Winter Edition 2016 page 1
The Provincial Grand Master As I sit in my office contemplating the content for this column I find myself thinking of the many events which have occurred since the publication of the Summer edition of Across the Plain. Not only did the country get a new Prime Minister, the United Grand Lodge of England got a new Grand Secretary and Team GB brought home a sackful of medals from the Rio Olympics and the Paralympics. I am sure we all share in the pride and joy of the Olympians’ success as much as we are proud of the achievements of Lodge members who make such a wonderful contribution to the communities in which they live and work. I am thrilled to hear about the wonderful contributions being made by Lodges to the 300 hours for 300 years initiative. I was particularly delighted to read how during the past year members of Downton Lodge No.9064 helped their local school by arranging to paint a classroom, ensuring the pupils returned to a bright new environment after the half term holiday. Members and families of Vale of Avon Lodge No.8432 undertook an exciting project building a goat enclosure at the Leonard Cheshire Home at Kington Langley and Brethren from Gooch Lodge No.1295 gave up their Saturday leisure time to refurbish the dining tables at Swindon’s Olive Tree Cafe a charity providing help and support to people recovering from mental illness by providing them with positive, work-related opportunities. A team from Border Lodge No.3129 which included the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent, created a play area for the Ludgershall pre-school playgroup and Brethren from Methuen Lodge No.8692 gave generously of their time to clean up an area adjacent to Green Road Chapel in Stratton-St-Margaret. These are just a few of the fantastic examples of Freemasons working in and for the community, I am truly in awe of their achievements and thank them all. Stephen Bridge APrGM is always keen to hear from Lodges who are planning an event which will demonstrate the practical side of Freemasonry in the community, please do let him and the Editor of Across the Plain know of any plans you might have and if you have a story to tell please do remember to include a photograph or two. The Tercentenary of Grand Lodge is a wonderful opportunity to raise the public profile of Freemasonry and I am confident the Province of Wiltshire’s events, led by Stephen Bridge, will benefit from the positive media exposure generated by the numerous events and activities planned for the year. You can read about the Tercentenary Banner which we will receive from our friends of Hampshire and Isle of Wight before we in turn hand it over to the PrGM for Dorset on the cobble stones of Gold Hill in Shaftesbury. This event is being undertaken by Brethren from Wiltshire and seven other ‘neighbouring’ Provinces, and if you want to be part of the team why not speak to Stephen who will be delighted to add your details to his ever growing database. Plans are already well advanced with regard to a reception and lunch to celebrate the Tercentenary and the end of the Masonic Samaritan Fund 2017 Festival. One event I am particularly delighted about is a Tercentenary Cathedral Service in the Cathedral Church of St Mary, Salisbury on Sunday 3rd September 2017. I look forward to welcoming many members of the Province and their families to this wonderful occasion which will be made even more special as Brethren will be allowed to wear full Masonic regalia to the service. This superb event will be a highlight of our Tercentenary celebrations and will be attended by a High Ruler. An invitation to the service including the celebration ‘tea party’ to be held in the Cathedral Cloisters can be found on page 13 and further details will be made available to Lodge secretaries during the coming months. Please remember, this is a family and friends event at which everyone will be made very welcome. During the past year I have asked a number of teams to consider the future of the Province and present the conclusions of their analysis first to the executive and secondly to the Divisional and Visiting Officers. The membership team provided a detailed report in which they examined various aspects of the membership of the Province and its Lodges. More importantly they have provided a feature, which subject to defined parameters enables the executive to predict with a high degree of accuracy membership numbers for the future. The report has been shared with visiting officers and a plan is currently being prepared to cascade the information to individual Lodges. I feel sure Winter Edition 2016 page 2
Brethren throughout the Province will find the report’s content most interesting and I trust it will provide plenty of food for thought. The words viable and sustainable are used so much in our daily speech, they are absolutely applicable to Freemasonry today. David Little and Mark Shaw are leading the Sarsen Club initiative and they have collated some interesting data from younger Freemasons. The Communication Team will be working with them to make sure every Lodge is aware of the survey results. Just recently the Membership Focus Group spoke about ‘valuing the individual’. In a day when there are so many opportunities available to men wanting to belong to a society or organisation it is necessary for Lodges to really appreciate the members they have and the Province is justly proud to be known for valuing the whole Wiltshire Masonic family. Sadly, within all families occasions arise where disagreements result, words are spoken, actions occur and animosity leads to estrangement. Brethren, our Lodges are not immune to such hurt. However, my earnest hope is that we all might find it within ourselves to be kind to one another and extend the hand of friendship to all. As a husband, father and grandfather family is not an esoteric concept rather it is a vibrant and real part of who and what I am; I feel sure that your family is the foundation on which every other aspect of your life is built. I never cease to be amazed at the paternal pride exhibited by a father who initiates his son into the Craft.
Sally Bullock invites you to make a Christmas Swag Sally will show you how to use all your artistic and creative talent to make a Christmas swag, a festive cane tree and a table decoration. For the Calne event only, Sally will demonstrate how to make a Christmas wreath. The cost of £25 (all day) or £15 (evening) includes all the materials you will need to make your festive decorations - base, ties, cones, ribbon, wires, cane and some baubles and decorative pieces. If you have a particular item you wish to incorporate in your decoration, please do bring it to the Session. For more information call Sally Bullock on 01380 813625 Sunday 4th December 10.00am - 3.00pm Freemasons’ Hall, Crane Street, Salisbury Thursday 8th December 6.00pm - 8.00pm The Masonic Hall, Stanier Road, Calne Sunday 11th December 10.00am - 3.00pm The Masonic Centre, The Planks, Swindon Please bring an apron and a pair of secateurs Tea and coffee will be provided but please do bring your own packed lunch
Supporting the Masonic Samaritan Fund
Christmas offers us the opportunity to indulge those closest to us with cards and gifts, to welcome into our homes friends and relatives, some of whom we may have seen for some time. The message of Christmas is quite simple - Peace on Earth and goodwill towards men. The ethos of Freemasonry centres on the principle of "working together with that love and harmony which should at all times characterise Freemasons". Brethren, may I implore you to "be as one, live in peace with one another" that you may "show to the world the happy and beneficial effects of our Ancient and Honourable Institution". Many of you will be aware that Peter Winton DPrGM is not enjoying the best of health and I am sure you will join me in wishing Peter and Virginia all the very best as he undertakes a course of treatment which will inevitably require him to take a short break from active Provincial Masonic duties. Finally I trust you will enjoy a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.
