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The Official Journal of the United Grand Lodge of England


Number 23 ~ Autumn 2013



Number 23 ~ Autumn 2013

How the Showmen’s Lodge brought Freemasonry to the fairground p20




Bestseller’s book launch, p34

Taking the time to help, p40

The Prestonian Lecture, p58






t was tremendous to hear the news of the new Royal baby, Prince George. You will be glad that a message of congratulations was sent on behalf of members to Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Talking of good news, it is heart-warming to hear, as I go around the Provinces and Districts, more and more members speaking openly about the fun of membership as they enjoy, each in their own special way, their hobby, Freemasonry. This enjoyment is becoming infectious, helping to both recruit and, importantly, retain members. Together with the increasing support from family members, this is a clear reflection of the success of the current initiatives that are making sure there is a relevant future for Freemasonry. In this autumn issue, we take a ride with the Showmen’s Lodge to discover that the ties binding Freemasons can also be found in the people who run the waltzers and dodgems at the fairground. We go on the road with a welfare adviser from the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, as she helps a family get back on its feet. We also meet Mark Smith,

a Provincial Grand Almoner, and find out that while masonic support can involve making a donation to a worthy cause, it is also about spending time with people in your community. I mentioned hobbies earlier, and to thrill anyone with a taste for classic cars we get in the driving seat with Aston Martin as it celebrates its one hundredth birthday at Freemasons’ Hall. There is also an interview with Prestonian Lecturer Tony Harvey, who has been travelling around the UK to explain how Freemasonry and Scouting have more in common than you might first think. I believe that these stories and features show why Freemasonry not only helps society but is also very much a part of it. On a final note, I was pleased to have had the opportunity to speak on Radio 4’s Last Word obituary programme about the late Michael Baigent, our consultant editor. He was a good friend with an enormously inquisitive mind, about which John Hamill writes more fully later in this issue of Freemasonry Today.

Nigel Brown Grand Secretary

‘It is heart-warming to hear, as I go around the Provinces and Districts, more and more members speaking openly about the fun of membership.’



The Board of Grand Lodge Publications Ray Reed, Robin Furber, Graham Rudd


Publishing Director Nigel Brown Editorial Panel Karen Haigh, John Hamill, Susan Henderson, John Jackson, Siobhan McCarthy Editor Luke Turton


Published by August Media Ltd for The United Grand Lodge of England, Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ




Editorial Freemasonry Today, Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ Advertising contact Square7 Media Ltd, 3 More London Riverside, London SE1 2RE Mark Toland 020 3283 4056


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Printed by Artisan Press © Grand Lodge Publications Ltd 2013. The opinions herein are those of the authors or persons interviewed only and do not reflect the views of Grand Lodge Publications Ltd, the United Grand Lodge of England or August Media Ltd.

Cover image: Jude Edginton This page: Jude Edginton, David Woolfall, Salim Henry/Reuters, Press Association, Matt Thomas


Caitlin Davies learns how Freemasonry offers compassionate pastoral support to those in need



Jump in the driving seat to celebrate one hundred years of the classic British sports car maker, Aston Martin


Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes reflects on Prince Philip’s sixty years as a subscribing member of the Craft




A look into the work of John Vazquez, the man who makes masonic events tick at Freemasons’ Hall


Freemason Geoff Fisher tells Tabby Kinder how he is striving to raise women’s awareness of ovarian cancer

Ellie Fazan spends a day with the Showmen’s Lodge to find out what funfairs and the Craft have in common



We look back at the life of the influential author and Freemason who inspired a loyal following


Tabby Kinder joins Julia Young, a welfare manager for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, as she travels the UK bringing new hope to young people

INTO AFRICA This magazine is printed on paper produced from sustainable managed forests accredited by the PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes,


The latest masonic news from around the country




Nigel Brown welcomes you to the autumn issue




A YACHT FULL OF MASONS Bob Clitherow recounts the thrills and near-spills of his voyage across the Atlantic with two fellow Freemasons

46 50 55 58

Tony Harvey, Prestonian Lecturer, reveals to Andrew Gimson the links between Freemasonry and Scouting


Anneke Hak discovers Dan Brown’s feelings about the Craft as he launches his latest blockbuster, Inferno, at Freemasons’ Hall


John Hamill explores the remarkable life of Francis Rawdon, one of the Craft’s forgotten heroes


Ellie Fazan finds out how two Welsh Freemasons set up a successful school in rural Zambia



How Freemasons are helping out around the UK



Probing the history of the Holy Royal Arch Degree



Your opinions on the world of Freemasonry



John Hamill stands up for the language of Craft rituals



You can now keep up to date with all the latest news from around the country on our Twitter and Facebook pages @freemasonry2day @ugle_grandlodge @grandchapter FreemasonryToday UnitedGrandLodgeofEngland SupremeGrandChapter


From l to r: Bucks Deputy PGM Clifford Drake and actress Denise Van Outen with Richard, Georgie and Caroline Church

INSPIRATION IN BUCKS Local masons have given their support to a countywide scheme launched by the Buckinghamshire Advertiser and Buckinghamshire Examiner to reward those who play an inspirational role within the community. Bucks masons sponsored the Young Carer award, which was won by Georgie Church, who had been nominated by her wheelchair-bound father Richard. Georgie, 14, has only ever known her father as a paraplegic after he broke his back in a motorcycle accident in 1977. Richard said that his daughter helps with the shopping, recycling and gardening, washes his car and even decorated his bedroom for a birthday present one year.


After being diagnosed with a brain tumour last year, Peter Duff has shown much courage and determination. He was desperate to continue his masonic duties and in March this year was installed as Worshipful Master of Weyland Lodge, No. 6507, in Bicester, Oxfordshire. A couple of months later he took part in a fundraising event and abseiled 100 feet from the top of the John Radcliffe Hospital Women’s Centre to raise money for the Cancer Care Fund at the Churchill Hospital, Oxford.

Peter makes his way down the hospital wall





In March, the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB) celebrated its 225th anniversary at its annual Ruspini Luncheon, an event commemorating the vision and legacy of the trust’s founder, Chevalier Bartholomew Ruspini (pictured above). Today, the RMTGB supports more than 2,000 girls and boys and continues to build on Ruspini’s legacy with grants to help alleviate financial distress, enhancing educational opportunity by providing computers and other necessary items, as well as practical welfare assistance. The setting for the event was the Royal Masonic School for Girls in Hertfordshire. To find out more about how the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys supports disadvantaged children and young people, turn to page 68

At the annual meeting of the Northumberland Provincial Grand Chapter, Grand Superintendent Peter Magnay welcomed representatives from the Royal College of Surgeons and presented them with a cheque for £50,000 towards financing their research in Newcastle. Professor Robert Pickard and two of his research fellows, Peter Kullar and Raveen Sander, all based at Newcastle hospitals, outlined the nature of their various research projects.


DURHAM TRIES AGAIN There is nothing like healthy sporting rivalry between Provinces, and so it proved when Durham masonic rugby team took to the field at Darlington RFC in an exciting rematch against the reigning champions, Northumberland. Last year Durham had only eight players but returned with 25 recruits to win 36-29. Durham club chairman Andrew Dixon said: ‘My two great passions of rugby and Freemasonry came together today with a spread from right across the Province – several Durham lodges and nearly as many rugby clubs were represented.’ A raffle and the sale of refreshments raised £600 for the club’s charity for this year, the Great North Air Ambulance Service.

Members of the Masonic Trout and Salmon Fishing Charity (MTSFC) organised a fly-fishing event at Chigboro Fisheries, alongside the Blackwater Estuary near Maldon in Essex, for youngsters from Trinity London Care, St John’s School, Acorn Village and Avelon Road Centre. Each participant was supported by a flyfisherman, who took them to various points around the lakes for their chance at catching some fish to take away with them. Those casters not having a novice in their charge were also fishing and would pass their rod to the nearest participant when they had a fish on the line. Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes, the MTSFC president, attended along with Essex PGM John Webb. The Pro Grand Master presented certificates to each of the participants. A happy youngster receives a certificate from Peter Lowndes




Driving over Brunel’s famous suspension bridge

In a bid to dispel some of the myths surrounding Freemasonry, a major public masonic exhibition, Into the Light: The Story of Freemasonry in Carlisle, was held at the city’s Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery. The exhibition, opened in the presence of the Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria, Claire Hensman, and the Provincial Grand Master for Cumberland and Westmorland, Norman James Thompson, was on display for six weeks and included many exhibits from the Province, Carlisle’s 14 lodges,

and the Library and Museum at Freemasons’ Hall, London. The centrepiece was a set of three huge chairs, which had never before been seen outside London. Two were Grand Wardens’ chairs; the third, a Grand Master’s dating from 1791, was built for and used by the then Prince of Wales (later George IV) during his tenure as Grand Master. Also on display was a frock coat by renowned designer Jean Paul Gaultier. Made in the 1980s as the finale piece for a fashion show, it was inspired by masonic symbolism.

DRIVING SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN’S HOSPICE A classic car rally beginning in Bristol saw 46 vehicles embarking on an 80-mile journey through Somerset and Gloucestershire, with Bristol’s Lord Mayor Cllr Peter Main waving a Union flag to start proceedings. The route encompassed Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge and participating cars included a 1929 Bentley Tourer, a selection of Jaguar E-Types and Austin Healeys, plus many other British and European classics. Along the route the cars drove through the grounds of Children’s Hospice South West, which provides care for terminally ill children and was the chosen charity for the day arranged by Park Street Events (Freemasons of Bristol). Rally organiser Chris Cook said: ‘I was inspired to organise the rally after visiting Children’s Hospice South West at Little Bridge House in Barnstaple, Devon.’

Carlisle’s Tullie House hosted an array of masonic exhibits, including 18th-century Grand Lodge chairs (below)

CONNAUGHT CLUB IS IN THE SWIM Every year the Connaught Club launches a charity appeal for the Metropolitan Masonic Charity. With its membership made up of London masons aged under 35, the club decided to make this year’s charity venture a simulation of the 56-mile swim from mainland Britain to Ireland. Around 20 club members set themselves the challenge of swimming 1,802.5 lengths in the outdoor Olympic-sized pool at London Fields Lido, working in shifts. The swim took more than eight hours and raised over £5,000 for the Metropolitan Masonic Charity. A bottle of champagne went to Fabian Rosso, who swam 350 lengths and covered more than 10 miles. Around 20 enthusiastic Connaught Club masons took to the water, clocking up lengths and pounds for charity

To make a donation, or to learn more about the Connaught Club, please email



WARWICKSHIRE ON SHOW Civic leaders joined the annual church service of the Province of Warwickshire and the procession to the Collegiate Church of St Mary. District council chairman Cllr Richard Davies and county council chairman Cllr David Shilton walked to the church, which has an association with Freemasonry that goes back to at least 1728 when the Master of the first Warwickshire lodge was the vicar. Local masons presented the church with an oak pulpit in 1897. Representatives of the Jewish, Sikh, Hindu and Christian faiths were also

present at the multi-denominational service conducted by Provincial Grand Chaplain and Methodist lay minister John Cowan. Provincial Grand Master David Macey presented a cheque for £7,400 to the vicar, followed by £1,000 from the service collection. In another civic event, the Deputy Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Cllr John Lines, invited Warwickshire and Worcestershire masons to attend the annual Lord Mayor’s Show in the city centre, helping to raise funds for his chosen charities.

ALL ABOARD THE TRINCOMALEE Built in 1817, HMS Trincomalee is a wooden sailing frigate constructed shortly after the Napoleonic Wars. Following the Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, visiting the oldest Royal Navy warship still afloat in 2012, it was fitting that Grand Secretary Nigel Brown would start his visit to Durham Province with a dinner aboard this world-famous vessel in Hartlepool. The Durham masonic group, headed by Provincial Grand Master Eric Heaviside, was greeted at the entrance to the interactive museum by HMS Trincomalee Trust members, and given an insight into the upkeep and restoration of the ship.

Warwickshire county and

Above, shown alongside the frigate (l to r): John Megson

district council chairmen in

(HMS Trincomalee Trust chairman), PGM Eric Heaviside,

procession with PGM David Macey

Colonel Euan Houstoun (former Trust director), Grand Secretary Nigel Brown and Deputy PGM George Clark

There is nothing like showing the flag, and members of Eastnor Lodge, No. 751, in the Province of Herefordshire set up a stall outside the Feathers Hotel in Ledbury to celebrate Community Day alongside other organisations in the town. The lodge displayed photographs and literature on Freemasonry, and explained how it supported both local and national masonic and non-masonic charities. They were in good voice, assisted by town crier Bill Turberfield (pictured right).





EVERYONE’S A WINNER More than 700 children and carers visited the second annual funfair for people with additional needs. Organised at Long Eaton by Derbyshire masons, the event was held for children with conditions such as Down’s syndrome and autism, and for those with extreme learning difficulties. Also involved were Erewash Borough Council, the Showmen’s Guild, McKean’s Amusements, St John Ambulance, and the local police and fire service. Showmen’s Guild president David Wallis, Erewash Mayor Cllr Jennifer Hulls, Derbyshire PGM Graham Rudd and Michael McKean all gave their support, while the children each went home clutching a teddy bear provided by the Province. To find out more about the work of the Showmen’s Lodge, turn to page 20

Shown (l to r) with youngsters: Michael McKean, Bob Hulls, Showmen’s Guild president David Wallis, Mayor Cllr Jennifer Hulls, Cllr Mike Wallis, PGM Graham Rudd, and Derbyshire masons Phil Bowler and Graham Sisson



It’s the chequered flag for WM Dermot Bambridge (centre), with Wardens Tim Almond (left) and Trevor Ray (right)

Believed to be the first motorsport-related lodge under the United Grand Lodge of England, Silverstone Lodge, No. 9877, has been launched by Max Bayes, Provincial Grand Master of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire. The lodge will meet at Silverstone on four Friday evenings each year, to coincide with race weekends: the Vintage Sports-Car Club Pomeroy Trophy in February, the Silverstone Classic in July, the British Superbike Championship in October and the Walter Hayes Trophy in November. The first Master is Dermot Bambridge, whose involvement in motorsport includes working for Goodyear Racing’s Formula 1 Team, Silverstone Circuit and the World Superbikes organisation. ‘One of the charities we will support is the Grand Prix Mechanics Charitable Trust,’ said Dermot. ‘We were delighted to receive a letter from three-times Formula 1 World Champion, Sir Jackie Stewart, founder of the charity, wishing us every success.’

