Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire

2006 chronology

Black mourning ribbonIn Memoriam

It is with sadness that we report that W Bro John Marston PSGD Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master for Warwickshire died on 22 December following a long illness. Our sympathies are with his family.

A brick of a Lodge

Chris Grove and Gerry Regan with the brick
Chris Grove and Gerry Regan with the brick

The Brethren of De Montfort Lodge No 5155 have made a significant impact on their target for Warwickshire’s 2012 Festival for the New Masonic Samaritan Fund. Following the delivery of his Charity Talk in the Guildhall at Henley in Arden the Provincial Grand Charity Steward was rewarded with the presentation of a ‘heavy’ cheque for £2,300 – attached to a piece of masonry! This amount represents their fund-raising efforts for 2006, as endorsed on the stone, and was mainly due to a very successful garden-party organised and hosted by the Lodge Almoner, Graham Bull, assisted by the Brethren of the Lodge. The picture shows Chris Grove and Gerry Regan the Master with the brick!

Grand Secretary 

W.Bro Nigel Brown has been appointed the new Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe E.

Brother Nigel Brown was born in Lusaka in the then Northern Rhodesia and was educated in Southern Rhodesia. From the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst he was commissioned into the Grenadier Guards, retiring as a Captain. He then spent 15 years in senior management, and for the past 12 years has been a business consultant specialising in advising clients on winning competitive global tenders.

He is married with two adult children, has been a Freemason for 19 years and is currently serving as a Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies.

His appointment takes effect from 1 February 2007.

We are sure that all the Brethren of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire will join together in wishing him great success in the job.

Masonic Charities Joint Legacy Appeal

An address to Grand Lodge on 13 December 2006 by Lt Col Richard Douglas and Michael Weal (Manager Joint Legacy Appeal)
Introduction by Richard Douglas

"Pro Grand Master, Gentlemen. Thank you for allowing me to address you today. I will not delay you for long but I do have an important message to put across to you.

Although this is the third time that I have been invited in to Grand Lodge it is the first occasion that I have not been the support act for the President of the NMSF. Those of you that know him will realise that his immense personality has been enough to ensure your avid attention. However, after a five year apprenticeship I now stand before you without the benefit of top cover and, slightly confusingly, not in my capacity as CEO of the NMSF. Although still enjoying this role I am today wearing another hat, that of the Chairman of a small working party established to review the potential for increasing the amount of legacy income received by the four central masonic charities. As you can see, some things may change but others remain the same, I am still after your money!

I am joined this morning by Mike Wheal who not only has the unenviable task of trying to get me to stick to the script but is also the recently appointed manager of the joint legacy appeal. As I have said we don't intend to keep you too long today, but we do have a large supply of Legacy Pledge forms available, so if you see anyone near you starting to look a little pale, please let us know and we'll get a form over to him quickly!

The Central Masonic Charities

Hopefully you do not need me to detail the work of the four central craft charities. You are already aware that between them the Freemasons' Grand Charity, the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution and the New Masonic Samaritan Fund provide support to the full masonic family, from cradle to grave, across the length and breadth of the English Constitution. Support is available to those in financial distress, and to those who additionally are in medical need, are elderly, are young or are simply young at heart. Support is also available beyond the immediate confines of Freemasonry with grants being made to fund medical research, international emergency relief, support for adult and children’s hospices to name but a few.

Last year alone the four charities allocated £23m in charitable support to their many beneficiaries. All of this was only possible through the continuing generosity of Freemasons from far and wide. With a clear eye on the future the Presidents of the four charities tasked me to review the potential for increasing income from legacies.

With professional advice and support from two of the UK's foremost companies in legacy and fundraising campaigns an initial feasibility study, followed by market research with a cross-section of Freemasons and their families, was carried out. The study confirmed that current income levels from legacies remain considerably below what might be expected from an organisation with as many members as the United Grand Lodge of England. The research also showed overwhelmingly that Freemasons, their wives and widows would strongly support an appeal designed to improve their understanding of the intricacies and importance of making a Will, and would look favourably at the possibility of leaving a gift to one of the Masonic Charities.

The final report suggested that a joint legacy appeal would offer the most cost-effective way forward. Although one of the professional firms offered to run this campaign on our behalf the Charity Presidents unanimously agreed that an in-house campaign would provide a better return on our investment. It was therefore decided to appoint a Legacy Manager to design and deliver the Appeal. Following a national advertising campaign W Bro Mike Wheal, a West Kent Mason, was appointed to that post in July this year.

The Appeal (by W Bro Wheal)

Unlike most other fund-raising initiatives, the Legacy Appeal will cover all the constituent parts of Grand Lodge at (more or less) the same time, and will have no finite ending. Similarly, the primary objective of the Legacy Appeal is long-term and unending. As I'm sure you will have realised by now, it is to increase income from legacies for all four of the Charities. Just like this objective, the success of the Appeal in this respect can only be gauged in the longer term.

However, there is another important objective against which success can be judged in the shorter term. We aim to improve the awareness amongst Freemasons of the services and facilities offered by the four Charities. This is not only to encourage support of the Charities, but also to ensure that Freemasons and their families are aware of the help that is available. The Appeal will ultimately cover the whole of England and Wales. It is also intended to include Districts overseas, but the approach has not yet been finalised.

Before outlining what the Appeal is, and what we intend to do, let me tell you some things that it is not and some things that we will not do. The Appeal is not a replacement for Festivals - it is a long-term, unending project. Neither is it intended as a rival to Provincial/Metropolitan Grand Lodge initiatives. We recognise that charity really does begin at home, and that Mother Lodges and Provinces are therefore likely to be higher in the pecking order than the Charities.

I will not have a large, central staff working on the Appeal. I will be a "one-man band". I will liaise closely with those existing staff within the Charities who currently deal with legacy matters. We will not be making "cold call"direct approaches to individuals. We would like to work through existing Provincial structures. We are hoping to recruit volunteers as Legacy Information Officers in order to keep the Appeal fresh in people's minds after I have moved on to other areas, and to act as a conduit for legacy information as the Appeal develops. We will discuss with each Province how best to do this.

The Appeal will consist of two phases: a Pilot and a National Rollout, with the former scheduled to start early in 2007 and the latter towards the end of 2007. It is anticipated that it could take up to two years or more to complete the National Rollout. Initially, I would like to deliver Legacy presentations locally. Hopefully this will lead to the recruitment of enough volunteers to ensure that delivery of the message can be maintained and extended, in a face-to-face process, in all areas across the country.

In each Province or Metropolitan Group, I would like to conduct two types of meeting: Awareness Presentations and Legacy Workshops. Each will be repeated as many times as is necessary. Awareness Presentations could be scheduled as part of a suitable Provincial/Group event, not as a stand-alone presentation. Awareness Presentations are intended to inform the members of the Craft and other interested parties about the Appeal, and to inspire individuals to become involved as volunteer Legacy Information Officers.

Individuals will retain the option to choose if they wish to support a specific Charity within their Will. Additionally they will have the extra options of supporting all four Charities equally or allowing their legacy to be allocated according to the needs of the Charities at the time. It is also hoped that the publicity associated with this Appeal will serve to improve understanding of the tax benefits of leaving a charitable bequest. Charitable bequests are exempt from inheritance tax with benefits available to both the Charity and the estate of the deceased.

We have already started the process of inviting selected Provinces and MGL Groups take part in the Pilot phase and will announce the details as soon as we can. We will also keep everyone informed of the Appeal's progress through the usual channels.

Summary (Richard Douglas)

I am delighted to announce that the Grand Master has given his full support to this Appeal and has graciously accepted the role of Appeal Patron. Further details of the Appeal will be publicised in the next edition of MQ, due for circulation in January. Some of you will be invited to join in the pilot scheme as we test and adjust our style, techniques and materials. Others will find an increasing amount of material and information available from Mike Wheal or via the individual Charities.

Our purpose this morning has been to introduce the Appeal to you and hopefully to stimulate interest. If we have succeeded Mike and I will be available afterwards to offer advice on how to support the Charities and to reduce your liability for inheritance tax.

If you need any further incentive to consider supporting the Appeal I would remind you that in England and Wales, the average age at death for people who have not made a Will is currently 68; for those who have made a Will, the average is 78 and for those who included a gift to charity in their Will, the average age is 80!

Thank you for your time and attention today. Mike and I look forward to meeting you again as we take the Appeal around the Provinces."posted 19/12/2006

A first for Freemasonry

The University of Sheffield’s Teaching Affairs Committees have approved an MA programme in the history of Freemasonry and Fraternalism, the first such degree in the world, which will be launched during 2007-8.posted 19/12/2006

Rodney Pitham presenting a donation from the Freemasons' Grand CharityMore money for hospices

The picture shows Rodney Pitham, Assistant Provincial Grand Master for Warwickshire (far right) on 11 December 2006, presenting a donation from the Freemasons' Grand Charity to Lindsey Homer, Head Nurse of the Acorns Children's Hospice at Selly Oak in Birmingham. Bill Young, Chairman of the Trustees of the hospice, looks on with delight at the gesture.posted 19/12/2006

 

“Warwickshire Freemasonry – a look forward”

This is the title of the most informative, educative and thought-provoking lecture delivered by RW Bro Michael J Price CBE the Provincial Grand Master for Warwickshire at the Regular Meeting of the Warwickshire Installed Masters Lodge held on 30 November 2006. It is a "must" to read and you can download it here and share it with Brethren who do not have access to the Internet. Lodge Secretaries might wish to read it in full at a meeting and stimulate a debate among the members, especially when there are no substantive items of labour on the agenda. The Provincial Grand Master would welcome any constructive comments that Brethren may have on the views that he has expressed.posted 19/12/2006

Alan Wellan, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, presenting a cheque for �1000Grand Charity's grant to local hospice

The picture shows Alan Welland, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, presenting a cheque for £1000 from the Grand Charity to Staff Nurse Susie Thompson at the Shakespeare Hospice.posted 19/12/2006

 

New Leader for the Grand Lodge of Scotland

Brother Sir Archibald Orr EwingBrother Sir Archibald Donald Orr Ewing 6th Bart., M.A., is the 107th and 109th Grand Master Mason to be installed onto the throne of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The Installation took place on 30 November. Brother Sir Archibald is unique in that he is the only Grand Master Mason in the 270 year history of the Grand Lodge of Scotland to have occupied that position twice. The Grand Master Mason follows a fine family tradition of service to the Scottish Craft as his Grandfather Brother Brigadier - General Sir Norman Orr Ewing, 4th Bart., served as Grand Master Mason from 1937 - 1939 and his father, Brother Major Sir Ronald Orr Ewing 5th Bart., served as Grand Master Mason from 1965 - 1969.

Brother Sir Archibald Orr Ewing was initiated in Lodge Canongate Kilwinning, No.2 in 1973 and was Master thereof from 1981 - 1982 and again from 1987 - 1988. He is a member of Lodge Sir Robert Moray, No.1641 and of Royal Alpha Lodge, No.16 (EC), and a past Senior Grand Warden of the United Grand Lodge of England.posted 11/12/2006

Autumn Glory - The Warwickshire Masonic Charity Concert 2007

The Warwickshire Symphony Orchestra together with the Stratford-upon-Avon Gilbert and Sullivan Society will entertain with a special programme of English classical music in aid of the New Masonic Samaritan Fund Festival 2012 on Sunday 7 October 2007 at the Butterworth Hall,Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry. Hosted by Ed Doolan with the Orchestra conducted by Guy Woolfenden and featuring special guest soloists this promises to be an event not to be missed.

Ticket Prices are £10, £20, £25 and £30. Tickets will be in great demand so to make sure that you are there order them now from Peter Astfalck on 02476 229624.

Further information is available on http://www.autumnglory.co.uk (link now lost) posted 11/12/2006 

Black mourning ribbonIn memoriam

It is with sadness that we report the death on 4 December 2006 of W Bro W E ('Billy') Herbert PGStB. His funeral will take place at St Nicholas Church Nuneaton at 12 noon on Friday 15 December. Donations may be made in Billy's memory to the Warwickshire Masonic Benevolent Fund or the Felix Holt Ward at the George Eliot Hospital Nuneaton. Our condolences and sympathies are with his widow Jean and the family.

Freemasons' Grand Charity helps flood victims

In response to an appeal to help hundreds of thousands of people affected by flooding in Kenya, The President of the Freemasons' Grand Charity has approved an emergency grant of £10,000 to the British Red Cross.
Crops and farmland have been damaged and destroyed by heavy rainfall across the Coastal, Western and Northern Eastern Provinces of Kenya. Earlier this year, many of the same people lost their cattle and livelihoods when the North of the Country was hit by a drought. Adding to the already disastrous humanitarian situation are fears of outbreaks of waterborne diseases, including cholera.

The money from the Grand Charity will help to supply food, blankets, water purification tablets, medical supplies and seeds.posted 2/12/2006

New Provincial Wardens for Warwickshire

RW Bro Michael J Price CBE the Provincial Grand Master for Warwickshire has been pleased to announce the appointment of his Provincial Grand Wardens for the year 2007/2008. The Provincial Senior Grand Warden designate is W Bro David Allen of Yenton Lodge No 3484, and the Provincial Junior Grand Warden designate is W Bro Stuart Esworthy of the Laurence Sheriffe Lodge No 3497. We wish them every happiness in their high offices during their year.posted01/12/2006

Carols for teenage cancer sufferers

Awe-inspiring Ely Cathedral will host a Festival of Carols on 8 December to raise much-needed money for teenage cancer sufferers.

The festival will be the first of its kind to be held in the cathedral, and money raised through the event is to be split evenly between the Teenage Cancer Trust and the Ely Cathedral Music Appeal. Much-loved carols will feature in the programme, as will musical performances by the cathedral's choristers and the newly-formed schools' choir Ely Imps. There will also be topical readings and stories throughout the evening, including a reading of John Julius Norwich's The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Helen Bearfield-Smith, Teenage Cancer Trust regional fundraising manager, said: "This is the first event of its kind to raise money for these two special charities. The cathedral is a magical place, especially at Christmas time, and the fabulous collection of carols and readings will make the night memorable for everyone attending."

The event is being organised by the Cambridgeshire Freemasons and will take place at a time when the cathedral is already specially lit up for Christmas with a spectacular tree reaching into the ceiling.

The Teenage Cancer Trust is currently in negotiations to build a state-of-the-art specialist unit for teenagers with cancer at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge. Money raised at the event will also go towards a £10 million endowment fund being raised by the Ely Cathedral Music Appeal to sustain the cathedral's famous choristers whose position has come under threat in recent years. posted 30/11/2006

In harmony

The Lodge of Harmony No 6888 meeting at Sutton Coldfield will hold its 400th meeting on 7 February 2007 and will be initiating its 100th candidate. Any Brother wishing to attend this special event should get in touch with Ken Gould This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 27/11/2006

Health and Safety

There will be a presentation and discussion of health and safety issues at the Warwickshire Provincial HQ at 2 Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham on Saturday 20 January 2007 from 10.00am to 12 noon under the direction of John Cowan. Chairmen and at least one director of Masonic Halls in the Province are urged to attend. Reservations should be made with John on 0121 420 3750 orThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.posted 27/11/2006

Grand Lodge of Bulgaria

The United Grand Lodge of Bulgaria held its Annual Meeting on 25 November 2006 in the city of Plovdiv. Brethren from Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, and Israel were among those present. MW Bro Petyo Penkov was re-elected as Grand Master.posted 27/11/2006

One Hundred Years

Hertford Lodge will celebrate its Centenary on Friday 9 February 2007 at the Warwickshire Provincial Headquarters at 2 Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham. The Lodge will receive its Centenary Warrant and the 101st Master will be installed. If you wish to be present at this very special event please get in touch with P J Jackson on 01283 791767 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve your place. The dining fee is £25.00.posted 24/11/2006

Christmas Message from the RW Provincial Grand Master

Another year has flown by and Dawn joins me in wishing you and your families a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year. Since I became Provincial Grand Master in September 2001 the turmoil in the world seems, regrettably, to have increased, often due to religious intolerance. In every subsequent year I have expressed the hope that the coming year might see peace spread throughout the world. We must all strengthen our prayers for peace and at the same time do all that we can, within our own circle of family, friends and community, to inform them of the principles on which Freemasonry is founded.

As we enjoy our family Christmas in the security of our homes we should make a special effort to remember those brave members of our three services, working under difficult and dangerous conditions to secure a peace.

Let us all hope that 2007 will see peace initiatives being more successful for the benefit of all mankind.

Michael J Price
Provincial Grand Master

Promotions in Provincial Grand Rank in Warwickshire

The RW Provincial Grand Master advises that many Brethren in the Province who would normally expect to receive a promotion in Provincial Grand Rank in 2007 will not do so.

The Provincial Grand Master, in accordance with the formula set down in the Book of Constitutions, will only be able to promote 80 Brethren next year but he has 208 names to consider for those places. If overall membership continues to decline then the number of promotions available to him will reduce even further.

The figures speak for themselves but the Provincial Grand Master and his colleagues in the Provincial Executive have alerted Lodges on many occasions to this situation. He very much regrets having to make this statement which will come as a disappointment to many but the numbers involved are outside his control. 

Brethren are urged to bring this statement to the attention of all Provincial Grand Officers in their Lodges. posted 23/11/2006

'Freemasonry in Warwickshire - A Look Forward'

'Freemasonry in Warwickshire - A Look Forward' is the title of a talk to be given at the next meeting of the Warwickshire Installed Masters Lodge by the RW Bro Michael J Price CBE, the Provincial Grand Master for Warwickshire. The talk is bound to be instructive, stimulating and thought provoking and Brethren of the Province are urged to attend to hear the views of the Provincial Grand Master firsthand.

The meeting will be held on Thursday 30 November at the HQ of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire, 2 Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham at 5.15pm for 5.30pm.… Reservations should be made with Trevor Siddall, the Assistant Secretary of the Lodge, on 01604 830647 or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. posted 20/11/2006

Freemasons' generosity to hospices

The Freemasons' Grand Charity is once again helping hospices in England and Wales with a total gift of £500,000. For the 22nd year, more than 200 hospice services are receiving a donation to help them offer the best possible quality of life to those in their care. Individual grants ranging from £500 to over £7,000 take the Grand Charity’s total support for the movement to over £6 million. These donations are supplemented by the regular generosity of Provincial Grand Lodges, local Lodges and individual Freemasons.

Grahame N Elliott, President of the Grand Charity, said:

"For many years Freemasons have recognised the importance of the care provided by the Hospice movement. Over 22 years, the Grand Charity Hospice Grant Scheme has distributed more than £6 million in support of the activities of Hospices and we are pleased to contribute to the continuation of their important work through the Scheme, which has great support from all Masons throughout the country. ”

Local hospices to benefit from the Grand Charity's donation are:

In the Masonic Province of Staffordshire:

Acorns Children's Hospice Trust (Walsall)

Compton Hospice

Douglas Macmillan Hospice

Katharine House Hospice

St Giles Hospice

The Donna Louise Trust

In the Masonic Province of Warwickshire:

Acorns Children's Hospice Trust (Selly Oak)

Marie Curie Centre Warren Pearl

Mary Ann Evans Hospice

Myton Hamlet Hospice

Shakespeare Hospice

St Mary's Hospice

In the Masonic Province of Worcestershire:

Acorns Children's Hospice (Worcester)

Kemp House Trust

Mary Stevens Hospice

Primrose Hospice

St Richard's Hospice

The Grand Charity's work is supported by contributions made by Freemasons in England and Wales. No appeals for funds are ever made to the general public.posted 20/11/2006

101 and still going strong

Sidney Perrin, of Boston in Lincolnshire, was born on 5 November 1905 and has just celebrated his 101st birthday. Sidney was initiated into Freemasonry in 1928, and is the longest subscribing Freemason in England and Wales.posted 16/11/2006

To church in regalia

The Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Washington has granted permission for Lodge members to attend Church Services clothed as Masons. He sees this as an opportunity for Freemasons to show their support for the community and at the same time let them know who in that community are Freemasons. The Grand Master enjoins his Brethren that in any public appearance they should be mindful of their conduct when clothed as Masons. posted 16/11/2006

More about the Charities

Michael Irving, the Provincial Grand Almoner for Warwickshire, will be talking about the national Masonic Charities, Warwickshire Masonic Charities and the 2012 Festival at the meeting of Wyley Lodge on Saturday 3 February 2007. Bill Stammers will give you further details on 01788 860234 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you wish to attend.posted 10/11/2006

Reunited

In 2004 Paul Brennan of the Warwickshire Royal Air Force Lodge discovered the grave of his late uncle at the rear of a small church in the village of Sorbon in north-east France. Sergeant Len Gaffee was shot down in September 1943 and is buried next to Sergeant Roy Humbles. Having made this discovery he took his mother to visit her brother's grave where they laid a floral tribute.

They have visited the grave again this year in October but on this occasion were received by the local Mayor when Paul's mother was able to express her gratitude to him and the villagers for their care and attention to the two graves. The arrangements for her to meet the Mayor had been made by Michael, a French Mason, who Paul had managed to contact for assistance with translations. Michael and his wife had made a round trip of some 200 miles from their home near Paris to be present at this important event.posted 10/11/2006

Ken brings a smile to the face of the Prince of Wales

Battle of Britain Veterans meeting HRH The Prince of WalesThe photograph shows a number of the Battle of Britain Veterans meeting HRH The Prince of Wales after a recent service to remember the airmen who died during the decisive Second World War victory. 'The Few' totalled 2,927 of whom 544 were killed in the battle that raged in July-October 1940. The Duchess of Cornwall accompanied The Prince at the service of thanksgiving and rededication in Westminster Abbey. Our own Ken Wilkinson, of the Warwickshire Royal Air Force Lodge, is seen sharing a joke with the Prince of Wales about, we are reliably informed, the lack of Martinis on this special occasion.posted 9/11/2006

A new Grand Master for India

RW Bro Chief Justice Devinder Gupta was installed as the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of India on 28 October 2006 in New Delhi. Among the visiting dignitaries was RW Bro Alan Englefield, the Grand Chancellor Designate of the United Grand Lodge of England.posted 9/11/2006

Discover the other Masonic Orders

On Wednesday 17 January 2007 Three Shires Lodge will be hosting a team who will explain and display the regalia of the several Orders in Freemasonry. Brethren who are interested in this fascinating and educational event should get in touch with Walter Pearce, the Lodge Secretary, on 01384 359463. posted 9/11/2006

Keeping it in the family

Tony Wall has stepped down from the office of Treasurer in Fletcher Lodge, an office has held, with distinction, for the last 27 years. His successor is his son Stephen who will have a well qualified tutor.posted 9/11/2006

Becoming a Grandfather must be catching

Michael Morris, Alan Hill and Tony Tappy are all members of the Lodge of Jurisprudence and have all become Grandfathers in the last few weeks. Our congratulations to them and their grandchildren.posted 9/11/2006

Grand Golf Tournament In support of the 2012 Festival Appeal

A Golf Tournament will be held at 1.00 p.m. on Thursday 14 June 2007 at Arley Lane, Ansley Village, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, CV10 9PH. The Tournament will consist of 4 person teams – shotgun start – Stableford. There are lots of prizes plus Hole-in-0ne car. The match will be followed by Dinner with a raffle, cost is £160 per team

Sponsors are required for each hole etc. For more details contact eitherRoger Sargent on 01530 273971 or Geoff Round on 07850 852203

We will remember them

A service to remember all those Freemasons and others who have made the supreme sacrifice in all theatres of war will be held by the Memorial inside the headquarters of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire at 2 Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham commencing at 10.45am on Saturday 11 November. The RW Provincial Grand Master would be pleased to be joined by Brethren, their families and friends on this important occasion.