I am sure you will all join me in offering warmest congratulations to John King who has completed ten years service as Provincial Grand Almoner. Which coincidentally just happens to be the same number of years Wiltshire has been providing TLC teddy bears to the two hospitals in Salisbury and Swindon. A remarkable achievement in which over 50,000 children of all ages have gained a new friend.
Winter Edition 2016 page 3
Royal Sussex goes Caribbean
W. Bro Neil Maw WM Lodge 355
When I received the message in April that I had been invited to the Bi-Centenary meeting of The Sussex Lodge No 354 in Kingston, my thoughts immediately turned to that rather nice town nestling on the banks of the River Thames. But I was wrong by 5,000 miles – it was Kingston, Jamaica. I landed at Norman Manley Airport on Thursday 25th August. It was raining and as I looked out of the aircraft window, it looked very much like a rainy day in Swindon, nothing like I was expecting but as I left the Airport building to collect my hire car, the 32°C humidity bowled me over. It was hot - very hot!! On Saturday the brethren of the Sussex Lodge assembled at the Masonic Building in Barbados Avenue, Kingston. I was relieved to find that the building was air-conditioned. Being dressed in my DJ in that kind of heat was taking its toll on me, whilst brother after brother welcomed me and showed not the slightest sign of being overheated. The Sussex Lodge was consecrated on the 1st July 1816, but for some unknown reason, it was not operational, in that it did not submit returns to UGLE from 1821–1827. It could not therefore claim continuous working. So this celebration was to celebrate 200 years since the formation of the lodge. They will be able to claim their Bi-Centenary warrant in 2027. Being the only the Master to visit from any of the Sussex Lodges in the UK, I was very happy to present to Lodge 354, a specially made jewel as a gift from the brethren of Lodge 355. It was hand crafted by our very own master jeweller, W Bro Stanley Iles. The Brethren were extremely pleased with this quite beautiful jewel and I lost count of how many Brethren came up to me later to express their delight. The sumptuous banquet that followed was held at the Pegasus Hotel, the biggest and the best in the capital city. Many family members joined us and the food was simply delicious. The event was honoured by the presence of the current Bishop of Kingston and his predecessor. The following day there was a 200th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service for the Lodge held at The Church of St. Thomas the Apostle in downtown Kingston. The brethren of the lodge entered the church in procession in full regalia. I had the honour to be placed directly behind the Worshipful Master who headed the column. A most pleasant brunch concluded the celebrations and I looked forward to spending the rest of the week touring the island in my hire car – and that, is another story completely.
All change as we consider the future for Freemasonry During the summer break the Provincial Membership Officer and his team produced a ‘State of the Province‘ report for the PrGM. The findings have been shared with the Divisional and Visiting Officers and during the first half of 2017 individual Lodges will receive a presentation of the report. Much of the report’s content will come as no surprise to many, whereas the conclusions and forecasts may just cause a few eyebrows to be raised. However, and as the PrGM made clear in his address at PGL, the purpose of the report is to provide the basis of a plan for growth and the retention of members with the aim of developing sustainable and viable Lodges in the future; a cause which would surely be supported by every Freemason in Wiltshire. When the team visits your Lodge please welcome them and allow them to present their findings and work with them to make sure that in twenty years time the Lodge is a thriving hub of Masonic activity. Winter Edition 2016 page 4
Happy 10th Birthday TLC
W Bro John King - Provincial Grand Almoner
Who would have believed that an idea to provide a comfort toy - a teddy bear for a child distressed and traumatised by an unplanned and unwanted visit to the accident and emergency department of the Province’s two general hospitals would be a success, and yet that’s exactly what has happened with Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) as local Freemasons celebrate the tenth anniversary of Teddies for Loving Care in Wiltshire. The TLC Appeal, a registered charity, originated after an allergic reaction suddenly caused the swelling and blocking of the windpipe of the wife of a Freemason. Her life was saved by the rapid action of the medical staff at an A&E unit, who were able to resuscitate and stabilise her. While being grateful for the swift and caring attention received, the family found the experience the most frightening of their lives and speculated on the distress that children must face when visiting A&E units. The idea of doing something useful for medical staff at A&E units was discussed with other local Freemasons, and from that point the compulsive idea of Teddies for Loving Care was born. The Appeal was launched in 2001 and has since been adopted by most of the Masonic Provinces across the country. The logistics behind the scenes is amazing with hospitals being asked how many teddy bears would be needed, establishing what style and size of teddy bear would be suitable in order to meet stringent toy safety regulations and be ‘cuddly’ enough to appeal to small children. After 15 years, the support and enthusiasm for the TLC Appeal still exists and well over 1,000,000 teddies have now been distributed nationwide. None of this would be possible without the support of Freemasons who give so generously, but to ensure we are able to meet the increased demand we rely on your help in the future as demand grows for TLC bears. Since 2006 the Province has donated 50,000 TLC bears to the A&E departments at Swindon and Salisbury hospitals, we know they are an essential tool in the department providing a sure way of comforting an injured child undergoing treatment. On a recent visit and photo opportunity at Salisbury’s General Hospital, Philip Bullock met with nursing staff who thanked him for the generosity of Freemasons in providing TLC bears. As part of the Tercentenary Celebration of the first Grand Lodge UGLE is planning a national programme of teddy bear themed days including a teddy bears picnic, and the Province will be joining with TLC in hosting an event in the new year. If you would like to hold a teddies tea party in your garden or at your Lodge please do let us know. As part of a national TLC picnic programme organised by UGLE there will be lots of freebies available to make your tea party a huge success.
