A huge crowd of over 10,000 were in attendance with seven races, plenty of family fun and special guest Tony Hadley making up the second day of the Best of British Festival at Windsor Racecourse on Sunday July 2nd.
2017 marks the official 300th birthday of Freemasonry, celebrating how 300 years ago, on June 24th 1717, four London Lodges came together to form the Premier Grand Lodge. The Tercentenary is being commemorated with a calendar of high profile events including the Windsor Race Day.
In the bright sunshine, it was a glorious day of racing and free entertainment including a fun fair which further enhanced the family atmosphere. The special day ended with a fantastic evening concert by ex-Spandau Ballet member Tony Hadley.
During the course of the day, Richard Hone, President of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, presented a grant award to Professor Sonia Blandford of the "Achievement for All" charity of £240,000 to help thousands of under-performing children in their education.
Provincial Grand Master of the Berkshire Freemasons Martin Peters said: 'This was a wonderful and very special celebratory event with over 4,000 Masons and their families and thousands of other racegoers enjoying an incredible occasion.
'From the many favourable comments I received there can be no doubt that we opened up the public’s perception of Freemasonry in a beneficial way. Myself and Peter Lowndes, the Pro Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, would like to congratulate everyone who contributed to such a brilliant event to celebrate our Tercentenary - matched only by the glorious weather.'
Grant underlines core values
A £20,000 Masonic Charitable Foundation grant to the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) will fund a social care caseworker to help people affected by spinal cord injury reintegrate into society.
The cheque was presented by Buckinghamshire Provincial Grand Master Gordon Robertson, who said: ‘This is one of the many ways in which masonic core values of friendship, integrity and charity are used to benefit the local community.’
Caring for the community
Over the last few years Beaconsfield Freemasons have been holding a series of events for local carers, both young and old
Their latest initiative was a gymnastics party for 10-12 year old carers at Bracknell Gymnastics Club.
After meeting their three coaches for the day – Sacha Tomkins, James Langley and Charlie Dorrington, who took a break from training to represent Great Britain in the European Team Gymnastics in Slovenia – the 25 young carers did a bit of stretching before getting down to some real gym work.
As can be seen from the photograph, the youngsters committed themselves fully into the programme that was devised for them, under the watchful eyes of their coaches.
All this built up a healthy appetite ready for lunch in the restaurant, and a good day was had by all.
Special thanks go to Peter Tranckle, Manager of Bracknell Gymnastics for his help and assistance in the organisation and to the members of the Beaconsfield Committee who attended: Tony Dyckes, Graham Thorn, Rob Knock, Barry Sparks and Steve Matthews.
Bucks initiative raises prostate cancer awareness
To raise awareness of prostate cancer, Buckinghamshire Freemasons held PSA testing sessions at three masonic centres. PSA is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland and the test measures the level of PSA in a man’s blood.
The Buckinghamshire sessions invited any mason in the Province to bring a friend along and for both to be tested at no charge. Around 10 per cent of those tested had elevated levels and were referred on to their GPs. Tony Dyckes of Hall Barn Lodge, No. 8480, had a raised PSA, prompting further tests in December that confirmed he had prostate cancer. APGM Peter Moody and Teddies for Loving Care programme organiser Mel Shah brought the two initiatives together and presented Tony with a friend to keep him company in hospital.
Aylesbury children receive a boost
Children enjoying their end of term day at the PACE centre in Aylesbury welcomed Buckinghamshire Provincial Grand Master Gordon Robertson when he popped in to see the covered playground that local Freemasons had donated £10,000 to fund in action.
PACE is a family-centred charity that provides an innovative education for life for children with sensory motor disorders, such as cerebral palsy. The play area is part of the first stage of a building project that is eventually going to be the new Early Years and Independence Training Centre for the charity.
New university recruits in Bucks
The Universities Scheme is well underway in Buckinghamshire with Marlow Lodge, No. 2752, joining Grenville Lodge, No. 1787, in the recruitment of graduates and students. At its first meeting under the scheme, Marlow Lodge initiated graduate Jed Russell (23), and students Mohammad Malik (19) and Nathan Kapoor (24) from Buckinghamshire New University, which is based at High Wycombe.
Top marks for Universities Scheme
It was a special occasion when six students at the University of Buckingham joined Grenville Lodge, No. 1787, which meets on the campus, at the same time. Among the guests at the initiation were Past Assistant Grand Master and President of the Universities Scheme David Williamson and Buckinghamshire PGM Gordon Robertson. Lodge Secretary Andrew Hough said, ‘I am pleased that increasing numbers of people are recognising the advantages of joining Freemasonry, which stresses friendship, decency and charity. It’s also great fun.’
Not to be outdone, Castle of Leicester Lodge, No. 7767, has also undertaken a sextuple initiation ceremony. It was a fitting day for Master Bryan Weston in his final meeting, having initiated 13 brethren in 2014. The lodge has seen a steady influx of candidates since joining the Universities Scheme in January 2013. Indeed, the ceremony came just days after the lodge conducted a quintuple passing in the Leicestershire and Rutland Lodge of Installed Masters, No. 7896.
Support for Search Dogs
Buckinghamshire masons in the Slough area have donated £2,800 to Search Dogs, a charity that trains handlers and their animals to help Thames Valley Police find vulnerable adults and children who have vanished from their communities. Volunteers and their dogs are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to save lives throughout the area. Deputy PGM Mike Stimson commented, ‘We are supporting Search Dogs because the people involved demonstrate our shared values of friendship, decency and charity.’
It was an unusual way to raise money for charity when representatives of 28 lodges and 11 chapters from Slough joined in a game of bubble football. The eye-catching event, organised by Denver Lynn of Bucks masons, saw participants encase themselves in a large plastic cocoon before kicking for goal and raised £1,000. As a result, help will be provided for those who have fallen on hard times through redundancy, illness or bereavement.
Green-fingered guides win top prize
Gardening Guides have won the top prize in an annual competition organised by Buckinghamshire masons that rewards youngsters who work hard in their local communities. Members of 4th Taplow and Hitcham Guides won the £2,500 for producing planters for the elderly at a Burnham care home.
The runners-up received £1,000, three other groups were awarded £500 each, and sponsoring lodges received £500 each for a charity of their choice. The teams were invited to visit their local masonic centres, while the sponsoring lodges visited their chosen projects, providing an additional way to promote Freemasonry in the community.