The Official Journal of the United Grand Lodge of England
Number 32 ~ Winter 2015
Number 32 ~ Winter 2015
THE KING OF INSTRUMENTS Thomas Trotter debuts the Grand Temple’s newly refurbished pipe organ p36
SIR MICHAEL SNYDER ON THE MOVE
TAKE THE NEXT STEP FORWARD
UNITED IN THEIR SUPPORT
Metropolitan interview, p20
Our five-year strategy, p25
Caring for the carers, p42
FROM THE GRAND SECRETARY
n behalf of the members of the United Grand Lodge of England, a message of congratulations was sent to the Grand Master on the occasion of his 80th birthday. How fortunate we all are to have such a dedicated royal leader since his installation as Grand Master by the 11th Earl of Scarborough on 27 June 1967. Thank you to those readers of Freemasonry Today who have participated in the recent Membership Focus Group surveys. One of the results from your feedback has been the creation of a clear strategy to make sure there is a sound future for Freemasonry. This strategy has been agreed at the highest levels throughout the organisation and we now wish to share it with all our readers. You will find a copy of this strategy attached to this issue of the magazine. I trust you will find it fascinating, and that it gives you added confidence for the future and your continued enjoyment of Freemasonry.
PHOTOGRAPHY: PAUL MITCHELL
In this issue of the magazine, we find out how Freemasonry is helping to build confidence among our members. Our article on the first New and Young Masons Clubs’ Conference at Freemasons’ Hall reveals a support network of light blue clubs that are helping initiates get the most out of Freemasonry from day one. We look
at how these clubs are giving new members an outlet for the energy and excitement that they want to put into the Craft.
OVERCOMING CHALLENGES The values of Freemasonry proved vital for Arthur Vaughan Williams, who, following a car accident, went from peak physical fitness to being unable to control two-thirds of his body. In our interview with Arthur, he explains how Freemasonry helped him to re-engage with society and create a new life for himself. With a reinvigorated sense of self-belief, Arthur has learned how to fly and is carving out a successful career as a television presenter. Also in this issue, London’s new Metropolitan Grand Master Sir Michael Snyder discusses what motivated him to modernise the City, not only the way it runs but also the business buildings that populate London’s skyline. Meanwhile, our feature on deaf communications organisation Signature shows how masonic support is aiming to put British Sign Language on the curriculum and open up the education system for deaf youngsters. I hope you enjoy our winter edition and wish you and your families a wonderful festive season. Nigel Brown Grand Secretary
‘We look at how light blue clubs are giving new members an outlet for the energy and excitement that they want to put into the Craft.’
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 email@example.com Advertising contact Square7 Media Ltd, 3 More London Riverside, London SE1 2RE Mark Toland 020 3283 4056 firstname.lastname@example.org Circulation 0844 879 4961 email@example.com Masonic enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org www.ugle.org.uk 020 7831 9811 Printed by Wyndeham Roche © Grand Lodge Publications Ltd 2015. 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.
3 TIME OF RECOGNITION
Nigel Brown welcomes you to the winter issue
NEWS AND VIEWS
Masonic news from the Provinces and Districts
Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes explains how the Masonic Charitable Foundation will function
CAPITAL COMMUNICATOR NO TURNING BACK
Aimed at securing Freemasonry’s long-term future, a new masonic strategy asks everyone to get involved
INTO THE LIGHT BLUE
A new GCSE in British Sign Language could open up the education system for deaf young people thanks to support from the Grand Charity, writes Glyn Brown
NEVER GIVE UP
Arthur Vaughan Williams explains how masonic values helped him create a new career in broadcasting after an accident left him unable to carry on in the military
With Freemasons nationwide voting for their favourite local medical research projects, Peter Watts finds out how the process worked and who received the grants
33 CHARITIES IN VIEW
The thinking behind the new UGLE logo and its role in modernising the face of Freemasonry
We look back at the work of the central masonic charities
Over two million records have been transcribed for an online database of masons from the 1750s to the 1920s
LIBRARY AND MUSEUM 36
The Grand Temple’s newly refurbished pipe organ held an audience spellbound at its inaugural concert PHOTOGRAPHY Cover: Sam Christmas This page: Sam Christmas, Jude Edginton, Laurie Fletcher, Getty Images, Rama Knight
Philippa Faulks reflects on the life of William Lever, the masonic philanthropist who brought soap to the masses
26 UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
Sarah Holmes attends an innovative conference to hear how sharing knowledge could help to keep new and young masons engaged with the Craft
NOW WASH YOUR HANDS HEAD OF THE CLASS
Why the new Metropolitan Grand Master Sir Michael Snyder is looking forward to the challenges ahead
Freemasonry has been united in its support of carers for 25 years, as Aileen Scoular discovers
Diane Clements traces the origins of London’s Freemasons’ Hall as the First World War drew to a close
Your opinions on the world of Freemasonry
John Hamill on the meaning behind masonic dress
NEWS AND VIEWS
NEWS AND VIEWS
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For the past two years, Dorset masons have been mentoring students at the Oak Academy LeAF Campus in Bournemouth. Over 12 sessions, they have provided assistance, guidance and support to sixth-form students, helping them to establish a pathway to achieve their goals. One student stated, ‘For me it’s been a huge support mechanism. I had decided to follow a career path without looking at the bigger picture but the mentors explore every possibility with you.’ Gill Blanshard, executive principal, added, ‘I would like to thank the Dorset Freemasons for the invaluable support that has been given. Having the time to discuss and plan the next step is extremely important, and the mentors have brought a wealth of experience and knowledge to help guide and assist our students in the next phase of their lives.’ The Province of Dorset continues to support the school in many ways, demonstrating the vital role that Freemasons can play in their community.
PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES
DORSET CAREER GUIDANCE
NEWS AND VIEWS
FESTIVAL WELCOME IN CHESTER The 15th annual festival of the Association of Medical, Universities and Legal Lodges (AMULL) was held this year in Chester and attended by around 130 members, their wives and other guests. During the past year AMULL lost its chairman, John Harvey, who was killed in a motor accident. Subsequently David Williamson, Past Assistant Grand Master and the then President of the Universities Scheme, accepted the offer to become the Association’s new leader. Chester Cathedral was the venue for the annual ecumenical service, led by the Dean of Chester and Nigel Pett, Assistant Grand Chaplain. Next year the festival returns to London to be hosted by Western Circuit Lodge, No. 3154.
Peter Lowndes (left) with Mark Estaugh
MARK AT THE HELM IN WEST KENT
Shown (l to r): Dr Marilyn Blank, Cheshire PGM Stephen Blank, and Margaret and David Williamson
CIRCUIT BREAKER Dave Binch, 45, of Elliott Lodge, No. 8569, relived his youth at the annual TT motorbike event on the Isle of Man to raise funds for charity. The father of two from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, has raised more than £13,000 for Cancer Research UK and the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB). The former semi-professional rider reached speeds of 150mph around the 37.73-mile circuit. Hours later, he ran the entire course in eight-and-a-quarter hours, which included tackling a 2,034-foot mountain at 2am. Nottinghamshire Provincial Grand Master Keith Dalrymple presented him with a cheque for more than £1,500 and further funds came from the Manx Hamond Chapter Rose Croix to go to the RMTGB. Dave Binch races along the TT course
Mark Estaugh has been installed as Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent for West Kent by Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes. In his acceptance speech, Mark said, ‘Our strategy will revolve around a trident of three key initiatives – membership, communication and the development of our masonic premises.’ Mark also announced the launch of the Province’s appeal to mark UGLE’s 2017 Tercentenary celebrations. The funds raised will go towards a major building project at Canterbury Cathedral.
FRENCH LESSONS IN JERSEY
Jersey mason George Le Gros with his 1947 Jaguar in front of La Corbière lighthouse
The Masonic Classic Vehicle Club has made an annual visit to Jersey for eight years, each time touring the island in vintage and classic cars, as well as enjoying a fraternal visit to Loge La Césarée, No. 590. Of the 11 lodges meeting at Stopford Road in St Helier, Loge La Césarée is the only one that conducts its ritual in French. The La Césarée songbook includes many World War II songs and the visitors joined in with gusto on their latest visit.
NEWS AND VIEWS
AYLESBURY CHILDREN RECEIVE A BOOST Children enjoying their end of term day at the PACE centre in Aylesbury welcomed Buckinghamshire Provincial Grand Master Gordon Robertson when he popped in to see the covered playground that local Freemasons had donated £10,000 to fund in action. PACE is a family-centred charity that provides an innovative education for life for children with sensory motor disorders, such as cerebral palsy. The play area is part of the first stage of a building project that is eventually going to be the new Early Years and Independence Training Centre for the charity.
Guests enjoy a summer evening at Canterbury Cathedral
CANTERBURY EVENSONG FOR ROYAL ARCH The choral evensong congregation at Canterbury Cathedral was enhanced by almost 500 companions, brethren, their families and friends coming together for the Province of East Kent’s Royal Arch biennial church service. Led by Grand Superintendent Geoffrey Dearing, distinguished guests included Assistant Grand Master Sir David Wootton, Third Grand Principal David Williamson, the then Metropolitan Grand Master Russell Race and several neighbouring Provincial Grand Masters. Guests were able to view the Ancestors exhibit, a series of life-size figures representing the Ancestors of Christ that date to the 12th and early 13th centuries. These beautiful examples of medieval stained glass had been temporarily removed from the Cathedral’s Great South Window while conservation work was carried out on its crumbling stonework. They were on display in the Chapter House, the East Window of which was a gift from the Freemasons of Kent.
£30,000 FOR ISLAND COMMUNITY GROUPS Guernsey and Alderney Freemasons have donated more than £30,000 to support local groups, with charity representatives attending a special gathering at the masonic centre in St Martin to receive their cheques. PGM David Hodgetts said the organisation was keen to support as many local groups as possible on the island. Charities receiving funding included Guernsey Jumbulance Holidays, Headway Guernsey, the Guernsey Sailing Trust, Wigwam Support Group and The Bailiwick of Guernsey Scout Association.
DEVONSHIRE BENEVOLENCE The Devonshire Provincial Garden Party took place at Ugbrooke House, Chudleigh, the home of Lord and Lady Clifford, with the proceeds going to the Devonshire Masonic Benevolent Fund. Entertainment was provided by the Budleigh Salterton Male Voice Choir; the Tiverton Town Brass Band; musician Steve Scadgell of Sanctuary Lodge, No. 5358; and the Royal Marine Volunteer Cadet Corps drummers from Plymouth, whose uniforms depicted five periods in the 350-year history of the Royal Marines. There was also a display of vintage cars and motorbikes, a fly-casting competition hosted by the Masonic Fishing Club and an exhibition of paintings by local Freemasons. The Budleigh Salterton Male Voice Choir entertains the guests
PHOTOGRAPHY: TOM TARDIFF/GUERNSEY PRESS, BRITISH RED CROSS
Representatives of the five charities at the masonic centre
Gordon Robertson and PACE chief executive Amanda Richardson with some of the centre’s young students and their teachers
NEWS AND VIEWS
OUT OF THE SCRUM AT NORTHAMPTON
GLOUCESTER ENTERTAINMENT It was a fun day out for Gloucestershire masons and their friends and families as a variety of attractions kept almost 500 people entertained in the spectacular 17th-century venue of Highnam Court Gardens near Gloucester (pictured above). ‘To see the happy, smiling faces of children and adults alike was worth all the hard work put in by the charity team,’ said Phil Waring, Gloucestershire Provincial Grand Charity Steward. The event raised more than £5,000 for the Province’s Festival for the Grand Charity, whose Chief Executive Laura Chapman was guest of honour at the day.
Will Collins (left) with Lt Cdr James King alongside the lifeboat
A record number of attendees were at the 2015 Convocation of the Provincial Grand Chapter of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire, in Northampton, where the guest of honour was Second Grand Principal George Francis. At the Festive Board, Grand Superintendent Wayne Williams presented him with a ‘refill’ for a previously bestowed cut-glass decanter, and a Northampton Saints rugby shirt bearing the number two and the name ‘Francis’. The Second Grand Principal said he was pleased to visit the Province in which he had started his masonic career at Castle Ashby many years earlier.
Wayne Williams congratulates George Francis in his rugby shirt
‘MR SEAFRONT’ HONOURED A Brighton bus has been dedicated to Sussex mason Andy Durr, a former mayor and councillor. On his death at the end of 2014, Andy left a lasting legacy to Brighton that few councillors will ever surpass. He had the idea of revitalising the seafront between the piers, leading to the council restoring the lower esplanade. The work took place in the 1990s, with Andy dubbed Mr Seafront. As well as being a Labour councillor, Andy was a lecturer at the University of Brighton, a member of the West Pier Trust, and founder of the fishing museum. In 2000 he became mayor and welcomed HM The Queen to the Royal Pavilion.
LODGE GETS ON BOARD IN POOLE A cheque for £1,000 has been presented to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in Poole from the Grand Charity Relief Chest of Public Schools Installed Masters’ Lodge, No. 9077. This donation was part of the Master’s List raised by the lodge during Lt Cdr James King’s year as lodge Master and was received by Will Collins, an RNLI employee and volunteer member of the Poole lifeboat.
Andy’s name was added to the 489 Volvo Gemini at its launch on 24 July 2015
CONTINUING AID FOR VANUATU Following the Grand Charity’s £20,000 donation via the British Red Cross after a severe tropical cyclone hit Vanuatu in the South Pacific in March 2015, Warwickshire masons have also provided aid. More than £5,600 has been sent to the Vanuatu Recovery Fund thanks to 16 Warwickshire lodges, one very generous brother and the Province’s Masonic Charitable Association. The Vanuatu Recovery Fund, managed by Lodge of Discovery on the island, has decided to fund the rebuilding of the library at Suango Mele Primary School, and to create a bigger and better structure than had previously existed. The school will now have a media centre within the library to ensure it meets students’ future study needs.