If every Lodge in the Province raises just £200 each year for Teddies for Loving Care we can continue to support the two main Accident and Emergency departments in Salisbury and Swindon Winter Edition 2016 page 5
300 Hours for 300 Years
W. Bro Stephen Bridge PJGD, APrGM
If there is one thing I have learned as I travel throughout the Province it is that behind the scenes there are groups of Freemasons and their families working hard to help others. Three years ago we launched the 300 hours for 300 years programme and despite its shaky start it really has blossomed into a showcase of what is good about Freemasonry. From the smallest of tasks such as weeding a neighbours pathway to painting a school classroom; litter picking to clearing a site and building an enclosure for therapy goats, Freemasons and family members have excelled themselves, and I am immensely grateful for every contribution large and small. I am particularly delighted to announce that the success of the Wiltshire scheme has been the catalyst for other neighbouring Provinces to develop similar community based projects and we wish them well in their endeavours. Family members of Stonehenge Lodge No. 6114 really have taken to heart the 300 hours for 300 years programme. Since I launched the initiative they have accumulated a quite amazing 550 hours of time spent working in the local community. Their efforts were duly rewarded when Winterbourne Village was awarded the CPRE shield for Best Kept Large Village by the Lord Lieutenant for Wiltshire.
what are the three wise men trying to say?
Our friends at Border Lodge No. 3129 recently undertook a number of tasks on behalf of a pre-school playgroup in Ludgershall and afterwards posed for this very descriptive photograph - I wonder what subliminal message they were attempting to convey, perhaps you might have an idea! If so email the editor and let him know.
education, education, education -
you say it’s what you want
Of all the messages which have resonated through the portals of Freemasons’ Hall following the recent member surveys the clearest one has been the desire of newly made Freemasons to know more about who we are and what we do. With one voice they are asking for more information about the ceremonies in which they participate, the symbolism of Freemasonry and their origins and equally importantly their moral message. I am convinced we must take every opportunity to communicate and emphasise to Lodges the importance of Masonic education becoming a normal part of their core activity, something that features as part of the meeting forward planning rather than being something they do when they haven’t got anything else to do! I appreciate the potential apprehension that is inherent in this message in that Lodges want to get candidates initiated and progress them through the degrees and ultimately into the Chair, and many will say that they just haven’t got time to schedule in other activities. However, if we consider the results of recent surveys and reports we know that in many cases such a claim does not hold up to scrutiny. In addition, if we are going to attract and retain members who are engaged in Freemasonry and see value in their membership we must do more to meet the demand for greater knowledge and understanding in the purpose of membership as a whole. In the most simple terms I want to ensure that every Wiltshire Freemason is motivated, encouraged and appropriately supported to pursue a journey of personal Masonic development and learning in a manner and at a time which is suitable for him and which meets or exceeds both his individual aspirations and needs. In order to achieve this objective we must deliver timely, appropriate and high quality learning and development opportunities in order to create an environment and culture within Wiltshire whereby every member feels engaged, valued and able to gain the maximum pleasure and benefit from his Masonic membership. We have some incredibly talented ‘teachers’ within our ranks, Brethren with vast experience and insight such as Bro Michael Lee who continues to offer nuggets from his ‘notes from a preceptors handbook’ (see page 14). I am sure you will recall the third working tool of an EAF - ‘the chisel which points out the benefit of education which alone St renders us fit members of well organised society’. I trust you will find our new education programme very worthwhile. Winter Edition 2016 page 6
Charity - it’s in a freemason’s DNA
The Masonic Charitable Foundation will take over the work of the four central Masonic Charities, providing a wide range of grants to Freemasons and their families who have a financial, health and care or family need. The Foundation will also award grants to other charities, medical research studies and disaster relief appeals. Funded entirely through the generous donations of the Masonic community, the Foundation will have an annual charitable expenditure which places it amongst the largest charities in the country. The Masonic Charitable Foundation will be financially strong, well-resourced and able to respond more effectively to the changing needs of Masonic families and other charitable organisations.
What type of support will the Masonic Charitable Foundation provide? The Masonic Charitable Foundation will provide the full range of grants currently awarded by the existing four central Masonic Charities. Those seeking support from the Foundation will not notice any difference in the types of support available but will find the process of applying simpler and easier to understand. The introduction of a simplified application process will enable support to be more readily accessible and responsive to the multiple needs of Freemasons and their families.
W.Bro Ian Priest PAGDC, PrGChStwd When keen angler Ian Lever, Master of New Temple Lodge was asked by Philip Bullock PrGM to start a branch of The Masonic Fishing Charity he didn’t hesitate in saying yes even though he didn’t know what he was letting himself in for.
The Masonic Fishing Charity’s aim is to bring an interactive fishing and countryside experience to people with special needs. It achieves this by running fishing events, both coarse and fly, at various fisheries and inviting participants from special needs schools and centres to come and join in. This is far more than just a day’s fishing though! It enables mentally disabled people to gain in confidence, meet new challenges and achieve tangible results to take away; it helps disadvantaged people and those from harsh backgrounds to renew their confidence in meeting people and interacting with adults from outside their spheres; it helps physically disabled people to participate and experience something that may otherwise be unavailable to them and it enables our volunteers to give back to the community and have some fun along the way. The charity is completely run by volunteers and is a non profit making enterprise. The Wiltshire Branch of MTSFC held its first ‘fish’ at Walters Lake, South Cerney on Wednesday 28 September when eight pupils of Uplands School, Swindon were tutored in baiting a line, the art of casting and above all the extreme patience required to wait until a fish decides to bite! Joining them for the day were Philip Bullock and Stephen Bridge and volunteers from MTSFC and the Province. A super day with lots of smiling, happy faces.
Beyond Freemasonry The Masonic Charitable Foundation will look beyond Freemasonry, making significant grants to other charities, improving countless lives across the country and overseas. If you want to learn more about the new Masonic Charitable Foundation and what it can do for you contact your Lodge Charity Steward or visit
www.mcf.org.uk Everyone can be a fisherman’s friend Winter Edition 2016 page 7
The Grand Superintendent With Christmas just round the corner I found myself facing a real problem; do I offer to help Carole with the writing of the numerous Christmas cards we seem to send out every year or do I settle down with a blank sheet of paper and taking pen in hand attempt to complete my column for the Winter edition of Across the Plain. The matter was quickly settled when Carole decreed that with a modicum of multi-tasking skill I could do both, she was right.