It is not often that a Provincial Grand Master sees the initiation of his son, but such was the case for Graham Ives in Lincolnshire when his son Henry became a mason. Not surprisingly, there was a large turnout for the occasion, as the PGM delivered the Charge after Initiation to his son, initiating him into Earl of Yarborough Lodge, No. 2770. Pictured above: PGM Graham Ives and his son Henry with WM Michael Hutchinson and Wardens Steve Marris and Barry Flint



Heavy monsoon rains have caused flash floods in the state of Uttarakhand in India. Reports indicate 800 deaths, although unofficial claims suggest the death toll may be as high as 5,000. In the immediate aftermath, 97,000 people were rescued, with more than 1,250 houses reported as damaged or washed away. The flood is believed to have been the heaviest and deadliest in this region for 80 years. The president of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, Richard Hone, has approved an immediate emergency grant of £35,000 to the Red Cross to assist with the recovery. Around 450 roads have been completely destroyed by 15 landslides, making it nearly impossible for people to move to safer areas. Laura Chapman, chief executive of the Grand Charity, stated: ‘It is hoped that this donation will bring help and assistance to the many people who need it in the affected region.’ The Emergency Grants for Disaster Relief is just one of the initiatives driven by the Grand Charity, which donates more than £2.5 million to national charities every year.

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AIR AMBULANCE FLIES HIGHER Financial support for Air Ambulance services throughout England and Wales has been maintained again this year by The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, taking the total awarded over the past five years to more than £1 million. Meeting at the Midlands Air Ambulance base at Strensham, Worcestershire, which operates the service over three counties and the Welsh Border, Herefordshire masons made a further donation on behalf of the Grand Charity.

The contribution from local masons, in addition to that from the Grand Charity, comes to £54,000 over the past four years. The Rev David Bowen, Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire, and Deputy PGM-in-Charge Mike Roff were hugely impressed with the commitment and dedication of the Air Ambulance staff. To find out more about the work of the Grand Charity, turn to page 65


Peter Hill with Stuart Grantham and Roger Newhouse


Local mason Peter Hill, Lord Mayor of Bradford 2010-2011, chose for his charity a new inclusive play area at the Nell Bank outdoor education centre in Ilkley, West Yorkshire. The existing play facility had been enjoyed by some 300,000 youngsters during its 15-year life and was in need of replacement. Via his lodge, Lodge of the Three Graces, No. 408, in Haworth, and backed by Victoria Lodge, No. 2669, of Bradford, Peter successfully applied in 2011 for a major grant of £20,000 from the Provincial Grand Master’s Fund of the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding. The Tree House Adventure was completed in May this year and the opening ceremony was conducted by Peter Hill, attended by Provincial Grand Charity Steward Stuart Grantham and West Riding Masonic Charities chairman Roger Newhouse.

Complaints have been received about an advert offering for sale cufflinks and lapel pins in the form of a replica of the Hall Stone Jewel. Informal approaches had previously been made to the individual concerned, advising that the design was inappropriate and requesting that he ceased to market the items. The Board of General Purposes concluded that the design in this context is altogether inappropriate. The device is inextricably associated with Freemasons’ Hall, which was built as a memorial to masons who gave their lives during World War I. Except in the case of the small number of brethren still living who subscribed to the Masonic Million Memorial Fund and thereby qualified to wear an individual jewel, the privilege of wearing the Hall Stone Jewel is now restricted to the Masters of lodges whose donations to the Fund averaged 10 guineas per member, and the Provincial or District Grand Master of the Hall Stone Province (Buckinghamshire) and the Hall Stone District (Burma). The Board considered that turning such an iconic emblem into an item of personal adornment was in the worst possible taste and deeply disrespectful to the memory of the many fallen members of the Craft. It also noted that a donation to ‘Masonic Charity’ is promised for every sale made, which it regards as an attempt to give respectability to an enterprise that appears to have been undertaken for personal gain. The Board recommends that brethren of this Constitution neither purchase nor wear such items.




WEST YORKSHIRE SUPPORTS SCOUTING MILESTONE An event celebrating a scouting milestone has been funded by the Provincial Grand Master’s Fund of the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding, with a cheque presented by Tobias Reece of Beacon Lodge, No. 4066, based in Halifax. The occasion was the West Yorkshire Scouts’ 65th anniversary awards ceremony, when scouts from across the county were entertained by the Spen Valley Scout and Guide Band and a service was held in Bradford Cathedral. Left: Tobias Reece presents a cheque to Mark Stageman, West Yorkshire Scouts county commissioner with (centre) county president Dr Ingrid Roscoe, Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire

NORTHANTS HOUSING SCHEME GETS A BOOST The Masonic Housing Association (MHA) is building 11 one-bedroom flats, suitable for older couples, next door to its Palmer Court retirement and sheltered housing scheme in Wellingborough, Northants. The new flats, which are scheduled for occupation in early 2014, are all selfcontained with a private living room, kitchen and bathroom, and will have access to integral laundry facilities. The existing Palmer Court offers a residents’ lounge and adjoining kitchen, while a resident scheme manager and emergency call system reflect the MHA’s emphasis on the safety of its residents. The scheme will also see the addition of a new guest room, enabling relatives to stay overnight for a nominal charge. The project is being financed entirely by the MHA without any grant or public subsidy, at a cost of around £1.5 million.

Palmer Court House Committee chairman John Rivett, Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire PGM Max Bayes, Mayor Cllr Ken Harrington, Mrs Harrington and MHA chairman Martin Clarke

KEEP WALKING Each year, the Friends of Queen Elizabeth Court, Llandudno, host a summer fête to raise money for the benefit of the residents of the RMBI care home. The Province of Shropshire gave North Wales a well-deserved sabbatical

this year by taking on the organisation of the day. Music was provided by the Shrewsbury Brass Band, who had earlier entertained people in Llandudno town centre, and the leaflets they distributed boosted the attendance. This year’s fundraising also included a five-day sponsored walk from Shrewsbury to Llandudno, via The Severn Way, Offa’s Dyke Path and the North Wales Coastal Path, almost 120 miles in total. The walk was led by Deputy PGM Roger Pemberton and raised more than £5,000 towards the total £50,000 presented to the Friends of Queen Elizabeth Court. The money raised will assist the work of the RMBI in providing excellent care, including a top-quality dementia unit, for the 67 residents at Queen Elizabeth Court.

LUXEMBOURG BY CARAVAN Every year the Masonic Caravan Club of England & Wales (MCCEW) holds an international rally. The most recent one to Luxembourg included an added masonic element: a visit to the country’s Grand Lodge. The 39 members who visited the temple were shown the lodge room and discovered that the building housed five Craft lodges as well as other Orders. The caravaners on the 10-day trip were based at a campsite on the River Our and members enjoyed gourmet dinners, boules and whist competitions, a river trip on the Moselle and a visit to a local wine cave. The MCCEW consists of Freemasons and their partners who are fond of touring and holidaying in caravans or motor homes.

MCCEW members enjoy a game of boules

Members benefit from regular rallies both nationally and internationally, as well as local events in their own Provinces. The club welcomes new members and anyone interested in joining should visit or contact David Wootton:





Games can change the world, as a new project from London South Bank University (LSBU) and children’s charity Lifelites has proved. Enable Gaming challenges students on a BA (Hons) Game Cultures course to develop video games for children in hospices, most of whom are severely disabled. LSBU course director Siobhan Thomas said: ‘Games can make a profound difference to the lives of children with disabilities. Enable Gaming is about showing what can be accomplished if accessibility is at the forefront of a games developer’s mind.’ Lifelites provides fun and educational technology to the 9,000 terminally ill and disabled children who stay, play and learn in all 49 of Britain’s baby and children’s hospices. The charity began as a Millennium Pilot Project of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, but became a charity in its own right in 2006, retaining a strong relationship with Freemasons.

Palladian Lodge, No. 120, the oldest in the Province of Herefordshire, has donated £1,000 towards the general maintenance of Hereford Cathedral (pictured) as part of its 250th anniversary celebrations. The presentation was made to the Dean of Hereford, the Very Reverend Michael Tavinor, in the Lady Chapel of the cathedral, following the Service of Choral Evensong attended by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Herefordshire. The Dean welcomed this continued support and congratulated Palladian Lodge on its achievements over the past 250 years, wishing the members well for the future.

KEEPING IT IN THE EGYPTIAN FAMILY An unusual family event took place at Egyptian Lodge, No. 27, which is a 202-year-old Atholl Lodge. Alexander Dean is the grandson and greatnephew of the lodge’s two most senior members. Aged 20 and studying at the University of Southampton, Alexander was initiated by Dispensation. His great-uncle, Francis Helps, aged 93, celebrating the 72nd anniversary of his own initiation into the lodge, delivered the Charge after Initiation. Francis had been unable to do so for his younger brother Ken, 89, at his initiation into the lodge in 1947, as in those days the Charge could only be delivered by a Past Master. Francis was first installed as Master in 1959 and again at its 200th anniversary in 2011. Their father, William Helps, was initiated into the lodge in 1919, becoming Master in the 1930s.





A regular contributor to Freemasonry Today, the Rev Neville Barker Cryer’s recent death has robbed the Craft of one of its modern ‘characters’. A big man in every way, he had an international reputation as a researcher, writer and speaker on Freemasonry. A Past Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076, Neville was for a number of years its secretary and editor of Transactions. His work was acknowledged by his being appointed Prestonian Lecturer for 1974. After a few years as a parish priest, Neville was secretary of the British and Foreign Bible Society and authored several books on religious matters. He will be much missed, not least on the masonic lecturing circuit and in the many Orders in which he held high office.


MESSAGE OF LOYALTY Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes reflects on Freemasonry’s historic links with the Royal House as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, reaches sixty years as a subscribing member of the Craft



‘We often joke that nothing in Freemasonry ever changes or that, if it does, it takes a good many years to do so.’

ast year, in recognition of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, we sent a loyal message to Her Majesty on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of her accession to the throne. This year, a service was held in Westminster Abbey to celebrate the sixtieth year since her coronation. The coronation itself took place on 2 June 1953, and the ceremony was conducted by Dr Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury. Interestingly, Archbishop Fisher was a committed Freemason, serving as Grand Chaplain in 1937, while Bishop of Chester. He was reappointed Grand Chaplain in 1939, just at the time of his appointment as Bishop of London. At the Quarterly Communication the day after the coronation, on 3 June 1953, the Earl of Scarbrough, Grand Master, gave a loyal address to Her Majesty on the occasion of her coronation and I quote, ‘Brethren, we meet in Grand Lodge this afternoon on the day following the Coronation of our Gracious Queen. This is an event which stirs the hearts of us all – in these Islands, in every part of the Commonwealth and, indeed, throughout the world. We Freemasons, remembering in particular the many greatly prized links which we have had, and those which we still have, with the Royal House, have our hearts full of loyalty and prayer towards Her Majesty.’ We often joke that nothing in Freemasonry ever changes or that, if it does, it takes a good many years to do so. In this case I know that it is true and that as we celebrate the coronation – sixty years later – those sentiments expressed by Lord Scarbrough are as true today as they were then. Long may that be the case. We celebrate another royal sixtieth anniversary this year – that of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh’s sixty years as a subscribing member of the Craft. The Grand Master sent him a message of congratulations to mark the occasion and, in reply, Prince Philip asked for his thanks and best wishes to be expressed to all members.




The Showmen’s Lodge has been bringing together fairground rides, local communities and Freemasonry since it was consecrated in 2007. Ellie Fazan meets the members and spends a day on the dodgems



or the fairground showmen on Keyworth Playing Fields, Nottingham, it’s an early start – so early, the sun hasn’t yet burnt the summer haze from the sky. ‘We’re never ready until the first members of the public arrive,’ the guys laugh as they put the finishing touches to the rides and attractions at Keyworth Fair, opening this afternoon. There’s something heart-warming about watching a big man artfully arranging popcorn and kids’ toys as prizes on a stand. ‘We closed the last fair at 7pm on Sunday night then packed up and drove through the night to get here. It’s amazing what you get used to,’ explains David Cox Jr (otherwise known as ‘Little David’). ‘Even though I’ve been doing this my whole life, there’s always a thrill arriving somewhere new. This is a real feel-good job. There’s nothing quite like it when there’s sun on your back and cash in your pocket.’ Being a showman is hereditary; rides and pitches run in the family. Little David is the fifth generation. His dad, David Cox Sr, who organised this fair, gave him the waltzers when he was seventeen. David Sr is also one of the founding members of the Showmen’s Lodge, No. 9826, along with the other men at Keyworth today. ‘We were in another lodge that gradually dissolved,’ explains David Sr, ‘and we wanted to be members of something again. We decided on Loughborough as a location because it’s motorway connected, and we have to be mindful of where people travel.’


A SENSE OF BELONGING It might seem a strange leap from the fairground to Freemasonry, but the ties are strong. ‘While numbers in some lodges decline, special-interest lodges like this one are growing because of that extra layer of binding,’ explains Leicestershire and Rutland Provincial Grand Master David Hagger, who consecrated the lodge.

‘Even though I’ve been doing this my whole life, there’s always a thrill arriving somewhere new. This is a real feel-good job. There’s nothing quite like it when there’s sun on your back and cash in your pocket.’ David Cox Jr 21


With showmen only bedding down in one place for three or four months over winter, the sense of community that Freemasonry brings is crucial. ‘We travel widely so it’s good to have something extra that connects us. This gives us a chance to get together and see friends we might not otherwise see,’ says Philip Wheatley, the Worshipful Master. ‘It’s a great social life, and we get to talk about the things that affect our business.’ His brother Jimmy continues: ‘We always meet in November near the Loughborough Fair, because it’s one of the big ones on the calendar that we all go to. The Festive Board is spectacular.’ The Showmen’s Lodge has brethren from all over the country, with members coming from twelve different Provinces as far away as Bradford and Kent. ‘And they have a very close relationship with one another. The son of a mason is called a Lewis, and in this Order there are many more Lewises than usual. Nine fathers and sons, and several brothers and cousins too,’ explains David Hagger. Another founding member, Michael McKean is here with his son Clark, who has ‘been friends since the word go’ with Little David. As have their parents – and grandparents. Family ties here are strong, and it’s a very close community. ‘Weddings and funerals are huge,’ explains Clark, ‘and the lifestyle is great: going to different places, having great friends and really good family. I’m thirty-three and I’m with my father ninety per cent of the time, always helping each other out. You can’t say that in many communities these days. I have a little girl who is one and a half and she is with us most of the time. It makes life easy, and means showmen don’t have trouble with their kids.’