NEWS AND VIEWS
HOLY TRINITY CELEBRATIONS IN NORTH WALES
HEREFORDSHIRE PGM MEETS ROYAL VISITOR HRH The Countess of Wessex has paid a return visit to The Haven’s Hereford centre. The Countess is an active supporter of the charity, which provides emotional and physical support to women diagnosed with breast cancer. Calling The Haven a ‘fantastic organisation’, she thanked all the fundraisers gathered for giving their time and backing to the charity. During the visit, the Countess also met Herefordshire PGM, the Rev David Bowen, and thanked him and his fellow Freemasons for their substantial and continued support. The Province is an official Guardian of the Hereford Haven. Shown above: The Rev David Bowen and HRH The Countess of Wessex with Hereford Haven centre manager Frankie Devereux
Llandudno’s Holy Trinity Church has celebrated its 150th anniversary. A sermon was delivered by Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales, who also dedicated a new plaque for the cornerstone of the building. Lodge of Saint Tudno, No. 755, was instrumental in the foundation of the church, with the first Rector, John Morgan, being its first initiate. Church architect George Felton was also a lodge member. At the laying of the cornerstone in 1865, masonic ceremony was performed by the Provincial Grand Master of North Wales and Shropshire, Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn. Current PGM Ieuan Redvers Jones recited the prayer read at the original cornerstone ceremony, while masonic memorabilia connected with the foundation was on display.
Award-winner Jane Baldwin
Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales
The MSF-funded technician will be based at Bradford
PIONEERING CANCER RESEARCH The Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF) has donated £47,500 to Yorkshire Cancer Research (YCR) following the Bradford Crocus Cancer Appeal, which enabled the University of Bradford’s Institute of Cancer Therapeutics (ICT) to purchase a proteomics mass spectrometer. The money will fund a technician to operate the equipment over the next four years. It is hoped that the technician will play a vital role in discovering pioneering cancer treatments, using the machine to identify tiny amounts of proteins found in cancer cells. Researchers will then determine whether these proteins can be used as biomarkers for the early detection of cancer, targets for new therapies, or indicators of a patient’s likely response to current treatment. ‘We are incredibly grateful to the MSF for their generous support,’ said YCR chief executive Charles Rowett. ‘The grant will play an extremely important part in helping us to bring pioneering cancer treatments to the people of Yorkshire and beyond.’
CARE TRAINER OF THE YEAR Jane Baldwin, Learning and Development Officer at the RMBI, has received the Care Trainer Award at the 2015 Great British Care Awards, with Sandra Robson runner-up in the Putting People First category. In their sixth year, the awards celebrate excellence across the care sector and are designed to pay tribute to those who have demonstrated outstanding excellence within their field of work. ‘I am humbled and proud by my nomination,’ said Jane.
Shown (l to r): Wortley Home house manager Delores Bailey, board secretary Cheryl Kean, Keith Sangster, Walter Scott and District Grand Secretary Robert Forbes
Walter Scott, District Grand Master of the District Grand Lodge of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, has presented a cheque valued at J$551,000 to Keith Sangster, chairman of the board of the Wortley Home for Girls, on behalf of the District. The donation will help the home recover from a fire that destroyed a section of the facility.
JAMAICA HELPS REBUILD GIRLS’ HOME
NEWS AND VIEWS
RMBI HOME’S NEW SENSORY BATHROOM
Soprano Tamsin Ball performed at the charity concert
RMBI care home Prince Michael of Kent Court in Watford has unveiled a new sensory bathroom in its dementia support house. An integrated Bluetooth sound system enables music to be played while bathing, with the aim of promoting well-being and contributing to the reduction of tension and anxiety. The bath also features a whirlpool to aid muscular relaxation. The decor includes a tiled mural of Brighton’s Palace Pier, incorporating yachts, lighthouses and a beach hut to help people connect with their past.
GALA NIGHT SUCCESS IN BIDEFORD Freemasons and members of the public from all over the Devonshire Province packed the Devon Hall, Bideford, for a sell-out gala charity concert organised by local masons. Guests were welcomed by a parade of pipers from the Bideford Youth Pipe Band and the local Sea Cadets. The audience enjoyed an evening of musical entertainment provided by the original Military Wives Choir, the Torridge Male Voice Choir and professional soprano Tamsin Ball. The evening finished with the Appledore Silver Band leading a rousing, flag-waving, ‘Last Night of the Proms’ finale. The evening raised £8,000, which is to be shared between the Devon Mark Charity Association, the North Devon District Hospital chemotherapy unit appeal and the Military Wives Choirs Foundation.
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The new sensory bathroom is an oasis of calm
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NEWS AND VIEWS
SUPPORT WHEN IT’S NEEDED Seven Provinces are to trial an initiative to support the work of lodge almoners. Created in partnership with Provinces, the central masonic charities’ Visiting Volunteer scheme also aims to smooth the process of applying for a grant. During the pilot phase, those seeking support from the central masonic charities will be visited by a trained volunteer who will help them to complete the application. The volunteers are all Freemasons nominated by their Province. Full training is provided by the charities and the first course was held with a group from West Lancashire. Ernie Greenhalgh, Provincial Grand Almoner, said, ‘These new volunteers will ensure that our almoners can focus on what matters most – keeping in touch with widows, elderly brethren and others in need of practical help.’
GLOBE CHAPTER MILESTONE The sesquicentenary celebrations of Globe Chapter, No. 23, have taken place at Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street. The chapter started life in 1865 as Panmure Chapter, No. 720, but in 1914 was unusually allowed to change to its current name and number. Everyone present at the celebration received a copy of the chapter’s history written by member Richard Gan, who also gave a talk, after which the 50 or so companions dined together in Globe tradition at one very large table. During its long existence the chapter has had 373 members, only 33 of whom have come from Panmure Lodge and 77 from Globe Lodge. The remaining members have had no affiliation to either, which has been one of the chapter’s strengths.
Members and guests gathered at Freemasons’ Hall in London to celebrate 150 years of Globe Chapter
REMEMBERING FALLEN BRETHREN
VICTORIAN SNUFF BOX RETURNS HOME Mark Littler is an auctioneer and valuer at Tennants Auctioneers in Yorkshire. He was consigned a Victorian silver snuff box with an inscription relating to Phoenix Lodge of Saint Ann, No. 1235, in Buxton, Derbyshire, which was given to its first Master, John Millward. Thanks to Mark, of Thornborough Lodge, No. 6434, Leyburn, Phoenix Lodge of Saint Ann Secretary Henry Kukuewicz came to the auction and successfully bid for the item. In its archives, the lodge has the minutes from the meeting when the box was presented to Millward. The snuff box features his name and the date of the expiration of his year in office, 19 February 1870.
This year’s church service for the Province of Yorkshire, North and East Ridings, was held at York Minster during evensong when a commemorative plaque was blessed. The plaque marks the service of 54 brethren from 22 of the Province’s lodges who died while in the service of their country in World War I. Hundreds of brethren in full regalia then walked from the Minster to St Saviourgate, accompanied by Provincial Grand Master Jeffrey Gillyon; the Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Sonja Crisp; and many civic and Armed Forces dignitaries. The PGM unveiled a newly mounted plaque at the masonic hall, which was dedicated by the Provincial Grand Chaplain, Rev Trevor Lewis.
Civic dignitaries attended the unveiling of a newly mounted commemorative plaque
SCI-FI CONVENTION SUPPORTS LITTLE HAVENS Nick Joseph has presented a cheque for £1,200 to Little Havens Hospice in Essex on behalf of Leyton Grange Park Lodge, No. 5473. The money was raised during the Romford Essex Sci-Fi Charity Convention in July, which was organised by Nick with help from members of the lodge. Shown above (l to r): Peter Hall from Little Havens with Nick Joseph and sci-fi favourite, a stormtrooper
NEWS AND VIEWS
BLIND VETERAN SPREADS THE WORD Blind Veterans UK, the national military charity for vision-impaired ex-service men and women, has thanked two fundraisers for their efforts in raising more than £2,000. Peter Phipps, a blind veteran who has been supported by the charity since 2013, and Roger Hampshire, Provincial Grand Charity Steward for Oxfordshire, have raised money over the past year by travelling to lodges in the Oxfordshire area and talking about the work of Blind Veterans UK. Peter, 86, wanted to raise money for the charity to express his thanks for the life-changing support it has provided him. Peter’s long-standing friend Roger drove him to almost all of the talks around the county, always joined by Peter’s dog Misty.
Roger and Peter (right) with Misty
Shown (l to r): Acorns head of care services Chris Reed, PGM David Macey, Acorns chairman David Butcher and community fundraising officer Joanne Danaher
WARWICKSHIRE SUPPORT FOR ACORNS HEREFORD MARKS ANNE FRANK DAY National Anne Frank Day took place at Saxon Hall, Hereford, with a multi-faith service of thanks and celebration, as well as the consecration of a memorial tree and a service of dedication led by Rabbis Danny Rich and Anna Gerrard. Dean Waterfield Lodge, No. 8089, which meets at Hereford, contributed financially to the Saxon Hall Community Garden, which was largely created by students and staff of The Hereford Academy. Members of the Academy’s choir sang three songs during the celebrations, which were linked with a Forces’ Memorial Gardens ceremony introduced by Peter Cocks, chairman of the Saxon Hall Committee, and a service led by Rev Phillip Brown.
Every year for the past five years, Warwickshire Freemasons have donated £150,000 via the Masonic Charitable Association to around 120 non-masonic charities, including Acorns Children’s Hospice in Birmingham. Founded 27 years ago, Acorns offers a network of specialist palliative care and support across the West Midlands for babies, children and young people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions. Over the years, support for Acorns from Warwickshire masons has included technical help with computer equipment that was installed at the Selly Oak hospice by Lifelites, a charity backed by the masonic community.
Hertfordshire Freemason Keith Townsend of Ravenscroft Chapter, No. 2331, has presented a cheque for £1,300 to Luton and Dunstable Hospital Trust in thanks for the care he received following two heart attacks. Since 2014 Keith has been attending the hospital’s
Children’s educational centre Warning Zone has received a £10,000 donation from Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons towards an interactive experience highlighting the dangers of the internet. The new E-Safety Zone is based on a trip to the fairground and aims to educate Year 6 children (ages 10-11) about online safety, including learning about internet security, cyber bullying, grooming, digital identity and unsuitable material. It was opened by Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire Sir
cardiac rehabilitation unit, which works to build heart strength following cardiac arrest.
Clive Loader, with PGM David Hagger, Provincial Almoner Anthony Molyneux (both pictured) and other members of the fraternity in attendance.
TOKEN OF THANKS
Keith with Sister Amanda Rankin (left) and operational lead for cardiology Joanna James
PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES
ONLINE SAFETY EDUCATION
GIVING CONTINUITY Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes explains how the new Masonic Charitable Foundation will offer support and services to those who need help
PHOTOGRAPHY: LAURIE FLETCHER
n December 2014, I announced that the Grand Master’s Council and the Provincial Grand Masters’ Forum had endorsed proposals from the charities to consolidate the activities of the four central masonic charities. Subsequently, the proposals were endorsed by the Grand Master, and over the past nine months all four charities have launched consultations with their members. Should the members of each of the charities endorse the proposals, it is anticipated that a new charity will become operational on 1 April 2016. This new charity, subject to legal approvals, will be called the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF). The MCF will continue to offer the same services to those Freemasons and family members who need help, as well as providing support for the non-masonic charitable causes that the Craft wishes to assist. Thus, continuity of our charitable giving will be achieved. The new charity will also continue to rely on the generosity of Freemasons for its funds, and the Festival system will transition in favour of the new charity over the next few years. A shadow board comprising trustees from the existing charities has met and will, with the existing charities, oversee the creation of the new charity. The board has elected James Newman as interim chairman and Michael Heenan as interim treasurer. These changes will require amendments to the Book of Constitutions with formal notice of those amendments being brought to the December meeting of Grand Lodge.
Bringing the existing masonic charities together means that the trustees will be responsible for one of the largest charitable foundations in the country – a tremendous achievement and something of which we can all be proud. When talking about our charities, I am inevitably reminded of Iain Bryce who so sadly died in July. Apart from his dedication to our masonic charities, he was also a long-serving treasurer of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. I first met him at his installation as Provincial Grand Master of Yorkshire, North and East Ridings in 1984. When Iain became involved in something, he gave it his full attention. I am sure that all the charity presidents who were in office during his time as Deputy Grand Master will have benefited enormously from his wise counsel. He was passionate about all of the charities and held strong views on their management. I shall miss him greatly and I know that I am far from alone in that.
‘The new masonic charity will be one of the largest charitable foundations in the country.’
JUSTIFIABLY PROUD Pro First Grand Principal Peter Lowndes explains why Armistice Day should be a moment when we remember all the masons who have given their lives in times of conflict
‘On Armistice Day we remember not only those in whose name Freemasons’ Hall was raised but also the many thousands of our members who gave their lives during World War Two.’
rmistice Day commemorates those who gave their lives in two World Wars. To mark the occasion, a poppy wreath was laid at the memorial shrine in the first vestibule to the Grand Temple. It sits in front of the casket that holds the roll listing over 3,000 of our members who gave their lives on active service in the First World War. I think it is worth reminding ourselves, however, that it is not just the shrine that is the memorial but the whole of Freemasons’ Hall itself. Indeed, during the planning stages in the 1920s and the first years of its existence, the building was known as the Masonic Peace Memorial. As a memorial, it was intended that the building should be reserved solely for masonic purposes. Time and economics, as well as the fact that the building is now Grade II* listed, have gradually led to it being opened for non-masonic events and filming. I would assure you, however, that our excellent in-house events team takes great care to ensure that outside events, especially filming, are consistent with the building’s origins and core purpose. We have a building of which we can be justifiably proud and that is recognised as one of the landmark buildings of London. On Armistice Day we remember not only those in whose name the building was raised but also the many thousands of our members who gave their lives during World War Two and other conflicts that have taken place since then. I believe that on Armistice Day, we stand to remember those who sacrificed their lives to preserve those ideals that have allowed Freemasonry to flourish.
PHOTOGRAPHY: LAURIE FLETCHER
In his new role as Metropolitan Grand Master, Sir Michael Snyder explains how his appetite for change has steered a distinguished career in accountancy and the City
Moment of opportunity How did you become the managing partner at Kingston Smith? I took articles at Kingston Smith when it was a small accountancy firm, as most were in 1968. I was asked to look after our Hayes office in 1973 for a couple of weeks, as the manager they’d put in wasn’t working out. Two weeks became a month and by late 1973 I was running the office, becoming one of five partners in 1974. In 1979 the then senior partner became ill and I took over running the firm. We were seven partners at the time, then merged with another firm and became 11. It’s been pretty successful: we’re client focused, have a good niche in the market and are in the top 20 firms in the UK.