Of the many amazing Tercentenary initiatives being undertaken throughout the country I am absolutely convinced that Wiltshire has one of the best - 300 hours for 300 years. The slogan says it all - or does it? Is it 300 hours to celebrate the past 300 years or is it 300 hours to be undertaken in the next 300 years? I thought the conundrum could be settled with a call to the Provincial Communication Officer who helpfully advised - “It can mean whatever you want it to mean” - which left me none the wiser but still convinced it is a great scheme with which to be involved. And so it proved when Carole and I joined fellow members of Border Lodge No. 3129 led by Stephen Smith, Mike Harris and Rick Whitehead at the pre-school playgroup in Ludgershall where we moved and placed top soil including re-seeding to reinstate the ground, pruned some well established trees, painted a very large shed (well Carole did) and created an outdoor story telling area by sinking tree stumps into the ground to be used as seating for the youngsters and teaching staff. I have great admiration for everyone who has embraced the 300 hours for 300 years initiative and would encourage Companions throughout the Province to think of ways to help local communities and demonstrate that Freemasons can be identified by the work they do. Charity and charitable giving is rightly said to be in a freemason’s DNA and I am well aware that as individuals our major charitable giving is via our Craft Lodges but I did ask for your support through your Chapters to support the Masonic Samaritan Fund 2017 Festival. Companions your support has been most generous and I thank all those Chapters that have donated thus far and those that have propositions of donations pending on their agendas. In this edition of Across the Plain there is an article on the new Masonic Charitable Foundation, please do take time to read it and discover more about the work of this new charity. Last year under the theme ‘Children at Christmas’ we distributed two hundred Selection Boxes between three charities. Warminster Food Bank, Swindon Women’s Refuge, and Children’s Hospice - Julia’s House. Companions, the response from these charities was so positively overwhelming it is the Provincial Executive’s intention of building
Are you interested in joining a local Chapter ? www.pglwilts.org.uk/royal-arch/royal-arch-news/ Winter Edition 2016 page 8
Photograph by W Bro Adrian Wooster
This got me thinking about one of life’s great truths - if you want a job done give it to a busy man - and that’s just as true in Freemasonry as it is in any other sphere of activity. I am always amazed how much work is undertaken in the Province but note it often involves the same people. Now, and before anyone accuses me of being overly critical with my observation let me say that I know some people have more time to spare, especially if they are retired, but for many their work prohibits them from doing any more than they already do. Please be assured I value everyone’s contribution.
A message for Christmas and the New Year on this success by repeating the initiative by once again supporting two or three different Children’s Charities, a decision which I am sure will meet with your approval and wholehearted commitment. Companions during the past year I have had the privilege and pleasure of visiting all our Chapters and I encourage you all to visit one another’s Chapters in an attempt to increase our support to each other. To encourage this I have introduced a travelling silver ‘Quaich’ to be transferred from Chapter to Chapter which can be used at the after proceedings. A Quaich, is a drinking vessel used to offer a welcome drink at a gathering between friends and strangers which incorporates trust between the giver and receiver, I am sure you will agree it is a fitting representation of the Companionship of our Order.
Grand Superintendent presents the silver Quaich to Barry Cooper MEZ
On 1st September St Edmund Chapter No. 4714 became the first Chapter to receive the ‘Quaich’ and will be followed by Stonehenge Chapter No. 6114 on 1st November. A full programme running through to the end of 2019 has been notified to all Chapter Scribes. I am delighted to announce that during 2017 the ‘Talking Heads’ Team will once again be visiting a number of Craft Lodges with their very professional presentation on the Holy Royal Arch. The response from Master Masons has been very good and I thank the team for their hard work. On each of the outings we attracted new Candidates who contributed to the growth in Royal Arch membership and it is worth noting we averaged two Exaltees per Chapter last year, an increase from previous years. Since the beginning of this year Convocations without an Exaltee
have been the exception, this really does persuade me the Holy Royal Arch in Wiltshire is considered an attractive Order to which to belong. The Provincial Membership Team has recently completed a series of presentations in which they have outlined the future of Lodges within the Province. Our fraternity faces the future in the knowledge that there are competing claims on the time of good men from the many organisations to which they can belong, Freemasonry is just one of them. We know we need to recruit more members into the Craft as it is only from the ranks of Craft Freemasons that the Holy Royal Arch sources future Companions. It is incumbent on each one of us to ‘showcase’ Freemasonry. The Royal Arch communication team work closely with the Craft team in planning and developing promotional material, and I am sure Companions who attended Provincial Grand Lodge will have seen the new Royal Arch pop up display unit and table banner which we will use at various locations in the future. I am delighted that the Royal Arch has a significant presence on the website and that each Chapter has a dedicated micro site. Some of our Chapters have taken the opportunity to place a Google calendar showing the dates of meetings and other Chapter activities - please do view the site and consider following their example. I am sure we all have a tale to tell, a few words with a photograph will keep the website fresh and interesting, this is our shop window providing a showcase to the Order of which we are so proud. Please do send news items with a picture to email@example.com Please do also follow the Chapter Twitter site @pgcwiltshire which provides instant news of events as they happen. I started my page making reference to the Christmas card list and it seems an appropriate way to end the column, and so I wish each and every one of you a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year. My very best wishes to you all.
Talk to your Lodge Royal Arch Representative www.pglwilts.org.uk/royal-arch/royal-arch-news/ Winter Edition 2016 page 9
A view from my window As you read this copy of the Provincial magazine an event of great importance has occurred the details of which have been shared with very few people. Yes, your Communication Officer achieved the incredible milestone of celebrating (if that's the correct word) his 65th birthday. This significant birthday caused me to stop and think about a number of things, not least how much State Pension I would receive: which in turn got me thinking about charity and in particular the generous nature of Freemasons, a subject touched on by both Ian Priest and Peter Winton in this edition of Across the Plain.
Many thanks to W Bro Ian Lever PrGStwd and recently Installed Master of New Temple Lodge No.8435 who designed the front cover for the Winter 2016 edition of Across the Plain. Ianâ€™s creative skills can be seen in a number of the graphics used on Provincial pop up and display units including the 10th Anniversary TLC pop up found on page 5. We are always delighted to receive high definition photographs and images either for the front cover or for use in Across the Plain. Important information. While every care is taken in the compilation of Across The Plain, errors or omissions are not the responsibility of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Wiltshire or the editor. Opinions and views expressed are not necessarily those of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Wiltshire or the editor. Products or businesses advertised in Across The Plain do not carry any endorsement or recommendation by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Wiltshire or the editor. All rights reserved. All submissions for inclusion in Across The Plain are subject to editorial approval and the editor reserves the right to review and amend or reject all copy content. Digital photographs are welcome but must not be less than 300 dpi. Images with a resolution of less than 300 dpi may be acceptable for inclusion on the Provincial website. Any image supplied and used becomes the property of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Wiltshire.