A daily advancement within easy reach

The Sutton Coldfield Study Circle, established in 1952, meets four times a year at the Masonic Hall in Mill Street Sutton Coldfield. Its principal objective is to allow its members to make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge. In this respect members and guest speakers deliver lectures and talks on the first Monday in February, June, October and December. An offshoot of the Circle is the well-known Demonstration Team whom many of us have had the pleasure of seeing as its members take us back to the 18th Century and Freemasonry of that era. Budding actors and ritualists are need to swell the numbers of the Team. If you are interested please contact the Secretary, Brian Brown, on 0121 682 4682 orThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. posted 3/11/2006

A Christmas extravaganza

The Christmas Concert with the Warwickshire Provincial Choir and the Warwickshire Provincial Brass Band will be held on Thursday 7 December 2006 at 2 Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham. Further details and tickets (only £5 each) are available from Harry Owen on 0121 423 8085 or from Lodge Charity Stewards. Meals are also available prior to the concert provided they are pre-ordered. The Provincial Grand Master expects Lodges to be well represented at this delightful event. Bring your families and friends for a splendid but inexpensive night out.posted 3/11/2006 

In Memoriam

It is with sadness that we report the death on 30 October of W Bro William Edward Gibbons, Past Junior Grand Deacon. A funeral service will be held on Tuesday 7 November at St Augustine's Church, Edgbaston, Birmingham at 11.30am. Bill will be remembered in particular for his outstanding work in establishing and continuing support of many Masonic Widows Friendship Clubs both in the Province of Warwickshire and elsewhere.posted 2/11/2006

Join in the Christmas Spirit

The “Ladies Gift Fund” 54th Christmas Fayre is to be staged at The Clarendon Suites, 2 Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham (the home of the Warwickshire Freemasons) on Saturday 18th November. In addition to all the usual attractions, gift stalls, plant stalls, games, raffles, and tombolas, this year for your entertainment is The Warwickshire Provincial Masonic Brass Band. Come and have a coffee while being entertained. Then buy some Christmas gifts or try your luck to win some of the wonderful prizes on offer. This is a good family morning out, so please bring your ladies and why not also bring the youngsters in your family for an early meeting with Father Christmas?

What time? 10.30am till noon. The grand opening will be performed this year by Ian Moxon, Provincial Prior of Staffordshire and Shropshire. posted 31/10/2006 

Grand Charity - Tsunami update

In Hambantota in Sri Lanka the Freemasons' Grand Charity provided some £200,000 towards the construction of Ruhunu Vijaybha Primary and Secondary School. Construction of the school is continuing including classrooms, teachers quarters and an assembly hall. Despite delays, mainly caused by heavy rains, an opening ceremony has been provisionally agreed for the spring of 2007. Progress on the project can be seen by visiting http://www.planlanka.lk/html/TsunamiFeature_ruhunuschool.shtml (Link now broken) posted 29/10/2006

Following his Father's Footsteps

Luke Thorpe, whose father is W.Bro Stuart Thorpe, a Past Master of the Forest of Arden Lodge No 3826, has followed his father's footsteps to become a qualified Rugby Union Referee. This feat is all the more remarkable because Luke is only 12 years old! He will be allowed to referee matches below his own age group, and no doubt will assist his Dad by acting as touch judge for him.

We hope he will join his father as a member of the Forest of Arden Lodge when he's old enough, unless, of course, William Webb Ellis Lodge No 9754 gets him first!posted 29/10/2006

A right Royal occasion and a generous donation

On Thursday 26 October 2006, the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of England and Wales and its Districts and Lodges Overseas celebrated the 150th Anniversary of its foundation with a special meeting at the Royal Albert Hall, London. Some 5500 Brethren, ladies and other non-Masons were present on this most colourful and historic occasion. M W Bro H R H The Prince Michael of Kent, The Grand Master, presided and HRH The Princess Michael of Kent graced the meeting with her presence. 67 Provincial and District Grand Masters and 3 Grand Inspectors were in attendance and had come from countries as far away as Australia and the USA to join in the celebrations. Other distinguished visitors included HRH The Duke of Kent, Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, who was accompanied by the Pro Grand Master, M W Bro the Most Hon the Marquess of Northampton, the Deputy Grand Master and the Assistant Grand Master, and Grand Masters and Rulers of many Orders both in this country and elsewhere in the world.

The principal item of business was the dedication of five new banners for the five Founding Lodges of Grand Mark Lodge – Bon Accord Lodge, Royal Cumberland Lodge, Northumberland and Berwick on Tweed Lodge, Old Kent Lodge and Phoenix Lodge of Mark Masters No 2. This Lodge was acknowledged to be the oldest Mark Lodge in the world by Grand Lodge in 1894. R W Bro James Daniel gave an illustrated talk on the founders and builders of Mark Masonry with a reference in particular to Lord Leigh the first Grand Master, and the Provincial Grand Master of Craft Masonry in Warwickshire for 53 years. Musical entertainment during the meeting was provided by the talented choir and musicians from the Royal Masonic School for Girls.

The occasion was also graced by the presence of H R H The Duchess of Cornwall who attended in her capacity as President of the National Osteoporosis Society. The celebrations culminated in the presentation of a cheque for £3,000,000 to the Society to enable it to buy, equip and run mobile scanners. The £3 million donation is the largest in the charity’s 20 year history. The Deputy Chief Executive of the Society, Angela Jordan, said: “This is a really exciting and vital donation which will go a long way to improving the lives of people who urgently need access to osteoporosis services. Our mobile scanning service will enable the NHS to cut waiting lists and travel time so that patients will get their diagnosis faster, enabling them to discuss treatment options with their doctor.” The disease affects 1 in 2 women, and 1 in 5 men, over the age of 50.

RW Bro Keith S Carmichael CBE, President of the Mark Benevolent Fund, said: “The 150th anniversary is a major milestone for Mark Masonry. Making the largest charitable donation in its history is a fitting way not only to commemorate this important event, but also one that will have a tangible effect on greatly improving, for many years to come, the health and well-being of a considerable number of people, especially ladies.” posted 28/10/2006

Anything Goes in Rugby

Rugby Operatic Society is staging Cole Porter’s ‘Anything Goes’ at the Rugby Theatre in February 2007. Thanks to the generosity of the Society the performance on Wednesday 14 February 2007 will be a Gala Night in aid of the 2012 Festival for the New Masonic Samaritan Fund.

The evening will start with a finger buffet at the Masonic Hall in Rugby (a short walk from the theatre) at 6.00pm – then on to the theatre to see the show at 7.30pm.

Tickets will cost £17.50 which includes the theatre seat, the buffet and a donation to the Festival.

Further details and tickets are available from W Bro Stuart Esworthy on 07881 505558 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

‘Anything Goes’ is full of well known numbers – ‘Anything goes’, ‘I get a kick out of you’, ‘You're the tops’, ‘It's de-lovely’ and ‘You'd be so easy to love’. The original cast included Bing Crosby and Ethel Merman in a smash-hit Broadway show which still graces London’s West End with some frequency.

Book your tickets now since they will be in great demand posted 28/10/2006 .

Monty Python and the Masons

The Monty Python-inspired musical Spamalot celebrated a successful transfer from Broadway with a party at Freemasons Hall, Great Queen Street, London on Tuesday 17 October. The surviving Pythons were there alongside the show's star, Tim Curry.posted 19/10/2006 

Masonic Temple of national historic significance

The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada announced on 14 October 2006 the unveiling of a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque commemorating the Montreal Masonic Memorial Temple as a site of national historic significance. 
"The Government of Canada is pleased to unveil a plaque commemorating the Montreal Masonic Memorial Temple as a national historic site. As a symbolic representation of the history and beliefs of Canadian Freemasons, the Montreal Masonic Memorial Temple is remarkable both for its architecture and for the beliefs it embodies," said Minister Ambrose.

More than seventy-five years after its official inauguration on February 12th, 1930, the Montreal Masonic Memorial Temple remains one of Canada's most elegant buildings in the Beaux-Arts style. Located at the intersection of Sherbrooke Street West and Saint-Marc Street, the building commemorates the Canadian Freemasons who died in the First World War. It was designed by John Smith Archibald, a Montreal architect of Scottish origin, who was a member of the Masonic Foundation of Quebec.

Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of the Environment regarding the national historic significance of places, persons and events that have marked Canada's history. The placement of a commemorative plaque is a means of educating the public about the richness of Canada's cultural heritage which must be preserved for present and future generations. 

The Marathon Man

David Tiller, one of the Province's Standard Bearers this year, has a guaranteed place in the London Marathon in 2007. He needs sponsorship since he is running for two very good causes - the 2012 Festival and Elliott a boy of 7 who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy an incurable and fatal disease from which two boys will die each day. If you can help David, he can be contacted on 07774 276508 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.posted 14/10/2006

All you need to know about the NMSF and the 2012 Festival

If you wish to know more about the New Masonic Samaritan Fund and the 2012 Festival you should find the answers to most if not all of your questions on www.warwickshire2012.org.uk/FAQ.shtm (link removed) In addition you can download Standing Order Forms and Gift Aid Declarations from www.warwickshire2012.org.uk/donate.shtm (link removed) which will enable you to donate to the Festival in the most efficient and advantageous way.posted 12/10/2006

Visit the Normandy Beaches and the battlefields

Alex Bulloch and David Paterson invite you to join them on another visit to the Normandy beaches and the battlefields from 26 to 30 July 2007. Details and prices of this informative and nostalgic visit are available from Alex on 0121 459 9008 and David on 0121 777 9374. Any profits will go the 2012 Festival.posted 12/10/2006

Grand Chancellor

Subject to approval of the required changes to the Book of Constitutions, RW Bro Alan John Englefield, the current Provincial Grand Master for the Provincial Grand Lodge of Oxfordshire, is to be the first Grand Chancellor of the United Grand Lodge of England. He will have responsibility for the external relations of our Grand Lodge with all other foreign Grand Lodges. The Brethren of Warwickshire wish Alan well in this high and important office.posted 05/10/2006

Lodge of Sincerity

The Lodge of Sincerity is one of our smaller Lodges but everyone is assured of a very warm welcome. If any Brother can spare the time to visit the Lodge and help boost the numbers he should get in touch with Trevor Chalk, the secretary, on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further details.posted 05/10/2006

The Masonic Charities

At the meeting of De Montfort Lodge on Monday 13 November 2006 the Provincial Grand Charity Steward, W Bro C J Grove MBE, will be giving a talk entitled "An Update On Masonic Charities". The Lodge will be open at 5-45 pm and the meeting is held in the delightful and historic Guild Hall in Henley in Arden. The surroundings give you an idea of the meeting places of our forebears in the upper rooms of taverns.

If you wish to attend please get in touch with John Walsh the Secretary of the Lodge on 0121 711 2814.posted 05/10/2006

A very special Initiation

At the Lodge of Grace on Wednesday 17 January 2007 the Worshipful Master, Robert Croxall, will initiate his son Steven and Steven's grandfather, Robert Abel, will present the Working Tools. If you wish to witness this very special event please get in touch with the Lodge Secretary on 01905 356171. posted 05/10/2006

Ignorance

"Sad men do lots of stupid things: rugby league, freemasonry and growing moustaches to name but three" proclaims Graeme Whitfield in the Western Mail on 30 September. The same could be said about sad journalists who clearly demonstrate their ignorance about Freemasonry and its members when they make statements like this.posted 2/10/2006

Two diamonds

Brethren of the Province of Warwickshire will be delighted to learn that on 25 September 2006 W Bro William Herbert PGStB and his charming wife Jean celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary, having been married on 25 September 1946 in the village church in Ansley Nuneaton. We send them our warmest congratulations on this very special occasion and our best wishes for many more happy years together.posted 27/9/2006

Fifty years in the Royal Arch

Gordon Capstick, exalted into the Royal Arch in India in 1956, is to receive his fifty year certificate in Shakespeare Chapter on 26 October at Alderson House Warwick. He hopes that as many friends as possible will join him for this special occasion. If you wish to attend please get in touch with Colin Carter on 01788 521741 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. posted 21/9/2006

The Heritage of Stratford upon Avon

The weekend of 8-10 September 2006 was Heritage Weekend and in Stratford upon Avon a Heritage Trail was organised with many buildings not normally open to the general public being opened. The Masonic Hall, Great William Street, Stratford was one such venue. Over the three days in excess of 400 people visited the Masonic Hall. A number of brethren were on hand to explain Masonic customs and the visitors were keen to see inside the Temple.

The history attached to the building was also of interest with it formerly being a Primitive Methodist Chapel consecrated in 1866 and after its closure in 1932 became a Masonic meeting place in 1938. During the Second World War the building was requisitioned by the Royal Air Force. Free refreshments were provided over the three days and all visitors thoroughly enjoyed their visit and many expressed appreciation at the new “openness” of freemasonry. Since that time a number of gentlemen have made initial enquiries about becoming Freemasons.posted 21/9/2006

Royal Masonic Variety Show

There is to be another Royal Masonic Variety Show in the presence of the Grand Master on Remembrance Sunday, 12 November 2006, at the Prince Edward Theatre in Old Compton Street, London starting at 7.30pm. Details can be found on the website address at www.royal-masonic-variety-show.uk7.net (Link no longer works). One half of the profits will go to the RMBI and the remainder to other non masonic charities.posted 18/9/2006

Changes at Freemasons' Hall in London

The Pro Grand Master recently convened a Strategic Working Party under the chairmanship of the Deputy Grand Master to consider the role and functions of a Grand Secretary. They have recommended that the office should be split with the Grand Secretary having responsibility for matters Masonic and a Chief Operating Officer, who need not be a freemason or indeed male, having responsibility for the management of Freemasons’ Hall and its services.

The Strategic Working Party also recommended that the Grand Secretary, while remaining fully responsible for our Districts and Lodges overseas, will have a reduced role in the conduct of our external relations. It is proposed that a new office of Grand Chancellor should be created to oversee our relationship with other Grand Lodges. It is not intended that he should be a paid employee but he will have available to him a Secretariat and he will be a member of both the Grand Master’s Council and the Board of General Purposes. The concept is not new since many Grand Lodges entrust their external relations to a Grand Chancellor. This will in effect mean that the Grand Secretary will be able to concentrate his energies on Masonic matters for the benefit of English Freemasonry in England and Wales and its Provinces and Districts.

These recommendations have the support of the Grand Master’s Council and the Board of General Purposes. Notice of appropriate amendments to the Book of Constitutions will be given in December for consideration by Grand Lodge next March. The recruitment process for the positions of Grand Secretary and Chief Operating Officer will shortly commence.posted 18/9/2006

Edgbaston Assembly Rooms Limited

The Annual General Meeting of Edgbaston Assembly Rooms Limited will be held at the Warwickshire Masonic Temple 2 Stirling Road Edgbaston Birmingham on Tuesday 31 October 2006 at 12 noon. The business is to receive apologies, to approve the minutes of the last AGM, to receive the report of the Council, to receive the accounts for the company for the year ended 30 June 2006 and to re-appoint the auditors.posted 19/09/2006

The life of Lord Leigh

VW Bro Neville Barker-Cryer has carried out research into the life of William Henry, 2nd Lord Leigh who was Provincial Grand Master of Warwickshire from 1852-1905. Lord Leigh was also the first Grand Master of the Mark Degree (1856-1860) and this research has been carried out as part of the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Grand Mark Lodge which takes place in 2006. A book will be published later this year and VW Bro Barker-Cryer has most kindly agreed to launch this book not only in the Province most strongly associated with Lord Leigh but in the Lodge which bears his name, Leigh Lodge No. 887. Leigh Lodge was consecrated in 1861 and Lord Leigh was its first Worshipful Master.

Brethren are cordially invited to attend the Regular Meeting of Leigh Lodge to be held on Wednesday 25th October in the Warwick Suite at Stirling Road Edgbaston Birmingham when VW Bro Barker-Cryer will present his paper. The Brethren will assemble at 5.30 pm.

Further details from and applications to U.O.E. Schirrmacher, 133 New Road,Bromsgrove, 
Worcestershire, B60 2LJ or on 01527 875954 or 01527 872008 orThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. posted 10/09/2006

Masons interrupt cricket match

Elkington Lodge members, their families and friends enjoyed their usual annual Sunday lunch at the Police Sports and Social Club in Edgbaston Birmingham recently but they were unaware that a match at the home of Warwickshire County Cricket Club opposite had been stopped by their activities. The Master of the Lodge, Philip Gumbley, was using a radio microphone to make a number of announcements all of which were heard by the players and large crowd at the match between the Warwickshire Bears and the Durham Dynamos. When the Brethren sang 'Happy Birthday' to the wife of one of their Brethren the whole of the crowd at the cricket match joined in and the umpires stopped play. Reg Willsher, a Warwickshire Provincial Grand Steward, and a season ticket holder at the County Ground and watching the cricket could not believe his ears but confirmed that "all joined in the fun." It transpired that the Cricket Club had installed a new PA system which operated on the same frequency as the radio mikes at the Police Club.posted 10/09/2006

Ladies Gift Fund - Christmas Fayre

The Ladies Gift Fund Christmas Fayre will be held at the home of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire 2 Stirling Road Edgbaston Birmingham on Saturday 18 November 2006 commencing at 10.30am. The President of the Fund is Mrs Dawn Price, the wife of the Provincial Grand Master for Warwickshire, and she will ensure a very warm welcome to the Fayre to all Brethren, their families and friends. Anyone wishing to donate articles for sale or raffle prizes should make contact with Mrs Jane Lates on 0121 246 4999.posted 10/09/2006

New post at the NMSF - Development Director

The New Masonic Samaritan Fund supports Masons and their dependants who are unable to obtain NHS treatment quickly and who cannot afford private medical treatment without suffering further hardship. The Charity provides grants to fund around 500 individuals each year with an annual value in excess of £3m. As the needs of its members continue to evolve the Trustees are looking to develop and extend the scope of the support provided by the NMSF.

This is a new appointment offering a unique opportunity within this well established grant-making charity. The successful candidate will work with the Chief Executive to identify and meet the long-term needs of the membership and ensure that its support is accessible to all who need it. The Charity seeks a confident communicator with powerful interpersonal skills and experience of building positive working relationships at all levels. The post will require a proven ability to deliver effective presentations and an ability to promote the work of the New Masonic Samaritan Fund.

The position will be based in Central London but will require extensive travel across England and Wales and will include frequent evening and weekend working. A current, clean driving licence is therefore essential.

For more information about the work of the New Masonic Samaritan Fund please visit their website at www.nmsf.org

For an informal discussion about this post please contact Richard Douglas, Chief Executive, on 020 7421 2330.

For further details of the application process please e-mail Lee Godward at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact the NMSF main switchboard on 020 7404 1550.

Closing date for applications is 29 September 2006.

£30,000 + benefits.

Registered Charity No. 1001298

Standard of Dress at Grand Lodge

The Paper of Business for Grand Lodge makes it plain that Brethren are expected to wear either a Craft tie or a plain black tie. The Assistant Grand Secretary has informed Provincial Grand Secretaries that there appears to be an increasing trend towards Brethren presenting themselves at a Quarterly Communication wearing a Metropolitan or Provincial tie instead of one of those specified. Brethren are reminded of the edict of Grand Lodge that in Grand Lodge Brethren must wear either a plain black tie (without any emblem either in the weave or as a coloured design) or the Craft tie.posted 6/9/2006

Members needed

The Warwickshire Masonic Brass Band needs more bandsmen. David Diston would be pleased to hear from anyone who is interested. You do not have to be a Freemason to be in the band. David can be contacted on 02476 599612.posted 6/9/2006

New Director for the 2012 Festival

W Bro Michael Baker has, for personal reasons, decided to step down as the 2012 Festival Director. In his place the RW Provincial Grand Master has been pleased to appoint W Bro David Macey who takes up his duties immediately. posted 3/9/2006

Liverymen Sought

Arnold Jessel of the Lodge of Happiness is seeking to establish an informal register of Warwickshire Masons who are Liverymen of City of London Livery Companies. He would welcome hearing from them. 

Freemasons and London Livery Companies have much in common. The Livery dates from mediaeval times and is based on fraternity, charity and discipline, the latter being the regulation and control of standards in specific trades and professions. Both organisations therefore attract men of good character and high moral standards. A Livery Company is ruled by a Master and Wardens, each of whom is appointed annually, and a Livery Banquet has much in common with a Masonic Festive Board with a series of formal toasts.

Arnold can be contacted on 01283 711055 or 07956 963920.posted 28/8/2006

A Mozart Celebration

2006 is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Bro Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. To celebrate the event the Supreme Grand Chapter of England for its next Convocation on 8 November has invited Andrew Pearmain to talk about Mozart, his life, his Freemasonry and his music. This will be a unique opportunity to hear works by the greatest Masonic composer in the magnificent setting of the Grand Temple. As part of the celebration the Library and Museum of Freemasonry will be mounting a special exhibition "European Freemasonry in the time of Mozart" in the second vestibule to the Grand Temple. posted 28/8/2006

Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge

The next Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge will be held at Freemasons' Hall, Great Queen Street, London on Wednesday 13 September at 12 noon, doors open at 11.15am. Brethren eligible to attend are Grand Officers and the Master, present Wardens and Past Masters (if qualified under Rule 9 of the Book of Constitutions) of every Lodge under the English Constitution.posted 28/8/2006

General Meeting of the Grand Charity

A General Meeting of the Grand Charity will be held on Saturday 16 September 2006 at the Harrogate International Centre, Harrogate, North Yorkshire. Members of the Grand Charity, that is, Master Masons who are subscribing members of London and Provincial Lodges, and their partners and other guests may attend. The meeting will start at 11.00am but everyone must be seated by 10.50am. The Vice Grand President the Rt Hon Lord Lane of Horsell will chair the meeting.

A buffet lunch will be available after the meeting but only for those who have purchased tickets prior to the meeting. These can be obtained at the cost of £15 per head from the Provincial Grand Secretary, Province of Yorkshire West Riding, The Masonic Hall, Spring Bank Place, Bradford BD8 7 BX - 01274 481242.posted 28/8/2006

Unusual Installation

As part of its Small Lodge Mutual Support Initiative Programme Barnard Lodge will be hosting a unique Installation on Tuesday 10 October 2006. By special permission of the RW Provincial Grand Master the ceremony will be performed under the Old Ceremonial Workings by Past Masters of Prometheus Lodge. If you have not witnessed this ceremony previously it should not be missed; if you have, then you are welcome to attend and enjoy it again. All Brethren are cordially invited, particularly Brethren from Barnard's support Lodges. If you would like to receive a Summons or further details please contact: Fred Ditchfield, 4 Edge Hill Road, Sutton Coldfield, B74 4NU or on 0121 353 1007 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

"The Burma Railway 1942 - 1934 and Masonic involvement"

The Lodge of Jurisprudence will be holding its next regular meeting, by dispensation, at The Masonic Hall, Newfields, Furnace lane, Halesowen on Wednesday 27 September 2006 at 6.15pm. The guest speaker will be W Bro Michael Batchelor who will present a talk on "The Burma railway 1942 - 43 and Masonic involvement", a factual but moving account of those engaged in the building of the railway many of whom were Freemasons. This is a well researched talk and one that will not be forgotten for a long time. Brethren who are interested in attending should contact the Lodge Secretary, David Williams, on 0121 705 3818 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. posted 15/8/2006

Installation of new Inspector General

Peter Turner is to be installed as the Sovereign Grand Inspector General for the Warwickshire District in the Ancient and Accepted Rite at 2 Stirling Road Edgbaston Birmingham on Wednesday 29 November 2006 at 5.00pm. Members of the Order in Warwickshire will receive details about the Installation from the Recorders of their Chapters in due course. posted 10/8/06

Masonic help for artists

A new awards programme that will distribute NZ$125,000 biennially to up-and-coming artists has been launched in Auckland, New Zealand. The New Generation Awards - a joint initiative between the Arts Foundation of New Zealand and the Freemasons of New Zealand - will award grants to artists who have demonstrated excellence in the early stages of their careers. Five grants of $25,000 will be presented every two years to artists from any art form for them to develop their careers. The first New Generation Awards will be held on November 22 in Wellington. posted 10/8/06

Gift Aid Collections

Enquiries have been received in the Province whether it is permissible for Lodges to reclaim tax on the monies donated for charitable purposes in the collection which is routinely conducted in the Lodge Meeting or at the Festive Board. The technique generally proposed is for the whole collection to be "assigned" to a member of the Lodge who has taxable capacity sufficient to enable him to reclaim tax on it as if he had donated the entire amount personally. An extension of the idea is also to treat in a similar manner monies which are paid for raffle tickets, and similar fund-raising initiatives.

It is wrong for any donations to be treated in this way. This is a criminal offence on the part of any member allowing himself to be used to gain financial advantage by a false declaration. The other members of the Lodge associated with this behaviour may also be guilty of aiding and abetting the commission of the offence or even conspiracy.

