Province of Herefordshire

The Masonic Province

Of Herefordshire

United Grand Lodge of England - click for website

News

Index


Eastnor Lodge supports local GP in charity cycle ride
Freemasons support victims of Indonesia earthquake

Herefordshire Masons support Born Sleeping Book sale
Robert Manning enjoys his Summer Ball auction purchase

HMGA holds its annual tournament

Royal Edward Lodge supports local charities
Arrow Lodge takes a stand at the Pembridge Show
Provincial polo shirts and fleeces for sale
Summer Ball raises £5,000 for Festival

Radio equipment for West Mercia Search and Rescue
Presentation to Past Deputy PGM at Provincial Grand Lodge

Lift for Lifelites visits Herefordshire

W Bro Michael Holland Installed as Deputy PGM, and as MEGS

Leominster Freemasons buy defibrillator
MCF Tercentenary Awards Presentation

Herefordshire Freemasons support Ross Community Bus
Arrow members win Tunnard Moore

Coningsby Lodge celebrates Tercentenary with music prizes
Arrow Lodge supports Tercentenary Festival with evening of music
New WM collar for Ariconium Lodge
Hereford Young Carers receive grant of more than £50,000

St Peter’s Lodge marks Tercentenary with defibrillators for local community



(For older stories, up to June 2017, please go to the News Archive pages via the links above, or by clicking here )

Arrow Lodge at the Pembridge Show


The stand at Pembridge Show with Geoff WildingHaving spent a few months preparing for our inaugural show event, the first indication that things might not go to plan was when I received an email, which said, “Due to the long period of hot dry weather and the ground being very hard, the trotting races and pony events at Pembridge Show have been cancelled”.

Obviously this meant that without these attractions there would likely be a significant reduction in footfall on the day, still, always the optimist I reasoned that if the long spell of fine weather continued and, knowing that the school holidays had started, we would no doubt see many families out and about looking for something to occupy their time.

However, in the week running up to the event, the weather forecasters were starting to predict that the longest spell of hot weather since the summer of 1976 (I remember it well) was about to break, with the likelihood of wind and rain on the day of the show.

Still, with everything now in place, the pitch fee paid and a band of able and willing volunteer Brethren, chomping at the bit to wear their new Provincial badged polo shirts, there was no turning back, so having arranged with W Bro Peter Collins to collect the several items of show paraphernalia the day before, he duly arrived in his motor home at 8am, along with his wife Eve and together we made our way to Pembridge.

On arrival, we were shown to our pitch. Peter parked the motor home and, after unloading all the bits and pieces, we started to erect the metal frame of the gazebo in close proximity to the van, which, as it turned out, became an invaluable resource throughout the day. Because of the threat of rain and the fact that we would be displaying regalia, I had provided some 1000g polythene sheet to fit onto the frame, under the cavass cover. This however proved easier said than done, as the gusting wind decided it was great sport to play kites with it but, after a determined effort, the application of yards of gaffer tape and more than a few cable ties, we managed to secure the polythene to the frame.

Jez George, Geoff Wilding and Peter CollinsBy this time W Bro Jez George had arrived and, with his assistance, the gazebo finally took shape and was secured to the ground. Luckily, Peter had a selection of additional guy ropes that he normally used for tethering the motor home awning, which we put to good use on the windward side, he also had a long tie down strap and two substantial metal pegs, which we used to secure the whole gazebo to the ground. This later proved a smart move as the wind strengthened.

Peter’s wife, Eve, rewarded our efforts thus far with bacon and egg sandwiches and mugs of coffee, which were gratefully received and faithfully applied, and fuelled our efforts to dress the inside of gazebo with banners, aprons and KT attire ( On loan from W Bro Bryan Giddings). We also had a pile of donated copies of the current issue of Freemasonry Today, to hand out to anyone who showed an interest along with some Q&A sheets on the benefits of becoming a Freemason.

Eventually, and with the additional help of W Bro Roy Fletcher we managed, after an hour and a half of battling the incessant wind, to complete our task, so Peter and I donned our Provincial badged polo shirts (Jez and Roy had come suitably attired) ready to meet the public and, as if to applaud our efforts, the dark clouds parted, bathing the show ground in warm sunshine, although this proved to be a false omen.

Gradually cars started to come through the entrance and the show got under way and while the scudding, darkening clouds threatened, luckily we were spared a drenching for the rest of the morning and, as people started to appraise the several stands and marquees, those that ventured near to us were genuinely surprised to see Freemasons displaying their wares so openly, and told us as much.

