angell to commemorate all English Freemasons who were awarded the Victoria Cross. The VC is the highest award for gallantry that can be conferred on a member of the British Armed Forces and since its introduction in 1856, more than 200 Freemasons have been awarded the Victoria Cross – making up an astonishing 14% of all recipients.

The Remembrance Stone was carved by Emily Draper, who was Worcester Cathedral’s first female Stonemason apprentice, having been sponsored by local Freemasons. During the preparation stage of the stone, Emily also found out that her Great Uncle was a Freemason VC recipient.

The event was opened by Dr David Staples, UGLE’s Chief Executive and Grand Secretary, followed by readings from Robert Vaughan, Provincial Grand Master of Worcestershire (My Boy Jack by Rudyard Kipling) and Brigadier Peter Sharpe, President of the Circuit of Service Lodges (The Soldier by Rupert Chawner Brooke).

Over 130 guests were in attendance including serving military personnel, a group of Chelsea Pensioners and Sea Cadets, as well as Sergeant Johnson Beharry, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for saving the lives of his unit – Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment – while serving in Iraq in 2004. Johnson is also a Freemason and a member of Queensman Lodge No. 2694 in London.

Music was provided by Jon Yates from the Royal Marines Association Concert Band, who performed the ‘Last Post’, a minute’s silence and the ‘Reveille’.

This was proceeded by the grand Unveiling and Dedication of the Remembrance Stone by The Duke of Kent, as a fitting tribute to the service and sacrifice of those Freemasons awarded the VC. The Duke of Kent also presented Emily with a stone carving toolset to aid her future projects.

The event was concluded with a speech by Brigadier Willie Shackell CBE, Past Grand Secretary of UGLE and Past President of the Masonic Samaritan Fund.

Dr David Staples, UGLE’s Chief Executive and Grand Secretary, said: “It’s been a huge honour to mark the dedication of this wonderful Victoria Cross Remembrance Stone and another significant milestone in our longstanding history.

“It is even more remarkable in the context that 14% of all recipients of the Victoria Cross have been Freemasons and I can think of no more fitting home than for it to be placed here at Freemasons’ Hall – a memorial to the thousands of English Freemasons who lost their lives during the Great War.”

Read Dr David Staples' speech here

Read the Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent's, speech here

Read Willie Shackell's speech here


Published Thu, 27 Jun 2019 12:00:22 +0100

Victoria Cross Remembrance Stone conclusion - Willie Shackell

Victoria Cross Remembrance Stone

27 June 2019 
Conclusion, Brigadier Willie Shackell CBE, Past Grand Secretary of UGLE and Past President of the Masonic Samaritan Fund

Your Royal Highness, my Lords, Ladies, Gentlemen and Brethren.

Sir may I thank you for unveiling this superb memorial dedicated to all those English Freemasons who have been recognised with this country’s highest award for courage and valour in the face of the enemy and also to say how privileged we are that it has been dedicated and unveiled in the presence of one of those valiant men, Brother Sergeant Johnson Beharry VC.

Sir, two years ago you unveiled our splendid memorial to those 65 English Freemasons who received the award during WW1, which was part of our Country’s remembrance that it was 100 years since the Great War. At the time I did receive mail from the odd “Brother Angry and disgusted” saying what about the rest! Today we recognise them all. Also at this time Brother Granville Angell told me he was having a stone made in the form of a VC for our memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum, a garden that had been opened earlier in the year. I politely told him that I thought it would be inappropriate and I thought that was that but I had reckoned without the determination and persistence of Brother Granville who then waited for the new Grand Secretary.

How wise he was and I can think of no more fitting place for it to be than here in Freemason’s Hall, the Masonic Peace Memorial Building, where I suspect far more Masons will see it and which is the spiritual home of Freemasonry.

May I thank you again, Sir, for graciously unveiling this fine memorial, thank you Brother Johnson for being here to represent all those brave men who have been awarded the VC, congratulate you Brother Granville on your persistence and generosity, our thanks to Emily Draper the splendid stone mason who produced it, to all those who have taken part in or helped to organise today’s dedication and finally to all of you for attending and witnessing another milestone in our proud history.


Published Thu, 27 Jun 2019 00:00:02 +0100

Victoria Cross Remembrance Stone Unveiling and Dedication - HRH The Duke of Kent

Victoria Cross Remembrance Stone

27 June 2019 
Unveiling and Dedication, The Grand Master HRH The Duke of Kent

Ladies, Gentlemen and Brethren, 

It is an enormous pleasure for me to be here today to unveil the Victoria Cross Remembrance Stone at Freemasons’ Hall.

One of the oldest social and charitable organisations in the world, Freemasonry’s roots lie in the traditions of the medieval stonemasons who built our castles and cathedrals. Which is why it is so fitting that this stone – commissioned by Granville Angell, Past Assistant Grand Sword Bearer – has been carved by Worcester Cathedral’s first female stonemason, Emily Draper. She beat forty-five other applicants to win this apprenticeship, which was jointly funded by the Worcestershire Freemasons and the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

Emily’s grandfather was a Freemason at a Lodge in Devon, whilst her Great Uncle was one of the Freemason Victoria Cross recipients we are honouring here today. I would like to express our thanks to Emily for all her dedication and hard work that went into creating the Remembrance Stone.

We would also like to show our appreciation of the expertise that went into producing this work by presenting you with this set of stonemasons’ tools to aid you in your future projects.

I have recently returned from visiting my cousin, Princess Elisabeth, in Belgrade. Whilst there I attended the 100th Anniversary gala for the foundation of the Grand Lodge of Yugoslavia – a region whose troubled legacy extends back through the centuries, as well as our own military involvement in the recent past.

Serbs, Croats and Slovenians were well represented and this is just one example of how Freemasonry brings peoples together and provides a safe space for those with very different outlooks to support and learn from each other.

Having served in the Armed Forces for more than 20 years I understand the common values shared by Freemasonry and the Services – camaraderie, respect, integrity – and the ideals of service and tradition.

It is an extraordinary fact that 14% of all Victoria Cross recipients have been Freemasons.

It is now time to unveil this splendid stone. It will stand as a tangible reminder of those Freemasons awarded the Victoria Cross. I am sure you will agree that this Remembrance Stone is a fitting tribute to their service and sacrifice.


Published Thu, 27 Jun 2019 00:00:01 +0100

Victoria Cross Remembrance Stone introduction - Dr David Staples

Victoria Cross Remembrance Stone

27 June 2019 
Introduction and welcome, Dr David Staples, UGLE's Chief Executive and Grand Secretary

Your Royal Highness, my Lords, Ladies, Gentlemen, Brethren.

Welcome to Freemasons’ Hall. Each year over 40,000 members of the public visit this building to learn a little more about the values and purpose of Freemasonry, and to marvel at this art deco masterpiece, one of the finest art deco buildings in London still used for its original purpose. It was conceived and built out of great conflict, as a lasting memorial to Peace, and to those thousands of Freemasons who lost their lives in the Great War. 

Those Lodges that contributed to the building of this great memorial are carved for posterity into the stones of its very walls, and the scroll of honour, the centrepiece of our building, just there, lists the names of our fallen. A closer look at those names shows that many Lodges held, amongst their memberships, NCOs, enlisted men and officers who would have met, and dined together, revealing something quite revolutionary at that time – that Freemasonry broke down the deeply ingrained barriers of class within British society. Those scholars of Kipling amongst you and those who are familiar with his poem ‘The Mother Lodge’ will recognise the same sentiments expressed within; that irrespective of the prevailing political and social climate, those of all races, classes, of differing religions, creeds and backgrounds have, for centuries, found a welcome within our Lodges. They are spaces where people could forget their differences and celebrate their common humanity with that most basic of human gestures – a handshake. They would be there for each other, through births and deaths, marriages, the good times and the bad as alluded to by the black and white squares of the floor carpet in every lodge room throughout the world. How ironic then that since that Great War, so many more lives have been lost, and so many more battles fought over those things which are seen, not as bringing people together, but as setting them apart.

Within our ritual, every Lodge listed on the walls around us has the right to bestow upon their Master a ‘Hall Stone Jewel’ to be worn during his period in office. I would like to read to you the part of our ritual pertaining to that presentation:

“The Hall Stone Jewel was conferred on this Lodge by the MWGM. Its form is symbolic, for on the side squares are inscribed the dates 1914-1918; four years of supreme sacrifice. In the centre is a winged figure, representing Peace, supporting a temple in memory of those Brethren who made the supreme sacrifice in the cause of King and their country. It should ever provide an inspiration to every Brother to put service before self.”

On this, the eve of the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles which consigned to history the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers, we gather here to remember and honour those, our members, who were awarded the Victoria Cross. The Treaty of Versailles serves, as every student of history will tell you, as a potent reminder that our leaders’ best intentions can lead to events never conceived without the benefit of hindsight.

The Victoria Cross is awarded for “most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy”. It may be awarded to a person of any military rank in any service and to civilians under military command. It was introduced on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to honour acts of valour during the Crimean War. Since then, the medal has been awarded 1,358 times. The metal from which the medals are struck is traditionally believed to be derived from Russian cannon captured at the Siege of Sevastopol and latterly from two cannons captured from the Chinese during the first Opium War.

More than 200 Freemasons worldwide have been awarded the Victoria Cross since its creation, making up an astonishing 14% of all recipients and some of their citations may be read in your leaflets.

