A Masonic Express adventure in Yorkshire
As part of the United Grand Lodge of England’s Tercentenary celebrations, the Province of Yorkshire, North and East Ridings hired a steam train for 300 Freemasons, including their friends and family
The Province kept the number at 300, to coincide with the 300th anniversary of the formation of the world’s first Grand Lodge for Freemasons.
The steam train was operated by the North York Moors Railway and ran between Pickering and Whitby, North Yorkshire. A metal plate was fabricated with the words Masonic Express in blue and white, which was affixed to and adorned the front of the engine.
In glorious sunshine, the event was presented as a family day out and the journey was set at a sedate pace through stunning countryside.
On arrival at Whitby Railway Station, in the centre of the town, the fun-filled 300 walked into the heart of this historic port to either take in some shopping, eat in the seafood restaurants or, for the more adventurous, climb up to the derelict Whitby Abbey, which is perched high on a cliff.
On arrival back in Pickering, the smiles on the faces of the 300 people was testament to the satisfaction of having enjoyed a fabulous family fun day together.
And as a result of the success of the Masonic Express adventure, the Provincial Grand Master RW Bro Jeffrey Gillyon expressed an interest in running another steam train in the future.
The Yorkshire, North and East Riding Freemasons have donated a £170,000 grant to the York Minster Fund which has helped to create three new stonemasonry apprenticeships
The three apprenticeships are being introduced over three years, with each individual learning their craft in the cathedral’s Stoneyard alongside award-winning craftspeople, while studying part-time at York College.
The grant comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons and their families from across England and Wales, and is being given in memory of Iain Ross Bryce, a former Provincial Grand Master of Yorkshire and East Riding Freemasons, who died in June 2015.
The first apprentice to benefit from the grant is 27-year-old Lewis Morrison, who joined the cathedral in August 2016 after completing an NVQ Level 2 stonemasonry qualification at York College.
Lewis, who moved to York from Aberdeen in 2015 to start a stonemasonry course at York College, commented: ‘I have an arts based background with a BA in Fine Art Printmaking and was looking for a career which was practical and creative.
‘After completing my course, I knew I wanted to work in the heritage sector and obviously jumped at the opportunity to work at one of the world’s great medieval cathedrals. The apprenticeship offers me the opportunity to develop my skills working alongside some of the country’s most talented craftspeople.’
The apprenticeships in architectural stonemasonry last for four years and include training in stone conservation and repair techniques and fixing masonry on site. The team uses traditional hand tools and the same techniques passed down over centuries by masons working at the cathedral. Individuals also complete a Level 3 NVQ course in banker masonry at York College.
John David, Master Mason, said: ‘We’re hugely grateful to the Masonic Charitable Foundation for the donation. Investing in future generations of craftspeople is something we’re committed to at the Minster and the funding allows us to provide young people with specialist training while investing in the fabric and future of this ancient building.’
Interviews for the second apprenticeship are due to take place this summer with the third opportunity recruited for in 2018.
Mrs Janet Bryce, the widow of Iain Ross Bryce, said: ‘I am very proud as Iain’s wife to be here today. As a long-standing Yorkshire Freemason, the heritage of this county was very close to my husband’s heart. He would have been absolutely delighted to see these new apprentices safeguarding the future of York Minster.’
Assistant Provincial Grand Master at unveiling of new helicopter funded by Freemasons
Tuesday 7th June saw the official preview event for a sparkling new Airbus H145 helicopter
The Yorkshire Air Ambulance service has just purchased this wonderful addition to their service which will officially go into service over the summer. Raising the necessary £6 million for the helicopter has taken some time, helped in no small part by the annual grant made from the The Freemasons' Grand Charity to all of the air ambulance services throughout the country.
The event was attended by Stephen Robinson, Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Yorkshire, North and East Ridings, Tony Llewellyn, Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding and Dr Nigel Weightman, Chairman of Provincial Grand Charity for Yorkshire, North and East Ridings.
There were many other supporters of the scheme in attendance to hear that the efficiency of the new helicopter will enable the Yorkshire Air Ambulance Service to attend 30% more call-outs, due to the greater range of the new helicopter and the fact that flying hours will be extended to cover some night flying.
Never one to mince his words, the event was also supported by Geoffrey Boycott OBE who is a Patron of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Geoffrey was instrumental in obtaining £1 million from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, from the banking sector Libor fines.
Remembering fallen brethren
This year’s church service for the Province of Yorkshire, North and East Ridings, was held at York Minster during evensong when a commemorative plaque was blessed. The plaque marks the service of 54 brethren from 22 of the Province’s lodges who died while in the service of their country in World War I.
