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.'
Blood test for Alzheimer’s
The expert research team, led by Professor Simon Lovestone at the University of Oxford, want to tackle the disease by developing a simple blood test. The MSF provided the donation following a poll of local masons who nominated the charity to receive a grant from the Silver Jubilee Research Fund. Alzheimer’s Research UK is one of 13 medical research charities awarded an MSF grant last year at a total cost of £1.125 million.
The donation was presented to Professor Lovestone by Oxfordshire PGM James Hilditch in October at the Nuffield Department of Medicine Research Building in Oxford.
Historic Oxfordshire plaques
The newly decorated temple at Caversham Masonic Centre in Oxfordshire has been installed with an unusual series of plaques depicting the Traditional History in the Third Degree.
The new centre was redecorated with expert design advice from a Past Master’s wife, with the plaque pictured above showing the attack on Hiram Abif.
Blind veteran spreads the word
Blind Veterans UK, the national military charity for vision-impaired ex-service men and women, has thanked two fundraisers for their efforts in raising more than £2,000. Peter Phipps, a blind veteran who has been supported by the charity since 2013, and Roger Hampshire, Provincial Grand Charity Steward for Oxfordshire, have raised money over the past year by travelling to lodges in the Oxfordshire area and talking about the work of Blind Veterans UK.
Peter, 86, wanted to raise money for the charity to express his thanks for the life-changing support it has provided him. Peter’s long-standing friend Roger drove him to almost all of the talks around the county, always joined by Peter’s dog Misty.
All aboard for a fun day
Masons from Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire raised over £42,000 at the Chiltern Centre Diamond Jubilee Family Day at Fawley Hill, near Henley, in Oxfordshire. Held at the Fawley Hill Railway and Museum, thanks to the generosity of Sir William and Lady McAlpine, the event was in aid of the Chiltern Centre for Disabled Children, which has lost significant government funding.
Chiltern Centre Chair of Trustees, Paul Barrett, said the day ‘exceeded expectations with more than 3,000 people attending’. The masonic team was led by John Clark (Buckinghamshire), Roger Hampshire (Oxfordshire) and Gerry Hann (Berkshire).
Best foot forward
Keith Pauling of Rathcreedan Lodge, No. 8690, Province of Oxfordshire, set off on a 290-mile walk across the Macmillan Way, from Boston in Lincolnshire, to Chesil Beach in
Dorset, in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Three weeks later he completed the formidable journey, raising £3,300 for the charity. He was joined for the last 10 miles by four members of Weyland Lodge, No. 6507, and one of their wives.
The festival was held at Ardley, near Bicester in Oxfordshire, raising funds for the Brackley charity Creative Activities for the Elderly, which provides care home residents with stimulating craft activities, and Thomas’s Fund, which provides music therapy for children with life-limiting illnesses. The successful event arose out of the ladies’ day organised by St Edburg’s Lodge, and the music was an entertaining mix of folk, blues and jazz.