Freemasonry offers a simple philosophical message to its members – that within each of us is a thoughtful, kind, tolerant and respectful individual. The purpose is not only to promote virtue, but also to promote a thoughtful approach to being virtuous.  It is centred around an analogy of building, or creating, and thus by chipping away our rough edges, much as Emily has done to the rough quarried stone to reveal this within; Freemasonry teaches us to chip away at our inadequacies revealing the better person we can be, one more fit to serve those less fortunate than ourselves, those who have fared less well in life than us, and those communities from which we are drawn.  

As Herman Hesse said ‘What we can and should change is ourselves: our impatience, our egoism, our sense of injury, our lack of love and forbearance. Every other attempt to change the world, even if it springs from the best intentions, is futile”. 

That sounds very dry and serious, but Freemasonry is anything but. We have an enormous amount of fun along the journey, meeting people we would never have otherwise met, making friends the world over, and raising £48m for charity last year and donating and estimated 5 million hours of our time to community voluntary service

It is no wonder that so many servicemen, and women, through their two Grand Lodges, find a parallel between the lives they have led in uniform and the camaraderie, support and friendship they find within lodge. 

It is for those men and women, and those still serving, and in recognition of the very high regard that the members of the United Grand Lodge of England have always had for our Armed Forces, that I am delighted to welcome you all to the dedication of this Remembrance Stone. After today’s ceremony it will be carried to its permanent home in the South West staircase of our main ceremonial entrance (just over there), under the watchful gaze of a bronze bust of Bro Sir Winston Churchill, thereby aptly filling a space that has lain empty since this building was first conceived over a century ago. It will serve as a mark of our deep respect and gratitude to those who, for their comrades, their friends, their Regiments and Ships and their country, have put service before self.  May we have the courage, in our lives, and in our own little ways, to follow their example.


Published Thu, 27 Jun 2019 00:00:00 +0100

Pro Grand Master's address - June 2019

Quarterly Communication

12 June 2019 
An address by the MW the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes

Brethren we have a number of firsts today. It is June and, therefore, the first meeting of Grand Lodge since the investiture of the new team of Acting Grand Officers. Some old hands, some new, including, of course, the Grand Director of Ceremonies. We wish them all well and hope they enjoy their term of office how ever long that may be.

Another first is the luncheon arrangements. This is not the place to go into the whys and wherefores of the action that the Grand Secretary has taken. Many of you will be aware of the reasoning. What I will say is that the Grand Secretary deserves our support and, whilst I know how reluctant you all are ever to comment on such issues, I am sure that he would welcome constructive comments.

Changing the subject: I was in Stockholm three weekends ago at the Installation of the new Grand Master of the Swedish Order of Freemasons. In his address the new Grand Master laid out his vision for the future which included ensuring that all new candidates who wished to join their Order were properly interviewed and briefed prior to their initiation so that they knew what was expected of them as Freemasons and what they, as Freemasons, should and should not expect from their membership. This struck a slight chord with me, Brethren. Are we, perhaps, ahead of the game with Pathway which is now being so widely used within our Constitution?

I am quite certain that Pathway is a 'game changer' for many of our Lodges and I am so pleased that so many of you have embraced it, as it makes attracting new Brethren much more effective and we are far more likely to effectively engage our new members if they have been introduced to Freemasonry in this way.

I have also been delighted to have seen the use of Solomon in a number of Lodges not least on my visit to Cyprus in April. Many of the excerpts are ideal for filling in idle moments in Lodge, when there is a natural gap in proceedings, without extending the overall time of the meeting.

I have said before, but it bears repeating. Time is a precious commodity in most people’s lives and becomes more so as time goes on. The time that we meet and the time we spend in Lodge are very relevant. Personally it might suit me very well to meet at 5 o’clock or even earlier, spend two hours in the meeting and then be finished by 9 to 9.30, but that would be a pretty selfish attitude when it comes to the younger brethren and in the case of most Lodges, a sure way of reducing its popularity for new members.

Brethren, let’s all be flexible and listen to each others’ requirements. If suitable, the meeting times can be varied from meeting to meeting as many Lodges already do, and we should not be afraid to consecrate new lodges that meet the needs of those we hope to attract rather than blindly supporting lodges that don’t.  Every Lodge has a natural life span. 

Brethren that is enough lecturing for one day. The gap between now and our meeting in September has the natural summer break from which I am sure we will all emerge with renewed vigour.


Published Wed, 12 Jun 2019 15:31:44 +0100

'The Road Back to 1723' presentation - Dr Ric Berman

Quarterly Communication

12 June 2019 
A presentation by Dr Ric Berman

Some years ago I was invited to a lodge in Greensboro, North Carolina. Having been seated, my neighbour informed me in a low voice that the ritual – like that elsewhere in North Carolina - was modelled on the form used in England in the early nineteenth century. However, much to my surprise, before the lodge was opened, the master asked the senior warden to order the deacons to ‘take the word’ from each of those present. And as the deacons walked the lines to receive the whispered password from each attendee, I was thankful that I had recently visited a lodge in Dublin and knew what was required. But rather than focus on my potential embarrassment, the more important point is this: North Carolina’s Masonic ritual was not from nineteenth-century England but had descended from the Irish and Antients, with roots dating back another sixty years to the mid-eighteenth century.

This made me think about historical context and how an awareness of the background to our ceremonies and ritual helps inform our understanding of Freemasonry and why we do what we do.

Many people consider that the origins of our Constitutions, published in 1723, lies in the ‘Old Charges’. These were the documents that governed the creation and regulation of stonemasons’ lodges and guilds, the first known of which – the Regius manuscript, dates from around 1390-1400. The second, the Cooke manuscript, is believed to date from around twenty to thirty years later. And there are more than a hundred such documents that reach from the end of the fourteenth century into the early eighteenth.

Each document follows almost exactly the same format. They begin with a statement of belief in God and the Holy Trinity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; continue with a pledge of allegiance to the king and lawful authorities; contain a ‘traditional history’ of Freemasonry; and conclude with the regulations governing the operation of the guild or lodge.

There is a reason for this structure. Anti-labour legislation enacted by Parliament rendered wage bargaining illegal and in order to circumvent this the guilds need to demonstrate that they were not seeking to disrupt but rather respected the established order of Church and State, and that their demands for ‘fair wages’ were part of a long tradition that dated back centuries and was associated with leading historical figures.

The Regius manuscript dates the arrival of Freemasonry in England to King Athelstan, an Anglo-Saxon king reigning in the tenth century. He is regarded as the first true English king, a man who united England against the Vikings and an iconic figure to mediaeval Britons.  The Cooke manuscript pushed the date back 700 years further to the third century and St Alban, the earliest English Christian martyr.  The manuscript notes that ‘Saint Alban loved well masons, and gave them … their charges and manner first in England’.  

Cooke also states that the level of wage rates the stonemasons were seeking to obtain had been ‘approved’ by Athelstan, who had also given his imprimatur to masonic guilds and assemblies: ‘and he loved well masonry and masons.  And he became a mason himself, and he gave them charges and names as it is now used in England, and in other countries.  And he ordained that they should have reasonable pay and purchased a free patent of the king that they should make [an] assembly when they saw a reasonable time.’

And James Anderson’s 1723 Constitutions appear to follow a similar vein, with Anderson noting that Freemasonry began with ‘Adam, our first parent … [who] had Geometry written on his Heart’.

It is important to understand that such histories were not to be taken literally. As with the Old Charges, Anderson’s historical account was designed to set a literary context for Freemasonry.  By positioning it as an ancient institution linked to icons from the past, the narrative afforded the organisation legitimacy and gave it an aura and attraction that was important in a society that valued tradition. 

But although the overall form and structure of the 1723 Constitutions may have been similar to that found in the Old Charges, the substance was fundamentally different.

The most important aspect of the 1723 Constitutions is a section known as the Charges.  This was written by Dr Jean Theophilus Desaguliers, a Huguenot, the third grand master and a subsequent deputy grand master.  Desaguliers’ Charges comprise a set of Enlightenment principles and provide the foundations for the creation of what is now modern Freemasonry.  The philosophical outlook that Desaguliers’ Charges embrace was radical at the time, and the thoughts expressed remain valid today.

The first masonic charge - Concerning God and Religion - replaced the traditional invocation to the Trinity and formal declaration of Christian belief. As written, the charge obliged Freemasons only to ‘obey the moral law’ within a framework of ‘that Religion in which all Men agree’.  It would no longer be the case that a mason should ‘be of the religion of that country or nation’ where he resided, but necessary only to believe in God and be a ‘good man and true’.

The charge was not an avowal of support for a specific religious canon or church.  The new Masonic oath was a simple declaration of faith in a divine being without a stated preference for any given form of worship.  It was openly latitudinarian, if not almost deist, and represented a denial of the importance of doctrine and of ecclesiastical organisation.

The second charge - Of the Civil Magistrate Supreme and Subordinate - made plain that there would no longer be fealty to a divinely-appointed absolute monarch – instead, a Mason will be ‘a peaceable subject to the Civil Powers wherever he resides’. He would also respect civil order – ‘A Mason is a peaceable Subject to the Civil Powers … is never to be concerned in Plots and Conspiracies against the Peace and Welfare of the Nation.’