If you were asked what would you do differently to make Lodge meetings more interesting I wonder what you would say. Would you like to have regular lectures with question and answer sessions, or demonstrations with explanations such as those provided by the excellent Provincial Demonstration Team led by Bro Stephen Mansfield. The Assistant Provincial Grand Master is currently involved with others in looking at how Masonic education in its many forms can be promoted thereby offering members to make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge. Stephen Bridge addresses this in his column on page 6. It really is quite amazing how much is donated to good causes by members of the Province; as we approach the final year of the Wiltshire 2017 Festival it seems appropriate to mention the very special event being held on Saturday 23 September 2017 at Trowbridge Civic Centre (see page 12). I do hope as many as possible will attend the luncheon to celebrate the success of the Festival and the Tercentenary of the first Grand Lodge. Excitement really is building as we continue preparations for the Tercentenary Cathedral Service in Salisbury Cathedral on Sunday 3 September 2017. The PrGM announced at Provincial Grand Lodge that Masonic regalia can be worn at this event and there will be a post service reception in the Cathedral Cloisters.
Reproduction of any part of the magazine is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of the editor. All decisions of the editor are final.
Advertisement requests are welcome. Editor: Philip Mackie. firstname.lastname@example.org Reviewers: Kevin Logan, Barry Cooper, Francis Wakem, Colin Cheshire, Norman Logan, Michael Lee. Images: Adrian Wooster, Gary Dolphin, Phil Elliott. Media Contact: Tony Batchelor. Royal Arch Communication Officer: Alan Colman. Correspondents: Ian Dunbar, Mike Wilson, Paul Brown Follow us on Twitter @wiltspgl
Winter Edition 2016 page 10
Across the Plain The magazine of the Masonic Province of Wiltshire
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Across the Plain Across the Plain is the only magazine for Freemasons and their families in Wiltshire. It is published twice yearly generally being posted to the homes of over 2,200 Wiltshire Freemasons and their families in June and November. The magazine contains a mixture of informative articles, news and views plus a very popular quiz and comments page. Contributions are always welcome subject to appropriate content and editorial oversight. Advertising and member support ensures we can mail Across the Plain free of charge to members; if you wish to advertise please contact - email@example.com Winter Edition 2016 page 11
MSF 2017 Festival
VW. Bro Peter Winton PGSwdB, DPrGM
As we enter the last few weeks of 2016 , I am very aware that the new year takes us into the final lap of the Masonic Samaritan Fund 2017 Festival and what an experience the past four years has been. They have proved to me that every Lodge and every Brother really does embrace that virtue which is said to be the distinguishing characteristic of a Freemason’s heart, I mean charity, and have cheerfully practised that which they profess to admire. Indeed, I am persuaded that the ‘strap line’ to be found on the latest promotional material from the communication team - charity it’s in a freemason’s DNA - explains why it is that the Province moves ever closer to achieving its Festival target. Whenever I visit a Lodge to receive a cheque for the Festival I am often left with a sense of awe and wonder at the scale and diversity of events which have led to significant sums of money being raised. One thing I never forget is that every pound given to the Masonic Samaritan Fund comes out of your pocket and is testament to your generosity. In a lecture I recently heard, the speaker sought to define what it was that made Freemasons different from other fine organisations such as our friends in Rotary and Round Table, he suggested that one difference was that we gave money whilst they collected money, a subtle but relevant point of difference. Let us never forget that very first call on a Brother’s charity to which I have already referred and the words of caution we emphasise in the charge to the newly made Freemason that giving must be aligned to what can be afforded within the constraints of a Brother’s personal circumstances. May I suggest the same sentiment should apply when asking a Lodge to meet a target? I am very pleased to be able to report that a total of 675 Festival Jewels have been purchased by Brethren qualifying under the Provincial guidelines, that is a quite astounding number and I wish to thank you for your support of this initiative. Andrew Tiffin does have a few Festival Jewels in stock and available through your Lodge Charity Steward. I am able to confirm that our plans for celebrating the conclusion of the Festival have been finalised and an invitation to the joint Tercentenary and 2017 Festival lunch at the Civic Centre, Trowbridge on Saturday 23 September 2017 can be found on this page. Please do make a diary note of this event as I am confident tickets to this event will be keenly sought, and even though it is a little over eleven months away it would be wise to reserve a table place by contacting Bro Ian Dunbar by email firstname.lastname@example.org who will be delighted to register your attendance and accept the payment of £35 per person.. Further details of the event, at which we expect a High Ruler to be present, will be communicated to your Lodge secretary over the next few weeks. I am certainly looking forward to the event and handing over a very large cheque to our guest of honour. On your behalf I would offer many thanks to Andrew Tiffin and the Tercentenary co-ordinating team for all their hard work in planning the Grand Luncheon
VW Bro Peter Winton PGSwdB, DPrGM
RW Bro Philip Bullock PrGM
Chairman - Wiltshire 2017 Festival
President - Wiltshire 2017 Festival
Saturday 23rd September 2017 £35 Per person
Civic Centre, Trowbridge RSVP Ian Dunbar PPrSGW
Winter Edition 2016 page 12
12.30pm For 1.00pm
The Tercentenary Banner
W. Bro Stephen Bridge PJGD, APrGM
I am delighted to be able to write about three of the really important events which have been planned for the Tercentenary celebrations and which involve every member of the Wiltshire Provincial family. The Tercentenary Banner will be carried through the Provinces of Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Jersey, Guernsey & Alderney and Hampshire & Isle of Wight before we hand it over to our friends in Dorset. We do anticipate considerable media interest in this event and will be using it as a means to promote Freemasonry throughout the South West and particularly in Wiltshire. I am currently in discussions with various bodies to determine the best location in the Province at which to formally receive the Tercentenary Banner. After a number of very positive meetings I really am pleased to confirm that we have been granted permission by the Dean and Chapter to hold the Tercentenary Cathedral Service in Salisbury Cathedral on Sunday 3 September 2017. This very special event promises to be a highlight of the Province’s Tercentenary Celebrations. It will be wonderful to attend the Cathedral wearing Masonic regalia. It is hoped that as many members of the Wiltshire Masonic Family, together with their friends will join the Provincial Grand Master and Sally on this very special occasion to celebrate a milestone in our Province’s wonderful history. Please book your place with Phil Still PrAGSec at email@example.com Next year marks not only the Tercentenary of United Grand Lodge but also the conclusion of the Masonic Samaritan Fund 2017 Wiltshire Festival and that provides the ideal excuse (as if we need one) to hold a party, or in this case a celebration lunch to be held in Trowbridge’s Civic Centre on Saturday 23 September 2017. Please make a diary note as I am sure tickets to this event will be keenly sought. Your support for the Tercentenary events is vital and I thank each of you for the amazing contribution you make.