One elderly lady along with her daughter came over. She wanted to know how they could find out about her grandfather, all she knew was that he had been a Freemason in Scotland before moving to Kent. We pointed her in the direction of the UGLE website as a starter. On two separate occasions, Brethren from London who were visiting the area while on holiday came over and chatted and wished us success. One gentleman came over and entered into conversation with Jez and was interested enough to take a copy of FT and a Q&A sheet, while some time later another gentleman made a point of telling us loudly that he had been asked to become a Freemason, however, because he didn’t believe in a Supreme Being he couldn’t join. All this was well and good but, disappointingly, we still lacked a queue of eager enquirers wanting to find out about becoming a Freemason.

Having been warned of high winds on the mornings local weather forecast, Jez and I, in the process of erecting the gazebo, had used four of the green metal garden stakes, which I had brought along to suspend the regalia from, and tied one across each of the joints in the roof struts using multiple cable ties, but now, with the wind approaching its predicted speed of 40mph, I could see from where I was standing, arm out to brace the corner pole in the windward corner of the gazebo, that even these were now bending and deforming and, to such an extent that total collapse was a distinct possibility.

Regalia on show in the standThen, as if things weren’t trying enough, the heavens decided to open and great globules of water, hurled by the wind, smashed into the canvass roof of the gazebo, which unfortunately provided little resistance. The forethought of the polythene liner now proved its worth and, while I continued to reinforce the corner post against the wind, Roy went around tipping the pools of rainwater that had collected in the folds of polythene, out over the eaves of the gazebo, while Peter and Eve scrabbled to collect the regalia that was hanging against the now wet windward side panel, and stowed it in the motor home. Another pair of hands would have been very useful at this point, but unfortunately Jez, having completed his morning steward’s shift, had already left.

The central show ground emptied, as people either sensibly sought shelter in the refreshments and crafts marquees or, headed back to their cars to make an early exit but, as I looked out through the rain, I could see three white shirted runners heading our way. Help was at hand, the afternoon stewards had arrived in the persons of Bro’s Harry Fellowes, Ben Clifford and Jiles Barrett followed shortly afterwards by Bro Tommy Santillo, and Eve made sure they were all welcomed with a hot drink and some splendid cookies, however, this meant that we now had seven Freemasons at the stand and still no queue of enquirers.

After a while the rain abated and one or two brave souls began to venture around the stands once more. The seven of us huddled in the central dry area of the gazebo, chatting about the day and Masonry in general; we were so engrossed that we almost missed the attention our banners were receiving from a likely looking punter. Once alerted and, not wanting to descend mob handed on this poor unsuspecting individual, which might possibly scare him away, we all hesitated for a moment, then as Jiles was the closest, he started a conversation with the man, and to be fair, although Jiles is recent recruit to Freemasonry, at no time did any of us three senior members feel the need to correct the answers he gave to the questions asked and, although it turned out that the man was a holidaymaker from afar, who knows, it may have yet spark an interest for him to make further enquiries once he has returned home.

It started spitting with rain once more, and although people were still drifting about, it was obvious to us all that there was little likelihood of a sudden influx of new enquirers, so as Peter and I were committed for the whole day anyway, and Roy, having said that he was happy to stay to help dismantle everything, it was agreed that the four afternoon stewards could take their leave, which they did with grateful thanks.

So having made the decision to make the best use of a break in the weather, within the hour, the three of us managed to locate and cut the myriad of cable ties used in the construction process and clear everything, albeit a tad damper than when we arrived, into Peter’s motor home under the watchful eye of Eve, who made sure that all was safely stowed for the journey home.

We may not have achieved what we had hoped for but, we were a presence in the public domain and, on another day, in another place and, with a fair wind, we will again be able to celebrate the new openness of Free and Accepted Masons and, who knows, next time we may even manage to attract a new member to our Fraternity.

Pictures and story by W Bro Geoff Wilding


(July 2018)

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Provincial polo shirts available - get yours here!


Why not buy a Provincial polo shirt and support the Festival? As worn by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master! Full details below


You can also get a Provincial fleece - details a bit further down


Summer Ball raises £5,000 for Festival


Around 80 Brethren, wives and partners gathered at Kyrle Street on Saturday 30 June for the Provincial Summer Ball, in aid of the 2020 Festival, raising money for the Masonic Charitable Foundation. Although the numbers were down from the similar event held in 2016, it was a very successful occasion, raising around £5,000 for the Festival.

All enjoyed an excellent meal, prepared and served by the Kyrle Street catering team. This was followed by an auction of some excellent items, generously provided by Brethren around the Province. VW Bro Mike Roff and W Bro Tim Fycun conducted the auction, and their contrasting styles ensured that energy and involvement was maintained throughout the sale.