ON HOME GROUND When it comes to stories that have grown up about fairgrounds, the men are keen to dispel certain myths. Contrary to popular belief, their fair has an excellent safety record: ‘Better than Transport for London,’ says Michael. ‘And public preconceptions about us are wrong. They think we go round ripping people off. Not all gypsies are like that, and nor are we. I understand that people are wary of us – they wake up one morning and we’re here. That’s disconcerting.’ On the whole, however, the showmen have a good relationship with the local community and are proud to be welcomed back by those who have got to know them in previous years. ‘My ride is the tea cups,’ says Philip, ‘and some years mothers will come up to me nodding at their children and say, “He’s a bit too big for it now,” and smile. That gives me real pleasure. You don’t love a ride because of how big it is, but because of the pleasure it gives.’ Like many others in the UK, the showmen have been bitten by the economic recession, with the cost of fuel also a big problem. ‘It used to be that you’d only do a six-mile radius, then in recent years we’ve been going all over, and now the net is closing in again. It’s a fine balancing act, to work out the costs. It’s £5,000 for a full tank of petrol to London and back,’ says

‘We want to help the public through any predicament they may be in, whether that is by providing entertainment or charity.’ Michael McKean 22

‘I’m thirty-three and I’m with my father ninety per cent of the time, always helping each other out. You can’t say that in many communities these days.’ Clark McKean David Sr. ‘So you have to be sure you’ll make it back.’ And these days people have less to spend. Many come to the fair just to soak up the atmosphere but there’s no bitterness on the part of the showmen: ‘That’s part of the service too. The beauty of the thing is you can come and spend as much or as little as you like.’

THE FUN OF THE FAIR The economic troubles haven’t stopped the lodge’s charitable intentions. Providing spectacle for all, the Showmen’s Lodge is guided by a philosophy of giving back to the communities that give to them. ‘At the consecration meeting they raised £1,400, which shows their generosity,’ says David Hagger. Recently, Michael ran a free fair for children with additional needs in Derbyshire on the care in the community day. ‘Jimmy asked me and I said yes. Simple as that. And there was no trouble getting others to take part. Just the looks on the little kids’ faces made it worthwhile,’ he says. ‘But this isn’t just because we’re Freemasons. In the showmen community there is a strong tradition of charity.’ Famous showman Pat Collins, Showmen’s Guild president from 1920 to 1929, ran free fairs for orphans of the time. ‘We want to help the public through any predicament they may be in, whether that is by providing entertainment or charity,’ Michael says. ‘During World War I, we provided ambulances to take the wounded from the front, and during World War II showmen all chipped in and bought a Spitfire, known as “The Fun of the Fair”.’ Within their community they have raised more than £100,000 through Molliefest, a fair held to support a sick child. As the day wound down, conversation moved from charity work to lifestyle. So what’s it like living in a caravan? ‘Same as living in a house. We have every luxury you can imagine,’ says David Sr. Do you ever go to the fair when you’re on holiday? Laughter from Clark, ‘I’ve been to Puerto Rico and seen fairs you wouldn’t want to stand next to, never mind ride on.’ Is it dangerous? ‘How many scars do you want to see?’ laughs Little David. Followed quickly by: ‘No! We are brought up knowing how to look after our equipment. We can spot trouble a country mile off and look out for each other.’ There is no doubt that these men are genuinely committed to each other and the communities they visit. Then I ask the question that’s been on the tip of my tongue all day: ‘What’s your favourite ride?’ Little David replies immediately: ‘The waltzer. We have a saying: you can take the boy out of the waltzer, but you can’t take the waltzer out of the boy.’ David Jr’s dad chips in with less sentiment: ‘I like whatever ride takes the most money. If someone says to me, can you get such and such, the answer is always yes. Because even if I can’t get it, I know a man who can. We’ve got any event covered.’


Clockwise from top left: WM Philip Wheatley, PGM David Hagger, David Cox Sr with his son Little David, and (l to r) Clark McKean with his father, Michael McKean, and Jimmy Wheatley



INDEPENDENT VOICE Past editor of Freemasonry Today, Michael Baigent was a successful author and influential mason whose writing sparked debate and created a loyal following. John Hamill looks back at his career


t is with real regret that we have to announce the death of Michael Baigent who was editor of Freemasonry Today from the spring of 2001 until the summer of 2011, when increasing ill health forced him into partial retirement. He continued as consultant editor until his untimely death from a brain haemorrhage on 17 June 2013 at a Brighton hospital. Born in Nelson, New Zealand, in 1948, he was educated at Nelson College and the University of Canterbury, at Christchurch, reading comparative religion and psychology and graduating in 1972 with a BA. In later life he earned an MA in the Study of Mysticism and Religious Experience from the University of Kent. After graduating, Michael spent four years as a photographer in India, Laos, Bolivia and Spain. Coming to London in 1976, he worked for a time in the photographic department at the BBC, which brought him into contact with Henry Lincoln and Richard Leigh, who were filming a documentary about the medieval Knights Templar. Their mutual interests and enthusiasm ultimately led to the publication in 1982 of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, a controversial bestseller and still in print after more than thirty years.


EMBRACING THE CRAFT The success of the book enabled Michael to concentrate on research, writing and lecturing. Writing with Leigh, he produced works on such diverse topics as Freemasonry, the Dead Sea Scrolls, magic and alchemy, the Stauffenberg plot to kill Hitler and the Inquisition. His solo works covered the ancient mysteries, the early Christian church and the influence of religion in modern life. Michael’s interest in the history of ideas and the esoteric tradition led him to the Craft, becoming a Freemason in the Lodge of Economy, No. 76, Winchester, near his then home. He later joined the Prince of Wales’s Lodge, No. 259, London, and was nominated by them as a Grand Steward and appointed a Grand Officer in 2005. Freemasonry brought Michael to the notice of Lord Northampton, who invited him to become a trustee of the Canonbury Masonic Research Centre, which he was setting up as a focus for research into

the more esoteric aspects of Freemasonry. Equally, Michael became involved in and greatly shaped the early years of the Cornerstone Society, which Lord Northampton had established as a forum for those interested in exploring the deeper meanings of the ritual. When the Orator Scheme was being discussed in 2006, Michael was the obvious candidate to draft the early Orations.

LEADING FROM THE FRONT When Michael became editor of Freemasonry Today it was still ‘the independent voice of Freemasonry’. He greatly extended its coverage beyond the Craft and Royal Arch and attracted a new audience to the magazine, including a growing number of non-masons. He not only sought out contributors and edited their pieces but was responsible for the page design and seeing the magazine through the presses. He employed his old talents and provided many of the photographs that illustrated the content. It was something of a departure for him when in 2007 the magazine merged with Grand Lodge’s then house organ, MQ Magazine, to become the Craft’s official journal. Yet he rose to the occasion and continued to produce a magazine that combined news with interesting, and sometimes challenging, articles. Michael would have been the first to acknowledge that his work fell outside the normal run of academic historical research, but he believed completely in what he did. He was not writing for other academics but for the general reader, and he had a loyal following. Whether he worked on his own or with Lincoln and Leigh, Michael’s writing was never ignored and always provoked discussion – which is all any writer seeks. His last years were, sadly, marked by increasing ill health, including an initially successful liver transplant, and financial problems caused by the unsuccessful case he and Leigh took against the novelist Dan Brown’s publisher, claiming that Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code was both a plagiarism and infringed the copyright of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. A gentle, courteous man, Michael was always a pleasure to meet and talk to and will be greatly missed by many. Our thoughts go out to his wife, daughters and stepson and stepdaughter.







orking for a charity that supports more than two thousand children and young people in their education and extra-curricular life can be a rewarding experience, but for the small group of people who make up the Welfare Adviser team at the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB), it’s a job that comes with responsibility. Julia, Sam, Claire, David and Kate spend each day travelling the length and breadth of the country, visiting applicants to, and beneficiaries of, the RMTGB. They assess the support needed by new applicants and maintain ongoing contact with the many families already receiving the charity’s assistance. This close-knit team of five non-masons plays an integral role in how and when financial grants are awarded by the RMTGB, directing families to state benefits and services, offering guidance about education or careers, and sometimes simply providing a friendly face to talk to or a shoulder to cry on. The team draws upon its collective expertise, which includes counselling, cognitive therapy, bereavement assistance, teaching, social work and disability legislation.

Every day, the RMTGB’s welfare team travel the UK to help young people achieve their potential. Tabby Kinder goes on the road with Julia Young to visit the Stiles family and discovers how the charity is changing lives



Julia Young is one of the five welfare advisers who visit families applying for RMTGB grants

Julia Young has headed up the team as welfare manager for the past twelve years and spends roughly half her time visiting new applicants and the other half providing ongoing support for beneficiary families – some of whom have been receiving help from the trust for up to a decade. ‘The ability to listen with an empathetic ear is key to doing this job,’ she says. New applications are received almost every day from families who have experienced bereavement, poverty, debt, desertion, divorce or disability, and visits can be emotionally challenging. ‘When the initial application form comes to us it can be difficult to get the whole picture; often families are embarrassed to outline the difficulties they are having, particularly when it involves financial worries or mental health issues. By visiting the family in person we can get a whole picture of what they need, not just a piece of paper outlining facts and figures.’ For Julia, it’s all about finding the balance between sympathy and professionalism, although through the course of her work she has become very close to some cases. ‘I have met families who are at their wits’ end due to the death of one or both parents. It’s the most

‘When the application form comes to us it can be difficult to get the whole picture; by visiting the family we can see what they need, not just a piece of paper outlining facts and figures.’ Julia Young 27

FAMILY WELFARE The Stiles family have received support from the RMTGB since 2009. From left, Charles, Georgia, Pauline and Harriet with welfare manager Julia

‘The RMTGB has changed my children’s lives, their futures and given them opportunities to grow. It has lifted a huge burden, both emotionally and financially.’ Pauline Stiles wonderful thing to see a child develop from being very introverted to continuing their education with our help and eventually leaving sixth form with good A levels, on their way to university. I take great pride in all the children we help. Knowing they go on to achieve and be successful is very rewarding.’

THE ROAD TO SUCCESS Les Hutchinson, chief executive of the RMTGB, says that the work of Julia and her team is vital. ‘The speed at which the team can visit families, giving them time and support when they’re at their lowest ebb, is very valuable to our primary purpose, which is to provide support for the children and grandchildren of deceased or distressed Freemasons,’ Les says. ‘Our job is to do what we can to minimise the impact of poverty on the child and make sure that neither their education nor their opportunities are compromised.’ The Stiles family is just one of the many supported by the RMTGB and today Julia has made the twoand-a-half hour drive to Christchurch from her home in Haywards Heath to check in on Pauline


Stiles and her three children: Harriet, eighteen, Charles, twenty-one, and Georgia, twenty-three. When Pauline first approached the RMTGB in 2009 she was facing separation, the collapse of the family business, a son on his way to university, one daughter wishing to further her talent by attending a specialist basketball school, and another with severe disabilities that meant she needed round-theclock care. Pauline’s mental health was deteriorating and she moved out of the family home with her children, relocating to the south coast. ‘We had a very intense life running a busy family business and looking after Georgia, who has special needs, and then things started to go wrong,’ she says. ‘When we moved out of our old home, Charles had just finished his A levels, and none of us knew what was going to happen. It was a very difficult situation. We had lost absolutely everything.’ The Stiles family has a historical relationship with the Freemasons; Pauline’s husband, brother-in-law and grandfather are all masons, and the Craft has always surrounded family life. ‘Before all our troubles started my husband would raise money


for the school for autistic pupils that Georgia was attending in Southampton through his masonic lodge in Basingstoke,’ she says. ‘We were very involved in the fundraising side of it, encouraging the kids to collect twenty-pence pieces in Smarties tubes, and I’d attend the Ladies Day events. I never imagined that one day we would be on the receiving end. We never thought we’d be where we are.’ Financial support from the RMTGB has helped each of the children through a tumultuous and pivotal few years. Georgia returns from her full-time school for sixteen weeks of the year, and a holiday grant has meant that she, her sister and mum have been able to visit a respite camp for young people with disabilities on the Isle of Wight for a few nights each summer. ‘Despite her autism, Georgia loves going out and seeing new people and sights, so even just travelling on the boat was a huge experience for her,’ says Pauline. ‘Being able to take Harriet too meant that she could help me with Georgia, but she was also out there in the garden playing badminton with the other young people, teaching them how to play different games.’ Georgia is now finishing full-time education and has moved into her own accommodation, where she receives twenty-four-hour care assistance through government funding.

NEW FUTURES Harriet had a hard time in school, repeatedly held back due to severe dyslexia that went undiagnosed throughout most of her school life, putting her passion for playing basketball professionally on hold for a number of years and leaving her with low self-esteem. The RMTGB’s grant has allowed Harriet to complete her college education, and she has played basketball with the England team in games all over Europe. Harriet now plans to return to college in

Grants from the RMTGB have enabled Pauline’s children to further their education and gain independence

September to qualify as a personal trainer in order to work as a sports coach for people with learning disabilities. ‘I don’t know where I would be without their support. I definitely wouldn’t be at college now,’ says Harriet. The scholarship grant has helped Charles attend Cardiff Metropolitan University, where he studies sports management. ‘I was working in Australia for a year when all the trouble started,’ he says. ‘I came back to the UK and everything had changed, my mum had moved away from where I had grown up and it was a difficult time for all of us. I wanted to go to university but it wasn’t feasible due to our money problems, and a student loan can only cover so much,’ he says. ‘The grant has made things a lot more simple and comfortable, and now I can enjoy the side of university that everyone else gets involved in instead of constantly worrying about whether I can afford to eat or pay my rent.’ The charitable support has helped lift the burden on Pauline, who worried that her personal problems were negatively affecting the lives of her children: ‘I’ve found the last few years very hard,’ she says, ‘but I would have found it immensely more difficult if I knew I was letting down my children as well, or denying them the opportunity to do what they want to do.’ Now the pressure has been eased, Pauline has been able to develop the confidence to get back into the workplace, volunteering at a charity called Crumbs three days a week – and she has recently been offered a full-time position. ‘The RMTGB has made things possible for the children that would have been totally impossible without their help. It has changed their lives, their futures and given them opportunities to grow. It has lifted a huge burden, both emotionally and financially, and thanks to that my children have grown into wonderful young people.’


