The Official Journal of the United Grand Lodge of England
Number 31 ~ Autumn 2015
SHARE THE EXPERIENCE Why Freemasonry is supporting The Scout Association as it creates life-changing opportunities p18
Number 31 ~ Autumn 2015
GIVING YOU PERMISSION TO SPEAK
STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
WHEN THE ROYAL ARCH PERFORMS
Masonic conversations, p22
Marathon challenge, p46
Explaining the Order, p50
UNITED GRAND LODGE of ENGLAND
FROM THE GRAND SECRETARY
e have another fascinating issue for you about what is happening in Freemasonry today. The results from the latest survey conducted by the Membership Focus Group concentrate on the joining experience of new members. The moment that they join is a deeply significant time, and ‘feeling valued as a member’ came out top of the factors that contributed to their overall satisfaction as Freemasons. It is pleasing, too, to hear about what The Masonic Mutual has achieved in its first year. This success has been driven by reducing spend, improving available cover, enhancing riskmanagement practice and establishing a vehicle through which any surpluses generated can be retained for the good of Freemasonry. As we look forward to the long-term future of Freemasonry, we need to make sure that we are seen by the public as relevant to modern society. I believe this must continue to be the editorial direction of our magazine, which I hope you will enjoy in this latest issue.
HELPING OTHERS GROW
PHOTOGRAPHY: LAURIE FLETCHER
With Freemasonry sharing many of the same values as the Scouting movement, we find out about the ongoing support that our masonic charities have provided to encourage more young people to join their local groups. Over the past
seven years, our grants have been used to pay for Scouting premises and training volunteers, as well as to buy much-needed materials and equipment – all with the aim of helping young people grow and develop. Across the country, Freemasons and their families are making a difference to the communities they live in. Down in Cornwall, we meet Freemason Roy Newport, who takes retired military personnel out on the open water to help them adjust to life in the ‘normal’ world. Up in Lancashire, we follow the daughter of respected local mason Geoff Cousen as she runs across the Lake District to raise money for the Masonic Samaritan Fund, the charity that supported him after two crippling strokes. Our piece on the Talking Heads initiative looks at why chapter members have been performing to lodges across the country to explain the progression into Royal Arch. We also interview consultant surgeon Stephen Large about how masonic funding has been crucial to new research that could massively expand the number of donor hearts available for transplantation. At both a local and a national level, these stories reveal Freemasonry at its best, as members provide care, support and inspiration. Nigel Brown Grand Secretary
‘At both a local and a national level, the stories in this issue of the magazine reveal Freemasonry at its best, as members provide care, support and inspiration.’
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.
G RAND SECRETARY
3 BUILDING WITH POTENTIAL
Nigel Brown welcomes you to the autumn issue
N EWS AND VIEWS
Masonic news from the Provinces and Districts
BACK ON YOUR FEET
Sue Cousen talks to Imogen Beecroft about running across the Lake District in aid of the Masonic Samaritan Fund after the charity supported her father
Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes explains why Freemasonry is something to be shared
18 TREADING THE BOARDS
A new grant from the RMTGB marks a partnership between the masonic charities and The Scout Association that began in 2008, as Peter Watts discovers
Chris Clark describes what happened next after London chapter members wrote a playlet about the Royal Arch
Diane Clements traces the remarkable life of World War I poet, soldier, actor and mason Robert Henderson-Bland
UGLE Director of Communications Mike Baker explains why the sun will be shining on Freemasonry in 2017
Sarah Holmes finds out how animals are helping RMBI care home residents feel less isolated
After suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Freemason Roy Newport found sanctuary on a sailing ship
YOUR GUIDANCE COUNTS The latest Membership Focus Group survey asks whether new initiates feel they are being looked after
POETRY AT WAR MAKE A LIFE DONATION
Pioneering research that could radically reduce the time for those on the heart transplant waiting list has been supported by Freemasonry
32 CHARITIES UPDATE
As insurance provider The Masonic Mutual celebrates its first year, we learn how some of the largest and smallest masonic organisations have benefited by joining
PHOTOGRAPHY Cover: Sam Christmas This page: Cristian Barnett, David Yeo, James Kirby, Laurie Fletcher, Rahel Weiss, Sam Christmas
Freemasonry may be a craft but John Pagella explains why running masonic halls and centres is a business
How Freemasons are helping out around the UK
LIBRARY AND MUSEUM
Why films are being digitised to preserve masonic history
Your opinions on the world of Freemasonry
EFLECTION 40 R
John Hamill shows that change is a constant in the Metropolitan and Provincial system
NEWS AND VIEWS
N EWS A ND V IEWS
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O N SONG AT WORCESTER C ATHEDRAL
The choirs raise their voices on the lawn outside the Worcester Cathedral Song School
Thanks to a donation of £200,000 from the Province of Worcestershire, a new link has been forged between local masons and the magnificent Worcester Cathedral following the rededication of the cathedral’s refurbished Song School building. The money was mostly part of a large legacy left by Derek Bullivant, who was active in the Province. The Song School houses the choirs’ rehearsal rooms, library and storage facilities and was in a sad state of repair. The rededication, which took place outside the door of the Song School, followed an Evensong Service attended by Provincial Grand Master Robert Vaughan and other Worcestershire Freemasons.
NEWS AND VIEWS
Missed by many After a short illness Iain Ross Bryce, Past Deputy Grand Master and Past Second Grand Principal, died peacefully in hospital on 30 June aged 79
ducated at Bridlington Grammar School, Iain Ross Bryce trained in accountancy, becoming a Fellow Chartered Accountant and joining Ernst & Young, where he rose to senior partner and ran the Hull office. After national service with the Royal Engineers, he enlisted in the Territorial Army, becoming colonel and earning the Territorial Decoration. A keen yachtsman, Iain served as treasurer, chairman and president of Bridlington Royal National Lifeboat Institution and was for many years the charity’s national treasurer. A well-known and popular figure, he was involved in many community organisations in the town and was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire. A lifelong friend commented: ‘He did a great deal for Bridlington, mostly behind the scenes. He had a very kind nature and
many people in Bridlington have received his help, mostly without knowing it.’ In Freemasonry, Iain was active in the Province of Yorkshire, North and East Ridings, serving as Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent from 1984 to 1991. Appointed Deputy Grand Master and Second Grand Principal in 1991, he served for 13 years during which time he gave wise counsel and strong support to the ‘top to bottom’ overhaul of the administration of the Craft. He also did much to bring the masonic charities together, laying the foundations for the major changes taking place. A big man in every sense, Iain had a great love for and enjoyment of life, but always said that he could not have achieved anything without the great support of his wife Jan and their family. He will be much missed by many.
National conference for young masons
P HOTOGRAPHY: RUY TEIXEIRA
An invitation has gone out from the Connaught Club and other ‘light blue’ organisations to take part in the first ‘New and Young Masons Clubs’ Conference’ at Freemasons’ Hall in London on Saturday, 24 October 2015. Each club will present any ideas they have, explain which events have worked well for them, and discuss best practices. The twohour conference will include time to meet other members. Representatives from Provinces without a young masons club are also encouraged to attend. After the conference, guests are invited to the installation meeting and Festive Board for the Connaught Club’s lodge, Burgoyne Lodge, No. 902. For full details and to register, go to www.connaughtclub.org/nymcc2015
Essex charity champions
In just one weekend Essex Freemasons raised £130,000 for eight local charities, bringing the total raised for 700 Essex charities to more than £1 million in a year. Dozens of events took place over the three-day 8Aid event, from sponsored bike rides and abseiling to a whole host of social functions. The eight charities – which included Essex Air Ambulance, Helen Rollason Cancer Charity, Lifelites and the Teddies for Loving Care Appeal – each received £16,250. The cheques were presented by Provincial Grand Master John Webb at a special ceremony in Saxon Hall, Southend.
PGM John Webb (centre) with Essex masons and charity recipients
NEWS AND VIEWS
Breathing easier in Redditch
Coleridge returns to Clevedon after 220 years It was in October 1795 that Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the great Romantic poet, married Sarah Fricker at St Mary Redcliffe Church in Bristol and then brought her to Clevedon for their honeymoon. After 220 years, a member of the Coleridge family has returned to the town, this time in the form of the great poet’s four-times great grandson, Tim Coleridge, a mason. Tim was in Clevedon to visit Coleridge Lodge, No. 1750, the oldest lodge meeting at the local masonic hall, and named after Samuel Taylor Coleridge when it was founded in 1878. It was the first time that a member of the Coleridge family had visited the lodge during its 137-year history. Tim lives in Devon and was invited to the lodge by John Bennett, who was celebrating the 50th anniversary of his initiation into the lodge in 1965.
Worcestershire and Warwickshire residents, as well as local masons, have donated £4,500 to help buy a CoughAssist machine for the respiratory ward at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch. Bill Roberts of Doric Lodge, No. 4167, started the ‘Cough Up a Pound for CoughAssist’ appeal after he was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis (MG). This condition weakens certain muscles – commonly the eye and facial muscles, and those that control swallowing – by damaging the communication system between them and the brain. The CoughAssist machine clears excess mucus from airways by mimicking a real cough. Instead of having to put a tube down a patient’s throat, this equipment fits over the mouth and creates varying levels of pressure to simulate a cough. Bill enlisted the help of friends from his MG support group, run by the charity Myaware (the Myasthenia Gravis Association), and asked Worcestershire and Warwickshire masons for support. Shown (l to r), front row: Bill and Sheila Roberts with matron Lynn Dale. Back row: Warwickshire masons John Hayward, Derek Griffin and Mike Saxon with hospital staff Amy O’Hare, Amy Hawkins and Joanna Richards
Shown above: Tim Coleridge (right) with John Bennett
FESTIVAL TARGET SMASHED BY £1M West Kent’s Festival for the Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF) has exceeded its target by more than £1 million, with the grand total of £3,253,148 announced in the presence of Deputy Grand Master Jonathan Spence, MSF President Willie Shackell and MSF CEO Richard Douglas at Freemasons’ Hall in London. Shackell outlined some of the MSF’s projects, while Spence congratulated Provincial Grand Master Jonathan Winpenny for such a successful result. The PGM told the Province, ‘Your generosity has touched and changed so many lives. Be very proud of what has been done by the whole of the Province.’ Willie Shackell thanks West Kent, watched by Richard Douglas (far right)
NEWS AND VIEWS
Sheffield’s family focus
The RMTGB’s Stepping Stones scheme has awarded grants totalling more than £260,000 to 12 charities, including Home-Start Sheffield, a regional branch of a national network of family support charities. Home-Start’s 110 volunteers provide practical and emotional help to 800 vulnerable parents and children each year. Families receive parenting advice and skills training to strengthen relationships and the care that they provide for their children, helping to break cycles of disadvantage. Stepping Stones awarded Home-Start Sheffield a grant of £24,873 over two years to part-fund the new ‘Parents and Children Together’ project, which will provide more intensive parental support for 90 disadvantaged families to increase their children’s school readiness.
Home-Start volunteers provide one-on-one support to parents with young children
SEA CADET SUPPORT IN JERSEY The Provincial Grand Lodge of Jersey has donated £10,000 to the Jersey Sea Cadets to fund staff training as well as the purchase of items such as kayaks, archery and diving apparatus, and IT equipment. Provincial Grand Master Ken Rondel said, ‘The core values our two organisations share are so similar, it is an honour to be able to assist the Sea Cadet Corps in their valuable work.’ A nationwide maritime youth organisation, the Sea Cadets gives young people aged 10 to 18 opportunities for personal development, through learning new skills – such as sailing and rock climbing – challenging themselves and working in teams. Those aged 13 to 18 may also join the Royal Marines Cadets.
Turning the tables
When researcher Maxine Gilhuys Notarbartolo from Florence attended the 2014 symposium to celebrate the Union of the two rival Grand Lodges in 1813, she noticed a marble table in the Leicestershire and Rutland Masonic Library and Museum. She returned to Leicester in 2015 to give an illustrated address on the history of the table, showing how it is not of Florentine origin; rather, its roots lie in the pietre dure tradition, which was imported into Malta from the Italian mainland by the Knights of St John.
PGM Ken Rondel presents the cheque to the Sea Cadets
Jayson on a roll for world record
Jayson’s drum roll lasted more than 12 hours
A drummer beat the world record for the longest single drum roll – but ended up in hospital as a result. Jayson Brinkler started the roll at 3am and played for 12 hours, five minutes and five seconds – despite injuring his wrist just days before. The eight-time British champion drummer smashed the previous record by five minutes and two seconds to see him achieve his childhood dream of securing an individual place in the Guinness World Records. Jayson, 44, who was raising money for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, performed the drum roll at Highfield Baptist Church in Dartford. He has previously performed on children’s TV show Blue Peter and at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
NEWS AND VIEWS
Father inspires marathon effort in Paris
Elliot on the Paris run for the MSF
A Freemason’s son was inspired to take on the 26-mile Paris Marathon by his father’s dedication to supporting the Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF). Elliot Mason’s father, Robert, is a Metropolitan Grand Lodge Freemason from Perfect Ashlar Lodge, No. 1178. Elliot said, ‘I came to support the MSF through my dad, who is incredibly passionate about the work the charity does.’
