Over 800 Freemasons from throughout Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire joined together with civic dignitaries, family and friends on 11th June 2017, to help celebrate the Tercentenary and founding of the Premier Grand Lodge with a dedicated Evensong service at Peterborough Cathedral
The service was conducted by The Reverend Canon Jonathan Baker, who welcomed everyone and commented on the common theme of `giving` in all aspects of life.
The service was preceded by a parade of Freemasons in their Masonic regalia from the Peterborough Town Hall to the Cathedral in glorious sunshine, with members of the public lining the route. Each of the 93 member Lodges from the Province of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire were represented and paraded their historic and colourful Lodge banners.
The parade aimed to replicate the last Masonic parade to be held in Peterborough over 95 years ago. Prior to this, parades were quite a regular feature in many towns and cities, but since the Second World War they had become rare.
The last parade in 1922 was held to help raise funds to assist with major restoration works needed in the north east wing of Peterborough Cathedral. The event raised a significant sum and coupled with other fundraising, the target was reached and the work completed.
The Provincial Grand Master Max Bayes commented: 'It's a wonderful day for Freemasonry and the Province of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire. I am sure that all present thoroughly enjoyed the day and were rightly proud of their membership.'
In Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire, Freemasons raise over £100,000 each year for charitable purposes and regularly support the local community with donations to many worthy causes.
James Newman, Deputy President and Chairman of the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), as well as a member of the Three Counties (No. 9278) and Old Wellingburian (No. 5570) lodges in the Province of Northamptonshire & Huntingdonshire, has been named in the New Year’s Honours list, having been appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE)
The citation reads: ‘For services to Business, the Economy and Charity in Yorkshire.’ James, a chartered accountant by profession, said, ‘Naturally, I am absolutely delighted to be honoured in this way and particularly pleased with the “charity” part as it reflects my work at the RMBI [Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution] and will assist in my work for the MCF going forward.’
Sharing the experience
Shine, a national charity that supports people with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, has received £35,000 from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity. The grant will fund a development coordinator to manage the Shine40Plus network, which helps people aged 40 and over who are affected by these conditions to make connections and to share their experiences and knowledge with one another.
The Deputy Provincial Grand Master for Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire, Dr Vivian Thomas, said, ‘It is wonderful to be able to help bring people together, ensuring they receive the guidance and support they need to move into the next stage of their lives with happiness and a sense of belonging.’
Shine CEO Jackie Bland added, ‘This generous grant will fund the post for one year. This network is the first of its kind in the country to support older survivors of spina bifida and hydrocephalus.’
On the level in Peterborough
At a ceremony at the Peterborough City Rowing Club, a single scull boat funded by Freemasons was christened On the Level. Fitzwilliam Lodge, No. 2533, Province of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire, raised almost £2,500 for the boat, which was named by Bob Beeton on behalf of the lodge. The club relies heavily on donations and each boat costs around £2,000, with the balance being used to supply oars.
At a boat naming ceremony held at the Peterborough City Rowing Club on a snowy Saturday morning on the 31 January 2015 WBro Bob Beeton, armed with the traditional bottle of champagne, named a single scull boat "On The Level.” The boat is for the benefit of the juniors at the Peterborough City Rowing Club.
Members of Fitzwilliam Lodge No 2533, who had raised the money for the boat during WBro Mike Marshall's year in the chair of King Solomon, gathered to enjoy the occasion.
The Chairman of the Peterborough City Rowing Club, John Canton, thanked the Brethren for their very generous donation.
Each boat costs in the region of £2,000. The total raised during the year amounted to £2,417.12. The balance will be used to supply oars for the boat. The Peterborough City Rowing Club is a registered charity and apart from subscriptions relies heavily on donations to fund it's operations.
The boat made its maiden voyage on the rowing course with the son of WBro Marshall at the helm.
The RMBI's origins on stage
Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire Province’s demonstration team has produced a play that portrays how the RMBI came to be. The wrangling between the Grand Master, The Duke of Sussex (who had decided on an annuity) and Dr Robert Crucefix (who wanted to provide an Asylum for Worthy, Aged and Distressed Freemasons) has been condensed into a play called ‘In the Beginning’.