The auction raised just under £1,500 from 21 lots, with the top price of £175 being paid for tea for two at the Houses of Parliament, hosted by Chris Davies, MP for Brecon and Radnorshire. A solid silver pen went for £150, and a beautifully handmade wooden stool with the Provincial logo for £105. Two rounds of golf for four players each raised over £100. After the sale the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Michael Holland, warmly thanked both the donors and the purchasers for their generosity, and Mike Roff and Tim Fycun for the way they conducted the sale.

Then came the Festival draw, which had raised over £3,500 from the sale of tickets before the event and on the night. The top prize of £500 in cash went to Ken Tilley, Third Provincial Grand Principal in the Royal Arch Province of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. The second prize went to Mike Atkinson, who won a bottle of SAS whisky and of port. Many thanks to Nigel Boothby for organising the draw.

Finally, the evening was rounded off with dancing to the music of Smokestack, who as they generously have done in the past, performed free of charge.

It was altogether a successful and enjoyable evening, which raised a significant amount of money towards the Festival target. Many congratulations to Tim Bridgland-Taylor and his team for all the hard work put into organising it and running it on the night. The Festival comes to a conclusion the year after next, so now we are looking forward to events and fundraisers organised by individual Lodges around the Province, to give that final push to get us to our goal.

Auction under way

The auction under way

Auction

The auction

Auction with Tim B-T drumming up sales

Tim Bridgland-Taylor drumming up bids for one of the items

Enjoying the auction

Enjoying the auction

Tim B-T shows off the handmade Masonic stool, while Tim Fycun conducts the bidding

Tim B-T with Masonic stool Drawing the winning ticket

Deputy PGM Michael Holland looks on while his wife Christine draws the winning ticket

Michael Holland presents Ken Tilley with first prize

Michael Holland presents Ken Tilley with the first draw prize at the Gloucestershire and Herefordshire Chapter of Installed First Principals lunch the following day

Another lucky winner

Another lucky winner

Rob Manning and Adam Teasdale in their shirts

Wilf and Adam brighten the place up with their shirts. Adam later donated his (or maybe another one like it) to the auction.

Smokestack

Smokestack round off the evening with some excellent musical entertainment

June 2018

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MCF Tercentenary Awards Presented


The PGM with the representatives of the four charitiesFour Herefordshire charities have benefited from a scheme to mark the 300th anniversary of the foundation of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons in London in 1717. In honour of this major event in the history of Freemasonry, The Masonic Charitable Foundation has distributed £3million to 300 charities across England and Wales.

The Herefordshire share of this was £50,000. Four local charities were nominated by the Province to receive the £50,000 between them, and how this was divided was determined by a public vote.

The four charities were Blackmarston School, for children with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties, which received £25,000; Yeleni Therapy and Support, serving the physical, emotional and therapeutic needs of anyone suffering with any form of cancer in Herefordshire, which received £15,000; Herefordshire Headway, providing support and rehabilitation for people with acquired brain injury, which received £6,000; and Martha Trust, providing specialised nursing care for people with profound and multiple physical and intellectual disabilities, which received £4,000.

The award for the charity with the most votesThe charities were presented with their awards at a special ceremony by the Provincial Grand Master, the Rev'd David Bowen, who said "We are delighted to be able to celebrate three hundred years of Freemasonry by helping four excellent local charities. We've been active in charity work for all that time, but this is the first occasion we've asked the public to help us decide how to spend our money. We are very pleased that so many people from Herefordshire took part in the vote."

At the presentation ceremony representatives of the four charities expressed their great pleasure and gratitude at receiving such generous grants from the Masonic community, each giving a brief presentation on their work and how they plan to use the funding. In each case it will be used for specific projects which will significantly improve the services they are able to offer.

Blackmarston School celebrated their donation, which Jackie Preece said will be used towards the provision of a new school bus, by making a fantastic video featuring some of the children, which you can see by clicking here and entering the password ‘mcf300’. They also produced a book, with a picture created by each class, which is shown below. Beth Hudson, of Yeleni Therapy and Support, said the award will go towards provision of therapy, and to help increase awareness around the county. Helen Mapp, of Herefordshire Headway, said their award will be used towards refurbishing their kitchen facilities, and Nicky West, of the Martha Trust, said the money will be used towards refurbishing their hydrotherapy pool.

The photo shows Lee Miles, of Blackmarston School, with the award presented to the charity with the most votes, together with the PGM and representatives of the four charities with their certificates.