NEW UNIVERSITY RECRUITS IN BUCKS The Universities Scheme is well underway in Buckinghamshire with Marlow Lodge, No. 2752, joining Grenville Lodge, No. 1787, in the recruitment of graduates and students. At its first meeting under the scheme, Marlow Lodge initiated graduate Jed Russell (23), and students Mohammad Malik (19) and Nathan Kapoor (24) from Buckinghamshire New University, which is based at High Wycombe.
KEEPING KIRKLEES COURSE ACCESSIBLE
HOSPICE GETS PARISIAN BOOST Four members of St Augustine’s Lodge, No. 3713, and Redditch Rugby Club set off on a bike ride from the club to Paris with five friends to raise funds for the Acorns Children’s Hospice Trust. The four-day trip covered 320 miles, with the cyclists resting at 20- to 30-mile intervals. Around £5,000 was raised for the charity, which provides care for lifethreatened and terminally ill children and their families in the Midlands.
The team at the Eiffel Tower in Paris
Blackpool’s big charity night Blackpool Group of Lodges and Chapters staged its annual Charity Giving Night at the masonic hall, distributing more than £34,000 to 55 local and national charities. Pete Mercer of the Fylde Coast Carers Centre, one of the recipients, said, ‘It is a phenomenal sum and an aspect of Freemasonry that goes unrecognised by the majority of the general public.’ All the money was raised from donations by lodges and chapters within the Blackpool Group and from the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. Among the beneficiaries were Trinity Hospice and its children’s wing Brian House, which received £6,848; North West Air Ambulance, receiving £3,825; and Blackpool Victoria Hospital, with £2,675.
P HOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES, SHUTTERSTOCK
The Kirklees Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Trust, which supports around 5,000 young people each year in pursuit of awards, has received a £20,000 grant from West Yorkshire masons. The grant was sponsored by Howley Lodge, No. 5012, which meets at Batley, and will be used to build a low-rope challenge course with a wheelchairaccessible path to allow access to the course and facilities at the Little Deer Wood site in Mirfield.
NEWS AND VIEWS
Local support for Macmillan nurses
Katie Farmer, fundraiser for Wye Valley NHS Trust Charitable Fund, met Richard James and Alison, wife of Keith Price of Saint Peter’s Lodge, No. 7368, to receive a £1,500 donation in support of Macmillan nurses. Charity Steward Richard stated that such funding was in keeping with local Freemasons’ policy of supporting regional charities whenever possible, and was confident that this approach would be fully maintained. Katie Farmer (centre) with Richard James and Alison Price at The Hop Pocket in Bishop’s Frome
P HOTOGRAPHY: GRAHAM HARRIES
More than £1m for West Wales The Province of West Wales has raised £1,079,614 in its Festival for the Grand Charity, which was announced at an event in Llanelli attended by Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes. Among other guests were President of the Grand Charity Richard Hone, Chief Executive Laura Chapman and Provincial Grand Master Stephen Hookey, who said: ‘The appeal was launched in May 2009 at a time when the global recession had taken hold and austerity was to become a watchword for several years to come. Thanks to your generosity in these difficult times, the figure for which we aimed has been surpassed significantly.’ Shown above (l to r): APGM Lionel Hughes with his wife Kay; Stephen and Angela Hookey; and Penny with Deputy PGM Brian Hilling
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NEWS AND VIEWS
JAYNE TORVILL MEETS NOTTINGHAM MASONS Ice-dancing celebrity Jayne Torvill OBE made a stop at the masonic stand when she visited the Great Central Railway in Ruddington for a day of fundraising to help local charity and adoption agency Faith in Families. Born locally in Clifton, the Olympic gold medallist (pictured below at the event) is a patron of the charity. Local Freemasons organised the fundraiser in conjunction with the heritage railway, and the masonic stand was manned by members of South Notts Freemasons for Charity. The group meets at West Bridgford and was formed to raise funds for local good causes.
DOCTORS ENDORSE DEVON FIRST AID PLAN Two doctors – both Freemasons – have endorsed the Province of Devonshire’s Masonic First Aid initiative. At a meeting of Lodge of Felicity, No. 5336, Plymouth, GP Dr Adrian Rogers received a cheque for £1,000 from consultant vascular surgeon Simon Ashley for the project. The initiative aims to provide readily accessible first aid equipment in locations across Devon, and forms part of the Province’s celebrations for the Tercentenary in 2017. Shown above (l to r): Past PGM Robin Osborn, Adrian Rogers, Richard Jones in the chair, Simon Ashley and PGM Ian Kingsbury
THE REINTERMENT OF RICHARD III The Province of Leicestershire and Rutland and the Grand Charity have donated £15,000 to Leicester Cathedral Charitable Trust for the reinterment of Richard III. The contribution went towards the £2.54 million appeal, which has funded a tomb and alterations to the cathedral, including a new chapel. David Monteith, Dean of Leicester Cathedral, said, ‘We were delighted to have had the support and interest of the Freemasons from the very start of this project on both a national and local level.’ David Monteith with (l to r) John Peberdy of the Leicestershire and Rutland Masonic Charity Association, PGM David Hagger and Grand Charity representative Anthony Wood
Sharing the experience
Shine, a national charity that supports people with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, has received £35,000 from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity. The grant will fund a development coordinator to manage the Shine40Plus network, which helps people aged 40 and over who are affected by these conditions to make connections and to Shine provides support and information share their experiences and to families and individuals affected by knowledge with one another. spina bifida and hydrocephalus The Deputy Provincial Grand Master for Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire, Dr Vivian Thomas, said, ‘It is wonderful to be able to help bring people together, ensuring they receive the guidance and support they need to move into the next stage of their lives with happiness and a sense of belonging.’ Shine CEO Jackie Bland added, ‘This generous grant will fund the post for one year. This network is the first of its kind in the country to support older survivors of spina bifida and hydrocephalus.’
NEWS AND VIEWS
LIFETIME FRIENDS A double initiation has taken place in Schola Regia Lodge, No. 9105, Province of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire. William Moore, the youngest son of lodge member Andy, and his lifetime friend Alexander Langford-Pollard, whose father Langford Smith is also in the lodge, have joined. The initiates are 18 years old and university undergraduates (William at Derby and Alexander at Sheffield), with William the youngest person ever to be initiated in the Province. Both play rugby for their respective universities and Peterborough Lions RUF, while also managing to find a place for Freemasonry in their busy lives.
United Engineers go nuclear It was mud, glorious mud for members of United Engineers Lodge, No. 3862, when they completed the Nuclear Rush event. Covering 7.5 miles with more than 50 obstacles, the race is so named because it takes place around the site of a bunker at Brentwood in Essex, which was to have been used in the event of a nuclear war. The members joined a team of more than 200 people running for Blesma, The Limbless Veterans charity, and helped to raise over £11,000. Shown above: Rob Rusz (left) and his wife Julie cross the finishing line with Mike Bracken
Air support for Manx motorcyclists Each year, two helicopters are brought to the Isle of Man to provide emergency cover for riders during the Tourist Trophy (TT) and Manx Grand Prix (MGP) motorcycle races. Each event spans around two weeks, and another helicopter covers the four-day Southern 100 Races. For several years, a Grand Charity donation to Air Ambulances has been provided via the Province to update the race helicopters, known locally as AirMeds. This year £4,000 was passed on to Dr David Stevens, medical director of the Isle of Man Motorsport Medical Services, to assist in the purchase of a monitored defibrillator for each helicopter.
New Great Kitchen floor for Durham A stone-laying ceremony has been held in the Great Kitchen of Durham Cathedral, during which the Dean Michael Sadgrove was presented with a cheque for £136,000 from the masonic community for the Open Treasure development project. Individual masons and lodges raised £121,000; £10,000 was donated by the Grand Charity; and £5,000 by Durham Benevolence.
Dr Stevens holds a defibrillator, with PGM Keith Dalrymple (to the right), medics, pilots and other senior masons
Shown above (l to r): Provincial Deputy Grand Chaplain John Fisher and Deputy PGM John Arthur watch PGM Eric Heaviside during the ceremony
PRIDE AND CONFIDENCE Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes explains why members should be proud to share aspects of masonic ritual with friends and family
P HOTOGRAPHY: LAURIE FLETCHER
n the middle of May I was at the Grand Charity Festival in West Wales. It exemplified how good we, as masons, are at raising money and, dare I say, at celebrating that achievement at the end of the road. A wonderful evening was had by all. I have said many times in the past that charity is not necessarily the masons’ raison d’être – but it is certainly a most important by-product of how all of us are taught to live our lives. In this regard I have always thought that the Charge after Initiation is the best possible rule to guide us in what we do. It lays out quite clearly the duties that we owe to God, to our neighbours and to ourselves; how we should respect the laws of the country in which we live – whether that is the country of our birth or the country where we currently reside; how we should behave as individuals; and the other excellent qualities of character to which we should adhere. Whenever I deliver this Charge, I am always struck by the important message that it contains. At a personal level, I find the lines ‘by paying due obedience to the laws of any state which may for a time become the place of your residence or afford you its protection’ extremely pertinent. This is as a result of having delivered this Charge on the evening of 9/11, and I have to admit to having stumbled a bit when I got to that section. I am still always reminded of those dreadful events every time I hear this Charge delivered. As we all know, any member of the public can acquire their own copy of our ritual simply by going into a shop and making the purchase. We have no concerns in that regard, as there is
‘We have so much to shout about – our history, charity work, enjoyment in life and code of conduct being just a few.’ nothing therein that we are not happy for them to know about. I would go further. I believe there are certain passages that we should be proud to show to non-members, most particularly to members of our families. Top of my list would be the Charge to the Initiate, with a close second being the Charity Charge, although that, perhaps, might need a bit of explanation.
TIME TO CELEBRATE As you know, 2017 is fast approaching. The run-up to it, as well as the celebrations during the year, are surely the right time to show our pride in being a member of our wonderful Order. We have improved our public image immeasurably over the past 20 years and now is the time to really push this aspect hard. We have so many things to shout about – our history, our charity work, our enjoyment in life and our code of conduct being just a few. Of course any organisation with 200,000 members is going to have a few rotten apples, but we have no more than our fair share, and I strongly suspect we have far fewer than most organisations of an equivalent size. Given all this, let’s make sure we approach our Tercentenary with both pride and confidence.
THE MEANING OF FELLOWSHIP
ack in 1967, in partial commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the foundation of Grand Lodge, every Freemason in England and Wales was invited to contribute at least £1 to create an endowment for what was then the Grand Lodge 250th Anniversary Fund. More than £580,000 was raised, and used to create the first masonic charity with exclusively non-masonic objectives. The charity’s objectives remain ‘to further, in conjunction with the Royal College of Surgeons, research in the science of surgery’. In its first years, the fund gave £25,000 to the Royal College of Surgeons of England, financing the first three Freemasons’ surgical research fellowships, a dental research fellowship and a library grant to help with the research process. Grants were made in all subsequent years and, by last year, total grants of more than £4.4 million had been made. In 2014, £135,000 was credited to three Freemasons’ fellowships and now the fund is regularly the largest fellowship contributor (although occasionally the College receives more from a donation).
THE ROYAL ARCH STEPS IN It has been tacitly understood that the fund’s trustees would not engage in fundraising, which was seen to conflict with the fundraising efforts of the four major masonic charities and the festival system. But to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the formation of Supreme Grand Chapter in 2013, an appeal had been launched by the Royal Arch, with the object of ‘helping to fund the Royal College of Surgeons research fellowship scheme’. The appeal suggested a minimum of £10 plus Gift Aid from every Royal Arch companion, of whom there are 86,000 in England and Wales; the hope was to raise at least £1 million. In support of the appeal, the College mounted a roadshow to visit Provinces and chapters, where research fellows would speak in support of the appeal, and of their individual research projects. When the appeal concluded, an astonishing £2.5 million had been raised, the Province of Northumberland alone raising about £50,000, which it donated directly to the College. This,
‘When the appeal concluded, an astonishing £2.5 million had been raised – and this has funded the first Royal Arch Fellowship.’ 16
together with other direct donations from chapters, has funded the first Royal Arch Fellowship, which was awarded to a research fellow at the Newcastle Medical School. It was subsequently decided to change the fund’s name to The Freemasons’ Fund for Surgical Research (FFSR), more accurately reflecting its nature.
