Celebrating 300 years

More than 30 charities have benefited from £150,000 donated by West Wales as part of the Province’s Tercentenary celebrations

Grants were presented at a dinner held in Fishguard attended by local Freemasons and charity representatives, with entertainment provided by The Goodwick Brass Band.

Among the beneficiaries were Macmillan Cancer Support nurses, Marie Curie and the Paul Sartori Foundation, receiving £10,000 each.

Made in England

As more events are announced in the build-up to 2017, Coordinator of Tercentenary Planning Keith Gilbert finds out how the commemorative jewel was made

Where do you think the Tercentenary Jewel was made? When this question was posed to 25 brethren from different lodges, 18 answered ‘China’, five said ‘India’ and one chose ‘Poland’. Only one person guessed right: both the jewel and ribbon were made in England.

Following a competitive tender, the United Grand Lodge of England commissioned Toye, Kenning & Spencer to take the ideas of the jewel committee, which sits within the Tercentenary Planning Committee, and produce the Tercentenary Jewel.

Established in 1685, Toye, Kenning & Spencer is one of the oldest family businesses in the UK, manufacturing for more than 300 years.

I visited its Bedworth factory near Coventry to see the ribbon woven and the hand stitching of this ribbon on to the jewel. I also saw one of the Jacquard looms still operating and weaving the material for the sash to be worn by Royal Arch Companions. The loom was made by a Coventry firm in 1890 and still works efficiently today.

The metalwork manufacturing of the four versions of the Tercentenary Jewel took place in the heart of Birmingham’s jewellery quarter. I had made an assumption that the gilt metal jewel was pressed out in three pieces and enamelled in an oven, with the ribbon stitched by machine. I was astounded to see the 50-plus processes used to make this basic version. The six-piece silver and gold versions involved even more processes.

To date, about 6,110 gilt metal, 597 silver gilt and 14 gold versions of the Tercentenary Jewel have been ordered and it is anticipated that with the start of the new masonic season further orders will flood in.

Event planning

Arrangements for the celebrations at the Royal Albert Hall and Battersea Evolution are progressing well. Metropolitan, Provincial and District Grand Masters now know their allocation of places at both venues.

It is for them to decide who will obtain places and there is plenty of time for this, as we do not need to know until the end of the first quarter of 2017.

The theatrical extravaganza being choreographed for the day, which will then be streamed for those not lucky enough to obtain a seat, will be a special part of the day. More information on all aspects of this event will be circulated nearer the time.

There have been many more Metropolitan, Provincial and District events added to the calendar. There are exhibitions at Reading Museum and the Museum of Norwich, as well as the opening of the Surrey Travelling Exhibition of Freemasonry in Woking; the District of Madras is celebrating Freemasonry in India; a 300-mile bike ride is starting from the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland, finishing at Freemasons’ Hall, London; a musical/gala dinner in The Hong Kong Club is being organised by the District of Hong Kong and the Far East; there will be services in Salisbury, St David’s in Pembrokeshire, Leicester and Chelmsford cathedrals; there will be an Essex musical gala in the Grand Temple; and a gala dinner in Sindlesham.

Lodge celebrations indicate how our brethren wish to show their support for the Tercentenary. The Master of the Lodge of Good Intention, No. 6927, meeting in Barnstaple, has chartered MS Oldenburg, a beautiful seagoing vessel that regularly makes the journey between the mainland and Lundy Island.

Brethren and their families are being invited from the 12 lodges that meet in north Devon for a river cruise out of Bideford in August 2017. The ship has been tastefully modernised, but retains her original panelling and brass fittings below decks. The Worshipful Master of Mercury Lodge, No. 7289, is holding his Ladies Festival in Bournemouth on 24 June 2017, and is raising funds for Marie Curie and Combat Stress. And Paynters Stainers Lodge, No. 4256, will hold a White Table with families and friends. The celebrations will be held at Painters’ Hall in November 2017 with entertainment provided by The Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

I am sure there are many more local and lodge-centred celebrations planned, so please email updates to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The new Craft tie

At Quarterly Communication in June, the Pro Grand Master announced the introduction of a new Craft tie. The introduction of a tie very different from the present Craft tie could have been seen as an imposition so soon after the introduction of the current version. However, the only change being made is the replacement of the square and compasses with the new logo, making this a seamless move to the adoption of the new logo. The old Craft tie is no longer being made, and the new tie is now available. However, both are acceptable for wearing in Grand Lodge or elsewhere as worn previously.

Published in UGLE

Cure and care

By funding groundbreaking medical research and supporting the care and treatment of cancer sufferers, Freemasons make a real contribution towards fighting the disease

Every two minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer, and more than one in three people in the UK will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime. In the words of Cancer Research UK, ‘One day we will beat cancer. The more research we do, the sooner that day will come.’ 

Having donated more than £3 million to cancer-related medical research, the Grand Charity has demonstrated that masons share this belief, too. Due to improvements in cancer detection and treatments, survival rates in the UK have doubled in the past forty years. This achievement wouldn’t have been possible without dedicated researchers and their discoveries.

The Grand Charity has funded pioneering research into the study of cancer at the molecular level, as precision targeting of individual cancers is a powerful weapon in the fight against the disease. Grants to Ovarian Cancer Action (£1 million, 2008-2012) and to the Institute of Cancer Research (£1 million, 2004-2014) are recent examples. Both organisations have made vital discoveries relating to genes and proteins that are particularly important in the  understanding of the development of ovarian, prostate and testicular cancers. 

The Grand Charity has donated nearly £6 million to charities that offer the highest level of care to those affected by cancer. These grants have helped to improve the lives of thousands of sufferers and their families through expert medical, practical and emotional support provided by the funded charities. 

The Grand Charity gave £446,000 to fund three CLIC Sargent support workers over five years, providing an invaluable lifeline to children with cancer, and their families, whose lives have been turned upside down by the disease.

Emotional support

In the wake of the deep emotional turmoil resulting from a diagnosis, and the debilitating side effects of treatments such as chemotherapy, there is an urgent need for emotional support, counselling and complementary therapies. This range of vital care is available free for breast cancer sufferers and their families from The Haven charity. In 2008, the Grand Charity gave £250,000 to fund the development of one of its three therapeutic day centres (Havens) in Leeds, where visitors can build their strength to cope with and fight the disease. 

The Grand Charity also supports end-of-life care for people with cancer and other diseases. Putting patients and families first, Marie Curie Nurses provide high-quality care and support for the terminally ill at the end of their life, in the place of their choice. Currently, a £117,000 grant is funding the salaries of two Marie Curie Nurses for three years. During 2012-2013, Marie Curie Nurses provided more than 1.3 million hours of nursing to 30,080 patients, along with much-needed support for their families.

The funding given by Freemasons is invaluable. It not only provides help for sufferers, but is also an investment in the fight to conquer this disease.

Find out more about The Freemasons’ Grand Charity by visiting www.the-grand-charity.org  

Published in The Grand Charity

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