Gift aid must never be claimed on monies paid for raffle tickets.
posted 15/7/2006

Freemasons' gift will save lives

Gwent patients' lives will "undoubtedly" be saved with the help of a new scanning machine that can detect the development of a potentially catastrophic vascular condition, says a surgeon. About the size of a laptop computer, the Royal Gwent Hospital's new portable Duplex scanner bought with a £25,000 donation from Monmouthshire Freemasons can detect the formation and size of aortic aneurysms. These bulges in the wall of the aorta, the artery that distributes throughout the body all the blood pumped out of the heart, often go undetected until they burst. If this happens, four out of five patients die. But David McLain, consultant vascular surgeon at the Royal Gwent, said that if these aneurysms can be detected, monitored and repaired, the death rate falls to around one-in-20.posted 15/7/2006 

Lord Northampton addresses the Grand Charity

At a General Meeting and the 25th Anniversary of the Grand Charity at Freemasons Hall in London on 21 June Lord Northampton addressed those present as follows:

"Ladies, Gentlemen and brethren,

That concludes the formal part of our meeting and I hope you have enjoyed hearing about the work of the Grand Charity over the past twenty five years. You have also heard a little about some of the other major masonic charities that freemasons support in England and Wales. I should perhaps point out that masons support many causes in their local communities which we never get to hear about at the centre, and I am talking about many millions of pounds each year. I think by now you will have heard enough about charity so I will wind up this meeting by saying something about freemasonry itself. So much misinformation is written in the press about the organisation and every story has an unpleasant twist – in fact several editors have told me, over lunch in this building, that an article about masonry is not newsworthy unless it has a sting in the tail.

Be that as it may, freemasonry today is very different to what it was even twenty five years ago. We now practise a policy of openness about what we do and why we do it and a lot of effort goes into trying to get our members to talk about their masonry with anyone who is genuinely interested. We are the oldest fraternity in existence having been formalised in 1717 when the first Grand Lodge in the world was created by four lodges meeting at the Goose and Gridiron Public House at St Paul’s Churchyard. Three of them still continue to meet regularly to this day. If you ask a non mason what they know about masonry they will probably mention the word charity and you have heard the reason for that today. What is less known about freemasonry is its quality of tolerance. We accept all men regardless of their age, colour, status, nationality, or religious or political persuasion. In any one of our lodges you will find men of many different faiths and with varied backgrounds and lifestyles. All we care about is that our members believe in God, want to better themselves and be of more service to their fellow beings. Harmony prevails in our lodges probably helped by the fact that all discussions of a religious and political nature are banned. It is often said that Freemasonry breaks down the barriers which keep men apart and as someone who travels extensively visiting brethren in lodges all over the world I can certainly vouch for that statement. Freemasonry is a system of morality in which every object has a deeper symbolic meaning. It has no dogma or doctrine and encourages its members to follow whatever religion they belong to. We hope that by helping the individual to become a better wiser person it will inevitably help society as a whole. Although we only allow men into our form of masonry there are about fifty thousand lady masons in England and Wales in a parallel Order who practise their masonry in exactly the same way as we do.

There are only three ceremonies as well as the installation of a new Master each year. These are much the same wherever you find freemasonry around the world. The first deals with morality and the need to have good ethical standards of behaviour. It also emphasises the need to be in control of ones emotions. The second explains the importance of educating ones intellect so as to become a more useful member of society. The third deals with trust and integrity. As you have heard earlier the three main principles on which the Order was founded are Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, which in layman’s language could be described as long lasting friendships, compassion and integrity. Freemasons throughout the ages have been persecuted and many have lost their lives because of their membership. The effect of Hitler’s determination to exterminate Jews and Freemasons during the Second World War drove us underground and we became obsessively secret about ourselves. That has now changed and with our new ethos of openness we hope to be able to change any misguided perceptions, and show those who are not masons the good things that Freemasonry stands for. I hope this brief explanation will help correct any misunderstandings you may have had and encourage some of you to want to know more about us and the work we do.

Ladies, Gentlemen, and Brethren I thank you all for attending today and there being no further business I declare this meeting closed." posted 12/7/2006

Directors of Ceremonies

The Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, John Emms, is holding a seminar at Stirling Road on 4 September 2006 at 8.00pm. All Lodge Directors and Assistant Directors of Ceremonies and their prospective successors are urged to attend. If you are able to be present at this instructive event please let John know This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.posted 3/7/2006

Important dates for the diary

The following events are planned in the Province over the next twelve months:

  • Masters, Wardens and Visiting Officers Dinner - 5 September 2006
  • Masonic Service, Singers Hill Synagogue, Birmingham - 17 September 2006
  • Dedication of the Masonic Hall Atherstone - 5 October 2006
  • Initiates Lunch - 7 October 2006
  • Remembrance Service - 11 November 2006
  • Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge - 19 May 2007
  • Annual Church Service at Warwick - 10 June 2007
  • Provincial Officers Pre-Season Supper - 20 June 2007

Invitations have been or will be sent to Brethren in due course but please reserve the dates in your diary now. The Provincial Grand Master expects that all the events will be well attended particularly by Grand Officers, acting Provincial Grand Officers and the Masters and Wardens of all the private Lodges in the Province. Where for some unavoidable cause Masters and Wardens are not able to attend Masters should ensure that substitutes are appointed in good time and notified to the Provincial Grand Secretary to so that every Lodge is represented.posted 3/7/2006

Association of Medical, University and Legal Lodges

The Sixth Festival of this Association will be held on Saturday 16 September 2006 at The Council House Birmingham and St Philip's Cathedral. The MW Bro the Most Hon the Marquess of Northampton, Pro Grand Master, will be present. The whole proceedings are open to Brethren, their ladies and other guests. Details are available from John Harvey on 07802 357432 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This is the first occasion that the Festival has been held outside London and the organising committee hope that it will be enthusiastically supported. posted 3/7/2006

A Masonic wedding

The wedding of the Worshipful Master of Dormer Lodge No 7294 in the Province of Worcestershire has recently taken place. Ian Napier married Heidi at All Saints Church, Stechford, not far from the Stechford Masonic Hall.posted 24/6/2006

New jail to be dedicated by Freemasons

The Wilkin County Commissioners have agreed to ask MW Bro Steven R Johnson the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota to dedicate their new law enforcement centre and jail in a Masonic ceremony in August 2006.posted 24/6/2006

Grand Lodge of India celebrates

Freemasons across India celebrated their Universal Brotherhood Day on 24 June 2006 to reiterate their belief in 'the Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man.' About 18,000 Freemasons gathered at 348 Lodges all over the country.posted 24/6/2006

More generosity in your name

At a General Meeting of the Freemasons Grand Charity held in Freemasons Hall London on 21 June 2006 members approved the following grants:

£30,000 to the National Autistic Society to provide funding for the Help! support programme for parents of children with an autistic spectrum disorder;
£25,000 to the Calvert Trust to provide bursary funds for activity holidays for disadvantaged disabled people at the Calvert Trust centres;
£25,000 to the National Blind Children's Society to fund items of IT equipment for disadvantaged blind children for use at home or at school;
£25,000 to the Royal School for the Deaf to equip a new vocational workshop for young deaf people with complex needs;
£85,000 to the Samaritans in equal instalments over two years to fund professional training programmes for the volunteer directors and caller care deputies in local branches of the Samaritans;
£60,000 to Contact the Elderly in equal instalments over three years to fund a central administrator for local social groups for isolated elderly people;
£45,000 to WellChild to fund the cost of a WellChild nurse to help care for chronically sick children at home;
£30,000 to the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths in equal instalments over two years to fund a helpline providing advice on issues relating to sudden infant cot death;
£25,000 to Maggie's Cancer Centres to fund a cancer information specialist in Oxford;
£20,000 to the MDF Bipolar Organisation in equal instalments over two years to fund a service to help people with bipolar disorder (manic depression) to find or retain employment:
£15,000 to Action on Elder Abuse to fund a training course for home workers to help them recognise and deal with the mistreatment of older people;
£150,000 to Skill Force in equal instalments over three years to fund expansion into the Manchester area of Skill Force's educational support programme;
£50,000 to Clubs for Young People to fund a sports development manager to provide national sports programmes for local youth clubs;
£150,000 to the Brain Research Trust in equal instalments over three years to fund research into brain tumours; and
£40,000 to the British Brain and Spine Foundation to develop a training resource to improve the early recognition and diagnosis of neurological conditions.posted 24/6/2006

The Grand Charity celebrates 25 years

The Freemasons Grand Charity took over the functions of the old Board of Benevolence in 1981 and its first President was the late Sir John Stebbings. In its first year of operation the Grand Charity gave more than £285,000 to help distressed Masons and their dependants. The first non-Masonic grant was awarded to the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation (RADAR). The grant of £250,000 helped implement a project to improve the assessment and treatment of people suffering from a severe speech impediment.

Since 1981 more than £72 million has been dedicated by the Grand Charity to charitable support; more than 30,000 applicants have been assisted through Masonic Relief Grants; over £5 million has been given to support the other central Masonic Charities in their work for Freemasons and their dependants; over £30 million has been donated to non-Masonic Charities of all sizes working in England and Wales; more than 250 hospice services have been supported with grants totalling nearly £6 million; and over £1.5 million has been donated for emergency relief work world-wide following devastating disasters.

On its 25th Anniversary Grahame Elliott CBE, President of the Grand Charity, said:" On behalf of Masons the Grand Charity will continue to focus on delivering this valuable and vital assistance to individuals and charities, complementing the tremendous support shown at the local and Provincial level for the same important causes."

Further information about the important work undertaken by the Grand Charity can be found at www.grandcharity.org posted 22/6/2006


Grand Charity Festival

The twenty-first annual Festival for the Grand Charity was held on Saturday, 10 June 2006, at the North Wales Conference Centre, Llandudno, under the Presidency of RW Bro Gareth Lloyd-Jones, Provincial Grand Master for North Wales. A total of £2,338,008 was announced.posted 21/6/2006

One hundred years old

The Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan, established in 1906, and consisting of 68 lodges and 4,200 masons, celebrates its Centenary in June.posted 18/6/2006

Black mourning ribbonEdward Wright

It is with sadness that we report the death on 7 June 2006 of W Bro Edward Wright who was initiated into the Lodge of Amity in November 1969 by his father, the late W Bro Maurice Wright. Edward was the proud holder of a silver matchbox awarded by the Emulation Lodge of Improvement for the complete record of working all four Craft ceremonies without prompt or correction, an honour he shared, uniquely, with his surviving brother Malcolm. Since the inception of this prestigious award only 118 Brethren have achieved the complete record.posted 18/6/2006

New Inspector General

Peter J Turner is to succeed Peter Waring as the Very Illustrious Inspector General for the Warwickshire District in the Ancient and Accepted Rite. Details of the Installation will be circulated in due course.posted 18/6/2006

Lord Northampton addresses Grand Lodge - 14 June 2006

"Brethren, I have received many favourable comments following the MW Grand Master’s remarks at the April Investiture meeting on the question of Charity, and how important it is to make our charity multi-faceted by giving practical help as well as financial aid. We have many small Masonic charities which do just that and next week the Grand Master is coming to my home in Northamptonshire for an event which is being run by the Masonic Trout and Salmon Fishing Club of which I am a Patron. This charity, whose motto is ‘Smiling in the face of adversity’, organises a day’s fishing with professional casters for handicapped and disadvantaged children at venues all over the Country.

It is important that we build on the foundations we laid with our Freemasonry in the Community week by arranging events which benefit our local communities. There is no better way of ensuring the public and potential candidates have a good impression of what freemasonry is all about than by seeing us helping those less fortunate than ourselves.

Since our last Quarterly Communication in March I have made two trips overseas. On 1st May I attended the annual meeting of the Grand Lodge of New York following which they installed their new Grand Master. They kindly honoured me with their Distinguished Achievement Award which I understand is going to feature in the next edition of MQ. On the last weekend of May I flew to Bermuda to inaugurate the new District Grand Lodge of Bermuda and install RW Bro Robert Rego as the first District Grand Master. It was a most enjoyable occasion with many Scottish and Irish brethren attending the ceremony and supporting our brethren. Tomorrow I fly to Dublin for the annual Tripartite meeting between the three Home Grand Lodges.

Bro George Francis, Senior Grand Warden, visited our District Grand Lodge and District Grand Chapter of Cyprus for their annual communication and convocation on 27 May. He attended also the Grand Lodge of Ireland for their annual meeting on 1 June.

Brethren, we are coming to the end of another Masonic season which is a good time to reflect on what has been achieved during the past twelve months and make plans for next year. I wish you and your families a happy and peaceful time over the summer and look forward to seeing you all again in September."posted 18/6/2006

A game of golf

The members of Gothic Lodge are holding their annual golf day at Seedy Mill Golf Course on 14 July. If you wish to take part and can put a team together please contact Martin Fowkes on 0121 308 2994 for details.posted 11/6/2006

Alderson House Warwick

A resident housekeeper is required for the Masonic Rooms at Alderson House 23 High Street Warwick. Light duties - no catering. A two bedroom flat is available. Personal details should be sent to the Secretary, Alderson House (Warwick) Limited (Ref RJW) 12 High Street Warwick CV34 4AP.posted 11/6/2006

New Zealand Freemasons help for musicians

Musician Barrett Hocking from Timaru in the South Island has won a Freemasons New Zealand scholarship to assist with his university studies. Barrett is studying for a Bachelor of Music and has been awarded NZ$3000. The Freemasons will award NZ$220,000 in educational scholarships this year.2/6/2006

Freemasons help 'quake victims

The President of the Freemasons' Grand Charity has approved an emergency grant of £25,000 to the British Red Cross, to aid their relief efforts following the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck the Indonesian island of Java on Saturday, 27 May.

Over 5,000 people are thought to have died and 20,000 have been injured by the earthquake. An estimated 35,000 houses have been destroyed and up to 200,000 people are homeless, at the mercy of torrential rain and continuing aftershocks. In response to the disaster, the Indonesian Government has declared a three-month state emergency.

Red Cross staff and volunteers responded immediately to the earthquake, undertaking search and rescue and relief distribution activities. Relief goods already in use include 10,000 blankets, 2,000 family tents, 5,000 hygiene kits and ten field kitchens. Over the next few days, the main priorities for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movements will be delivering medical help to existing health facilities and providing emergency shelter, food, water and household items to those made homeless.

The emergency grant by The Grand Charity will help the Red Cross to provide vital assistance to people whose lives have been shattered by the earthquake. posted 2/6/2006

Inspector General for Warwickshire to retire

The Very Illustrious Bro Peter Waring the Inspector General for the Warwickshire District in the Ancient and Accepted Rite (the Rose Croix) has announced that he is to step down from that high office in the near future, having held that office since 1998. No date has been fixed for Peter's retirement but this will be known when his successor is confirmed by the Supreme Council which is expected to be in July or August.posted 30/5/2006

A consecration overseas

The Pro Grand Master consecrated the District Grand Lodge of Bermuda on 27 May. Assisted by the Grand Director of Ceremonies, Jonathan Spence, and the District Grand Masters of the Bahamas and Turks and of Trinidad and Tobago, Lord Northampton installed RW Bro Robert William Rego as District Grand Master. There are five Lodges in the District.posted 27/5/2006

General Meeting of the Grand Charity

A General Meeting of the Grand Charity will be held on Wednesday 21 June at 6.00pm in Freemasons' Hall Great Queen Street London under the chairmanship of Lord Northampton. It is a public meeting and Brethren their families and friends are encouraged to attend. The meeting will receive an account of the work of the Grand Charity since 1981 with contributions from Andrew Stebbings, Sir John Welch, Raymond Lye and Grahame Elliott. Presentations will also be given by Bruno Oudmayer of Plan International (India) and Martyn Lewis, ex-BBC newsreader and vice-president of Help the Hospices. posted 27/5/2006

A great gathering

A meeting of the Great Priory of Knights Templar (a Masonic Order) was held at the Warwickshire Provincial HQ in Edgbaston Birmingham on 17 May 2006. Well over 600 members were in attendance and 510 of them dined after the meeting. Members came from all over the country.posted 19/5/2006

Any offers?

The well-maintained Masonic Temple in downtown Dallas, a 65-year-old landmark, is for sale at $3.6 million.posted 19/5/2006

Good music, good company and a good cause

A concert in aid of the Warwickshire 2012 Festival for the New Masonic Samaritan Fund will be held at the Arts Centre at Warwick University on the evening of Sunday 7 October 2007. Performers will include the Warwickshire Symphony Orchestra and the Stratford-upon-Avon Gilbert and Sullivan Society. Ed Doolan, the well-known West Midlands BBC broadcaster, has kindly agreed to be the presenter for the evening. The music will include pieces by Walton, Arnold, Holst, Britten, Coates and, of course, Gilbert and Sullivan.

This is an important and ambitious project for the Province of Warwickshire. It is hoped that Brethren, their ladies and friends will support the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Michael J Price, and make the evening an outstanding success.

Please put the date in your diary now. Further details will follow as soon as possible including the price and availability of tickets. We are actively looking for Brethren who are prepared to sponsor various elements of this sparkling event. If you are interested please get in touch with Rodney Pitham on 0121 744 1328 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. will give you more information. If you wish to reserve tickets in advance please send Rodney your name and address by email. (You will not be committed to buying tickets until you know the purchase price!)

Freemasons sponsor science adventures

All six winning teams now know of their success in the Big Science Adventures video competition for Year 11-13 students, sponsored by Freemasons New Zealand.

The teams have all been assigned trips to some very remote and special locations in New Zealand which include the coastal haunts of whales and dolphins. The challenge now before them is to make a 10 minute documentary of their host scientist's work in those locations. The best video will win the team a place on the ultimate science adventure, a trip to the Antarctic in January 2007. This has been organised through Antarctica New Zealand's Youth on Ice programme. The winner will be announced by Sir Edmund Hillary at a special event in Wellington on 4 August, for which all the teams will come together to present their documentaries and share their experiences.

The Royal Society of New Zealand is very grateful to Freemasons New Zealand, Antarctica New Zealand, and the Royal NZ Navy for their wonderful financial and in-kind support for the competition, which is life-changing for many students. posted 6 May 200

The Grand Master addresses Grand Lodge on 26 April 2006

"Brethren, I welcome you all to this Annual Investiture today and I offer my congratulations to all those brethren I have had the pleasure of investing with Grand Rank or promoting to higher office. Your appointment today is not however simply the recognition of the service you have given Freemasonry in the past but, just as importantly, an earnest of the work we expect you to undertake for the future.

The Craft has embraced the policy of openness with increasing optimism and the benefits are becoming ever more visible. Nowhere has that openness been more apparent than in our charitable activities. The amount of money raised and the donations made to both Masonic and non-Masonic charities has been remarkable, and has contributed significantly to the raising of our profile and our increasing acceptance in the wider community.

Nevertheless, charity is not just about raising money and making donations to good causes, valuable though these are. It has a broader and deeper purpose. Apart from giving alms and providing help by liberality to those in need or distress, charity is also defined as love of one’s fellow man, as kindness, and as leniency in judging others.

Some of our more thoughtful members have commented recently that our charitable activities are in danger of becoming one dimensional, whereas real charity, as I have just defined it, is multi-faceted. Many of our brethren and their Lodges already give much of their time to practical charitable work, which is entirely laudable, and must continue, but as Masons we should all try to involve ourselves to a greater extent in activities which bring joy and happiness into the lives of disadvantaged people, and not just assume that a cash donation discharges our obligations.

Helping those in need or distress therefore has practical as well as financial connotations, but of course taking Masonry into the Community through charitable activities means providing tangible assistance to those in need, and that requires time, a commodity that is precious to us all. By the use of time freely given we can show real liberality of spirit to those who need our help.

We should also spend more time in our assemblies considering the excellences of charity and the lessons it has to teach us as Freemasons, remembering that no less an authority than St. Paul placed charity in front of both faith and hope as the greatest of qualities.

We are also conscious that Freemasonry rests on the basic tenets of friendship, charity and integrity, which we know as Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.

Friendship is the cement which binds us together, integrity is a characteristic which should be inherent in all Freemasons, but charity in all its aspects is the practical application of Freemasonry to the rest of the world. Through our charitable work and our openness about it the world may know the happy and beneficial effects of Freemasonry.

Brethren, in speaking at some length today about charity I want to stress that we must not fall into the trap of becoming dominated by financial charity, nor even its extension into the aspects of doing good by some practical means, if that leads us to forget that Freemasonry is a system of belief and principle that offers us a framework for the better regulation of our lives. Charity is one of the foundations upon which Freemasonry rests, but we must ensure that the other basic tenets are not forgotten or overlooked, and we must look to what observance of all those principles is going to achieve for us. That is the way that we will receive benefit ourselves for what we do for others.

Brethren, I should like to express my thanks to the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his Deputies for the efficient manner in which they have conducted our proceedings today. And also to thank the Grand Secretary's staff, who work so hard behind the scenes to maintain this magnificent building and to ensure that we all enjoy our Freemasonry." posted 6 May 2006

Lord Northampton addresses Supreme Grand Chapter on 27 April 2006

"Companions, I welcome you all here this morning for what is surely the highlight of the year for Royal Arch masons and I congratulate all those I have invested with their new ranks. Those of you who have just been invested for the first time will realise that the honour of being appointed a Grand Officer brings with it certain responsibilities. 
The most important of these is to promote the Order to potential candidates. The Craft initiated 8862 men last year and all of them will soon be eligible to join the Royal Arch. The number of Grand Lodge certificates issued since the millennium has fallen on average by less than 1% per year. Unfortunately the figures for the Royal Arch are not so good. The number of Grand Chapter certificates issued each year since the millennium has fallen by 20% or more than 3% per year. The Royal Arch is not for everyone having a more intimate and spiritual ethos than the Craft, but there are many master masons out there who would benefit from joining us if we can only explain it to them in a meaningful and inspiring way. That is another responsibility we all share as Grand Officers.

I am pleased to hear that many Chapters are now working the new ritual and are enjoying sharing the work among more Companions. Not only must we attract candidates we must also put more effort into retaining them. Now that all our members are entitled to attend Grand Chapter let us try and encourage them to attend our November meetings. I hope we can do something special to make it worth their while.

The 2nd Grand Principal and the President of the Committee have been hosting a series of lunches with Grand Superintendents to discuss many different aspects of the Royal Arch. I am told that they have had some lively and constructive conversations. I said in Grand Lodge last month that I was beginning to sense a new optimism among our members in the Craft, and I hope that can soon be said for the Royal Arch as well.

One piece of good news is the recent appointment of the 3rd Grand Principal (Rev. Canon Neil Collings) as Dean of St Edmondsbury. It is not only a great accolade for him personally it also brings much credit to pure Antient Masonry and we wish him every success in his new post.

Finally Companions I would like to thank the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his Deputies for their usual efficiency in ensuring the smooth running of our ceremony today; the Grand Scribe Ezra’s staff for their considerable efforts in organising this important event; and finally all of you for either coming to be invested with your new ranks or to support your friends who have been."posted 6 May 2006

Lost - owner of a bottle of whisky!

Participants in the walk for the 2012 Festival held on Sunday 23 April also bought tickets with the hope of winning a bottle of whisky. The winning tickets, green in colour, are numbered 216 to 220 and the lucky owner is asked to get in touch with David Joyce on 02476 462344 to claim his/her prize. David is not responsible for any evaporation that may occur to the contents while the bottle is in his custody! posted 1/5/2006

Warwickshire Freemasons give generously

Grants totalling £76,500 have been made to 123 local non-Masonic charities by the Province of Warwickshire. Among those who have benefited from this act of generosity are the hospices in the Province, Warwick Hospital Cancer Ward, Autism West Midlands, Cerebral Palsy Midlands, Dogs for the Disabled, Edgbaston Old Church, Little Sisters of the Poor, the Rape and Sexual Violence Project, the Collegiate Church of St Mary in Warwick, the Salvation Army, the Oesophageal Patients Association and the St John Ambulance. Grants range from £250 to £3,000.

Michael Price, the Provincial Grand Master for Warwickshire Freemasons says:"I am always delighted to be able to make these grants to deserving non-Masonic causes on behalf of the Freemasons in Warwickshire. Their generosity in their giving always amazes me but it reflects one of the basic tenets of Freemasonry - to assist those who are not as fortunate as we are."

Further details of grants and recipients are available from Michael Irving the Provincial Grand Almoner on 0121 454 0554 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. posted 1/5/2006

Freemasons help Cathedrals

The Freemasons' Grand Charity has made grants of £5,000 each to Hereford Cathedral and Exeter Cathedral.posted 1/5/2006

Freemasons help vulnerable and disabled people

The Freemasons Grand Charity has just made four major grants to charities that work for vulnerable people and the disabled.