The complete results of the MCF Tercentenary Awards Scheme are available here.

Installation of New Deputy Provincial Grand Master


At Eastnor Lodge on 18 April 2018, the RW Provincial Grand Master Invested W Bro Michael Holland PAGDC as Deputy Provincial Grand Master. He succeeds VW Bro Mike Roff PGSwdB, who held the post for nearly six years.

And on 5 May, E Comp Michael Holland was Installed as Most Excellent Grand Superintendent in and over the Holy Royal Arch Province of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. He succeeds E Comp Graham King, who held the post for 10 years. You can see more on the Provincial Grand Chapter website here.

Many congratulations to W Bro Michael on both of his new appointments.




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(May 2018)

Leominster Freemasons buy defibrillator


Freemasons in Leominster have bought a defibrillator to go on the outside of their premises in South Street.

On Saturday 26th May a representative of Midlands Air Ambulance was at the Lodge to demonstrate how to use the device, which has been provided for the benefit of the local community. A small but appreciative audience received a through briefing, and should be well equipped should the need arise in the future.

Lift for Lifelites


Lifelites is a charity which donates and maintains assistive technology for the 10,000 life-limited and disabled children in hospices throughout the British Isles. This gives them opportunities to play, be creative and communicate for as long as possible. Each package costs around £50,000 in the technology, training and maintenance.

The charity was founded as a millennium Masonic project, but is now a well-established independent charity raising all its own funds. The Province continues to support Lifelites, most recently through a donation of £1,000 from the HMCA - which was presented at the event below. You can find out more about the charity on their website.

The Chief Executive of the charity, Simone Enefer-Doy, recently embarked on a very imaginative fundraising project. She visited a famous landmark in nearly every Province, over a period of just 14 days. She was transported between landmarks by Freemasons in a wide variety of vehicles. Her journey started on Friday 25 May at Freemasons’ Hall in London and ended there on Thursday 6 June. You can see the full schedule here.

The chosen landmark in Herefordshire was Arthur’s Stone, between Bredwardine and Dorstone. Simone was there  on Thursday 31 May. She was met there by the RW Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro The Rev’d David Bowen, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W Bro Michael Holland with his wife Christine, and the Provincial Grand Charity Steward, W Bro Nick Swan.

She was transported from Arthur’s Stone on her journey from there into Worcestershire by W Bro Gareth Prosser in his very elegant 1966 4.6 litre Daimler Majestic Major.




(May 2018)

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Presentation to Past Deputy PGM


Owing to the enforced absence from the Annual Communication of Provincial Grand Lodge on 4 June of the RW Provincial Grand Master, owing to his continuing health problems, the meeting was presided over by the recently Invested Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W Bro Michael Holland. After the meeting was closed, W Bro Holland presented his predecessor. VW Bro Mike Roff, with a memento of his many years of service to the Province, on behalf of the PGM and the Province.

The presentation was of a Waterford Crystal Lismore Decanter with two crystal tumblers, together with an engraved silver salver. VW Bro Roff warmly thanked W Bro Holland, the PGM and the Province, thanking them for the friendship and hospitality shown to him over 16 years as an active Provincial Officer, first as Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies and since 2012 as Deputy Provincial Grand Master. He also thanked the many representatives of other Provinces and other Orders present, for being there and for the many friendships he had developed with them over the years.


(June 2018)

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HMCA provides radio equipment for search and rescue


West Mercia Search and Rescue is a voluntary organisation providing search and rescue services throughout Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire. They are called in by the regular emergency services when they need assistance in finding missing people, both on land and in water. Some of those rescued have been injured in locations which are difficult to access, but many are vulnerable people – children, people with dementia or other mental health issues, or with suicidal tendencies. Because of the sensitive nature of many of their cases, they aren’t able to discuss them or draw attention to their successes.

The organisation also provides relief services during periods of flooding throughout the country, with all members of the team trained in flood rescue. You can find out more about their work on their website.

Effective communications among team members, and between them and the other emergency services, is obviously vital. West Mercia SAR is totally dependent on voluntary donations for the equipment they need, and Herefordshire Freemasons have donated £900 for the purchase of two up-to-date hand held radios which provide compatibility with those used by other services. The cheque was presented to members of the West Midlands SAR team by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W Bro Michael Holland. On behalf of the team, John Goode expressed their thanks for the donation, stressing the importance of having effective and modern equipment.


