Descending new heights
There was a large gathering at the iconic setting for the Surrey 2019 Festival on Saturday May 6th, with the Provincial Grand Master, Ian Chandler, leading a brave band of 47 fellow masons and their family and friends. This also included the oldest participant, 84-year-old Freemason Vic Pierson.
Those taking part climbed the spiral staircase to the top of the Cathedral in groups of four every half an hour before abseiling down individually from a height of 160 ft. to rousing applause.
In total, the abseil helped raise over £20,000 for the Surrey 2019 Festival appeal and even more is expected to be added in the coming weeks as sponsorship is collected.
Ian Chandler, PGM, commented: ‘It's great to see so many people here raising money for such a deserving cause and adding funds to the 2019 Festival.
‘Thanks go to everyone concerned, especially W Bro Terry Owens and his incredibly supportive family for organising the event and for ensuring the whole thing went off safely and according to plan, not to forget his daughter Zoe who was the first down on the wire.’
The nave of Canterbury Cathedral welcomed around 1,000 masons, their families and friends for a service to celebrate the bicentenary of Royal Arch Masonry
On Saturday 21 September, a unique event was held at Canterbury Cathedral that not only marked a special milestone in masonic history but also demonstrated a great affinity between Freemasonry and the cathedral’s stonemasons. Freemasonry has its roots in the lodges of medieval stonemasons and to this day supports the training of apprentice stonemasons at the cathedral.
The occasion was a combined celebration for the Provinces of East Kent, West Kent, Sussex and Surrey, each led by their respective Grand Superintendents, Geoffrey Dearing, Jonathan Winpenny, Kenneth Thomas and Eric Stuart-Bamford. The significance of the event was acknowledged by the presence of the Second and Third Grand Principals, George Francis and David Williamson, respectively. Russell Race, the Metropolitan Grand Superintendent, and David Boswell, the Grand Superintendent of Suffolk, were also in attendance, as was the Sheriff of Canterbury, Cllr Ann Taylor, who represented the city and people of Canterbury.
The Archdeacon of Canterbury, the Venerable Sheila Watson, conducted the service, with the grand setting and the superb King’s School Crypt Choir adding to the memorable ambience. The Archdeacon referred to the long connection between the cathedral and Freemasons, in particular the gifts of the Chapter House east window and the Coronation window. She paid tribute to the masonic principles of unity, fellowship and service to the community, and spoke of ‘service beyond ourselves’, a virtue embraced by the Church and Freemasonry alike.
Music to their ears
Surrey masons Fred Scott and John Collins have composed their first piece of music: Sovereign Lord, an oratorio. Her Majesty the Queen accepted a presentation copy of the score to mark her Diamond Jubilee in 2012. John is a retired banker and Fred is a pianist and composer who runs a music agency, regularly performing concerts raising funds for Skeletal Cancer Action Trust. Both are members of South Croydon Lodge, No. 4567.
Guildford Masons celebrate their annual summer lunch with a donation of £1,000 to the Teenage Cancer Trust
Anna Wemyss, Regional Fundraiser for Teenage Cancer Trust joined members of Onslow Lodge No. 2234 at their annual summer lunch at the Guildford Masonic Centre, Hitherbury Close, Guildford on Sunday 29th July, to receive a cheque for £1,000.
The cheque was presented by last year's master of the lodge, Cliff Chilton, who commented, 'During these tough economic times it is more important than ever to support non-profit organizations that make a difference to the communities we live and work in. A huge part of being a Freemason is supporting and caring for the less fortunate in society, and in this case, for teenagers with cancer, improving their quality of life'.
Anna Wemyss commented, 'We are delighted with the much needed support we have had from the Onslow Masonic Lodge. Donations will go towards the running costs of the Teenage Cancer Trust’s dedicated state-of-the-art unit at The Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton, which cares for young people with cancer from across the region. All our support comes from voluntary donations, so we are thrilled with the fundraising efforts of the Onslow Masonic Lodge'.
For further information about The Teenage Cancer Trust please visit www.teenagecancertrust.org
Lifelites, the children’s technology charity, has expanded its operations, picking up several awards and securing record funds in the process
A subsidiary of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB), Lifelites donates packages of fun and educational technology for children who stay, learn and play in all 44 children’s hospices in the country.
In addition to providing the equipment, Lifelites installs and maintains it, as well as training care staff. It became a charity in its own right in 2006, and since then the RMTGB has provided in-kind assistance rather than financial support. This means Lifelites relies on donations from other sources including Freemasons, the public and companies such as Thomas Cook – whose Children’s Charity donated £60,000 in 2011 – and organisations like GamesAid, the gaming industry’s charity.
