The Warwickshire Royal Air Force Lodge reached two milestones on 1st April 2017. The Lodge was consecrated on 1st April 1992, by the then Deputy Provincial Grand Master, V W Bro John D Saville. On the 100th meeting twenty five years later, the anniversary celebrations were held in the presence of the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro David F Macey. A multitude of Acting Provincial Officers, visitors from other Lodges, and Lodge members enjoyed a very special meeting when W Bro David Butcher, was installed as the Lodge’s 25th Master by his predecessor W Bro Mark Thomas in a faultless ceremony.
One of the many highlights of the meeting was the Provincial Grand Master’s immediate promotion of two of the Lodges stalwart members.
W Bro Antony Farnath, Founding Master of the Lodge with a total of 44 years masonic service was promoted to Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden, and presented with his updated regalia by the brethren of the Lodge.
Bro John Byrne, a member with 56 years masonic service was appointed to the rank of Past Provincial Assistant Grand Standard Bearer, and was also presented with his new regalia by the brethren of the Lodge.
Another highlight of the festive board was an explanation of some of the history of the Royal Air Force, and the component parts of the Union Flag by a member of the Lodge – Bro Barry Hope, together with his brother Bro Robert Hope, both in ‘historic’ Air Force uniforms.
A memento of the evening was a specially designed paperweight presented to each brother present, specially commissioned to mark a special event.
The final parting shot was a poem, presented as the toast to the visitors, penned by the Provincial Poet (alias W Bro Bill Clark, Provincial Grand Almoner) which is reproduced below. Not content with one poem, Bill also composed a second rhyme, to thank the Provincial Grand Master for his presence at the celebrations, also reproduced below.
Visitors toast saturday 1st april 2017
25th anniversary meeting
Thank you for being with us here today
We are grateful that you were able to stay
And share with us in this festive board
No pressure of your own free will and accord
Our time together we hope has been well spent
We trust you are now replete and content
Replete having enjoyed this festive board repast
Content and being ready to go home at last
Having we trust enjoyed the masonic ritual
Which can sometimes become somewhat habitual
However the promotions and orations as they did unfold
Were truly masonic treats for us all to behold
Please thank your loved ones when you get home
Who may have spent their time at home alone
Tell then how much we in 9456 do appreciate
Their tolerance when you arrive home late
You have made this day a one for us to remember
Please join us again when we meet in september
And tonight as we say farewell and adieu
We can but say to you all a most humble thank you
Junior warden 9456
Installation meeting rugby saturday 1st april 2017
Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master we write to say
Thank you for presiding at our Installation meeting yesterday
You made the event for us in 9456 an occasion to remember
To be discussed at length when we meet again in september
You made the installation special for all concerned
In masonic terms there was much to be learned
Positions to be filled work to be done
Serious elements interlaced with some fun
Everyone present we are sure did appreciate
The manner in which you sought to relate
The ethics of Freemasonry right from the start
In your capacity as our leader -- a perfected art
It was for us all a most memorable occasion
Full of emotion -- addresses and orations
Delivered with such sincerity love and affection
Each brother seeking to achieve masonic perfection
We repeat-- it truly was for us all a day to remember
To be savoured again when we meet in september
The worshipful master will we are sure have a good year
As a brother you have supported and whom you hold dear
Brothers Farnath and Byrne equally honoured on the day
By you as Provincial Grand Master in such a considerate way
Was a joy to behold and a privilege to see
A day they will never forget-- we all do agree
Junior warden 9456
This year's donations to non-masonic charities by the Warwickshire Masonic Charitable Association will amount to approximately £150,000, of which the larger sums have been distributed at a luncheon to which the major recipients were invited. In addition, over 100 further charities will have received sums ranging from £250 to £1500. An amount has been kept in reserve so that urgent requests during the year can be met. Trustees of the Warwickshire Masonic Charitable Association evaluate the financial situation on an annual basis and allocate an amount depending on Lodge donations and investment income for the year. Donations are subsequently made to registered charities which operate primarily within the area covered by the Province of Warwickshire. The process is managed on behalf of the Trustees by W Bro John Hayward, the Provincial Grand Charity Steward assisted by W Bro Bill Clark, the Provincial Grand Almoner.
