A charity radio station which has seen its presenters broadcasting from improvised studios in their homes, has been given a £1,000 boost by Harrogate Freemasons. When the Coronavirus barred access to the wards of Harrogate District Hospital to all but patients and essential staff, its volunteer-led radio station moved its operation offsite. Thanks to technology, a total of three makeshift studios were created in the homes of Harrogate Hospital Radio members – ensuring shows will go on, 24 hours a day! And now with a £1,000 donation, the society has been able to purchase the necessary equipment to allow more presenters to broadcast from home. The money has come courtesy of the Freemasons Province of Yorkshire West Riding’s Provincial Grand Master’s Fund, after being put forward for a grant by the members of Harlow Lodge, which meets at Harrogate Masonic Hall. Each year, the fund distributes £200,000 to good causes around the Province, which is based on the old West Riding, geographically ranging from Sheffield in the South to Ripon in the North. Harrogate Hospital Radio Chairman Mark Oldfield said: “I can't thank the members of Harlow Lodge enough for nominating us for this fantastic donation. It means we can now purchase the necessary equipment to enable more of our presenters to broadcast their shows from home. “And once we are able to return to our studios, the technology will mean we can hopefully attract disabled people to our organisation, as access to our facilities is limited. “Over the years we have received tremendous support from the Freemasons and have benefitted greatly from their financial support, including the refurbishment of one of our studios.” David S Pratt, Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Yorkshire West Riding, said: “Harrogate Hospital Radio is a fantastic charity, run by volunteers for the good of the patients and staff within the town’s District Hospital. “It’s a pleasure to have been able to award this grant. We have a long and happy association with this charity with two former chairmen being Freemasons. “Coronavirus many have stopped its members from physically accessing their studios, but it hasn’t stopped them continuing the service they have provided for more than four decades.” Further information about Harrogate Hospital Radio is available from its website, http://www.harrogatehospitalradio.org.uk/
Since 1964, the Masonic Hall on Skipton Road in Barnoldswick has been home to two Craft Lodges and one Mark Lodge. Faith Hope and Charity No. 4102, West Craven No. 7354, and Gilkirke Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 812. Built in 1845, by the Rev Richard Milner, it was occupied by the Rev Canon Patten, MA, JP, a PM of Craven Lodge No. 810 and who was also the first master of Faith Hope and Charity Lodge No. 4102 for a period until his untimely death in December 1922.
In January 2016 we began to plan for the redevelopment of the site after an open acknowledgement amongst the brethren of both West Craven Lodge and Faith Hope and Charity Lodge that the building was no longer really fit for purpose. We also acknowledged that the old building would be far too expensive to innovate as it had been left to deteriorate beyond repair.
As you can see from the photos of the old building, it really was in a sad state. What the pictures don’t show is the damp on the inside, especially in the walls of the Temple, in the cellar that floods occasionally, and in the dire state of the facilities area including the kitchen, on the ground floor.
Out with the old and in with the new
While we lacked the money to develop the site, what we did have an abundance was land to spare. We set about finding a builder who could build us a brand-new Lodge building, and who would also develop the land for housing. In this way we could not only financed the construction of our new Lodge building, but also provide the Masonic Hall company with a little nest egg.
Much discussion and negotiation ensued amongst the shareholders, and finally after almost two years we came up with a plan that everyone was happy with.
That agreement amongst the brethren of the two lodges owning a building proof to be the easy part. The planning permit and building regulations stage. Around 18 months later we were ready to go, and then got stuck behind a requirement for a bat survey. We ended up needing two of these in the finish, as the first was apparently done to early in the year, and the bats wouldn’t have been nesting at that time of the first survey. Finally in December 2019, after all of the “I”s were dotted and the “T”s were crossed, we were ready to proceed with engaging the builder and a contract.
It took until the beginning of February 2020 for the contract to be signed by both parties following the usual solicitors delays. Together with the builder and his lads, a small team of brethren from Craft and Mark lodges assembled to carefully remove all fixtures and fittings, Lodge records and memorabilia so that they could be stored safely in a container trailer on a secure site while a new Lodge building was being built.
When the Health and Safety Executive officers spotted the scaffolding going up on the old building ready for demolition, they descended clipboard in hand and proceeded to carry out an asbestos survey. Spores were found in the cellar meaning that the old building was closed to any further demolition work until the regulations relating to asbestos removal were satisfied. In the meantime, the builder and this team commenced the site preparation works for the new building and for the houses on the adjoining land.
In total, some 6500 tonnes of soil were removed from the site during the excavation works, much of it being donated to the Barnoldswick Juniors football club in order to elevate the pitches to prevent future flooding.
The builder and his team have wasted no time in laying the foundations and erecting the new Lodge building. In the 2 months since early February we have seen the rapid rise out of the ground of our new much anticipated Masonic Hall. All regulations relating to the is removal of the asbestos in the old building having been complied with, the builders lost no time in carrying out the demolition. A suitable stone was found for the north-east corner of the new Lodge Temple and will be built into the wall during the interior fitting.