At a deeper level, the second charge echoed the changes to England’s constitutional structure in the wake of the 1688 Glorious Revolution.  Where allegiance to the crown – ‘to be a true liege man to the king’ – was core to the Old Charges, the 1723 Constitutions and later oaths would state that Freemasons were subject to the ‘supreme legislature’.  For Desaguliers and the new Grand Lodge of England, the ideal political structure was that ‘which does most nearly resemble the Natural Government of our System’. Grand Lodge and hence Freemasonry would be supportive of constitutional monarchy and parliamentary government aligned with an independent judiciary - the ‘supreme legislature’.

The implication was that resistance to the crown could be justified where a king was in breach of his Lockean moral contract with those he governed.  This had been the basis of the Glorious Revolution and the justification for replacing James II with William and Mary.  It was no longer obligatory for Freemasons to be bound to ‘be true liegemen to the King of England without any treason or falsehood’. They would instead ‘attend’ and ‘respect’, but be ‘guided, not enslaved’.

And in the fourth charge there would be a rejection of patronage, the wheel upon which eighteenth-century Britain turned: in Freemasonry, ‘all preferment is to be grounded upon real worth and personal merit’.

Taken as a whole, this was a social and political manifesto born of Enlightenment values and based on Enlightenment philosophical ideas pioneered by John Locke, Isaac Newton and others. 

In June 1723, Freemasonry faced a threat to these tenets from one of its own – the Duke of Wharton, the second noble Grand Master.  During his term of office the duke had embraced the Jacobites – the supporters of the exiled Pretender, James Stuart. In response, and at Desaguliers’ request, the Grand Lodge of England resolved ‘that it is not in the power of any man, or body of men, to make innovations in the body of Masonry without the consent first obtained of the Annual Grand Lodge’.

2023 will of course be the tercentennial anniversary of the publication of Anderson’s Constitutions and of Desaguliers’ Charges. The Constitutions and Charges provide the cornerstone upon which English and much of international Freemasonry rests. And it is not only appropriate but incumbent upon us to mark and celebrate this event. To paraphrase T. S. Elliot, we should explore our past and, at the end of so doing, arrive where we began and know the place for the first time.

But as we look back over three hundred years along the Road to 1723, it is also incumbent upon us to turn and to look forward.


Published Wed, 12 Jun 2019 00:00:00 +0100

Grand Secretary's column - Summer 2019

From the Grand Secretary

This Saturday, I attended a masonic event that will live with me until the end of my days. My mother lodge, Apollo University Lodge, No 357, met at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford – a building I last visited for my graduation in 2001 – to celebrate its bicentenary. In attendance were the Most Worshipful Grand Master, the Pro Grand Master, the Deputy and Assistant Grand Masters and the Provincial Grand Master for Oxfordshire, as well a host of friends, members and past members. 

The lodge was opened in a room adjoining the theatre, called off and there followed a potted presentation on the history of the lodge, and the presentation of a badge to UGLE for the use of the lodge by the Rouge Croix Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary to Her Majesty The Queen – something rather unusual I gather. All this in front of the families and friends of lodge members past and present, the Grand Master and Grand Secretary of the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons and a host of invited guests from the university and beyond. It was, of course, an opportunity to showcase Freemasonry to a wider audience, to bust myths, talk of the bursaries the lodge funds for underprivileged students at the university, and remind the academics visiting us that we are one of the oldest and one of the very few university student societies to be able to claim uninterrupted meetings for over two centuries. 

All this was done in the unselfconscious, one might even say brazen style, exemplified by the 19-year-old undergraduate who, after speaking to the Pro Grand Master, attended by his DepGDC, for five minutes, had the disarming naivety to exclaim, ‘I’m terribly sorry, I didn’t quite catch who you are…’

The reception followed at the Ashmolean Museum under the gaze of a 2,000-year-old statue of Apollo and a rather raucous dinner ensued at Keble College, finishing when the bar shut at 4am with a round of McDonald’s with port chasers (I had made a dignified exit around midnight you understand…).

The event brought home to me happy memories of my initiation and my first meetings and introductions to Freemasonry. It also reminded me of what I consider to be a universal fact about Freemasonry, which is that, almost without exception, we consider our first tentative steps in the Craft, and the lessons that they teach us, to be the quintessential masonic experience. To me, nothing will ever surpass Apollo University Lodge. But to those of you reading, I suspect you would say exactly the same thing about your mother lodges, and no matter where we go, and how much we enjoy our Freemasonry elsewhere, few of us would admit the ceremony we had just seen, or the atmosphere we had enjoyed, could hold a candle to those meetings we remember from our formative steps in the Craft.

And therein lies a problem, one with which we all must grapple. There is no doubt that my idea of a wonderful lodge meeting would leave some of you stone cold. We do not all like the same things, and there are as many different types of lodges as there are types of Freemason. Through its ritual, traditions and customs, Freemasonry seeks to inspire its members. It encourages them, through dramatic shared experience, to seek for knowledge, and to put service before self. It does this in myriad different ways that appeal to different people. Times change though, and what may have worked in the past might not attract members now. Some lodges are simply unable or unwilling to communicate happiness or connect across generational divides. It is a source of great pride that my mother lodge, over its 200-year history, has numbered among its members many men who have made significant contributions to wider society, in all walks of life. In order for a lodge to continue to do this, and to thrive, it must find ways to keep its members engaged, interested, and coming back for more. It must also find ways to replace those members who leave or who die. It seems to me that there are a number of lodges which, put simply, don’t really mind either way, and perhaps we should all be a little more relaxed about this. Lodges exist to serve a purpose for their members, but some have no interest in keeping going forever. 

I remember my time as a Metropolitan DepGDC and the wonderful and moving ceremonies that the Met performed when a lodge handed back its warrant. There was an honest acknowledgement that lodges come together for a purpose, and for some, that purpose runs its course. The Craft has the means to create new lodges which meet the needs of present-day petitioners. Lodges which are able to attract and retain members will survive and thrive, perhaps even spawning daughter lodges in their own image, while those that can’t will, in all likelihood, pass into history. Which sort is your lodge, dear reader, and more importantly, are you content with that?

Dr David Staples
Grand Secretary

‘There is no doubt that my idea of a wonderful lodge meeting would leave some of you stone cold. We do not all like the same things, and there are as many different types of lodges as there are types of Freemason’


Published Tue, 11 Jun 2019 00:00:00 +0100

Interview with Director of Member Services Prity Lad

Membership & modernisation

At the heart of UGLE’s membership system is the new Director of Member Services. Prity Lad takes us on a tour of Freemasons’ Hall and reveals UGLE’s forward-thinking support programme for current and future members

Prity Lad has just finished her photoshoot for FMT, which saw her leading the photographer around Freemasons’ Hall looking for the perfect location to sum up the welcoming nature of her new position, while being careful not to lose us in its labyrinthine interior. She’s worked in the building since 2007, but notes, ‘It’s rare that I have time to look around this amazing place. It’s vast.’

Prity’s time has been particularly precious recently, having taken up her new position as Director for Member Services. The role was created as part of the internal restructure of UGLE under Grand Secretary and Chief Executive Officer Dr David Staples. 

‘There’s been a shift in the way we operate here at UGLE,’ explains Prity. ‘Departments originally reported directly into the Grand Secretary. Dr Staples has brought in a new level of senior management to develop a professional, fit-for-purpose headquarters for the benefit of our members and staff. I work closely with the Director of Masonic Services with whom I share an office. It works well, as there is a need for cooperation internally and communication externally to look after our members’ interests.’

SHARED VALUES

Before taking up her new position, Prity had worked for UGLE as a software training consultant, focused on ADelphi, UGLE’s internal membership system. She had read law at university, after which there was a period of working in education and training, during which time she obtained a post-graduate certificate in education. In 2000, she changed tack and moved into the IT sector. Her role as a training manager for a software house involved implementing training and managing change for the Ministry of Defence, NHS and cruise sectors, both in the in the UK and overseas. She started working at Freemasons’ Hall in 2007, but left after a year to raise her family, before returning in 2012. 

‘I had no prior knowledge of the world of Freemasonry,’ Prity says. ‘The attraction for me was working in IT in a unique business setting,’ she says. ‘I’ve learnt a lot about the Craft since then and I find it fascinating – the traditions, the values, things that don’t feature prominently in most working environments, and things that I have come to respect – I’m happy to be part of it.’

Prity’s role allows her to draw on her admiration for Freemasonry as she helps to develop new ideas and methods. Her department oversees three primary components: Registration, External Relations and District support. Part of this involves reaching out to people interested in Freemasonry. ‘Areas we want to focus on include attracting new members, but also finding better ways to engage with our existing membership. In order to do this, we want to identify and promote what Freemasonry represents and the values the organisation has,’ says Prity. ‘Respect, integrity and charity are core to Freemasonry and are the reasons many people join in the first place. We want to emphasise that, and show the inclusive nature of the organisation.’ 

That is only one element of Prity’s job. An overarching goal across the three departments is to streamline, simplify and modernise processes without making them inaccessible to Freemasons who might be less comfortable with technology. The registration team deal with all aspects of membership, enabling them to build a complete picture of somebody’s masonic record, ensuring it remains updated with the relevant degrees, offices and certificates. ‘The intention is to modernise the process,’ says Prity. ‘We want to eliminate paper and repetition, reduce delays and make it easier for the lodge Secretaries and, ultimately, the members themselves.’