Are you proud of your career? I never use the word ‘pride’. I always think that’s a bit pompous, a bit self-satisfied, and tends to come before a fall. I’m happy with the way we’ve grown the firm. Of course, I could have done some things better but we’ve avoided major pitfalls. I think we’re respected and we’ve always focused on our clients.
How did you come to Freemasonry? I was a member of The Worshipful Company of Needlemakers, which has an associated lodge, so I joined because a good number of my friends were members. I was a bit apprehensive beforehand but I thought, why not? When you join Freemasonry, you go through the degrees and it all slowly unfolds. However, it didn’t really mean an enormous amount to me until I went into the chair some years later – then it all started to come together and I began to really understand. I like the symmetry of it, I like the ritual, and however busy I am in business and public life, I always attend some meetings.
Are you ambitious? I’ve been dedicated but I haven’t been on a mission. When most of we baby boomers were born after the war it didn’t matter what strata of society you were from, there wasn’t a lot to go around. We grew up understanding that we had to make our way, work hard and dedicate ourselves to our careers. I guess that’s where my motivation comes from.
Has the City changed? It used to be like a big club, but since the Big Bang [in 1986] there are more international players, more regulations. But it’s always been a level playing field. I believe that perhaps the reason the City has been so successful over the centuries is because anyone in the world can come here to trade and expect the same treatment. I think that’s important.
Could you work anywhere else? I love the City of London – I think it’s a wonderful place. I like its cosmopolitan nature, the diversity and the fact that it’s the centre of the international business world. I started doing things for the City 30 years ago because I wanted to give something back, and I was asked to stand for election to the City of London’s Court of Common Council.
‘As a baby boomer, I grew up understanding that we had to make our way, work hard and dedicate ourselves to our careers. I guess that’s where my motivation comes from.’
Are you a reformist? Before I led the City of London Corporation it ran like a sort of federation of states, with each department reporting only to its committee, not to the CEO, so we changed that and brought it together as one organisation. When I became policy and resources chairman, I didn’t have an office, didn’t have a meeting room, no staff – it was impossible to run, so I put the necessary support in place. I felt that we couldn’t just be insular in London, so we opened an office in Brussels to engage with the EU, as well as opening offices in Mumbai, Shanghai and Beijing to connect with two of the powerhouses of the future. We also engaged with the surrounding and deprived areas of London and were at the forefront of the Academy schools initiative. There was considerable change but I wasn’t trying to kill tradition; I was introducing direction and modernity to how things worked. We decided the City needed buildings fit to house the world’s leading financial businesses, rather than the City becoming a museum, so we changed the planning policy and some of London’s best buildings are now here.
Do you seize opportunities? Yes, I have always tried to make the best of opportunities that come my way. I like to get things running properly and I’m driven by fairness. If I see something unjust I can’t stand it and I have to try to resolve the situation. It’s been an exciting journey. My wife’s bugbear is about me learning to say no. I’m trying, and I think I’m a good delegator.
What keeps you in the Craft? I do like the Craft, not only its good spirit but also the charity side. It’s incredible what masons do in terms of giving. Take the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys’ support of Lifelites, which contributes to all of
the children’s hospices in the country, or the London Freemasons who are raising £2 million for an Air Ambulance. The London members of the Craft and Royal Arch add up to something like 45,000, which is a significant proportion of Freemasonry in England, but it’s not an enormous number of people when you look at the amounts of money they raise.
How do you feel about becoming Metropolitan Grand Master? When I was approached I was flattered and somewhat apprehensive. I admire [the outgoing Metropolitan Grand Master] Russell Race, he’s done a fantastic job and has steered London rather astutely from an embryonic concept into a strong, viable organisation. Russell’s had an excellent team, but you’ve also got to recognise the contribution made by the hundreds of Freemasons in London who have been involved in Metropolitan’s activities.
What are your aims for the role? I like to get things working smoothly and I see my appointment as an opportunity. We have nearly 1,870 lodges and chapters in the Metropolitan area, so considerable organisation is needed to lead and support them. I want every volunteer in every role to be able to undertake their masonic duties while still being fully involved in their family and professional lives. Some masons who are retired may wish to start meetings early and finish early, whereas those who are working in their careers will need meetings to start later; we need to accommodate both. Freemasonry is an interesting hobby that needn’t take over from family life or earning a living. It can help develop the skills and confidence that serve us well in our careers, as well as provide fellowship and a network of friends.
A senior figure in the City of London, Sir Michael Snyder wants to find new ways of attracting members in the Metropolitan area
THE FUTURE OF FREEMASONRY
GET INVOLVED Following an extensive consultation process across the Provinces and Districts, the MFG has launched a new strategy paper aimed at securing Freemasonry’s long-term future
he Membership Focus Group’s (MFG’s) new paper, Our Strategy 2015-2020, sets out Freemasonry’s core strategic objectives over the next five years, introducing plans for the organisation’s governance, membership and masonic halls. Key to Freemasonry’s future will be the development of effective governance at all levels. The MFG aims to review, overhaul and clarify responsibilities, accountabilities, reporting relationships, leadership style, terms of reference and succession planning at every level. Proposed changes include reviewing performance in key masonic roles and the creation of a succession-planning model that meets modern-day needs. The MFG wants lodges to be more rigorous in their leadership selection and development programmes, and will provide training to help grow masonic skills in key lodge positions. There will also be a review of rules and regulations, with a consideration of a rewrite of the Book of Constitutions to better reflect the future needs of Freemasonry. Attracting and retaining members is a central plank in the new strategy and the MFG will be introducing a membership pathway programme as well as Membership Officers in each Province, lodge and chapter. Their role will be to help improve attraction, selection, mentoring, care for members and retention rates. The pathway programme will assist lodges and chapters to attract and retain members by evolving the interview process so
To get a more in-depth view and regular updates, visit
that candidate expectations are in line with lodge culture. Lodges will therefore need to demonstrate transparency by providing detailed costs of membership and ensuring that candidates are aware of the need to support a lodge’s social and charity activities. Crucial to retention will be developing a mentoring culture in all existing members as well as ensuring Almoners are proactive in contacting members that do not attend a meeting to ensure they still feel included and cared for. Provinces will also be encouraged to implement a retrieval strategy with exit interviews and to assist disaffected members to find a lodge that meets their expectations. FIT FOR PURPOSE Masonic centres have much to contribute to the future of the Craft. Surveys, however, indicate that many are not considered fit for purpose by the members that meet in them. UGLE will therefore seek to collaborate with masonic centre management to provide expertise, if required, and assist those that need help. Going forward, proposals include hosting a masonic centre summit at a national level to establish what help is needed. Assistance will also be given in identifying ways of growing revenue streams within centres. The membership is Freemasonry’s most vital commodity and the MFG’s aims can only be achieved if the vast majority is committed to supporting the new strategy. A successful future where Freemasonry thrives means everyone getting involved.
Our future: how can you help? MEMBERS
LODGE AND MASTERS
PROVINCIAL AND GRAND OFFICERS
PROVINCES AND METROPOLITAN
MASONIC HALL MANAGEMENT
Talk to your family, friends and acquaintances about Freemasonry
Appoint a Membership Officer
Meet and talk to all new initiates at every meeting
Ensure that there are realistic succession plans at all levels
Ensure all new and ‘light blue’ members’ expectations are being met
Encourage lodges to focus on one community impact project per year
Ensure facilities and standards meet the needs of ‘modern man’
Aim to attract a new member for your lodge once every five years
Ensure all initiates have a personal Mentor Ensure that the lodge Almoner contacts those who cannot attend
Increase local and social media year on year
Identify ways of growing income streams Assess whether your hall provides value for money to users
n a crisp Saturday in late October, young Freemasons from across the country congregated at London’s Freemasons’ Hall. The event was the New and Young Masons Clubs’ Conference, organised to share knowledge and best practice about how to keep the next generation of masons engaged with the Craft. Testament to the growth of ‘light blue’ clubs within Freemasonry, the conference was hosted by the Connaught Club, whose Chairman Mitchell Merrick-Thirlway is a strong advocate of the need to support Freemasons after they have joined a lodge. As rites of passage go, initiation is a definitive milestone for a mason. ‘I couldn’t sleep for a whole week before mine,’ admits Mitchell, who joined Lodge of Candour, No. 7663, in 2010. ‘The ceremony was beautiful. I couldn’t have been more excited to start learning about this ancient Order.’ When Mitchell discovered that his lodge wouldn’t be meeting for another three months, however, he was understandably disappointed. ‘I imagined we’d be meeting every week, learning about different aspects of Freemasonry, its history and getting to know one another,’ says Mitchell. ‘Fortunately, my lodge secretary told me about the Connaught Club. I went along to the Friday social and discovered a whole new side to Freemasonry.’ Launched at a reception held by Metropolitan Grand Lodge in 2007, the Connaught Club was formed as a social club for masons under 35 years old who were eager to engage in a more active brand
PHOTOGRAPHY: RAMA KNIGHT
As Freemasonry searches for new ways to build membership, Sarah Holmes learns what insights were revealed at an innovative light blue clubs’ conference
‘Brethren of a similar age can relate to each other’s lives more easily. The club is about complementing one’s Freemasonry, not replacing it.’ Mitchell Merrick-Thirlway, Connaught Club freemasonrytoday.com
â€˜The fact that members have organised themselves and grown this network organically says something about the changing face of Freemasonry.â€™ Ben Gait, Colonnade Club
of Freemasonry. ‘There are lots of masonic events and trips to get involved with. Just this October, 15 of us went to Dublin to visit the Grand Master’s Lodge to witness a First Degree,’ says Mitchell. ‘I’ve experienced so much more of Freemasonry because of the Connaught Club,’ he continues. ‘The guys are constantly bouncing ideas off each other on Facebook, and inviting one another to their lodge meetings. It’s given me an outlet for the energy and excitement that I wanted to put into the Craft.’ FEEL CONNECTED Although a London-based social club, the concept has spread as far afield as Kuala Lumpur and South Africa, where ‘Connaught Clubs’ have also been formed. Today, the London club enjoys a membership of 284 Freemasons under 35 years old, with numbers on the rise. It even has its own lodge, Burgoyne Lodge, No. 902. In April 2015, just five years into his masonic career, Mitchell became Connaught Club Chairman. ‘The energy is one thing,’ says Mitchell. ‘But it’s also about meeting like-minded people. Brethren of a similar age can relate to each other’s lives more easily. The club is about complementing one’s Freemasonry, not replacing it.’ The need for this early support has become clear, as masonic social clubs are cropping up throughout the Provinces. The New and Young Masons Clubs’ Conference heralded the first formal meeting for this national network. ‘It’s a chance for Provinces to exchange ideas, and share the lessons learned from the establishment of their clubs,’ explains Mitchell. But it’s not just young masons who are benefiting. Light blue clubs give new masons of any age the support they need to get the most out of Freemasonry from day one. As founder of the Southampton Light Blue Club, Andy Venn appreciates the challenges of integrating new masons into the Craft. ‘I remember how daunting it was to come into a lodge full of established, older Freemasons,’ he says. ‘I wasn’t young myself – I was 43 coming in – but most of the brethren were between 60 and 80 years old.’ Thanks to the Southampton Light Blue Club, new members are now greeted at the door by brethren and officially introduced to the lodge.
The conference welcomed representatives of existing light blue clubs, as well as from Provinces yet to establish their own club
A SOCIAL STRUCTURE Regular social events have played an important role in easing new members and their families into masonic life. From an impromptu drink down the pub through to organised lodge visits and trips to places of masonic interest, the structure is informal and unpressured. Masons can get involved as often
as they like, and events are scheduled to fit around family and work commitments. ‘So far this year, we’ve had three really successful breakfast meetings. We invited British Superbike rider Kyle Wilks to talk, and after that the actor Jeremy Bulloch, who played the bounty hunter Boba Fett in the Star Wars films,’ says Andy, adding that it was a talk by Lance Bombardier Gary Prout, who won the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for his service in Afghanistan, that really struck a chord with the Southampton masons. ‘When one of his comrades was hit by an explosive device, Gary ran out under Taliban fire to administer first aid and attempt to rescue him,’ recalls Andy. ‘It was an amazing story. He had 40 or so Freemasons with tears in their eyes.’ INSPIRING CHANGE Having shared the story of his light blue club at the conference, Andy hopes other Provinces will be inspired to establish their own. ‘New Freemasons are our future. They bring a lot of value to the Craft. If we don’t stop this steady drip of younger masons leaving, we’ll stagnate.’ Retention is one benefit, but many clubs also offer a taste of masonic life for prospective members of the Craft. ‘We’ve seen a number of membership applications come off the back of our informal drinks receptions,’ says Ben Gait from Cardiff, who helped found the Colonnade Club in 2015. ‘They work well because there’s no pressure attached.’ For Ben, the conference has been fundamental in demonstrating the importance of the clubs to the rest of Freemasonry, particularly Grand Lodge. ‘If you look historically, things have tended to filter down from Grand Lodge to the Provinces. But the fact that members have organised themselves and grown this network organically says something about the changing face of Freemasonry.’ Indeed, the light blue clubs are more than an excuse for having a pint; they are actively building an organisation that’s fit for the 21st century.
‘New Freemasons are our future. They bring a lot of value to the Craft. If we don’t stop this steady drip of younger masons leaving, we’ll stagnate.’ Andy Venn, Southampton Light Blue Club
HOLDING A SOCIAL EVENT Andy: ‘Every time I try to get an evening social event together it falls flat. But our breakfast meetings work a treat, because they don’t intrude on family plans for the weekend.’
Ben: ‘It’s important to try different types of events. We organised a dinner at an all-you-can-eat buffet; it wasn’t the best-attended event, but the feedback we received gave us great ideas for the next one.’
Mitchell: ‘Charity events are a great way to unite people. This year, a group of us are rowing the length of the Thames on rowing machines to raise money for the mental health charity, Rethink.’