Winter Edition 2016 page 13
‘…a regular guy…?
W. Bro Michael Lee PAGDC
Michael Lee was for many years Preceptor in Stonehenge Lodge No. 6114 meeting in Salisbury where he regularly delivered lectures and short talks on a wide range of topical subjects. This is the third in a series of short lectures from Michael’s ‘notes from a Preceptor’s handbook’ for which we are most grateful (Editor’s note). We use the word ‘regular’ with a variety of meanings: regular soldier, regular bus service and regular guy come to mind as typical examples. It is normally good advice therefore when first learning our ritual to ponder over quite what the word in question might have meant in the 18th century when our Degrees were written in their present form. During those years however the word regular possessed a legal and very precise meaning. ‘Regularly assembled and properly dedicated’ says one; ‘Regularly held, assembled and properly dedicated’ cautions a second; ‘Duly constituted, regularly assembled, and properly dedicated’ proclaims another.…and we are of course talking about key phrases from Obligations to which we have all at some time assented. However, when rendering each of these as a solemn Obligation did we really understand quite what we were repeating and why it was necessary to confirm it? (Indeed did the Worshipful Master himself really know?). We are rather good in Freemasonry at using important sounding words and phrases without disclosing their inner meaning or significance in any source readily accessible to the newer Mason. It is suggested that ‘Duly Constituted, Regularly Assembled and Properly Dedicated are three such phrases. Let us consider them one by one. Duly Constituted Our Book of Constitutions (Rule 97) requires that every new Lodge shall be solemnly constituted according to ancient usage by the Grand Master or a suitable deputy – customarily our Provincial Grand Master or his representative. On 18th July 1945 the Consecrating Officer concluded the Stonehenge Lodge consecration ceremony with the words: ‘I constitute and form you, my good Brethren, into a Lodge of Antient, Free and Accepted Masons under the name of the Stonehenge Lodge No.6114...’ From that moment on Stonehenge Lodge became a duly constituted Lodge entitled to hold funds, Initiate new members and undertake appropriate Degree ceremonies all as laid down within the Book of Constitutions. Regularly Assembled A Lodge is made ‘Regular’ by the seal of Grand Lodge on its Warrant – which must always be displayed during a normal ceremony. A Lodge is ‘Regularly Assembled’ when it meets both at a date and place prescribed in its by-laws and, importantly, also possess a quorum. The Book of Constitutions shies away from defining the number in a quorum but the ‘Points of Procedure’ issued by the Board of General Purposes of Grand Lodge sets out to help. It states: 1. Five – excluding the Tyler and the Candidate – for a Degree ceremony. Two must be members of that Lodge and at least one must be an Installed Master. (B of C Rule 119 is helpful here). 2.
Three – excluding the Tyler and the Master Elect - for a Board of Installed Masters.
Properly Dedicated Returning to our Consecration Ceremony, Stonehenge Lodge was dedicated ‘To God and His service …. and also to the memory of the Royal Solomon’. Our Candidate as a newly made Brother and Lodge member is thereby also dedicated to the service of God – and to living according to the moral values set out within the relevant Volume of the Sacred Law (V.S.L.). So there we have it. After the Initiation Ceremony the Proposer and Seconder can welcome their Candidate with both the strong assurance that all was above board and his admission to Freemasonry was perfectly valid…. and also with an even•stronger assurance that the bar still remains open... The ceremony can also provide a moment of reflection for us all. If our Lodge is ‘Properly Dedicated’ then as we are its members should not we also be properly dedicated? Listening to the words of that First Degree Obligation and Charge therefore might be a suitable opportunity for our own Masonic renewal. Perhaps we can seize the moment to reaffirm our own Obligation through more active support and friendship for not only the Candidate but for all of our Lodge Brethren? Winter Edition 2016 page 14
Survey provides ‘food for thought’
W. Bro David Little PrDGDC
The thought of filling in a survey form is surely a certain ‘turn off’ or so we thought, but we were pleasantly surprised at the response we received from newly made Freemasons who responded so enthusiastically to our recent request for information, views and comments. We were keen to understand what younger Freemasons wanted from their membership of the Fraternity and to gauge whether their aims and aspirations were as different from the norm as many would suggest. The most significant point we received from the responses was that many new members didn’t want to see wholesale change occurring in Freemasonry and certainly not in their Lodge where dress, the actual ceremonies and the festive board were universally loved by everyone. The surprise was to be found in the desire of young Freemasons for knowledge, they want to know more about who we are, what we do and why we do things. They asked for a programme of education where the words and symbols of Freemasonry can be explained, discussed and even debated. Visiting other Lodges was also high on the agenda of the newly made Freemason, not only to enjoy the hospitality of the supper table but also to experience and appreciate the differences in ceremony which exist in the Province. The Sarsen Club is for young Freemasons in Wiltshire and provides them with an opportunity to meet and socialise with Brethren of a similar age. Membership of the Club is open to any Freemason under 40 years of age and whose Lodge, place of work or home is situated in the Province.