FOSTERING CURIOSITY

When it comes to Districts, part of the focus recently has been on improving the administrative support supplied by UGLE. The Districts are experiencing annual growth of 10 per cent, and UGLE wants to support and amplify the work they do within their communities. As regards external relations, process and protocols must be followed to ensure UGLE’s polices are adhered to correctly. And this is one area where Prity’s IT background comes in handy. 

‘We receive a lot of enquires from people around the world interested in Freemasonry, and the external relations team is looking at modernising that interface so people can get the information they need online,’ she says. ‘We are always here to support potential members, and want to make information accessible, such as automating some processes in a secure environment. That way, if somebody is interested in becoming a Freemason, they can visit the website, put in their information and we can advise them which Grand Lodge to contact depending on where they are located. We want to make the website more informative and easier to use. We don’t just want to modernise, we want to enhance what we offer without excluding any of our existing membership.’

LIFELONG LEARNING

Prity then turns to two initiatives that Grand Lodge would like to roll out to the Districts to help with learning and development. Solomon is a collection of online material facilitating the members’ learning – it contains presentations, essays and ‘nuggets’ of knowledge and information from a variety of sources that will help in any stage of a masonic career. ‘This has already been rolled out across our Provinces. It is our intention to introduce Solomon and The Members’ Pathway to the Districts,’ she says. 

‘The Members’ Pathway was launched in 2017 and provides a series of steps that lodges and chapters can follow to attract, encourage and introduce new members. An important element of both initiatives is keeping current members engaged and adding value to help with their journey, to keep it relevant to them as they continue. It’s a different way of working and can help in the way they liaise with their members.’ 

That commitment to the members is central to everything Prity is doing, just as it is at the heart of what Dr David Staples and UGLE are working towards. ‘There’s a refreshing change taking place,’ she says. ‘There are so many ways to move forward and the senior team is bringing together a skill set with fresh ideas from which the members will ultimately benefit. That’s the long-term goal. It’s about our current members, what we can do for them to improve our services, but also for those who want to learn more about Freemasonry. There’s a vast amount of good work done in the Provinces that benefits the communities around them and we want to make potential members aware of that when they visit the website and read our literature. We want to raise the profile of the incredible work that members are engaged in – at all levels.’

‘We want to eliminate paper and repetition, reduce delays and make it easier for the lodge Secretaries and, ultimately, the members themselves’


Published Tue, 11 Jun 2019 00:00:00 +0100

Freemasons' Hall through a lens with Japanese photographer Kenji Kudo

A different view

In the first of our photo series revealing Freemasons’ Hall through a lens, John Revelle speaks to photographer Kenji Kudo about his passion for this iconic building

What inspired you to start taking photos?

As a boy, I had a toy pinhole camera that had been given away with a photography magazine. I was also developing and printing my own photos from a very young age, I think around five years old. It was a wonderful experience – and one which sparked my lifelong love of photography. It’s difficult to believe that was almost half a century ago now.

What do you like to photograph and why?

We get used to seeing the things around us, the familiar objects of the everyday. I try to make those things strange and unusual. Renew them. 

When did you first come to Freemasons’ Hall and why did you want to photograph it? 

My first visit was in 2011 when I was shooting for a book to be published in Japan. At the time, masonic buildings there were largely inaccessible to the public. But when I asked if I could shoot here I was told that, although it was an unusual request, it would be no problem and the friendly staff let me do my work.

What made you come back last summer to take this second batch of photos?

After that first shoot I was hooked. Some time later, I was looking back over all my photos and Freemasons’ Hall stood out as the most exciting subject I’d ever worked on. 

And then Jody at UGLE found some of my photos on Instagram and got in touch, asking if he could repost them on social media. I of course agreed. He also said that if I was ever in London he would personally take me round the building for another shoot and give me full access to all the lodge rooms. I was on a plane the next month.

The photos have been so popular, even gracing the cover of the last issue of this magazine. I’m very thankful to him for taking such an interest. I think Freemasons’ Hall is special because it’s not been ruined by changes or renovation. It has that majestic air of years ago. 

Any advice for members wanting to take their own photos of lodge rooms or masonic architecture?

Use a wide-angle lens that lets in lots of light and work lightly and quickly to capture the emotion of what you see in your mind’s eye.

What projects do you have coming up in the future?

I would love to publish a glossy coffee table book of my photos of Freemasons’ Hall. Something permanent and high quality to truly honour the building for years to come.


Published Tue, 11 Jun 2019 00:00:00 +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 Mon, 22 Jul 2019 19:22:41 +0100

North Wales Freemasons donate £84,460 to help British Red Cross launch project to reduce unnecessary hospital stays

The British Red Cross has launched a pilot scheme in North Wales to help people build independence and better links with their communities and reduce unnecessary hospital admissions. The move comes thanks to a £84,460 grant from North Wales Freemasons

The Pathways to Better Health service aims to help over-50s in Conwy and Denbighshire who have been identified as needing extra support due to a pattern of frequent hospital attendance or calls to the emergency services.

The project will help people who call 999 or go to emergency departments (ED) more than 12 times a year, many of whom are among the most vulnerable members of our communities with few alternative sources of help. They may have multiple, complex needs including loneliness, social isolation or drug and alcohol dependency issues.

Figures for 2017 show that frequent attenders accounted for 86,000 Welsh ED attendances costing £36.4 million to the NHS.

The scheme, which runs for a year, will enable trained Red Cross staff to work in partnership with emergency services and ED teams to find people who could benefit, and refer them to the service.

The project team will then work with people to identify the root causes of their frequent attendance, and support them to develop coping strategies. By providing emotional and practical support, helping to build confidence, and signposting to other services in their community that could help, the team will aim to increase a person’s health and well-being, independence and resilience.

It is hoped this will reduce the number of calls to the emergency services and visits to the NHS, saving money, freeing up resources and improving the lives of those who are helped by the project.

In a previous pilot project in Swansea, the results revealed 96 per cent of people helped reported a positive change in emotional health, a 70 per cent positive change in physical health and a 69 per cent positive change in reducing loneliness and isolation.

The pilot, which was launched by the British Red Cross in November 2017, covered the Western Bay area in Wales including Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea. It helped 22 people for 16 weeks and resulted in a huge reduction in 999 calls and hospital attendances from the participants.

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

Stanislava Sofrenic, Independent Living Operations Manager for Red Cross Wales said: 'We are thrilled to have launched this scheme in North Wales. I’d like to thank North Wales Freemasons for their generous donation, which has enabled us to set up this invaluable scheme.

'Our smaller pilot project in Swansea demonstrated that early intervention with people who use NHS and emergency services frequently has a significant impact both on improving their lives and reducing pressures on NHS and emergency services’ resources. We are looking forward to working with our partner organisations over the next 12 months and helping people across Conwy and Denbighshire.'

John Hoult, Provincial Grand Master for North Wales, said: 'We’re very pleased to be able to support the fantastic work being done by the British Red Cross in North Wales. This will have a huge impact on the users of the emergency services and will make a big difference to improving their lives.'


Published Fri, 19 Jul 2019 12:48:24 +0100

East Lancashire Freemasons donate £1,000 to Bolton Sea Cadets

East Lancashire Freemasons visited Bolton Sea Cadets to present them with cheques totalling £1,000 from two Bolton lodges and the Bolton & Farnworth 100 Club on 17th July 2019

The sea cadets have more than doubled their numbers to 50 in the last 18 months, but unlike other cadet forces, Sea Cadets are not centrally funded so rely on fundraising and donations to – literally – keep afloat.

The money was donated by East Lancashire's Bolton District via their lodges, chapters and the 100 Club and will go towards providing the boys and girls from the surrounding relatively deprived areas with experiences and courses such as sailing and rowing that will set them up as they grow older.

As a former Bolton Sea Cadet himself, District Chairman Terry Kakoullis encouraged the assembled cadets to keep going and learn from their experiences.

The team also took the opportunity to have a look at the classroom that was refurbished via a £3,000 grant from Bolton District in the 2017 UGLE Tercentenary year.

Donations this time have come from Anchor and Hope Lodge No. 37, Goulburn Menturia Lodge No. 3478 and the 100 Club. Earlier in the year there were donations from St George's Chapter No. 1723 and St John's Lodge No. 348, totalling £1,750 for the year so far.


Published Fri, 19 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0100

Suffolk Freemasons donate vital funds to help horse breeding charity

Suffolk Freemasons have come together to donate £1,000 to the Suffolk Punch Trust. The register charity breeds Suffolk Horses and the breed is in serious danger of dying out unless urgent and rapid action is taken

The timing was spot on when a request for help and support was received by Ruffy Ruffles, the Vice Chairman of the Suffolk Masonic Clay Shooting Society, who received a letter from Andrew Fane, the Chairman of the Trustees of the Suffolk Punch Trust.

Accordingly, the Trust has announced it has launched a programme for artificial insemination. Andrew Fane said: 'It is a complex and high-level skill directly controlled by our vet and it will have a critical mid-term bearing on the success of Punch breeding not just in this country but overseas too. It is clearly backed by veterinary science as well as breeding line histories.'

Ruffy’s interest was aroused and he decided to talk to Suffolk's Immediate Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master John Rice who agreed to lend his support. John swept in a number of other like-minded, interested people and a campaign team was created. Its express purpose is to raise funds to pass on to the Trust to support its AI campaign.