A full summary of the donations has been published on the Provincial website, and will be updated periodically. Donations are grouped by: Hospices, Hospitals, Rescue Services and Air Ambulances; Aged, Children & Youth; Community; Religious; Medical Welfare; Disabled; Sports & Recreation; Armed & Ex-Services; Hearing & Visual Impairments; Medical Research. These are the categories recommended by the Charity Commission.
Nominations for future donations to registered Warwickshire charities should be forwarded to John Hayward in the Charity Office at Yenton Assembly Rooms, Gravelly Hill North, Birmingham B23 6BJ or phone 0121 454 0554 for further information.
Pictured are representatives from some of the larger recipient charities, who received their cheques at a lunch, hosted by the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro David Macey, at the Tally Ho Conference Centre. After congratulating the representatives of the charities present, the Provincial Grand Master thanked all concerned with the organization and administration surrounding both the event and the donations. Mr Adam Williams, representing Midlands Air Ambulance, thanked the Province of Warwickshire for their tremendous support, on behalf of all the charity representatives.
Ms Emma Delin, Fundraising Executive of the Lifelites Charity, also thanked the organization for their generosity, and presented the Provincial Grand Master with a framed certificate in thanks for the assistance given to Lifelites, and officially recognizing their role as a 2017 Sponsor of Lifelites.
A specially engraved commemorative glass award was also presented by the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, to mark the support for the Military Patient Welfare Fund over recent years.
The opportunity was also taken to present certificates from the Masonic Charitable Association, for donations which had already been received directly by the Children’s Hospices and the Air Ambulances within the Province of Warwickshire. These recipients are shown below with their certificates. The certificates were for a total amount of approximately £26,000 and are a part of the annual donation by the Masonic Charitable Foundation grants to these two organization which total a remarkable £192,000 to Air Ambulances across the country and £600,000 to Children’s Hospices.
Worshipful Brother Denis Brown has enjoyed a full and eventful Masonic journey including being installed into the Master's Chair no less than seven times. We now congratulate W Bro Denis on his appointment as a Metropolitan Grand Officer. Denis has been kind enough to share his story with us and it paints a picture of how fulfilling and wide ranging Freemasonry can be as well as how a decisive plan can bring Lodges back from the brink of closure and re-invigorate them into lively and thriving communities.
"The first Lodge I became Master of was the Fellowship and Peace lodge number 7002, meeting in Croydon. This lodge unfortunately surrendered its warrant some years ago now. At the time I was relatively new to Freemasonry and being a joining member of the Fellowship and Peace lodge I had only been in Freemason for a period of six years. To be given the opportunity to occupy the chair at so an early time in my Masonic career was more of a necessity to be honest. I was the WM for two consecutive years here from 2006 through to 2008.
"Following this the lodge lasted another two years and then numbers were dwindling quickly, and the difficult decision to surrender our warrant was taken. It indeed was an extremely sad and upsetting thing to have to go through.
"I am originally a London Freemason and the majority of the Brethren from the FoP Lodge joined my Mother Lodge, Aretas 4268, holding their meetings at the National Hotel, Russell Square having moved there from Mark Masons Hall well before my time.
"Working in and around London, London freemasonry was indeed for me, but in 2006 I decided to join a more local lodge to myself along with my best friend Bro Rick Jones. We decided to join a Friday evening lodge within the Staffordshire Province, so we joined the Round Table Lodge 8273. On joining I was immediately installed into the Senior Wardens chair as again this lodge was struggling in the same way that the Fellowship and Peace Lodge had before. Due to dwindling numbers and resignations it had reduced its meetings from six a year to five in the hope of survival. The Lodge had no new members coming in, each member had occupied the chair at least twice and the lodge was extremely close in surrendering its warrant. Our joining certainly helped with the finances and cast a lifeline, albeit for a short time, but never the less a lifeline. So, when I was installed into the chair in November 2008, it was suggested that we set out a plan to survive.