BRAND NEW Aiming to modernise the face of Freemasonry, UGLE’s new image also retains a strong sense of its history. We explore the thinking behind the changes to the branding
ook at the cover of this issue of Freemasonry Today and you might spot something out of the ordinary. In the bottom-right corner is UGLE’s new logo. It is the starting point for UGLE’s new branding, which aims to create a unified approach to Freemasonry’s image. ‘In this fast-changing world, Freemasonry needs to attract and retain the best candidates, the future leaders who will assure the long-term success of the Craft,’ says Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes, explaining the motivation behind the rebrand. ‘As we head towards 2017, UGLE has been examining how it can enhance and modernise the face of Freemasonry.’ With attraction and retention identified as key development areas, the Membership Focus Group has been looking at how to ensure that a new recruit’s expectations match his actual experiences. ‘But the modernisation of Freemasonry is not just about what happens at a lodge meeting,’ says Lowndes. ‘It is also about the image we project. We need a visual identity that is recognisable, that represents our values and heritage, and also reflects our relevance to society.’ With this in mind, in 2013 UGLE approached August, which produces Freemasonry Today, with the brief of evolving the brand. The exercise had to create visual guidelines that would help members, lodges, the Metropolitan area and Provinces communicate
‘Metropolitan and Provincial teams now have use of an online Brand Centre, where they can access all the assets – fonts, logos and templates – for their materials.’
with each other – and the rest of the world – in a professional and consistent manner. The UGLE logo was the first challenge: something unique but also true to the spirit of Freemasonry.
Celebrating 300 years Developed from a masonic icon (top), the new logo is the cornerstone of UGLE’s refreshed branding
34 We presented several suggestions for an additional strapline to feature on all
DRAWING CONCLUSIONS The Provincial Grand Master for Somerset, Stuart Hadler, announced the design of the new UGLE logo at the Pro Grand Master’s Annual Briefing Meeting, which brought together Metropolitan, Provincial and District Grand Masters and Grand Superintendents in April. While the coat of arms has for generations been a mark of status and standing in society, Stuart said: ‘Society has changed and a coat of arms no longer communicates the messages that a modern membership organisation needs to convey.’ Initial research established that the square and compasses was the most recognisable masonic symbol. From this traditional icon, the design team began to abstract the shapes to create a look that suggests a forward-looking organisation. After further development based on feedback from the Communications Committee, the Board of General Purposes and the Rulers, an iteration was chosen that was both contemporary and instantly recognisable, while also linking to Freemasonry’s rich heritage. As well as a new logo, the revised branding gives a standardised approach to font usage. Metropolitan and Provincial teams now have use of an online Brand Centre, where they can access all the assets, such as fonts, logos and templates for their materials. With the branding currently in soft launch and user-testing stage, the UGLE websites and social media pages will all be rebranded at the start of 2016. The full launch and deployment of branding across the Provinces will happen on 24 June 2016, which is the start of Grand Lodge’s 300th year. It is just one element in the organisation’s ongoing strategy to build a positive reputation for Freemasonry as open and forward thinking to ensure its long-term future.
Thomas Trotter, organist for St Margaretâ€™s Church at Westminster Abbey, performed at the concert celebrating the refurbishment of the Grand Temple organ
STRIKING THE RIGHT CHORD Freemasonry Today caught up with renowned musician Thomas Trotter as he practised on the Grand Temple’s newly refurbished pipe organ for its inaugural concert
PHOTOGRAPHY: SAM CHRISTMAS
he pipes of the Grand Temple organ positively gleam as Thomas Trotter runs through the programme for a special concert to be held in the Temple the next day. The organ’s restoration has used enough gold leaf to cover the surface of a tennis court and introduced a new organ chamber in the centre of the Temple’s east wall. As he practises, Trotter’s hands dance over the three manuals while his feet expertly work the pedals beneath to create an epic sound from Bach’s Toccata in F. The concert will not only be the culmination of the organ’s refurbishment but also the first of many celebratory events linked to the 2017 Tercentenary. One of Britain’s most widely admired musicians, Trotter is looking forward to playing to a full house: ‘The Grand Temple is a unique space, it’s incredibly plush and sumptuous. The carpets dampen the sound quite a lot so I’m going to have to work hard.’ A GRAND HISTORY The organ was built by Freemason Henry Willis III for the inauguration of the Grand Temple in 1933. It included numerous state-of-the-art developments that Willis had adopted following visits to the US, many of which were designed to help the instrument cope with its setting: a modern, efficiently heated building. Some 80 years of accumulated wear,
‘All the comments I have received show that the audience really liked being able to see Thomas’s remarkable dexterity, as well as hear the beauty of his playing.’ Charles Grace
NOTE PERFECT Thomas Trotter (pictured above) has performed as a soloist with conductors Sir Simon Rattle, Bernard Haitink and the late Sir Charles Mackerras, among many others. He regularly gives recitals in venues such as the Berlin Philharmonie; Leipzig’s Gewandhaus; the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; the Musikverein and the Konzerthaus in Vienna; and London’s Royal Festival and Royal Albert Halls. In 2012 he was named International Performer of the Year by the New York Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
however, threatened to irreparably damage the tonal accuracy of its pipes. Thanks to funding from the Supreme Grand Chapter’s reserves, organ builders Harrison & Harrison of Durham have been able to restore the instrument to its former glory, retaining its console, mechanism and pipework. The projection and presence of the sound has been markedly improved by giving a greater degree of opening to the expressive swell enclosures, within which much of the pipework is situated, and also by removing heavy fabric hangings from the east wall. ‘The curtaining would have soaked up the sound like a sponge. Now with the marble walls exposed, the sound is reflected off into the hall. It’s like having your windows cleaned – before it would have been a bit musty and unfocused,’ says Trotter. ‘I’m thrilled that people are still spending money on their instruments and buying new ones. There are far fewer organ builders than there were 50 years ago, but the standard is as high as it’s ever been.’ PAST IN TUNE WITH PRESENT The refurbishment has seen the addition of a new case on the east wall, clad to match the original design. It contains a chorus of five stops, balanced to augment rather than dominate the Willis sound, and a solo stop for special occasions – the Grand Tuba. ‘In the recital I’m going to use some of the old pipes and compare it with the new stops, which have made a big difference and are quite striking.’ The Grand Temple is in good company, with the organs at Westminster Cathedral and Liverpool Cathedral also built by Henry Willis III. ‘Every organ is different, but there are certain characteristics that follow through all the Henry Willis III organs and I can hear them here,’ says Trotter. ‘There’s a certain brightness about some of the stops that are representative of what Willis was doing in the 1930s.’ As the audience take their seats in the Grand Temple the next day, there is an almost palpable sense of expectation about how the organ will sound. With Trotter hidden behind the organ, a camera positioned behind his shoulder will stream his performance onto the wall of the Temple for the audience to see. He does not disappoint. ‘I was very pleased with the way the concert was received,’ says Charles Grace, Project Manager for the Grand Temple organ restoration. ‘All the comments I have received show that the audience really liked being able to see Thomas’s remarkable dexterity, as well as hear the beauty of his playing.’ In addition to performing pieces by Bach and masonic composers Mozart and Liszt, Trotter plays Reginald Goss-Custard’s Chelsea Fayre. It’s a fitting nod to the instrument’s proud history, with GossCustard’s brother Harry the recitalist at the opening of the Temple organ in 1933.
FROM TOP: The Masonic Peace Memorial during construction; the completed building, now known as Freemasonsâ€™ Hall
WORLD WAR I REMEMBERED
As Commonwealth nations mark the armistice signed to end the First World War, Diane Clements, Director of the Library and Museum of Freemasonry, traces the origins of Freemasons’ Hall
PHOTOGRAPHY: THE LIBRARY AND MUSEUM OF FREEMASONRY
hile the peace treaties after the First World War were still being negotiated in Versailles, following the armistice on 11 November 1918, the United Grand Lodge of England began preparations for its own masonic peace celebration in London. In June 1919, guests from lodges in Ireland, Scotland, America, Canada, New Zealand and England enjoyed a week of activities, including visits to the masonic schools and the Houses of Parliament. A peace medal was issued to those who attended the special Grand Lodge meeting on 27 June at the Royal Albert Hall. The Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Connaught, was unable to attend, but he asked Lord Ampthill, the Pro Grand Master, to read a series of messages. One of these spoke of ‘a perpetual memorial’ to ‘honour the many brethren who fell during the war’. For the Grand Master, ‘The great and continued growth of Freemasonry amongst us demands a central home; and I wish it to be considered whether the question of erecting that home in this metropolis of the empire… would not be the most fitting peace memorial.’ With individual lodges considering what form their own memorials should take, the issue was raised at the Grand Lodge meeting in September 1919. Charles Goff from Fortitude and Old Cumberland Lodge, No. 12, asked if consideration had been given to other forms of memorial – particularly a fund to support Freemasons wounded during the war or their dependants. Charles also asked whether a major building project should proceed at a time of housing shortage. Although several lodges and Provinces decided to support local hospitals, Grand Lodge elected to proceed with its new temple. MOVING FORWARD In January 1920 details of the campaign to raise funds for the new building were distributed to lodges and individual members. The target was £1 million, giving the campaign its name – the Masonic Million Memorial Fund. Contributions were to be marked by the award of medals. Members who contributed at least 10 guineas (£10.50) were to receive a silver medal and those who gave 100 guineas (£105) or more, a gold medal. Lodges that contributed an
average of 10 guineas per member were to be recorded in the new building as Hall Stone Lodges and the Master of each entitled to wear a special medal as a collarette. By the end of the appeal, 53,224 individual medals had been issued and 1,321 lodges had qualified as Hall Stone Lodges. A design by architects HV Ashley and F Winton Newman was chosen and building work started in 1927. Construction began at the western corner of the new building, where houses on Great Queen Street had been demolished, and progressed eastwards. The new Masonic Peace Memorial, as it was called, was dedicated on 19 July 1933. The theme of the memorial window outside the Grand Temple was the attainment of peace through sacrifice. Its main feature was the figure of peace holding a model of the tower façade of the building. In the lower panels were shown fighting men, civilians and pilgrims ascending a winding staircase towards the angel of peace. In June 1938, the Building Committee announced that a memorial shrine, to be designed by Walter Gilbert, would be placed under the memorial window. Its symbols portrayed peace and the attainment of eternal life. It took the form of a bronze casket resting on an ark among reeds, the boat indicative of a journey that had come to an end. In the centre of the front panel a relief showed the hand of God in which rested the soul of man. At the four corners stood pairs of winged seraphim with golden trumpets and across its front were gilded figures of Moses, Joshua, Solomon and St George. In December 1914 Grand Lodge had begun to compile a Roll of Honour of all members who had died in the war. In June 1921, the roll was declared complete, listing 3,078 names, and was printed in book form. After completion of the memorial shrine, the Roll of Honour, with the addition of over 350 names, was displayed within it on a parchment roll. The Roll of Honour was guarded by kneeling figures representing the four fighting services (Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and Royal Flying Corps). By the time all these memorials were complete, the country was already in the midst of another war. Freemasons’ Hall continued to operate during that Second World War and survived largely undamaged so that it can be visited today.
FROM TOP: The peace medal issued to attendees of the Grand Lodge meeting on 27 June 1919; the memorial window in the Grand Temple
RECOGNISED AND VALUED
Whether you’re among those providing vital help or receiving it, caring will touch nearly everyone’s lives. Aileen Scoular finds that Freemasonry has been united in its support of carers for 25 years
ILLUSTRATION: GETTY IMAGES
very day some 6,000 people become carers. Today there are around 6.5 million in the UK, and national membership charity Carers UK estimates that by 2037 more than nine million people will be in a caring role. This means providing unstinting, unpaid support for a loved one, friend or neighbour who is older, disabled or seriously ill. While some carers will have made a decision to provide care, for many the role will have presented itself gradually or unexpectedly, and they may struggle to balance caring with their own needs. Of particular concern is the fact that the number of older carers is growing rapidly. ‘The Carers UK joint report with Age UK, Caring into Later Life, showed that there are now almost 1.3 million carers aged 65 and over in England and Wales – an increase of 35 per cent in 10 years,’ says Emily Holzhausen, director of policy, advice and information at Carers UK. ‘It was even more alarming to discover that the fastest-growing group of carers are those aged 85 and over.’ Around 87,000 octogenarians now care for a loved one, despite their own fragile health. Young lives are affected, too. Carers Trust estimates that there are around 300,000 carers aged 16 to 24 in the UK, and some 13,000 of those are providing more than 50 hours of care a week, which makes it very difficult to work or go to college. Thankfully for today’s carers, there is a network of dedicated caring charities. But the problem is that not everyone who provides care realises they are a carer, so it can be hard for such charities to reach those who most need their support. ‘People often have a picture of who a carer is and they find it hard to identify with that label,’ says Holzhausen. ‘Many carers simply don’t want to ask for help, often because they feel like it is their duty to care for their loved one.’ HELP FOR THOSE WHO HELP Carers UK celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2015 and is working with a network of volunteers and local community-based organisations – including masonic lodges – to help them understand how to reach, connect with and support carers in their community in the best way. However, they need funding to reach more carers with vital advice, information and support, which is why The Freemasons’ Grand Charity’s support of the caring sector is so important. Over the past 25 years, the Grand Charity has donated more than £1 million to charities that specifically support carers, including a £250,000 donation to Carers UK back in 1990. Baroness Jill Pitkeathley OBE headed up Carers UK at the time and she described it as ‘one of the most significant events which took place on my watch as chief executive… allowing us to expand our branch network, increase our membership and expand
our profile with the media. Carers everywhere owe the Grand Charity a debt of gratitude.’ ‘Many Freemasons recognise the need for care, and for some it’s a topic that is becoming more relevant to their own lives,’ says Katrina Baker, Head of Non-Masonic Grants at the Grand Charity. ‘It is reported that many carers are already living on the breadline so any welfare cuts take their financial situation to a critical level. The masonic community and our Grants Committee are passionate about supporting the caring sector.’ The Grand Charity has made sizeable donations to caring organisations in recent years. Crossroads Care, a UK-wide network of carers’ centres, received £125,000 over three years, allowing it to develop more branches. Contact a Family also benefited from £125,000 over three years, enabling it to establish
Margaret, pictured with husband Eddie, is a Volunteer Ambassador for Carers UK
MAKING LIFE BETTER Margaret Dangoor, 75, regularly visited her mother in a Bath nursing home until her death aged 102, while also looking after her husband Eddie, who has Alzheimer’s, at home in Surrey. She explains how tough caring for loved ones can be ‘Sometimes people are so focused on the person they care for, they forget about their own well-being. Caring is a big role and it can be extremely daunting; many carers also feel very guilty. It’s not all negative, though – there can be a sense of community if you engage with the care environment. I’m a Volunteer Ambassador for Carers UK because I want to spread the word and reach those who might be caring alone.
charities. My father was a member of Raymond Thrupp Lodge in Middlesex, and Lodge of Honour in Bath when he lived there. When my father was very ill during the last months of his life, the lodge in Bath was very helpful to my mother. She had early Alzheimer’s disease, and a member of the lodge took her to visit my father every day for several weeks. She had no concept of what a commitment he was making and
‘For me, it’s poignant to see the Grand Charity supporting carers’
our family, who were all living at a distance, were extremely grateful.’