A grant of £105,000 payable in equal instalments over two years has been made to Home-Start UK to assist in setting up a regional network in north-east England and new schemes in Durham and Northumberland. Home-Start provides parent to parent support and practical help to families with babies and young children through 335 volunteer schemes across the country.

A grant of £30,000 payable in equal instalments over two years to help support a day care centre in Malvern for older people with dementia has been made to Friends of the Elderly. The charity provides residential care for the elderly and runs 17 care and nursing homes, as well as a home support service and day care centres for isolated older people and community services for those with dementia.

A grant of £30,000 payable in equal annual instalments over two years to help establish an independent advocacy service for older people has been made to Counsel and Care. They support older people with an information and advice service and produce comprehensive reports and fact sheets on many relevant issues. The charity also runs a telephone helpline assisting about 10,000 older people each year.

A grant of £52,000 to fund a ceiling mounted hoist and tracking system in two residential units for severely disabled children has been made to the Children's Trust. The TRust provides short and long term care, special education and therapeutic programmes for children who have profound learning and physical disabilities and complex health needs.posted 20/4/2006

Royal & Select Masters Partition

The Central District, Royal & Select Masters, is to be partitioned. For full details, please click hereAcrobat document link image

Freemasons help for hospice

A massive £150,000 has been donated to help improve life for seriously-ill children and their families. The sum was handed over recently by Somerset Freemasons to the Children's Hospice South West appeal. It will be used to help equip the £11 million hospice when it opens at Charlton Farm, in Wraxall, including buying furniture and computers. The money was raised by the 4,500 members of the Somerset Freemasons over the last 18 months.posted 12/4/2006

In all its glory

A £1million project to rebuild a former Sunderland Masonic Hall at Beamish Museum which has taken eight years to accomplish, will finally be unveiled on 19 April by the The MW the Grand Master HRH The Duke of Kent. "The Masonic Hall must be one of the most intriguing and fascinating exhibits to open at Beamish," said Trish Hall, marketing manager for the museum. We've already had coach groups booking specifically to see it, and hundreds of enquiries as well. It will be the only Masonic temple permanently open to the public in Europe."

The new attraction, which originally stood in Park Terrace, now part of Toward Road, in Sunderland, was built in 1869 for the St John's Lodge and was Sunderland's main Freemasonry centre for years. By 1933, however, it was home to 17 lodges and bulging at the seams. A new base was therefore built at Burdon Road, leaving Park Terrace empty. The Grade I listed temple was used as a warehouse for several years, but eventually fell into disrepair. By 1998, it was almost derelict and doomed to demolition. Eric Heaviside, Assistant Provincial Grand Master for Durham, said: "We only heard about the plans at the last minute and our members immediately visited the site. We reached an agreement with the builder to save the ornate frontispiece of the hall just 24 hours before it was to be demolished. It was that close to being lost."

Dozens of photographs and drawings were made of the temple's frontage before it was dismantled, with each individual brick being measured and numbered. The pieces were then stored until enough money was raised to fund the rebuilding. Beamish and the Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham shared the £1million bill.
"The frontage was painstakingly rebuilt brick by brick," said Trish. "The rest of the building was built behind it on an East-West axis, just as Masonic buildings ideally are."

Museum experts used an old photograph of the temple's interior to create an authentic look, complete with black and white marble floor and gothic fireplace.

Three impressive mid-18th century chairs, symbolic boards and original Masonic paintings, all donated by lodges around Britain, add to the authenticity. "In addition, the building also houses other traditional Masonic rooms, including a Robing Room, Tyler's Room and a Museum Room upstairs," said Trish.

Hundreds of Freemasons will gather at Beamish on 19 April to celebrate the opening of the rebuilt Masonic Hall. "We raised £500,000 towards the project and it's been a bit of a hard slog at times," said W Bro Heaviside. "But it's all been very worthwhile in the end. The building has been done to the highest quality and it gives people the opportunity to see what a Masonic Hall looks like, as well as learning what goes on inside. It is the only purpose-built Masonic Hall within a museum in Europe and we are expecting people from all over the world to be interested in visiting." posted 12/4/2006

Coventry Cathedral Plaque Appeal

The plaque commemorating those members of the 1/7th Royal Warwickshire Regiment who fell in the First World War, located on the south wall of the old Coventry Cathedral, was damaged and exposed to the elements during the blitz on Coventry in 1941. An appeal has been made for its restoration, the cost of which is estimated at £2,500 plus VAT. Donations may be sent to Major P Stanley TD, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and Royal Warwickshire Regimental Association, Tower Street, Coventry CV1.posted 9/4/2006

NSPCC

The NSPCC continues to work hard to provide a range of services to keep children safe. The local Community Appeals Manager has asked if Warwickshire Lodges could help the NSPCC by making suitable donations. Any donations should be sent to the Birmingham and Black Country Appeals Office, 3rd Floor, Waterlinks House, Richard Street, Aston, Birmingham B7 4AA posted 9/4/2006

Grand Lodge of Scotland - Tours

The history of Scottish Freemasonry is unique and is reflected in Scottish Masonic practice to this day. As a consequence of this and the number of books published recently about Freemasonry there has been an increasing number of visitors arriving at Freemasons' Hall in Edinburgh. In order to cater for the increasing number of visitors guided tours have been arranged for specific times. These are available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 2.00pm. The first tour took place on Thursday 6 April. Visitors are welcome at Freemasons' Hall at other times but it will not be possible to provide tours other than at these times. It is advisable to telephone in advance of your visit - 0131 225 5304. Freemasons Hall is at 96 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 3DH.posted 9/4/2006

Judge backs Freemasons' role

The role of Masons in public life won the backing of a High Court judge, who dismissed claims that the order’s secretive ways made Freemasonry an unhealthy influence on officialdom.

Mr Justice Newman accepted that there was still a perception that Freemasonry could give rise to apparent bias in decision making. But he concluded that Masons holding public positions did not need to remove themselves from decisions involving other Masons.

The judge said that “Freemasonry is not a religion” and that although members of the order agreed to give “succour” to “brother Masons”, they were subject to the “uncompromising and clear” principle that they must pay “due obedience” to the laws of the land.

Mr Justice Newman upheld North Dorset District Council’s decision to give planning consent to an application for a change of use of farming land to a showground in Motcombe in Dorset by the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Agricultural Society. He dismissed arguments that there was an “appearance of bias” because two of the members who voted in favour of the scheme were members of Masonic lodges.posted 9/4/2006

'Masonic' Email Scam

We have previously warned about two email scams claiming to be from the "Freemasons of Winchester and Bournemouth" offering shares in a Masonic Charity payout. New scams are appearing claiming to be from a Grand Lodge of England with an email address including "grandlodgeofengland". That is not an address used by the United Grand Lodge of England. The UGLE itself does not offer charity payments and our Masonic Charities do not make unsolicited offers of assistance by email to anyone. The offers being made by email are a scam to gain access to an individual's bank details. They have been reported to the appropriate authorities.posted 5/4/2006

Freemasonry and Christianity

The Bishop of Rochester has joined that ill-informed band of senior clergy in the Church of England by pronouncing that Freemasonry and Christianity are incompatible and asserting that this is Church doctrine. Brethren will recall the anxiety caused by the Archbishop of Canterbury when he made a similar statement three years ago. Sadly, despite attempts by Freemasonry Today the Bishop has not been able to justify his views or even reply. The poll conducted by BBC Radio last year demonstrated an overwhelming majority view that Freemasonry and Christianity are compatible, which is known to all Freemasons whether they are Christians or adherents of other faiths.

If you feel strongly about yet another unjustified attack on Freemasonry you may wish to write to the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, at Bishopscourt, 24 St Margaret's Street, Rochester, Kent, ME1 1TS or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 5/4/2006

A garden party for charity

De Montfort Lodge is organising a Charity Garden Party to be held on Sunday 13 August 2006 at Kingswood Nurseries, Old Warwick Road, Lapworth. Proceeds will be donated to the 2012 Festival. If you are interested in attending then John Walsh on 0121 711 2814 would be delighted to hear from you.posted 5/4/2006

New Grand Superintendent for Warwickshire

The Most Excellent First Grand Principal HRH The Duke of Kent has been pleased to appoint Excellent Companion John Saint, Past Grand Sword Bearer, Deputy Grand Superintendent, to be the fourteenth Grand Superintendent for the Royal Arch Province of Warwickshire. John, who succeeds E Comp Richard Wallis, will be installed into this high office in the morning of Tuesday 6 June 2006 at 2 Stirling Road Edgbaston Birmingham. The Annual Convocation of the Province will take place in the afternoon.

We extend our warmest and fraternal congratulations to John and wish him many happy and rewarding years as Grand Superintendent.posted 25/3/2006

A new Lodge on the road

The first consecration of a new Lodge in Worcestershire since 1997 took place at Rainbow Hill, Worcester, on Saturday 18 March 2006 when R W Bro Richard Goddard, Provincial Grand Master, constituted and consecrated the Morgan Lodge, No 9816.

The new Lodge has been established for all Masons with a particular interest in that famous marque of sports car and will, of course, regularly meet at Malvern, where the factory producing the cars is established.

The Founders, from all over the country and overseas, and over 80 guests, enjoyed a very happy occasion with Richard Goddard appropriately arriving for the occasion in his daughter’s beautiful “Morgan plus 4”. posted 22/3/2006

Long Service!

Arnold J. Sodergren is 101 years old and has just celebrated 75 years of membership in Royal Arch Freemasonry in Massachusetts. He is the only person known to have belonged to a Massachusetts Chapter for such a period.posted 22/3/2006

Riding high for charity - the Bolivian Bike Challenge

Bro Tony Ingram of the Lodge of Academe in Warwickshire is taking part in a bike race across the Bolivian Andes, finishing on the Pacific Coast in Chile in September. This is a two week orienteering mountain bike race, starting on top of an active volcano at an altitude of 3.4 miles. The race will take in the spine of the Andes across the Atacama Desert and the largest salt lake in the world. This is a truly epic event that will be televised on the Adventure Challenge Channel.

Tony is looking for sponsorship and all the money raised will be contributed to the Warwickshire 2012 Festival for the New Masonic Samaritan Fund. If you are able to sponsor Tony please let him know on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 02476 590074.posted 22/3/2006

Freemasons help tackle food shortages in Africa

The President of the Grand Charity, RW Bro Raymond Lye, has approved an emergency grant of £10,000 to the British Red Cross, to aid their urgent work to tackle the food shortages affecting populations across Southern, East and West Africa.

At least 23 million people are facing serious food shortages for a combination of reasons and the situation is deteriorating rapidly.

In Southern Africa an estimated 12 million people are in need of food aid following total crop failure and in the East and Horn of Africa more than 11 million people are facing food shortages due to severe droughts and the effects of past and ongoing conflicts. There are also fears of re-emerging food shortages in West Africa, a region affected by food security problems for several decades.

The emergency grant to the Red Cross will help fund relief efforts across the continent including the provision of food aid, water, sanitation and seeds for planting.posted 14/3/2006

Grand Lodge of Russia

The attention of Brethren is drawn to the situation that appears to exist in the Grand Lodge of Russia. Rumours and reports have been reaching Grand Lodge for some time about the manner in which the Grand Lodge of Russia and its affairs are being conducted and controlled. It is not proving easy to assess the truth or otherwise of such reports. Accordingly until it has become possible to ascertain the actual position with some degree of certainty it is recommended that Brethren should refrain from visiting Lodges under the Grand Lodge of Russia and, further, that Lodges under this Constitution should exercise extreme caution before admitting as visitors Brethren from Lodges under the Grand Lodge of Russia.posted 14/3/2006

Lord Northampton's address to Grand Lodge - 8 March 2006

Brethren, I would like to say something about the proposal to create ‘The Rulers’ Forum’ and why I believe such a body will have an important role to play in the future. When the old Board of General Purposes was transformed into the new much smaller one, it was thought advisable to create a General Council, under the Chairmanship of the President of the Board, to retain that wealth of knowledge and experience which the former members had acquired over many years of service. It did not succeed for a variety of reasons and is now a standing committee which has not met for some years. The Associated Masonic Provinces is a much older body and although it has performed some useful functions for the Craft and has come up with many innovative ideas, it has struggled to be heard. The Rulers’ Forum would in effect unite both the General Council and the Associated Masonic Provinces under the Chairmanship of the Grand Master. Although it will have no powers, as such, it cannot fail to have considerable influence comprising as it will the High Rulers, the President and Deputy President of the Board and the President of the Committee. Of the remaining members two thirds will be elected to represent the Provinces and London while one third will be appointed by the Grand Master. Its role will be to debate some of the issues facing us at this time, and to encourage brethren with good ideas to air them in a spirit of fraternal co-operation. I am excited by the creation of such a representative body and hope its members will be enthusiastic and forward thinking with the best interests of the Craft at heart.

In fact, brethren, visiting lodges in London, our Provinces and Districts over the past year I have begun to sense a new optimism among our members and this is reinforced by the figures on page three of the paper of business. We are continuing to lose members overall and lodges will go on closing when their numbers make them untenable, but the number of Grand Lodge certificates we issue each year appears to be holding up. If we average out the drop in the number of initiates since the millennium it is less than 1% a year. This surely means our efforts must be concentrated on retaining them and to do that we must educate them into the meaning and relevance of masonry in the 21st Century.

Brethren, as you will have read in the report of our last meeting, the Prestonian Lecture is entitled “The Victoria Cross – Freemasons’ Band of Brothers” and will be given by W Bro G S Angell. I would like also to commend to you the exhibition currently on view in the Library and Museum to mark the 150th anniversary of the institution of the Victoria Cross in 1856. The criterion for the reward is simple – conspicuous valour in the presence of the enemy – but its winners have been drawn from all sections of the armed forces, including some civilians under military command, and from all walks of life. This exhibition is a tribute to those holders of the Victoria Cross who were also Freemasons and includes some of their stories. They amount to over 10% of all the awards ever won which is a remarkable figure and one of which we can feel justifiably proud.posted 14/3/2006

Chief Executive addresses AGM of the Grand Charity

In a packed Grand Temple on Wednesday 8 March 2006 when the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge had been called off to allow the AGM of the Grand Charity to be held, Laura Chapman, the Chief Executive of the Charity, delivered the following address:

"Pro Grand Master, President, gentlemen. Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to address Grand Lodge to provide an update on the Craft’s support for victims of the Tsunami. I have just returned from a visit to India and Sri Lanka to see at first hand the projects that are being funded from the Tsunami Relief Chest. As you may recall, immediately following the disaster, the President of the Grand Charity authorised an Emergency Grant of £100,000 for the British Red Cross to air lift essential supplies to the worst affected areas. In addition, grants of £10,000 and £25,000 were made to the District Grand Lodges of Madras and Sri Lanka to assist them with their local relief work.

In response to requests from the Craft, the Grand Charity opened a Relief Chest to receive donations from Masons who wished to support the relief efforts via a central Masonic Charity. I had originally thought that a few thousand pounds might be donated, so you can imagine my utter amazement as the thousands turned to hundreds of thousands. The Craft has been overwhelmingly generous and, as of the end of February, the Chest had received more than £850,000.

Donations have come not only from Masons under the United Grand Lodge of England, but from around the world. One of many came from the Masonic Service Association of North America who contacted me for advice on suitable projects. Subsequently, the Association decided that the money that they had raised should be added to the Relief Chest to support the Grand Charity’s efforts. Of the total in the Relief Chest, more than £750,000 has been committed and we are evaluating several different options for the remaining funds.

After careful consideration, as reported to Grand Lodge last March, the Council of the Grand Charity agreed that the Relief Chest funds should be used to support long term relief efforts for children orphaned or otherwise affected by the disaster. Following meetings in London with a number of child focussed charities and a due diligence visit to meet the local staff who would be managing projects in the field, the Grand Charity selected Plan as its delivery partner in India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Plan is a child-centred community development organisation, working in 66 countries worldwide.

A grant of nearly £320,000 for India is supporting child care centres, funding women’s self help groups and providing livelihood support for families in the fishing villages of Villapuram in Tamil Nadu. Thus far, 58 boats have been delivered, benefiting more than 230 families – boats that the local fishermen themselves helped to design in conjunction with the suppliers who had been selected through a rigorous competitive bidding process.

To avoid the problem that at BT we used to call “shrinkage” off the back of an engineer’s van, Plan has ensured controls are in place so that boats are not sold or given away. The boats are owned, most wisely, by the women of the village, and a board has been erected in each village to display the names of the boat owners with registration and insurance details for each boat. Plan has a central database of the boats and local staff regularly monitor to ensure that no boats have gone missing. I travelled with Michael Turnbull from the Council of the Grand Charity, who went out to sea in one of our boats, and fortunately returned, but without any fish.

We visited childcare centres, which provide a safe and stimulating environment for children to learn basic educational skills, receive training in hygiene and sanitation practices and have regular medical check-ups. Psychological counsellors help them to overcome the trauma of the tsunami and the children receive disaster preparedness training to help them with the all too frequent natural disasters of the developing world. The children were exuberant, vivacious and noisy, a far cry from their withdrawn stoicism of a year ago.

I saw the products of several of the women’s self help groups, where women can gain much needed employment skills and the capacity, through the availability of micro-financing, to develop income generating activities. I would like to urge all of you to attend the Grand Charity’s General Meeting in London on June 21st to hear Bruno Oudmayer, the Director of Plan India, who will be speaking about the tsunami relief work. He is most impressive and Plan’s work in India is remarkable.

In Sri Lanka, we visited the 22-acre site in Hambantota where construction work has begun to build a new school for 3,000 primary and secondary school students. The Grand Charity grant of £200,000 will contribute to the overall funding of £2m for the project. Plan’s philosophy of “building back better” will ensure that a much higher standard of education will be available to children in the region, who were consulted in the design of the new school The project is on schedule and on budget, with the primary school due to open in January 2007.

In Indonesia the Grand Charity has agreed, in principle, a donation of £100,000 for a school to be built in the Aceh district. The loss of life and the scale of the devastation were so great in Indonesia that, when combined with the political instability of a country at war, the redevelopment efforts have progressed more slowly here than in the other countries. Plan is confident, however, that work on the school will begin later this year.

I would like to finish by touching on the broader context of the tsunami relief work. You will all have read the widespread criticism of the inefficiency and waste of governments and international NGO’s in the efforts to help victims of this disaster. Boats without engines, boats not designed for the local fishermen’s needs, women and children marginalised and excluded from the decision making process. There are, however, many more examples of international NGO’s delivering much needed redevelopment initiatives, sensitive to local cultures and needs. I can assure you that with Plan the projects funded by the Craft are bringing tangible, measurable benefits for children whose lives have been devastated by this disaster. Of equal importance, the money given by the Craft is “building back better” infrastructure destroyed by the tsunami and thereby achieving lasting economic and social improvements for children and the communities in which they are growing up.

On behalf of the Grand Charity and those who you are helping, thank you."posted 14/3/2006

Order of Service to Masonry

At the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge held on 8 March 2006 the Pro Grand Master, Lord Northampton, conferred the MW Grand Master's Order of Service to Masonry on Sir Jayantilal Chande KBE the Past District Grand Master for East Africa and RW Bro Richard Sandbach a Past Provincial Grand Master for Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire to the acclaim of the assembled Brethren.posted 9/3/2006

Wanted - Legacy Manager for the Masonic Charities

The Four Central Masonic Charities provide a wide variety of support in the UK and overseas. They are now looking to recruit an experienced and highly motivated Legacy Manager in their Central London Offices to establish and manage a major legacy campaign. This is an exciting new initiative on behalf of all four central Masonic Charities who will be working together to increase legacy income.

The Charities seek a confident communicator to promote their work and services to Freemasons and other relevant audiences as part of an ongoing campaign to encourage people to remember the Central Masonic Charities in their Wills.

The Legacy Manager will have excellent people skills – the ability to get on with people from all walks of life and be well versed in presentations and an ability to promote the work of the Central Masonic Charities.

Previous experience in a fundraising and/or business environment is essential. The role will include extensive travel across England and Wales. A current, clean driving licence is therefore essential.

If this sounds like the challenge you are looking for, please send a copy of your CV and no more than 2 A4 pages on why you feel you would be suited for the appointment to:

Compton International Fundraising Ltd, Compton House, High Street, Harbury, Warwickshire CV33 9HW.

Initial interviews will take place on 6 April 2006.

Closing date for applications will be 5 pm on 26 March 2006.

The Central Masonic Charities are committed to equality of opportunity in employment. We welcome applications from all sections of the community.

This post attracts 20 days annual leave, plus bank and statutory holidays.

A copy of the job description and person specification for this post can be obtained by contacting Laureen Wheatley at Compton International Fundraising Ltd on 01926 614555 or by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. posted 2/3/2006

A Summer Conference

The Cornerstone Society has confirmed details of the 2006 Summer Conference which will be held in London at Freemasons’ Hall on Saturday 24 June 2006 with registration at 12.45pm. Speakers will include Trevor Stewart, 2004 Prestonian Lecturer, with “The Way Forward”, David Sims with “A Search for the Genuine Secrets?” and Kai Hughes from the Cornerstone Society with “The Psychology of Freemasonry”. As usual, there will be a Ritual Workshop and the Discussion Panel. A dinner will be held afterwards at the New Connaught Rooms commencing at 6.00pm. Conference only tickets are £15 per person and tickets for the Conference and dinner are £39.50 per person. Application forms and full details can be obtained on line atwww.cornerstonesociety.com. Please reserve your place early.posted 2/3/2006

The Grand Charity

Eligible Brethren are reminded that the Annual General Meeting of the Grand Charity will be held at Freemasons' Hall, Great Queen Street, London as part of the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge on Wednesday 8 March 2006 but separate from it.posted 26/2/2006

Acorns Children's Hospices

The three hospices run by Acorns in Birmingham, Walsall and Worcester are well known to and generously supported by Freemasons, their families and their friends. Currently some 600 families receive the Acorns' services of respite, emergency and terminal care at the hospices and round the clock support at home through the community team. It costs £4,500 per day to run each hospice with a daily bed cost of £450. There is no charge to the supported families.

Acorns relies on the community to fund the majority of its activities. Adult hospices receive around 30% of their service costs from the NHS but the statutory funding for Acorns is only 10%. For a whole variety of reasons community fund-raising income has fallen and drastic measures have had to be taken for Acorns to attempt to stay within a curtailed budget. Cost savings of some £70,000 per month have had to be made which means that twelve of the thirty beds in the hospices have had to be closed.

If you feel that Acorns is worthy at this difficult time of your support or that of your Lodge please have a word with your Lodge Almoner to see if he can release any of his funds. They will be thankfully received and faithfully applied.posted 26/2/2006

MQ Magazine

MQ Magazine is the official Grand Lodge publication but it appears that not every member of the Craft in England and Wales is receiving it. If you are one of those Brethren please ask your Lodge Secretary to forward your relevant details to:

MQ Magazine
Communications Department
60 Great Queen Street
Freemasons' Hall
London
WC2B 5AZ or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. posted 22/2/2006

Warwickshire Masonic Bowling Association

This Association urgently seeks flat green bowlers (indoor and outdoor) for their fixtures already arranged for 2006. If you are interested you should get in touch with Berwyn Edwards on 02476 599298 or Peter Tomlinson on 02476 673843.posted 22/2/2006

Warwickshire Masonic Golfing Association

The Masonic golfers of Warwickshire take on those of Derbyshire at Mickleover Golf Club on 25 May and the golfers of Worcestershire at Henley Golf Club on 28 June. The Spring Meeting takes place at Coventry Golf Club on 7 June and the Six Counties Championships will be held at Doncaster on 28 July. Warwickshire then take on Staffordshire at Great Barr on 17 August. If you are interested in joining the Association then John Atkinson would be pleased to hear from you on 01926 842869 orThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.posted 22/2/2006

Freemasons in MI5?

SDLP leader Mark Durkan has asked Home Secretary Charles Clarke to name the top MI5 officers in Northern Ireland. Mr Durkan has tabled a series of written questions at Parliament in Westminster relating to the Government's plans to give MI5 an extended role in Northern Ireland. One of the questions is whether MI5 personnel in Northern Ireland must register membership of the Freemasons.posted 22/2/2006

Indian BBQ

An Indian BBQ hosted by members of the Holy Well Lodge will be held at Old Leamingtonians Rugby Club on Sunday 9 July 2006 the proceeds going to the 2012 Festival for the New Masonic Samaritan Fund. There will be Indian, English and vegetarian fare and entertainment for children. The cost is £12 for adults, £6 for children under 12 and the under 5s go for free. The BBQ will commence at 12 noon. Since the organisers need to have a reasonable idea of numbers, applications should be made to Herbie Jhita on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 01926 771107 from whom further details are also available.posted 22/2/2006

Another “new” Grand Lodge in England!