At a recent quarterly ‘Cousins’ Luncheon’ Ruffy, on a personal level, described the plan to his relations and £40 was immediately subscribed to open the necessary bank account. Such is the love of Suffolk people for their very own breed of horse which delivered so much to huge numbers of people over the many years before the tractor came on the scene.

Once plentiful across much of England, the health of the Suffolk Punch population was badly dented during World War One, when thousands died attempting to haul heavy artillery towards the trenches. While their numbers steadily recovered during the 1920s, the introduction of tractors saw another steep decline from the 1960s onwards with the breed now considered to be the rarest horse in Britain.

Ruffy said: ‘Suffolk Horses were sent and worked on farms around the world. Thousands enjoyed them and had great benefits. Therefore, everyone is invited to join us and to help because we hope to attract support from across the country, throughout the Commonwealth and around the world.’

For more information about the campaign or if you would like to adopt a Suffolk Punch (£15 for a year), please email Ruffy at: paul.ruffles4@btinternet.com


Published Wed, 17 Jul 2019 10:27:15 +0100

Cheshire Freemasons celebrate 150 years of the Royal Arch

Following months of meticulous planning, 6th July 2019 was an early start for many Cheshire members in anticipation of the first procession through the streets of Chester in regalia for many years. The reason – to celebrate 150 years of Royal Arch Freemasonry in Cheshire

The Provincial Grand Superintendent, Stephen Blank, led a procession of distinguished guests, partners, family, friends, uniformed organisations and well-wishers through the streets of Chester from the Town Hall to Chester famous 13th century Cathedral. More than 800 attendees sat together to recognise and celebrate the Province of Cheshire’s’ Royal Arch sesquicentenary. Remarkably, it was noted that the Town Hall at the heart of the City was also 150 years old this year, so it seems 1869 was a busy year for Chester all round.

Guests attending the event included the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire David Briggs, The Lord Mayor of Chester Mark Williams (himself a member of Cheshire Craft and Royal Arch) and from their own Supreme Grand Chapter they were delighted to welcome their Second Grand Principal, Russell Race, alongside their own Provincial VIP’s, including Deputy Provincial Grand Master David Dyson and Deputy Grand Superintendent for the Royal Arch in Cheshire J. Robert Bramley.

The service was informed, interesting, light hearted in parts and poignant in others – the preparation and execution was fabulous and congratulations were made to all those who had worked so hard to organise the celebratory event.

At the end of the service a small contingent visited the Chapel of St Erasmus to unveil a plaque detailing the work funded by Cheshire Freemasons to support the restoration of the famous mosaics originally produced by the prodigious railwayman Thomas Brassey – sadly water damaged over previous years, it will take an investment of almost £35,000 to secure these valuable works for future years, which Cheshire Freemasons have agreed to fund entirely.

Following the service, photos were taken of the brand new minibus provided by Cheshire Freemasons to local Scouts as well as an opportunity to meet the rider of the newly funded Blood Bike and his motorcycle proudly branded with the Square and Compasses.

Following a sumptuous lunch, it was announced that for the celebration of 150 years of the Royal Arch in Cheshire, Companions of the Province had committed a total in excess of £150,000 in order to support projects for the communities of Cheshire and beyond.

Later this year, on 26th October 2019, the Provincial Grand Chapter of Cheshire is 150 years old and will be celebrated at that time with the consecration of a brand new Royal Arch Chapter at Hulme Hall in Port Sunlight – the village created by none other than William Hesketh Lever, the First Viscount Leverhulme and himself a prominent Cheshire Freemason. 2019 will certainly be a year to remember and so far the celebrations are being thoroughly enjoyed by all concerned.


Published Tue, 16 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0100

Cheshire Freemasons cycle to Freemasons' Hall from Chester and raise over £22,000 in style

Last year, Cheshire’s Provincial Grand Master Stephen Blank set a challenge to members to organise an event promoting awareness and building support for the Cheshire Freemasons Charity

John Miller was first to step forward and so developed the idea of organising a sponsored bike ride from Chester to London, utilising only the intricate canal network and towpaths that weave between Cheshire’s’ county town and capital city.

The route was agreed from the Masonic Hall in Queen Street, Chester, to Freemasons’ Hall at Great Queen Street following the Shropshire Union Canal to Wolverhampton, then the routes through Birmingham, picking up the Grand Union Canal near Solihull and following that into the heart of London, some 230 miles and crossing several masonic Provinces.

The team consisted of 16 riders with a support team of two and given the rough terrain and general riding conditions it was agreed to limit each day to between 40 and 50 miles allowing the challenge to be completed within five or six days. Riders were tasked with raising sponsorship and several Cheshire businesses sponsored the exclusive team shirts produced in order to support logistical costs such as travel, accommodation and food.

A black tie benefit event was also held within the Province which greatly contributed to the costs of the task ahead. To make the most of the fine English weather, the departure date was set for 6th June and the Deputy Provincial Grand Master David Dyson was present to see the team off safely from the Chester start point, and the Provincial Grand Master put a date in his diary to meet the exhausted riders outside the doors of Great Queen Street on the 11th June, what could possibly go wrong? The answer is Storm Miguel – which for three days of the journey tested each and every rider for their tenacity, and for how waterproof their kit truly was.

In the main the team discovered that waterproofs aren’t that effective in the face of a tropical storm, and indeed for two of the riders who managed to fall in to the canal, and are now affectionately referred to as the ‘Cheshire Splash Masters’. Cheshire’s Provincial Office reached out to Provinces that the riders would pass through en route.

Shropshire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire were all kind enough to offer a warm welcome and kind words of encouragement, as well as contributions, a true reflection of communication, commitment and teamwork by Freemasons. It is noteworthy that during the ride, many conversations with members of the public took place, lifting the profile of Freemasonry in general, and additional contributions were made by many of these non-Masons met along the way in support of the rider’s objectives.

A joint effort between the riders and HQ meant the Communications team were able to promote the event on social media platforms, using the dynamic mapping of GPS, daily blogs and great pictures sent by the riders each day.

Followers loved watching the daily progress made by the cyclists. The event organiser, John Miller, was keen to ensure the fundraising aims were kept clearly in the spotlight throughout the event via the online donation link and ‘interviewed’ members of the team at each overnight stay so this could be broadcast. The ride ended with the entire team completing the journey.

The total fundraising was then announced that over £22,000, which this was increased at Quarterly Communications the following day when the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes made a donation to the Cheshire Freemasons Charity of a further £1,000.


Published Mon, 15 Jul 2019 07:40:19 +0100

Thames Hospice receives £60,000 donation from Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Freemasons

A well-planned cooperative effort, ably supported by the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), has enabled a significant £60,000 donation to be made to Thames Hospice, on behalf of the Freemasons of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire

This great example of fraternal cooperation resulted in a significant grant to support the construction of its new hospice in Bray near Maidenhead. 

After several weeks of planning, the Provincial Grand Masters of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, Anthony Howlett-Bolton and John Clark respectively, together with representatives of their Provincial Charities, met up with Debbie Raven, CEO of Thames Hospice, to formally present their combined donation in front of the site of the new hospice, which was from the Berkshire Masonic Charity, the Buckinghamshire Masonic Centenary Fund and the MCF.

Serving both Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, Thames Hospice opened in 1987 but is now no longer able to keep up with the increasing number of people who need their care and services. As well as the increase in numbers, the charity is dealing with more complex and challenging medical conditions and, as a result, the decision was taken to build a larger facility. In 2017, planning permission was given to construct a new state of the art facility on land donated to the charity near Bray Lake. Inpatient rooms will increase from 17 to 28 and there will be more dedicated space to treat outpatients as well as to provide therapeutic and other activities.

This new Thames Hospice will open in 2020, with the £60,000 donation helping towards the building of two dedicated rooms in the £22 million facility. These rooms will be quiet areas for reflection and remembering loved ones as well as offering help and advice to families.

After the presentation ceremony, Debbie Raven gave an outline of how Thames Hospice is developing and some of its future plans. Once the new building is complete, there will be a permanent reminder of the contributions that the Freemasons of the two Provinces have made.

Debbie commented: ‘I cannot thank the Freemasons enough for their generous support towards our new Hospice. The donation comes on top of several others from their charitable funds and the incredible support they have given over many years. It will make a significant difference to our patients and their families.'

Together with Debbie, both Provincial Grand Masters acknowledged the cooperation and support given to this collaborative donation by the MCF and the continuing work they do in supporting the Hospice movement in England and Wales.

Anthony Howlett-Bolton, Provincial Grand Master of Berkshire, said: ‘Working together with our fellow Freemasons in Buckinghamshire and the MCF has allowed us to make a significant contribution to Thames Hospice to help them in the wonderful work they are doing to help families across our counties.’

John Clark, Provincial Grand Master of Buckinghamshire, commented: ‘The Freemasons of Buckinghamshire are delighted to be part of this joint initiative supporting the essential work performed by Thames Hospice. We look forward to establishing a long and fruitful relationship with them.’