RIGOROUS SCREENING What is the process for selecting Freemasons’ Research Fellows? Until 1993, our annual grant was used not only for fellowships but also for the purchase of pieces of medical equipment and for the library. In 1993, the College established its formal Surgical Research Fellowship Scheme, to which our fund has since been contributing. Currently, the College receives applications from some 120 prospective one-year research fellows. The applicants are all qualified doctors who have elected to become surgeons. The process for applicants is rigorous, consisting of a written application, setting out details of the project and justifying the reason for the research to be undertaken. The application for patient benefit in the near future is a key criterion. At the end of the assessment process, the College matches potential awards with the funds available. At this stage about 20 research projects will be funded and the sponsors are then invited to choose those projects that particularly resonate with them. In the case of the FFSR, our trustees have an annual meeting with representatives of the College, at which we are presented with a choice of about six projects, from which we select three (or, in the future, four). I hope that this has given you some insight into the valuable research facilitated by the College and the significant role played by Freemasonry. In a very recent letter to me from the president of the College, thanking us for the current year’s grant, she says: ‘This significantly increased grant is very much appreciated – and can only enhance the very real friendship and bonds that exist between our respective organisations.’
P HOTOGRAPHY: ALAMY
Anthony West, Chairman of Trustees for The Freemasons’ Fund for Surgical Research, explains the charity’s history, achievements and selection process
Sharing a core belief in the importance of mutual respect and helping others, Freemasons are supporting The Scout Association as it takes its message to more young people, as Peter Watts discovers
ABOVE AND BEYOND
PHOTOGRAPHY: SAM CHRISTMAS
hen Carlos Lopez-Plandolit took stock of his work-life balance and decided to volunteer for his local Scout group in East London, he initially planned to drop in for an hour each week. But, he explains, ‘I quickly got sucked in and within two weeks ended up leading the group. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.’ Lopez-Plandolit’s group is located in a struggling inner-city borough, and these are precisely the areas the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB) will target with its substantial new grant to The Scout Association. ‘We are giving a three-year grant of £211,200 to the Better Prepared initiative, which funds and sustains Scout groups in 200 of the most deprived parts of the UK,’ explains Les Hutchinson, CEO of the RMTGB. The Scout Association plans to start 468 groups in these areas, and the RMTGB grant will get 66 of them started. Funds will pay for premises, uniforms, equipment, membership fees and training volunteers. Each new unit will receive £3,200, reflecting the greater level of support needed in areas identified as being deprived for reasons of poor health, education and crime by the Index of Multiple Deprivation.
With the first RMTGB-funded groups launching by the end of 2015, the grant follows a donation of £500,000 in 2008 to The Scout Association from the Grand Charity in a partnership that lasted six years. The money was used to encourage more young people to join the Scouting movement, providing start-up and activity grants. In total, more than one million young people received new materials and equipment paid for by the Grand Charity’s grant, with over 1,600 new Scout sections formed and 23,500 young people becoming involved across England and Wales. For Hutchinson, the masonic funding is creating new opportunities: ‘The Scout Association has evidence that the skills Scouting provides can help with education and employment. Scouting really helps develop qualities that can make a difference later in life.’
Scout groups like the 2nd East London division teach young people new skills and encourage them to take an active place in society
PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE Paul Wilkinson, the Better Prepared project manager, explains the strong educational thread that runs through The Scout Association. ‘Essentially, we’re trying to help young people grow and develop,’ he says. ‘We’re trying to help them take an active place in society, to learn to act with integrity, to be honest, trustworthy and loyal. We encourage them to have respect for other people and for themselves.’
Although Robert Baden-Powell was not a mason, the Scout movement he founded in 1907 has a strong overlap with the principles of Freemasonry. While some parallels are cosmetic, such as the use of signs, ranks, uniforms and regalia, others are intrinsic. Tony Harvey’s 2012 Prestonian Lecture focused on the connections between the two bodies. With both open to all – regardless of faith, race or background – Tony explained in the lecture how these two membership organisations share the same core values.
IN GOOD COMPANY ‘Our mission is to change young people’s lives for the better,’ says Wilkinson, ‘and we are pleased to be working in partnership with Freemasonry across the UK. The masonic community shares our vision to deliver life-changing experiences to all young people, no matter what their background.’ Hutchinson echoes Wilkinson’s sentiments: ‘The key aspects of Scouting are respect for your fellow man, having a strict moral code and doing the right thing. That’s a large part of Freemasonry too.’ Non-mason Lopez-Plandolit, meanwhile, attributes the appeal of Scouting to one key factor: ‘What I love about it is that it seems to focus on the common denominators across all religions; it is about being kind to the environment, to your friends and family. They are very pure, these principles.’ Despite the leisure opportunities available to children today, The Scout Association has found that once it establishes a local group, children flock to it. The next challenge is to establish groups in areas where poverty has been a barrier to joining or volunteering. ‘We appeal to young people,’ says Wilkinson. ‘We know that if we go in with the right messages, young people are relatively easy to recruit and some are desperate to join.’ Lopez-Plandolit sees first-hand how young people respond to joining. The Beaver Scouts, who are the youngest section of the Scouting family at six to eight years old, describe their meetings in East London as the highlight of their week, relishing activities such as kayaking and climbing. Lopez-Plandolit’s young
EVERYDAY SCOUTING From cooking on open log fires through to building shelters and geocaching, there’s rarely a dull moment at the 2nd East London Scout group (pictured). Based on the Isle of Dogs, the group meets at least three nights a week to play games, set challenges and prepare for their annual scavenger hunt, which this year saw Scouts from across the county raising money for Nepalese aid projects. With 130 members in the 2nd East London group, each night caters to a different age range. ‘We are Scouting every day of the week,’ says Vicky Thompson, Scout leader. ‘Our kids never need to hang out on the streets because, with the Scouts, there’s always something to do.’
‘The Scout Association’s mission is to change young people’s lives for the better, and the masonic community shares our vision.’ Paul Wilkinson group are multinational and this is something he celebrates through activities such as cooking: ‘The children cook something from their parents’ country and everybody has to taste it and say what they like.’ The masonic grant for the Better Prepared project marks a major commitment for the RMTGB. ‘It is a significant undertaking,’ Hutchinson admits. ‘While the shape of the Trust will change as the four masonic charities come together, this grant will leave a lasting legacy of support for children from deprived backgrounds – our remit is to support children in the wider sense, not just children of masons, and this will enable us to reach out to those who most need our help in a very effective way.’
MAINTAINING SUPPORT The RMTGB will keep a close eye on the project as it develops. ‘Part of the reason we are donating in three instalments is so we can maintain some control,’ says Hutchinson. ‘We will receive regular reports so we can see the impact of the funding, and discover publicity opportunities to raise the profile of the masonic charity and Freemasonry in general. We also want to ensure the grants are evenly spread across England and Wales.’ The final instalment from the RMTGB coincides with the 300th anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England in 2017, and Hutchinson hopes that Freemasonry will take pride in the achievements of the initiative as it celebrates this important milestone. ‘We want to learn from each other,’ he says. ‘The Scout Association has a wealth of experience in working with children and will have practices we can use in our charitable work, now and in the future.’ While masonic contributions are being made at a national level, individuals can donate their time on a local level. An accountant, for example, could audit the books for their local group one night a year. The rewards are extolled by Lopez-Plandolit, who enthuses about his time as a volunteer with the Beaver Scouts. ‘They surprise you so much and are a constant reminder of how we should look at things as if it’s for the first time – to ask lots of questions,’ he says. ‘It’s a great outlook to have around me. I learn so much from them.’
Unlocking the brand For UGLE Director of Communications Mike Baker, the challenge Freemasonry faces in the run-up to the Tercentenary celebrations is in improving public image What is your background? My career started in retail. I worked my way up the management ladder in companies like Habitat and WHSmith before moving into hospitality with Forte in regional operations management. I then took a leap of faith into a very different field for the Post Office. Initially a retail network manager there, I moved into sales development, communications and marketing for its financial services and travel products, which were new areas for the Post Office. After that, I left to set up my own business development and marketing consultancy. It was during a secondment with a telecoms company in 2013 that I became aware that UGLE was looking for a Director of Communications.
Mike Baker aims to encourage advocacy among members and improve masonic engagement with the media
PHOTOGRAPHY: LAURIE FLETCHER
Is the role of Director of Communications a new one? It is a new position in terms of the scope of the responsibilities. The job title had previously been held by John Hamill, and his role had extensively involved combatting discrimination. This is also within my remit, but itâ€™s not as significant a part thanks to Johnâ€™s excellent work and the ongoing strategy from both the Grand Master and the Grand Secretary to make Freemasonry a more open organisation.
‘I believe that the best time to fix the roof is when the sun is out, and it really will be shining on Freemasonry in 2017.’ UGLE has a clear idea of the strategy leading up to the Tercentenary so, for me, the job is about matching my skill set and my views with that direction. The opportunity that our Tercentenary represents should not be underestimated. I believe that the best time to fix the roof is when the sun is out, and it really will be shining on Freemasonry in 2017. There will be huge charitable spend that year, but there will also be enormous involvement from our members in communities and in celebrating 300 years of heritage. One of the heartening things to witness is the amount of activity that is undertaken in the Provinces and Metropolitan area by volunteers. It’s not just about the amount of money they raise; it’s about the difference they make to people’s lives.
How did you become a mason? I joined Freemasonry by chance – I had two brothers who were Freemasons in Somerset and Bristol. I remember mentioning them to a colleague at work in 2000 and asked what he knew about ‘that lot’. The colleague asked if I was interested, I got introduced and became a Freemason in London. I progressed in the Craft and joined the Royal Arch. Since then, I’ve been involved in Metropolitan initiatives – most recently Talking Heads, which has also taken me out into the Provinces to explain the history and attraction of the Royal Arch.
Do you have an average day? One of my daily tasks is monitoring our media performance, looking at how our image is defined by other people and challenging discrimination when it happens, whether it’s from the media, MPs, faith groups or employers. All too often discrimination comes through lack of understanding, which is why it’s key for us to approach people sensitively and to dissolve any element of fear. I also work with the Provinces to help them engage with the local media and with their
own membership, keeping them updated so that they can be advocates and ambassadors. One size does not fit all – the communication strategy for a Province depends on the challenges it faces, which may differ greatly from one to the next.
Are you marketing a brand? As a membership organisation we have a product in Freemasonry. It’s no different from the marketing function in any business; it’s all about developing awareness of that product. I want people to understand Freemasonry in its real sense, to see it as a force for good and consider being a member. There’s also the advocacy element, getting our members to say, ‘Hey, you ought to join.’ That’s no different from the objectives for mainstream marketing in any brand.
What’s difficult about masonic communication? When it comes to communication, all the activity that we undertake can be broken down into three elements: clarity, capability and consequence. In terms of clarity, we have a very clear picture about what we want Freemasonry to look like in people’s hearts and minds by the Tercentenary. We’re also very clear about what the consequences will be: that it’s about maintaining a stable number of people in the organisation; attracting and retaining new members; and moving forward in dispelling myths. The challenge is the bit in the middle, the capability, how we equip our members and give them the permission to speak. We know in masonic terms what our principles and tenets are, but how do we represent them? It can be a challenge to use the right kind of language in order to dispel myths, to talk clearly about what Freemasonry represents, to explain that it’s about integrity, kindness, honesty, fairness and tolerance. Not everyone has these word sets and it’s made more
difficult because Freemasonry is different for every person. We therefore need to be non-prescriptive so people feel comfortable, whether they’re talking about Freemasonry to the local press or at a dinner party.
Does the Tercentenary feel close? We don’t always do things immediately in Freemasonry but when we do, we do them in a considered, appropriate and consistent way. I feel very positive about the Tercentenary because the sun will be shining in 2017 when we fix our roof and move forward. There is a massive dedication and desire to move forward, as well as a sense of duty to safeguard our future. Yes, there will always be a degree of trepidation about an event like this, but it’s not just about what’s happening at the centre on 31 October 2017. It’s also about what happens across the country and throughout the Districts from 26 June 2016, which is the start of our 300th year. This is why we need to start increasing the momentum of our communications and engagement.
How does your job sit with your Freemasonry? I deal with a lot of Freemasonry as a member of UGLE and the Supreme Grand Chapter. I’m the Scribe E of my mother chapter and Director of Ceremonies for my lodge in West Kent. I wouldn’t do it unless I had a passion for it and I wouldn’t go to a meeting if I didn’t think it would be enjoyable – I haven’t missed a main Craft or Royal Arch meeting since my initiation in 2001. As a representative of UGLE, I feel very privileged to hold my role and to be making a difference in some way to the future of the organisation by helping it become more open. In the What’s It All About? DVD, Anthony Henderson from Bedfordshire said that the value and teachings of Freemasonry have made him the man he is today. That holds true for me.