Top photo shows, left to right: Graham Thomas and Nick James-Williams of WMSAR; W Bro Chris Holt, IPM of Coningsby Lodge, who suggested WMSAR apply for support from HMCA; W Bro Michael Holland, Deputy PGM; John Goode and Richard Palmer of WMSAR; and W Bro Nick Swan, Provincial Grand Charity Steward.

The lower photo shows: W Bro Michael Holland, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, with John Goode of WMSAR, with a radio of the type that will be acquired with the HMCA donation.


(June 2018)

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New WM Collar for Ariconium Lodge


The WM wearing the new collarA new Worshipful Master’s collar for Ariconium Lodge was presented at their September meeting. This was very generously bought for the Lodge by its Worshipful Master, W Bro Pip Thomas.

At a special ceremony at the Lodge, the collar was brought in and presented to W Bro Aeron Lewis, who accepted it on behalf of the Lodge. W Bro Lewis thanked W Bro Thomas for his kindness in purchasing the new collar. After a short speech, W Bro Dennis Roberts placed the collar on W Bro Thomas.

The photograph shows W Bro Thomas wearing the collar, just after receiving it from W Bro Roberts, on the right. The RW Provincial Grand Master was represented at the meeting by the Provincial Junior Grand Warden, W Bro Mark Bennett, on the left of the photograph.

The new collar jewel, marking the Tercentenary of Grand Lodge, can be seen at the bottom of the collar.


(September 2017)

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Arrow Lodge celebrates Tercentenary and supports Festival


Arrow Lodge has celebrated the Tercentenary, and provided support for the Festival, with an evening of excellent music and fine food in the elegant surroundings of Whitney Court, near Hay on Wye. Felicity Payen, a professional opera singer and niece of the Worshipful Master, provided the entertainment together with baritone Sebastian Charlesworth and pianist Ashley Beauchamp. Felicity graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music and has performed in a number of venues around the UK, including Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall.

In the first half of the programme they performed arias and other operatic pieces by Mozart, Puccini, Massenet and Gershwin, and after the interval performed songs from musicals including Les Misérables, Carousel, Camelot and Phantom of the Opera. The entertainment they provided was excellent, and much enjoyed by the 80 or so Brethren, wives and friends present.

W Bro Terence and Mrs Emma PayenThe superb food was provided and prepared by the Worshipful Master, W Bro Terence Payen and his wife Emma, who run the Corners Inn in Kingsland. They cooked a loin of pork for each table, to be carved by one of the Brethren on the table, with varying degrees of skill, but however it was carved it was delicious.

Not only was it a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable event, at a lovely venue, it also raised no less than £1,000 for the 2020 Festival.


(September 2017)

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Michael Morris Tercentenary Prize Winners

David Hudson with Naomi BarkerConingsby Lodge has supported the Tercentenary of Grand Lodge by providing two prizes for music to Hereford Cathedral School, to be awarded on an annual basis. These have been awarded in memory of the late W Bro Michael Morris who was an Old Herefordian (1933 to 1940). Michael was an ardent musician, appearing in many Three Choirs Festivals, including as a probationary chorister under the baton of Sir Edward Elgar in 1933, and in Elgar’s last Festival before his death in 1934. Michael became the Choral Superintendent for a number Three Choirs Festivals and sang with Hereford Choral Society for 50 years. W Bro Michael was initiated into Coningsby Lodge in 1959, becoming Worshipful Master in December 1972. He was appointed Provincial Senior Grand Warden in 2001. He remained a member of Coningsby Lodge until his death in 2015, by which time he had been made an Honorary Member.

David Hudson with Hope PughThe first two recipients are Hope Pugh, who received the engraved perpetual cup, and Naomi Barker who received the perpetual salver. As well as the trophies, both have been presented with musical scores and texts to further their musical studies, which are to continue.

Hope and Naomi have completed their A Levels, both studying A Level Music. They have given an enormous amount to the School, chorally and instrumentally and contributed significantly to the musical life of the School.

Both sing in the Chapel Choir, Senior Chamber Choir and Cantabile Girls’ choir (winners of Barnardo’s senior school choir of the year 2017; Song of Praise Senior School choir of the year 2015). Both have taken lead solos this year. Many people will have seen either Cantabile or the Senior Chamber Choir in one of their many performances around the County, for example “Music in Quiet Places” concerts.

Instrumentally Hope plays the Oboe and Piano, whilst Naomi plays the Flute and Piano.

Hope took the lead female role in our 2016 production of Fiddler on the Roof in The Courtyard, and will be singing at this year’s Three Choirs Festival.

When Hope told her family of the award, she was amazed to discover that her grandmother was able to tell her about Michael, as she had sung with him for many years, including at Three Choirs Festivals.