‘Unfortunately we receive far more applications for grants than we can support, and the number we receive is rising.’ Katrina Baker
a new regional structure in the north of England. Home Farm Trust (Hft), a charity for people with learning disabilities, used a £60,000 donation to fund a Carer Support Service. A conference for The Princess Royal Trust for Carers (now merged with Crossroads Care to form the Carers Trust) was made possible with a £33,000 grant, allowing best practice to be shared across 118 independent care centres. THE MORE YOU KNOW… Recently, the Grand Charity once again supported Carers UK with a £100,000 donation to help fund its national advice and information services, giving carers access to free guidance on the practicalities of caring, and information on their entitlements and rights. ‘It is a substantial donation for us, larger than most grants we give,’ explains Baker. ‘Unfortunately we receive far more applications for grants than we can support, and the number we receive is rising.’ Baker and her colleagues research the applications thoroughly, and present the Grand Charity Grants Committee with a shortlist from a broad spectrum of charitable sectors. ‘We always aim to be fair when selecting projects to support,’ she says. ‘It is also important to support causes that are of interest and relevance to the masonic community. We want them to be able to connect with the sectors and organisations we’re supporting.’ Not surprisingly, the charities that benefit from the Grand Charity’s donations are very grateful. ‘We hugely appreciate the support that has come from the Grand Charity over the past 25 years, and its current grant to help us develop our network of services,’ says Holzhausen. ‘We’re always keen to work with the masonic community, and we want them to know that our services are always there for them, too.’
THE PERSONAL IMPACT
Being a carer affects people’s lives in many ways – not all of them predictable – as research from Carers UK reveals EMPLOYMENT According to a report by Carers UK, two million people have given up work to care. More than a third of carers have also used up their holiday leave to provide care. RELATIONSHIPS Caring can profoundly change the terms of a relationship. Having nursed each other through cancer on separate occasions, BBC Radio 2 DJ Johnnie Walker and his wife Tiggy are now patrons of the Carers UK 50th Anniversary appeal. ‘Caring pushed our relationship to the brink,’ he says. ‘It has left us with a deep understanding of how difficult and challenging caring for someone can be.’
Carers’ charities welcome new volunteers. For advice or to volunteer, visit:
FAMILY Sometimes, family bonds can break down too. ‘At first, family can be very supportive but as time passes, that support can drop off,’ says Emily Holzhausen of Carers UK. Around 60 per cent of carers worry about the
www.carersuk.org, www.carers.org, www.cafamily.org.uk, www.hft.org.uk
impact their caring role will have on their other relationships.
PHYSICAL WELL-BEING Caring has had a negative effect on the health of some 82 per cent of carers, according to Carers UK, and 41 per cent have experienced an injury or their physical health has suffered as a result of caring. Looking ahead, more than three quarters of all carers are concerned about the impact of caring on their own health in the next 12 months. ISOLATION Feeling isolated is common among carers. Many don’t want to ask for help, and others are too exhausted – or cannot afford – to do anything except provide round-the-clock care. Eight in 10 carers say they have experienced loneliness and isolation as a result of their caring role, and over half have lost touch with friends or family. FINANCIAL HARDSHIP Caring is costly and more than a third of all carers do not realise what benefits they are entitled to. Around 48 per cent cannot make ends meet, and 26 per cent have had to borrow money from friends or family to survive.
PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES. ‘THE PERSONAL IMPACT’ STATISTICS FROM CARERS UK REPORTS: STATE OF CARING (2015); ALONE AND CARING (2015); CARING AND ISOLATION IN THE WORKPLACE (CARERS UK AND EMPLOYERS FOR CARERS, 2015)
MASONS IN HISTORY
SOAP AND SOCIOLOGY Best remembered for bringing soap to the masses, William Lever was driven by Freemasonry’s strong philanthropic values, as Philippa Faulks explains
PHOTOGRAPHY: ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS LTD/MARY EVANS, SCIENCE MUSEUM/SCIENCE & SOCIETY PICTURE LIBRARY
n 19 September 1867, 16-year-old William Lever received a birthday present that was to not only influence his future profession but also his entry into masonic life. Later labelled ‘the bible of mid-Victorian liberalism’, Self-Help by Samuel Smiles (published in 1859) was a moral treatise on the promotion of selfimprovement and the denouncement of materialism. Known throughout the world for his industrialism and philanthropy, William Lever had humble origins that were to provide a springboard for his success. Born in Bolton in 1851, Lever was the seventh child of grocer James Lever and Eliza Hesketh. His education at Bolton Church Institute and membership of the Congregationalist Church was later reflected in his work and politics. Although an academic non-achiever at school, Lever threw himself into extracurricular activities and aspired to be an architect – but his father had other plans. In 1867, Lever was recruited into the family grocery business, where one of his chores was to cut the large blocks of soap into slices and wrap them for sale. Even though he soon progressed through the ranks of the business, Lever was frustrated by his lack of responsibility and channelled much of his energy into his leisure time. He immersed himself in the application of the wisdom of Smiles’ Self-Help, which placed enormous emphasis on the husbanding of
MASONS IN HISTORY
‘Lever immersed himself in the application of the wisdom of Smiles’ Self-Help, which placed enormous emphasis on the husbanding of time in pursuit of daily self-improvement.’
time in pursuit of daily self-improvement. When Lever was aged 21, his father made him a junior partner in the business. With this, his salary rose to £800 a year and his dream of marrying his childhood sweetheart, Elizabeth Hulme, became a reality. SETTING OUT A STRATEGY Echoing his rigid yet productive personal routines, Lever’s business model was one of meticulous planning, canny advertising and, in some ways, overbearing paternalism. He was a perfectionist who insisted on managing all aspects of business, much to the chagrin of his co-workers. Nevertheless, this drive would take him to the pinnacle of international success. Not content with the rapid expansion of his father’s business, Lever wanted to create his own. Looking at his father’s humble empire, Lever’s gaze fell upon one thing – soap. In 1885, along with his brother James, he established Lever Brothers and brought soap to the masses. After much market research and international travel, they began to corner the market: Sunlight Soap, the world’s first packaged and branded laundry detergent, was born. Lever wanted to create something that would be of benefit not only to his closest relations but also to his fellow man. When demand for soap began to outstrip production at the original factory in Warrington, Lancashire, it was time to expand. Thorough searching of land registry maps offered a solution in the Wirral, not far from Liverpool. Lever designed and oversaw (along with more than 30 architects) the building of what was in effect a large-scale social experiment. Between 1899 and 1914, 800 houses were built for a permanent population of 3,500-4,000 workers, managers and administrators. Once completed, Port Sunlight housed not only the vast new factory and offices, but also a hospital, church, technical institute, museum and library, auditorium, gymnasium, heated outdoor pool and refectories for workers. Such self-contained community living was not entirely embraced by those who felt that business owners used paternalism as a way of controlling their workforce. Nevertheless, those who might otherwise have been living in slums greatly appreciated it.
MASONS IN HISTORY
OPPOSITE: Sunlight Soap was the world’s first packaged and branded detergent
PHOTOGRAPHY: ALAMY, CORBIS, GETTY IMAGES
RIGHT, FROM TOP: Port Sunlight; plans during construction; the factory in 1897
BEYOND THE BUSINESSMAN Lever was a keen art collector, and often took family and friends on cultural excursions as he travelled the world. One of the most imposing buildings in Port Sunlight today is the Lady Lever Art Gallery, dedicated to his beloved wife Elizabeth. The gallery also houses his extensive collection of masonic regalia and memorabilia, including fine masonic chairs now exhibited in what was once a lodge room. It was in Port Sunlight that Lever’s masonic career began when a group of local masons, many of whom were employees of Lever Brothers, decided to open a lodge in the village. To honour their chairman, they named it William Hesketh Lever Lodge, No. 2916. Lever was duly initiated at the first meeting of the lodge in 1902 and went on to become Master in 1907. He later formed Leverhulme Lodge, No. 4438; was a co-founder of no fewer than 17 lodges; became Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of England; and was appointed Provincial Senior Grand Warden of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Cheshire. Lever was also a prominent Liberal MP and instigator of the Old Age Pension Bill. He was made a baronet in 1911 and a peer in 1917, taking on the title Lord Leverhulme (the ‘hulme’ in honour of his wife), and in 1922 was elevated to a viscountcy. His philanthropic reach was large, endowing a school of Tropical Medicine at Liverpool University, while the Leverhulme Trust today provides funding for education and research publications. Lever also made much provision for his hometown of Bolton, responsible for the formation of Bolton School and donating large areas of land to the locals, most notably Lever Park in Rivington. Lever died at his London residence in Hampstead on 7 May 1925. The writer and columnist AN Wilson once remarked, ‘The altruism of Leverhulme [is] in sad contrast to the antisocial attitude of modern business magnates, who think only of profit and the shareholder.’ Although his reputation has since been sullied slightly by accusations of exploitation in his business ventures, no one can deny that William Hesketh Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme, was a force for good in a time of great change.
With support from The Freemasonsâ€™ Grand Charity, a new GCSE in British Sign Language could open up the education system for deaf young people, writes Glyn Brown
ILLUSTRATION: MICHELLE HIRD
ommunication is a major part of what makes life worth living. But it isn’t always easy. Some of us can find it hard to talk to others, to understand them and transmit what we want to tell them. But if you can’t hear, the difficulty can become far more pronounced. There is currently a groundswell movement to break through the barrier between the hearing and the deaf. But whereas places such as Scotland and Scandinavia are opening up education by teaching and promoting the use – and understanding – of sign language in schools, England and Wales are lagging way behind, which means they are missing out on the potential talent and ability of a huge number of young people. But someone is taking a stand. Founded in 1982, Durham-based charity Signature is now the leading awarding body for qualifications in deaf and deafblind communication techniques. In a radical move, it has drawn up and is piloting a GCSE in British Sign Language (BSL). Preparation has taken years, and the pilot is Signature’s next step in persuading the government that the qualification should be recognised. THE LANGUAGE OF CHANGE It was only in 1890 that the British Deaf Association was formed, and began advocating the use of (what was at the time revolutionary) sign language, alongside lip-reading. Suddenly, the deaf were becoming teachers and civil servants, editors and chemists. ‘Once there was a recognised form of communication, people started to realise not only that BSL was a language in its own right, with grammar and syntax, but that these people had just as much to say as hearing people,’ says Signature’s senior policy adviser Dan Sumners. ‘The turning point was when hearing people started to learn BSL and become interpreters.’
With Sweden, Finland and Norway offering sign language as part of the national curriculum, it seems out of step that BSL is currently only taught in deaf schools, community colleges or private organisations in England and Wales. Signature has tried for years to get BSL recognised as a language in its own right. Its first attempt to draft GCSE criteria in 2010 was never used, but the charity was undeterred, assembling a crack team of qualification experts, examiners and BSL teachers to draw up new GCSE content in 2014. ‘They were incredibly passionate, and relentless in making this a rigorous qualification,’ recalls Gillian Marshall-Dyson, Signature’s funding and projects coordinator. With everything in place by July 2015, the GCSE was then offered to six schools to pilot. ‘The course provides all students with a good working knowledge of BSL,’ says Marshall-Dyson. ‘Not just that – young people love learning it. It’s physical, expressive, a totally new learning curve. They absolutely throw themselves into it.’ MAKING PROGRESS POSSIBLE But none of this could have been achieved without financial assistance. Researching funding, MarshallDyson noticed that the Freemasons have a great interest in helping children and young people, so an application for funding was submitted in late 2014. ‘On a day very early in 2015 I got into work, switched on my computer and saw an email that said, “We are pleased to be able to award you a grant of £18,000…” I was delighted to receive the news and share it with the rest of the office… In fact, the whole office came to a standstill. And I thought, how wonderful, now we really can forge ahead and bring in a brilliant team to put this groundbreaking qualification together.’ Michael Daws, a trustee of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, has high expectations: ‘The hope
‘Someone who’s grown up profoundly deaf has an entirely different view of the world, and it’s a view that’s not being made use of.’ Dan Sumners
With 11 million people in the UK having some degree of hearing loss, education for the deaf is a key issue
is that this GCSE can take pupils beyond survival skills and into having full conversations with each other in BSL. It could be a transformative experience. But what also struck a chord with me was hearing how learning BSL can sometimes be difficult for shy children because it’s so demonstrative – try putting yourself in a position where you’re using your facial expressions and your body to talk. But learning to overcome that reticence, in a GCSE class, could help with confidence in so many ways.’ Of course, it is early days. As Sumners explains, the GCSE will be tweaked and streamlined during regular meetings of the Signature team and the pilot schools, ‘so we can make the specification as robust as possible’. Above all, the GCSE needs to be recognised by the regulating body Ofqual; only then can it be offered officially, and in all schools. ‘The first aspect of this issue is acknowledging an individual’s human rights. But the second is asking why, if we want the UK to remain strong, we wouldn’t want to use the skills of everyone in this country?’ says Sumners. ‘Someone who’s grown up profoundly deaf has an entirely different view of the world to you or me, and it’s a view that’s not being made use of. It sounds grandiose – but developing this awareness could have ramifications that, at the moment, we can’t even imagine.’