From greyhounds to boa constrictors, a menagerie of creatures is now finding its way into RMBI care homes. Sarah Holmes discovers the therapeutic effects that animals can have on those in need
PHOTOGRAPHY: DAVID YEO
Norman Wilkins (far left) stands with Bella the greyhound, one of 4,500 dogs registered with the charity Pets As Therapy, while residents Elsie and Walter Nicholls (this page) receive first-class care from Audrey the schnauzer
ella the greyhound is proving popular at Cadogan Court in Exeter as she meanders through the crowds at the annual summer fete. With her hazelnut fur and her pink tongue lolling lazily out of the side of her mouth, she’s a big hit with the residents. ‘She loves it,’ laughs owner Sue Bescinizza. ‘She could stand here for hours being stroked.’ Meanwhile, across the grounds, Elsie and Walter Nicholls watch in delight as Audrey the schnauzer leaps enthusiastically around their bench. The couple have been living in Cadogan Court for nine months, and are ardent dog lovers. ‘I’m so glad they bring the animals into the home,’ says Elsie. ‘It brings back all the memories of our own pets.’ With more than a million older people suffering from loneliness in the UK, visits from animals such as Bella and Audrey are vital in tackling the effects of social isolation. This is particularly true for people in residential care homes, where there often aren’t the facilities – or the manpower – to look after pets. ‘Pets bring a sense of comfort and well-being, so we encourage many different animals into our homes,’ says Debra Keeling, Deputy Director of Care Operations at the RMBI. ‘We want residents to enjoy the benefits animals provide, even if they don’t have their own pets.’
PET FAVOURITES At Cadogan Court, an RMBI care home that looks after older masons and their families, residents like Elsie and Walter get to see Bella every week. Just one of 4,500 dogs registered with the charity Pets As Therapy (PAT), Bella regularly visits hospitals, special-needs schools and care homes around her local area to provide therapeutic comfort and companionship to the residents. Her docile nature makes her the perfect candidate for the charity. ‘She’s always a welcome guest,’ says Helen Mitchell, Manager at Cadogan Court. ‘The residents’ faces light up when she walks through the door.’ With nearly half of residents aged over 65 relying primarily on their TVs for company, Bella’s visits give them a chance to engage in something a little different.
‘I’ll always remember when Echo the Eurasian eagle owl tried to take off right here in the living room.’ Norman Wilkins
‘The best thing about the PAT visits is that everyone can get involved,’ says Helen. ‘If a resident is immobile, we’ll take Bella to their bedside so they can reach out to stroke her.’ For residents who are battling with dementia, Bella has proven to be a particularly calming influence. ‘A lot of our nursing residents had pets before moving in, and they have fond memories attached to dogs. It’s a good way of helping them to remember. Sometimes, I think they remember the animals better than the people.’
Arthur Roberts sees whether he can teach Audrey one or two new tricks
CREATING A SANCTUARY But it’s not just domestic animals that visit. The home has established links with animal sanctuaries throughout Devon, so that every year donkeys, ponies and even owls come to see the residents. ‘I’ll always remember when Echo the Eurasian eagle owl fanned out its wings and tried to take off right here in the living room,’ remembers Norman Wilkins, a resident at Cadogan Court, with delight. ‘It created this incredible draft of air that pushed down on us like a gale. I’ve never felt anything like it before.’ In an effort to broaden the animal activities, Helen also got a local pet shop to showcase its collection of exotic snakes, lizards and tarantulas. ‘It’s not every day you see a three-foot-long lizard running loose
Residents Margaret Nott and Madge Wakely (left and right) with Cadogan Court’s Ali Parry
in the living room,’ laughs Helen. She brought her own boa constrictor along for the visit. ‘Luckily, she was a lot smaller then, only about four-and-a-half foot,’ she says. ‘She’s double that size now.’ Despite some initial apprehension, it wasn’t long before many of the residents let the boa constrictor hang around their necks, and fork through their fingers with its head. ‘They were all asking for photographs to send home to their sons and daughters to prove they’d actually held a snake,’ remembers Helen. ‘The energy and excitement of the day really brought people out of their shells.’ Taking the idea one step further, staff at Prince Edward Duke of Kent Court in Essex decided to introduce a live-in dog to the home to bring the community together and give residents a renewed sense of purpose from having to walk and feed her.
‘A lot of residents had pets before moving in, and have fond memories attached to dogs. Sometimes, I think they remember the animals better than the people.’ Helen Mitchell
Named Meg, the black labrador was originally owned by a gentleman who refused to move into the home unless she could come with him. ‘Life changed the moment she arrived,’ explains Audrey Brown, Activities Coordinator at the RMBI care home. ‘The whole place felt more homely.’
A POSITIVE PRESENCE While PAT visits have always been a key form of therapy in the care home, Meg’s constant presence allows her to build up relationships with the residents and become attuned to their particular behaviours. If Meg senses that a resident is feeling down, for example, she’ll seek them out to sit by them or lie on their bed. For Kathleen, who lives in Mauchline House, the home’s dementia support house, companionship has proved particularly beneficial. ‘I think simply stroking Meg’s head is very calming for Kathleen, as it gives her something to think about other than herself and her condition,’ says Audrey. ‘Meg is one of the few companions who won’t force herself on you. She won’t insist you get up to take your medication, or expect you to make conversation. In dementia, your relationship with others can become difficult, but with Meg it’s a simple bond.’ The home has now been given Butterfly Service Status – a nationally recognised award that identifies care homes that deliver an exceptional standard of support for their residents living with dementia. Meg is another example of the way in which the RMBI provides individualised care for its residents. ‘Care homes are constantly changing, and what works changes with it,’ says Audrey. ‘But for us, Meg has been a seamless fit. It’s like having another member of staff.’ Bella the greyhound passed away shortly before publication. Cadogan Court would like to thank her owner for all the happiness Bella brought to residents
CANINE CONFIDENCE One in eight older people rely on their animals as a source of companionship, but it seems dog owners are the ones reaping most benefits. Not only do four-legged friends keep people 12 per cent more active than those who don’t own pets, they also raise our self-esteem and make us more conscientious and extroverted, as well as less fearful, according to the American Psychological Association.
As The Masonic Mutual celebrates its first year, we find out how this alternative to conventional insurance has benefited its members
LIVING UNDER ONE ROOF
t’s been an exciting first year for The Masonic Mutual since its launch on 1 July 2014. Founded and run by Freemasons for Freemasonry, its membership is growing, and the high number of enquiries has been keeping Jeff Moore, the Mutual’s first port of call, very busy. ‘The assets and activities of our members are diverse and wide-ranging,’ explains Jeff. ‘Mutual members have many historic and heritage buildings, as well as museums that house rare artefacts and treasures. And along with the more conventional fundraising pursuits, their charitable activities have included things like fire-walking. We have been able to provide better cover, often at reduced costs, and the feedback from members who have filed claims has been consistently positive.’ The Mutual was established by a group of masonic organisations to bring down the total cost of risk to Freemasonry. This is achieved by reducing spend, improving available cover, enhancing riskmanagement practice, and establishing a vehicle through which any surpluses generated can be retained for the good of Freemasonry. The voluntary board of Freemasons, which is in overall charge of the Mutual, appointed Regis Mutual Management to look after the business on a day-today basis. The board is advised by representatives from Regis, including Jeff Moore and head of underwriting Martin Richards. Both Jeff and Martin are dedicated and enthusiastic masons, as well as seasoned veterans in the insurance market, having more than 75 years’ experience between them.
P HOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES
MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL Robin Furber is Chairman of the board of the Mutual and has worked in various senior roles within the London insurance market. ‘I am delighted to report that the Mutual has performed well this year and am confident it has achieved, if not exceeded, its first year’s aims,’ he says, pointing to the new members who have been able to experience the improved cover and reduced costs first-hand. ‘We have been presented with some sensitive and potentially challenging claims in our first year. These
have been handled efficiently and effectively,’ he continues. ‘Regis has provided a smooth and sound administrative framework for our members to access the Mutual. All UK masonic organisations with their own properties are welcome to apply for membership, including those in Scotland.’ In terms of what differentiates the Mutual, Robin singles out the fact that it has no shareholders, enabling it to operate for the long-term good of its members rather than the short-term demands of financial analysts. Owned by its members, who have a say in who is on the board, the Mutual offers tailored cover at prices that can be relied on over the long term. With no insurance brokers’ commissions or fees, or shareholders’ dividends to pay, it is also able to offer broad cover at competitive prices.
THE FLEX FACTOR A charitable, fraternal and member-run organisation, Freemasonry was an obvious candidate for the creation of a mutual mirroring the views, ethos and beliefs of its members. As a mutual, the final decision on claim payments is down to the board – giving it a level of discretion beyond what’s available in the general insurance market. This flexibility ensures that each claim is viewed on an individual basis and the decision-making process is member-focused. In terms of how the board actually runs the Mutual, membership is restricted to recognised masonic entities. At present, the Mutual is only for masonic organisations that have their own buildings. However, following a high number of requests for quotations, it will soon be offering cover for furniture, regalia and the liabilities of individual lodges or chapters. ‘Some of the largest and smallest masonic organisations have benefited by joining the Mutual, and all have either saved money or been provided with wider cover,’ says Martin. ‘Mutuality works.’ For more information on The Masonic Mutual, visit www.themasonicmutual.com or call Jeff Moore on 01892 893221
‘The Mutual has performed well this year and it has achieved, if not exceeded, its first year’s aims.’ Robin Furber freemasonrytoday.com
O N A N E VEN K EEL Just off Cornwall’s south coast, Freemason Roy Newport takes retired military personnel out on the open water to help them adjust to life in the ‘normal’ world. Imogen Beecroft finds out how sailing can treat the injuries you cannot see
‘I was desperate to engage with people like myself, and that helped me more than anything. You don’t get over PTSD, but you’ll get through it.’ Roy Newport
here is no “normal” after Afghanistan. You come back a different person.’ Roy Newport was serving as a Royal Military Policeman in Afghanistan when he was thrown from his vehicle after being caught in the blast of an explosive device. Three days later, he was in his living room at home, unable to contact anyone he knew in the military. Keen to replace the sense of belonging he found in the army, Roy joined Fowey Lodge, No. 977, which meets in Tywardreath, a small hilltop village in southern Cornwall. ‘I found camaraderie in the masonic group,’ he says. ‘It was a massive part of my reintegration and helped with my confidence no end.’ While Freemasonry was a huge step in the right direction, Roy’s war experiences had led him to develop severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). ‘It was horrendous. I’d spent days on end being shot at in the desert, and when I got home I couldn’t go out in the sunshine, so I spent most of my time inside. I found it very difficult to talk to people I didn’t know and would get uncontrollably angry. I almost lost my family – almost lost my life. That’s how close it came.’
P HOTOGRAPHY: RAHEL WEISS
LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE After a year and a half of suffering, Roy heard about Turn to Starboard, a charity that uses sailing to help military personnel adjust to life after the armed forces. Based in Falmouth’s picturesque marina, the charity takes groups of ex-military individuals on sailing courses, providing them with a new hobby, a supportive community of like-minded people and, occasionally, even a new career path. The comradeship helped Roy battle his PTSD and begin to regain his cheerful character. ‘I was desperate to engage with people like myself,’ he says. ‘Being able to decompress and spin a few yarns with chaps who’ve been in the same boat helped me more than anything. You never get over PTSD, but you’ll get through it.’ Roy now works full-time at Turn to Starboard, mentoring other servicemen on the water. ‘I saw so many lads struggling with PTSD and the things I’d
been through. I wanted to help them deal with those experiences and defeat our common enemy.’ Turn to Starboard is the brainchild of Shaun Pascoe, who served for 16 years in the Medical Emergency Response Team, undertaking tours in Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Finding it increasingly difficult to adjust to normal life after returning from these war zones, Pascoe began teaching windsurfing. He found that his time spent with similarly active individuals – whether on the water or later in the pub – was having a pronounced effect on his morale. Pascoe eventually started sailing with groups of ex-military servicemen who were struggling with PTSD, physical injuries or other mental traumas. Seeing the positive impact sailing had on his students, he founded the charity in 2012 and now has groups of people on the water daily. Turn to Starboard runs several different programmes, from Royal Yachting Associationaccredited courses for beginners to week-long family trips, as well as an extensive Zero to Hero Yachtmaster development programme, which gives participants the necessary qualifications to begin a career in sailing. The family trips are
OPPOSITE: Roy Newport raises the mainsail ABOVE: The Spirit of Falmouth readies to set sail
SPIRIT OF FALMOUTH Turn to Starboard crew (right) aboard the Spirit of Falmouth, a wooden replica of the pilot schooners that once guided merchant vessels safely out to sea. Built in 1985, she is 91 feet long and accommodates 18 people. The schooner was given to Turn to Starboard by The Princeâ€™s Trust in October 2014.
‘You’ve got to realise that you aren’t in control – that you can’t tell the wind or the weather what to do.’ Roy Newport
particularly important for servicemen with children, and Pascoe sees these as one of the most vital parts of the charity’s work. He vividly remembers one child saying, ‘My daddy came back from Afghanistan – but when we went sailing, he really came back.’