WIDER SUPPORT The four masonic charities are undergoing a period of realignment to make the services they provide more effective. The changes will enable the charities to offer easily accessible and comprehensive support to Freemasons and their families countrywide. One aspect of this process is the increasing co-ordination between the work of the Welfare Adviser team of the RMTGB with its counterpart Care Advice team at the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution.

Through this closer co-operation, the central masonic charities will be able to provide complete cradle-to-grave support, offering the same level of professional advice and help whether the applicant is a child, an elderly person, or a sick person. Les Hutchinson, RMTGB chief executive, says that ‘by minimising the differences between the charities, we are making our support as simple and easy as possible to access for those that need our help’.




LIFE-CHANGING LESSONS Crossing five thousand miles and overcoming huge communication barriers, two Freemasons set up an inspirational school in Zambia. Ellie Fazan reports on their astonishing story


hen teachers Tony Foster and Adam Williams took children from their North Wales school on a trip to Zambia eleven years ago, they visited a rural settlement called Mkushi. What they found was shocking. Out of around three thousand homesteads, there were one thousand orphans. ‘It was the height of the AIDS epidemic, although people there had no idea what it was,’ recalls Tony. ‘They called it “slim”, because you got thin, then died.’ Zambia has suffered a devastating AIDS epidemic. According to, one in six adults is living with HIV, six hundred and thirty thousand children are AIDS orphans, and in 2003 alone (around the time that Tony and Adam visited), eighty-nine thousand people died from the disease. Although the situation has improved in the past decade, it has had an impact across society, resulting in Zambia being one of the poorest countries in the world, with low levels of education and employment. UNICEF estimates that more than a quarter of a million children are out of school, and forty-seven per cent of those who are in school do not




complete their primary education. Since 2002 the state has provided free basic schooling, but in reality the government has had little money to put towards education, and the cost of uniforms, books and meals is prohibitively expensive for poor families. There are further barriers to education in rural parts of the country: children may have to travel very long distances to school and, as the family is considered an economic unit, parents and guardians need their children to work. ‘I found it very hard seeing this because I know the value of education,’ says Tony. ‘It gives the opportunity for a better life and not having that sets you back. This is especially true in countries where they don’t have a lot.’

BUILDING FOUNDATIONS More than five thousand miles from home, Tony and Adam found hope on the outskirts of Mkushi. A local man called Albert Mwansa was teaching a handful of children in a building without a roof. ‘He explained that otherwise they just wouldn’t get an education. It was humbling to see him trying to help,’ Tony explains. ‘Straight away we wanted to get involved, although at first it seemed quite daunting.’ When Tony and Adam returned home they began exchanging letters with Mwansa. ‘It seems so old fashioned, but it was before the internet was prevalent. It was obvious that this was a man we could trust. Mwansa already had the desire to do something, so we’d be building on that. He would have ownership, while we could provide the means.’ The teachers laid out a few founding principles: education would be free, the school would be open to boys and girls of all ages, the education would be at least as good as the state programme, and money would be set aside to train teachers. The school was to be called The Itala Foundation, with a board of trustees working together in Wales and Zambia. Along with Adam, Tony is a member of St Cyngar Lodge, No. 5323, which meets in Porthmadog, North Wales. He explains how their work in Zambia highlights the ethos of the Craft: ‘Masonry means that there is a universal brotherhood committed to helping our fellow human beings around the world. Our work with disadvantaged children and families




A teacher-training course costs

£260 a year for two years Sponsoring a child for a year costs just


Ten locally produced bricks cost


A locally made desk (which will give a carpenter a job and students a desk) costs

£50 An exercise book costs


at Itala is just an extension of that masonic care for those who are less fortunate than ourselves.’ So the two Freemasons raised ‘a few hundred quid and asked local schools to donate chalk that they didn’t use any more’. They built a mud hut school using local labour and bought pencils and paper so that lessons could begin. In the first year, seventyfive AIDS orphans were offered places at the school, but since then it has grown into three large purposebuilt buildings (including a science block) with ten qualified teachers – six of whom are currently receiving funding to undergo further training – and the means to teach one thousand children. The school provides at least one free meal a week to attract pupils, does not charge for books or materials, and there is no requirement to wear a uniform, because ‘we don’t want anything to deter them’.

TOP OF THE CLASS With a one hundred per cent pass rate at grade seven, The Itala Foundation has been such a success that children from other schools in the area are trying to enrol. ‘It’s hard to know what to do,’ says Tony. ‘We always said that we didn’t want to exclude anyone but our aim is to give a basic education to poor children.’ Delighted by how hard the children work, Tony is keen to mention two girls who attained the highest grades in the whole district in their maths exams. ‘No one grumbles about going to school – many refer themselves. Their prize possessions are a carrier bag, a pencil and a book. Most get up very early to do their homework and then their chores before school, and then go to work afterwards.’ Tony is proud of the children’s achievements, but he is most happy when he hears that they have a job. ‘We have a boy working as a carpenter, and another at a craft college in the city. Our aim isn’t to get children into university, it’s to provide them with the basics that will set them up for life.’ If you would like to make a donation, visit: Or find the school on Facebook:



READING BETWEEN THE LINES Never shy of a controversy, Dan Brown’s decision to launch his new novel at Freemasons’ Hall revealed the bestselling author’s true feelings about the Craft, as Anneke Hak discovered


Inferno, published by Bantam Press (14 May 2013), is the fourth novel in Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series

reemasons are quietly accepting about the fact that the media and writers can tend to misinform the general public about the goings on behind the closed doors of masonic lodges. However, when a hugely popular fiction writer, who once provoked the headline ‘Does the Catholic Church need to worry about Dan Brown?’, decided to write a book focusing on masonic groups, it was naturally a cause for concern. As it happened, The Lost Symbol came and passed without much of a to-do as far as Freemasonry was concerned. While dabbling in some colourful descriptions of red wine being drunk out of a skull during the initiation ritual, the book actually depicts Freemasonry as a benign and even misunderstood organisation. So when Brown was in London to publicise Inferno, his latest book in the Robert Langdon saga, Freemasons’ Hall was delighted to be approached about holding ‘An Evening With Dan Brown’, hosted by Waterstones. ‘We see the Dan Brown evening and all other outside events that we do as a means of showing people we are open,’ says John Hamill, masonic historian and a past librarian at the United Grand Lodge of England and Wales. ‘We are here, you can hold events, you can come and go round the building, you can use the library and museum, you can ask questions, and questions will be answered. It is all part of the whole process of being much more public about Freemasonry.’

Although Brown’s books may encourage persistent rumours, which liken Freemasonry to a secret cult, the writer himself is wholly complimentary of the group. He told The Independent before the event that he would be honoured to be a mason. ‘I’ve nothing but admiration for an organisation that essentially brings people of different religions together,’ he said. ‘Rather than saying “we need to name God”, they use symbols such that everybody can stand together … Freemasonry is not a religion but a venue for people to come together across the boundaries of their specific religions. It levels the playing field.’

ALL IN GOOD SPIRIT John managed to speak with Brown amidst the hustle and bustle before the event. ‘We talked about The Lost Symbol and the hype beforehand, and he said he couldn’t understand it because where he grew up in America, he lived four blocks from the local lodge and knew some of the Freemasons. He said, “Why would I want to attack one of the few organisations that’s still doing good in society?”’ While Brown often says that the secret societies and groups within his novels are based on fact, with a whole lot of poetic license thrown in for colour, his readers aren’t always able to differentiate between what’s real and what’s added for entertainment’s sake. However, rather than portray the Freemasons as malignant, The Lost Symbol says that




BELOW: Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon in the film adaptation of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, with co-star Audrey Tautou. RIGHT: The author discussed Inferno in front of 1,500 fans at Freemasons’ Hall

the group provides a fraternity that does not discriminate in any way – it is something, Brown argued at the time, that Freemasons should be pleased about. You would think so, too, considering that The Lost Symbol broke a whole slew of records, including becoming the UK’s bestselling adult hardcover since records began, and has been translated into dozens of languages.

TAKING CENTRE STAGE So would the publicists use the opportunity of a Dan Drown book event at Freemasons’ Hall to garner media attention through the use of mock rites of passage and men in sweeping black cloaks? Thankfully, no. Having attended many events at Freemasons’ Hall, some with Egyptian sphinxes littering the corridors and others with eerie music for ambience, it was gratifying to find that An Evening With Dan Brown was refreshingly simple, drawing on the fantastic building to hold the interest of the budding writers while they waited for the man himself. The author graciously thanked Grand Secretary Nigel Brown and Karen Haigh of Freemasons’ Hall for allowing Waterstones to use the venue for the event and described spending many hours in disguise at the building completing research for his last book. ‘What a room!’ he exclaimed on entering the hall and stepping up to the microphone. ‘I was actually here maybe six years ago, incognito,


‘I was here maybe six years ago, incognito, doing research for The Lost Symbol. Today, without my dark glasses on, it’s a whole lot prettier.’ Dan Brown doing research for The Lost Symbol. Today, without my dark glasses on, it’s a whole lot prettier. It’s a real honour for me to be here today.’ John asked Brown about his undercover trips to Freemasons’ Hall and discovered that the author would join tours, asking the librarians a lot of questions on his way around: ‘He said that they were very helpful. They must have wondered who this man was with so many questions.’ Having referenced Freemasonry during his speech, and admired the glorious building, Brown then turned the conversation to the main topic of the night: his latest book, Inferno. Largely inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy, which charts a journey through the three domains of the afterlife, the book has already sparked a whole new set of controversies as scholars argue over whether or not the author should be simplifying the historical elements while popularising this epic fourteenth-century poem. One thing is apparent, however: Brown seems to have given Freemasonry his seal of approval.


THREE MASONS IN A BOAT What happens when you’re half way across the Atlantic and the engine dies? With two fellow Freemasons as travel companions, Bob Clitherow recounts the ups and downs of life on the ocean waves


nce caught, racing yachts offshore is a condition that is hard to cure. No matter how unpleasant the previous experience, the next challenge is always hard to resist. Famous must-do races include the Fastnet, Sydney Hobart, Newport Bermuda and Caribbean 600 (C600). Adrian Lower’s yacht, Selene, is a classic Swan 44, designed by Sparkman & Stephens and built in 1973. She has competed in many events and in January 2012, a telephone call between Adrian and I went something like this: ‘I’ve entered Selene for the C600.’ ‘Fantastic, I’m on for that. But, how are you getting her there?’ ‘You’re doing the ARC!’

PLOTTING A COURSE The ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) is a popular way for yachts to cross the Atlantic in company. In November 2012, more than two hundred and ten gathered in Gran Canaria with the aim of sailing across some two thousand seven hundred miles to Saint Lucia. Of these, Selene was one of twentythree competing in the racing division. This was certainly going to be a challenge. The usual route is to head southwest towards Cape Verde and pick up the trade winds across to the Caribbean. But a storm system in the North Atlantic meant that we would have to stay north. The first few days would see headwinds of thirty knots, causing a two-day delay for the cruiser fleet and an uneasy dockside atmosphere. The original plan was to sail with a crew of eight. However, two dropped out a month or so before the start and on the night before the race, the sixth crew member took fright. So, it was a ‘grown-up conversation’ between


the five remaining crew on the morning of the start. Our decision was to ‘sail with purpose’, rather than race hard, and keep within a reasonable comfort zone. The three helmsmen would be Adrian, Rob Thomas – a student from Plymouth University – and me, and we would do a watch system of two hours on and four off. Rob would also oversee the bow and me the navigation. Kevin Artley and Lily, Adrian’s daughter, were to do three hours on and three off. This was a challenging watch system, but there wasn’t much choice. Three of us are Freemasons. Adrian was initiated into Royal Sussex Lodge, No. 402, in Nottinghamshire. He is a member of the Lodge of Peace & Harmony, No. 60, Recorder of Grand Metropolitan Chapter, No. 1 (Rose Croix), and Scribe E of Australia Chapter, No. 6505. Kevin was initiated into Farringdon Without Lodge, No. 1745, and is now an active joining member of Carnarvon Lodge, No. 1739, in Derbyshire. He has also joined Australia Chapter, No. 6505. I was initiated into Old Malvernian Lodge, No. 4363, London, am a member of both Grand Masters’ Chapter, No. 1, and Grand Masters’ Lodge, No. 1, a member of Grand Metropolitan Chapter, No. 1 (Rose Croix), and a founder of Amici Concilii Chapter, No. 1204 (Rose Croix). To say that the first few days of the race were pleasant would be a lie. Heavy seas caused damage above and below deck but by day four, the winds had gone around to the east and Selene was making good progress. The ocean is a very large place and on leaving the Canaries, we only saw two other competitors and three ships during the entire trip. However, weather information

and position reports were available via a satellite phone, and knowing where the opposition was proved to be a good means of encouraging us to keep pushing on. As life on board settled, it became apparent that a storm system was developing ahead. Selene’s immediate rivals, Scarlet Oyster and Persephone of London, dived south. Determined to sail less distance, we carried on. When it arrived, the first front brought constant rain and winds up to thirty-eight knots in the squalls. At its height, Selene coped admirably in gusts of fortyeight knots and, not for the first time, the crew were thankful of her sound design.

TESTING TIMES But the storm wasn’t the problem. The ‘Apollo 13’ moment came the next day when the engine refused to start. So, no more water maker or charging batteries. With one thousand two hundred miles still to go to Saint Lucia and seven hundred and fifty back to Cape Verde, the crew were more than a little concerned. Fortunately, there was just enough water on board, if used carefully, and the use of power was cut to an absolute minimum. The navigation system became a handheld GPS gaffer taped to the binnacle! The winds hardly dropped below twenty knots for the whole trip. So, any plans we might have had for catching the odd tuna and making sashimi had to be forgotten. After sixteen days at sea, five tired sailors arrived in Saint Lucia to be greeted with rum punch and the news that we had actually finished fourth overall. We had also finished second in class, sixteen hours behind Scarlet on corrected time, and eighteen minutes ahead of Persephone – a gratifying result.