Primarily the Club’s role is to organise and host events of a social or Masonically educational nature to enable younger Freemasons to meet each other in an environment which encourages them to become more involved and develop their wider knowledge of Freemasonry, its traditions, ceremonies and ethos. More information on the recent survey can be obtained from David Little. To discover how you can become involved with the social and educational activities of The Sarsen Club please contact David Little or Mark Shaw by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org Winter Edition 2016 page 15
A Charity making a difference ….. saving men’s lives When I was diagnosed with Metastatic Prostate Cancer, I experienced a range of emotions - anger, fear and of course, disappointment; after all, I am still a young man with a wonderful partner, three lovely daughters and a very recent addition to the family, my grandson. To hear my Urologist tell me that my life expectancy was somewhere between two and five years was not something I was expecting to hear – well, not yet anyway; but there was no turning back the clock, the die was cast and no amount of navel gazing was going to change matters. The first hours after my prognosis were taken up with a few tears, emotional phone calls and lots of hugs - they really do help. Friends rallied round, some with tearful eyes railing at the unfairness of life, while others used ‘black humour’ to diffuse the awful thoughts they must have had, but didn’t quite know what to say and how to say it. Apart from “Can you leave me your watch in your Will”, the most common question was, “what are you going to do about it” - the ‘it’ being the cancer. Discussing it with my friend Des over a cup of real coffee and numerous biscuits (custard creams are his favourite), we laid out a plan to create the Loganberry Trust, something which could provide a way for men to have their PSA level tested and, as a side effect, to promote Freemasonry. We took the view that the Masonic Halls within the Province were the ideal venues for holding testing sessions; all we had to do was persuade the management committees that the idea would work – oh, and to raise the money to do the job. Prostate cancer is the biggest killer of men over the age of 45 in the UK, but early detection (from a simple blood test) and early treatment can save lives. Through the power of Twitter, I spotted that the Province of Cheshire were holding Screening Sessions and, after a few telephone calls, made contact with Graham Fulford and his team of phlebotomists from Warwickshire. Together, we embarked on a testing programme, primarily aimed at Freemasons; a group of men in the ‘ideal’ age range for being at risk of Prostate Cancer. It soon became obvious that this group was providing higher than average results for high PSA readings (11.7% red/amber) and for confirmed cancers. One man at Sindlesham reported a PSA level of 437, where 0.0-5.0 should have been the expected range for a man of his age! In just 7 short months, The Loganberry Trust has received donations in excess of £11,000 and has paid for 430 men to be tested in Wiltshire (at Swindon, Chippenham and Devizes). Funds have come from a variety of sources including two Cabarets, private and anonymous donations, Alms collections and Raffles. Salisbury and Warminster are the next target locations for Loganberry to continue this invaluable work in the Province of Wiltshire. We are delighted to announce that just before Across the Plain went to press the Charity Commission advised that The Loganberry Trust has been entered onto the Register of Charities with the Registered Charity Number 1169330. This decision recognises that The Loganberry Trust is established for charitable purposes only for the public benefit. Paul Connor
If you would like to find out more about The Loganberry Trust contact Kevin by email email@example.com PAGDC Winter Edition 2016 page 16
Questions and Answers Have your say Have you a question to ask, is there something you want to know about Freemasonry. Maybe you just want to express a view or make a comment, whatever it is why not write to the Provincial Grand Master?
ATPLetters@pglwilts.org.uk All letters and emails are subject to editorial control. Regrettably due to space not all letters can be published Would you like to play a part in promoting Freemasonry in the Province, can you write media copy? The Communications Team would be pleased to hear from you. firstname.lastname@example.org
Anagrams (answers on page 23) dirty room
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no city dust here
a rope ends it
I run to escape
voices rant on
W. Bro Barry Cooper St Edmund Lodge No.4714
The Provincial Grand Master replies to your question: Q. On a recent visit to a lodge I saw a request that Brethren should print their name in capital letters. Surely they should sign the attendance book! A. You raise an interesting question which I am pleased to say has a simple answer. The Book of Constitution (Rule 144(ii)) makes it quite clear that every Brother attending a Lodge must be recorded in the minute book together with his Lodge name and number. There is no reference and therefore no requirement for a Brother to append his signature. The primary purpose of the attendance register is to assist the secretary in complying with the rule as set out in the B of C. A secondary but some might say more pressing reason is to make sure, that in the event of an emergency such as a fire, the secretary is able to ascertain the whereabouts of all present by conducting a roll call. Please do assist the secretary by printing your name clearly, it really does make his job much easier; especially as some signatures are barely decipherable - and donâ€™t forget to enter your Lodge name and number.
Masonic Word Search - set by Barry Cooper of St Edmund Lodge
Find the Lodge BORDER BROADE FORDE CALLEY CHALONER CITY CLARENDON CONCORD CORSHAM DOWNTON ELIAS DE DERHAM GOOCH LONGLEAT LOYALTY
METHUEN MOONRAKER PLEYDELL RADNOR RECTITUDE REMEMBRANCE SARUM STONEHENGE SUSSEX TISBURY VASTERN WHITEHORSE WYVERN Winter Edition 2016 page 17
New man in charge at Mark Andrew Beaumont Is the Provincial Grand Master of Mark Master Masons in the Province of Wiltshire having been appointed in 2016. He moved from Fulham in London to Bradford-on-Avon in 1993 and since 2009 has lived in Norton St. Philip. He is married to Diana and has a•son and a daughter, together with a grandson and two granddaughters. Andrew was Initiated into Freemasonry on the 8th November 1979 in the Arthur Williams Lodge No. 3052 meeting in London, and became Worshipful Master in 1989. He was appointed LGR in 2000, and SLGR in 2005, The Grand Master appointed Andrew to Grand Rank as PGStB in 2014. In Wiltshire he became a joining member of Broade Forde Lodge No. 8547 in 1994 serving as Master in 2006, 2013 and 2014. In 2011 he was appointed PPrGReg. Andrew is currently a Visiting Officer in London and Wiltshire. Outside Freemasonry his interests include foreign travel, especially to India, reading and music. Andrew is looking•forward•to providing the support and assistance•our Lodges need to grow and prosper and to extending the enjoyment and companionship of Mark Masonry to as many in the Province of Wiltshire as possible. Find out more about what has been described as the friendly Order by emailing the Provincial Grand Secretary email@example.com
Winter Edition 2016 page 18
Andrew Beaumont PrGM
Have you been stickered?
Provincial Demonstration Team A group of young enthusiastic Freemasons led by Royal Sussex Lodge of Emulation’s Director of Ceremonies, Stephen Mansfield form the Provincial Demonstration Team who use the concept of 'street theatre' to explain Masonic ceremonies using presentational techniques which include the use of visualisation, acting and choreography blended with part speaking and interactive dialogue. Stephen Bridge APrGM said “I want to ensure that every Wiltshire Freemason is motivated, encouraged and appropriately supported to pursue a journey of personal Masonic development and learning”. The team presented the second degree lecture at Lodge of Loyalty, Marlborough on 1st November and Stephen Mansfield and the Provincial Demonstration Team will be reprising the presentation at Harry C Preater Lodge, Swindon on 12th December. The Provincial Grand Master encourages all Lodges to consider inviting Stephen and the Provincial Demonstration Team to make a presentation using their unique presentational style. If any younger Brethren are interested in joining the Provincial Demonstration Team please contact Stephen Mansfield firstname.lastname@example.org All that is required is enthusiasm coupled with a desire to learn and perform.