There has been a split in the “Regular” Grand Lodge of England. Two of their members were unhappy at the direction the RGLE is taking and have “revived” the old Grand Lodge of All England, known to Masonic historians as the York Grand Lodge.

The “new” Grand Lodge has a web site at www.grandlodgeofallengland.org . The Grand Master is one John Gordon Graves and the Grand Secretary is Peter J. Clatworthy.

Like all irregular bodies they are claiming an ancient pedigree and claim to be acting by “the original Constitutions granted by Prince Edwin at the General Assembly of Masons held in York AD 975”. This is one of the oldest legends connected with Freemasonry and was shown to be a legend more than one hundred years ago!

They also claim that the York Grand Lodge was the first Grand Lodge in England and predates the premier Grand Lodge formed in London in 1717. An independent Lodge existed in York, for which records survive from 1705. It was simply a private Lodge, which in 1725, because of the success of the premier Grand Lodge, began to call itself the Grand Lodge of All England and, in the same year, adopted “Nineteen Articles” to govern the Craft.

The Grand Lodge of All England worked until 1740 when it became dormant. It was revived in 1761 and over the next thirty years constituted about thirteen daughter Lodges in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cheshire. It ceased working circa 1791, since when nothing more was heard of it until its “revival” last month. The records of the York Grand Lodge exist and are in the custody of the present York Lodge No. 236 meeting inYork.

The Grand Lodge of All England (which appears to have only two members at present) claims to be the “regular” authority governing the Craft in England, Wales, the Channel Island and Districts Overseas”. A General Assembly, which all Master Masons are invited to attend, is to be held in York on 20 February 2006 to plan the way forward. Needless to say the new body is entirely irregular, and any member of the United Grand Lodge of England who gets involved in it will become subject to our disciplinary process.

Masonic Models?

Paris Hilton stunned the crowds at London Fashion Week on 14 February as she flew in to model exclusively for designer Julien Macdonald. The fashion event was held for the first time in the delightful surroundings of the Grand Temple at Freemasons Hall in Great Queen Street in London and among the celebrities in the audience was Dame Shirley Bassey.posted 19/2/2006

Freemasons conspire!

In a recent survey of British Muslims nearly fifty per cent agreed with the conspiracy theory that "the Jewish community in Britain is in league with the Freemasons to control the media and politics". posted 19/2/2006

Media Review

Much is said and written about Freemasons and Freemasonry, some of which is complimentary, and some less so. Sometimes there are serious mistakes and inaccuracies in reports which need to be addressed, especially the old myths and fictions so often put out by the critics and detractors of Freemasonry.

The Provincial Information Officer, Rodney Pitham, would like to be told about all newspaper, radio and television coverage whenever there is any mention of Freemasonry however published - good, bad or indifferent.

Reading your local newspapers, listening to your local radio stations and watching local television, may lead to you such information and Rodney would like to know about it. Whether or not you are a Mason, he would be grateful for your assistance in gathering this information, which should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or to Rodney Pitham, Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire, 2 Stirling Road Edgbaston Birmingham B16 9SBposted 19/2/2006 .

Band aid

The Warwickshire Masonic Brass Band has just generously donated the sum of £200 to the Heritage Fund and £800 to the 2012 Festival for the New Masonic Samaritan Fund. The money comes from fees and donations received by the band from performances during 2005. Bandsmen are always welcome to join the band and David Diston would be pleased to hear from anyone who is interested. You do not have to be a Freemason to be in the band. David can be contacted on 02476 599612.posted 4/2/2006

Congratulations

The first milestone has been reached in the collection of monies for the Warwickshire 2012 Festival for the New Masonic Samaritan Fund - £100,000 since the launch of the Festival in September 2005. Brethren are urged to complete their Standing Orders and Gift Aid Declarations, obtainable from Lodge Charity Stewards, as early as possible in the Festival period and to support all the sponsored events details of which are notified from time to time to Lodges and which can be found on www.warwickshire2012.org.ukposted 30/1/2006

Helping each other

For some 16 years Stivichall Lodge from Coventry and Three Shires Lodge meeting in Edgbaston have been 'twinned' and visited each other's lodges on a regular basis. This month a strong delegation travelled from Coventry to see Three Shires, at Stivichall's request, raise a Stivichall candidate. Three Shires were rather surprised when the candidate was asked to recite his Fellow Craft obligation but it was explained that this was normal practice at Stivichall! Bro Ram Panakkal rose to the occasion and produced a flawless recitation. Once the lodge had been opened in the third degree Stivichall (at Three Shires request) provided Past Masters for the work in the Chair together with the Wardens and ADC. Despite a few differences in working between the two lodges the ceremony proved very successful and all praise must go to all who took part.

The meeting was followed by a splendid festive board and all agreed that it had been a superb example of brotherly accord. Very grateful thanks from Stivichall to Three Spiresposted 30/1/2006

Charity appointment

W Bro Rodney Pitham, Assistant Provincial Grand Master and Information Officer for the Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire, has been elected as Chairman of the Appeals and Donations Committee of the Council of the Grand Charity.posted 20/1/2006

Prestonian Lecturer honoured

At the Regular Meeting of Nautical Services Lodge on 4 January 2006 in the Province of Worcestershire, the Provincial Grand Master, Richard Goddard, presented Granville Angell with the Prestonian Jewel on the occasion of his appointment as Prestonian Lecturer for 2006.

It is thought that this is the first time in the history of the Province that a Worcestershire Mason has been afforded this high honour, which dates back to the bequest made by William Preston on his death in 1818. The interest from the original £300 was to be applied to a well informed mason to deliver annually a Lecture, and since 1924 the subject has been left to the lecturer’s choice.

Granville has chosen “The Victoria Cross and Freemasonry” as his subject and will be presenting an unprecedented five official lectures together with a further fifty or more informal ones in the United Kingdom and at least five other countries throughout the world.

In recognition of his great achievement, the Provincial Grand Master promoted Granville to the rank of Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden and congratulated him on his extremely hard work in researching his subject. The Brethren of Warwickshire also offer him their sincere congratulations and wish him well in what will certainly be a very busy year.posted 16/1/2006

Freemasons at work in the community

The Society for the Blind kick-started its New Year fund-raising for a new minibus with a £250 donation from Dewsbury Freemasons. The Master of St John's Lodge, Kevin Moore, and Charity Steward Harry Brown presented a cheque to Society chairman Myrtle Hellewell. Myrtle expressed her thanks to the Freemasons on behalf of the local blind community and explained that the minibuses played a vital role in enabling members to attend activities.posted 10/1/2006

Freemasons are welcome

A notice on the giant's front door in the Jack and the Bean Stalk pantomime at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry starkly declares:

"NO FREE PAPERS
FREEMASONS RECEIVED WITH PLEASURE"

Do we assume that the giant was a Freemason?posted 10/1/2006

Visit the battlefields for charity

Another visit to the battlefields of the Somme and Ypres has been arranged for 28 July to 1 August 2006. The cost is £340 per person. Profits will go the 2012 Festival for the New Masonic Samaritan Fund. Details are available from Alex Bulloch on 0121 459 9008 or David Paterson on 0121 777 9374.posted 8/1/2006

Lifelites

Further details about the new Lifelites Charity are available from John Halahan, Lifelites Director, at 020 7405 2644, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or www.lifelites.orgposted 8/1/2006

2005 chronology

A diamond occasion

We offer our warmest congratulations to W Bro Stan McCoy and his wife Audrey as they celebrate 60 happy years of marriage on 10 January 2006. Stan, a Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden, is a Past Master of the Lodge of Amity and is in great demand as a Lodge organist. An accomplished musician, in his early years he played in dance bands with such all-time greats as Joe Loss.

We wish Stan and Audrey many more happy years together.posted 23/12/2005

The Freemasons' Grand Charity reflects on extensive support for the wider community

As 2005 draws to a close, The Grand Charity is reflecting on another successful year in which it delivered charitable support to the wider community, on behalf of Freemasons throughout England and Wales.

* Grants totalling over £1.2 million were approved at General Meetings, attended by hundreds of Freemasons. The money will be used by national charities for many charitable purposes, in projects relating to medical research, vulnerable people and youth opportunities.

* Cheques of up to £9,000 each were sent to the Provinces for presentation to 216 local hospices as part of a £1/2 million scheme.

* The President of the Grand Charity approved an unprecedented total of more than £375,000 of emergency grants to assist relief efforts following events including the Asian Tsunami, flooding in Carlisle, Hurricane Katrina, the London Bombings, and the South Asia Earthquake.

* The rapid and extensive response to the Tsunami helped secure coverage for the Grand Charity in national newspapers, including The Times and The Independent.

* The generous donations of Freemasons to Special Relief Chests established following the Tsunami and the Asian Earthquake, helped deliver vital supplies to survivors, as well as ongoing support for longer-term regeneration projects.

Speaking about the non-Masonic grants made during the course of the year Raymond Lye, President of the Grand Charity, said "The Grand Charity's first priority is Masonic Relief Grants, but thanks to the generosity of Freemasons, we have once again been able to support a wide range of non-Masonic causes. I am delighted that Freemasons, through the Grand Charity, are able, collectively, to help operating charities involved in so many worthy projects. I wish to thank Freemasons for their generosity - for they have made our support possible."posted 20/12/2005

Changes to Lifelites

The President of the RMTGB made this announcement at the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge on 14 December 2005:

"As from the 1st January, Lifelites is to be established as a separate charity with an endowment of £4million from the Trust, which represents the balance of the funds that we set aside in 1999. In order to maintain the programme of funding installations at all new hospices - 6 new hospices are due to open by 2008 - and the continuing maintenance and upgrading of the equipment at existing hospices, we project that Lifelites will need to raise approximately £500,000 per annum. As a non-Masonic charitable cause we believe that it can do so from personal donations and commercial sponsorship, which it could not achieve whilst it was part of the Trust. The Trust will of course continue to assist the new trust with practical help and support as well as resources and we believe that it will continue to be supported as part of Masons' support for non-Masonic causes both financially and through the many volunteers throughout the country who have done so since its inception and to whom we are particularly grateful. I commend the new Charity to you for your non Masonic giving."posted 19/12/2005

Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys

The President and the Chief Executive of the RMTGB both addressed Grand Lodge at the Quarterly Communication held on 14 December 2005 about the work of the Trust. This is a short extract from the address by Clive Andrews the Chief Executive:

"Day in, day out at the Trust we come face to face with the tragedies of human life. 
Kimberley was only five when her father murdered her mother and then shot himself. Kimberley found their bodies. Robert was a teenager when his father died suddenly, the day after returning from a happy family holiday in France. And Georgina's mother turned to drugs when her husband left her; and later she was gang-raped. Georgina has been in the care of her grandmother, a Masonic widow, ever since, as her mother has now had to 'disappear' under the witness protection scheme.

We know that the grants we give to children like Kimberley, Robert and Georgina, we know that the visits made by our Welfare Advisers can never, ever, restore their young lives to the way they were before. But, to quote Martin Luther, 'it is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness'. Our grants and our pastoral care do bring some light into these damaged lives."

The full text of the addresses can be found by visiting:

http://www.ugle.org.uk/news/rmtgb-141205.htm (Link no longer works.)

Address of the Pro Grand Master to Grand Lodge - 14 December 2005

Brethren, I said in my article for the Cornerstone Society which was published in the last edition of MQ that I thought our members should be encouraged to talk about the good things they are taught in our rituals to prove to the world the happy and beneficial effects of our Antient Institution. There are many virtues in Freemasonry but one which I think we should use to promote our Order is tolerance. There can be few other organisations in the world today who practice the degree of tolerance that we find in the Craft - accepting all men of good faith.
Freemasonry is a system founded on morality which aims to make the individual a better person, and thereby able to lead a more fulfilling life and be of more use to his fellow man. We are not concerned with a candidate's nationality, colour or class, nor with his religious or political persuasion; we care only that he has a belief in a Supreme Being, has a general desire for knowledge and wants to be of service to others. Furthermore masonry requires of him a perfect freedom of inclination - an open mind is a prerequisite for joining an Order which develops an open heart.

The second Masonic characteristic I think we should be emphasising to potential candidates and others is trust. It is linked to our first Grand Principle, Brotherly love, is one of the lessons of our third degree story and is the mortar with which the trowel binds us together. You do not have to be a mason for very long before you learn first hand the importance of trusting and being trusted. As we climb symbolically Jacob's ladder our perception of truth changes in proportion to our capacity for discrimination.

Developing qualities of tolerance, trust and discrimination leads us eventually to wisdom and Truth. Truth, our third Grand Principle is at once the first rung on the Masonic ladder when it is solely concerned with morality, and the last rung when it is considered as an aspect of Divinity. Truth depends on our sense of what is true for us personally and for that we must listen to our conscience, the voice of nature. The principles and virtues of Freemasonry as taught in our rituals have much to offer a society in need of tolerance and trust

Provincial Wardens and Director of Ceremonies announced

The Provincial Grand Master for Warwickshire, RW Bro Michael J Price CBE, has been pleased to appoint W Bro Michael Morris of Solihull Lodge as Provincial Senior Grand Warden and W Bro Eric Rymer of the Lodge of Loyalty as Provincial Junior Grand Warden for the Masonic year 2006/2007. The new Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies will be W Bro John Emms. Michael and Eric will be invested at the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge in May 2006. John will be invested at the meeting of the Warwickshire Installed Masters Lodge on 31 March 2006

Relief Chest donations buy tents for earthquake victims

Money given by Freemasons to the Asian Earthquake Relief Chest established by the Grand Charity has been donated to the British Red Cross to fund the purchase of urgently needed winterised tents for homeless survivors. The donation, in combination with emergency grants, takes the total amount given through The Grand Charity to £150,000 and will ensure that over 280 families enjoy better protection from freezing winter temperatures.

This support is made in direct response to the statement by UN Relief Co-ordinator Jan Vandemoortele that just one in four of the homeless survivors have a tent suitable for the winter conditions they now face.

The Grand Charity is working to foster greater public awareness and understanding of Freemasons' charitable support for victims of devastating disasters. The establishment of a dedicated Relief Chest for the survivors of October’s earthquake has helped build a clearer picture of the true scale of these generous Masonic donations. 

Supreme Grand Chapter of England

The Supreme Grand Chapter of England is the governing body of Royal Arch Masons in England, Wales and the Channel Islands. Its headquarters are at:

Freemasons' Hall
Great Queen Street
London WC2B 5AZ
Tel:020 7831 9811
Fax:020 7831 6021 
Convocations of Supreme Grand Chapter are held each year on the second Wednesday in November and on the day following the Grand Festival of Grand Lodge.

The Supreme Grand Chapter of England has some 107,167 members grouped in 3,484 chapters. Chapters in London (an area within a 10 mile radius of Freemasons' Hall), are organised into groups administered by the Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London. Chapters outside London and within England, Wales and the Channel Islands are grouped into 47 Provinces, based on the old Counties, each headed by a Provincial Grand Superintendent. Chapters meeting abroad are grouped in 32 Districts each headed by a District Grand Superintendent, 7 Groups each headed by a Grand Inspector, with 7 chapters being administered from Freemasons' Hall.

Supreme Grand Chapter now has a most informative web site atwww.grandchapter.org.uk which is well worth a visit.posted 10/12/2005

Forgotten somebody?

A Warwickshire Lodge had just been opened recently when the Senior Warden suddenly sprang to his feet. He told the Master that he made a very serious error -he had forgotten to collect a very senior Past Master on his way to the meeting! He asked to be excused for a short while and left the lodge. Soon afterwards there was a report at the door of the Lodge and the very senior Past Master was admitted but without his driver. He had become fed up with waiting so came by taxi. In due course there was another report and the Senior Warden was admitted with much humility and very many humble apologies. This was met with much amusement from the members and some amazement from the visitors.

It would be embarrassing to name this Lodge which meets in Coventry but W Bro Peter Turnbull is considering alternative transport arrangements!

Help for the hospices

The Grand Charity has continued with its help to hospices in England and Wales again this year with donations totalling £500,000. In the Province of Warwickshire grants have been made by the Grand Charity as follows:

Acorns Children's Hospice Trust - £3,000
Marie Curie Centre Warren Pearl - £3,000
Mary Ann Evans Hospice - £1,000
Myton Hamlet Hospice - £4,000
Shakespeare Hospice - £750 and
St Mary's Hospice - £4,000.posted 6/12/2005

A splendid Masonic celebration

In the presence of RW Bro David Williamson, Assistant Grand Master, and some 260 Brethren including some who had travelled from Scotland, the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Michael Price, was Installed as the Master of Trinity Lodge No 254 as it celebrated its 250th Anniversary on 3 December 2005. The ceremony of Installation was undertaken by Bro David Joyce in an exemplary manner. The crowning moment came when the Provincial Grand Master called forward four members of the Lodge and there and then either appointed or promoted them to or in Provincial Grand Rank. Neither the recipients nor the assembled company knew anything of this beforehand. Stuart Leist, Peter Amery and Walter Hope were promoted to Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden. Bro Ian King was appointed to the rank of Past Provincial Grand Standard Bearer and the Provincial Grand Master presented him with the regalia of that rank together with a case.

The Festive Board rounded off a delightful afternoon and evening with all Brethren departing in a very happy mood.posted 5/12/2005

Surprise donations

At the meeting of Ipsley Lodge on 1 December 2005 representatives of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Worcestershire and the Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of Worcestershire made donations respectively of £1,000 each which took members of the Lodge and their guests by surprise since they had no prior knowledge of these acts of generosity. The money is to go towards the purchase and installation of a lift for Brethren with walking disabilities to enable them to reach the first floor Lodge Room in the Redditch Masonic Hall with ease and comfort.posted 2/12/2005

Changes at the top in the Royal Arch

At the Convocation of Supreme Grand Chapter held on 9 November 2005 at Freemasons' Hall, London, E Comp George Francis was installed as ME Second Grand Principal, in succession to ME Comp Iain Ross Bryce, who has served in that office since 1991 and who retired on 7 November 2005.posted 15/11/2005

Freemasons help the homeless in Birmingham

The Grand Charity has just approved a grant to the Depaul Trust of £50,000 payable in two equal instalments to fund a community centre and hostel for homeless young people in Birmingham. Depaul runs 40 projects across the country helping 3,000 homeless young people. This integrated project caters for the local community and for young offenders making the transition back into society.posted 15/11/2005

Freemasons flooded

Heavy rain caused severe flooding in Molong New South Wales Australia recently. Among the properties affected was the Freemasons Hotel where water levels reached the height of the bar.posted 15/11/2005

Freemasons aid for storm victims

The President of the Grand Charity has approved an emergency grant of £10,000 to the Grand Lodge of Guatemala to assist with relief efforts following Tropical Storm Stan. The Guatemalan Government estimates that more than 130,000 people have been impacted by the Storm and thousands are now living in shelters. In one of the worst incidents, torrential rainfall triggered a mudslide that killed around 400 people. The Grand Lodge of Guatemala is working to provide aid and assistance to those affected by the disaster.posted 4/11/2005

New home for Australian Freemasons

MELBOURNE'S Dallas Brooks Hall, the scene of many rock concerts and political rallies, is to be demolished for a $100 million commercial and residential development. A developer has formed a partnership with the hall's owner, Freemasons Victoria, to build a lavish apartment block of 10 to 12 storeys on the East Melbourne site. The redevelopment, expected to be completed by 2009, will include the Victorian masonic headquarters as well as offices and medical suites.

Freemasons Victoria says Dallas Brooks Hall is too costly to run and no longer commercially viable.posted31/10/2005

English Freemasons bid for a new home

West Cumbrian Freemasons have made a bid to buy Cleator Moor Civic Hall, it has been revealed, from its owners Copeland Council. Billy Morley, for West Cumbrian Freemasons, said the hall would remain available to the community when it was not in use for Masonic purposes.posted31/10/2005

Masonic Hall destroyed

The Masonic Hall in Bellaire Michigan USA was destroyed by fire on Thursday 20 October 2005. Local masons had been using the premises since they acquired them in 1941.posted 24/10/2005

Further aid from Freemasons

The President of the Grand Charity, Raymond Lye, has approved a second emergency grant of £50,000 to the British Red Cross, to support the ongoing relief for victims of the South Asia Earthquake. This brings the total donation made to the British Red Cross to £100,000.posted 22/10/2005

Tsunami Appeal

At 17 October 2005 Freemasons of England and Wales had contributed the sum of £796,106.85 to the Relief Chest specially established by the Grand Charity. The Masonic Services Association of North America has approved a motion to deposit the money it has raised for victims of the tsunami into this Relief Chest.posted 20/10/2005

Public awareness of Freemasonry - What our Brethren are doing in the USA

This is an extract from a report which appeared in the Boston Globe recently:
"The Masonic fraternity is an organization shrouded in secrecy. Secret words, secret symbols, secret rituals, even a secret handshake. Often referred to by members as ''the craft," there is a cipher -- a secret code -- that must be memorized, and tasks to be completed as part of initiation. It's no wonder that outsiders unfamiliar with the group often question its motives. Indeed, the mystery of the Freemasons can cast a seemingly sinister shadow, which has hurt membership over the years. But there are no dark doings here, say local lodge leaders, and in a new attempt to make that clear they are starting to lift the veil of secrecy.

Take Daniel ''Butch" Machado, the newly installed master of the Plymouth Masonic Lodge. Machado opened his inauguration ceremony last month to the public. It's typically a private event where tuxedo-clad officers read from the ancient scroll, and recite vows of commitment to the craft while laying their hands on the Bible, a square, and a compass -- the three symbols of truth, harmony, and the ruling line of living respectfully. This time, the occasion was viewed by about 250 people.

''My purpose as master of the lodge is to have a positive impact on society in general and the community in which I live," Machado said. ''The biggest secret of all is that there really are no secrets," he said, echoing a statement once made by Benjamin Franklin, also a Freemason.

In Massachusetts there are 250 lodges, about three dozen of them south of Boston, including Cape Cod. Membership at the Plymouth lodge, about 225, is shrinking, with the average member near retirement age. Plymouth's situation is typical of Masonic lodges across the country. To offset this trend, Jeffrey Black Hodgdon, the grand master of Masons in Massachusetts, organized a statewide open house last month. ''It's the first time that we've ever made a concerted effort to expose Masonry to men to try to install a spark in their minds," Hodgdon said."posted 17/10/2005 

Freemasons help for victims of earthquake

The President of the Grand Charity has approved an emergency grant of £50,000 to the British Red Cross, to aid relief efforts following the earthquake in South Asia. This is accompanied by a decision to open a Special Relief Chest to receive donations for victims of this natural disaster.

At least 20,000 people are thought to have been killed by the earthquake and tens of thousands have been left without shelter.

The Red Cross is working to provide immediate relief for 30,000 families in the affected areas. The Grand Charity’s emergency grant will help to fund the £30,000 cost of deploying an Emergency Response Unit and supplying essential items like blankets, tents and kitchen sets to the survivors.

Any Freemason wishing to make a donation in support of victims of the Earthquake via The Grand Charity can do so by sending a cheque payable to The Grand Charity to 60 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ and noting that it is to be paid into the Special Relief Chest established by the Grand Charity under the name ‘Asian Earthquake 2005 Chest No. ‘E0099’.

Eligible tax payers wishing The Grand Charity to claim tax relief on their donation, must complete a Gift Aid Donation Form available via www.grandcharity.org or from the Relief Chest Department on 0207 395 9246/9361. The Gift Aid Donation form should be completed, including a note of the Relief Chest number, and returned with your donation. Gift Aid increases the value of a donation by 28p for every £1.posted 11/10/2005

Royal Arch web site - new address

The Warwickshire Royal Arch web site has a slightly different address now - it iswww.royal-arch.org.uk

A Royal Arch record?

E Comp Rodney Fox PAGDC of the Province of Berkshire between February 1990 and April 2005 has occupied the First Principal's Chair in no less than six Chapters. What is more interesting is the fact the two Chapters practise Aldersgate Working, two Domatic Working and two Warwickshire Working. A virtuoso by the sound of it! posted 2/10/200

President and Chief Executive of the New Masonic Samaritan Fund address Grand Lodge - 14 September 2005

VW Bro Captain Lloyd Edwards (President)

It is nearly three years since I last addressed Grand Lodge to update you on the New Masonic Samaritan Fund and I am delighted to have this opportunity of further informing you of the Fund and of the hospital Charity. After I have given you the overall view our Chief Executive Richard Douglas will provide further detail on the work of the Fund.