Hundreds of brethren in full regalia then walked from the Minster to St Saviourgate, accompanied by Provincial Grand Master Jeffrey Gillyon; the Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Sonja Crisp; and many civic and Armed Forces dignitaries. The PGM unveiled a newly mounted plaque at the masonic hall, which was dedicated by the Provincial Grand Chaplain, Rev Trevor Lewis.
Every year the brethren of Yorkshire, North and East Ridings, attend a church service in a different part of the Province
The Provincial service this year was held at York Minster on 27 September 2015 at the 4.00pm Evensong. During this service, a commemorative plaque was blessed. It marked the service of 54 brethren from 22 Yorkshire, North and East Ridings lodges, who, during the First World War, were killed in action, died of wounds or died whilst in the service of their King and country in that conflict.
The Provincial Grand Master Jeffrey Gillyon, accompanied by the Lord Mayor of York Sonya Crisp and many civic and armed forces dignitaries, as well as hundreds of brethren in full regalia, then walked through the streets of York, from the Minster to St Saviourgate.
The British Legion also marked this occasion with a display of their banners. This display of Freemasons in their regalia is believed to be the first, in about one hundred years, although archives are being checked to establish this fact.
At the masonic hall at St Saviourgate the Provincial Grand Master unveiled the newly mounted commemorative plaque, and it was dedicated by the Provincial Grand Chaplain Rev Trevor Lewis.
All present stood in a reverential silence after a trumpet tribute to our fallen brethren by Bro Mark Richardson.
The Lord Mayor said that she was pleased to be with the Freemasons on this memorable day for them.
The plaque came into being after one of the brethren, Peter Rudd, was researching the First World War and saw that these 54 local Freemasons had not been officially recognised for their ultimate sacrifice.
A very emotional day for all concerned, and we can now say that we have truly recognised the service and sacrifice of those Yorkshire brethren.
9 September 2015
An address by the MW the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes
I am pleased to see such a good attendance at this important meeting and on a day that Her Majesty the Queen becomes the longest reigning British Monarch.
Brethren, I would like to thank those members who have participated in the Membership Focus Group’s first two surveys. These survey results have been a great help in deciding the best way ahead for Freemasonry and have provoked much constructive thinking. You will be able to see the results of the most recent survey in the latest issue of Freemasonry Today, which has just been published.
The results of that second survey highlight the importance to members of being valued and included, while developing knowledge and friendships at the same time. The Membership Focus Group is next planning to survey new initiates to assess how their expectations match their experience and whether this experience changes over time.
In December 2014, I announced that the Grand Master’s Council and the Provincial Grand Masters’ Forum had endorsed proposals from the Charities to consolidate the activities of the four central Masonic Charities. Subsequently, the proposals were endorsed by the Grand Master. Over the last nine months, all four Charities have launched consultations with their members about the proposals. Having just formally finished the AGM of the Grand Charity, their consultation is now complete and the same process with the other Charities is due to conclude by the end of October. Should the members of each of the other Charities follow the lead of the Grand Charity and endorse the proposals, it is anticipated that a new charity will be legally established as soon as possible and become operational on 1 April 2016. This new charity, subject to legal approvals, will be called The Masonic Charitable Foundation.
The Masonic Charitable Foundation will continue to offer the same support and services to those Freemasons and family members who need help, as well as providing support for the non-Masonic charitable causes that the Craft wishes to assist. Thus continuity of our charitable giving will be achieved.
The new charity will continue to rely on the generosity of Freemasons for its funds. The Festival system will therefore transition in favour of the new charity over the next few years.
A shadow board, comprised of trustees from the existing Charities has met and will, with the existing charities, oversee the creation of the new charity and transition from the existing four charities into a single one. The Board has elected Very Worshipful Brother James Newman as interim Chairman and Worshipful Brother Michael Heenan as interim Treasurer.
These changes will require amendments to the Book of Constitutions with formal notice of those amendments being brought to the December meeting of Grand Lodge. In the meantime, further details about the Masonic Charitable Foundation will be made available over the next few months via a new website and general communications to the Craft.
Bringing the existing central Masonic Charities together means that the Trustees will be responsible for one of the largest charitable foundations in the country – a tremendous achievement and something of which we can all feel proud, particularly as we look towards the tercentenary celebrations in 2017.
When talking about our Charities, I am inevitably reminded of RW Bro Iain Bryce who so sadly died in July. Apart from his dedication to our Masonic Charities, he was also a long serving Treasurer of the RNLI.
I first met him at his Installation as PGM of Yorkshire N&E Ridings in 1984 and in the 30 years that I knew him, I can’t recall a cross word. He could upset people, can’t we all, but it was normally for a valid reason. When Bro Bryce became involved in something, he gave it his full attention. Masonically he was fully involved from Lodge level, through his Province to Grand Lodge and would take on any task asked of him.