Despite tempestuous seas, Selene finished fourth overall in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, much to the delight of her intrepid crew (below, l to r): Bob Clitherow, Kevin Artley, Rob Thomas, and Lily and Adrian Lower


OCEAN CROSSING Every November since 1986, the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers has set sail from Las Palmas, bound two thousand seven hundred nautical miles westward across the Atlantic to the Caribbean.







While harder to quantify than fundraising, pastoral care is an integral part of Freemasonry. Caitlin Davies finds out about the compassionate support that masons are giving to fellow members and their families around the UK




he phrase “pastoral support” gets used a lot,’ says Mark Smith, Provincial Grand Almoner for Gloucestershire, ‘because it’s our duty. There’s a perception that Freemasonry is an inward-looking organisation – it’s not, it’s outward looking and founded on the principles of charity and benevolence. There’s the ritualistic aspect and the social side, but at its core it’s about helping those less fortunate than ourselves.’ Mark co-ordinates eighty Freemasons in Gloucestershire who ‘keep a caring eye’ on lodge widows, assist the elderly through times of illness, and look out for bereaved children and grandchildren. ‘What they need is someone to talk to, care and guidance,’ he says. ‘I might not have all the answers, but I know people who do.’ Central to pastoral care is the masonic network; if someone dies then ‘others will know the family’s circumstances, approach us and we ask if help is needed’. And do people say yes? ‘Undoubtedly they do. Just to have someone to chat to can be a great sense of relief, because there can be a huge amount of anxiety,’ says Mark. A common source of anxiety is state benefits. The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution has a specialist advice team, providing free guidance on benefits and issues like care homes. ‘But older people can be confused and frightened about the system,’ explains Mark. ‘My experience is that it’s increasingly difficult to actually speak to somebody about benefits – you make calls, you get put on hold, you get told to speak to someone else and so on.’ Mark points to pension credit as a good example. ‘I have experience with my own father, I’m tenacious and I will get there in the end but I can see why someone older feels it’s not worth it and doesn’t bother to claim. People don’t know what they’re entitled to, and some have limited income.’ Yet unlike fundraising – for both masonic and non-masonic charities – it’s harder to measure the pastoral support that goes on. In Gloucestershire, the Provincial Grand Master set a fundraising target of £1 million in five years. In February this year the Province reached £1.6 million and recently gave £14,000 to seven local charities. Grants are measured, statistics are produced, but there is no means of quantifying community support and so the wider membership has little idea of the work that goes on. Added to the lack of data is the sensitive nature of pastoral care. ‘Most people are too proud to let anyone know about the support they’ve received,’ explains Mark. ‘And the confidentiality of the job

‘Most people are too proud to let anyone know about the support they’ve received. And the confidentiality of the job means their stories are often not told, especially if it’s financial help.’ Mark Smith

means their stories are often not told, especially if it’s financial help. They are too embarrassed to put their hand up and say, “I’ve received support.” There are misconceptions about Freemasonry and misconceptions within Freemasonry, so it’s sometimes difficult to share the positive stories.’

SUPPORT NETWORK But Teresa Mills Davenport, from Newcastle upon Tyne, is happy to bear testament to how the masons helped her during a time of grief. One Saturday morning in the summer of 2010, her husband Rob set off on a bike ride. Teresa went about her normal business, taking care of her twenty-seven-year-old son Michael, who has severe learning disabilities, autism and epilepsy, and eleven-year-old Bobby. An hour and a half later, there was a knock on the door. She opened it to find two policemen. When one said, ‘Teresa?’ she instantly knew what had happened. Rob, her husband of nearly twenty-one years, had been killed on his bike. Over the coming days she was full of despair, afraid of the future and how she would take care of her sons. But, she says, ‘I’m a strong believer and every night I talked to Jesus.’ She also discovered another kind of help in the form of the Widows Sons, an International Masonic Motorcycle Association founded in 1998 that Rob had recently joined. ‘The day Rob joined I said, “What’s that all about then?” He said it gives help to widows and orphans of Master masons and I said, “OK then.” It’s ironic, isn’t it.’ Teresa contacted Terry Fisk, a close friend of Rob’s and a brother in his lodge, as well as two other masons, Martin Coyle and Tom Parker. ‘I turned to Rob’s brothers and they couldn’t do enough to help me. They gave me emotional and financial support. I had to claim benefits and it was all new to me. They even took us to inquests.’ A couple of months later, Teresa had an idea. She would create a road-safety awareness group for motorcyclists: Dying to Ride. Martin advised her to contact Carl Davenport, the founder of Widows



‘The best thing Rob ever did was to become a Freemason. I’d be lost without them.’ Teresa Mills Davenport

Sons in America. ‘I emailed him and I thought, “Well, he’ll help – he’s a mason and I’m a widow asking for help.”’ Carl replied that he would do everything he could to promote the group. The two kept in touch and then Teresa went to visit. ‘It was like a fairytale,’ she says, and in March 2011 they got married. Dying to Ride now has three thousand, one hundred and seventy-eight members. ‘I don’t want to see others go through this, to get that unexpected knock on the door…’ Teresa explains, her voice breaking as she struggles to compose herself. ‘What I’m doing comes from a personal point of view.’


Find out how a team of RMTGB welfare advisers is helping the Stiles family on page 26


EXTRA BOND Malcolm Roy Elvy, Worshipful Master of The Elizabethan Lodge, No. 7262, Hampshire and Isle of Wight, has experienced the Freemasons’ community spirit. His desire to become a mason came out of curiosity: ‘I wanted to know if there was something there for me, an extra bond.’ Malcolm was born with syndactyly, meaning the digits on his hands and feet were fused. When he was four years old his legs were amputated, and after skin grafts and surgery his hands were partially separated to give him some ability to grip. Until he was twelve he spent most of his time in Great Ormond Street Hospital, where he joined the Scouts and went abseiling, hiking and sailing.

At twenty-one Malcolm started a transport company, although becoming an HGV driver wasn’t easy. So, Malcolm’s a determined man? ‘I’ve had no option. There was a lot of discrimination towards disabled people.’ After Malcolm joined the lodge, supported by Freemason Max Preece, he says he found a new bond of friendship: ‘I don’t belong to any religious organisation and it gave me that bit extra – I suppose you would call it spiritual depth, a bond that crosses all boundaries. I’ve been given support in all manner of ways. I got a lot of help at home, people visiting, and regular phone calls. When you’re ill you have to struggle on and the Freemasons were always there.’


The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB) is helping the family too, contributing money for Bobby’s school uniform and a new laptop, and paying for private respite for Michael. A financial grant also came from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, to help with the family’s living costs before Teresa remarried. ‘The Freemasons have been brilliant. People say they are a secret society. I say there is nothing secret about them at all. I always defend masons because people haven’t got a clue – I’d be lost without them. The best thing Rob ever did was to become a mason, and then a Widows Son.’ For Mark, providing help where it’s needed is all about supporting others while achieving your potential. An electrician with his own business and a young family, his role as Provincial Grand Almoner is voluntary. Mark’s motivation is the fact that he is helping people who often don’t know where to go for support. ‘We make a real difference. If Freemasonry wasn’t there, they would have nowhere else to turn,’ he says, adding, ‘Freemasonry enables people to be the best they can. It has given me the opportunity to do this job and develop my skills.’


Founded in London in 1913, Aston Martin celebrated one hundred years of manufacturing the world’s most luxurious and recognisable sports cars at Freemasons’ Hall. With James Bond’s DB5 pulling up outside, we take a look inside a very exclusive birthday party


At Freemasons’ Hall, film star Ewan McGregor poses alongside the famous DB5 from the most recent James Bond blockbuster, Skyfall


n a hot summer Saturday night in mid-July, a glittering black-tie party for one thousand Aston Martin owners and invited guests descended on Freemasons’ Hall on Great Queen Street to celebrate one hundred years of the classic car marque. With Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt and Allen Leech in attendance, the event featured entertainment from Radio 1 DJ Benji B, composer Grant Windsor and the Deviation Strings ensemble. The celebration in the capital was the culmination of a week-long programme of centenary activity that included driving tours across Europe as well as a host of events at the brand’s Gaydon headquarters in Warwickshire. Over the same weekend, tens of


thousands of enthusiasts had made the trip to London’s Kensington Gardens to witness the largest gathering ever of the iconic British cars. On display in the Royal Park or at nearby Perks Field were as many as five hundred and fifty Aston Martin models – worth around an estimated £1 billion in total.

CLASSICS OLD AND NEW Aston Martin CEO Dr Ulrich Bez said: ‘Exclusivity is a key part of the Aston Martin mystique – we have made only around sixty-five thousand cars in our entire one hundred-year history to date – so to see so many of these rare beauties gathered together in London was a truly historic occasion.’


Themed car displays told Aston Martin’s remarkable story. The event’s centrepiece, the Centenary Timeline Display, on the Broadwalk, took visitors on a one hundred-year journey from the origins of the brand in Henniker Mews, Chelsea, to its current global headquarters in the Midlands. Every significant Aston Martin road car was represented, from ‘A3’, the oldest surviving car, which dates from 1921, to the Centenary Edition Vanquish, and the thrilling new V12 Vantage S and Vanquish Volante. The exceptional CC100 Speedster concept model, meanwhile, provided a tantalising glimpse of the potential shape of the brand’s cars in years to come.

Elsewhere in the park a Centenary Selection display showcased the diverse and highly bespoke nature of the brand. This varied line-up revealed cars rarely seen outside of private collections, including a brace of new Zagato models, a trio of Bertone Jets, and a number of other unique cars commissioned over the years by passionate customers worldwide. To top it all, Aston Martin’s association with James Bond was marked with a display of seven of the movies’ cars. Back at Freemasons’ Hall, actor Ewan McGregor posed happily alongside a DB5 from the latest Bond blockbuster, Skyfall, adding a flourish of Hollywood glamour to an evening that celebrated a car marque with true star quality.

Crowds in Kensington Gardens admire Aston Martins past and present, including James Bond’s DB5, while guests gather for the celebrations at Freemasons’ Hall



BEHIND THE SCENES As the masonic adviser in the private office, John Vazquez is the Mr Fix-it of Freemasons’ Hall, providing all the expertise, support and sometimes regalia to make sure that lodge meetings go without a hitch




Q: How did you come to work at Freemasons’ Hall? A: Before I was called up to national service in Spain in the 1970s, I was working for a retailer in Oxford Street. My mother used to work at Freemasons’ Hall cleaning the Grand Temple and when I returned to the UK, she said there was as a job going as a porter. I took the role in 1980 and thought I’d eventually get back into retail management, but here I am thirtythree years later. I got to know the people and enjoyed it. Back then it was very family oriented and sometimes you felt that you’d rather stay in the Hall than go home. When I first walked into the building, I thought how wonderful it was – I was amazed by it and still am. It’s not what you expect; there are lots of cubby holes and even now I’m discovering new things. My favourite place is room seventeen; everyone likes the Grand Temple and room ten, but I like room seventeen’s old-fashioned wood panels and the antique furniture. Q: What was your first lodge? A: I became a member of the staff lodge, Letchworth, after the bylaws had changed to allow ‘downstairs’ staff to become full members. I then joined the half English, half Spanish St Barnabas Lodge. It was a dying lodge, maybe fourteen or so members, but it’s up to around fifty-two now. I get to meet such a wide variety of people – that’s the great thing about Freemasonry.

‘I am still amazed by the Hall. It’s not what you expect; there are lots of cubby holes and even now I’m discovering new things.’ Q: When did you start helping to run events? A: After becoming foreman porter, my job changed to deputy lodge liaison officer. When Nigel Brown came in as Grand Secretary, it developed into the role I have now: using my knowledge to look after the masonic events in the building. From Grand Lodge through to Provincial lodge meetings, I’m always in the background making sure everything is working. My job is to ensure each day is perfect. I help set up rooms, making sure all the props are there, as well as providing advice. I want to make all the masons watching feel comfortable and for them to walk out with a smile on their face, saying what a wonderful day they’ve had. I’m a calm person and I say to people when they come for a meeting, ‘Don’t worry. If I look anxious, then start worrying, but until then assume everything’s OK.’ I try not to get too stressed. It doesn’t matter who you are, I will treat you in the same way. It goes back to the principles of Freemasonry and it’s a wonderful thing about the Craft. You do get individuals who think they’re special and need reminding of where they are,



‘I don’t have an average day, it’s not like working in an office. One side of my job is practical – it’s a good thing I was in the Scouts.’ that this is not their building: it’s mine and they should behave! I’m lucky that I’ve been here a long time and people know me, so if I say something is going to happen, then it will. Q: How would you describe your job? A: I’m a Mr Fix-it. I don’t have an average day and it’s not really like working in an office. One side of my job is practical, like replacing broken chairs, and I’m responsible for all the regalia, making sure it’s clean and repaired – it’s a good thing I was in the Scouts. But my job is also about understanding Freemasonry, knowing what you can and can’t do in a ceremony. If I know I can’t do it, then I know someone else probably can’t either. A lot of people do take my recommendations, but it’s only advice. When we started hosting non-masonic events at the Hall, the Grand Tyler Norman Nuttall and I used to organise them. As demand increased, the external events were given to Karen Haigh to oversee and I now work closely with her to make sure our masonic and non-masonic events don’t clash. When we first held things like Fashion Week here, there were a few raised eyebrows from masons coming to the Hall, but I think they’re used to it now. Q: Have things changed since you joined in 1980? A: Freemasonry has opened up quite a lot, as much as people think it hasn’t. When I first came here you weren’t allowed to go to the Library and Museum unless you were a mason or accompanied by one. While basic masonry hasn’t changed, the people around it have. Younger masons are looking at things in a different way, which is good. Freemasonry was here before I came and it’ll be here after I’m gone – just like this building. To me it’s a privilege and honour to come and work here. It was fantastic to be part of the two hundred and seventy-fifth anniversary celebrations in 1992 at Earls Court. There was a lot to organise; we had to set the arena up as the Temple and two lodges, but we got it done. It’s the same with the three hundredth celebrations. I won’t panic and I’m actually looking forward to it. We will make masons proud.