Most of the charity’s volunteers are Freemasons, who assist in providing technological support in many of the projects and acting as trustees. ‘Our success is underpinned by our links with Freemasonry,’ explains Lifelites chief executive Simone Enefer-Doy. ‘Their support is vital to our continued growth. We also have a great relationship with both the RMTGB and Provinces across the country.’
A major masonic contribution last year came from the West Riding Masonic Charities that enabled a Soundbeam to be installed at the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice in Huddersfield. By using movement to produce sound, the Soundbeam enables children with even the most profound physical and learning disabilities to make music using whatever movement they can manage.
Provinces can become involved with Lifelites – who can showcase the equipment at masonic or other events – thanks to a donation from the Province of Surrey, which enabled the purchase of demonstration equipment. Lifelites staff can also attend after-dinner sessions and provide promotional material.
Phase 1 of the rebuild at the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (RMBI) care home James Terry Court, in Croydon, has been officially opened. The event was attended by more than 40 representatives from the Province of Surrey, the Association of Friends and the RMBI.
RMBI President Willie Shackell opened the event and spoke about the history of the RMBI, which started in East Croydon with its first home, named ‘Asylum for Worthy, Aged and Decayed Freemasons’ in 1850. Shackell went on to explain why the rebuild of the home was necessary, as it needed to adapt to the changing needs of older people.
Thanks were given to Dennis Vine, who oversaw the development of the home in his role as Co-opted Trustee. Julian Birch, Regional Property Operations Manager, who sadly passed away in October, was remembered for all his efforts in the rebuild. The Association of Friends and the Province of Surrey, Metropolitan Grand Lodge, and the Province of Hampshire & Isle of Wight were also thanked for their support. The event saw the official opening of the lounge and library by Eric Stuart-Bamford.
Phase 1 of the re-build at RMBI care home James Terry Court, Croydon has been officially opened.
The event was attended by over 40 representatives from the Province of Surrey, the Association of Friends and the RMBI.
RMBI President Willie Shackell opened the event and welcomed all attendees. Willie spoke about the history of the RMBI which started in East Croydon with its first Home named ‘Asylum for Worthy, Aged and Decayed Freemasons’ in 1850. He went on to explain why the re-build of James Terry Court was necessary as the original Home was looking tired and needed to adapt to the ever changing needs of older people.
Thanks were given by Willie Shackell to Dennis Vine who had overseen the development of the Home in his role as Co-opted Trustee, to the residents of the Home for their patience with the building works and to the staff for providing high quality care during the re-build. Julian Birch, Regional Property Operations Manager who sadly passed away in October was remembered for all his efforts in the re-build of the Home
The Association of Friends and the Province of Surrey, Metropolitan Grand Lodge and the Province of Hampshire & Isle of Wight were also thanked for their generous and continued support of the Home and the RMBI.
Eric Stuart-Bamford, PGM of the Province of Surrey went on to speak about his appreciation and gratitude to Home Manager Di Collins and the staff at the Home for the services they provide to the residents. Mr Stuart-Bamford also recognised the support that the Association of Friends provide to the Home.
The event saw the official opening of the Lounge and Library by Eric Stuart-Bamford and also of the Therapy Room by Libby Stuart-Bamford. The Therapy Room was built using the generous donation provided by The Grand Stewards’ Lodge as part of their 275th anniversary celebrations.
Those present were given a tour of the new building and ended with canapés and refreshments.
Donations have recently been received from the Provinces of Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Surrey, Shropshire and the Mark Province of Cumberland and Westmorland. Lodges and individuals have also given generously.
Some have even participated in fundraising events such as marathons, mountain runs, and, for Ivor Macklin from Kent, a freezing February swim around Boscombe Pier. The captains of Chobham Golf Club have also run a whole year of fundraising activities for the charity.
As well as donating and raising money, many Freemasons volunteer at the hospices to help maintain the Lifelites equipment and to ensure that care staff are trained to use it. They also organise additional fundraising for their local Lifelites project, enabling the charity’s support to continue.
Lifelites chief executive, Simone Enefer- Doy, said: ‘The support from Freemasons is very important to us and helps Lifelites make a world of difference to the lives of children in hospices. Our volunteers are local Freemasons and are a shining example of the good work that masons do for local communities around the country.’
Lifelites (Charity No. 1115655) is a separate but subsidiary charity of the RMTGB. If you would like to donate to, or help support your local Lifelites project, please call 0207 440 4200 or visit www.lifelites.org for more information.
The Children’s Trust at Tadworth has received £8,000 from local masons under the Surrey for Surrey scheme of charitable giving. Surrey Provincial Grand Master Eric Stuart-Bamford presented the cheque to Allegra Scott of The Children’s Trust at Nutfield Masonic Centre.
The Trust assists with services for children with multiple disabilities and complex health needs. The money was raised by the Provincial Charity Committee through a family fun weekend and added to specific donations from several lodges.