I am sure that all the Charity Presidents who were in office during his time as Deputy Grand Master will have benefited enormously from his wise counsel. He was passionate about them all and held strong views on their management. His views were given in a forthright manner and were usually right. However, he would be first to admit he had got something wrong if that turned out to be the case.
Brethren, I shall miss him greatly and I know that I am far from alone in that.
Missed by many
After a short illness Iain Ross Bryce, Past Deputy Grand Master and Past Second Grand Principal, died peacefully in hospital on 30 June aged 79
Educated at Bridlington Grammar School, Iain Ross Bryce trained in accountancy, becoming a Fellow Chartered Accountant and joining Ernst & Young, where he rose to senior partner and ran the Hull office. After national service with the Royal Engineers, he enlisted in the Territorial Army, becoming colonel and earning the Territorial Decoration.
A keen yachtsman, Iain served as treasurer, chairman and president of Bridlington Royal National Lifeboat Institution and was for many years the charity’s national treasurer. A well-known and popular figure, he was involved in many community organisations in the town and was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire.
A lifelong friend commented: ‘He did a great deal for Bridlington, mostly behind the scenes. He had a very kind nature and many people in Bridlington have received his help, mostly without knowing it.’
In Freemasonry, Iain was active in the Province of Yorkshire, North and East Ridings, serving as Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent from 1984 to 1991. Appointed Deputy Grand Master and Second Grand Principal in 1991, he served for 13 years during which time he gave wise counsel and strong support to the ‘top to bottom’ overhaul of the administration of the Craft. He also did much to bring the masonic charities together, laying the foundations for the major changes taking place.
A big man in every sense, Iain had a great love for and enjoyment of life, but always said that he could not have achieved anything without the great support of his wife Jan and their family.
He will be much missed by many.
Synagogue hosts annual service
The Hull Hebrew Congregation synagogue in Anlaby, East Yorkshire, was the unique setting for the annual service for the Province of Yorkshire, North and East Ridings. Dignitaries included Trevor Larsen (Deputy Lord Lieutenant of East Yorkshire), Cllr Mary Glew (Lord Mayor of Kingston upon Hull and Admiral of the Humber), Cllr Kate Gray (Deputy Mayor of Beverley), Cllr Peter Turner (vice chairman, East Riding of Yorkshire Council) and Jeffrey Gillyon (Provincial Grand Master). Philip Daniels, chairman of the Synagogue Trustees, welcomed the congregation, while Rabbi Naftoli Lifschitz conducted the service.
The synagogue’s 110-year-old ark was opened by Assistant Provincial Grand Master Samuel Judah to reveal the beautiful Torah scrolls, each containing a copy of the Five Books of Moses handwritten on parchment in ancient Hebrew.
Arian Jessop from Ayton Lodge No 9595 has walked to Freemasons’ Hall in London from York, fundraising over £1,300 for his Province’s current Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF) Festival Appeal
Covering 245 miles over 14 days, Adrian updated a daily blog and shared pictures of his journey online with masons from the Province of Yorkshire, North and East Ridings. He said: 'Now I have completed the walk, I feel absolutely elated. I have been bowled over by the support from my family, colleagues and friends, both masons and non-masons.'
'None of us know if or when we may need to call on help, suffer an illness or disability where treatment is limited or not available. This was my way of supporting a fantastic charity achieving great things by helping others. I have many lasting memories from this walk and I met many new friends along the way. Thank you to all that have followed my progress and supported me through sponsorship.'
Willie Shackell, President of the MSF said: 'Having watched his progress with great interest, we were delighted to welcome Adrian to the MSF’s office and offer our sincere thanks for his incredible effort on our behalf.'
The weather couldn't have been better at this year's Great Yorkshire Show
Freemasons from the Provinces of Yorkshire, North and East Ridings, and Yorkshire, West Riding, spoke to hundreds of interested members of the public about Freemasonry, its history, and its place in today's society.
On the first day of the show representatives from the Dove House Hospice in Hull spent the day on the Stand, after having received a substantial donation from the Province of North and East Ridings.
On Wednesday, representatives from Horticare in Wakefield visited the stand and brought pictures of their new vehicle, which had only been delivered the day before. The purchase was only made possible thanks to a major grant of £16,000 from the Provincial Grand Master's Fund of Yorkshire, West Riding. Read the full story and see a picture of the van.
On the last day, representatives from the Queensbury Scout Band spent the day on the stand (pictured) after receiving a major grant from the PGM's Fund of £20,000. The grant will be used to purchase new instruments and a vehicle. Scouting has had a long association with Freemasonry, Baden-Powell himself being a Freemason.