From keeping regalia in perfect condition to advising on ceremonial practice, no two days are the same for the Hall’s very own “Mr Fix-it”, John Vazquez




This year marks the culmination of a £1 million grant to Ovarian Cancer Action, made by the Grand Charity over the past five years. Freemason Geoff Fisher explains to Tabby Kinder why he is proud to be involved with an organisation that supports the people fighting this disease


hen Gill Fisher died of ovarian cancer in 2010, after six years of fighting the illness, it would have been easy for her husband Geoff, Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon and Treasurer at Anderton Lodge, to become detached and withdrawn. Instead, Geoff has spent the past three years tirelessly raising awareness about the disease: ‘If I can get just one woman to notice the symptoms and raise the issue with her doctor, then all of this will seem worthwhile.’ During Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month (March), Geoff leaflets banks, supermarkets, school staff rooms and local businesses with information. But his mission isn’t confined to one month: ‘I even stuff Christmas cards with leaflets, asking people to distribute them.’ Geoff also makes the Walk of Hope every year with his two grown-up children or friends of his wife. It’s a ten-kilometre trip through Tatton Park, which brings people together to raise money for The Christie NHS Foundation Trust: the Manchester cancer treatment hospital where Gill spent much of her time in her final years. For Geoff, and anyone with a similar experience, getting the word out about this deadly disease is key. In fact, as the biggest gynaecological killer of UK women, it is hard to believe that ovarian cancer has had so little publicity compared with other cancers affecting women, such as breast and cervical.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer among women in the UK, with around seven thousand new cases each year. Although women are statistically more likely to get breast cancer than ovarian cancer, the latter is significantly more deadly, with a five-year survival rate of below ten per cent once the disease is in an advanced stage. ‘When the cancer is in the first stages, maybe ninety-four per cent of people are cured just by operation, but if the disease spreads into the abdominal cavity, the number of people who are ultimately cured is very low,’ says Professor Hani Gabra, director of the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre at Hammersmith Hospital – the only facility of its kind in the UK and the ‘national jewel for research’ in Europe. Ovarian cancer is almost totally undetectable before it has spread, so the earliest stage of detection is often too late.

AWARENESS IS KEY Geoff’s wife was misdiagnosed twice, first by an emergency doctor and then by her own GP, before being correctly diagnosed by a gynaecologist ten weeks after displaying the classic symptoms of a malignant cyst (see ‘Know the Symptoms’ overleaf to learn the warning signs). This same story emerges again and again in personal accounts of women being diagnosed with a gastric complaint and


SUPPORTING OVARIAN CANCER ACTION Having previously donated £1 million towards research into prostate cancer, the Council of the Grand Charity recommended in 2008 that a similar donation should be given for research into a cancer that affects women. It was agreed that the counsel of women should be sought, as their opinions would be extremely beneficial in deciding which charity should receive the funding. Among the women asked to contribute their thoughts was Zita Elliott, the wife of the Grand Charity’s then president Grahame Elliott CBE. Zita remembers the bright,

summery day when the ten women met together at Freemasons’ Hall in London: ‘We all sat down and over a cup of tea were asked to make a recommendation. Believe me, we didn’t take it lightly,’ she says. ‘The thing I remember most is how quickly we all reached a unanimous agreement. Our suggestion was to fund research into ovarian cancer. At that time it was very much the silent killer; few people knew the symptoms and the survival rate was extremely low. We are all delighted with what Ovarian Cancer Action has achieved over the past five years.’



‘If I can get just one woman to notice the symptoms and raise the issue with her doctor, then all of this will seem worthwhile.’ Geoff Fisher

prescribed paracetamol for a few days. ‘People need to know the symptoms and be prepared to challenge their doctor,’ says Geoff. When it comes to combating ovarian cancer, increased awareness is only one part of the jigsaw. Lengthy and expensive research and trials are needed to understand the cancer and develop treatments. Ovarian Cancer Action (OCA) is committed to making this a survivable disease by funding research and raising awareness. Geoff has been involved with the national charity since Gill’s first diagnosis in 2004, when he and his wife would collect donations and sell badges in support of OCA. Geoff is keen to acknowledge the support he has received from his lodge in all his activities, especially fundraising, both throughout Gill’s illness and since.

Freemasons to an illness that needs to find more recognition within research and funding circles. The sustained nature of the funding meant OCA could make ‘quick-term gains, while still supporting the long-term science and research needed,’ says Allyson Kaye, the charity’s founder and chair. ‘Freemason support has allowed us to do a mailing list to GPs and practice nurses every year since 2008, in which we outline the symptoms of ovarian cancer,’ she adds. ‘And it funded the first formal survey of GPs, which gave us a baseline to understand what UK healthcare professionals really knew about the disease, allowing us to better evaluate our work.’ The Grand Charity’s donation also supports the work of Professor Gabra, as well as funding a national database of tumour samples from women who have been treated for ovarian cancer, enabling more cohesive research. ‘In 2008 our charity was at a very early stage and ovarian cancer was very much a silent killer,’ says Kaye. ‘The Freemasons’ support has helped us grow and given women a voice.’

DISCOVERING HOPE OCA invests £1 million a year to fund the life-saving work being done by Professor Gabra and his team, who report real hope thanks to a second stage of clinical trials that began this year. ‘We’ve worked with pharmaceutical companies on a series of trials that started in 2011, establishing that the drugs that target what we think may be crucial are safe to use. Now we are combining those drugs with standard chemotherapy drugs and there are some signals of activity – things are looking surprisingly promising at this point,’ Professor Gabra says. The awareness work done by Geoff on the street and the research in the lab have run in parallel with a £1 million grant approved by the Grand Charity in 2008 – payable to OCA over five years, culminating this year. It’s the conclusion of a huge donation by


Since his ‘darling Gilly’ lost her fight against ovarian cancer in 2010, Geoff has been raising awareness about the disease

Through this grant, Freemasons are supporting a charity that is making a huge difference to cancer research. ‘We’re bringing the research out of the lab and pushing it into the clinic,’ says Professor Gabra. ‘Between four hundred and six hundred patients with gynaecological cancers have their surgery and chemotherapy here in the NHS clinic every year, but we also run the clinical trials alongside the practice, so fresh ideas find themselves first in our treatments. The scope and scalability of the discoveries that we’re making at this research facility have huge potential.’

KNOW THE SYMPTOMS In a recent survey of UK women, Ovarian Cancer Action found that more than sixty-six per cent of respondents were not aware of the main symptoms of ovarian cancer: persistent stomach pain, persistent bloating or increased stomach size, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly and needing to urinate more frequently. Other signs may include: changes in bowel habits, fatigue and back pain. The symptoms are mainly gastric and are similar to those


of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – but they are distinctive because they’re frequent and persistent, whereas those of IBS come and go. Only ten to fifteen per cent of people with advanced ovarian cancer are alive ten years later, compared to seventy per cent of breast cancer sufferers. ‘Awareness is key,’ says Professor Gabra. ‘Bring it up with your GP if you are experiencing the symptoms.’ For more information, visit



Crucial in the creation of Freemasonry as we know it today, Francis Rawdon had bold ambitions that saw him twice almost becoming Prime Minister, as John Hamill discovers


rancis Rawdon, Baron Rawdon, 2nd Earl of Moira and 1st Marquess of Hastings, is one of the forgotten heroes of English masonic history. An intimate of George, Prince of Wales (later Prince Regent and King George IV), he was Acting (or, as we would say, Pro) Grand Master of the premier Grand Lodge of England from 1790 to 1813, during the Grand

Mastership of the Prince of Wales. In that role he was one of the principal movers of the project to unite the two Grand Lodges then existing in the country to form the United Grand Lodge of England. Nor has history been kind to Francis Rawdon. He was not the subject of a full biography until 2005 – surprising for one who distinguished himself as a soldier, statesman and colonial governor.


MASONIC HISTORY Born in 1754 in County Down, Ireland, Rawdon was the eldest son of John Rawdon, the 1st Earl of Moira. After schooling at Harrow he joined the army, arriving in Boston, Massachusetts, in July 1774 as a lieutenant in the 5th Regiment of Foot. The following year he fought with distinction at the Battle of Bunker Hill, one of the early engagements of the American War of Independence. Promotion to captain followed, and Rawdon was given a company in the 63rd Regiment of Foot, which brought him to the notice of General Sir Henry Clinton, who appointed him one of his aides-de-camp in 1776. When Clinton became Commander-in-Chief in America in 1778, he appointed Rawdon Adjutant General with the full rank of Lieutenant Colonel. But Rawdon fell out with Clinton and resigned as Adjutant General, sailing south in 1780 with a force of more than two and a half thousand to join General Lord Cornwallis at Charleston. That same year his actions carried the day at the Battle of Camden, though victory was short lived and retreat inevitable.

FROM WAR TO POLITICS By July 1781, fatigue and recurring bouts of malaria had almost destroyed Rawdon’s health, so he resigned his command and set sail for England. His ship, though, was attacked by privateers and he became a prisoner under the protection of a French admiral, the Count de Grasse Tilly. After negotiations, Rawdon was exchanged for Thomas Burke, the rebel Governor of North Carolina, and finally arrived home in 1782, to be rewarded by promotion to full colonel and created Baron Rawdon in his own right. Back in England, Rawdon took to politics as a member of the House of Lords but continued his military service. He last led in the field in 1794 when he took a force to the Low Countries to rescue the Duke of York, whose army was surrounded by the French at Malines. In the Lords, Rawdon began as a Tory but, once part of the Prince of Wales’s inner circle, moved to the Whigs. For more than two decades he regularly spoke in the House on economic, foreign policy and military matters, and was a supporter of Irish issues and Catholic Emancipation. During George III’s first

Francis Rawdon’s jewel as Acting Grand Master can be seen in the museum at Grand Lodge


‘He persuaded the Gurkhas to form a regiment as part of the army in India.’ period of ‘madness’, in 1788, he tried to persuade the Lords to make the Prince of Wales sole Regent and was to do so again in 1810. There were two attempts to form an administration with Rawdon as Prime Minister but he held government office only once, as Master-General of the Ordnance in 1806.

SERVING THE EMPIRE In 1813, Rawdon took up the position of Governor General of Bengal and soon declared war on Nepal and its Gurkha army, which had been making incursions across the border. His skills as a tactician forced the Gurkhas to sue for peace, but so taken was he with their bravery that he persuaded them to form a regiment as part of the army in India – the birth of the long connection between these tough Nepalese people and the British Army. Moira was rewarded in December 1816 by being created Marquess of Hastings. Earlier in that year he had waged war on the Pindaris and his success in that enterprise, in 1817, established British supremacy in the whole sub-continent. He then turned his mind to civil matters, encouraging education and a free press and rooting out government corruption. This brought him into conflict with the East India Company, and those quarrels and failing health forced his return to England in 1823. The cost of the Indian sojourn and his personal generosity had almost bankrupted Rawdon, and in 1824 he was forced to accept the lesser appointment of Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Malta. Again he was popular, attempting to improve life for the Maltese and tackling government corruption. His stay was short, though. In 1826 he was badly injured in a riding accident and died recuperating on a ship on its way to Naples. He was buried in Malta. As a measure of Rawdon’s popularity, when the premier Grand Lodge heard he was leaving for India, they raised the handsome sum of £670 to purchase a gold collar from which hung his jewel as Acting Grand Master. The jewel survives and is on display at Grand Lodge for all to admire.


TROOP LEADER Fellowship, harmony and shared moral values – the parallels between Freemasonry and Scouting have been explored by Tony Harvey in his Prestonian Lecture. He speaks to Andrew Gimson about what the two organisations can learn from each other


ew speakers can have prepared themselves so thoroughly, or over so many years, as Tony Harvey did for his Prestonian Lecture, ‘Scouting & Freemasonry: two parallel organisations?’ It was through talking to a fellow Scouter in the 1980s that Tony’s interest in the Craft was awoken: ‘That conversation led to my initiation as a Freemason – while in Scout uniform – into Pioneer Lodge, the Scout lodge of Derbyshire, at the age of thirty-one.’ Now fifty-three, the lectureship has given him a chance to explore ideas that have been germinating since he was a boy. He takes the opportunity not only to explore the close historical links between Scouting and Freemasonry, but to stimulate a wider debate about how they can inspire and assist each other in the future.


Between February 2012 and June 2013, Tony delivered his lecture no fewer than forty-eight times to lodges in many different parts of England and Wales, as well as the Isle of Man, Iceland, South Africa and the US. He has ten more appearances booked, stretching out to September 2014, and is ‘very optimistic’ that people are already ‘taking up the challenge’ of what he has to say. He would like to take the lecture to all the Provinces in England and Wales.

LEARN BY EXAMPLE In particular, Tony hopes Freemasonry will learn from the recent revival in Scouting, with which he has been closely involved: ‘Freemasonry’s numbers are in decline. It is experiencing what Scouting went through fifteen to twenty years ago. What



Having held key roles both in Scouting and Freemasonry, Tony Harvey is well qualified to be Prestonian Lecturer



‘Each organisation became a place where people could meet in fellowship and harmony, despite their religious, social, cultural and national differences.’ Tony Harvey

Scouting did in the late 1990s was first to conduct a widespread consultation exercise (every member had the opportunity to contribute) and then to act on the feedback. It decided that the core of Scouting – its principles, values and purpose – should not change. But in order to make it more relevant and attractive to people in the twenty-first century, there was a need to simplify the way the organisation operates.’ The modernisation of Scouting saw it modify its youth programme and change its age ranges – an approach that has led to a growth in membership of between four and five per cent each year for the past seven years. ‘Scouting is still about citizenship and the outdoors, offering everybody everyday adventure, but it now has a structure and a programme much more attuned to today’s young people. We involve more volunteers to do smaller things, rather than a few volunteers to do a lot of things.’

The modernisation of Scouting revived the organisation, while retaining its core values. Freemasonry, Tony believes, will benefit from a similar approach

The challenge for Freemasonry, Tony believes, is likewise to protect its core – its landmarks and its ritual – while making itself more flexible to suit the needs of someone still in their working life. ‘Meetings that start in mid-afternoon are not very accessible to the man in his forties who is still making his career.’ For the past four years, informal lunch meetings have been held at a national level between senior members of both organisations. Tony hopes to see such co-operation at local level, with lodges fostering links with local Scout groups, including those formed with start-up money from the Grand Charity: ‘What if every Freemason who ever took the Scout Promise gave a couple of hours back to Scouting?’ The Prestonian Lecture, the only official lecture given under the authority of the United Grand





Lodge of England (UGLE), is held in memory of William Preston (1742-1818), the greatest masonic educator of his day, and is intended to ‘instruct and entertain a general lodge audience’. Tony dispels the misconception that he had applied to deliver it: he was nominated without his knowledge.