It is hoped that the new British Sign Language GCSE will not only create opportunities for youngsters, but also help them to grow in confidence
‘Achievement grades in education are much lower for deaf children,’ says Dan Sumners, Signature’s senior policy adviser. ‘In the past, kids either went the deaf school route – learning sign language, which was great for developing the deaf community but constituted a barrier with mainstream society – or down the lipreading route, where they had to try to speak, even though they couldn’t hear.’ Those who were encouraged to lip-read tend to have a low reading age and can lip-read little better than the rest of us. Gillian Marshall-Dyson, Signature’s funding and projects coordinator, adds, ‘Many schools for the deaf are now being closed, and those children are sent to mainstream schools. They struggle and can’t get the education they need, so they slip behind.’ The best way forward, says Sumners, is a mixture of communication, which is what deaf teens increasingly use. ‘They may have hearing aids or cochlear implants, they may use some sign language and do some lip-reading. For years, the assumption was that the deaf were cognitively challenged, but being deaf just means you can’t hear; it says nothing about the rest of your abilities.’
After an accident left him unable to carry on with life in the military, Arthur Vaughan Williams leaned on masonic values to help him transition to a career in broadcasting freemasonrytoday.com
in life It’s clear Arthur Vaughan Williams is a man who isn’t afraid of a challenge as he reels off the many remote and wonderful places he’s visited in the past year alone. As a presenter for Channel 4, the Pershoreborn Freemason has camped out in the depths of Canada’s sub-Arctic wilderness, used a helicopter to steer cattle around a ranch the size of Wales in the Australian outback and navigated the dangerous mountainside runways of Nepal. Arthur’s adventures have rarely been relaxing. Halfway through describing the ‘loaded march’, a notorious 30-mile trek that Royal Marines must complete before receiving their green beret, he shudders visibly at the memory of the experience. ‘You’re trekking for eight hours across Dartmoor with nearly 10kg of kit slung over your shoulders. That’s really tough,’ he recalls. ‘At the time, it felt like this huge tidal wave rearing up in front of me, and I thought if I do this, I’ll never doubt myself again.’ FIGHTING SPIRIT It’s a mantra that’s seen Arthur through the ups and downs of a pretty extraordinary life so far. As a commando, he worked in Sierra Leone establishing frontline communications for the Royal Marines. But after a car crash in 2007 left him paralysed from the waist down, his military career came to an abrupt end. At just 21 years old, Arthur had to rethink his entire life. ‘It’s such a graphic and horrendous thing to deal with,’ he says. ‘To go from peak physical fitness to somebody who can’t control two-thirds of their body – it’s unimaginable.’ Bedridden for six weeks, Arthur was incapable of showering, dressing or even sitting up without help. It took two months of painful rehabilitation before he was allowed to return to his parents’ house. ‘Probably the hardest part was realising that there was nothing [doctors] could do for me. I remember being wheeled past the operating theatre and feeling jealous of the people inside, because at least they had a chance of being fixed.’ Ultimately, it was the tenacity instilled in him through the marines that saved Arthur’s life.
‘Suicide crosses your mind when something like this befalls you,’ he says. ‘But as far as I was concerned, I was still a marine and we never give up – we don’t know how to – so that helped a lot.’ TIME FOR A NEW PATH Gradually, Arthur began to rebuild his life piece by piece, starting with his initiation into White Ensign Lodge, No. 9169, in 2008. ‘My dad was a Freemason, and his father before him, so it’s always a path I’ve been interested in following,’ he says. ‘We’ve got a bit of a family tradition where the father initiates his son, so when my dad came to the chair as the Master of the lodge it seemed the right time for me to join.’ A military lodge based in Worcestershire, White Ensign’s membership all served in the Armed Forces, so Arthur was able to relive the esprit de corps of his military days. But most importantly, it helped him to gain some clarity in the aftermath of the accident. ‘In the marines they teach you to kill without a second thought, which requires a certain amount of aggression,’ explains Arthur. ‘That’s fine when you’re able to do the job because you can control and apply it when necessary. But when I was forced out of the marines, that instinct manifested itself in pure frustration and anger. I began to lash out at the people around me. It was never in a violent way, just shouting and screaming. But it wasn’t appropriate.’ Arthur learned to redefine his approach to life by using the morals of Freemasonry as a guide for his ambition and drive. ‘As a military lodge, it’s no coincidence that many of the Freemasons there are successful, but it’s not through greed or selfishness, or for material gain. It’s because we want to lead a good life, to raise a decent, good family and to play our role in society well.’ With this newfound positivity, Arthur returned to his early sporting passions to help propel himself into a new life. He immersed himself in the world of wheelchair racing, eventually progressing to the British cycling development squad for the 2012 Paralympic Games. ‘I was always the sporty type at school,’ he remembers. ‘I played rugby for Prince
INSPIRED BY HIS PASSION The Channel 4 work has been just the beginning of a career in television, one that has allowed Arthur to merge his passion for flying and presenting. ‘After the accident, I thought back to what I loved as a kid, and that was flying,’ he recalls. ‘All my life I’d heard stories of Douglas Bader, the disabled pilot who through grit and guile managed to earn his pilot license and fight in the Battle of Britain. Now he’s one of our most celebrated national heroes. I thought if he could do that back then, why can’t I do it now?’ After just nine hours of training, Arthur completed his first solo flight to become a licensed pilot. A few years later, he bought a 1943 Piper Cub light aircraft. ‘The previous owner had been flying it for 30 years, so I do wonder if I should start wearing a parachute soon,’ he laughs. In 2015, Channel 4 commissioned Arthur for a three-part documentary, Flying to the Ends of the Earth, in which he flew to some of the most remote communities in the world to learn about their unique ways of life. Today, he spends his time travelling between London and his home in the Cotswolds, and is working on a book about the pioneers who established the Imperial Airways routes now used by the likes of British Airways. ‘Obviously my accident completely changed my life,’ says Arthur. ‘Back then, the young boy in me wanted to blow everything up and burn it all to the ground. But now, as an adult, I want to create, to have something to show for my work that I can always be proud of. It’s the only direction my life could’ve gone if I wanted to survive.’
WORDS: SARAH HOLMES. PHOTOGRAPHY: JUDE EDGINTON
‘I’m proud to have been a part of the Paralympics… How often can you say you helped change the way people think about disability?’ Arthur Vaughan Williams
Henry’s High School in Evesham and competed in the Army Cadet National Athletics finals.’ However, it was television that would give Arthur his big break. After submitting a YouTube video to a national talent search, he was chosen as one of six new disabled presenters to front Channel 4’s coverage of the 2012 Paralympic Games. ‘It was one of those tidal wave moments again,’ says Arthur, who was put through a five-day boot camp at the National Film & Television School to test his presenting potential. ‘There were over 4,200 athletes from 164 different countries competing in 20 sports across 12 days, and I had to know everything about all of them. I probably spent months sitting in my study poring over books and interviewing people on the phone. But it was worth it. Somebody believed in me at Channel 4, and I was going to prove them right.’ In the same year, Channel 4 won a BAFTA for its coverage of the Paralympic Games. ‘The Paralympics was probably the most rewarding thing I’ll ever do in my life,’ says Arthur. ‘How often can you say you helped change the way people think about disability? It was a real watershed moment for the country, and I’m proud to have been a part of it.’
JUBILEE RESEARCH FUND
MEDICA AL OPINION From Alzheimer’s and diabetes to prosthetic limbs, local medical research projects have been chosen by Freemasons across the UK to receive grants of up to £100,000. Peter Watts finds out how the voting worked
n 2015, the Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF) decided to mark its 25th anniversary with an unprecedented exercise. It created the Silver Jubilee Research Fund, worth £1 million, to distribute to medical research charities and then invited masons across the UK to vote for the organisations they felt should receive a share of the funds. Charities were divided regionally so Freemasons could choose from those based locally to them. ‘It’s the first time any of the masonic charities have been proactive in this way,’ says John McCrohan, Grants Director and Deputy Chief Executive of the MSF. ‘We are conscious of the support we get from the masonic brethren and wanted to get them more actively involved in choosing who we would offer support to.’ Such was the success of the project that in September 2015 the MSF announced that following votes from more than 5,000 Freemasons in 10 regional areas, 13 charities from across the UK would receive a combined £1.13 million. With masons from all over England and Wales allowed to vote, charities receiving grants included Alzheimer’s Research UK in Oxford, Tenovus Cancer Care in Cardiff and Yorkshire Cancer Research in Sheffield. ‘It really helped people to get engaged because it was happening on their doorstep, so was something they could have a view on,’ says McCrohan of the voting process.
CAUSES CLOSE TO HOME George Royle, Provincial Grand Almoner in South Wales, where Tenovus Cancer Care has been awarded £89,000, echoes McCrohan’s sentiments. ‘We liked the fact members could vote, and were behind the process from the start. Tenovus is a household name in Wales and has been going since 1943 when 10 businessmen set it up in order to fund projects across the local area,’ he says of the charity, which will use its grant to research immunotherapy treatment. ‘It is based in Cardiff but has mobile units that save a lot of travelling for people who live in the Valleys.’ Every charity that applied for funding had to go into detail about the research it was planning, which was then analysed by the MSF board of experts. ‘We began by approaching every charity that was a member of the Association of Medical Research
PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES
JUBILEE RESEARCH FUND
Charities (AMRC), which is around 130 charities,’ says McCrohan. ‘We wrote to each one, inviting them to apply and letting them know we were looking to support high-quality medical research. That meant they already met a very high standard in terms of peer review and evaluation.’ Just over 60 charities applied, and the MSF panel shortlisted 30 for the ballot, to be voted on by Freemasons. As well as drawing applications from a range of areas – from combating cancer and heart disease to designing prosthetic limbs – the MSF wanted to involve charities from across the country. ‘That was the unknown,’ says McCrohan. ‘We could have received all our applications from Oxford and London, two of the established centres of excellence, but we got applications from far and wide – Bristol, Southampton, Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool
and Cardiff. We had enough numbers to break it up regionally, which meant masons could vote for charities that were either based locally or had research taking place in their region.’ THE POWER OF ENGAGEMENT McCrohan was pleased at the way masons responded to the initiative, particularly as the entire process took place electronically, via email, newsletters and links to websites where masons could read about how the charities intended to use the grants. ‘We wanted to challenge the perception that because Freemasons are an older generation, they might not engage with online information,’ he says. The Jubilee fund has also raised awareness of the work that the MSF undertakes to help masons and non-masons alike. ‘Our non-masonic medical
JUBILEE RESEARCH FUND
research complements the support that we give to individual masons with their health and care needs,’ says McCrohan. ‘The hope is that our support of medical research will benefit the whole of society and not just the masonic community.’ Allan Peates is Provincial Grand Almoner for Oxfordshire, where a grant of £100,000 has been awarded to Alzheimer’s Research UK. He points out how the Jubilee fund is a chance for the MSF to talk publicly about its work. ‘The MSF does a brilliant job with individual masons and their families, but a lot is unseen because people don’t always like to admit they received a grant,’ he says. ‘If you need a procedure the MSF will fund it, but the recipient won’t necessarily want people to know where the money came from.’ Allan is delighted that Alzheimer’s Research UK came top of the Jubilee poll in his region. ‘We had 62 per cent of people in our area vote for the Alzheimer’s research project,’ he says. ‘Alzheimer’s has to be at the top of our priorities, along with prostate cancer, and
the charity is going to use the money to try and develop a blood test for early detection.’ As a result of the Jubilee fund, the MSF has raised its profile among the medical research community, and McCrohan hopes this will bring rewards further down the line. ‘We’ve become more aware of the research that is going on and more connected to that community. We want to be well known within the funding sector so people can come to us.’ Above all though, McCrohan hopes that masons will get involved in similar enterprises. ‘We are privileged to be entrusted with their funds and it’s only right we consult them on how they are distributed. It’s a model we’d like to repeat in the future. There are a lot of Freemasons who will never come to Great Queen Street in London, so their experience of Freemasonry is a very local one. This allows them to contribute to the way the charities based in London operate. Hopefully that’s been a positive experience.’
And the winners are… Organisation
ALZHEIMER’S RESEARCH UK
Developing a blood test to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease
Improve outcomes of stem-cell transplantation for patients with blood cancer and other disorders
Metropolitan Grand Lodge
BRAIN RESEARCH TRUST
Contribute to finding a treatment or cure for Alzheimer’s disease
BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION
How to spot and treat a protein that can cause life-threatening heart disease
Uncovering the links between diabetes and dementia
LUDWIG INSTITUTE FOR CANCER RESEARCH
Identifying drugs that are effective in both cancer and neurodegenerative disease
Accelerating progress in finding a cure for age-related macular degeneration
A solution for the life-threatening symptom of swallowing problems in people suffering from Parkinson’s
Revolutionising the ability of upper limb amputees to control a prosthetic device
TENOVUS CANCER CARE
Enabling the immune system to resist cancer, and the search for a cancer vaccine
UCL CANCER INSTITUTE RESEARCH TRUST
Developing safer and more effective treatments for children with leukaemia
Metropolitan Grand Lodge
WILLIAM HARVEY RESEARCH FOUNDATION
Advancing the discovery of new medicines for dementia through research on vascular function
Metropolitan Grand Lodge
YORKSHIRE CANCER RESEARCH
New treatments for lung cancer that will improve patients’ outcomes
A HISTORY T OF GIVING We trace the origins of the four masonic charities that have come together to form the new Masonic Charitable Foundation
he four masonic charities have been integral to the Craft, providing crucial support to Freemasons, their families and the wider community. However, the existence of four separate organisations – each with its own distinct processes for providing support – hindered the development of a truly joined-up and consistent approach. After much consideration it has therefore been decided to launch a major new charity, the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF). From 1 April 2016, the Foundation will take over the work of the central masonic charities, providing a wide range of grants to Freemasons and their families who have a financial, health or care need. The Foundation will also award grants to other charities, medical research studies and disaster relief appeals. The Foundation will ensure that the masonic charitable support network, which has provided assistance for centuries, remains fit for purpose and able to adapt to the needs of new generations. As we look to the future, it is worth remembering how the current four charities have evolved and how, under the banner of the MCF, cradle-to-grave support will remain in place for Freemasons and their dependants.