Published Fri, 12 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0100

Lincolnshire Freemason walks on through injury to raise £2,000 for Lifelites

Lincolnshire Freemason and Provincial Registrar Keith Appleton has walked 42 miles through the night to raise £2,000 for children’s charity Lifelites

In a trek of 16 hours and 33 minutes Keith, a member of Astral Lodge in Grimsby, recorded almost 87,000 steps, burned off 4,300 calories, and climbed almost 4,000 feet.

He was following the White Rose Walk, a long-distance walk set up in 1968 by the Yorkshire Wayfarers. Its start point is the Yorkshire village of Kilburn, which he left at 10.20pm bound for Roseberry Topping, a National Trust property in the neighbouring county of Cleveland. 

The walk is completed by touching the ‘trig’ point at the summit of Roseberry Topping. By the time he got there Keith had has raised £1,960 for the charity, but had pulled a calf muscle with four miles yet to go. ‘That slowed me considerably,’ he said. ‘But I knew people had committed money, and that thought was my incentive to carry on and make sure I finished the walk.’

Nevertheless, it was ‘job done’, since the objective is to complete the distance in less than 24 hours, which Keith did with time to spare. But the sight that greeted him was really unexpected. ‘At the top of Roseberry Topping there was a group of Royal Marines with a rowing machine raising money for Help the Heroes. I declined to take part,’ he said.

Even though the walk was officially over, Keith still had a couple of miles to go to meet his lift, which whisked him off for a couple of pints of Guinness and a hot bath. ‘But I’m still accepting donations,’ he said. 'I am happy to take a cheque posted to me at 24 Gloria Way, Grimsby DN37 9SW.'

Keith intends to hand over the money to Lifelites raised when he visits Grand Lodge for the next Quarterly Communications meeting in September 2019. The charity donates specialist assistive technology packages for children and young people suffering life-limiting illnesses, allowing them to be creative, control something for themselves and communicate, for as long as it is possible. Every baby and children’s hospice throughout the UK benefits, which means the charity has reached more than 10,000 children.


Published Thu, 11 Jul 2019 13:07:19 +0100

Buckinghamshire Freemasons magic up healthy eating for school children

The Magic Club of Great Britain brought its Change4Life 'How to Eat Healthy' show to Swanbourne Primary school in Swanbourne near Milton Keynes

The event introduced Freemasonry to parents at the school through a newsletter, letting them know it was sponsored by the Freemasonry Supporting Local Communities programme. 

The show was also supported by the local authority with ‘Change4life’ leaflets being supplied to every child on eating healthy for them to take home.

As well as lots of fun and laughter, in the show, local Freemason Eugene Matthias demonstrated how much fat children would consume if you had two packets of crisps a day for a term and how much sugar you would eat by drinking two fizzy drink a day for a term. 

All the teachers said this was a fantastic way to teach children about eating healthy, especially the amount of sugar in fizzy drinks and fats in foods. 

And it was also a great way to raise awareness of Freemasonry in Buckinghamshire and the fantastic charity and community with take place across the county.


Published Thu, 11 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0100

Lincolnshire Freemasons chip in with £600 donation to support work with the homeless

Freemasons from Crowle in Lincolnshire have supported the work of The Forge Project with a donation of £600

The fundraising effort has been led by Paul Vollans, currently the master of one of Crowle's four lodges, who is a regular volunteer at the centre on Scunthorpe’s Cottage Beck Road.

Open five days a week to support the homeless, the centre provides breakfasts and hot lunches, activities and access to a range of other services.

Demand for its services has doubled over the last three years, said Paul, and his work as a volunteer had encouraged him to get his own Vermuyden Lodge No. 9482 to adopt it as their charity for the year.

Currently providing support for an average 62 people every weekday, the centre is working hard to enhance its premises, a former Methodist church. Plans are afoot for a new kitchen, new flooring throughout, and new windows to make sure the centre continues to be fit for purpose.

Paul said his volunteering work included sorting out clothing donations, work in the kitchen, and just being around to help and provide support. He said: 'Clothing needs to be sorted because people give us inappropriate things. For instance, rough sleepers have no need for a bikini – but they’re still given to us.

‘Chatting to the service users you get to hear their back stories, and realise not only how hard their lives can be, but how well off the rest of us, with homes to go to, really are.’

The masonic involvement organised by Paul involved raffles and a Christmas carol concert. ‘People like to support from a distance. Organising events gives them a conduit to offer support to a service which is having to find ways to adapt its work to meet an ever-growing demand, and one which isn’t going to decline any time soon.'

Paul’s next task was to use his contacts to find a builder to repair a wall at The Forge which had been demolished by when someone drove into it. ‘It shouldn’t be too hard to find a volunteer to do that,’ he said.

‘After all, they already have the bricks. It’s using the right contacts to get small things like this done which helps the hard-working staff here to achieve more with the money they have available.’


Published Mon, 08 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0100

Devonshire Freemasons retrace the Normandy Landings on bikes

On Sunday 2nd June 2019, three intrepid Freemasons from Devon set out to conquer the beaches which formed the landing places of the Second World War Normandy Landings on 6th June 1944

Steve Robertson and Chris Wollacott, both members of St. Thomas Lodge No. 4198 in Exeter, and Ian Morton, of Lodge Virtue & Honour Lodge No. 494 in Axminster, met up before boarding the Poole ferry to Cherbourg. But even before they set sail disaster struck, when Steve’s bike wheel shed a spoke (possibly due to the weight of his baggage) – luckily they found a friendly repair shop owner who opened up on a Sunday evening just to help them. Chris then arrived on an electric bike advising them that he had left his charger at home and had to complete the journey without the aid of batteries.

The bad luck didn’t stop there either, for as they disembarked in Cherbourg Ian skidded on a slippery patch, he was badly bruised and suffered a dislocated finger. They spent five hours in the local French A&E department before eventually starting off, on the first leg of their journey to Sainte –Mere- Eglise some 35 miles away. They passed military vehicles of all descriptions, Jeeps, Tanks, Troop Carriers and Halftracks full of personnel dressed in uniforms from the 1940’s all waving to them.

First stop was Utah Beach where they laid a poppy cross on the memorial then on to Carentan where they met serving US Rangers who were re-enact the scaling of the cliffs at Pointe-Du-Hoc to attack the German gun emplacements, waving them goodbye they moved on to Omaha Beach having ridden 38 gruelling miles by the time they arrived.

The next morning 6th June, D-Day they visited the large German gun battery at Longues Sur Mer which was taken by the Devonshire Regiment back in June 1944, then onwards to Arromanches where they witnessed almost the whole population wearing period military uniforms, attended a memorial service and watched a flypast of Dakotas as well as marching bands and D-Day Darlings singing songs of the period before moving on to Gold Beach and Juno Beach where they also laid poppy crosses, only covering 22 miles that day. Juno Beach holds a very special place in Steve’s family history as his father was there on D-Day and the platoon he was with liberated the first house on French soil after landings took place. 

While at Juno Beach they met Steven Dean, Project Manager of the new British Memorial, and also chatted to some veterans of the invasion and afterwards carried on their journey to Sword and then the Pegasus bridge. This leg of the journey was in their words ‘brutal’ due to the very, very, strong headwinds and rain but became easier when they turned to cycle down the canal to Ouisterham and back to the ferry for the return journey.

After four days of cycling and not a lot of sleep they were all looking forward to a restful night as they journeyed back across the channel only to find the majority of the other travellers were returning troops who snored the whole way back!

Steve, Ian and Chris enjoyed their adventure cycling a total of 153 miles over the four days they were in France, but it was the opportunity of being a part of the commemorations of the D-Day landings which will live with them forever, while also raising nearly £1,500 which will be donated to the MacMillan Cancer Charity and the Devonshire Masonic Festival on behalf of the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF).


Published Fri, 05 Jul 2019 18:29:05 +0100

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 Mon, 22 Jul 2019 19:22:41 +0100

£55,000 and counting – the success of Lift for Lifelites returns

Provinces across the country have helped raise in excess of £55,000 for children’s charity Lifelites by taking part in ‘Lift for Lifelites returns’ – a 3,000 mile road trip aimed at raising the charity’s profile, as well as the vital funds it needs to carry out its work

This is the second time the charity have staged this wacky fundraiser which sees its Chief Executive, Simone Enefer-Doy, travel to a landmark in every Province in England, Wales and some of the Crown Dependencies in just 15 days. To reach each of the 48 photoshoots, Simone asked Freemasons in every Province to give her a lift in a weird and wonderful variety of transport, and they didn’t disappoint.

Among her 80 lifts were a genuine Thai Tuk Tuk, a classic Rolls-Royce, a paddle steamer, a wartime motorcycle sidecar, a Lamborghini, no less than three steam trains and an electric tram, to name but a few. Famous sites visited on the trip included the beautiful Bleinheim Palace, the Heights of Abraham, Lake Windermere and the National Space Centre.

Simone said: ‘It was a real whistle stop tour and I’ve been blown away by the incredible generosity of Freemasons across the country; this event wouldn’t have been possible without them. After the success of last year, I couldn’t wait to see what everyone had come up with.

'It was wonderful to meet so many loyal supporters as well as lots of new friends along the way, and great to have the opportunity tell them more about Lifelites and other ways they could help us with our work for local children.’

The challenge has raised over £55,000 to date which will go towards the charity’s work donating and maintaining assistive technology for life-limited and disabled children in children’s hospices across the British Isles.