SERVICE TO OTHERS Tony is well qualified to be the Prestonian Lecturer. Within Scouting he has held roles at national and local level for thirty years and is a national volunteer with The Scout Association. Masonically, he has been Master of three Scouting lodges and is the Provincial Grand Mentor for Derbyshire. In May 2011, after his appointment, he began by writing his lecture in book form. It is published by Carrfields Publications and begins with the parallels between the organisations: ‘The first and foremost membership requirement of each organisation is that those who join must profess a belief in a Supreme Being. Freemasonry was originally specifically Christian, but de-Christianised over the hundred years following the formation of the first Grand Lodge. Scouting has never been specifically Christian. By not requiring the Supreme Being to be specifically the Christian understanding of God, both Freemasonry and Scouting became attractive to people from around the World. Each also became a place where people of different faiths could meet in fellowship and harmony, with shared moral values, despite their religious, social, cultural and national differences.’ The second moral principle the organisations share is service to others. Both confer awards for valued service, keep out of politics and are voluntary. In the UK, both have, in a senior position, HRH The Duke of Kent, who is Grand Master of the UGLE and president of The Scout Association. He follows other royal Freemasons who have also held senior positions in Scouting. Tony recognises that there are key differences between the two organisations. Scouting is a youth movement, open to both boys and girls, while Freemasonry under the UGLE requires its members to be of mature age, and is open only to males. But it would be a mistake to give the impression that either the book or the lecture are unduly theoretical. Both are full of fascinating historical material, including a number of illustrations. The largest audience for one of Tony’s lectures, just over two hundred people, was during his visit to South Africa. More typically he draws an audience of one hundred to one hundred and twenty. He speaks for about forty minutes and then takes questions, so that the whole event takes no more than an hour. Tony describes the reception he has received as ‘warm, engaged, enthusiastic, with good questions’, and was gratified when one member of the audience said to him: ‘I was absolutely fascinated and I sat through all two hours of it.’

WAS BADEN-POWELL A FREEMASON? The front cover of Scouting & Freemasonry: two parallel organisations? is adorned by a fine portrait of Robert BadenPowell, the hero of Mafeking (the town that under his leadership withstood a siege of two hundred and seventeen days in 1899-1900), who founded the Scouting movement in the years from 1907. Tony examines in detail whether Baden-Powell was a Freemason. It is certainly the case that many of Baden-Powell’s friends and collaborators were. Rudyard Kipling, for example, whom he met in Lahore in the early 1880s, was initiated as a Freemason into Hope and Perseverance Lodge, No. 782, in India in 1886. As Tony points out, ‘Baden-Powell used Kipling’s Jungle Book as the basis for the Wolf Cubs when he and Percy Everett created Scouting’s junior section in 1916. Kipling also created the Grand Howl and defined how it should sound. He held an appointment as a commissioner for Wolf Cubs and was a member of the Scout Council.’ In a letter appealing to masons for funds, Baden-Powell said of

Scouting: ‘Our principles are closely allied with those of the Freemason, being those of Brotherhood and Service.’ But Tony demonstrates that BadenPowell never himself became a Freemason, partly for fear of offending Roman Catholic Scouts. He also shows that, despite this, Baden-Powell thought well of the Craft. More than £30,000 has so far been raised from sales of the book, proceeds from which are being divided between two charities, the Masonic Samaritan Fund and The Scout Association’s archive development project. The book can be purchased via




TELLING THE WORLD While the role of Freemasons in raising funds for worthy causes is crucial, the Grand Charity believes it is also important to publicise its work to a wider audience


he Freemasons’ Grand Charity works hard to raise awareness of the generosity of masons. In recent years it has seen an increase in the number of publicity mentions it has received and was included more than six hundred times in the regional press (newspapers, online media and radio) and charity websites/publications last year. This level of coverage is made possible by the Grand Charity working closely with Provincial and Metropolitan Information and Communication Officers, who are responsible for gaining a great deal of recognition for the charity’s work in regional press. For example, news of the Grand Charity’s support for air ambulances was publicised more than one hundred and forty times, featuring on ITV news online and several radio stations. The hospices programme also received frequent recognition, with more than one hundred mentions in regional press. The Grand Charity also works closely with the charities it funds, many of which show their thanks through public recognition. The £50,000 donation to Help for Heroes in 2012, to fund therapeutic gardens at a recovery centre for wounded service personnel, was highlighted on BBC radio. In addition, a plaque acknowledging the support of Freemasons was placed in the gardens upon completion.

The therapeutic garden at Tedworth House was funded by the Grand Charity

Many other charities include messages of thanks to Freemasons for their support in their own charity publications, websites, press releases and social media. News of the Grand Charity’s grant to Cancer Research UK last year received more than one thousand ‘likes’ on its Facebook page.

IN THE NEWS During 2013, the Grand Charity has spent time promoting its Masonic Relief Grants programme to a wider audience. The charity has been working with Mark Smith, Provincial Grand Almoner of Gloucestershire, to raise awareness of the valuable community service Almoners carry out by providing help, guidance and pastoral support in often very difficult and challenging circumstances. Mark was interviewed live on BBC Radio Gloucestershire about the work of the Almoner and the support given by the central masonic charities. Mark spoke eloquently about his role and how Freemasonry provides a wide range of support for people in need and that ultimately this is of great benefit to society as a whole. The Grand Charity would like to thank Mark for his help in publicising the work of the central masonic charities and, most importantly, for highlighting the work carried out by Almoners across England and Wales. The role of lodge Almoner is voluntary and one that requires a great deal of dedication – without their commitment it would be impossible for the Grand Charity to assist the thousands of people it helps each year. Other highlights for the Grand Charity have included recognition of its work by The Guardian online in an interview with Jackie Bailey, head of outreach at the Spinal Injuries Association, and also during an interview on BBC Radio Manchester with Ben Fewtrell, a family support worker at the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity. Both Jackie and Ben’s roles are largely funded by The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, which was acknowledged.

Gloucestershire Almoner Mark Smith at the BBC

If you would like more information, or to see any clips of the publicity mentioned, please contact Siobhan McCarthy, head of marketing at The Freemasons’ Grand Charity: smccarthy@

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RESEARCHING WITH FOCUS The Masonic Samaritan Fund has dedicated more than £227,000 this year to fund medical research aimed at combating progressive neurological diseases


any masonic families are coping with the daily challenges of supporting a person affected by the disabling symptoms of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or motor neurone disease (MND), for which there are no cures. As well as providing grants to help people living with these illnesses, the MSF supports medical research that aims to improve the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of these conditions. The MSF makes funding decisions by considering the aims of the research and how closely they align to the needs of the masonic community.

VALUED SUPPORT The Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) received £57,207 to advance understanding of the disease that affects mainly men in their fifties to seventies. In England, more than three thousand five hundred people are living with symptoms that have an impact on how they walk, talk, eat and breathe. The MSF has awarded more than £2.4 million to provide mobility aids and equipment to help people with MND and other disabling conditions to live as independently as possible, for as long as possible. BRACE, a charity that funds research into dementia, received £26,000 to advance a test for early Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Alzheimer’s affects one in fourteen people over the age of sixty-five

and one in six over the age of eighty. This condition can often lead to the need for round-the-clock care and the MSF regularly provides respite care grants to offer carers a valued break. The Cure Parkinson’s Trust received £144,000 to study the impact of a new treatment for the disease. Someone newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s may not need any practical help, but the MSF Counselling Careline offers emotional support and guidance for masonic families coping with a new diagnosis. With most progressive neurological diseases, symptoms vary from person to person and can sometimes take years to progress to a point where they impede their quality of life. Through funding medical research, the MSF hopes to not only improve the practical support it can offer to masonic families, but make possible revolutionary research that could cure these conditions for future generations. Freemasons, their wives, partners, widows and dependent family members newly diagnosed with a progressive disease should call the MSF today to discuss preparing to make a grant application.

IMPROVING LIVES Chris Tarr, of St Keyna Lodge, No. 1833, which meets in Bristol, has a rare, progressive neurological condition and his wife suffers from multiple sclerosis. Although there are no cures for these conditions, the Province of Somerset and the MSF are proud to have partnered in providing mobility aids and home adaptations to help the couple retain their independence. ‘The support given to me by the MSF, my lodge Almoner and Provincial Almoner has been tremendous,’ said Chris. ‘Together, they fitted an entry platform lift and stairlift, and also provided a wheelchair-accessible car. I’d recommend that anyone who needs specialist equipment not readily available from the NHS, or which is cost prohibited, should talk to their Almoner and see what help is available. Like me, they could be pleasantly surprised.’

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CARE HOMES OPEN THEIR DOORS A new initiative is aiming to connect care homes with their local communities, challenge misconceptions and tackle the social isolation felt by many old and vulnerable people


MBI care homes participated in the first National Care Home Open Day. Organised by a group of leading care home providers and associations, it was officially supported by the Alzheimer’s Society, National Care Forum, the Department of Health, the Care Quality Commission, the Social Care Institute for Excellence and NAPA. RMBI care homes across England and Wales invited their local communities, residents’ friends and families, volunteers and special guests to join them for a range of activities and events. With participation from school children, community groups and other friends and supporters, RMBI homes hosted tea parties, coffee mornings, workshops and games.

ACTIVITIES FOR ALL Many RMBI homes also promoted Recipes and Reminiscences, the RMBI cookbook, by offering freshly made tasters of recipes featured in the book, such as Jubilee biscuits and fruit cake. Connaught Court in York held a coffee morning for elderly members

of the community, with entertainment from St Oswald’s Primary School. Shannon Court in Surrey offered woodland walks and talks, while residents and visitors at Prince Edward Duke of Kent Court in Essex enjoyed a cream tea in the garden. James Terry Court in Croydon celebrated Ascot with cakes and table-top horse racing. Local MP Madeleine Moon visited Albert Edward Prince of Wales Court in Mid Glamorgan, where an art class was followed by entertainment from Welsh singer Heather Jones. Residents at Ecclesholme in Manchester and Devonshire Court in Leicester welcomed visitors who joined them for ice creams in the garden and activities such as music and poetry workshops. Edna Petzen, assistant director of marketing, quality and compliance at RMBI, said, ‘National Care Home Open Day is a great way for residents of RMBI care homes to connect with their local communities. It’s also an opportunity to show that our homes are welcoming environments with excellent staff who ensure real quality of life for those in our care.’

Bury St Edmunds school children and Cornwallis Court residents making biscuits and cakes from the RMBI cookbook

The rebuilt RMBI care home in Croydon

DUKE OPENS REBUILT CROYDON CARE HOME HRH The Duke of Kent, Grand President of the RMBI, has opened the charity’s state-of-the-art new care home at James Terry Court, Croydon. Following more than three years of rebuilding and overcoming a variety of unique challenges, the major redevelopment of the site has resulted in a stunning home fit for the twenty-first century and beyond. It combines the attractive traditional features of the original house with first-class contemporary design and all the facilities, equipment and carefully planned spaces of a modern, purpose-built property. The new home now boasts seventy-six spacious bed-sitting rooms with fully equipped en suite wet rooms, light and airy communal spaces – including a library, dedicated activities room, communal dining rooms and lounges – and a unique rooftop garden, accessible for all residents. Pat Burchell, a seventy-three-year-old resident of James Terry Court, said: ‘We couldn’t imagine the new home at the beginning and it was noisy and disruptive at times, but we knew it was necessary and it has definitely been worth it – my new room with views of the street, houses and people below is perfect for me.’

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‘Without the RMTGB we couldn’t continue helping these children.’ Becky Millington

The event took place in the RMTGB’s two hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary year at the County Assembly Rooms, Lincoln, under the chairmanship of Graham Ives, Provincial Grand Master for Lincolnshire and member of the Council of the RMTGB. The president and chief executive, along with other members of the Council and staff, delivered presentations to explain the past, present and future work of the charity. Lincolnshire Freemasons are in the final year of their 2014 Festival Appeal in support of the RMTGB, which is currently assisting more than two thousand children and grandchildren of masonic families.

STEPPING STONES FOR DISADVANTAGED CHILDREN The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB) has awarded grants amounting to £100,000 to seven charities that are working to improve the lives of disadvantaged children and young people across England and Wales. The grants have been made from the RMTGB’s Stepping Stones scheme and

CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS ONLINE FUNDRAISING In July, the central masonic charities held their first Fundraising Conference. The event, which took place in Nottingham, brought together the biannual Provincial Grand Charity Stewards Conference and the Festival Forum for the first time. The conference, which was co-ordinated by the RMTGB, enabled those involved in masonic charity to share ideas and discuss how to overcome fundraising challenges. The event demonstrated how the central

will be used to support a range of causes including tackling youth homelessness, helping children affected by domestic violence and assisting young people who are educationally disadvantaged. A grant of more than £18,000 was awarded to MERU, a charity that designs and manufactures specialised equipment for children and young people with disabilities that are so complex that no available equipment meets their needs. MERU’s fundraiser, Becky Millington, said: ‘Without supporters like the RMTGB, we couldn’t continue helping these unique children. We at MERU thank you. More importantly, the children thank you and that’s really who it is all about.’ For more details about the grants awarded by the RMTGB’s Stepping Stones scheme, which are only made possible because of the donations made by Freemasons, please visit

masonic charities spent a combined £36 million to meet the charitable needs of Freemasons and their families, in addition to supporting other non-masonic charities, some of which were also represented at the event. During the conference it was announced that The Freemasons’ Grand Charity’s Relief Chest Scheme had launched its first-ever online fundraising platform. The new system will enable Provincial and Metropolitan Grand Lodges with Relief Chests to develop online fundraising campaigns and individual appeals for the benefit of the central masonic charities and other Craft appeals. To access the new fundraising platform, please visit

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In June, one hundred and eighty masons and their families attended the Annual General Meeting and Court of the RMTGB.