The 50-minute drama covers a series of events over a 20-year period.
The Corby Masonic Players of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire Province performed their latest pantomime, Dick Whittington, written and directed by Jack Summerfield. The cast included three ruling Masters of Corby lodges: William Glover (Lodge of Unity, No. 495), Scott Morton (Thistle and Rose Lodge, No. 6644) and Wayne Summerfield (Corbie Lodge, No. 9155). Dick Whittington is the Players’ sixth pantomime and was supported both on and off stage by family members.
£27,500 donation cuts cancer treatment waiting time
The Peterborough Cancer Treatment Appeal (PCTA) is a registered charity dedicated to fundraising for equipment used in the treatment and diagnosis of cancer for the Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which the trust would otherwise be unable to afford.
They were established in 1981 by the late Dennis Bracey, Medical Director of Peterborough Hospitals, and Dr Clement Brown, a visiting oncologist from Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge.
The achievement is an excellent example of what can be achieved by the collaborative efforts of a dedicated group of locals.
Lodges in Peterborough, led by W Bro Mervin Roberts, Charity Steward of Petriburg Lodge No. 8767, with assistance from the Provincial Grand Charity, have raised the magnificent sum of £27,500. This has helped cut cancer treatment waiting times in Peterborough and district.
PCTA had recently appealed for funds for a new computer-aided technique which improves the accuracy of radiotherapy treatment. This significant help has enabled them to complete their fundraising and have the equipment commissioned much earlier than would have otherwise been the case.
In a ceremony at the Peterborough Masonic Centre in December last year the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VW Bro Dr Vivian Thomas, presented the cheque to Keith Fisher, the Chairman of the PCTA.
Trust Secretary, Ron Douglas said: 'We launched the appeal with a target of £100,000. This tremendous donation represents over a quarter of the appeal and has quickly taken us over our target. Without it we would have taken much longer. This donation by local masons means we can immediately buy the equipment which will now be operational by January 2014. Without it patients of Peterborough and district might have had to travel as far afield as Liverpool for this specialist treatment. We - and I’m sure they - are very grateful.'
On Saturday 31st August 2013 a very special event took place in the History of the Province of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire
On that day RW Bro Max Bayes, the Provincial Grand Master, dedicated the new Northampton Freemasons' Hall in the presence of over 200 brethren from across the Province.
The purpose-built functional modern premises, in addition to providing an excellent Provincial Headquarters, offers flexible accommodation for the meetings of local lodges with facilities for up to three concurrent events, or a single major function, and catering for up to 300 members. Like the sectional lodge room the large separate dining room can be divided, to enable up to two Festive Boards to be catered for at a one time.
In his address the PGM commented that the day was the culmination of a long period of planning followed by much hard work by a considerable number of brethren. He commented that he was grateful to all the input, but a small number had made very significant contributions which he was pleased to reward with promotions.
One in particular, W Bro Barry Howard, who negotiated the purchase of the premises, project-managed the whole building programme and oversaw the disposal of the previous premises at St George's Avenue, was promoted to Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden and was then awarded the Provincial Grand Master's Certificate of Merit. In making the award RW Bro Max Bayes said that without Barry Howard's constant support throughout the months following completion of the purchase the project could not have been achieved on time.
As a final item on the meeting agenda W Bro Jim Parker, the Chairman of the Hall Management Committee, paid tribute to the leadership of the Provincial Grand Master. He also announced that, in appreciation of this, the Management Committee had decided that the main Lodge room would be known as the 'Max Bayes Room'. The very obviously surprised PGM thanked the Management Committee for the singular honour and again paid tribute to all who had contributed to such an excellent outcome over what had been a difficult period with many hurdles to be overcome. The rapturous applause by all present gave witness to the appreciation of all the members present for what had been achieved in providing a premises that would serve Freemasonry in the Province for many years to come.