Simone explained: ‘This technology can be life-changing for these children. It helps them escape the confines of their conditions and do things they never thought possible, even things that we take for granted like playing a game with their brothers and sisters or telling their parents that they love them. We simply couldn’t do what we do without money raised from our supporters and we are very grateful.’

You can read about all the organisations who were involved in the challenge on the Lifelites website here.

If you’d like to hear more about the challenge, Simone or one of the Lifelites team can come to a Provincial meeting to give a presentation and talk about what the charity does and how else you can help Lifelites help children in your area. To arrange a date, please contact Samuel Davies by emailing sdavies@lifelites.org


Published Tue, 25 Jun 2019 11:49:58 +0100

Young people facing barriers get an educational boost thanks to £50,000 grant

Learning for life

More than 70 young people in and around Swindon who face social barriers are receiving a major boost to their education, thanks to a £50,000 grant from Wiltshire Freemasons. Peter Watts talks to the inspiring teenagers who are improving their career prospects with the Villiers Park Educational Trust Scholars Programme

Over the past 10 years, hundreds of young people from deprived or difficult backgrounds have been able to achieve their full potential thanks to the work of the Villiers Park Educational Trust. The pioneering four-year Scholars Programme is run by the trust, a social mobility charity that targets high-ability children from disadvantaged backgrounds by providing them with regular mentoring sessions. The programme also pays for them to go on residential trips and workshops designed to improve their confidence, motivation, resilience and employability, as well as giving them the chance to enjoy opportunities that they may not otherwise have been made aware of. A £50,000 grant from Wiltshire Freemasons via the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) will fund one of these mentoring positions in Swindon for two years. ‘This generosity allows our mentors to continue doing their amazing work,’ says deputy director of development Rosie Knowles. ‘It’s particularly great for us to have the Freemasons commit to more than a single year of funding, as we are focused on immersive long-term interventions.’

The charity currently operates in Swindon, Hastings, Bexhill, Tyneside, East Lancashire, Crawley and Norfolk, and hopes to widen its offering to other areas if more funding becomes available. There are four mentors in Swindon, who support children through their GCSEs and A-levels. ‘The mentors build up fabulous relationships,’ says Knowles. ‘They provide support and guidance and help young people develop skills to become more rounded individuals. Everything is built around developing these skills, as this is what empowers them to thrive and be self-sufficient in their success.’ The children are also able to give something back. ‘We encourage them to run self-led and inquiry-led projects in their schools,’ says Knowles. ‘This creates a ripple effect and a culture of positive learning. These young people really are incredible.’

Rahul Vital, 19

My family is from India and we moved to Swindon when I was five. My mum and dad had to drop out of school at a young age, which was why I was scouted for Villiers Park. In India, you weren’t rewarded for good work at school, but were punished for bad work – quite different to here in England.

The importance of education was made clear to me by my parents. I was encouraged to learn an instrument, take up art and do sports. I was approached by Villiers Park in year 9 and assigned a mentor, who helped me prepare for exams and job interviews, and create a CV. I also met other students on residential trips. I am now studying cancer biomedicine at University College London. Aspects of that came from a Villiers Park residential, where we learnt about cellular biology. I knew I wanted to do medicine or something with the sciences and these courses reinforced that decision. 

The programme helped with a lot of the stress I had at A-level. My mentor, Becki, would talk about how we were doing. She reassured me and I got an A* and 3 As. It’s definitely given me confidence. I wasn’t good at presentations, but going to these classes, learning to speak effectively and doing personal statements has been a lot of help. As a result of this I would definitely be willing to do something similar to help others. It was such a relief, so it would be great to do that for somebody else.

Jaime Hessell, 16

None of my family had been to university, but now I really want to go – that’s because of Villiers Park. I have taken as much from it as possible because I feel so lucky to be involved. I was shy before and it’s given me more confidence. I can now talk in front of the other Scholars and their parents. 

I always enjoyed school, but Villiers Park has shown me new things. We did a workshop and that gave me an interest in sociology, which is what I want do at university. We learn a bit of everything. It has given us a wider understanding of what is out there, beyond just maths and English. I am currently doing AS-levels and next year will do A-levels in maths, sociology and environmental studies.

My mentoring sessions with Becki and Julie have been incredibly helpful. Through Villiers Park, I joined the INVOLVE project, which has meant teaching maths to year-7s. I want to be a teacher, so it’s given me more of an understanding of what it’s like, what a stress it is but also how rewarding it can be. I had lower-ability students, and one of my pupils didn’t know her three times table, so I taught her every week until she was able to recite them. I also like to show them why you need maths for different things, such as architecture and business.

Acacia Baldie, 17

I live with my mum and my brother and we moved to Swindon just before the Villiers Park Scholars Programme started. I think the trust chose me because I was doing okay at school and they saw my potential. I love school, but had always thought university would be too expensive and you had to be very smart to go. I changed my mind after learning a bit more. We have regular mentor sessions where you learn employability and interview skills, and exam preparation tips. You also have paid-for residential trips where a specialist in your subject will talk to you. The mentors have all been really supportive, and explain everything clearly. They ask you about yourself and what you need help with. It’s life skills, the sort of thing school and college doesn’t focus on.

I am doing four A-Levels this year: fine art, textiles, biology and geography. My plan is to do Korean studies at university – I have identical offers from SOAS and Sheffield. Why Korea? I really liked the language and enjoy Korean shows. Plus I have Korean friends and I love the history and culture. My mentor helped me choose my subjects. I originally wanted to teach English in Korea but my mentor made me realise I should focus on what I enjoy, which was the culture.

Jordan Jones, 18

I was the first in my family to go to university and Villiers Park is about showing more options to people like me. Some of my peers weren’t looking at university, but I wanted to be an architect, so I knew I had a different career path. Villiers Park approached education in a different way to schools. They didn’t judge us, they were interested in how we got there and in how we used creative thinking. At school you have to appease all the people around you, but Villiers Park takes you out of that and allows you to be your own person and to flourish.

I went to Villiers Park thinking architecture was for me, but I looked at university courses with my mentor, Becki, and realised I wanted to be more involved in the design and maths of why a building works, so I am now studying civil engineering. I was so grateful, because I would have barrelled into a course and found out it wasn’t for me. I started at Plymouth University in September. It’s a challenge, but I have the structure of how to revise and study from Villiers Park, and it’s nice to have that ongoing support. A lot of people I know never had it at all, so I’m just grateful I got it in the first place.

For details, visit www.villierspark.org.uk

‘The mentors have all been really supportive, and explain everything clearly. They ask you what you need help with. It’s life skills, the sort of thing school doesn’t focus on’


Published Tue, 11 Jun 2019 00:00:00 +0100

£15,000 donation supports better quality of life for hundreds in North East Lincolnshire

More than 700 lonely people in North East Lincolnshire are being helped to a better quality of life thanks to the volunteers of charity Friendship at Home, who have been supported with the first instalment of a £15,000 donation from the region’s Freemasons

The charity, based in the Annie Chapple Centre in Aspen Court in Cleethorpes, was set up to reduce loneliness and isolation and improve the quality of life for older people. It offers one-to-one befriending of older people in their own homes, as well as running social mornings and afternoons, exercise activities, telephone befriending and a range of dementia support services including a dementia choir.

Operational Manager Lyse Stephenson said the charity, which supports people over 60, was finding an increase in demand for its services from those with dementia. She said: ‘Dementia cuts people off, and we need to help them to be integrated – but the demand for our services is overwhelming.'

She said the charity was inundated with calls to support group work, adding: ‘It does work so well, but with predictions that one in three of us will suffer problems with dementia, we need more volunteers to meet the huge demand we face.’

Currently there are 175 volunteers, but more are needed, said Lyse. ‘More volunteers would enable us to offer help and support to greater numbers of people – and we have helped thousands in the 13 years the charity has been running.’

The Lincolnshire Freemasons donation has come from the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which will give £5,000 a year for three successive years.

Pete Tong is the Freemasons’ Provincial Charity Steward in Lincolnshire. He said: ‘The work of the MCF is an important element of the Freemasons’ support for causes in the community – both masonic and non-masonic. The MCF gave £8.5m to more than 400 charities last year; all of it money given by Freemasons themselves. And we topped that up with more than £100,000 to a further 150 non-masonic good causes in the historic county of Lincolnshire.’

Lyse added: ‘The Freemasons’ donation is so important to us alongside the other funding streams and supporters. It will be used to help us to cover running costs so that we are able to concentrate on the people who matter most – our service users.’

Could you be a Friendship at Home volunteer? To find out what’s involved and how you might be able to help, contact volunteer co-ordinator Dawn Charlton by emailing dawn@friendshipathome.org.uk or calling 01472 602500.


Published Fri, 07 Jun 2019 00:00:00 +0100

Tuba entertainment for Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons

Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons, from St. Mary's Lodge No. 7164, gathered to enjoy the talented renditions of a young tuba player, Olly Douglas

Olly is 14-years-old and plays for the National Youth Orchestra and Uppingham School Concert Band. He recently received a grant from the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) to support the purchase of a professional standard instrument and also to be provided expert tuition.

Olly’s father Stefan Douglas, a member of St. Mary's Lodge, based in in Melton Mowbray, asked Olly to play his tuba at the festive board as a thank you to the lodge and Freemasonry as a whole for the support he has received in developing his musical career. He was only too delighted to oblige and gave a flawless rendition of the Hindemith Tuba Sonata and then, to lighten the mood, the theme from The Muppets.