FREEDOM ON THE WATER Drastic transformations are not uncommon at Turn to Starboard. ‘We had one guy who had been locked inside his house for years. We picked him up and took him sailing. Since then, he’s really engaged with life and sails every day with his local club,’ says Pascoe. ‘Roy is someone else who’s really transformed his life. Before working with us, he wasn’t engaging with anyone and didn’t want to do anything. Now we wouldn’t recognise that because he moves at 100mph and is enthused about everything.’ For Roy, there is nothing like being on the water. ‘You experience complete freedom, which is a huge release. You’ve got to realise that you aren’t in control – that you can’t tell the wind or the weather what to do. You learn to control the things you can and adapt to the things you can’t. That’s completely different to being in the army, where your own and your soldiers’ lives are at risk, and giving up control is the furthest thing from your mind.’ Although 70 per cent of the people sailing with Turn to Starboard have to struggle with these kinds of mental traumas, the rest have physical injuries. The team refuses to allow an injury to prevent someone from sailing, says Roy, explaining that most amputees or people with physical injuries can’t bear special treatment. ‘We don’t make it any easier for them – they just crack on. If that means they take their prosthetic leg off and slide along on their bottom, then that’s what they do. We find most service people just want to be treated as normal.’ Rich Birchall had been in the marines for 14 years when he was medically discharged because of a back injury. A Freemason in the Royal Marines Plymouth Lodge, No. 9528, Rich felt lost after being discharged and took a job in an IT company. ‘It was driving me crazy. I hated being stuck inside and was
A few of the crew, including Rich Birchall (top right), Roy Newport (centre) and founder Shaun Pascoe (below left)
‘My concern is that we’ll get to a point where we can’t afford to help all the people coming forward…’ Shaun Pascoe
working with people who I really had nothing in common with. I thought I was going to end up with a rope around my neck.’ Rich started volunteering with Turn to Starboard in May and has never looked back. ‘I’m really enjoying it, and it’s had a massive impact on my life. I was at my lowest, having some pretty sinister thoughts about how to get out of this situation, but I had a wife and three kids I didn’t want to leave behind. Turn to Starboard helped me turn things around just in time.’ As Rich saw it, he had gone from handling firearms in war-torn countries to being ‘babied’ by people who were worried he might hurt himself. ‘But the guys at Turn to Starboard let me manage my injury myself and have allowed me to get back outdoors. My ultimate goal is to do the Zero to Hero programme, which would mean I could sail for a living and continue volunteering with Turn to Starboard in my spare time.’
NAVIGATING THE FUTURE Rich is full of praise for his lodge and Turn to Starboard. ‘They’ve both really helped me, and I hope if I’m well behaved and continue to work as hard as I can, Turn to Starboard will keep me on for the foreseeable future.’ The charity is going from strength to strength, with backing from Help for Heroes and the Royal Air Forces Association. For it to be able to continue helping people like Rich, however, it needs continual funding, as the participants don’t pay to go out on the water. Pascoe says, ‘We’re getting a significant demand for what we’re doing so it’s about making sure we don’t have to say no to any of these people – my concern is that we’ll get to a point where we can’t afford to help all the people coming forward.’ Roy voices similar concerns: ‘There’s only a certain amount of space on the funded courses. We can’t afford to help everyone. It would be great if lodges could help a local serviceman – injured, retired, out of work or down on his luck – get to us and we can give him a career. The masonic fraternity couldn’t have been more supportive of me, so it would be fantastic if they could take that one step further.’
SAILING INTO 2017 Freemasons and Turn to Starboard will be working together in the 2017 festivities. A trustee of Turn to Starboard, Freemason Mike Pritchard also sits on the Province of Cornwall’s Tercentenary Celebration Committee. At the culmination of events, the charity will be sailing a commemorative banner across to the Isles of Scilly. ‘Turn to Starboard has very graciously supported our event, and to have a tall ship escort the banner should indeed be a spectacle,’ says Mike, who is a member of St Pirans Lodge, No. 7620. Mike has been impressed by the selflessness of the Turn to Starboard team. ‘Their drive and determination is hugely impressive, as is the empathy they offer to everyone lucky enough to be supported by this exceptional charity. I can think of no better candidate for the Freemasons’ support. A charity with such values providing help to injured or retired servicemen fits in extremely well with the grand principles on which our Order is founded.’ Find out more at www.turntostarboard.co.uk
MEMBERSHIP FOCUS GROUP
M ORAL E XPRESSION T he results from the second Membership Focus G roup survey reveal the importance to members o f being valued and included, while developing k nowledge and friendships at the same time
he Membership Focus Group’s latest survey focuses on the joining experience of new members, their involvement and the image of the organisation. The sense of brotherhood was highly prized by the 6,500 respondents, with feeling valued rated as the biggest contributing factor to overall satisfaction as a Freemason. This was followed by developing new friendships; developing masonic knowledge; feeling included; social activities; and developing skills in ritual. With improved retention vital to our future, it is clear that the way in which new initiates are cared for leads to a corresponding change in the number of members. It is of concern to note that while they feel well prepared for initiation, new masons feel less supported as they progress, with more emphasis needed on developing masonic knowledge. While 57.5% of survey respondents stated that their lodge performs very good ceremonies, only 41.1% felt that it looks after its members very well and only 33.8% said that their lodge is very good at developing masonic knowledge. These figures underline the case for more effort and support in learning and understanding. Masonic education emerges as a key issue if the organisation is to retain healthy membership numbers.
ETHICAL EMPHASIS When it comes to Freemasonry’s external profile, the main attraction for members is belonging to an organisation that prizes decent moral and ethical standards (67.4%). Evident in the feedback is the importance attached to personal and moral development. Social altruism – a moral desire to help others – is a predominant
principle of the membership and the survey shows noticeable support for more involvement in local communities. An unequivocal 75.7% of respondents said that Freemasonry places sufficient emphasis on charitable giving, with only 17.5% considering the emphasis to be too great. Survey comments noted that while people support the charitable thrust and are very proud of what Freemasonry does, some feel it has become too dominant. The concern is that the charitable focus is downgrading the importance of personal development and instruction in moral and ethical standards – key values that often lead people to join Freemasonry in the first place. There is clearly a balance to be achieved: while Freemasonry is an organisation that is charitable, it is not a charity. Having a true understanding of just what Freemasonry represents is a challenge to both members and non-members alike. The survey supports the view that Freemasonry is more than a hobby, being a society that is concerned with moral and spiritual values, based on integrity, tolerance, kindness, honesty and fairness. It means different things to each of those who join. For some, it’s about making new friends and acquaintances, or represents a challenging system of self-improvement. For others, it’s about helping deserving causes – making a contribution to family and in the community. But for everyone, it is an enjoyable and fulfilling activity. The challenge set by the Membership Focus Group is to improve the quality of selection and make better provision for more masonic learning and understanding. As one survey respondent noted, ‘I want to have the opportunity to express the more responsible side of myself.’
‘Freemasonry means different things to each of those who join… but for everyone, it is an enjoyable and fulfilling activity.’ 40
MEMBERSHIP FOCUS GROUP
Do you believe that generally we meet the needs of new initiates?
In terms of external profile, what do you believe is Freemasonryâ€™s greatest attraction?â€Š (Respondents selected up to three answers)
31.9% 37.3% 11% 3.9%
Personal development and support
Decent moral and ethical standards
20.8% 33.3% 33.8% 4% 47.2%
Fun and enjoyment
Does Freemasonry place sufficient emphasis on charitable giving?
Making long-term friendships Personal respect Family friendly
Making a difference to those in need Its structured ceremony and tradition Recognition of personal achievement A force for good in society
Less than at present
To the present extent
Should be more involved
6.8% Too much
17.5% About right
How involved do you think Freemasonry should be in practical support through community projects and schemes?
If you wish to have your say and are willing to help, then please register at www.ugle.org.uk/mfg
KEEPING THE DOORS OPEN Grand Superintendent of Works John Pagella looks at the challenge of maintaining masonic centres and halls in modern times
reemasonry is by no means unique in finding that as times change, and the needs of its membership evolve, buildings once well suited to their function become too expensive to maintain. We need to ensure that if masonic use declines, our buildings adapt to attract outside interest, generating income and strengthening their connection with the local community. While individual circumstances vary widely for each masonic hall and centre, the first step is to examine the potential for introducing outside uses. This is not achieved by simply advertising availability and hoping for the best. It requires analysis of the type of users for whom the building might be suitable, and consideration of whether what is needed can be managed while retaining masonic use. London’s Surbiton Masonic Hall is a positive example of what can be achieved. Glenmore House was built as an imposing Italianatestyle private villa in 1840 at a time when residential development was extending out from London into the surrounding countryside. By 1920, it had become one of the many houses that were too large and expensive to run as private homes, so was put up for auction. It was purchased by four local masons, becoming known as Surbiton Masonic Hall, and was dedicated as a peace memorial. For much of the 1900s the house flourished as a masonic centre, but as the century drew to a close it became clear that, once again, a change was required. Masonic membership was in decline, with fewer people attending meetings and a number of lodges handing in their warrants. A decrease in income meant that without a radical change in the way that the building was used, closure was inevitable.
BUSINESS FOUNDATIONS Fortunately, the board of directors of Surbiton Masonic Hall included people with experience in building and development, as well as running commercial companies. They recognised that managing a masonic centre today is no different to running a hospitality company. Freemasonry is a craft but running masonic halls and centres is a business, requiring the same commitment, financial skills and disciplines. Although the property’s design, finishes and furnishings were dated, the potential for creating a self-contained hospitality suite was recognised. The building included a large ballroom with its own independent bar, but while the existing kitchens had coped well for
many years, they were not suitable to support the standard required for outside events. Complete modernisation was therefore needed. Even if the refurbishment had been confined to these areas, much would have been achieved, but it was felt that the contrast between the facilities available to outside users and those offered to Freemasons would have been all too obvious. Furthermore, the loss of the ballroom for masonic dining would have reflected badly on the centre’s continuing commitment to its Freemasonry. With this in mind, dining accommodation at first-floor level was also refurbished and moveable dividing partitions erected to permit two units to dine simultaneously. The adjacent bar was modernised to the same high standard as the bar in the hospitality suite.
A NEW LEASE OF LIFE The revenue generated from opening Glenmore House up to outside use has been vital. It has not only secured its future as a financially viable masonic centre, but also enabled the centre to become more of a focal point for the local community. ‘Far from losing identity, the changes we made enabled the community to identify the values that Freemasonry actually represents today,’ said Robert Dobbie, Managing Director of Glenmore House. ‘For the past 10 years we have participated in the Heritage Open Days, we are used as a local polling station, we host a twice-weekly bridge club as well as monthly lunches for Barclays bank and the BBC.’ Masonic centres and meeting halls are all individual, and it would be wrong to suggest that what worked in this case would always be successful elsewhere. However, there are some general principles. First, masonic buildings exist to serve the needs of members, but that purpose can only be sustained if they are managed in a way that is financially viable. In many cases this will mean shared use, which must be approached with the needs of the outside user in mind. The competition can be fierce and that means adopting a more proactive strategy than just advertising accommodation for hire. One final thought: those who take their own advice will in most cases have no recourse should things go wrong. If a masonic centre or hall has professional expertise within its members, by all means use it, but always consider the value of using outside consultants as well. Their more objective approach might be beneficial, and those giving outside advice may also have a legal liability.