EXCELLENT COMPANIONS The latest exhibition at the Library and Museum explores the history and development of the Holy Royal Arch Degree


oinciding with the special October Convocation of Supreme Grand Chapter, Excellent Companions: Celebrating the Royal Arch opens on Great Queen Street in the same month. Among the objects that will be on display during the exhibition is this portrait, shown right, of Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland (1745-1790), who was one of George III’s brothers. The Duke of Cumberland was initiated in February 1767 at an ‘occasional’ lodge at the Thatched House Tavern, St James’ Street, and was installed as Master of the New Horn Lodge two months later. In 1771, after a short period in the Royal Navy – a career path decided by his brother – Cumberland married Anne Horton, a commoner, without the King’s consent. He and the Duchess were excluded from court but led an active social life. Cumberland was elected Grand Master in 1782 and remained so until his death in 1790. He initiated his nephew, the Prince of Wales (later George IV), into Freemasonry in February 1787. In this portrait, Cumberland is wearing the robes and regalia of the Grand Patron of the Royal Arch, an office he held from 1774 to 1790, but which ceased to exist in 1813. Among the many jewels that will be included in the exhibition is one designed by the renowned masonic jewel maker Thomas Harper. It was presented to Daniel Beaumont in 1800, the year that Beaumont was exalted in the Chapter of St James (now No. 2) in London. The exhibition runs from 14 October 2013 to 2 May 2014.

ABOVE: Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland, in Royal Arch regalia. LEFT: A Royal Arch jewel presented to Daniel Beaumont in 1800

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Hall whilst waiting for Dan Brown a tad tiresome. Ultimately, it was just brilliant to sit and admire the beautiful architecture of the great Hall again!

Sir, Whilst sitting waiting for Dan Brown to arrive on 21 May at Freemasons’ Hall, I watched the reaction of the diverse group of people who had obviously for the first time seen your wonderful building. Undoubtedly most were in awe, as well they should be. For me, being at the Hall had a more poignant resonance. My father was a Freemason and he had taken me up to the Hall on many occasions. Sitting there, I wondered what he would have made of the event where people from all walks of life were able to sit and enjoy the full beauty of the building whilst at the same time listening to a man who had weaved the Freemasons into his stories that have sold billions of books around the world. As a child I was fascinated by the society simply because my father was a member. I began to devour any literature on the subject so that one day I could impress him with my knowledge. One day I had the chance and he was speechless. His friends thought he had provided me with the knowledge. I explained that if you want to learn about Freemasonry, the information is readily available. Now years later, I read some of the nonsense on forums on the web after Dan’s evening and was disappointed how people are still today showing complete ignorance on the subject and not even bothering to research before they put their names to ridiculous statements. When I mentioned to my friends that I would be coming to use your library for research they were shocked, because they didn’t realise how readily you share knowledge with the public. My father taught me to be open and generous to other philosophies and religions; he joined the Freemasons for all the right reasons and I think in retrospect he would have agreed with your continuing to open your doors to the public – although he may have found the constant chatter in the

Letters emailed to the editor should not be sent as attachments. Please include a home address and telephone number. An S.A.E. should accompany any photographs to be returned. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Grand Lodge of England.

Lena Walton, Tadworth, Surrey

CHARITY APPEAL Sir, In 2006 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and each time I attended treatment, would take along the latest issue of Freemasonry Today and leave this in the waiting room. In 2008 my consultant asked if I was a Freemason, and if so, would the Freemasons support a prostate cancer appeal. I confirmed I was and pointed out that if the Freemasons supported the appeal, all donations would be from their own pockets; you would never see a Freemason outside a superstore shaking a bucket begging money from the public. At this point in time a new hospital was being built alongside the old Salford Royal Hospital and the new Prostate Cancer Unit would be the most up to date in the area. With the assistance of brother Mike Burkes we created an appeal letter, which I placed in the letter rack of lodges in every masonic hall in and around Manchester, and my target was £10,000 from the brethren. At this moment in time the total has reached £76,000, which is fantastic, and the money continues to trickle in all the time. The name of the appeal is Men Matter Prostate Cancer Appeal. Jeff Clubbe, Excelsior Lodge, No. 4641, Salford, East Lancashire

AGE MATTERS Sir, What an inspiration it was to read the article by Caitlin Davies in the summer 2013 edition. To see young Freemasons embracing new technology so successfully lifted my spirits. At seventy-five years of age and twenty-six years a member, I have long wondered what the young guys make of us older brethren,

with our old suits and tales of crowded lodge meetings of the past. Looking forward, I have long been convinced that once encouraged, modern communication systems would prove a great advantage in recruitment and retention. Looking at the photographs accompanying the article I noticed not a musty old suit in sight; the confidence shone through the happy faces and demonstrated our openness to anyone in doubt – we are not a load of old fuddy-duddies with funny clothes and two heads. Clearly, modern communication is the way forward and these brethren are proving their success in the interest they are generating. Despite occasional bad press about certain media sites, I hope the powers that be will encourage activity like this in all Provinces. It must, of course, have clear guidelines in which to operate but please don’t strangle it at birth. No doubt some of the ‘suits’ will rail against my comments but I fear they might be the ones whose outdated attitudes slow down the future progress of this wonderful fraternity.

Brian Fairweather, Old Rectory Lodge, No. 6651, Caversham, Berkshire

Sir, As a young Freemason (thirty years old), I felt compelled to respond to the letter by Harry Sykes in the recent edition of Freemasonry Today. I was initiated into my lodge (Lodge of Asaph, No. 1319) in 2008 and am currently the installed Master of the lodge. Whilst brother Sykes makes an extremely valid point that no-one wishes to be suffering through ceremonies where the ritual is poor, I don’t subscribe to the view that this is a result of younger masons being fast-tracked to the chair. Yes, there may well be an element of this occurring, but this is surely a more widespread problem of lodges being unable to keep up to date and attract new, higher calibre brethren. In fact, brother Harris-Cooksley makes a fine point on the same letters page that


LETTERS his lodge has been adapting to the times and people are being promoted based on merit and ability. I know of many young Freemasons, who are superb ritualists and do put in the time and effort to learn, perfect and polish their performance in lodge. I certainly take pride in my ability to perform the ritual and to understand the meaning behind it. Equally, I have seen many masons who have been in lodges far longer than ten years whose ritual is poor. Instead of a ten-year barrier to entry, surely a progression to the chair should be based on ability, young or old? Dan Roback, Lodge of Asaph, No. 1319, London

Sir, I read with interest Harry Sykes’s letter in the summer 2013 edition regarding falling standards. He seems to be blaming it on new brethren getting to the chair too quickly and suggests a new rule that you have to be in Freemasonry for ten years before being allowed to take the chair. I feel in this regard the last thing we need is more rules. I was installed in under five years from my initiation. I’m sure I can hear ‘tut tut, shouldn’t be allowed’, but with the encouragement of my proposer, I visited at least as often as attending my own lodge, I joined chapter, I read and most importantly, I hardly missed a lodge of instruction. I was one of three initiates who joined in consecutive years; there was a tiny bit of competitiveness between us when performing at lodge of instruction and also lots of support. We were all inspired by our preceptor who earned our respect by using a carrot NOT a stick; each of us conducted a first, second and third ceremony before taking the chair and we even held our own lodge of instruction in the summer. Since becoming a Past Master, I have been Director of Ceremonies for eight years; the other two have served as Secretary. How to inspire brethren: by Past Masters setting an example with their ritual; by holding

‘I have seen many masons who have been in lodges far longer than ten years whose ritual is poor. Surely progression to the chair should be based on ability, young or old?’ Dan Roback


LEFT: Young masons are embracing modern communications, such as social networking

LEFT AND ABOVE: James Carroll was invited to 10 Downing Street and awarded the Arctic Star


‘However much recruitment falters, it must never be restored at the cost of reducing standards. To do so would be an affront to the brethren and Freemasonry alike.’ Herbert Ewings

regular lodges of instruction with a good number of Past Masters present to support the brethren; not forcing junior brethren to rise up through the offices just to prevent another Past Master from taking the chair; and not being afraid to hold them back if you feel they need a bit more experience. Remember we are all different. I felt very ready for the chair and holding me back for some arbitrary period may well have had an adverse effect. Paul Gosling, William de Warenne Lodge, No. 6139, Uckfield, Sussex

SERVICE REMEMBERED Sir, On the theme of Service Remembered (summer 2013 issue), my father James Carroll was in the Royal Navy during World War II aboard the Captain Class Frigates, which carried out convoy duties not only across the Atlantic but to the Arctic on the Russian convoys. After sixty-eight years the government finally recognised the extreme conditions and sacrifices made by those who carried out what Churchill called ‘the worst journey in the world’. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, and Russia’s President Putin held a ceremony at Number 10 Downing Street, presenting my father with the Arctic Star and one of the highest naval decorations in Russia, the Ushakov Medal. Some thirty veterans were invited along for tea and the award was made prior to the Prime Minister and President Putin leaving for the G8 conference in Northern Ireland. At nearly ninety, my father was very proud, as were we, at being able to receive this long overdue recognition. He was initiated into

Freemasonry ten years ago, in May 2003 at the age of eighty.

Alan Carroll, Vicar’s Oak Lodge, No. 4822, London

Sir, Having visited the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire at the weekend I was greatly impressed with the many memorials located on the site. The memorial to Freemasons who gave their lives in defence of the nation comprises two stone blocks representing the rough and smooth ashlar standing on a chequered pavement surrounded by a yew tree hedge to indicate eternity. I was surprised to see that this memorial is in a dilapidated state, with part of the yew tree hedge having died off leaving an untidy gap. I felt that this dilapidated memorial creates a poor image of Freemasonry, particularly when compared to those of other organisations, and believe that Grand Lodge should take a lead and ensure that the memorial is repaired as a matter of urgency. The costs involved are likely to be very minor compared to the very large sums that Freemasonry gives to other causes. I am sure that many of the brethren will agree that in this case charity should begin at home, and I look forward to hearing and seeing that Grand Lodge takes this on board and carries out the remedial work. I understand that Staffordshire Province has undertaken work in the past but as this forms part of a national memorial, I consider that it falls more appropriately in the province of Grand Lodge.

Denis J Baker, Ravenshead Lodge, No. 8176, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire

ROSE-TINTED GLASSES Sir, I read with both interest and sadness John Hamill’s article ‘Rose-tinted Glasses’ (summer 2013 issue) regarding the number of lodges closing each year. Whilst I appreciate his comment that this in fact is ‘evidence that Freemasonry is very much a living institution’, it raises the serious question of why it is that once a lodge (or chapter) has handed back its warrant, it can never again be ‘resurrected’. We would all accept that some lodges are not suitable for resurrection – for example a school lodge where that particular school had closed long ago – but some old and venerable lodges could surely be ‘put on the shelf’ and resurrected as the demand for a new lodge in the same area grew? Martin Day, Cyngesburie Lodge, No. 5607, London

Sir, The director of special projects has written an uplifting paper, meaningfully entitled ‘Rose-tinted Glasses’ (summer 2013 issue), with an equally uplifting belief that Freemasonry continues to be a living institution. I heartily agree with both, subject to the following proviso. Of recent years a notion has become rife that recruitment can be increased by decreasing standards of entrance. Who has not visited a lodge where the Festive Board has the ambience of a four-ale bar? However much recruitment falters, it must never be restored at the cost of reducing standards. To do so would be an affront to the brethren and Freemasonry alike.

Herbert Ewings, Septem Lodge, No. 5887, Surbiton, Surrey

CORRECTION OLDEST LODGE On page 16 of Issue No. 21 (spring 2013), we stated that the oldest lodge in the Province of South Wales was Indefatigable Lodge, No. 237, established in 1777. We have been informed that the Province’s oldest lodge is in fact Glamorgan, No. 36, established in 1753.



THE LANGUAGE OF MYSTERY Director of special projects John Hamill considers whether the words and phrases used in Freemasonry should be modernised to give greater clarity


he English language is said to be one of the most difficult to learn, in both its written and spoken forms. Part of that difficulty is the wonderfully idiosyncratic illogicality of how we pronounce many of our words, which often has little bearing on the actual letters they contain. Another problem is that a simple word can have different meanings, or shades of meaning, depending on its context, or even where in the country it is spoken. To most of us, ‘bait’ is what a fisherman puts on his hook in the hopes of catching a fish. In northeast England, ‘bait’ is what a workman has in his lunch box. Equally, in spoken English many words sound the same but have different spellings and meanings. Consider the simple words ‘you’, ‘yew’ and ‘ewe’, or ‘earn’ and ‘urn’. English is a living language in which the meaning of words changes over time, so it is important to consider the period to get the full definition. I remember in my early days as a masonic researcher being slightly puzzled when the premier Grand Lodge Minutes referred to brother A being appointed Provincial Grand Master for M ‘in the room’ of brother B. In my naivety I thought it rather quaint that they actually went to the room of the predecessor to appoint the successor. But it soon dawned on me that they were using ‘room’ not in its usual sense of an actual physical place but to mean ‘in place of’.

TIME TO REDEFINE Our Craft rituals were developed over a long period, from the late 1600s until they were formally codified by the Lodge of Reconciliation from 1814 to 1816. They inevitably include words and phrases with meanings that have changed in the past two hundred years. Many of those words are still in common usage and so can cause confusion for a new member.

One word that gives pause for thought and appears frequently in our rituals is ‘mystery’, plus its plural ‘mysteries’. Today, mystery has connotations of something hidden, possibly secret, which takes time to understand. The full Oxford English Dictionary gives more than a dozen definitions, some of which are no longer in use, or used rarely, but nonetheless show how we came to use mystery in our ceremonies. One definition is that a mystery was an occupation, service, office or ministry. Another that it was a handicraft, craft or art. The dictionary states that the phrase ‘art and mystery’ appears in many apprentice indentures, citing a sixteenth-century indenture for a boy apprenticed to a master to learn ‘the science, art and mystery of wool combing’. In another definition it states that a mystery was a trade guild or company, pointing to our possible connections, direct or indirect, with the stonemasons’ craft. This latter definition was one that appealed to the late Rev Neville Barker Cryer. In his Prestonian Lecture of 1974 he looked for the possible roots of Freemasonry in the Mystery Plays performed by the medieval trade guilds, which he believed had a similar purpose to our masonic ceremonies – the instilling of principles of morality. In ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt, the ‘mysteries’ were rites and ceremonies to which only the initiated were admitted, which again chimes with the use of the word in our ceremonies. Occasionally, we hear calls to modernise those ceremonies, to take out old words and phrases and replace them with modern, instantly comprehensible ones. I hope those calls are never answered. Our ceremonies contain some wonderful set pieces of English language that would be destroyed if we modernised them. Freemasonry is a learning process, and if we have to resort to a dictionary to fully comprehend what we learn, that can only enrich us.

‘Our ceremonies contain some wonderful set pieces of English language that would be destroyed if we modernised them.’


Freemasonry Today - Autumn 2013 - Issue 23  
Freemasonry Today - Autumn 2013 - Issue 23