(September 2017)

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Arrow Members win Tunnard Moore


Gordon Smith, Kevin Protheroe and Nigel Boothby with the Tunnard Moore / George Long trophyThe annual Tunnard Moore / George Long golf tournament, in aid of the HMCA ‘B’ Fund, was won this year by two members of Arrow Lodge. W Bro Kevin Protheroe and W Bro Gordon Smith are shown in the picture receiving the magnificent trophy from W Bro Nigel Boothby, or Loyal Hay Lodge, which hosts and organises the competition each year.

Many congratulations to both winners, and to all those who took part. W Bro Kevin has been successful in the past on several occasions with his late father, W Bro Glyn Protheroe, also of Arrow Lodge, and it is good to see that he has found a new worthy partner from within his Lodge.


(October 2017)

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Herefordshire Freemasons support Ross Community Bus


Presentation group in front of busHerefordshire Freemasons have donated £4,000 to a project in Ross on Wye for a new Community Bus, to provide transport for housebound, blind, elderly, and disabled local people. £3,000 was donated by Vitruvian Lodge, and a further £1,000 by the Herefordshire Masonic Charity Association.

A total of £40,000 was raised by the Ross Action Committee, chaired by Rosemary Rigby, who thanked the ‘wonderful organisation of the Masons’ for the contribution. A number of donors and dignitaries spoke at a ceremony to launch and to bless the bus held in the market square in Ross. Among those speaking was the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire, The Rev’d David Bowen, who mentioned the Tercentenary of Grand Lodge and the recent 200th anniversary of Vitruvian Lodge, of which he is a member, in 2013. He said that local Freemasons were pleased to provide help with a project such as this, providing aid for people with reduced mobility.

PGM and Mayor with busThe Mayor of Ross, Cllr Nigel Gibbs, also a member of Vitruvian Lodge, thanked Mrs Rigby for the energy and hard work she had poured into the project, and also thanked the drivers and those who would keep the facility working on a day to day basis.

Among others speaking at the ceremony were Hereford and South Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman, Major Patrick Darling, former High Sheriff of Herefordshire, Chief Inspector of Herefordshire Police, Dean Jones and Former Hereford MP, Sir Colin Shepherd. Finally, the bus was blessed by The Reverend Canon Marvin Bamforth of Brampton Abbotts.

The top photo shows the group of speakers and donors in front of the bus. It includes The Mayor, Cllr Nigel Gibbs and the Mayoress, Mrs Gill Gibbs (fifth and sixth from left) and the RW PGM, The Rev’d David Bowen (third from right).

The lower photo shows the PGM with Mrs Jill Bowen with the Mayor and Mayoress by the bus, showing the inscription on the side which reads ‘The Vitruvian Lodge of Freemasons in Ross on Wye, celebrating the United Grand Lodge’s 300th year’.

(October 2017)

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Royal Edward Lodge supports local charities


Charity representatives with members of Royal Edward LodgeEach year Royal Edward Lodge in Leominster donates generous sums of money to local charities. This year was no exception, and at a special presentation on 14 July 2018 at Leominster Masonic Centre eight local charities received a total of £3,500.

The charities benefiting were Marches Family Network, Kyre Riding for the Disabled, Echo, Megan Baker House and Dementia Friendly Leominster, each of which received £500; Leominster First Responders (£400); and Leukaemia Care and the A L Lewis Fund, with £300 each. Cheques were presented to representatives of each charity, all of whom expressed their thanks to Leominster Freemasons for their generosity.

In addition, a further £625 was presented to Masonic charities which in turn support the local community: £500 to the Herefordshire Masonic Charity Association ‘B’ Fund, £75 to Teddies for Loving Care, and £50 to the Tunnard Moore golf competition.

The photo shows representatives of the charities with W Bro Gareth Prosser, on the right, the Charity Steward of Royal Edward Lodge; next to him, W Bro Des Watkins, Worshipful Master of the Lodge, and W Bro Ian Rutherford, Immediate Past Master.


(July 2018)

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HMGA annual tournament


DPGM with W Bro Colin KerfootThe Herefordshire Masonic Golf Association held its annual tournament and dinner on 2 September at Leominster Golf Club. The weather was lovely and the course in great condition. After the golf, ladies and guests joined in for a lovely meal in the clubhouse and the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W Bro Michael Holland, was invited to present the prizes as the PGM was not able to attend.