As of the middle of May, all of the exterior cladding is now complete and we are now awaiting the arrival of the framing and roof materials so that the builder can make the building watertight. He can then carry on and lay the underfloor heating and seal it in to the floor.
We held an on-site Masonic Hall Committee meeting with the builder to finalise the internal layout. The builder is completely confident that our new Lodge building will be ready for us to furnish with the Lodge fittings and fixtures around about the middle of August.
Assuming that restrictions on meetings are lifted sometime in September, West Craven Lodge will be the first to hold the meeting in the new Lodge room. Faith Hope and Charity Lodge are currently scheduled to hold their centenary meeting on 13 October, and desperately hope that circumstances allow for this to go ahead. With the current Covid-19 crisis in mind, none of these plans can be guaranteed, yet we are ever hopeful.
All three lodges in Barnoldswick looked very much forward to taking possession of a brand-new Lodge building and celebrating that opening with much fanfare and many many guests, friends, and family.
The Mark Benevolent Fund(M.B.F.) was founded in 1868 by Reverend George Raymond Portal, the then Grand Master for the Mark. It is now the National Charitable arm of the Mark Degree. In recent years it has supported many major Charities, including £3M to the Osteoporosis Society and similar amounts to St John Ambulance and ‘Hope for Tomorrow’, a charity providing Mobile Chemotherapy Units.
Airedale Hospital in West Yorkshire received a Mobile Chemotherapy Unit funded by the M.B.F. in November 2018. Over the last 12 months, it has donated over £200,000 to Charities across West Yorkshire, including:
An Ambulance Support Vehicle for St John Ambulance Yorkshire £32,000 A Rapid Response Vehicle for Yorkshire Air Ambulance £32,093 A new Minibus for Martin House Hospice, Boston Spa £39,957 Refurbishment of a Canal Barge for Safe Anchor Trust £48,235 Special Syringe Drivers for Kirkwood Hospice, Huddersfield £23,400 A Flood Relief grant to South Yorkshire Community Foundation £20,000 Perinatal unit support, Forget-me-not Children’s Hospice, Huddersfield £16,585 Portable Electronic Gaming equipment for Forget-me-not Hospice £4.035
Similar to the Craft national Charity, the M.C.F., the Mark Benevolent Fund relies on Provincial Festivals for its funding and the Mark Province of West Yorkshire is currently in Festival. You can help to support the West Yorkshire Mark Festival just CLICK HERE The Cleeves and Whitehead Trust is a local West Yorkshire Mark Charity, providing Support and Pastoral Care for West Yorkshire Mark Masons and their families. It also makes grants to worthy causes in the community and last year donated over £44,000 to Charities in our Province. These included:
Lost Chord (Dementia Charity, South Yorkshire) £1,000 SNAPS (Special Needs support, Leeds) £2,000 Asperger’s Children & Carers Together (Autism support, Sheffield) £1,500 Bradford Toy Library & Resource Centre (Toys for disabled children) £2,000 Safe Anchor Trust (Barge trips for disabled & disadvantaged, Mirfield) £2,000 Woodlands View Dementia Support Group (Sheffield) £7,200 Whiteknights Yorkshire Blood Bikes £2,000 Leeds Weekend Care (Weekend care for children with special needs) £1,000 Bradford Deaf Children (Supporting deaf children and their parents) £1,000 Performance Drama School (Providing children’s drama classes, Otley) £2,000 Clothing Solutions for Disabled People (Bradford) £2,000 Brighouse Central Methodist Church £13,440 Burley in Wharfedale Scout & Guide Group £1,890 Fulfil the Wish (Activities for children with disabilities, Bradford) £2,500 Round Table Children’s Wish (Fulfilling wishes for sick children) £2,000
Mark Charities are proud to support the above worthy causes, which has augmented the excellent work being done across the Province by West Riding Masonic Charities Ltd. R.W.Bro. J Steggles GMRAC
David Wright, Almoner of Concord Lodge No 4126, which meets at Lindley, Huddersfield sought support from his Masonic friends as he embarked on an online virtual challenge to bike-ride from Lands End to John O' Groats in a sponsored challenge.
A former police officer and for over 20 years a match-day photographer with Huddersfield Town, David turned to pedal power to raise funds for Kirkwood Hospice in Huddersfield.
David, currently self isolating during the corona virus pandemic, has established an indoor cycling rig system in his garage, using a smart trainer connected via mobile phone apps allowing him to exercise safely.
So, having located the daunting cycling challenge on a website he was delighted to complete the 1,000+miles journey and raise approaching £800 for Kirkwood.
"I was looking for some incentive to undertake this and I know that Kirkwood and other hospices are not able to stage their own fund-raising events because of the virus. Kirkwood cared for my mother in law several years ago prior to her passing and also did late last year for a dear and close Masonic friend," he said. David completed the 1084 miles online route in 13 days at an average of 84 miles per day. Humbled by the support he has received so far his Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/david-wright138 remains open should anyone wish to further support the hospice.