Whilst it will not be possible within this forum to take questions, I can advise that Richard, and some of the staff from the Fund, will be available in the foyer at the conclusion of Grand Lodge. They will be located by the display stand and will be very happy to answer any questions that you may have.

When I last reported to you I advised that the Receiver and Manager appointed by the Charity Commission to oversee the Royal Masonic Hospital had finally been discharged. I can confirm that the assets of the former hospital remain under the control of the Board of Management of the RMH Charity and that legacy income continues to accrue. I can also confirm that it remains Board policy to transfer funds equivalent to the investment income earnt by the Charity to the NMSF each year. In the last three years this has seen a total transfer of funds of nearly £800,000.

In November this year the NMSF will celebrate its 15th birthday. In this relatively short space of time it has established itself as a well respected element of the Craft. Having taken over the role of the Hospital Samaritan Fund it has supported over 6,000 applicants at over 300 hospitals across the length and breadth of the country, and several overseas as well.

This has involved the allocation of in excess of £30 million and not once has it had to turn down an application through lack of available resources. A fantastic achievement that has only been possible thanks to the hard work, dedication and generosity of so many.

In each of the last 3 years the Fund has allocated over £3 million in support of over 500 applicants. Support has been provided to applicants varying in age from 18 months old to 104 years young. Approximately 50% of the grants made are to the wives, widows and dependants of Freemasons.

I firmly believe that the NMSF continues to do exactly what it was established to achieve.

The Fund is now fully established within the Provincial Festival matrix and continues to benefit from the generosity and ingenuity of so many brethren. South Wales (ED), Staffordshire, Lincolnshire, Monmouthshire, Bedfordshire and Hampshire and Isle of Wight have produced magnificent Festival totals on our behalf already and we are looking forward to equally successful results with Gloucestershire and Nottinghamshire in the next two years.

As recently as last Saturday I attended the launch of the 2012 Provincial Festival which is being hosted on our behalf by the Province of Warwickshire. Even with the prospect of seven years of hard work ahead of them I was impressed by the obvious enthusiasm that was evident amongst all those present at the launch in Birmingham.

Throughout its early years the NMSF has benefited from co-operation with its sister Charities and from the staff within Freemasons Hall. Since my last report to Grand Lodge we have benefited from a grant from Grand Charity which enabled us to fund drug treatment for cancer and degenerative diseases. At the time the availability of such drugs via the NHS appeared to depend more on where you lived than on the seriousness of your condition. After a two year pilot scheme generously funded by the Grand Charity the NMSF continues to fund applications in this area.

Hopefully you will all have noticed that the last two editions of the Fund's newsletter have been direct mailed via MQ. We are extremely grateful to the members of the Board of MQ publications for enabling us to spread the word about the work of the Fund in this highly effective manner.

Much more recently I can report that we have now established a partnership with the RMBI to provide Respite Care. Initially this will involve provision being made to utilise spare capacity within the RMBI care homes for those in need who have no local authority funding and are unable to meet the cost themselves.

Finally in this area we are actively involved with the other Craft Charities in considering the potential benefits of co-location within this building. We continue, as always, to look for ways to work more closely with them both for the benefit of potential applicants and to keep costs under control.

I remain profoundly grateful to all the Lodge Almoners and Charity Stewards who continue to work so hard on our behalf. Without their continuing support the Fund could achieve nothing. Rather than taking my word for it I offer a quote from one of the many letters of thanks recently received at the Fund:

"I am pleased to tell you that the replacement of my right knee has been a total success. Prior to the operation I was unable to walk more than a few yards, and even then only with the aid of a stick. The constant pain and lack of sleep were making me unpleasant to live and feeling very ill. Until the successful operation I had forgotten what it was like to live without pain. Without the help of the NMSF I would still be languishing in pain, waiting for an NHS operation. I am most grateful to you all for giving me back my active life".


Lt. Col. Richard Douglas (Chief Executive)

In preparing what I wanted to say today I found it very difficult to know where to start. In the three years since I last addressed this meeting very little has changed within the work of the NMSF. The President of the Fund has already updated you on all the latest statistics. There is therefore a very real danger that I will either repeat things you have heard or leave you with the impression that I have done nothing for the last three years. Even if that were true this is neither the time nor the place to declare that publicly.

The NMSF continues, as it has for 15 years, to provide support for Freemasons, their wives, widows and dependants who have an identified medical need but, faced with a long wait for treatment via the NHS, are unable to afford to fund their own private medical care.

The demand for this support continues to be high as does the cost of meeting that demand. In its last financial year the Fund allocated £3.3 million in support of over 524 individuals. This is the highest amount allocated in any given year so far. I must at this point add a word of caution. As we approach the end of our current financial year it is clear that we will have supported fewer applicants this year than in any of the previous three years. I believe this is partly due to the general election in May which saw a considerable amount of effort put into reducing NHS waiting list times. However, some 4 or 5 months later we are already noticing a significant increase in the waiting list times of applicants now applying to us. It is also worth noting that demand for support from the Fund has increased in the year following both of the two previous general elections. It is therefore far too early to suggest that this apparent reduction in demand is anything other than a temporary situation, however there is a need to confirm that the NMSF is still meeting the needs of the membership and that the membership knows about and understands the support that is available.

We continue to spread the word about the support that is available from the Fund. Our efforts have included contributing to each edition of MQ and, more recently, the direct mailing of our own newsletter with MQ. This has proved a popular and effective move. We are now able to make regular contact with more people than ever before and no longer have to ask Lodge Secretaries to act as postmen on our behalf. The only concern is that previously we had a significant number of spare copies available within Lodges which could be made available to widows. We are continuing to develop effective means of distribution to ensure that this important group of potential applicants is not overlooked.

We have also made full use of our involvement in the Provincial Festival matrix. In addition to the obvious benefits every Festival has a second aim of ensuring that the work of the Fund, and the support available from it, is understood across the length and breadth of the Province. Hopefully this will ensure that I will never again be congratulated on the work of "those wonderful people the Samaritans" as I am about to walk in to the Celebration Dinner at the end of a Festival campaign that has run for many years.

It is equally important to remember that the majority of applicants in any one year come from Provinces that are not currently in Festival to the Fund. Most members of the Board of Management of the Fund are appointed to represent a specific geographic area. Rather than simply attending a few committee meetings each year they are now being encouraged to become increasingly involved in either giving presentations about the Fund themselves or training others to deliver information locally.

However, despite all this effort a letter recently received at the Fund contains an all too familiar request. I quote "I hope you don't mind me asking for some more details on the Masonic Samaritan Fund which I know very little about. My father is a senior mason and I am also a mason but know very little of the working of the masonic charities." That quote is not from an applicant or an almoner but a consultant surgeon who wrote to us because one of his patients was being funded by the NMSF. Although it is unusual to get correspondence from such a source the sentiment expressed is, unfortunately, not unusual.

The majority of the support we provide is for treatment associated with advancing years. Hips, knees and hearts continue to be our major areas of expenditure. Today 20% of the national population is over 65. By the year 2025 it is estimated that there will be 1.9m people in Britain over the age of 90. If an accurate age profile of the masonic population was available I am sure that a similar trend would be visible. So why is demand for support from the Fund not continuing to increase?

I have already laboured at length on the need for improved communications but it would be wrong for me to lay the blame entirely beyond the doors of the Fund itself.

Throughout the life of the Fund medical science has continued to advance at an incredible rate. New and better drugs are now available with an increased emphasis on preventative medicine often reducing or removing the need for surgery. Surgical techniques have improved to the extent that many procedures previously considered major surgery are now almost routine. Against this background of progress the NMSF has evolved from a young and financially immature charity into a robust fund that can afford to consider the changing needs of those it seeks to support.

All aspects of the process of applying to the Fund have recently been reviewed. The application form itself has been revised in order to make it easier to complete and to make the requirement to review the applicant's financial status less intrusive. I do fully appreciate that it can be extremely difficult for an applicant to declare his or her financial state to an Almoner or other member of the Lodge. Our allowances are based on, but more generous than State allowances and we do not expect an applicant to have to be destitute in order to qualify for support. However, the charitable objects under which we are required to operate make it essential that a financial assessment is undertaken.

We have reviewed our waiting list criteria. If someone is faced with a three month wait for general surgery or a two month wait for cardiac surgery then they should consider an approach to the Fund.

We have also relaxed our stance on supporting retrospective applications. Although the majority of applications submitted after treatment has taken place will still not be funded, it is accepted that there will be a few cases where exceptional circumstances have made it impractical to apply for support first. However, the much used response of 'I didn't know about the Fund' is no longer a valid plea in mitigation.

We have also expanded the areas where we are able to provide support. With support available to the entire masonic family of all ages the potential demand is endless. Within the last year we have taken over the funding of drug treatment for cancer and degenerative diseases following an earlier trial using funds from the Grand Charity. We have funded a number of individuals who have been identified as being morbidly obese and in urgent need of surgical intervention to assist with weight loss. As recently as last week we funded the acquisition of an exercise machine to assist the 17 year old son of a mason. The son is tetra-plegic and only able to use one arm. It is hoped that this machine will enable him to make better use of his one remaining usable limb.

All applications for support are treated according to their individual merits. Some are clearly more straightforward than others but each and every one is subjected to the combined opinions of the medical and lay members of the Petitions Committee. This process itself has been opened up with every Provincial Grand Almoner and London Group Almoner being invited to attend to see for themselves how the application process works.

With an ever increasing number of elderly people and a lack of appropriate care facilities it is inevitable that an increasing number are being cared for, at home, by family - usually their spouse. These carers do a fantastic job often on a 24 hours a day 7 days a week basis. Their life can be almost as restricted as the person they are caring for and are in desperate need of some respite. That is why we are now embarking on another initiative to provide funding for respite care. This is in conjunction with the RMBI and will initially make use of spare capacity within their care homes across the country. It will also enable us to determine the long term need for this type of support in order to determine if the provision of support needs to be expanded further.

This year the Fund will celebrate its 15th birthday. Had this been a marriage it would be celebrating its crystal wedding anniversary. We at the Fund do not have the benefit of a crystal ball to look into the future. We therefore continue to rely on people like you across the length and breadth of the country to ensure that the support that we can provide is made available to all those who need it.

I trust that my remarks have shown that there has been quite a lot going on at the NMSF over the last three years as we seek to ensure that the donors who continue to generously support our work understand how their support is put to good use. Whilst at the same time trying to ensure that the Fund is meeting the needs of the individuals that it was established to support. Evolution rather than revolution remains the key as the New Masonic Samaritan Fund looks to meet the medical needs of the full masonic family for many years to come.

At the end of the day whilst statistics and fundraising efforts are essential it is important not to lose sight of the individual men, women and children who continue to benefit from the work of the Fund.

To finish I offer you one more incentive to maintain your support for the ongoing work of the Fund. A letter received recently at the Fund tells the story of a 73 year old mason who had been a long term Angina sufferer. He was unable to walk more than 100 yards without pausing for breath. Having recently undergone a quadruple heart by-pass, paid for by the Fund, he is now a tri-athlete. This involves walking 2 miles a day, swimming at least ¼ of a mile at least once a week and doing 2,000 meters on the rowing machine at his local gym. In his own words: "I am a man reborn". To everyone of you who has played a part in restoring that mans health I offer my sincere thanks.posted 16/9/2005

Lord Northampton addresses Brethren at Grand Lodge - 14 September 2005

Brethren, I welcome you all to Grand Lodge today at the start of another masonic season and thank you for attending. I hope you have all had a good summer even though, like me, you may be feeling that Shakespeare was right when he said that 'summer's lease hath all too short a date'.

Towards the end of August it was England's turn to host the Tripartite meeting with Ireland and Scotland. It was, once again, a harmonious and productive meeting as we discussed our relations with other Grand Lodges around the world. A week later, accompanied by the Grand Secretary, I attended the Installation of the new Grand Master of Denmark, MW Bro Hans Martin Jepsen, in their magnificent masonic building in Copenhagen. It was a most impressive and happy meeting. At the end of this month I will be travelling to Skopje with a large delegation of Grand Officers to constitute the new Grand Lodge of Macedonia. The Assistant Grand Master and his wife, Margaret, have been visiting lodges in our two Districts in New Zealand and are now in Fiji. The Deputy Grand Master is unable to be with us as he is on other business, but it is good to see RW Bro Iain Bryce filling the Deputy's chair once again.

Brethren, I am sure you will have been as saddened as I was when the Grand Secretary read out the reasons why eleven of our brethren have been expelled from the Craft. While we are reminded by the ritual to drop a tear of sympathy over the failings of a brother nevertheless we must be determined in our resolve to rid the Order of those who fail to live up to our high standards. They bring the whole of Freemasonry and all its members into disrepute.

Freemasonry is not some antiquated organisation frozen in time: it is a way of life which is as relevant today as it has always been. As Grand Officers, one of our duties should be to encourage brethren to practice out of the lodge what they are taught in it. In that way, the moral and spiritual values in our rituals can guide us in the 'paths of rectitude'. Making a daily advancement in masonic knowledge is not just a matter of learning something new about masonry, it is as much about discovering something new about yourself. By following its precepts we become better people and, therefore, are able to play a more responsible role for the good of society as a whole. Maybe we have to accept that there will always be rotten apples in our membership but, thankfully, they are few in number. We must strive to ensure that only quality candidates are admitted into the Order. Our aim should always be to make good men better through the practice of our Grand Principles - Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.

Brethren I am pleased to tell you that the Grand Charity 20th annual festival was held by the province of Wiltshire on 18 June and raised just under £1 million pounds I'm sure you will join me in congratulating the province on the great success of this festival and in particular those masons who were instrumental in helping to make so much money for the Grand Charity

Freemasons give $50,000 to victims of Hurricane Katrina

The President of the Freemasons' Grand Charity has approved emergency grants totalling $50,000 in support of the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The Hurricane, which struck the US Gulf Coast on Monday 30 August, caused widespread damage and has left thousands homeless, with hundreds feared dead.

A donation of $35,000 has been approved in support of the relief efforts being undertaken by the American Red Cross. Up to 3,000 American Red Cross staff and thousands of volunteers are currently bringing lifesaving aid to people in the worst affected states.

A separate donation of $15,000 has been approved for the Masonic Service Association of North America. The Masonic Service Association of North America is co-ordinating the disaster relief effort on behalf of Grand Lodges in the region and money collected will be used to support longer-term relief efforts within Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.

The Freemasons' Grand Charity is funded exclusively by the Freemasons of England Wales. No appeals for funds are made to the general public.posted 15/9/05

Jews and Freemasons controlled war on Iraq claims barrister

Tony Blair decided to wage war on Iraq after coming under the influence of a "sinister" group of Jews and Freemasons, a Muslim barrister who advises the Prime Minister has claimed. Ahmad Thomson, from the Association of Muslim Lawyers, says Mr Blair was the latest in a long line of politicians to have been influenced by the group which saw the attack on Saddam Hussein as a way to control the Middle East.

Mr Thomson wrote a book in 1994 in which he said Freemasons and Jews controlled the governments of Europe and America.posted 13/9/2005

New Masonic Samaritan Fund Festival 2012

£3.5 million is the target for the Warwickshire 2012 Festival for the New Masonic Samaritan Fund. This was the figure revealed at the launch of the Festival on Saturday 10 September 2005 at the headquarters of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire in Edgbaston Birmingham to the large assembly of Masters, Almoners and Charity Stewards of the Lodges in the Province. The President and Chief Executive of the NMSF took part in the launch. The President was delighted to receive the first donations amounting to £25,000 from the Provincial Grand Master on behalf of the Craft Masons of Warwickshire, the Deputy Grand Superintendent on behalf of the Royal Arch Masons, and the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of the Mark Province on behalf of all the Mark Master Masons in the Province.

Information about the Festival and its progress together with relevant forms for donations can be found on a web site dedicated to the Festival atwww.warwickshire2012.org.uk

Freemasons help research 

£1,250 was handed over to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital recently to help fund research into the treatment of kidney stones. The money was raised by Mancroft Lodge in the Province of Norfolk as part of a local charity campaign.

The Master, Robin Watkeys, presented the cheque to urology consultant Neil Burgess on behalf of the Lodge, explaining that he had suffered from kidney stones himself and any research that would improve treatment of this condition was very welcome. "Only people who have suffered from kidney stones themselves know how painful they can be," said Robin. Mr Burgess said the money would help support clinical research projects such as those that compare the relative benefits of minimal access surgery with other forms of kidney stone treatment.

"We have performed some useful research locally but now want to extend this to include patients from two or three other centres, both here and abroad. The money kindly donated by the Mancroft Lodge will help us in this regard," he said.

 

Royal Arch Ritual 

Warwickshire Royal Arch Ritual Books incorporating recent changes are now available for distribution to all Companions. The cost of each book remains at £7.50. They can be obtained from Peter H. James, 55 Walsall Road, Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield, B74 4NH.

Cheque should be made payable to 'Provincial Grand Chapter of Warwickshire'. Peter will post the number of copies required together with an invoice for postage.

Companions attending the Warwickshire First Principals' Chapter on Saturday 17th September 2005 can collect their pre-ordered books or can purchase them on the day. If you intend to buy on the day it would be most helpful if you had your cheque already made out to the 'Provincial Grand Chapter of Warwickshire'. If you intend to pay by cash please have the correct amount of £7.50 per copy ready. A stall will be set up for this purpose staffed by members of the Provincial Grand Stewards Chapter of Warwickshire.

United nations!

Jens Sauer of Kenilworth Lodge was among a number of visitors from Warwickshire Lodges recently to Robert Burns Initiated Lodge No 1781 meeting at Leith in the Province of Edinburgh. Jens volunteered to be the candidate in the demonstration of a ceremony. As a result he has to be the only German who is an English Freemason who has ever taken part in a Scottish ceremony!posted 4/9/2005

Macedonia

On 2 October 2000 Skopje Lodge was consecrated in Skopje, Macedonia. It was followed by the consecration of Unity Lodge and White Dawns Lodge in 2001 and 2003 respectively. These Lodges were established under the Grand Lodge of England but with the intention of eventually forming them into a Sovereign Grand Lodge. At the request of these three Lodges the Pro Grand Master, Lord Northampton, will inaugurate the Grand Lodge of Macedonia on Friday 30 September.posted 2/9/2005

Freemasonry and the media

There has recently been a revival of interest in Freemasonry on the part of the broadcast media. Whilst it has no desire to prevent Brethren from voicing their views, the Board of General Purposes of Grand Lodge believes that participation at both the national and local levels in broadcast debates on Freemasonry is best left to spokesmen who have the background knowledge and experience to participate in such events. Any Brother in the Province of Warwickshire who is approached to take part in a broadcast should make it plain that the official spokesmen for the Province are the Provincial Grand Master, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master and the Provincial Information Officer and contact can be made with them through the offices of the Provincial Grand Secretary.posted 2/9/2005

Photography forbidden

Brethren are reminded that whilst there is no objection to the taking of group photographs in a Lodge Room in connection with a special meeting, the taking of photographs during meetings (including any procession immediately before or after a meeting) is prohibited by Grand Lodge. The prohibition extends to any purported reconstruction after a Lodge has been closed of any part of the proceedings while the Lodge was open.posted 2/9/2005

Freemasons asked to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina

Following the devastation caused to parts of the US Gulf coast by Hurricane Katrina, and in consultation with the Grand Lodge of the State of Louisiana, the Grand Charity has decided to open a relief chest to receive donations for victims of the disaster.

The hurricane and ensuing flooding has caused widespread damage. An area equivalent in size to the United Kingdom has been affected and hundreds of people are feared dead. Parts of the region are expected to remain uninhabitable for many months.

The US government has declared a public health emergency along the entire Gulf Coast, as one of the biggest relief operations in the history of the US gets underway. The worst affected areas are currently without clean water, food or sanitation and thousands of survivors are awaiting evacuation.

The President of the Grand Charity continues to liaise with the Grand Lodge of the State of Louisiana on any requirement for emergency support.

Any Freemason wishing to make a donation to the victims of Hurricane Katrina via The Grand Charity can do so by sending a cheque payable to The Grand Charity to 60 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ and noting that it is to be paid into the Special Relief Chest established by the Grand Charity under the name The Hurricane Katrina 2005 Disaster Fund Relief Chest No. E0098.

Eligible tax payers wishing The Grand Charity to claim tax relief on their donation, must complete a Gift Aid Donation Form available from the Relief Chest Department on 0207 395 9246/9361. The Gift Aid Donation form should be completed, including a note of the Relief Chest number, and returned with your donation. Gift Aid increases the value of a donation by 28p for every £1.posted 2/9/2005

A Freemason for 75 years

John Vanderzyl, now 98 years of age, was raised to the degree of Master Mason on 30 May 1930 and was Master of Evergreen Lodge in California in 1947. He has now achieved the distinction of being the third member of Evergreen Lodge to have ever reached the milestone of being a member for 75 years. posted 21/8/05

Helping the elderly

This is an appeal to Freemasons and their partners in the Province of Warwickshire but volunteers from elsewhere would be welcome as well.

Contact the Elderly is a national charity that has been bringing older, isolated people together for ‘cakes and company’ for 40 years. The Charity offers a lifeline for people who often spend days at a time without seeing anyone: ‘You have no idea how much it means to me. I’m beginning to feel human again…. it’s easily the best organisation I know of for lonely people such as myself’. (Peggy, aged 81 years).

Contact the Elderly helps to relieve the loneliness of frail older people who live alone by arranging small group outings one Sunday afternoon a month. Volunteers with cars each collect one or two elderly members every month and the group of 6 to 8 members plus volunteers meet for Afternoon Tea in the house of a volunteer host. They visit a different home each month and over the months friendships develop. 
All Contact the Elderly groups within the West Midlands need more local volunteers willing to host a Sunday Afternoon Tea just once a year in their own home. It would involve providing sandwiches, cakes and so on for a group of 6-8 elderly members and 4-5 volunteer drivers. Hosts do need a downstairs toilet, as many of the group members are too frail to manage many stairs. Anyone wishing to have further details or who is keen to volunteer should contact Pamela Walker, Regional Development Officer (West Midlands), Contact the Elderly. Tel/Fax: 0121 603 1331 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. posted 13/8/2005

Freemasons' professor leads the way in diagnosis and management of prostate cancer

Medical researchers have developed a technique that could save thousands of men from impotence by predicting how aggressive prostate cancer is before surgery. At present needle biopsies, blood and urine samples are unable to predict accurately how dangerous prostate cancer is and whether it is likely to progress. This means that thousands of men may be having unnecessary preventive surgery, with serious side effects such as impotence. Now a study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, has outlined a simple and reliable technique which can be carried out on needle biopsy samples. 
The Checkerboard Tissue Microarray (TMA) method, developed by scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research, looks for the multiple markers of various genes associated with prostate cancer - including the E2F3 gene. "Overexpression" of E2F3 - first identified by the Institute - is a marker of how aggressive cancer will be. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer to affect men in the UK, with more than 30,000 diagnosed every year. Almost 10,000 men die from the disease each year.

Researchers said the new technique would allow them to investigate an enormous untapped resource of clinical specimens which were obtained at the time of cancer diagnosis. This would allow them to identify markers of the cancer's aggressiveness.

The technique will be pivotal in developing a test for prostate cancer aggressiveness which may ultimately prevent thousands of men undergoing surgery. The tissues in the prostate gland are either surgically removed or destroyed through radiotherapy as a way to treat the cancer. This radical surgery can have serious side effects such as incontinence and impotence.

Professor Colin Cooper, the Grand Charity of Freemasons' Chair of Molecular Biology at the institute, hopes to have a reliable test in place within two years. He said: "This represents a real advance for the future management of prostate cancer." Professor Cooper's Chair is being funded by the Grand Charity for ten years with a grant of £1,000,000. posted 13/8/2005

Grand Chaplain is a Roman Catholic priest

This is an extract (translated from Italian) from the address by the Grand Master of the Regular Grand Lodge of Italy the MW Bro Fabio Venzi at a recent Communication:

"I would like to finish my address appointing a Grand Officer who will probably remain not only in the history of Italian Freemasonry but also in the history of the world's Freemasonry and I do not think I am wrong. The Grand Officer I am appointing as Grand Chaplain is a priest of the Roman Catholic Church and once again I say of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Regular Grand Lodge of Italy and its Grand Master make, with this act, a gesture of opening. Never has a Masonic Body made such a significant act towards the Roman Catholic Church, dissociating itself from the other irregular Masonic Bodies who, with their anticlericalism, have caused so much damage and harm to the image of world-wide Freemasonry." posted 13/8/2005

Freemasons set the wheels in motion!