The winners in the main categories were as follows:-

Best Stableford Score for The John Hunt Trophy: Bro Norman Goodman (below left), Palladian Lodge Best Net Score for The Joe Wade Trophy: W Bro Alistair Ross (below right), Vitruvian Lodge Best Gross Score for The Danny Clifton Bowl: W Bro Colin Kerfoot (left), Dean Waterfield Lodge.

W Bro Holland extended his thanks to the HMGA Secretary W Bro Roger Powell for organising such an enjoyable event and for his work throughout the season in organising the several interprovincial tournaments. Also to the Captain, W Bro Colin Kerfoot, Vice Captain W Bro Des Watkins and the ever efficient Treasurer, W Bro David Duggan for their contributions to the society.

DPGM with Bro Norman Goodman W Bro Michael Holland with W Bro Alastair Ross

Festival Summer Ball auction - visit to Parliament


One of the prizes at the charity auction for the 2020 Festival in July was a tour of the Houses of Parliament and then a private tour by Chris Davies MP for Brecon and Radnorshire.

Brother Robert Manning, St Peters Lodge, Bromyard and his wife Louise enjoyed a fascinating visit. They went on an organised tour first where they saw the breadth of the public areas from Westminster Hall to the Robing Room and both chambers of the Commons and the House of Lords and gained an insight into the workings of democracy at Westminster.

Robert said, “I was unaware that after a fire much of the building was rebuilt in Victorian times.  The one architect and designer, Augustus Pugin, was quite literally driven to mental exhaustion and ended up in Bedlam by his quest to seek perfection with the interiors of the building. The work was just beautiful and we were so lucky to be able to see it.”

He continued, “It was also amazing in the Lords Chamber to see the indentations in the table caused by Churchill’s ring when he became impassioned during a war debate.”

In the private tour they saw the Committee Rooms and were able to stand on the Terrace to gain a rare perspective of the river and South Bank.  Thank you to Nigel Boothby for organising the prize.


Herefordshire Masons support Born Sleeping book sale


Herefordshire Masons have given great support to fundraising for a new bereavement suite at Hereford Hospital, for parents who suffer the loss of a new-born baby. A second hand book and CD sale, during the month of August, has given Wye Valley Trust’s Born Sleeping Appeal a huge boost.

The Tesco store in Belmont has a monthly stall offering second hand books and CDs that have been donated with proceeds given to a chosen charity. In August the Trust’s Born Sleeping Appeal received donations totalling £1,360.

The stall was supported by the local Masonic community who organised volunteers to collect and deliver books as well as asking local lodges to donate books themselves. One Lodge donated over 100 books and also added to the total by selling new books signed by the local author and Freemason, Geoff Wilding.

The Masonic community have and continue to support the Appeal. Katie Farmer, Fundraising manager for Wye Valley NHS Trust said “We are extremely grateful for the continued support we have received. I would especially like to thank Keith Farmer for coordinating a huge number of collections of books, including those from staff at the Hospital.” She added “Our thanks as always to Crystal McAngus from Tesco who never fails to support local good causes.”

The Born Sleeping Appeal is raising funds to provide a dedicated bereavement suite for the maternity unit at Hereford County Hospital. The target is £75,000 and it is hoped this will be reached by the end of 2018.

The photo shows Keith Farmer of Dean Waterfield Lodge, Crystal MacAngus of Tesco, and Katie Farmer of the Wye Valley NHS Trust, at the book sale at Tesco, Hereford

Eastnor Lodge supports local GP


W Bro David Sparrey, Charity Steward of Eastnor Lodge No 751, reports that the Lodge's Charitable Trust has added their support to local Ledbury GP’s Charity Challenge Bicycle Ride from London to Paris raising funds for Women V Cancer. The ride  was the first ever women-only London to Paris cycle challenge.

The event raised funds for three women’s cancer charities, Breast Cancer Care, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Ovarian Cancer Action, with funds raised divided equally.

Dr. Debra Hiley stated ‘I am doing this challenge to raise funds and awareness of women’s cancers’. After her initial diagnosis at age 43, Debra has endured many battles, through major operations, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and lots of physiotherapy. All of this, whilst working part time, when possible. Debra continues ‘I definitely couldn’t have done it without such love and support from friends, family and the Ledbury wider community’.

‘Debs’ arrived in Paris on her 50th birthday (which no-one was sure she would get to…). Her ride combined all the things that kept her going, with a ‘celebration of living’.

Eastnor Lodge members were delighted to add £200 to her ongoing total and the presentation was made by Very Worshipful Brother Mike Roff, Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Herefordshire, accompanied by W/Brother David Sparrey (Eastnor Charity Steward) and W/Bro. Paul Diggins (Provincial Grand Senior Warden).