Wartime Spirit! Elwyn Hughes, left, with son Richard Hughes, right and PGM David S Pratt
VE Day became VC - Victory over Coronavirus Day for one 96-year-old West Yorkshire Freemason and Connaught Court resident.
Five weeks after being diagnosed with the deadly disease - W Bro Elwyn G Hughes, a member of Linton Lodge which meets in Harrogate – began to rally on the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe.
Elwyn, who took the Chair for the second time just seven years ago and still plies his trade as a tailor, making waistcoats from the basement of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Fund-run institution in York, was given the all-clear by the home’s main health worker on Friday, May 8.
And a week later he was well enough to be interviewed by radio, TV and newspaper reporters – all keeping to stringent social distancing guidelines.
Elwyn left school in 1938 at the age of 14 and became a tailor. Four years later, he joined the Army and trained as a machine gunner, spending eight months in Orkney.
However, when it was discovered, he was a skilled tailor, he spent the rest of the war travelling around the country, sewing stripes to soldiers’ uniforms. At the end of the war, he resumed his career and continues working to this day.
Elwyn’s son Richard, who followed in his father’s footsteps in his professional and Masonic careers, said: “When my father was diagnosed with Coronavirus, we feared the worst. However, I’m delighted to say this was not to be the case.
“He told me that watching the evening’s television coverage of a period of his life that was very important to him, it made him realise that life is very much still worth living. The words of a piece of Masonic ritual came to his mind, which very much put things into perspective. It certainly brought a tear to my eye.
“He’s a fighter and realised that his time was not yet up as there are other things he still needs to do.”
Richard added: “It goes without saying that I was over the moon when they told me of his recovery, and I can’t wait until I can once again give him a big hug - no matter what Boris says!”
Light Blue clubs came into existence in 2007 as a result of an initiative in London where young Masons met at the Connaught Rooms as a social group. This became known as "The Connaught Club".
We have had young Mason's groups in this Province, in one form or another, since 2008. These groups have flourished across the country to the extent that national conferences are now held, with attendees from every Province.
In 2019 we sent five representatives to represent our Province, one from each area, accompanied by W. Bro Marcus Greenwood. Our Provincial Grand Master was also present, as a guest speaker, to deliver a talk about "Solomon".
Initially, we had a very relaxed attitude to young masons groups allowing them to meet as and when they wished under whatever name they wanted. As a result of seeing how other Provinces were taking forward their own clubs, the PGM instituted a new initiative in this Province.
"Yorkshire West Riding New and Young Masons Clubs" is the Provincial umbrella and support body for all Light Blue, Goose & Gridiron, Brothers Breakfast Clubs and Rough Ashlar Groups etc. It came into existence in February 2020 to set up a formal strategy and constitution for the running of groups across the five areas of the Province and is led by W. Bro Marcus Greenwood who reports directly to the Provincial Mentor.
The ethos is to bring New and Young Masons together to meet socially, to help with learning and development and to share ideas, experiences and develop best practices related to Freemasonry. It is also a forum to meet socially, debate Masonic issues, become better informed and enjoy like-minded Men's Company.
There are currently around twenty such groups meeting across the Province with a new Light Blue Club just recently being formed in the Skipton, Craven and Keighley area.
Although the Yorkshire WR NYMC will operate under the Provincial banner, it will not interfere with the day to day running and formation of the clubs but will be available through the Provincial Lead for help, guidance and support.
Details of area contacts and a diary of events are available from the Provincial Lead for interested new and young masons or potential new Freemasons.
MCF supports Yorkshire, West Riding bringing help to Children’s Hospices
Bank Holiday Friday saw our Provincial Grand Charity Steward on an exceptional road trip, paying visits to the three specialist children’s hospices in this Province - Martin House at Boston Spa, Bluebell Wood at Rotherham and Forget-Me-Not in Huddersfield.
No one could doubt that his trip counted as essential travel in these challenging times, as he was delivering 50 Samsung electronic tablets, complete with cases and software, for the use of children and families being cared for by these hospices.
The tablets are part of a consignment paid for by the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) through its £1m Covid response fund, developed and delivered in conjunction with United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) the 48 Provinces across England and Wales.
Times are challenging for all of us at the moment, but all the more so for those needing the help and support of these highly specialised services.
The tablets will be put to a variety of uses including better communication and contact with children and families still at home but receiving support to enhancing family and visitor contact with those receiving care in the hospices where visiting can be more difficult than normal.
At one hospice, Forget-Me-Not, they will be used to provide remote bereavement support and counselling to those who have lost children in recent weeks and months.
Provincial Grand Charity Steward Mike Holmes is pictured with staff handing over this vital equipment.
Provincial Grand Master David S Pratt said:“Circumstances are difficultenough for those needing the help of these wonderful centres, and the burdenis not helped by the restrictions of the current Covid-19 crisis.
We are delighted that these tablets can help to make things just a little bit easier for children and their families at this challenging time and to assist in easing their burden.
“We are deeply grateful to the MCF for helping us to provide this much needed and highly appreciated assistance as part of our on-going support to hospices across Yorkshire, West Riding.”