Did you know ? 65 the average age of a Freemason in Wiltshire. 43
Winter Edition 2016 page 19
the average age of an Initiate in Wiltshire.
Winter Edition 2016 page 20
News Bytes Alan Barron jumped out of a perfectly serviceable aircraft to raise funds for The Loganberry Trust - mad but marvellous. Gary Dolphin delivered a perfect speech at the Acting Provincial Officer’s Dinner - it’s an event not to be missed. Ian Dunbar actually refused a second pudding at an Installation meeting’s festive board - unheard of and still hard to believe. Stephen Bridge negotiated for Wiltshire Freemasons to wear full regalia at Tercentenary Cathedral Service in Salisbury. Border Lodge No. 3129 members made a difference to preschool playgroup in Ludgershall - great stuff Sarsen Clubs re-launches in Swindon, Chippenham and Salisbury. If you’re a young Freemason why not find out more? Stonehenge Lodge No. 6114 clock up over 550 hours helping the local community as part of 300 hours for 300 years initiative. (See picture opposite) Ian Lever organised the inaugural Masonic Trout Salmon Fishing Club event for seven pupils from Uplands School. Royal Arch John Reid presented Philip Bullock with a cheque for £100 to help buy more Teddies for Loving Care. Adrian Wooster provided expert photographic assistance at Provincial Grand Lodge - superb images now on the website.
Simon Leighfield a past Master of Gooch Lodge No. 1295 is appointed Provincial Grand Sword Bearer Teddies for Loving Care is ten years old this year. Thank you John King for introducing TLC in Wiltshire. Sally Bullock is once again holding her popular ‘make a Christmas decoration’ programme for the Masonic Samaritan Fund 2017 Wiltshire Festival. Wiltshire Golfers present a cheque to Philip Bullock for £2,200 towards the MSF 2017 Festival Over 494 commit to attend the Tercentenary Service at Salisbury Cathedral in September 2017.
Winter Edition 2016 page 21
My Service Memories
W Bro Michael Tanner PAGDC
It was February 1952, King George VI died. Long live the Queen - and four short weeks later just three months short of my 18th birthday I enlisted in the Royal Air Force for a three year engagement. It wasn’t my choice, I had just been offered a position on the Bath Chronicle and Herald and hoped for a future in journalism but I was very aware that in six months time I would receive my call up papers notifying me that our new Queen would like me to undertake National Service, and who was I to refuse such an invitation! I made up my mind to beat the draft and made my way to the Recruitment Office in Bristol where I promptly signed up to serve Queen and Country. In all fairness I have to confess that I wasn’t being totally patriotic, there was a mercenary element to my decision. The pay for a conscripted serviceman on a 2 year mandatory tour of duty was 28 shillings per week (£1.40) whereas it was 49 shillings if you opted for a 3 year term, and you were offered a choice of trade. I had always fancied being a Wireless Operator and despite being told that as a Grammar schoolboy I could do better I stuck to my guns and in March 1952 I arrived at RAF Cardington where I was issued with my uniforms, webbing and kit and ultimately posted to RAF West Kirby, on the Wirral across the Mersey from Liverpool. Being 6ft 3in I was selected for Ceremonial Parade Training in preparation for the celebrations associated with the new Queen’s official birthday in June, when the RAF Colours would be trooped, a year before her coronation. My long abiding memory is of having to make numerous visits to the camp tailor for alterations to make my uniform a perfect fit and endless drill when we used Lee Enfield rifles of the Great War with their 18 inch sword bayonets - I recall that while they may have looked good to the casual onlooker they were very desperately heavy. Come the day of the parade at RAF Uxbridge a beautiful Land Rover painted dove grey with chrome support bars was provided for Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Philip Slessor to review the parade as he had a limp from a wartime injury. Sir Philip declined the use of this quite magnificent vehicle and walked the whole parade, inspecting every airman, NCO and Officer before taking his place on the saluting dais. The parade contingent was huge with the Central Band of the RAF in the centre and Wings either side consisting of numerous squadrons of new recruits. The band played ‘Greensleeves’ for what felt like hours whilst he inspected each Flight. A film was made of the parade and showed in all the Astra cinemas throughout the world. It was a very proud moment for all who took part when we marched past Sir Philip, perfectly in line and with the precision of any Guardsman taking part in Trooping the Colour held every year on Horse Guards Parade in London. After a period of what I considered ‘well deserved’ leave I was posted to RAF Compton Bassett where I was to embark on my 20 week intensive training course to become a Wireless Operator - believe me when I say it was hard work. At the end of the course I was particularly delighted and not a little surprised to receive the Commanding Officer’s Certificate of Merit for coming top of the class in the final exam. If receiving a Certificate of Merit was a surprise, you can imagine how I felt when I was selected to join a specialist team charged with listening to and recording radio transmissions from the Russians. This was the nervous period of the Cold War and there were only three places in the world that I could be posted to - Germany, Iraq or Hong Kong I opted for Hong Kong with Iraq as my second choice. The RAF had other ideas and having been invited to meet the CO I was asked if I was running away from something as everybody else had put Germany as their first choice. I explained that when I eventually returned to civvy street I would probably be able to visit Germany but never Hong Kong or Iraq (remember that this was time when a trip to the Austrian Tyrol was about as exotic as it could get for anyone wishing to travel on holiday). He liked my thinking and wished me good luck as he promptly assigned me to RAF Habbaniyah which was not in Hong Kong but Iraq. In the next edition of Across the Plain - Mike will continue his ‘Service Memories’ with a fascinating insight of what life was like at RAF Habbaniyah; a journey to a tented leave centre involving Standard Vanguard trucks and mules and what advice he gave to a taxi driver who felt his brand new Mercedes wasn’t performing too well. If you have an article which you would like published in Across The Plain send it to email@example.com Winter Edition 2016 page 22
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Published on Nov 7, 2016