The support for Debra has been just phenomenal, with her ‘Just Giving’ page showing more than £8K raised to date!

She was accompanied on the ride to Paris, by her daughter Beth and when I interviewed them they both looked very fit and certainly up for the challenge ahead.

W Bro David Sparrey, Charity Steward, Eastnor Lodge

Freemasons’ support for Indonesia Earthquake victims


Thousands of people who have had their lives devastated by the deadly earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia will be given urgently needed shelter and clean water, thanks to a grant from the Freemasons.

The £70,000 grant will be split evenly between Plan International UK and the Red Cross. Plan will be able to provide shelter kits to 593 families (2,610 people), while the Red Cross will be helping 160,000 people with safe water and improved sanitation.

The current death toll stands at more than 2,000, with over 5,000 people listed as missing. As many as 1.5 million have been affected, with many having lost homes and many more living without power, clean water or medical provision.

The grant comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

David Innes, Chief Executive of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, said: “This is a terrible time for the people of Indonesia, and I am very pleased that the Masonic community have been able to move fast and provide Plan International and the Red Cross with funds to provide life-saving shelter and clean water to many thousands of people in need.”

Alan Gosschalk, Fundraising Director of Plan International UK, said: “We are incredibly grateful to the Freemasons for providing this grant to help those whose lives have been turned upside down by the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia. “People urgently need clean water, shelter and food and our team is responding by distributing shelter kits, blankets and tarpaulins to the affected communities.”

 Ben Webster, British Red Cross Head of Emergencies, said: “I would like to thank the Freemasons for their generous grant of £35,000 to the Indonesian Earthquake and Tsunami Appeal, which will go towards helping 160,000 people with safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene kits alongside other essential aspects of the Red Cross response”.


Young carers in Herefordshire given £50,000 grant

PGM and Deputy with young carers and staffHerefordshire Carers Support, which provides support and advice to children and young adults carers has benefited from a large grant from local Freemasons.

There are more than four thousand young carers within Herefordshire, looking after sick and disabled family members. They are often responsible for cooking, cleaning, personal hygiene and emotional support of one or more people. It can be a confusing and lonely role for a child or young person and can lead to social isolation and damage academic performance, which can have life-long consequences.

Herefordshire Freemasons have given £53,692 to provide a support worker who will work with schools, families and young carers themselves. The grant from Herefordshire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation which is funded by Freemasons from across England and Wales.

PGM and Deputy with young carers and staffHerefordshire Young Carers is a dedicated team within Herefordshire Carers Support who help children and young people who look after someone in their family who is physically or mentally ill, disabled or has a problem with drugs or alcohol.

Susan Brace, Young Carers Community Development Worker, said “We’re very grateful to Herefordshire Freemasons for their generous grant. There are around 360 registered Young Carers in Herefordshire but the true number is likely to be much higher. We want these children to be able to live a full life, like their friends, which means they won’t be missing out on their childhoods or education - getting the help and support they desperately need.”

Rev’d David Bowen, the Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire Freemasons said “We are very pleased to be able to help Herefordshire Carers Support. The work they do is hugely important and can make an enormous difference to the lives of these vulnerable children.”


July 2017

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St Peter’s Lodge donates defibrillators to local community


Presentation of defibrillator at Bishop's FromeSt Peter’s Lodge in Bromyard has marked the Tercentenary with a generous donation to the local community, of five cardiac defibrillators. These have been installed on the outside of the village halls in Bishops Frome, Edwin Ralph, Pencombe and Stanford Bishop, and by the Wye Valley Brewery in Stoke Lacy. They are available for anyone to use in case of emergency. A call to 999 stating the code number on the outside of the box will result in a number being given to enter in a keypad which allows the box to be opened and the defibrillator used.

These defibrillators are designed to be used by non-medical people without training, and are sufficiently automated for them to detect the nature of the heart emergency and to apply the appropriate treatment.

The total cost of these was £8,070, of which St Peter’s Lodge provided £3,795 and the Province of Herefordshire £4,275. This is a very valuable way for Freemasons in Bromyard, and in Herefordshire in general, to mark the Tercentenary and to provide a benefit for the local communities well into the future.

The photo shows, from the left, Rod Guise of Bishop’s Frome Parish Council; the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VW Bro Mike Roff; the Master of St Peter’s Lodge, W Bro Brian Scott; W Bro John Judge, of St Peter’s Lodge and Bishop’s Frome Parish Council; The Provincial Grand Master, Rev’d David Bowen; and Isabel Aitken and Tony Davis of the Village Centre Committee.


(July 2017)

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