"We introduced a three-year plan of what we were all about, who we were, what we were doing but more importantly how to attract new members. We set up a website, to show people how we did things, and advertise what Freemasonry was all about, how it could potentially make a difference in your life. We mentioned the social side, lodge meeting agendas, charity collections and charity contributions. We placed testimonials on our website, we did everything we could to attract attention, but the single most important thing we did was to interview each member individually and see if they were aware of anybody that they felt they could nominate to become a Freemason.
"This brought one new member, the website brought another new member, we then got four joining members. Remember this lodge was close to surrendering its warrant back in 2007/8, to date we have enough work now to last us till 2020, and that is doing one ceremony per meeting. The numbers have grown unbelievably, for the last three years we have had two initiations each year. I did two initiations last year plus a third degree, this year we have three initiations and a second, the lodge is growing at a meteoric pace.
"I went into the chair for the first time in 2008 came out the following year as I went into the chair at my Mother Lodge (2009), I have to say that was indeed the pinnacle of my career, the WM of your Mother Lodge, it has to be the highest honour bestowed onto any freemason...
"Within my Mother Lodge I had been installed into every position along with a spell as the Treasurer. So when the chair did arrive I was extremely excited. Handed the chair over in November 2010 and went straight back into the Round Table Lodge chair in 2010.
"My Mother Lodge was going well, even the Round Table Lodge now had its sights set way in the distance, then unfortunately we had two Brothers sadly pass away. My best friend Bro Rick Jones was extremely ill and needed to slow down but he had promised me he would keep going until I got my Provincial honours, which I did in May 2012. My first appointment was that of Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon, an honour bestowed on me by the RW Bro Alexander Steward the then PGM (Staffs). In September of 2012 my best friend Bro Rick Jones died, a loss of unbelievable proportion to me. Due to the untimely loss of another brother, W Bro Alan Gough, I stepped in to fill the position of Senior Deacon and then proceeded to go through the chair again in 2015-2016.
"About five years ago, a good friend of mine took me along as a visitor to his lodge which met in Sutton Coldfield. The lodge of Allegiance 6000 meets on a Saturday and is in the Province of Warwickshire. I have performed most offices during my tenure, and having been installed into the Junior Wardens position for two years, I was honoured by being installed into the Chair of King Solomon on Saturday 28th January 2017. We filled the lodge room, and filled the festive board with no less than 28 Brethren on the waiting list, an unbelievable experience and what an honour. I have never had nerves like that before I can tell you, it was an unbelievable experience and an absolute privilege to be a part of something so special.
"In September of 2016 I was promoted to the rank of Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works and a Provincial Visiting Officer for the Province of Staffordshire. I was assigned two lodges under my charge, the Chase Lodge and the Prince of Wales Lodge, both have exceptional qualities.
"And of course, in December 2016 I was honoured with the promotion to a Metropolitan Grand Officer, an active rank, something that I could previously have only dreamt of. My investiture was on March 2nd of this year.
"I am also a founder member of the Lodge of Restoration. A lodge within the Worcestershire Province and who practise ritual which is 300 years old, exactly how it used to be done when Freemasonry began. Presently I am only the Inner Guard and the web designer. The website has just been released, here all visitors to the site can get a flavour of what we are all about. (http://www.restoration-9935.masonic-website.org.uk/)
"Also, I am one of the founder members of the "Masonic Travelling Circus", I am positive this will become a tradition that will grow and grow. It is a bunch of freemasons who just hire a mini coach, book in somewhere and go and visit lodges. Members are from all provinces and to date we have visited London twice, and of course the MTC was out at my installation into Allegiance."
W Bro Denis Brown, WM Allegiance 6000
Metropolitan Grand Officer, MetGD
Provincial Visiting Officer (Staffs)
The following brethren have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to Freemasonry and we congratulate them on their appointment or promotion to Grand Rank. The appointments for this year are:
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire
Yenton Assembly Rooms
73, Gravelly Hill North, Erdington
Birmingham B23 6BJ
For Masonic enquiries:
Tel: 0121 454 4422