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celebrated with a church
of the Grand Lodges, the
not admitted to the
Charting the history of
Grand Lodge sets up the
service and dinner.
Committee of Charity joins
masonic schools can
the four masonic charities
Committee of Charity
Collections are taken,
with other committees
receive grants to support
1788 The Royal
making this the first
relieving hardship among
their education elsewhere
masons to become the
1914 It is decided that
School for Female
for a masonic charity
Board of Benevolence
the daughters of serving
Objects, named after the
1798 Inspired by Ruspini’s
1850 The Royal Masonic
Freemasons who die or
Duchess of Cumberland,
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(RMBI) is established,
WWI should receive
Mariners Lodge establish
and the first RMBI home
a grant of £25 per year
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a fund to support the
opens in East Croydon
1920 The Freemasons’
of the Royal Cumberland
sons of Freemasons
1904 ‘Out-relief’ is
Hospital and Nursing
Freemasons’ School is
1814 Soon after the union
introduced so that those
FROM FAR LEFT: HM Queen Mary opens the Royal Masonic School for Girls in 1934; HM King George VI visits the school with Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1946; and HM Queen Elizabeth II visits in 1955 RIGHT, FROM TOP: The Princess Royal receives £100,000 from the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys on behalf of Save the Children; the opening of Ruspini House in 1988, which provides accommodation for young people working or studying in London
THE FREEMASONS’ GRAND CHARITY Soon after the Grand Master’s installation in 1967, he commissioned a review of the masonic charities. It recommended that a new central charity be established to contribute to society as a whole, befitting the importance and scale of English Freemasonry. In 1980, the Grand Charity was established. It also assumed responsibility for UGLE’s Board of Benevolence, whose origins were found in the first Committee of Charity of Grand Lodge, formed in 1725. With grants totalling more than £120 million, the Grand Charity has improved the lives of thousands of masons and their dependants, and has made extensive contributions to wider society, funding the causes that are important to members of the Craft. It has enabled Provinces to demonstrate their commitment to local communities through matched giving schemes, grants to The Scout Association and millions in hospice and Air Ambulance giving. Its multimillionpound research funding has aided numerous medical breakthroughs. The Grand Charity has brought far-reaching benefits to masonic fundraising by establishing the Relief Chest Scheme to promote
efficient and tax-effective giving. The Craft has saved thousands of pounds in administration costs and donations have been significantly increased through Gift Aid. The scheme has also enabled members to come together following worldwide disasters, funding recovery projects in devastated areas on behalf of Freemasonry as a whole. Indeed, £1 million was raised following the 2004 Asian tsunami. Through the Grand Charity’s giving, thousands have felt the positive impact of masonic charity and over the past 35 years in particular, Freemasonry has increasingly been seen publicly as a philanthropic leader, supporting many great causes.
ROYAL MASONIC TRUST FOR GIRLS AND BOYS From its origins as a school for girls, the RMTGB has worked for over 227 years to relieve poverty and advance the education of thousands of children from masonic families across the UK, as well as tens of thousands of children from wider society. The Trust has spent over £130 million on charitable support over the past 15 years alone.
1933 The Royal Masonic
1967 Scarbrough Court
1973 Lord Harris Court
1980 The Grand Charity
opens in Bournemouth,
Hospital opens at
opens in Cramlington,
opens in Sindlesham,
Berkshire, and Albert
1980 James Terry Court
1984 Grand Charity
1934 The girls’ school
1968 Prince George Duke
Edward Prince of Wales
opens in Croydon, Surrey
hospice support begins
moves to Rickmansworth
of Kent Court opens in
Court opens in Porthcawl,
1981 Cornwallis Court
1986 The Grand Charity
Park. The school is
opens in Bury St
establishes the Relief Chest Scheme
officially opened by
1971 Connaught Court
1977 Ecclesholme opens
HM Queen Mary with
opens in Fulford, York
in Eccles, Manchester, and
1982 The masonic
1986 Cadogan Court
5,000 ladies and brethren
1973 The Bagnall Report
The Tithebarn opens in
institutions for girls and
opens in Exeter,
recommends that the
Great Crosby, Liverpool
boys merge their activities
boys’ school is closed
1979 Queen Elizabeth
to form the Masonic Trust
1990 The Masonic
Court opens in Oadby,
and that the girls’ school
Court opens in
for Girls and Boys
Samaritan Fund (MSF)
1983 Zetland Court
is established, assisted
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Prince Edward Duke of Kent Court RMBI care home, Essex; James Terry Court care home, Croydon; the Grand Charity supports Help for Heroes; nurses during training at the Royal Masonic Hospital in 1958
In 1788, Chevalier Bartholomew Ruspini established the Royal Cumberland Freemasons’ School for Female Objects, supporting 15 daughters of distressed or deceased Freemasons. A provision for boys was introduced soon after, and over the next 200 years the institutions’ schools expanded and relocated. Eventually, the boys’ school closed, the girls’ school became independent, and the trustees focused on supporting children at schools near their own homes. In 1982, the boys’ and girls’ institutions came together to form the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, later the RMTGB. Over time, the Trust moved from fixed financial grants to packages of support tailored to each family’s circumstances. Innovative schemes were also introduced for youngsters with specific talents and needs. The Trust’s support also extends beyond the masonic community. In 1988, £100,000 was awarded to Great Ormond Street Hospital, with major grants given ever since. Since the launch of the Stepping Stones non-masonic grant-making scheme in 2010, almost £1 million has been awarded to charities that aim to reduce the impact of poverty on education. The Trust also provides premises and support services for Lifelites, which equips children’s hospices across the British Isles with fun, assistive technology. Established as the Trust’s Millennium Project, Lifelites became an independent charity in 2006.
ROYAL MASONIC BENEVOLENT INSTITUTION The RMBI cares for older Freemasons and their families, as well as people in the community. The history of the charity dates back to 1842 when UGLE inaugurated the Royal Masonic Benevolent Annuity Fund for men, followed by the Female Annuity Fund in 1849. The first home was opened the following year and the RMBI was officially established. In the early 1960s, provision was extended to non-annuitants and between 1960 and 1986, a further 13 homes were set up. The RMBI now provides a home for more than 1,000 people across England and Wales, while supporting many more. At the heart of the RMBI is the commitment to deliver services that uphold an individual’s dignity. Its Experiential Learning training programme requires all new carers to complete a series of practical scenarios in order to better understand residents and has even received national news coverage for its unique approach. The RMBI is also recognised for its excellence in specialist dementia care services, which are increasingly in demand. Nine RMBI homes have been awarded Butterfly Service status, a national quality-of-life ‘kitemark’, by Dementia Care Matters.
by a £1.2 million grant
1994 Prince Michael
Relief Grants exceeds
Project to provide
to support disadvantaged
from the Grand Charity
of Kent Court opens in
£2 million for the first time
assistive and educational
young people at university.
1992 275th anniversary
1998 Prince Edward Duke
technology packages for
Almost 500 students are
of Grand Lodge
1994 The Cornwallis
of Kent Court opens in
children’s hospices across
assisted during the first
1992 The Grand Charity
Appeal raises £3.2 million
the British Isles
year of the scheme, rising
awards more than
for the MSF
1999 To commemorate
1999 The London Festival
to almost 1,000 by 2003
£2 million to charities
1995 Shannon Court
the millennium, the Grand
Appeal for the MSF raises
2001 The TalentAid
that care for people with
opens in Hindhead, Surrey
Charity donates more than
scheme is introduced by
1996 Barford Court
£2 million to good causes
2000 Following the
the Trust to support young
1994 UGLE recommends
opens in Hove,
1999 Lifelites is
abolition of Local
people with an exceptional
that all masonic
established by the
Authority student grants,
talent in music, sport or
organisations adopt the
1997 Total annual
Masonic Trust for Girls
the Trust establishes an
the arts, with 75 supported
Relief Chest Scheme
expenditure for Masonic
and Boys as a Millennium
undergraduate aid scheme
in the first year
CLOCKWISE FROM RIGHT: Both the RMTGB and the Grand Charity have given funding to The Scout Association; the British Red Cross and Air Ambulances receive ongoing masonic support; Parkinson’s UK has benefited from Grand Charity and MSF grants
MASONIC SAMARITAN FUND The Royal Masonic Hospital and its predecessor, the Freemasons’ Hospital and Nursing Home, had a Samaritan Fund to support masons and their families who could not afford the cost of private medical treatment. In 1990 the MSF was established to take on the role of this fund, and in its early years benefited from many very generous donations, including a grant from the Grand Charity, and the highly successful Cornwallis and London Festival appeals. Thanks to the support of Freemasons and their families, the MSF has been able to expand the assistance it provides to cater for the evolving health and care needs of its beneficiaries. In addition to
funding medical treatment or surgery, grants are available to support respite breaks for carers, to restore dental function, to aid mobility and to provide access to trained counsellors. Since 2010 the MSF has provided grants to major medical research projects. Notable successes have included enhancing the diagnosis of prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s as well as support for those suffering from macular degeneration. Each year the MSF helps more masonic families fund the health and care support they need to live healthy and independent lives. Since 1990 more than 12,000 Freemasons and their family members have been helped at a total cost of over £67 million.
Funded entirely through the generous donations of the masonic community, the Masonic Charitable Foundation will seek to continue the excellent work of the central masonic charities and be able to respond more effectively to the changing needs of masonic families and other charitable organisations. For more information, go to www.mcf.org.uk
2003 The Masonic
efforts following the
enabling more than
2010 Stepping Stones,
2015 Following a 30-year
Trust for Girls and Boys
23,000 young people
the RMTGB’s non-masonic
partnership, the Grand
becomes the Royal
2006 Lifelites becomes
to join, and £1 million to
grant-making scheme, is
Charity’s grants to the
Masonic Trust for Girls
a registered charity
Ovarian Cancer Action
introduced to support
British Red Cross now
and Boys (RMTGB)
2007 Special funding for
2008 Scarbrough Court
exceed £2 million
2004 The Grand Charity
Air Ambulances begins
reopens in Cramlington,
2010 MSF dental care
2015 The MSF marks
donates £1 million for
2008 All four central
grants are introduced
its 25th anniversary by
research into testicular
masonic charities move
on its original site)
2013 James Terry Court
awarding over £1 million
and prostate cancers
into shared office space in
2008 The MSF makes its
reopens in Croydon, Surrey
for medical research
2005 More than £1 million
Freemasons’ Hall, London
first grant in support of
(rebuilt on its original site)
2016 The four masonic
is donated by Freemasons
2008 The Grand Charity
medical research, and
2013 The MSF
charities join together
and the Grand Charity
donates £500,000 to
respite care grants
to form the Masonic
to help with recovery
The Scout Association,
PHOTOGRAPHY: BRITISH RED CROSS
None of this could be achieved without a dedicated team, and an RMBI staff member recently received the Care Trainer Award at the 2015 Great British Care Awards in recognition of such commitment. The support and time given by each home’s Association of Friends is also a unique part of the RMBI. The associations – volunteer groups of local masons that work to complement resident services – are independently registered charities and their efforts over the years have ranged from fundraising for home minibuses and resident day trips, to sensory gardens and home entertainment.
LIBRARY AND MUSEUM
Finding Freemasons A digitisation project between the Library and Museum and Ancestry will make searching for masons from the past much easier
he world’s largest online family history resource, Ancestry has transcribed over two million records of Freemasons in the English and Irish Constitutions using the membership registers of the United Grand Lodge of England and the Grand Lodge of Ireland. The names have created a searchable online database of Freemasons from the 1750s to the early 1920s. The database and images from the Grand Lodge registers are being made available via Ancestry’s website. This will provide information about individual lodge affi liation, as well as address and occupation details. It has often been difficult to track down the names of individual Freemasons if there were no details of their lodge. Grand Lodge’s main communication was with lodge secretaries and there was no reason for the organisation itself to create an alphabetical index of members. It will now be much easier for family historians, researchers and those writing their lodge histories to access this information.
Ancestry provides a pay-per-view or subscription service and free access will also be available in the Library and Museum. Further details are available on the Library and Museum’s website and at www.ancestry.co.uk
Library and Museum of Freemasonry Freemasons’ Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: A page from a lodge membership register; Queen Alexandra Lodge, No. 2932, installation banquet in 1903; William Shurmur’s masonic career can now be traced online
www.freemasonry.london.museum Tel: 020 7395 9257 Email: email@example.com Shop: www.letchworthshop.co.uk
CHANGING PERCEPTIONS Sir, I have always enjoyed reading Freemasonry Today and I found the latest edition aligns to my views on how we should depict Freemasonry. I read the comments by Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes, where he comments that any member of the public can purchase a copy of the Charge after Initiation, adding that ‘there is nothing therein that we are not happy for them to know about’. I hold a view that we as Freemasons are far too modest about our society. As we approach the celebration of 300 years of modern Freemasonry, shouldn’t we make a point of removing the doubts and speculation at large with regard to Freemasonry by taking it upon ourselves to replace them with knowledge and truth?
The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Grand Lodge of England. All UGLE members’ letters printed are appended with the contributor’s name, his mother lodge name and number, the town where that lodge meets, and the Province; please include these details at the foot of your letter. Please enclose an SAE for any items sent by mail that you wish to have returned.
By identifying a protein that is vital in nerve development, Professor Roger Keynes and his team hope they might help to cure spinal cord paralysis. Imogen Beecroft reports on how Freemasons are supporting this groundbreaking research
TOUCHING A NERVE A promising gymnast since the age of eight, Josh trained six days a week to fulfil his ultimate goal of competing in the London 2012 Olympic Games. When Josh was 16, a fall ended this dream and left him paralysed from the chest down. Of the 20 people a day who sustain a spinal injury in the UK, three are told they will never walk again. There is currently no effective medical treatment for the 50,000 people in the UK and Ireland living with spinal cord paralysis, meaning that people like Josh face a lifetime of round-the-clock care. The figures are so high because the nerves connecting the brain and the body are commonly damaged – or even severed – in a spinal cord injury, destroying this vital communication link. However, after decades of research, a spinal cord injury may no longer result in a life spent in a wheelchair. Two Cambridge academics, Professor Roger Keynes and Dr Geoffrey Cook, have identified a protein that has the potential to aid recovery after injury, possibly even helping nerves to regrow and self-repair. PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Write to: The Editor, Freemasonry Today, Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
FUNDING BOOST In November 2014, The Freemasons’ Grand Charity and the Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF) donated £42,000 to the International Spinal Research Trust (ISRT), which is supporting the project. Despite being the UK’s leading charity funding research into medical treatment for spinal cord paralysis, the ISRT team operates on just £2 million of donations a year.
PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES
Bob Needham, Colne Lodge, No. 2477, Wivenhoe, Essex
Sir, I am a photographer and about a year ago I made contact with another local photographer, and we met for a coffee. While we were talking he told me that he was a Freemason, gave me information on what they did and invited me to consider joining the lodge. I completed my third degree this week and I am now proud to call myself a Freemason. My lodge has made me feel welcome from my first interview and has supported me with learning the ceremonies and responses. I am still struggling with remembering the names of all of the brethren but, once again, I have been supported at every step. My friend was Master of the lodge and has been instrumental in helping me,
going over my responses with me, explaining the symbolism and history in our lodge and Freemasonry as a whole, and the work that we do for charity. I greatly value the friendships that I have already made in the lodge and look forward to becoming the very best Freemason that I can. Johnathon Brock, St Edmund Lodge, No. 4714, Calne, Wiltshire
Sir, I read with personal interest your article titled ‘Touching a Nerve’ [in the summer edition of Freemasonry Today] regarding the Masonic Samaritan Fund’s donation to the spinal injury research by Professor Roger Keynes and Dr Geoff rey Cook. As the result of a motorbike accident, my son is paralysed from the upper chest
down with a spinal cord injury. There is no cure other than surviving day to day with available medication and regular visits to the hospital. I would like to thank Ian Sabin, MSF trustee and research committee member, for his support in the donation to this research. The funding for medical research is lacking in the UK and it is nice to know that Freemasons and Freemasonry really do care. Don Williams, Lodge of Philosophy, No. 6057, Redcar, Yorkshire, North and East Ridings
Sir, I was very interested to read the letter from non-masonic reader W K Kerswell in the autumn edition. In it he described how he had been helped by people who
Masonic funding is supporting The Scout Association’s Better Prepared initiative in deprived areas of the UK
he only long afterwards discovered to have been Freemasons. To me, this proves what Freemasonry is all about.
Frank Holden, Carew Lodge, No. 1136, Torpoint, Cornwall
SCOUT’S HONOUR Sir, I picked up your magazine today and the picture on the front moved me. I have been involved with the Guide association ever since my daughter attended Rainbows, and both my boys attended the movement from Beaver through to Scout. Your picture has captured everything there is to say about Scouting. I am hoping that it has brought a cheer to many more faces while they flick through your magazine. Well done. Marion Bell, wife of Stephen Bell, Legheart Lodge, No. 6897, Welling, West Kent
Sir, Can I thank you for the article on Scouting in the latest issue of Freemasonry Today magazine? I have been involved with Scouts since I joined as a Wolf Cub in 1957, now serving as an assistant commissioner for the Lincoln district, as well as being a Past Master of two Scouting lodges.
Scouting greatly helped me after becoming disabled in 1974 following a horse riding accident. The Scouts did not mind ‘Skip’ having a wonky leg and helped me overcome my disability. Today I think there is much I can give back; after all, I get as much fun as the kids do out of it. You don’t have to be a uniformed leader to help the organisation. Uniformed leaders run the day-to-day programmes but need the support of executive committees to look after the management side of Scouting. As many Freemasons have good life skills, they could be useful at group, district or county level. My own district meets every other month for a couple of hours to deal with mixed issues, from starting new groups to controlling the budget and various district events. Scouting is expanding and in Lincoln we have started two new groups within a year, with two more in the planning. If you feel you might be interested in giving some time to Scouting, then you can look them up on their website. Hugh Sargent, Rudyard Kipling Lodge, No. 9681, Horncastle, Lincolnshire
MAINTAINING MASONRY Sir, As Superintendent of Works for the past 40 years, I read with interest the article in
the autumn issue by John Pagella, the Grand Superintendent of Works. I totally agree with him that because of rising costs it is a challenge to maintain masonic halls, especially old ones. Ours was built in 1860. Fortunately, like Surbiton Lodge, we have members who are experienced in the building trade and have contributed to the maintenance of the lodge buildings, not taking any remuneration for their work. Also, we have a good social committee that provides us with funds to help pay for the work we cannot do and for materials. I joined Freemasonry in 1966 when we had a lot of members who were textile business owners employing maintenance men to look after their buildings. I have always wondered why the lodge building was nearly in a state of dereliction when I became Superintendent of Works in 1975. At that time we had retired members on fixed incomes and my thoughts were that if we can keep the costs of running the lodge low there would be no reason to increase subscriptions. This worked and still does. Our subscriptions are among the most reasonable in the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding. I have read of many fine old masonic buildings being closed and sold, and most
‘You don’t have to be a uniformed leader to help the Scout organisation. As many Freemasons have good life skills, they could be useful at group, district or county level.’ Hugh Sargent
PHOTOGRAPHY: SAM CHRISTMAS, GETTY IMAGES
L R Hirst, St John’s Lodge, No. 827, Dewsbury, Yorkshire, West Riding
Sir, I read with interest the article in the autumn 2015 edition of Freemasonry Today entitled ‘Dramatic Aside’. A similar initiative was introduced several years ago in Hampshire and Isle of Wight. A presentation written by well-known local Royal Arch Freemasons called ‘Why the Royal Arch?’ was frequently delivered in both lodges and chapters throughout the Province. It consists usually of four Craft Freemasons sitting around a table chatting informally with each other, looking into the next step in their masonic journey. It has proved to be very successful and is now included as part of a new Royal Arch recruiting initiative recently introduced, entitled ‘Dine a Master Mason’. We hold this at the end of our regular Royal Arch Convocation, when Craft Freemasons who are not yet Royal Arch members are invited to attend. Both recruitment and retention are very important to the future success of Royal Arch, but without proper and workable recruitment initiatives in place, we may not be left with so many companions to retain. Philip Berman, Grand Superintendent, Hampshire and Isle of Wight
SLIGHTLY RATTLED Sir, Charity has been in the print and television media for all the wrong reasons of late because of alleged harassment for donations leading to distress. I too can’t pass a charity bucket rattled at me outside big stores and at public events without contributing. While Freemasonry as an organisation is not in this category, we are not free of ‘issues’ with regard to charity. I have been a member for 48 years and belong to five Craft lodges, as well as four lodges in other Orders, and make regular donations to favourite charities, as well as contributing elsewhere. What bothers me is the increasing number of times I go to lodges and get requests to sponsor someone’s daughter
Roy Ellis, Glyn Ebbw Lodge, No. 2556, Ebbw Vale, Monmouthshire
hy is the Royal Arch a separate Order and what is the Master Mason of the 21st century missing by not being a member? Performed in masonic lodges throughout the country, Talking Heads – The Next Step: Into The Royal Arch is a short playlet that seeks to answer these questions. It depicts an encounter between an experienced Past Master, who is also a Royal Arch Companion, and a relatively new Master Mason eager to learn more. The opening scene of Talking Heads begins with two masons chatting in the anteroom as they don their regalia, after which they start engaging with the brethren present. The playlet covers the history of the Order and explains a little about the regalia – especially the jewel that is also worn in lodges – as well as discussing some of the links with the Craft. Talking Heads goes on to describe the way the journey of personal discovery continues beyond the Craft experience, as well as the likely time and financial commitments needed to reach completion of pure Antient Freemasonry. The performance is delivered with a great deal of good humour between the players, and occasional off-script asides make the event highly enjoyable as well as educational.
With the aim of recruiting more members into the Royal Arch, Deputy Metropolitan Grand Superintendent Chris Clark explains how a piece of theatre is successfully demonstrating its principles and history
CHAPTER RECRUITMENT The idea of creating the playlet came after we published the Metropolitan Exaltee’s Guide in 2010. The booklet was given to each new exaltee in London as they began their journey into the Royal Arch. Our thoughts then turned to how we might aid recruitment into Chapter. After looking at several lectures in circulation in the Craft, we decided they were either too long or not very inspirational. So we set about drafting our own text for London. The remit was that it should be presented in a theatrical way, be about half an hour long and be interesting for those masons already part of the Royal Arch, as well as to Master Masons who might consider joining. Early drafts were assessed by a panel of readers from the Royal Arch leaders in London and a few trial presentations were given before the final text was agreed, and a team of some 20 regular presenters assembled. The first performances were given in February 2011, and now more than 120 have been delivered by the Metropolitan team,
travelling to Provinces across the county, including Cumberland and Westmorland, West Lancashire, and Yorkshire, North and East Ridings in the north; Essex and East and West Kent in the south; and Shropshire and Wiltshire in the west. We always present the Province with a CD of the text of the playlet, too, and offer to assist when they assemble their own groups of players.
AN EXCELLENT PERFORMANCE Some of these Provinces have developed their own acting teams; Essex and Buckinghamshire are leading the way, with several performances given in the past year. By the end of 2016, the Metropolitan team will have visited well over half the Provinces in England and Wales, spreading the Royal Arch message. The text has also been exported to Hong Kong, our first overseas territory, although the team’s bold request for travel expenses was rejected, so there have been no performances abroad (yet). Talking Heads provides great support to the Royal Arch representatives in lodges, because it makes the Order’s case for them and answers many of the questions they are likely to be asked. Sometimes Master Masons will sign an exaltation form after a performance, sometimes they will bring forward an application they were planning to delay, and sometimes it just goes on their agenda for when they feel they are ready to enter the Order. We always make the point that there is no pressure to recruit and that everyone should consider the Royal Arch in their own time and at their own pace. We know that exaltation numbers in London have been rising by over two per cent per annum since the introduction of the Royal Arch representative scheme and the Talking Heads playlet. Added to this, overall membership figures in London suggest that retention levels have also been helped – and we have some dramatic examples of how Talking Heads has been effective in this respect. For example, one London chapter had a member who’d been dormant for 14 years, who started attending again after seeing a performance at his lodge. ‘I hadn’t realised there was so much in the Royal Arch ceremony,’ he said, ‘and I now understand much of what I found confusing before.’ And after our first Provincial performance in Essex, one companion who had not attended a chapter since his exaltation 42 years ago immediately signed to rejoin. Encore, indeed.
‘Talking Heads provides great support to the Royal Arch representatives in lodges, because it makes the Order’s case for them and answers many of the questions they are likely to be asked.’
FMT31_50_51_TALKING_HEADS_V2.indd All Pages
doing a charity swim, a son cycling across Africa or a brother doing a charity parachute jump. I believe that lodge meetings should not be used for this practice and that it should be banned. I am aware of some who have resigned because of the constant pressure for money and potential members who baulk at joining when they realise the extent of charity requirements. I am in the fortunate position of being able to make my fair share of donations but I believe that at a time when we need to attract and retain members, we must be cognisant of the effects such pressure may be having on a percentage of our members who are not so well favoured.
ILLUSTRATION: GETTY IMAGES
have accommodated multiple lodges. Big is not always good. We have only one Craft lodge and three side Orders meeting at our building, yet our subscriptions are among the lowest in the Province. I have noted some of the outside users John Pagella writes about who use their building and I will suggest to our lodge committee that we could do the same thing.
WELL SUITED Director of Special Projects John Hamill discusses the appeal of formal dress for younger masons
wide variety of questions and comments are received daily by email via Grand Lodge’s website. A recent one gave me pause for thought. The writer queried why we continued to insist on white shirt and black shoes with either morning dress or a dark suit as our standard dress for lodge meetings. He went on to say that because of the very relaxed attitudes to dress in the modern workplace, it could be embarrassing for an individual on lodge days to turn up to work formally dressed, and would certainly lead to questions as to why. As with so many things in Freemasonry, there is an applied symbolism to the way we dress. As has always been said, whatever an individual’s circumstances in life, within Freemasonry we are all equal. Certainly in the past one thing that showed an individual’s place in society was the cut and quality of his clothing. When, in early Victorian times, men’s clothing began to become less colourful and more standardised, Freemasonry began to adopt a particular style that gave little indication of the individual’s social standing.
PICTURES OF STYLE In masonic halls and collections around the country there is a wealth of photographic evidence from which we can trace the development of masonic dress. When evening dress (white tie and tails) became standard, it became the uniform of lodge meetings up to World War I. Similarly, when morning dress (frock or tail coats) became common, it was the dress normally adopted for daytime masonic events such as processions, church services and the laying of foundation stones.
Because of the scarcity of material and rationing of clothing, both World Wars had their effect on masonic dress. During World War I, dress was relaxed to a dinner jacket and black tie, or uniform for those on active duty. After the war many lodges returned to evening dress but others preferred the more comfortable dinner jackets. During World War II air raids became a nightly feature in many cities and ports, so Grand Lodge suggested that, where possible, meetings should be held during the day or late afternoon so that the brethren could get home safely before the air raids started. As normal day dress for those in the professions, clerical and service industries was a morning suit (short jacket), that soon became the unofficial dress for meetings and has continued to this day, particularly for those rewarded with Metropolitan, Provincial or Grand ranks. The wearing of dinner jackets still continues in some lodges today, but from the 1970s when the wearing of morning suits dropped out of general usage, the wearing of a dark suit became acceptable in most lodges. When Freemasonry began to look at ways of attracting younger men into the Craft 20 years ago, a regular comment was that formal dressing for lodge meetings would be seen as evidence of Freemasonry being somewhat ‘fuddy duddy’ and for older men. Surprisingly, the opposite has proved to be the case. Talking to many of those who have come into the organisation in the past few years, one of the attractions for them was the idea of formality both in meetings and dress, which is something they do not otherwise meet with in their daily lives.
‘As with so many things in Freemasonry, there is a symbolism to the way we dress. As has always been said, whatever an individual’s circumstances in life, within Freemasonry we are all equal.’
Published on Dec 8, 2015