‘Masonic buildings exist to serve the needs of members, but that purpose can only be sustained if they are managed in a way that is financially viable.’ freemasonrytoday.com
When Freemason Geoff Cousen suffered two strokes, it was the MSF’s support that enabled him to return home. His daughter Sue tells Imogen Beecroft how taking on an ultra marathon in the Lake District was her way of saying ‘thank you’
UP AND RUNNING
he Lake District’s dramatic scenery attracts visitors from across the world, keen to savour its rugged fells and literary associations. But for Sue Cousen, admiring the National Park’s picturesque charms was not top of the agenda on 27 June. Raising money for the Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF), she ran a gruelling 55km amid the mountains and valleys. As her father, Geoff Cousen, a Grand Officer in the Craft and Royal Arch, says, ‘She must be mad.’ Sue decided to raise money for the MSF last year, after the charity supported her father when he suffered two strokes, aged 83. Geoff has been an active Freemason for almost 60 years, in Runic Lodge, No. 6019, in the Province of West Lancashire, and served as vice-chairman and chairman of the Lancaster and District Group of lodges and chapters. Following the strokes, Geoff was unable to walk and made little progress in his recovery. He was discharged from hospital after four months and sent to a nursing home. His family doubted whether he would ever be able to return to his normal life. Geoff says, ‘I didn’t think I’d get back home because I couldn’t really do anything. I can only use one hand so that made things difficult.’
individual’s specific needs. The MSF provided Geoff with a riser-recliner chair, a profiling bed and a stair lift, as well as the additional physiotherapy sessions that enabled him to return home. Mobility aids like those given to Geoff and his family make up a quarter of all the support that the MSF currently offers. As Sue says, ‘They’ve helped us so much. When he first went into the nursing home he had intense physiotherapy five days a week. That’s now been cut to three days a week because he’s done so well. He couldn’t have come home without the things the MSF provided. He still can’t use his left hand but he is walking. He can’t walk very far, but he can get from the house to the car. It takes a while, but he can do it.’ Sue explains that she wanted to do something to express her family’s gratitude to the MSF. ‘With all the help we’re getting from them, I thought it would be a great way to give something back,’ she says. ‘I’ve always thought positively of Freemasonry. My dad’s enjoyed his time with them so much and the MSF really helps people like Dad and their families. They don’t blow their own trumpet about their charitable work, but I can’t thank them enough – they’ve done everything really, and without them there would have been no chance at all of Dad making it home.’ Sue decided to take on the Lake District Ultimate Trails Challenge, an ultra marathon course that starts and ends in Ambleside, near Lake Windermere. Over 55km of challenging terrain, runners cover
Geoff with his daughter Sue, who took on the Lake District Ultimate Trails Challenge in aid of the MSF
PHOTOGRAPHY: DAN KENYON, JAMES KIRBY
STEPS TO RECOVERY Then Ernie Greenhalgh, a lifelong friend of Geoff’s and Provincial Grand Almoner for West Lancashire, stepped in. ‘I managed to get a small grant from the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity to pay for an independent occupational therapist to assess Geoff. They worked on him for three weeks and he made quite good progress. I told the MSF and they helped towards the cost of his physiotherapy over the next three months. He came on leaps and bounds, and can now walk about 30 metres and get himself out of bed.’ Geoff was able to return home to his wife, Brenda. ‘The physiotherapy the MSF gave me got me walking, and I’m so grateful to them,’ he says. ‘It’s wonderful to be back home. You’ll never realise how much you miss it until you’ve been in a nursing home.’ The MSF can often help those in situations like Geoff’s, offering a range of support tailored to the
‘I’ve spoken about how we rely upon the charities many times, but I’d never realised quite how much. I shall be forever grateful to the MSF.’ Geoff Cousen 47
‘With all the help we’re getting from the MSF, I thought it would be a great way to give something back... I can’t thank them enough.’ Sue Cousen
1,700m of ascent and descent. A regular runner, Sue trained five times a week in preparation for the day. Speaking just before the race, she said: ‘It sounded like a good idea when I signed up last year but I do keep having nightmares now! I know the hills will be the biggest challenge because I’m used to flat running, so this is completely out of my comfort zone. I’ve got no idea how long it will take, but I’ll be quite happy to complete it – that’s the main thing.’
RISING TO THE CHALLENGE Sue completed the run in 10 hours, 38 minutes and 17 seconds, taking 217th place out of 312 runners. ‘It was hard work but it was good,’ she says. ‘The camaraderie was great and everyone helped each other around the course. Some of the hills were a lot bigger and longer than I anticipated, but I got round. The hardest part was Grisedale Hause, which felt like a never-ending climb. Even coming down was hard because the ground was stony and there are steep drops nearby, so it wasn’t just a straightforward run.’ In total, Sue raised around £2,000 for the MSF and recovered from the challenge well: ‘I struggled to walk for a couple of days afterwards, but felt fine
by the end of the week. My legs were okay and I went back to training five days after the race.’ John McCrohan, Grants Director of the MSF, explains that without fundraising efforts like Sue’s, the MSF wouldn’t be able to offer the breadth of support to those most in need. ‘All the money that she raised will be available to support Freemasons and their loved ones,’ he says. For McCrohan and the MSF, it is particularly significant to receive support from a non-mason. ‘We always hope that the support we offer will not only help a Freemason in a time of need, but will also benefit the family. The support can help relieve some of their caring responsibilities or reassure them that their loved one is getting the essential help they need.’ Geoff could not be more proud of his daughter and the contribution she’s made. ‘I’ve been a mason for 57 years now. They’ve been very good to me and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Although I’ve spoken about how we rely upon the charities many times in speeches, I’d never realised quite how much. You hear about them, you talk about them, but you don’t understand them really – until you’ve got to use them. I shall be forever grateful to the MSF.’
PHOTOGRAPHY: JAMES KIRBY
Sue ran 55km through challenging terrain in the Lake District National Park
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
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.
I LLUSTRATION: GETTY IMAGES
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.’
WORLD WAR I REMEMBERED
Robert Henderson-Bland was an actor, soldier, poet and Freemason. Director of the Library and Museum of Freemasonry Diane Clements traces his fortunes during World War I
t is 100 years since Canadian doctor Major John McCrae wrote his poem In Flanders Fields, the first line of which, ‘In Flanders fields, the poppies blow’, was to be an inspiration for the poppy as a memorial. The same year, 1915, also saw the death of one of the best-known war poets, Rupert Brooke, who wrote five sonnets in late 1914 that helped make him famous, including The Soldier. Somewhat forgotten now but also an active and frequently published poet in his time was Freemason Robert Henderson-Bland (1876-1941). Henderson-Bland’s first war poem, published in August 1915, was inspired by the Scots Guards and includes the following lines, written before the idea of a War Graves Commission had been developed: ‘Let someone mark the place whereat they fell, And hedge it round, for in the after-time Their fame will draw the many who would dwell Upon those deeds that made an hour sublime.’ Henderson-Bland was best known as an actor, working in the early 1900s with leading theatrical figures such as Lily Langtry and Herbert Beerbohm Tree. On 26 April 1912, as he records in his autobiography, he received a telephone call asking him to take the role of Jesus Christ in a new film to be made in and around Jerusalem. Directed by Sidney Olcott, From the Manger to the Cross became one of the most significant films of the silent era. It was Beerbohm Tree who had recommended Henderson-Bland for the part, as he considered that the only man who could play Christ was a poet. Although controversial at the time, the film was eventually praised by leading religious figures, and it has since been designated culturally, historically
ABOVE: Robert Henderson-Bland’s military career BELOW: The gavel presented to Green Room Lodge, No. 2957
WORLD WAR I REMEMBERED
and aesthetically significant by the Library of Congress. It was revived in London in 1926 when it was shown at the Royal Albert Hall every day for three months, and the Bishop of London supported the showing of a sound-enhanced version, stating that he considered it to be ‘a most beautiful film’. A few months before Henderson-Bland went to Jerusalem to make the film, he was initiated in Green Room Lodge, No. 2957, one of several London lodges with theatrical connections. His raising was delayed until filming was complete, in November 1912. In November 1913, he presented a souvenir of his time in Jerusalem to the lodge – a gavel made from stone quarried ‘from Solomon’s Mines’, with its shaft made of olive wood grown on the Mount of Olives.
THEATRE OF WAR When World War I broke out in August 1914, Henderson-Bland, aged 40, was acting in America. He returned to Britain to join the Gloucestershire Regiment, initially in Britain and then, from July 1916, in France, where he served until he was wounded in April 1918. By the end of the war he had been promoted to captain. After the war, Henderson-Bland became involved with veterans society the Ypres League, working to promote the organisation in America. He continued with his Freemasonry, joining, in 1927, another lodge with theatrical links,
Drury Lane Lodge, No. 2127, where he was installed as Master in March 1937. He died in August 1941 as the result of an air raid. Henderson-Bland knew many who died in the war. One friend, also a Freemason (Drury Lane Lodge), was poet Arthur Scott Craven, who had joined the Artists Rifles and was killed in action in April 1917. Before the war, Henderson-Bland had dedicated a book of poetry to him. He wrote the following poem after his death and it was published in June 1917: ‘O all my youth came singing back to me When first I learnt that you were dead, my friend. What of the years when you and I did see In life a splendour daily spilt to mend Our souls grown tired of trivial delights? Not lost to you the glimpses of the heights, For you went gladly where the worst is surely best.’ The gavel presented by Henderson-Bland to Green Room Lodge is on display as part of the Library and Museum’s Spotlight: Freemasons and Entertainment exhibition, which runs until 13 February 2016. A book written by Library and Museum staff, English Freemasonry and the First World War, is available from the shop at Freemasons’ Hall or online at www.letchworthshop.co.uk
ABOVE, FROM LEFT: Robert Henderson-Bland acting in The Eternal City, a play by Hall Caine c1905; the Founder’s Jewel of Green Room Lodge, No. 2957; Henderson-Bland as Jesus Christ in Sidney Olcott’s film From the Manger to the Cross
CHANGE OF HEART By completing the first non-beating heart transplant in Europe, consultant surgeon Stephen Large could radically reduce the time for those on the donor waiting list. Sarah Holmes discovers the part Freemasons have played in this medical breakthrough
PHOTOGRAPHY: CRISTIAN BARNETT
heart attack in 2008 was the beginning of Huseyin Ulucan’s slow decline into heart failure. By 2014, his condition had deteriorated so severely that he could barely walk. Placed on the transplant list, he joined a long queue of urgent cases. Of the 250 people a year in need of heart transplants in the UK, fewer than half will find a viable organ in time. While the chance of Ulucan finding a new heart seemed low, everything changed in March 2015 when he was put forward for a bold new transplantation procedure that would reduce the wait for a donor heart from three years to just four months. Traditional transplants only use hearts from donors who have been declared brain-stem dead but still have blood pumping around their bodies. This new procedure used a non-beating heart that had been reanimated in the donor’s body after death. Using a groundbreaking technique, surgeons kept the heart beating in the donor body for 50 minutes to test its function, before transporting it on a threehour journey to Papworth Hospital, Cambridgeshire, for transplant into Ulucan. The procedure was the first of its kind to be performed in Europe, and looks set to revolutionise the field by opening up a new supply of donor hearts previously thought unusable. ‘This procedure could increase heart transplantation by 25 per cent in the UK,’ says Stephen Large, the
consultant cardiothoracic surgeon (opposite) who oversaw the operation. For three years, he and a research team at Papworth have worked tirelessly to fine-tune the techniques needed to restart and restore a non-beating heart. ‘It means that instead of accepting one in five hearts offered, surgeons will be able to accept two or maybe even three.’ The operation’s success has transformed attitudes towards donation after cardiac death, with Papworth now receiving at least one referral per week. It’s a remarkable feat given the longstanding belief that non-beating hearts become irreparably damaged during the process of death. This breakthrough proves that by re-establishing a fresh supply of blood within 30 minutes of death, the heart can restore its energy supplies enough to start pumping efficiently again.
LIFE-GIVING FUNDS A £200,000 donation from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity and the Masonic Samaritan Fund allowed Large to establish the project in February 2013, paying for costly organ-care technology as well as the employment of Simon Messer, the cardiothoracic transplant registrar who helped to develop the technique for restarting the heart. ‘It’s difficult to determine whether an organ will function properly once it’s been transplanted. With a heart, it’s even more challenging because it has
‘It’s difficult to determine whether an organ will function properly once transplanted. With a heart, it’s even more challenging, because it has to be beating.’ Charles Akle
to be beating,’ says surgeon Charles Akle, a member of the Non-Masonic Grants Committee of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity. ‘The fresher the organ, the better the chance of a successful transplant – there have always been problems with maintaining the quality of a heart, especially one that’s already stopped beating, until it reaches the recipient.’
KEEP THE RHYTHM To this end, the team at Papworth used a revolutionary new technology, the TransMedics Organ Care System, to give the donor heart a steady supply of warm blood. Known as normothermic perfusion, this technique keeps the heart beating as it would inside the body after it’s been removed, so it doesn’t suffer further damage during the journey to the recipient. It’s an essential support system for non-beating hearts, which have already suffered a prolonged lack of blood supply and wouldn’t survive the traditional method of preserving donor organs on ice. ‘TransMedics really takes the heat out of the situation,’ says Large. ‘It allows us to travel greater
ABOVE (L TO R): The triumphant transplant team of Simon Colah, senior perfusionist; Simon Messer, cardiothoracic registrar; and Stephen Large, consultant cardiothoracic surgeon
distances with a “live” heart, and gives us the time to properly assess whether a donor organ is being matched with the right recipient.’ In Ulucan’s operation, the decision to continue with the transplant fell to Steven Tsui, the clinical director of transplantation at Papworth. Watching him mull over his thoughts while the donor heart pumped away on the TransMedics was, Large admits, the most nerve-shredding moment of the procedure. ‘After years of research, that was the final hurdle,’ he recalls. ‘I said to him, “You need to wrestle with your demons here, but this I’m sure is a great heart.” ’ Within minutes, it was being stitched into its recipient and just four weeks later, Ulucan was back at home enjoying his new lease of life. ‘That’s an outstanding recovery by any standard. It must have been a phenomenal heart,’ says Large.