During a recent assembly members of Corinthian-Hammonton Lodge No. 9 in Marysville, California, handed over 16 bicycles to students at Arboga School and Far West School at Barksdale Air Force Base. The bicycle rewards are given for citizenship, improvement, and scholastic achievements. posted 28/7/05

Bringing a smile to children in hospital

Children and families enjoyed fun and games at a teddy bears' picnic fundraiser recently in the grounds of Bromley Masonic Hall. It raised cash for Teddies with Loving Care (TLC), a scheme run by the West Kent Freemasons which supplies teddy bears to children in hospital A&E departments. It delivers 7,000 furry friends to seven hospitals in the area each year. Local TLC chairman Dave Butcher said: "This is a worthwhile cause. No-one likes being in hospital and it's even worse for children." posted 28/7/05

Freemasons help the children of Niger

The Freemasons' Grand Charity has made a grant of £10,000 to Save the Children. The donation is in response to a request for funds to support the emergency appeal issued by Save the Children to support its work in Niger.

A humanitarian crisis on a massive scale has arisen in the Sahel region of West Africa following a devastating combination of a poor harvest caused by drought conditions and the worst locust infestation in 20 years. Niger, the world’s second poorest country, has been worst affected. The United Nations estimate around 2.5 million people have been affected by the crisis, including 800,000 children.

Save the Children has launched an emergency response to provide life-saving supplementary and therapeutic feeding and related healthcare activities for approximately 43,000 children under five in the Maradi and Zinder regions of Niger.

Save the Children’s main priority is to get clean food and water to children and their families in the affected area. The Grand Charity donation of £10,000 will provide lifesaving therapeutic food for 250 severely malnourished children for 30 days, the average time spent in the feeding programme and water purification tablets ensuring 10,000 children have clean water for 4 days.posted 28/7/05

Magnificent toy horse is gift to children's hospice

A giant rocking horse was presented to the Demelza House children's hospice on Friday 15 July 2005 at the Kent County Show. Michael Bailey, Provincial Grand Master for the East Kent Freemasons, handed over the toy to be used as a fund-raising prize at a forthcoming raffle or auction. The horse called Charlie was made by a retired fire officer, George Dean, and was handed over to Albert Pascall, one of Demelza's longest serving fund-raisers. The East Kent Freemasons had a stand at the three-day County Show. posted 23/7/2005

Freemasons help victims of the London terrorist attack

The President of the Grand Charity has approved payment of an emergency grant of £50,000 from The Grand Charity to assist the victims of the London bombings.

Following the four explosions caused by bombs in London on Thursday 7 July, the Mayor of London has established the London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund, in association with the British Red Cross to raise money for the victims and their families. The British Red Cross has donated £50,000 to the Fund.

The money will be held in a trust and will be distributed by trustees who will be appointed by the Greater London Authority. It will be used to relieve disability or physical and mental sickness caused by the attacks and to help with financial needs. The money may also be used to support other appropriate projects as funds allow.posted 12/7/2005 

Organ or piano wanted for Severn Street Masonic Hall

Any Brother who has a good electronic organ or a small piano that he no longer requires and who wishes to donate to a good cause should contact Bill Wood onThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
who would be most happy to arrange collection.posted 11/7/2005

Freemasonry in public

The Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Tasmania has just installed the new Master of the Tasmanian Union Lodge in Hobart in the presence of family and friends of Tasmanian Freemasons.posted 11/7/2005

New Masonic Samaritan Fund Festival Appeal

The culmination of a highly successful Festival Appeal was celebrated in style at the Brighton Centre earlier in the year in the presence of Lord Northampton, the Pro Grand Master. The Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight raised the magnificent sum of £6,942,720 for the NMSF.

Grand Charity Festivals

The twentieth annual Festival for the Grand Charity was held on Saturday, 18 June 2005, at the Salisbury Racecourse, under the Presidency of RW Bro Francis Wakem, QPM, Provincial Grand Master for Wiltshire. A total of £980,650 was announced.

The twenty-first annual Festival for the Grand Charity will be held on Saturday, 10 June 2006, at North Wales Conference Centre, Llandudno, under the Presidency of RW Bro Gareth Lloyd-Jones, Provincial Grand Master for North Wales. Donations may be passed to the Province direct, or to the Grand Charity, in the latter case making it clear that they are for the 2006 Festival. For further details about the 2006 Festival, contact the Provincial Grand Secretary of North Wales, W Bro R. Leonard Ellis, PJGD, 8 Mostyn Avenue, Craig-y-don, Llandudno LL30 1YS Tel: 01492 860223 Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Severn Street Masonic Hall

Major refurbishment of the front of the Severn Street Masonic Hall in Birmingham took place during the summer of 2004. Other work has now been undertaken to the premises which includes the complete replacement of the outside rendering of the dining room, replacement and repair of the roof and guttering and the waterproofing of the remainder of the cladding on the outside wall of the Lodge Room. In addition the Dining Room, Committee Room, Front Stairs and Porch have been redecorated and repairs carried out to some areas of the rehearsal rooms. The total cost was in excess of £35,000. posted 5/7/2005

Charity begins at home

A number of members of Athol Lodge and their wives attended the recent Open Day and fete at Reading Court in Stratford on Avon. They were pleased to hand over a cheque in the sum of £250 from the Lodge for the benefit of the residents.

Air Ambulance helped by Warwickshire Royal Arch Masons

The Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance, the UK's leading helicopter Emergency Medical Service, based at Coventry Airport, has been delighted to announce that on 30 June 2005 the Royal Arch Masons of Warwickshire presented a donation of £25,000 to the Charity.

Representatives from the Charity, the Coventry and Warwickshire Ambulance Service, the Chairman of the Warwickshire County Council, the Chairman of the Warwick District Council and guests from the Freemasons were in attendance. The special guest was Richard Wallis, the Grand Superintendent of the Provincial Grand Chapter of Warwickshire.

At the presentation Richard said:

"I am delighted to be able to hand over this donation of £25,000 from the Royal Arch Freemasons of Warwickshire to support this worthwhile and live saving cause and to enable it to continue to serve the communities of Warwickshire and Northamptonshire in such a vital, caring and dedicated manner. We are extremely grateful for all that they do and are conscious of the many lives that they save when even minutes are critical for each patient. This donation has been achieved in just two short years thanks to the generosity of the 1650 Royal Arch Masons in my Province and I am pleased to acknowledge their unstinting support for this and many other non-Masonic causes."

Mrs Jo Payne, the Fundraising Manager for the Charity said: "We are entirely reliant upon donations. We are extremely grateful to the Freemasons for their generosity especially acknowledging that this sum represents many individual contributions."
Richard Wallis hands over cheque for �25,000
The Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance is the busiest in the UK. It currently operates 8am to 6pm winter and 8am to 8pm summer. £1.2 million per annum is required to maintain present levels of service. £2.5 million will see a 24 hour operation.

The picture shows Richard Wallis handing over the cheque for £25,000 to the pilot and paramedics of the Air Ambulance.posted 1/7/2005

A first for Rugby

The Masonic Hall at Rugby on Saturday 25 June 2005 was the venue for the marriage of Andrew Clarke and Rachel Hughes, the first time that a wedding ceremony has taken place there since the premises became licensed for the purpose by the local authority. The happy couple and their families and friends also enjoyed the wedding reception at the Hall.posted 27/6/2005

An "Old" Master

Orville C Sims is the Master of Oakdale Lodge in California and has brought four new members into the Lodge this year. Orville is 99 years and 7 months old! posted 19/6/2005 

Disclosure of MPs' Interests and Freemasonry

Roger Williams, the Liberal Democrat MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, has recently tabled the following Early Day Motion in the House of Commons:-
"That this House calls on the Standards and Privileges Committee to review the Register of Members' Interests to include organisations with a closed membership; reiterates its endorsement of the supremacy of the parliamentary oath; notes that following the recommendations of the 1997 Home Affairs Select Committee report into Freemasonry in the police and the judiciary, police officers, probation officers, legally qualified staff in the Crown Prosecution Service, judges and members of the tribunals overseen by the Department for Constitutional Affairs are required since 1999 and upon accepting appointment, to state whether they are members of such organisations; believes that those who are responsible for making the law should be subject to the same levels of transparency as those who are responsible for exercising the law; recognises the vital importance of maintaining public confidence in the impartiality of those in public office; and believes that at a time of growing mistrust in political institutions, it is in the interests of the public and parliamentary democracy for those holding the offices of power to be accountable and transparent about their interests and affiliations."

'Early Day Motion' is an informal term for a request, or notice of motion, by an MP in the House of Commons for a debate 'on an early day' but for which no date has been fixed. Very few EDMs are actually debated and it is generally used as a way for MPs to put on record their opinion on a subject and canvass support for it from fellow Members. (posted 14/6/2005) 

Tsunami Relief update presentation to Grand Lodge on 8 June 2005 by Laura Chapman, Chief Executive, The Grand Charity

Pro Grand Master, President, Gentlemen. I am very pleased to be able to speak to you today about the Grand Charity's proposals for supporting the victims of the tsunami disaster.

The Craft has been overwhelmingly generous in donating to the Relief Chest set up by the Grand Charity. This has grown to virtually three-quarters of a million pounds, which is a huge sum and, thereby, has placed on us a most significant responsibility to ensure that that money is used to the best of purposes.

As I reported in April at the Grand Charity's AGM, over the winter we have met here in London with a number of international charities who are involved in the relief efforts and who have a particular focus on support for children. We have been trying to gain an understanding of where the needs actually are and which charities are best placed to deliver. The Council has decided to spread its support across the region hit by the tsunami and intends to fund projects in four of the countries affected: India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand.

Of the charities that we met, we consider Plan to be the best suited to be our partner, to manage projects at the local level. It is an international charity, active in 45 developing countries, whose mission is to achieve lasting improvements in the quality of life of deprived children. We had been very impressed by our meetings in London with Plan, with their approach to sustainable community redevelopment, their safeguards to prevent corruption and mismanagement at local level and their sophisticated approach for evaluating the impacts of their projects.

It became clear to me, however, that an essential part of our due diligence process must be to see the delivery capability of the charity on the ground and to meet those personnel who would actually be managing the project we supported. With that as our objective, I set off to southern India and to Thailand, accompanied by my chaperones from the Council, Michael Turnbull, Chairman of the Appeals and Donations Committee and Bakul Vyas, to meet with Plan India. We also wanted to visit the Light of Siam Lodge in Phuket who had approached the Grand Charity for support for a project that they had developed.

In India we went to see the work of Plan India, who has had an office in Chennai for a number of years, and who was on the spot within hours of the tsunami disaster to help with the very first relief efforts. In the subsequent months, it has been working with local charities to build temporary housing, provide food and clothing for survivors and ensure basic sanitation and medical facilities are available. It is one of the international charities that has been allocated villages by the Indian government and will be responsible for managing the redevelopment of all aspects of housing, social and economic life in each village.

In southern India, the evidence of the devastation of the tsunami, even four months after the tidal wave engulfed the coast, was still overwhelming. The chaotic debris that has been left in its immediate aftermath had been tidied, but we didn't need to look very far for evidence of the disaster. The once green, productive fields are now barren, brown soil, covered by a layer of sand. All that remained of the cashew nut crop, the mainstay of the farming community's livelihood, were a few tangled tree trunks. Acres of farmland, inundated by salt-water, remain unusable until the salt and the sand can be removed. Damaged boats still littered the coastline and once busy ports were deserted, awaiting the return of the fishermen.

Most of the houses hit by the water have been destroyed and the few that are left are so badly damaged, they are uninhabitable. Although temporary accommodation has been built, these are far from satisfactory-constructed from corrugated tin sheeting over timber frames, one 10' by 10' room for the entire family. With daytime temperatures of 37 or 38 degrees celsius, the temperatures inside the shelters are unbearable. The rebuilding of the housing has been delayed, whilst the government debates crucial decisions on the allocation of land. In the meantime, families are left to swelter as the summer approaches.

Homes and livelihoods will, in time, be repaired. But the impact on the minds and spirits of those who lost loved ones, especially for the children who lost parents, will never be erased. Plan is providing counselling for children, as well as adults, to help them come to terms with their grief. This support is beginning to help many, like Chandru, a boy of eight who lost his mother in the disaster, and who did not speak for days thereafter.

When the Council of the Grand Charity initially decided to direct its funding for projects for children affected by the tsunami, it had assumed that that would mean support for an orphanage or for schools. In Southeast Asia, however, children who have lost their parents are usually taken in by their extended family. Hence, in that culture, it is difficult to target the support specifically on the children and, in fact, the best way of helping the children is to help the entire family-by providing housing, livelihood support, general community rebuilding and counselling, especially for women and for the children themselves.

As a result, the Grand Charity intends, subject to confirming a few final issues in its due diligence review, to support an initial project with Plan India in the order of £300,000 to help families living in ten fishing villages in the area of Villapuram, Tamil Nadu. This project will provide livelihood support-boats and nets for fishermen, income-generating projects for women-it will establish child-care and healthcare centres and offer counselling for women and children. The funding would be given over a three-year period, with each instalment paid only on satisfactory completion of the prior phase of work.

The Grand Charity group also visited Phuket, Thailand to meet with the Light of Siam Lodge. The men from this Lodge, who are residents of Phuket and very much part of the local community, were there on the day of the disaster, helping to pull survivors from the rubble and providing shelter in their own homes for those made homeless. It is with the deepest sense of conviction and commitment that they seek to help those who have suffered in the disaster. They have created a project to help the most vulnerable-the children of the poor. Working with ChildWatch, a local Thai charity, their goal is to house fifty orphans and to provide support for an additional 200 children in a daycare centre.

Although the scale of destruction in Phuket is less than in other areas, help is still needed. The presence and commitment of the Lodge members ensure on the spot monitoring and good governance for the project, as well as access to the considerable professional skills of Lodge members. The project also offers a unique opportunity for Craft awareness and involvement. The Lodge is seeking funding for the on-going running costs of the centre and the Grand Charity intends to offer support of approximately £100,000 over an initial three-year period, subject to satisfactory completion of the construction phase.

The Grand Charity also intends to support two other countries that were devastated by the tsunami: Sri Lanka and Indonesia and we are continuing discussions to identify suitable projects. Given the political and social difficulties in Indonesia and the press reports emphasizing corruption and mismanagement in the allocation of relief funding, we recognise that great care must be taken and we are, therefore, not in any hurry to despatch funds without ensuring proper safeguards.

The Grand Charity remains committed to ensuring that the trust that the Craft has placed in us to decide how the money in the Tsunami Relief Chest will be used is not misplaced. Our task will not end with the initial decisions on support, but will continue with the monitoring of the projects to ensure that milestones are achieved before second or third instalments of the grants are released.

Based on our first-hand evidence, the need for relief and longer-term redevelopment funding is undeniable. We are working with Plan to identify the specific projects in the countries that we have targeted. Plan and the local charities who are delivering the projects for them and Childwatch, for the Light of Siam Lodge, are well established, experienced and professional in their work. We have every confidence that your generous donations will make a real difference to the lives of children whose world was shattered on 26th December last.(posted 13/6/2005)

Charity Festivals

The following announcement was made by Lord Northampton at Grand Lodge on 8 June 2005 about three Charity Festivals held so far this year:

"The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution, held by the Province of South Wales, Western Division on the 6 May which raised over a million pounds;

The Masonic Samaritan Fund, held by the Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight on 10 May which raised nearly seven million pounds;

and the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, held by the Province of Cheshire on 13 May which raised over five and a half million pounds." posted 13/6/2005 

Reorganisation of the Grand Council

The Strategic Working Party set up by the Pro Grand Master to review the administration and governance of the Craft has recently considered the reorganisation of the General Council which was set up in 1999, but which unfortunately has not functioned successfully. Recommendations have now been made which it is hoped, if implemented, will make the General Council more effective as a representative and consultative body, available to the Rulers, the Board of General Purposes and others who are responsible for the guidance and administration of the Craft and the Royal Arch. These recommendations are now being circulated to Provincial Grand Masters and Grand Superintendents for their views following which proposals will be brought before Grand Lodge.(posted 13/6/2005) 

Freemasons pull a bus for charity

The tough got going in Harlow on Saturday 4 June 2005 when teams of Essex Freemasons pulled a bus across Westgate Square in the town and raised £4,000 towards buying a new 'D' Class inflatable lifeboat for Southend RNLI.

Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge

There follows the texts of the reports given at the meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge, May 2005. Click the link to read the relevant report.

Address of the Provincial Grand Master

Address of the Provincial Grand Secretary

Address of the Provincial Information Officer

 

Address of the Provincial Grand Master

Brethren,

It is good to see so many of you here today at this Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge and particularly to have the support of our visitors.

To those Brethren who have today been appointed to or promoted in Provincial Grand Rank, I extend my warmest congratulations and remind them that their preferment is not only a recognition of their past service to Freemasonry but also, very importantly, as an incentive for further service.

I do hope that those Brethren who have accepted an acting rank will use this once in a lifetime opportunity to go out and visit Lodges across the Province particularly those who are small in number. I can assure you that you will receive a very warm welcome.

To my team for the past year may I thank each of you for the wonderful support you have given to me. I have had the pleasure of your company on so many occasions throughout the year. I do hope you will use the experience you have gained for the benefit of your Lodges in particular and the craft in general.

I should like to commiserate with W.Bro. Joe Tildesley, one of our A.D.C.’s, who was unsuccessful in the recent Parliamentary election. Unlike our colleagues in Northants and Huntingdonshire we cannot boast a Brother who actually stood for the Monster Raving Lunatic Party. We may, however, have some well qualified to do so!

Since I have had the honour to be your Provincial Grand Master I have encouraged you to be proactive in seeking new members, of the right calibre, in sufficient numbers to at least maintain overall levels of membership. Currently there is an annual net loss of about 2.5%. The annual intake of Initiates across the Province hovers around the 190 to 205 mark. Some of the other Provinces are managing to attract an average of two Initiates per Lodge per year. If that were achieved in this Province it would equate to an annual intake of 400 and a net gain in membership.

There is a printer’s error in the annual report on page 13. The number of Initiates quoted should read 179 and not 79.

Brethren, again I appeal to all of you to do all that you can to encourage a pro-active approach to seeking out suitable Candidates.

With this in mind I have set up a strategic working group to closely examine recruitment and retention under the chairmanship of W.Bro. John Emms. I now have the statistics showing the movement in membership for each Lodge over the past few years. It is now a question of closely examining the trends and to establish the underlying reasons. If any brother would wish to make a written submission then it will be most welcome by W.Bro. Emms through the Provincial office.

We have to continue to promote openness within the Craft so that as many people as possible have an opportunity to learn about Freemasonry. We also need to examine the procedures within our meetings so that, without detracting from the decorum, we may be able to shorten the time taken.

Brethren, our Masonic family has many members beyond Craft Masonry and I do urge those of you wishing to explore further to join those of the additional orders which interest you. That said I want all of you who are not members of the Holy Royal Arch to visit their web site or to look at the excellent cd which has been produced. There is an indissoluble link between the Craft and the Royal Arch.

Last year I announced that we were introducing the Tender Loving Care Teddy Bear Scheme. I am pleased to be able to report that, under the leadership of W.Bro. Chris Groves, it is now operating in all the accident and emergency units in the Province totalling eleven, and so far 1200 Teddies have been given away. We have received several letters of appreciation from parents and the scheme has been enthusiastically received by the nursing staff in these units.

We are now about to embark upon another festival. This time it will be for the New Masonic Samaritan fund in 2012. You will remember Brethren, that over a year ago your Lodges were canvassed as to whether you preferred a seven or five year festival. Over 85% of the Lodges responded and by more than two to one you decided upon a seven year festival.

The festival will be officially launched at a special meeting to be held here on the morning of Saturday the 10th September when we shall have R.W.Bro. Norman Lloyd-Edwards, President, and Richard Douglas, Secretary of the fund as our guests. I have asked W.Bro Michael Baker to be the director of the fund. The details of the target will be announced on that day. I am now issuing a three line whip for every Master, Almoner and Charity Steward, or their representatives, to be at the launch.

A consequence of the start of the festival is that the heritage fund will now be wound down but not closed. Through your generosity we have amassed the magnificent sum of nearly £400,000 which is ring fenced for use by future generations. I do hope that you will from time to time remember the fund and certainly encourage new initiates to make their contribution to our heritage.

I should like to thank the chairman of the fund, W.Bro. Roger Mac, for his sterling efforts. The management committee will remain in place. I should also like to thank W.Bro. Harry Owen not only for his admin work with the fund but also for his magnificent efforts in selling ties and memorabilia which has resulted in gross sales in excess of £92,000 since August 2001. I do hope that Brethren will continue to support the Province by proudly wearing the blue Provincial tie and that every Initiate is given one on his Initiation to wear when he re-enters the Lodge room to receive the Charge.

I now wish to say a few words about this building. Although many Lodges, Chapters and other orders meet here it is also our Provincial Headquarters. If you meet elsewhere in the Province do not think this is nothing to do with you. It is, because every Freemason in the Province has an interest in the building as you are all members of the company.

This building is one of the finest Masonic facilities in the country and we should all do our utmost to preserve it. For the past eighteen years or so we have employed a general manager who has now retired. I, and my fellow directors, are taking this opportunity to become more involved in the day to day management of the building through our team of managers. We have only been at the helm for a little more than a month although it seems longer. If we are to succeed we have to take cost out of the company. As examples, even in this short period we have been successful, particularly in the wet stock. We have re-sourced our supply which, for example, has allowed us to reduce the price of a pint of bitter to £2.15 and at the same time increase the amount of profit the company makes on the pint. Last years beer purchases at today’s prices would result in an annual saving of £6000. Similarly we hope to take several thousands of pounds out of our linen hire costs.

I have been calling on the assistance of Brethren whose expertise ranges from health and safety to hotel management. Some Brethren have assumed responsibility for particular aspects of the company which is very demanding on their time. I wish to record my great appreciation to all those Brethren who have given their advice and services so generously in helping us to examine and reorganise the management of the company.

If any Brother feels he has expertise, and commitment, which can help us I shall be delighted to hear from him.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Brethren and Lodges who have donated items of Lodge furniture to the Province in the form of columns, square and compasses, and gavels. Only the other evening a Brother came up to me offering to pay, anonymously, for the new columns we have put in each Lodge room here. I am most grateful to you all.

Many of you know that I am a very keen fly fisherman and have been lucky enough to pursue my interest all over the world from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. I have learned that, centred on the Provinces of Middlesex and Hertfordshire there is a scheme in existence where Freemasons take disabled children to a trout lake for a days fishing. I should very much like the Brethren in Warwickshire to start such a scheme and, as a first step, I should like all interested Brethren who are fly fishermen, and your fishing friends, who are prepared to give up a day, to register with the Provincial office. We can then form an organising committee. I want us to be able to widen the experience of these disadvantaged children in a direction that would not normally be open to them.

We have had a busy though enjoyable year throughout the Province and I should like to thank you Brethren for the very warm welcome and generous hospitality which you have extended to me and to the members of my team when we have had the great pleasure of visiting your Lodges.

From time to time Brethren write to me and to the Provincial Secretary. Last week I received a letter from one of our retiring Provincial Stewards thanking me for his appointment, saying how much he had enjoyed visiting Lodges around the Province and outlining some of his experiences one of which concerned his visit to Knowle. He was changing into his Provincial Grand Stewards regalia when a very concerned Brother came up to him to ask him if he was at the right meeting!

Meetings such as today take much thought and planning. I wish to thank all who have been involved in the organisation of today’s meeting particularly my Provincial Secretary, W.Bro. Nigel Bister, who has been a tower of strength to me throughout the year, and his staff in the Provincial office. To the Provincial Grand Registrar, W.Bro. Trevor Cavill and his team and my fellow members of the Provincial Grand Stewards’ Lodge.