Stefan Douglas spoke over dinner about the importance of the Talent Aid programme within the MCF and how it supports many gifted and talented young adults. He also expressed his sincere gratitude to all Freemasons who support the MCF through their charitable donations.

The Master of St Mary’s Lodge, Michael Brooman, said: ‘Helping the members understand the local work of the MCF alongside their national work is vital to ensuring the ongoing support of the Foundation.’

In attendance was the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire & Rutland, Peter Kinder, and Tony Molyneux, who both supported Olly’s application.


Published Thu, 06 Jun 2019 00:00:00 +0100

'Lift for Lifelites' road trip returns to raise money for children in hospices

After the huge success of last year’s event, Lifelites Chief Executive Simone Enefer-Doy is once again taking on an epic nationwide road trip to raise money for life-limited and disabled children in hospices

Simone left the office on Great Queen Street on the morning of 10 May 2019 in a London Fire Brigade BMW i3, kindly organised by the Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London. She was also accompanied by Widows Sons outriders and a classic Ronart.

Dubbed ‘Lift for Lifelites returns’, the 3,000 mile trip will see Simone visit a landmark in every Province in England and Wales in a variety of weird and wonderful modes of transport provided by Freemasons, Widows Sons and other volunteers.

Landmarks will include Bleinheim Palace, Goodwood and the National Space Centre, as well as some slightly quirkier venues such as the British Lawnmower Museum. Confirmed modes of transport so far include a Tuk Tuk, a steam train, a Lamborghini, a quadbike, a DeLorean, a classic Rolls Royce and many more.

All the money raised will go towards the charity’s work donating and maintaining life-changing technology to life-limited and disabled children in hospices across the British Isles. This technology gives them the opportunity to play be creative, control something for themselves and communicate, for as long as it is possible.

Simone said: 'We are a very small, but very hard working charity and are determined to do all that we can to impact the lives of children who don’t have the same opportunities that we do due to the confines of their condition. Every moment is precious for these children and their families, and we want to make sure they can make the most of every second. This is only possible with the support of the Provinces.

'We were absolutely blown away by the support we received last year. Provinces pulled out all the stops and we can’t thank them enough. Will this year be even bigger and better?'

You can see the full route plan on the Lifelites website, as well as support Simone and donate to Lifelites by clicking here.


Published Fri, 10 May 2019 13:45:32 +0100

Freemasons to provide multi-year core funding for small charities in major policy change

Small charities will now be able to apply for multi-year grants to cover basic running expenses and other core funding costs, following a major policy shift at the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) – one of the largest grant-making charities in the country

Until recently, the MCF, in common with many other charitable foundations, has tended to concentrate on project-based funding, which generally provides more measurable results. The MCF also gives one-off unrestricted grants of up to £5,000 to small charities for general charitable purposes. 

However, having identified the growing issue of smaller charities facing difficulties due to lack of core funding, the MCF has bucked the trend amongst similar grant-giving bodies to address the issue and has expanded its current programme of non-ring-fenced grants.

The new grants are available to charities with an income of no more than £500,000 a year, often much less, and will be for a maximum of £5,000 per year over three years. The first round of these extended unrestricted core funding grants has just been announced for 22 small charities. It is hoped that these multi-year unrestricted funding grants will help sustain charities, enabling them to deliver services to those most in need. The MCF aims to monitor and evaluate these grants, and hopes to share any learning within the sector regarding the effectiveness of this grant-giving.

Funded by freemasons, their families and friends, the Masonic Charitable Foundation is the national freemasons’ charity. In 2017, the MCF provided grants of more than £5.6 million to 770 national, regional and local charities across England and Wales.

David Innes, Chief Executive of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, said: 'There are many small charities that struggle with basic running costs. Project-based funding is fine, but if they can’t pay the electricity bill or put petrol in the car, delivering services to clients can be difficult if not impossible.

'Many charities cease their vital activities because this kind of funding is not available. This is why the MCF’s new core funding initiative, on behalf of the Freemasons of England and Wales, is so important.'


Published Mon, 01 Apr 2019 11:56:56 +0100

Freemasons give £45,000 to victims of southern African cyclone

Thousands of people across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe whose lives have been devastated by Cyclone Idai will be given access to clean water, as well as tarpaulins, plastic sheets and other emergency supplies, thanks to a grant from the Masonic Charitable Foundation

The money is being donated to Plan International UK which is working to help survivors, including young women and children, who are at particular risk.

The grant from the Freemasons will provide jerry cans, water purification tablets and buckets to thousands of people who have lost everything and are at risk of potentially-deadly waterborne diseases.

Over 750 people have died in the three countries on the south-east coast of Africa with Mozambique suffering the highest human fatalities. As the death toll continues to rise, over 260,000 children have been affected in the country and at least 350,000 people are at risk from rising flood waters. In Malawi, close to a million people have been affected with nearly half a million being children.

Plan International UK is a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). The DEC brings together 14 leading UK aid charities in times of crisis, to maximise the impact and help children and families who need it most.

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

Ebbie Muhire (28) is sheltering at a church in southern Malawi with five family members including her youngest child, a three-year-old toddler.

'The challenges we are facing are mainly crowded and unpleasant sleeping areas and poor sanitation and hygiene facilities because our utensils were damaged in the rain and now we are all using same equipment.' Ebbie says. 'The children, especially the young ones are at risk of getting sick.'

Tanya Barron, Chief Executive of Plan International UK, said: 'We’re hugely grateful to the Masonic Charitable Foundation for supporting our disaster response in Southern Africa. This generous grant will make a big difference to thousands of people affected by this devastating cyclone and help get their lives back on track.'

David Innes, Chief Executive of the Masonic Charitable Foundation' said: 'Cyclone Idai has devastated the lives of many thousands of people, with, as usual, women and children bearing the brunt of the suffering. I’m very pleased that the Masonic Charitable Foundation was able to move so quickly and provide funds for Plan International UK’s vital work at the heart of the disaster zone.'


Published Fri, 29 Mar 2019 00:00:00 +0000

East Lancashire Freemasons donate £5,000 to Leadership Through Sport & Business charity

East Lancashire Freemasons have donated £5,000 to the social mobility charity Leadership Through Sport & Business (LTSB), which comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF)

On behalf of the MCF, East Lancashire Provincial Grand Charity Steward Steve Clark was delighted to attend a ‘speed interview’ session of the LTSB, which involved a dozen young people and business professionals. The space, and several interviewers, was kindly provided by Mazars in central Manchester.

These intelligent young people are at risk of becoming so-called NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training). With the help of LTSB, and working closely with local employers, they can find paid apprenticeships which are highly likely to result in full-time employment.

Although it was clear that the interviewees were nervous, the LTSB staff put them at ease and Steve did his part by sitting down with them prior to the session and giving them some friendly advice. He was very impressed with the professionalism and drive of these young people aspiring to greater things in their lives.

LTSB relies on growing relationships with local employers. Operating in London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester, the MCF grant of £5,000 will help them in their valuable work with disadvantaged young people in finding full-time employment through apprenticeships and professional development sessions.


Published Thu, 21 Mar 2019 00:00:00 +0000

Buckinghamshire Freemasons donate £400 to Florence Nightingale Hospice

Buckinghamshire Freemasons have donated £400 to Florence Nightingale Hospice, which comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), as part of a £600,000 grant made to 237 Hospices across England and Wales

Peter Thomas, MCF area representative, presented the certificate to Jo Turner, CEO of the charity, which is based in Aylesbury.

Jo commented: ‘Thank you very much to the MCF and to Peter for delivering this generous donation.’

The hospice, which is now celebrating its 30th anniversary, has an in-house service and day hospice service. It also has ‘Florries’ which is a service specialising in supporting children with life limiting illnesses, and their families, in their own homes – the donation has been earmarked for this very important support.


Published Tue, 26 Feb 2019 00:00:00 +0000

Herefordshire Freemasons donate over £4,000 to Hope Support Services charity

The Masonic Charitable Foundation, through the Province of Herefordshire, has supported local charity Hope Support Services with a grant of £4,719

Hope Support Services, founded in 2009 in Ross on Wye, provides support for young people aged 11-25 when a close family member is seriously ill with a life-threatening condition, especially those with cancer. They provide support at this stressful time through sessions where young people can gather together in Ross, Leominster and Hereford.

They arrange various activities and outings, and also provide support online, through Facebook and Skype, and are in the process of developing an app with help from Comic Relief which will enable young people to communicate with each other and to link with other charities which might be able to provide help.

Their aim is to provide emotional support for their young clients, of whom there are around 300, and to prepare them for bereavement. They also run a Building Better Opportunities course for those young people who are wanting to find work.

In 2017, they were approached by St Michael’s Hospice to run their services for the children of cancer patients being cared for by the Hospice. Children looked after in this way can be as young as five, and around 130 children and young people are cared for through this initiative.

They have eight full and part-time staff, plus a session worker and two online workers. There is also a Youth Management Team, who have benefited from the services themselves in the past and now help with planning and holding the charity’s range of activities.

On receiving the donation, Hope Support Services warmly thanked the Freemasons of Herefordshire for the generous grant, which will go towards developing the activities provided for young people at this difficult time in their lives.


Published Wed, 13 Feb 2019 11:18:27 +0000
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