‘A great challenge of research is realising the funds to do it. Competition is fierce, and programmes like this struggle to attract funding from the Medical Research Council.’ Stephen Large
OPENING UP THE DONOR POOL Without the support of the Freemasons, Large’s research could never have translated into the successful clinical programme it is today. ‘One of the greatest challenges of research is realising the funds to do it,’ says Large. ‘Competition is fierce, and translational programmes like this struggle to attract funding from the Medical Research Council.’ As both a researcher and fund-giver, Charles also understands the challenge. ‘We get pulled in so many different directions at the Grand Charity. It’s impossible to prioritise one research project over another. They are all worthy,’ he says. ‘But we do tend towards applications with a more methodological process, something that’s likely to have a good result that can be developed to benefit other conditions.’ Large’s funding application ticked all the boxes. ‘It provided an immediate and flexible solution for heart transplantation that opened up the donor pool,’ says Charles. ‘It also laid the groundwork for further research into preserving donor organs for as long as possible.’ For Large, the research is only just beginning. ‘Snipping out dodgy organs and stitching in new ones is a replacement therapy. It’s up to the next generation to find out why organs deteriorate and how we can regenerate them organically. I just wish I had another lifetime to see it, because that will be such fun.’
HEARTSHAPED BOX Developed in the US, the TransMedics Organ Care System pumps warm, oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood through a heart, allowing it to keep beating from the moment it’s removed from the donor until it’s implanted in the recipient. A transparent chamber fixed to the top of the machine allows surgeons to watch the attached organ pump blood as it would in a body. Dubbed the ‘heartin-a-box’, it has also been used to transplant livers and lungs.
THE FREEMASONS’ GRAND CHARITY Researcher Dr Claire Michel is part of Professor Clemens Kaminski’s team studying Alzheimer’s at the University of Cambridge
Making new connections Scientists hope the knowledge gained from vital research will offer new clues for the treatment of Alzheimer’s
very four seconds, there is a new case of dementia in the world. The condition is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases such as Alzheimer’s, which affects half a million people in the UK. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s vary but typically include memory loss, confusion, disorientation, and mood and behavioural problems. As Alzheimer’s progresses it can alter a person’s life entirely, robbing them of their memories and independence, causing them to require constant support. There are currently no treatments that slow or halt progression of the disease – something that it is hoped can be changed through research. The Grand Charity and the MSF recently joined forces to provide a £175,000 donation to Alzheimer’s Research UK, to help fund efforts to identify new targets for treating the disease. This research is taking place at the University of Cambridge and seeks to understand the chain of events occurring at the onset of Celia and hospice chairman Irene in front of the damaged building
the disease. Over the past 30 years, the central masonic charities have donated £855,000 towards dementia research, while also caring for people living with the disease. One of the difficulties researchers face is finding participants for studies; at the same time, many members of the public are looking for studies to take part in, but don’t know where to find them. A national service, Join Dementia Research, tackles the problem by connecting participants with researchers, helping to recruit the right volunteers for the right study. The service is open to all – those with dementia, their carers and anyone who wants to improve the lives of people living with the condition. If you are interested in helping to find a cure for dementia, the National Institute for Health Research is currently inviting people to take part in clinical research studies. To find out more, please visit www.joindementiaresearch.nihr.ac.uk
EMERGENCY HELP AT SUSSEX HOSPICE In the early hours of 11 July, a fire took place at St Michael’s Hospice in St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex. Twenty three patients with progressive life-limiting illnesses were evacuated, along with one family member and nine members of staff. In the days following the incident, three patients died, two of whom had been treated for smoke inhalation. The Grand Charity responded with an emergency grant of £5,000 to help with immediate recovery efforts. Since 1987, St Michael’s has been part of the Grand Charity Hospice Scheme and has received more than £84,000. The
Province of Sussex also donated £5,000 via the Sussex Masonic Charities. Perdita Chamberlain, St Michael’s head of fundraising, said, ‘We would like to thank the Sussex Freemasons and the Grand Charity for their continued support and their incredibly generous donation.’ Hospice CEO Celia Pyke-Lees praised the nursing team, calling them ‘true heroines’ on the night of the fire. Consultant physician James Dennison added, ‘I was very pleased to hear that both the Province of Sussex and the Grand Charity had quickly responded. It is wonderful to see Freemasonry in action like this.’
60 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ Tel: 020 7395 9261 Fax: 020 7395 9295 Email: email@example.com Facebook: TheFreemasonsGrandCharity Twitter: @TheGrandCharity www.grandcharity.org
MASONIC SAMARITAN FUND
Howzat for a charity fundraiser?
he Province of West Kent organised the ideal opportunity to celebrate raising £3.25 million for the MSF at its Howzat! Festival day. The event featured a charity cricket match as well as arena entertainment and food and drink, and attracted Freemasons, their families and members of the local community to The Warren in Bromley. Children were entertained by fairground stalls, bungee runs and a climbing wall. For others, there were beer and Pimm’s tents; performances by the Scout and Guide Marching Band; and a duck herder, who held particular interest. The Province’s donation cheque was proudly displayed at its stand, which stood alongside stalls for the Masonic Fishing
A bionic arm developed by RAFT
Charity and Hi-Kent, a local charity for the deaf and hard of hearing. MSF Chief Executive Richard Douglas said, ‘It was a fantastic day and gave me the opportunity to meet the Freemasons of West Kent and thank them personally for their incredibly generous donations to the Masonic Samaritan Fund.’
2020 VISION IN HEREFORDSHIRE
P HOTOGRAPHY: SHUTTERSTOCK
The Province of Herefordshire has officially launched its 2020 Festival Appeal by presenting an initial donation of £45,000 to the Masonic Samaritan Fund. Herefordshire Provincial Grand Master the Rev David Bowen opened the appeal at the Provincial Grand Lodge in June. MSF President Willie Shackell received the donation from the Province and offered his sincere thanks for such a generous contribution towards the Fund’s work. He said, ‘Your generosity will make a tremendous difference to so many people waiting to receive the treatment and care they need to live healthy and independent lives.’
MSF President Willie Shackell (right) thanks PGM the Rev David Bowen
JUBILEE RESEARCH VOTES COUNTED To celebrate 25 years of generous donations from the masonic community, the MSF is awarding £1 million in medical research grants across England and Wales. Freemasons were invited by the Fund to vote for a research study shortlisted for support in their region by the doctors, consultants and care experts of the MSF’s Board of Trustees. MSF Grants Director and Deputy Chief Executive John McCrohan said, ‘Each grant we award brings us closer to finding treatments and cures for the illnesses and disabilities that affect masonic families as well as the wider community. Thank you to all those who voted, we value your opinion and appreciate your support.’ The voting period is now closed, and results will be revealed via the MSF website and e-newsletter in September.
60 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ Tel: 020 7404 1550 Fax: 020 7404 1544 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: msfund.org Twitter: @MS_Fund www.msfund.org.uk
ROYAL MASONIC BENEVOLENT INSTITUTION
New perspectives on training A pioneering technique in the way carers are trained has been revealed to journalists during a special session at RMBI care home Prince Michael of Kent Court in Watford
Senior Care Trainer Nina Stephens
Trainees experienced supported feeding
n 18 June, journalists from BBC Breakfast, Reuters and Radio 4 joined care home manager Elizabeth Corbett and her team to take part in the RMBI’s innovative training programme, Experiential Learning. The initiative puts carers in the shoes of their residents, helping them to understand what it might be like to live in a care home. During the session, journalists were given the opportunity to experience some of the daily challenges faced by some 400,000 older people who live in care homes across the UK. Scenarios included being pushed in a wheelchair while blindfolded, receiving supported feeding to eat a meal, being hoisted from a seated position and wearing a wet incontinence pad.
A hoisting activity during the training Reuters filming the sessions
AN INDIVIDUAL APPROACH The RMBI has practiced ‘person-centred’ care in its homes for a number of years. Adopting a person-centred perspective is a way of providing tailored care and support based on the resident’s point of view – ‘standing in their place’ and appreciating how they might be feeling. This is a very different approach from treating everybody in the same way and makes the care that RMBI provides individual to each resident. Louise Bateman, Director of HR at the RMBI, explained how the need for specific training in this area was identified: ‘In 2014 we reviewed our recruitment and induction programmes for new care staff. We wanted to ensure that we were recruiting individuals not solely upon their technical skills or abilities, but on the basis of their values and attitudes to care.’ Bateman said that the RMBI realised it was important for its carers to have an empathic approach and to be able to step into the shoes of residents under their care. ‘We talked to recently joined carers as well as managers to develop our thinking. From this we redesigned the induction programme to include the Experiential Learning initiative so that we could improve
the quality of our service and provide residents with a deeper level of person-centred care,’ she continued. The initiative has been in place for all new care staff in RMBI care homes since October 2014 – from nurses and activity coordinators through to carers and shift leaders. Plans to expand the training are also well underway, with additional scenarios to be included, such as brushing someone’s teeth. Senior Care Trainer Nina Stephens, who led the Experiential Learning session, said: ‘This new way of training carers has already improved the lives of the people in our homes. It allows RMBI care staff to have a greater insight into some of the challenges faced by our residents. We feel that experiential learning should be adopted by the whole care sector, as part of the drive to raise care standards to the highest level.’
60 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ Tel: 020 7596 2400 Fax: 020 7596 2427 Email: email@example.com Facebook: thermbi Twitter: @thermbi www.rmbi.org.uk
ROYAL MASONIC TRUST FOR GIRLS AND BOYS
Now Jake’s ready for his close-up
ne trauma is more than enough for any child to deal with, but before Jake turned 16 he had experienced his parents’ divorce as well as his mother’s battles with breast cancer and redundancy. Causing stress and anxiety, these events also led to financial hardship for Jake and his mother. As Jake grew older, he dreamed of pursuing a career in the performing arts. Realising it would be impossible for his mother to support his aspirations, Jake decided to learn a trade – but deep down he longed to work in front of or behind the camera. Jake’s grandfather Mike, a Freemason, had always encouraged his grandson to pursue his dreams. When Mike was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2012, he encouraged Jake to reach out to the RMTGB for support. Jake was accepted as a beneficiary, gained a place at his chosen university and was offered a room at the RMTGB’s student residence, Ruspini House. ‘Without the Trust, I would not have been able to follow my dream,’ said Jake, who plans to become a Freemason after he graduates so that he can help other children to succeed and give back to the masonic community. Find out how the RMTGB supported Jake by watching the video at www.rmtgb.org/jake
The RMTGB is helping Jake to achieve his dreams
NEW HEIGHTS FOR LIFELITES From lunching with friends to abseiling down the UK’s tallest sculpture, Freemasons and their families across the country are supporting Lifelites in a variety of ordinary and extraordinary ways. In May, George Lang from Essex raised £800 by abseiling down London’s ArcelorMittal Orbit, and Ewan Gordon from Oxfordshire ran 1,050 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End, raising more than £2,500. In the Kent countryside, Ivor Macklin opened up his stunning garden to the public and raised money by selling tea and cakes. The funds are helping Lifelites to provide specialist technologies for 9,000 terminally ill and severely disabled babies and children in hospices across the British Isles. Help the charity to enrich these young lives by organising your own fundraising activity – why not try a golf day, clay pigeon shoot or Ladies that Lunch for Lifelites event? 72-year-old George abseils for Lifelites
For information on what’s happening in your Province or how to get involved with fundraising, contact James Hunt: firstname.lastname@example.org
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING The RMTGB’s Annual General Meeting will be held at 11.30am on Monday, 5 October 2015 at the Novotel hotel, Southampton. To register to attend or to submit a postal vote on the proposals to restructure the Trust, please visit www.rmtgb.org/ agm2015
60 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ Tel: 020 7405 2644 Fax: 020 7831 4094 Email: email@example.com Facebook: rmtgb Twitter: @rmtgb www.rmtgb.org
LIBRARY AND MUSEUM
Reel attraction To preserve captured moments in the history of Freemasonry, the Library and Museum is digitising masonic films to enable anyone to view them
he Library and Museum stores and cares for collections of older records on behalf of Grand Lodge and the masonic charities. Among these are films such as a 1929 newsreel of a ceremony marking the extension at Treloar Hospital in Hampshire, and a film made for the RMBI in 1978 entitled Life in Our Homes. Former head of the East Anglian Film Archive David Cleveland was asked by the Library and Museum to undertake a survey of the film reels to identify duplicates, and to advise on methods of destruction for some of the duplicate material. Current recommendations are for the transfer of reel film to digital media for long-term preservation. The process is costly but the Library and Museum has received support from London’s Screen Archives (LSA), which transferred 16 film titles to digital media at no charge, courtesy of the British Film Institute’s Unlocking Film Heritage Digitisation Fund. The digitisation was completed by Prime Focus in London’s Soho. All 16 titles will be accessible with full descriptions at the LSA website. After copying, the reel films are kept in specialist storage at the London Metropolitan Archives. With half of the film titles in its collection now available online, the Library and Museum is working on ways to preserve the rest of its film collection.