Brethren, this Province is in extremely good heart and long may that continue. You all know my philosophy about Freemasonry – it is there to be enjoyed. I urge all of you to extend that philosophy into your Lodges so that the Brethren go home after the meeting with smiles on their faces looking forward to their next merry meeting.

Back to Reports

Provincial Grand Secretary’s Report 2005

R W Provincial Grand Master, this is my second report as Provincial Grand Secretary and you are completing your fourth year as Provincial Grand Master. The year has been again one of steady progress for the Province.

Consecrations

The highlight of the year for the Province was undoubtedly the Consecration of the Lodge of the East and West, which was carried out by you and your Provincial team in an exemplary manner at Stirling Road on Tuesday 6th July 2004. A total of 105 Brethren attended including 24 Founders, RWBro. Stanley A Lates OSM. being their founding Master.

Special Occasions

To include:
Trinity Lodge No.254 Dedication of a new set of Tracing Boards. 
A set of magnificent Tracing Boards which had been hand painted by W Bro Bill Podmore were dedicated by the Provincial Grand Master at the Coventry Masonic Centre on Thursday 7th October 2004. 
Banner Dedication of the Lodge of Security No.5650 at Severn Street on 5th October 2004
Anniversaries of a number of Lodges were celebrated throughout the year.

Long Service Certificates

During the year the following Brethren were presented with the R W Provincial Grand Master’s Certificate marking 50, and 60 years service to Freemasonry. We congratulate them all for their dedication and achievements.

Sixty Years Service to Freemasonry

W Bro P G Davis, PProvSGW. 
W Bro J R Rishworth, PProvGReg.
W Bro J G Blandford, PProvGSwdB.
Bro R W Hobbins, PProvJGD.
W Bro A N Penman, PProvGReg.

Fifty Years Service to Freemasonry
W Bro S R Lukeman, PProvGSuptWks. 
W Bro D E Allinson, PProvJGW.
W Bro V Hemus, PProvJGW.
W Bro A N Weaver, PProvJGW.
W Bro E B Clark, PProvJGW.
W Bro A Bonsor, PProvJGW.
W Bro K J P Bowyer, PProvGSuptWks.
W Bro T L Davies, PProvJGW.
W Bro F J Clarke, PProvAGDC.
Bro P D Lilly
W Bro J W Adams, PProvSGW.
W Bro N T Padmore, PProvSGW.
W Bro W H Oldershaw, PProvSGW.
W Bro M C Feinstein, PProvJGW. 
W Bro A Leese, PProvSGW.
W Bro J L Clifford, PProvJGW.
W Bro R J Clifford, PProvSGD.
W Bro W Selwyn, PProvJGW.
W Bro D Yetman, PProvSGW.

Membership

During the year ended 30th April 2005, the annual returns received from Lodges recorded the following statistical analysis:

  179 Initiates

  155 Joined

  107 Deceased

  294 Resignations

    46 Ceased Membership

    26 Elected Honorary Members

6414 Active Members

Obituary
It is great regret that I have to report the deaths of 97 members of the Province during the year ended 30th April 2005. These include the following Grand Officers:-

W Bro William Mark Hartley, MBE PGStB
W Bro Frederick Reginald Marshall, PAGDC
W Bro Edward Norman Hands, PJGD
W Bro George Edward Faulkes, PAGDC

We send to all their families our very deepest sympathy. They will be sadly missed.

Promotions in and Appointments to Grand Rank
Subscribing members of Lodges in this Province were honoured by Promotion and Appointment at the Annual Investiture of Grand Lodge on 27th April 2005 as follows:

Appointments
W Bro Michael Anthony Adler PAGDC
W Bro Peter Andrew Bennett PAGDC
W Bro Philip Major Collins PAGDC
W Bro Michael Leonard Ward PAGDC
W Bro Christopher John Grove MBE PGStB
W Bro David Harold Liddington PGStB

Promotions
W Bro Derek Nigel Broderick PAGDC to PJGD
W Bro Malcolm Robert Seymour Thomas PAGDC to PJGD

Finance
The report of the Provincial Grand Treasurer is included in the paper of business and I would like to take this opportunity of thanking W Bro Michael Squires PAGDC for his support and wish him well in his retirement. My sincere thanks also to W Bro Harry Owen PAGDC for all his hard work and dedication in selling Masonic merchandise and in particular the considerable amount of time that he has give in support of the Heritage Fund

Masonic Church Service 
The Annual Masonic Service will be held on Sunday 19th June 2005 at St Mary’s Collegiate Church Warwick. The Address will be given by the Provincial Grand Chaplain W Bro Rev. Cannon Denis Claringbull, the theme being ‘The House of God’. All those who attend will enjoy the beautiful music, singing, and inspiring service. Masters of Lodges are urged to ensure a proper representation by their Lodge for what is after all their own service.

Education and Training and Information Technology

Grand Lodge’s Database
The Adelphi Database is now up and running and is nearing final completion. The Provincial Office now has total responsibility for Pre Registering all candidates that are initiated into Lodges or have joined, or re-joined. It is therefore most important that all Registration Forms together with any fee payable must be sent to the Provincial Office. During the next twelve months it is anticipated all information held on our own Provincial Database will be checked for accuracy and updated as necessary.

Lodge DC’s and ADC’s Seminar
Following the success of last year it is again proposed to continue with this event which is organised by W Bro Roger Parker PAGDC Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies with the help of his Deputies and Assistants. Lodge DC’s and ADC’s are encouraged to attend.

Administration
Once again my sincere thanks to Barbara Powell to whom I am extremely indebted, and to Bridget Parr who is recovering from a serious operation, to W Bro Malcolm Thomas PJGD for all the support they continue to give. To W Bro Trevor Cavill Provincial Grand Registrar and his team for their assistance in the organisation for the annual meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge.

I would also like to thank all Lodge Secretaries and Treasurers of the various Lodges in the Province for their work in administration and co-operation with the Province.

Finally to you R W Provincial Grand Master for you help and guidance throughout the year.

W Bro Nigel C Bister, PAGDC, PProvSGW
Provincial Grand Secretary

Back to Reports

Report of the Provincial Information Officer

Introduction

The year under review has been as eventful as previous years with a number of instances of changes of attitudes towards Freemasonry although some anti-Masonic views managed to surface again. The critics and detractors are still out there so we cannot afford to be complacent.

Provincial Website

I am delighted with the continuing success of the Provincial web site and with the plaudits that I receive from Brethren who find it a useful and current source of information. The site attracts visits from all over the world and the annual average of hits is now in the region of 435,000. The month of January 2005 saw the site receive 52,000 hits, a record. (The monthly average for visits to the site is 2,350.) The website has again been responsible for the introduction of candidates to Freemasonry in Warwickshire.

I have approved and welcomed five new Lodge websites during the year, for Old Veseyan, Tudor and Athol Lodges, the Lodge of Perception and the Lodge of Academe, and two more, for Prudence and Loyalty, are in the process of approval. I am indebted to W Bro Stuart Thorpe for his untiring work in supporting me with the Provincial web site as the Webmaster and helping me understand the technical issues.

Despite the recommendation in my previous report, there are still a substantial number of Lodges which do not have the addresses of the two Warwickshire websites set out on their summonses – www.warwickshirepgl.org.uk and www.royalarch.org.uk I urge them to remedy this at the earliest opportunity. They guide members of the Lodge and their visitors, especially from other Provinces, to invaluable sources of Masonic information and the excellence of both sites.

Freemasonry and discrimination

Former Flying Squad Commander John O’Connor claimed in December 2004 that Freemasons still wield massive power within high ranks and that black people who do not join the “secretive groups” (sic) lose out in the power struggle. Mr O’Connor was speaking after the launch of an inquiry report led by retired union leader Sir Bill Morris into alleged Metropolitan Police racism. He also claimed that white people who did not join the Masons were at a disadvantage. As only one of the last six Metropolitan Police Commissioners has had any Masonic connection (and he resigned before he joined the Metropolitan force) and none of the Deputies or Assistants in the last 15 years has been a Freemason, the evidence does not appear to support Mr O’Connor’s offensive assertions. The Morris Report makes no mention of Freemasonry.

A Member of the Ukrainian Parliament towards the end of 2004 sought to promote a Bill which would have rendered membership of our Order in the Ukraine a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment!

Amongst the most bizarre attacks on the Institution that I have ever seen was one levelled at the MW Grand Master at the end of 2004 from a (non-Masonic!) resident of Warwickshire who wrote to him as follows:

“I read your recent BBC4 Radio poll (on your website) with interest as I have read all your pathetic statements over the last 15 years. I admire your decision in 2003 not to "cut the throats" of your members who disclose the Masonic secrets. Although this did not help Martin Short (author of ‘Inside the Brotherhood’) who unfortunately died of a brain tumour as reported in the press, even though we both know "you" authorised his murder as well as 100's of other innocent people. Why kill innocents? Very shortly, you and I are going to meet in public in front of the British and World Media not to mention the British people and International community. I have received your messages to leave the country or I could be kidnapped. Thank you for those messages. Here is my address and contact details: (please note I have no bodyguards)…………..”

The Scottish Parliament’s Standards Committee has announced its proposal to introduce a Bill to replace current regulations governing registration of financial and other interests. The Committee is proposing that Members of the Scottish Parliament should be required to register those interests which the public might reasonably think could influence an MSP’s actions, using an objective "influence" test. On registering non-financial interests, the Committee proposed: "It will be for each member to ask themselves, not whether they would or might be influenced by the interest but, whether a fair-minded and informed observer would conclude that their impartiality would be or appear to be prejudiced by the interest." Commentators have suggested that this might require Members to declare membership of “organisations such as the Freemasons”. 
In an otherwise excellent article in The Times on 17 July 2004 about Freemasons’ Hall in London, the author claimed that "A more recent expression of Masonic principles came in 1982, when Roberto Calvi, a member of the P2 Lodge, was found hanging from the symbolic Blackfriars Bridge with stones in his pockets". It is a grave insult to the integrity of British Freemasons to suggest, even in a poor attempt at humour, that corruption and murder are "a more recent expression of Masonic principles". The P2 Lodge was a clandestine organisation whose existence was unknown to the body it claimed to be working under, the Grand Orient of Italy, and had no connections or contact whatsoever with British Freemasonry. Blackfriars Bridge has no symbolic meaning for Freemasons, nor do stones in pockets.
Aubrey Tarbuck, elected as Deputy Mayor of Worcester for 2004/2005, told the Council that he is a Freemason. He will be the Mayor in 2005/2006. Leader of the opposition Labour Group on the Council, Adrian Gregson, was reported in August 2004 as saying that Aubrey has the opportunity "to consider where his allegiances and priorities lie", since [Freemasons] have connections and there are always questions about how much influence they have in public bodies and democratic organisations, which they shouldn't have."

Freemasonry and Christianity

During the year under review the Bishop of Ripon suspended the Dean of Ripon over allegations of unbecoming conduct. Among the complaints made against the Dean was one that he conducted a Freemasons’ service in the cathedral which is said to have caused “particular resentment”. A vicar in the Isle of Man banned ministers and readers who are Freemasons serving in his parishes. Following discussions between the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro George Peake, and the Bishop of Sodor and Man, the vicar withdrew his objections.

A dispute about Freemasonry has split one of Kenya’s largest churches, the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, leading to the removal of priceless historical fittings from its prayer houses, said to be symbols of Freemasonry and “anti-Christ”. It is alleged that Freemasons worship an alien God and hold un-Christian principles. Following one of its Sunday morning religious broadcasts in December 2004 the BBC conducted an Internet poll on the issue of the compatibility of Freemasonry and Christianity. By 13,520 votes to 1,175 the poll concluded that they were compatible.

There is still no news when the proposed meeting between the Archbishop of Canterbury will take place with the Pro Grand Master to discuss the Archbishop’s “concerns” about Freemasonry.

Coventry City Council

Unexpectedly, and without notice to the Masonic authorities, Coventry City Council's Standards Committee, headed by a retired judge, in August 2004 removed all overt references to Freemasonry in the staff Code of Conduct and the Council adopted the change in September 2004. I was delighted with the outcome following the months of correspondence (and frustration) with the Council and letters to the local press. Common-sense and the human rights legislation have prevailed.

The Standards Board for England

As I indicated in my last report the Code of Conduct for Councillors requires them to register membership of charities and of bodies directed to charitable purposes. Freemasons in England and Wales are members of The Grand Charity in accordance with its Trust Deed. In these circumstances a Councillor who is a Freemason must register his membership of The Grand Charity with the local authority of which he is a member. Unfortunately, the guidance issued by the Standards Board early in 2004 was misleading and it had also been interpreted wrongly by some local authorities who believed that they had power to require disclosure of Freemasonry and membership of Masonic Lodges. I wrote to all local authorities in or touching the Province to tell them the correct position. A number of Monitoring Officers submitted my letter to their Standards Committees and one included it on his Council’s web site. Following my strong representations to the Standards Board to have the guidance changed to reflect the true position I am pleased to say that new guidance has been issued which brings the matter to a satisfactory conclusion. An item about the issue appeared in a recent edition of Freemasonry Today. The new guidance can be found at http://www.standardsboard.co.uk/code_of_conduct/questions.php#qu22

Gentlemen’s Evenings

There are signs that that these events continue to be popular, often giving rise to new candidates. Some Lodges are even holding their second and third Gentlemen’s Evenings. Members of the Provincial Executive are always happy to speak on these occasions.

Freemasons in the Police Service

In April 2004 the Police Service of Northern Ireland commenced a process for the registration of “notifiable memberships” as a result of the introduction of the requirement by legislation. A police officer has a notifiable membership if membership of an organisation might reasonably be regarded as affecting the officer’s ability to discharge his duties effectively and impartially. The Chief Constable issued guidance which mentioned a number of organisations, including Freemasonry, which in his view were the type of organisations at which the legislation was aimed. A legal challenge was mounted in June 2004 and the trial was expected to take place in November in the High Court in Belfast. In the light of legal advice that he received the Chief Constable withdrew the guidance and the action was halted. As a consequence there is no longer any specific reference to Freemasonry but the requirement to register a notifiable membership remains.

The Grand Charity

The Province was honoured to host a General Meeting of the Grand Charity at Stirling Road on 16 October 2004, presided over by the Pro Grand Master, Lord Northampton. This was only the sixth such meeting to be held outside London since the inception of the Grand Charity in 1981. Amongst the 600 or so who attended were the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, the Mayor of Worcester and the Chairman of Warwickshire County Council. Eleven of the Masonic Provinces were represented. Grants amounting to some £916,000 were approved for 18 non-Masonic charities. A collection taken at the meeting for the Acorn’s Children’s Hospice raised the sum of £3,230.

Councillor Allah Ditta, the Mayor of Worcester, said on his Council’s web site after he had returned from the meeting: “A heavy day on Saturday. First the General Meeting of the Grand Charity in Birmingham – and yes, before anybody gets uptight, I know it was a Masonic affair. I’m not a Mason, I know very little about them, but an organisation that gives millions – yes, millions - to charities including my own Acorns can’t be all bad.”

I was pleased to have been able to arrange for the President of the Grand Charity, RW Bro Raymond Lye, to be interviewed by Ed Doolan on his radio programme on BBC WM the day before the meeting. The interview, which lasted for more than five minutes, was a great success. The programme has about 250,000 listeners.

I was delighted and honoured to accept an invitation in March 2005 from the Grand President to be one of his representatives on the Council of the Grand Charity initially for three years from 2005 to 2008.

Significant “firsts”

Bro Peter Bailey was initiated, by dispensation, into the Lodge of Impartiality in November at the age of 18, only the second one in the Province as far as we are aware. Bro Alan and Bro David Harwood, twin brothers, were initiated together in St Barbara Lodge in January this year. We now have five sets of twins in the Province, the others being W Bro David and W Bro Chris Boston who are members of the Aston Old Edwardian Lodge, W Bro John and W Bro James Ashmore of Holte Lodge, Bro Kevin and Bro Michael Marston of Etone Lodge, and Bro Brij and Bro Jog Dhody of the Lodge of Fellowship.

The Lodge of the East and West, the newest Warwickshire Lodge, consecrated on 6 July 2004, welcomed its first Initiate, Rajesh Sethi, on 6 October 2004. His father Ramesh, one of our Provincial Grand Stewards for 2004/2005, who was delighted to take part in the initiation, and his brother Ashwin, are both Founder Members of the Lodge.

Bro Barrie Hawkins was raised to the Third Degree in Etone Lodge in December 2004, his oldest son Anthony was initiated in January 2005 and his youngest son Timothy was made a Mason in February.

W Bro David Houston, a Past Master of St Paul’s Lodge No 43, completed the transfer of all the Lodge’s extant minutes to CD-ROM. Of particular interest to Masonic researchers, the CDs are available by contacting David on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.ately the Minute Book for 1786-1845 is missing. It is clearly an invaluable document for the oldest Lodge in the Province and if anyone knows of its whereabouts W Bro David Houston would be pleased to hear from them.

RW Bro Stanley Lates OSM was honoured by the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of Switzerland by being appointed to the rank of Past Grand Senior Warden. RW Bro Michael Price and VW Bro Victor Keene were both promoted to the rank of Past Provincial Grand Senior Warden in the Mark Province of Warwickshire at the Annual Meeting in November 2004.

There was a delightful Masonic flower festival at the Masonic Hall in Stratford in September 2004 which attracted considerable publicity and attendances and also raised some £4,000 for the Stratford Kidney Unit Appeal.

Freemasonry in the sun

In an afternoon of sunshine on Sunday 20 June 2004 some 60 senior Warwickshire Freemasons, along with the Provincial Grand Master for Worcestershire and the Deputy Provincial Grand Master for Staffordshire, again walked in public procession in full regalia to St Mary’s Church from the Masonic Rooms in the High Street of Warwick for the Annual Service. The theme of the service was ‘Behold the Lord passed by’ and the sermon was preached by Bro Rev Canon Dr Denis Claringbull, Provincial Grand Chaplain. The Masonic links with the church go back to the early part of the 18th century. Records show that when a Lodge was constituted in Warwick on 22 April 1728 the first Master was the Reverend Greenwood, the Vicar of the Church. I am pleased to say that Freemasonry Today published an article and photograph about the occasion.

A visitor from the sun

Fraternity Lodge had a surprise visit from RW Bro Eric O’Hara, the Assistant Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Spain, at their meeting in March. Eric was on personal business in Birmingham and had expressed a wish to attend an English Lodge. Other Spanish Brethren were also present.

Changes in the Royal Arch

At the Convocation of Supreme Grand Chapter on 10 November 2004 significant changes to the working and administration of the Royal Arch were agreed. The principal mandatory ritual changes are the removal of all references to the Royal Arch being the completion of the Master Mason’s Degree, and the removal from the Historical Lecture of the traditional dates attributed to the three Original Grand Lodges. The major administrative change is the removal of the requirement that a candidate for the Third Principal’s Chair must be an Installed Master in the Craft. Variations to the changes were agreed for those workings, where the revisions could not be easily assimilated or integrated, for example, Bristol and Warwickshire.

A protocol for Lodge Newsletters

A small number of Lodges produce Newsletters and I am keen to see more Lodges adopting such an effective means of communication. However, as a result of one such newsletter containing many mistakes of fact and Masonic policy, I decided to introduce guidance for their preparation and publication along the lines of the guidance for Lodge web sites. A copy of the protocol containing the guidance is attached as an Appendix to this report. It can also be seen on the Provincial web site.

Assisting the Mark

I was privileged to be invited by RW Bro David Hooker, the Provincial Grand Master for the Mark Province of Warwickshire, to assist him with the arrangements and publicity for a presentation to the Urology Department of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on behalf of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons. That Grand Lodge had set aside the sum of £2 million for the treatment of prostate cancer in hospitals across the country. The Royal College of Surgeons sought bids from consultants and Urology Departments for funds from this grant, assessed the bids and made recommendations to the Mark Grand Lodge which accepted them without hesitation. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital was successful with their bid for the purchase of 3D camera equipment. RW Bro David Hooker on 29 October 2004 handed Alan Doherty, the Consultant Surgeon, a cheque for £83,659 to enable the purchase to go forward. An article and photograph appeared in Freemasonry Today and in the hospital’s own newspaper.

Constitutional matters

The new procedure for the election of the Master and Treasurer of private Lodges, in respect of which the Provincial Grand Secretary produced guidance, appears to have been adopted by Lodges in increasing numbers.

I have experienced in the last year three occasions at Installation Meetings when the new Master has sought to appoint a member of the Lodge to more than one Regular Office which of course contravenes the provisions of Rule 104 of the Book of Constitutions. Care should be observed in this respect and if there any doubts about the regularity of an appointment advice should be taken well in advance of the Installation Meeting from the Provincial Grand Secretary.

I have recently discovered the existence of a so-called “Masonic High Council for England and Wales” complete with a web site and a person who calls himself the Secretary General. He appears to be the only member! Brethren should not attempt to make any contact since it is an irregular Masonic body and is not recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England.

Grand Lodge reviewed the guidance on demonstrations of ritual in June 2004. Among other things, Grand Lodge confirmed that reconstructions of historical forms of Craft ritual can only be undertaken when Master Masons are present, the Lodge has been called off or closed, and the Lodge room remains fully tyled throughout.

Rule 144 of the Book of Constitutions requires every Lodge to keep a Minute Book. Grand Lodge has said that care should be taken to ensure the permanence of Minutes or other records. The Provincial Grand Master is not convinced that these requirements are satisfied by minutes being kept on sheets of paper which are then inserted into ring binder files. Lodges that have adopted this practice must cease to do so.

Conclusion

The policy of openness and public awareness appears to be reasonably successful although I continue to be frustrated by newspapers that refuse to publish the good news about Freemasonry which I distribute to them in large measure, especially about our contributions to charity. I am however optimistic that we are seeing signs of Freemasonry being recognised as being part of the community rather than apart from the community.

My thanks go to my colleagues for their never-failing support and to the Provincial Grand Secretary and his staff for theirs. I am indebted as always to Brethren who kindly tell me what is going on in their part of the Province so that I may share it with others. Long may this continue.

Rodney Pitham PSGD
Assistant Provincial Grand Master
Provincial Information Officer

May 2005

Appendix

Lodge Newsletters - A Protocol

Lodge Newsletters are a valuable means of communication for all members of a Lodge but particularly for those who are not able to attend meetings on a regular basis such as country and honorary members. The Provincial Grand Master is keen to encourage and support the publication of such Newsletters and wishes to see more and more Lodges in the Province adopting the idea.

There are a variety of styles of newsletter circulating in the Province and all are to be highly commended for content, imaginative use of typefaces, photographs, colour and their regularity of publication. The Provincial Grand Master has no wish to stifle creativity or style but, like the rules for Lodge web sites, he does believe that Lodges would welcome guidance of a broad nature to ensure compliance with the principles of Freemasonry and the policies of both Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Lodge.

This is the guidance:

The principle of the publication of a newsletter should be agreed by the Lodge following discussion in, and recommendation by, the Lodge Committee.

It might be beneficial to have a small editorial committee, of no more than, say, three members of the Lodge, to oversee publication and to approve the content with perhaps one member of the Lodge having responsibility for drafting the items for inclusion in the publication. That member, the editor, would need to have the necessary facilities for preparing and printing the newsletter, but its distribution might usefully be left to the Lodge Secretary to coincide, where practicable, with the sending of a Lodge summons to all members of the Lodge.

Lodge Newsletters should not be regarded as private or secret but editors will need to ensure that any of those Brethren named in the newsletter for whatever reason or whose photographs might be included are aware of the public nature of the document and are given the opportunity to have their name and/or photograph withdrawn prior to publication.

Lodges should feel free to send copies of Lodge Newsletters, for example, to the press and to members of local authorities, deposited in local libraries, doctors’ and dentists’ surgeries, provided that the Lodge has agreed and that all members are aware that this will be done.

Lodge Newsletters should not comment on political or religious issues arising in the locality.

At all times Lodge Newsletters should comply with the policies and edicts of the United Grand Lodge of England and the Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire.

No material may be published which is subject to copyright and no material in a Newsletter should be made the subject of copyright since the press, among others, should be able to have the freedom to publish the Newsletter or extracts from it.

At least one copy of each edition of every Lodge newsletter should be sent to the Provincial Grand Secretary immediately following publication.

Rodney Pitham PSGD
Assistant Provincial Grand Master
Provincial Information Officer

Contact Us

The Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire
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73, Gravelly Hill North, Erdington
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Tel: 0121 454 4422

The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is the governing body for freemasons within England and Wales and districts overseas.