Films can currently be viewed at the BFI Player portal: http://player.bfi.org.uk/search
Library and Museum of Freemasonry Freemasons’ Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ
FROM TOP: Lord Cadogan (left) watches as the foundation stone is laid at Albert Edward Prince of Wales Court, Porthcawl, in 1970; a ceremony marking the Treloar Hospital extension in 1929; digitising the masonic film collection
www.freemasonry.london.museum Tel: 020 7395 9257 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Shop: www.letchworthshop.co.uk
L ETTERS T O THE E DITOR MASONIC PERCEPTIONS Sir, As a non-mason, I recently came across the spring 2015 edition of Freemasonry Today and read its contents with interest. Until then, I was quite ignorant about Freemasonry. A reputed lack of openness fosters beliefs amongst non-masons that Freemasonry is associated with council planning permissions, approved contractor lists and obtaining cushy jobs for friends, and that membership confers some immunity from prosecution because senior police officers are Freemasons. Also responsible are erroneous detrimental newspaper headlines, because of course mud sticks. Personally, I have met and been helped over the years by people who when they died, I discovered to be Freemasons. I had often wondered why these people were so kind, generous and helpful to my family when they did not owe me anything. They had not sought to enrol me nor ask for any donation, as so many pseudo charities do. I note there are never any cold callers from the Freemasons! I hope you don’t mind me writing in this vein but before coming across your magazine, I never knew to whom I should address my thoughts and thanks.
W rite to: The Editor, Freemasonry Today, Freemasons’ H all, Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ E mail: email@example.com Letters emailed to the editor should not be sent as attachments. Please include a home address and telephone number. A n S.A.E. should accompany any photographs to be returned. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Grand Lodge of England.
strength and I take pride in passing it on to my non-masonic family and friends. Richard Ebrey, Lodge of St Peter in Exeter, No. 5806, Exeter, Devonshire
Sir, Last week I received my first official copy of Freemasonry Today and read it cover to cover. I only started on my path in Freemasonry last December, so it is good to be able to find out what is happening in the wider community. It may sound like a cliché but I feel that, since joining, my eyes have been opened. I now see things I had not before, have great conversations with new people and receive invites to join others. This I believe is what Freemasonry is about: opening yourself up, spending time with like-minded people and helping others. I would like to thank all those I have met who have shown me such
kindness. I am glad to have been given the opportunity not only to have joined my lodge, but to be part of a group of people who put others before themselves. Frank Kelly, Middlesex Imperial Yeomanry Lodge, No. 3013, London
Sir, When the subject of Freemasonry Today came up at a recent meeting, I must confess that I, along with one or two others, had the view that it was just a coffee-table magazine, not necessarily aimed at Freemasons, but for potential and new candidates. I thought that it was a pick up and put down publication to graze through. Afterwards, thinking about the time and effort it takes to produce the magazine, I decided that it deserved to be checked out in more detail. I have re-read the last four issues. How wrong I was – fascinating articles,
BELOW: Freemasonry Today and its readers are on the same page
W K Kerswell, Church Stretton, Shropshire
Sir, The back issues of Freemasonry Today that we have been making use of in giving to potential members and others have proved very useful in bursting the ‘secret society’ bubble. The quality of the material, both in its presentation and content, continues to go from strength to
a great variety of in-depth interviews with people who really matter, and nothing at all to sustain my incorrect view of it as a coffee-table magazine. I am now a champion of it! I have a Grand Lodge certificate to present tomorrow evening, and I shall be using material from the article on the Duke of Sussex. His energy and vision is also self-evident in current changes at UGLE. Thought I’d just put fingers to keyboard and tell you. Steve Williams, Round Table of Derbyshire Lodge, No. 8725, Sheffield, Derbyshire
MASONIC BENEVOLENCE Sir, As a lodge Charity Steward, I am really pleased that so much of the summer 2015 edition of Freemasonry Today is given over to our charitable activities, as it’s important that brethren are aware of just how their contributions are used. However, this could be seen as preaching to the converted. Day in, day out, I read in my local newspaper about how Rotary, Round Table, Lions et al have donated relatively small sums to this or that good cause. Yet last month alone, my own small lodge, just one of 14 in this Province, issued seven cheques totalling £2,000, mostly to small local charities, without any mention in the press. While I’m certainly not advocating any kind of contest with non-masonic societies, do we not miss valuable opportunities to show the public what we do? Who knows, it might even encourage more people to join our fraternity. John Knights, Lodge of Perseverance, No. 213, Norwich, Norfolk
Sir, I was very pleased to read the two articles regarding Dogs for the Disabled and the generous donations made to PAWS. I am a socialiser with the puppies for Dogs for the Disabled, and my last two puppies are involved with this scheme. One is now with an autistic child and the other is just being placed with a child. It is very rewarding training the pups and you do get a little bit upset when they leave you, but the charity keeps you in touch with the progress of the dog. You also get a replacement quite quickly, so
the disappointment is short-lived. Once again, thank you so much for your welcome support of Dogs for the Disabled. Ray Beckingham, Wraxall Lodge, No. 9011, Nailsea, Somerset
PRIDE IN MEMBERSHIP Sir, It has always been a great pleasure for me to read and reflect on John Hamill’s epistles in Freemasonry Today. His thoughts on the landmarks of Freemasonry were succinctly summarised in his ‘Six Pillars’ piece and were explained with admirable clarity. Being a Freemason of 46 years, I asked myself, ‘Where has Freemasonry led me?’ In answer I have to say that it has certainly made me a better human, a better husband, a better father and, above all, a better doctor to my patients – simply because, through Freemasonry, I was reminded of and was able to achieve my ‘personal responsibility’. I shall be ever indebted to Freemasonry. Mohamed Pasha, MBE, Thamestide Lodge, No. 8147, Southend-on-Sea, Essex
Sir, Having been the custodian of the minutes of my lodge which cover 130 years of their meetings, and having delved into them to
try to find some spark of human interest, I found that other than some rare nugget there was very little that gave any indication of the achievements and characters of the members. The brethren mentioned in those minutes beyond living memory are not stamped with any personality at all. In many cases the only thing that could be gleaned from the records was their age, profession and place of residence on joining. This makes it very difficult for lodge and chapter historians to find any worthwhile information on the members. For the benefit of future historians, I suggest the practice be adopted of inserting into the minute books the text of eulogies delivered on the death of members. I have been following this procedure myself in my various secretarial offices and hopefully thereby some useful biographies of members, which would otherwise be lost, are preserved when the histories of those lodges and chapters come to be written or updated. Paul Huggins, Eurydice Lodge, No. 1920, London
BELOW: The Dogs for the Disabled PAWS Service supports children and families affected by autism
‘If you should ever find yourself holidaying in Cornwall, you could pack your regalia, along with your bucket and spade, and visit us or many other lodges spread throughout our beautiful Province.’ Simon Mann
THE BEST YOU CAN BE Sir, I am 27 years old and have been a Freemason now for just over a year. I have become a representative for both the Master Mason Forum and the Rough Ashlar Club. Ever since I joined Freemasonry I have been plied with questions and views, all based on a preconception that Freemasonry is only a relic from a bygone era. There is an assumption that the etiquette and conduct of the 1800s has no place in the fast-paced lives of today. However, when you close a deal, you still shake hands as a gesture of thanks and mutual trust. When you open a door for someone they will still nod their head in gratitude. These and many other ‘relics’ are part of something much bigger that is deeply ingrained in us all. If everybody had just one person in their lives who had the potential to influence them in a positive way, then we all could learn from an early age that to be human is to attempt to be the best person you can be. It is hoped that, with the current work emphasising the welcoming nature of Freemasonry, the world will begin to see our great organisation in a fresh light, as opposed to the outdated misconceptions we currently have to cope with.
P HOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES
Brian Coombs, St Peter’s Lodge, No. 5827, Chester, Cheshire
CORNISH WELCOME Sir, Those readers who have been following the recent BBC mini-series Poldark will no doubt have heard the name Trenwith, which is the ancestral Poldark family
Poldark has sparked a new interest in Cornwall’s mining history as well as its beauty
home. Anybody with historical interests might like to read the history of our lodge, named after the Trenwith family (www.trenwith6309.org.uk). The popularity of the series has not only increased the flow of tourism in Cornwall, but has reignited an interest in historical mining traditions. A strong link with mining still remains within our lodge, with three brethren having worked in the tin mines of Pendarves and South Crofty (near Camborne). Two are still in the industry and regularly travel to working mines overseas. It is often said around the world that wherever you find a hole in the ground, there’s bound to be a Cornishman at the bottom of it, as the Cornish were pioneers in the mining industry. If you are holidaying in Cornwall this year,
you could pack your regalia, along with your bucket and spade, and visit us or many other lodges spread throughout our beautiful Province. Indeed, anybody holidaying anywhere can explore the UGLE website, where there are links to all Provincial websites. I am sure most Provincial offices will be happy to direct potential visitors to a lodge that will be happy to receive them. As we all know, one of the more enjoyable aspects of Freemasonry is visiting other lodges and sharing experiences. We in Trenwith Lodge can’t guarantee the weather but we can certainly guarantee a warm and friendly welcome from some friends you haven’t met yet. Simon Mann, Trenwith Lodge, No. 6309, St Ives, Cornwall
P ROCESS OF EVOLUTION The rules that define Freemasonry are not set in stone, but rather adapt with changing times, as John Hamill, Director of Special Projects, explains
sk a group of members why we do a certain thing or organise in a particular way and the response will be, ‘Because we’ve always done it that way.’ But as anyone who’s read a little of our history knows, that statement is rarely borne out by the facts. Today, with the exception of five London lodges under the direct supervision of the Grand Master, all our lodges at home are grouped under the Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London or one of the 47 Provincial Grand Lodges. Each group is headed by a Metropolitan or Provincial Grand Master who is appointed, by patent, by the Grand Master as his personal representative within his defined area. All lodges in the Metropolitan or Provincial Grand Master’s area come under their supervision and are required to hold a meeting of that Metropolitan or Provincial Grand Lodge at least once a year. They are also empowered to appoint Metropolitan or Provincial Grand Officers, promote existing officers and appoint brethren to past Metropolitan or Provincial rank. So embedded is the system that it is natural to assume it has always existed, the more so as the office of Provincial Grand Master is one of the oldest in our constitution. The first was Francis Columbine, acknowledged by the Premier Grand Lodge as Provincial Grand Master for Cheshire in 1725. Grand Masters under the premier Grand Lodge made many appointments from 1727 onwards but the appointment of a Provincial Grand Master in no way implied the existence of a Provincial Grand Lodge. Columbine was empowered to appoint ‘Grand Officers pro tem’ to assist him, particularly in constituting new lodges or carrying out public ceremonies. Once the event was over, those ‘Grand Officers’ reverted to their original masonic status. The death or resignation of a Provincial Grand Master by no means guaranteed the appointment of a successor, unless the lodges in the Province petitioned the Grand Master for a replacement. In a number of cases an appointment was made for a county in which no lodges existed, presumably in the hope that the appointee would stimulate the formation of
lodges. In other cases, it is known that the appointee had no connection with and never visited his charge! The idea of holding an annual Provincial Grand Lodge seems to have been introduced by Thomas Dunckerley, who between 1767 and his death in 1795 was Provincial Grand Master for eight Provinces. He took his duties seriously, regularly visiting his charges to hold Provincial Grand Lodge meetings, stimulating the formation of new lodges and ensuring that his lodges made their annual returns to the Grand Lodge. The idea of Provinces or Provincial Grand Masters was unknown under the Antients Grand Lodge at home but they did warrant Provincial Grand Lodges overseas. The warrant designated the first Provincial Grand Master but empowered the Province to elect his successors. It also gave them permission to constitute new lodges, which were to be reported to London to be issued with a Grand Lodge warrant. Because of the distances and precarious nature of travel at that time, many constituted lodges never made it onto the Antients Grand Lodge Register.
A FOUNDATION FOR TODAY Changes brought about by the Union of the two Grand Lodges in 1813 laid the basis of our present system. The appointment of Provincial Grand Masters remained the prerogative of the Grand Master but they were enabled to appoint Provincial Grand officers, who were given their own distinctive regalia and jewels. If a Provincial Grand Master died or resigned, the Province ceased to exist until a successor had been installed. The current system of the Deputy Provincial Grand Master being in charge was introduced as late as the 1880s. Although the 1815 Constitutions required at least annual Provincial Grand Lodge meetings, it was not until the 1860s that the rule was fully complied with and Provinces began to send annual reports of their doings to the Grand Secretary. So rather than existing since time immemorial, our Metropolitan and Provincial system has gradually evolved and continues to evolve and adapt to the times we live in.
‘In a number of cases, an appointment was made for a county in which no lodges existed; in other cases, it is known that the appointee had no connection with and never visited his charge!’ 82