The November meeting of the Lodge of Eccleshill, Faith and Fraternity No 1034 has traditionally culminated in our festive board being our charity fundraising Olde English Nite (OEN) where lots are brought in by the Brethren of the Lodge and auctioned, but of course current restrictions prevented that. However, despite not being able to physically meet, we held a virtual OEN, which was planned to include some of our old favourites, stand up-sit down bingo, a humorous monologue or two and music from our very own Ukulele wandering minstrel, 'Howling Jack' who promised a tune or two.
Our virtual OEN night was a great success with fourteen Brethren taking part. The invitation to the evening did suggest that we could dress in suitable attire. The Brethren did not disappoint, several sported flat caps looking like an audition queue for Peaky Blinders, one wore an oversized "Tam o' Shanter" hat and ginger wig, others were in their Masonic apparel. One brother was the master of disguise, he went from wearing a Unicorn mask to The Lone Ranger and Dick Turpin, mind you, we were discussing money at the time. Creative use of CGI, or whatever the phrase is, kept us guessing as to which character he would be and where in the world would he end up next; the Northern Lights being my favourite.
Stand up, sit down bingo was a strange affair, it was quite odd viewing the midriffs of the Brethren as they stood patiently waiting for the number to be called, fortunately, most were suitably dressed. I have to confess though that I did accede to wearing a pair of garish shorts whilst another Brother chose to sport a pair of his favourite footie team's designer underwear, discreetly hidden of course!
We were entertained with two hilarious monologues, the first being one we have heard several times "Once upon a time all the dogs in the world held a meeting". Yes, that one which explains why dogs sniff each other's rear. The second "God created the Dog" was equally as hilarious.
Of course, no OEN is complete without a Wandering Minstrel, and 'Howlin Jack' led us through the several verses of 'On Ilkla Moor Baht'at' and that Liverpool Kop Anthem, 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. I must say the EFF choir gave it their all and more, still a bit shaky on the high notes, but I guess we will get there.
The purpose of OEN is to have fun and to raise funds for charity. We certainly had some fun, and I am incredibly delighted and proud to say the Brethren of the Lodge of Eccleshill, Faith and Fraternity 1034 did not falter when it came to fundraising. The total money raised is a fantastic £1295, which includes £600 from my bike ride challenge. My challenge was to ride my fold-up bike for 1.5 hours per day for 7 days, cycling on a bike turbo trainer. I was accompanied in this short challenge by one of my neighbours, a triathlete, triathlete coach and winner, in her age group, of the UK Iron Man competition 2006, so I was in good company.
In recent times OEN has raised between £900 - £1000, so this year's event is all the more remarkable as monies raised came entirely from donations by the Brethren of the Lodge who also sponsored me.
A magnificent sum raised, a great fun evening, thanks to everyone involved which left this very proud Worshipful Master feeling emotional at the end.
Harry Stoyles. Worshipful Master Eccleshill, Faith and Fraternity 1034
Each year the Provincial Grand Master considers recommendations from the Assistant Provincial Grand Masters for exceptional promotions in Provincial Grand Rank. Most notable amongst these are the few brethren whose exceptional service has earned them promotion to the highest Past Provincial Rank, that of Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden.
These recommendations are drawn-up by scrutiny groups in each Area of the Province. These groups are composed of senior members within that Area who have experience of brethren from across their patch. Those which meet with the approval of the APGM are put forward for the personal consideration of the Provincial Grand Master. Those few who are chosen would normally receive a surprise visit to their Lodge from a Provincial Ruler who would promote them under the authority of the PGM and present them with a collar jewel and apron badge.
As it is not possible this year to undertake these visits, each Brother received their promotion in a personal telephone call from their APGM, and their names appear below so that we can all celebrate their success. R.W. Bro David Pratt, Provincial Grand Master, said:
“I am delighted to be able to acknowledge the special contribution of these brethren through their promotion to the highest Provincial rank of Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden. The reasons for each are individually determined, and their contributions have been varied. In some cases, I have acknowledged their exceptional length of service whilst in others, it has been the nature of their contribution that has been exceptional. Whichever, they are all to be congratulated for their dedicated service to Freemasonry in general and to this Province in particular, and I offer my heartiest good wishes together with my hope that they will soon be able to wear their new regalia with pride.”
A major grant of £74,500 has been awarded to the West Yorkshire Scout Group by the Mark Benevolent Fund. The Grant will fund the building of a brand new storage facility at the Bradley Wood County Scout Campsite & Activity Centre in Brighouse.
Scouting mirrors the aims of Freemasonry in so many ways, so it’s good to see the MBF supporting them at this challenging time.
The Mark Benevolent Fund made grants in excess of £200,000 to charitable projects in West Yorkshire last year, including major grants for an Ambulance Support Vehicle for St John Ambulance Yorkshire, a Rapid Response Vehicle for Yorkshire Air Ambulance, a new Mini Bus for Martin House Hospice and the refurbishment of a Barge for Safe Anchor Trust. It also supported several Hospices in the Province and the flood victims of South Yorkshire earlier in the year.
Our MBF Festival in 2023 and the support it receives from our own charity, the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust, will help the Mark Benevolent Fund continue the excellent work it does in our communities.
It’s good to have some good news in these difficult times, but those same times have severely restricted income to both the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust and the Festival. So please review what you give to the Trust by Standing Order and continue to support the Festival in any way you can. It will be very much appreciated and will help the good work our Mark charities do to continue. Your money, your Province, your support, your success
A Sheffield charity that provides, trains and supports specialist assistance dogs for people with a range of disabilities has received funding for a Labrador puppy from local Freemasons. Ivanhoe Lodge, which meets at Tapton Hall in Crosspool, has given £20,000 to Support Dogs, which will pay for the two-year specialised training of the dog, appropriately named Ivanhoe . Founded in 1992, national charity Support Dogs provides all its services entirely free of charge to those in need of them, specialising in three specific programmes: autism assistance dogs for children with autism, seizure alert dogs to detect seizures in people with epilepsy, and disability assistance dogs for people with a range of physical disabilities and medical conditions. Ivanhoe will be trained as an autism assistance dog to provide safety and companionship and helping to bring independence and a more socially inclusive life to both the child and their family. Autism assistance dogs are shown to reduce stress for family members, promote positive changes in behaviour, provide comfort for children with autism when upset and reduce behavioural outbursts. They are also trained to keep a child safe using a wide range of methods. John Clague, one of the Trustees of Ivanhoe Lodge, said: “Thanks to a sizeable legacy from the estates of the late Percy and Mary Parramore, we have been able to financially support this fantastic charity, and what Support Dogs do is simply inspirational. “W Bro Percy Parramore was a highly respected Past Master of the Ivanhoe Lodge, and he and his sister, Mary, were life-long supporters of local charities, especially those associated with Freemasonry and scouting. “I’m delighted that we are in a position to fund a new Support Dogs’ puppy, which has been called Ivanhoe in honour of our Lodge, and we look forward to hearing about his progress in the coming weeks, months and years.” John added: “Charity is one of Freemasonry’s three founding principles. Last year, the legacy allowed us to purchase a new motorbike for the Whiteknights Yorkshire Blood Bikes as well as pay for its running costs for three years. “I’m proud to be a Freemason and incredibly proud of the support we are able to offer to community groups in and around the Sheffield area.” David Heugh, Support Dogs’ Partnerships' Ambassador, said: “I would like to say a massive thank you to Ivanhoe Lodge for this wonderful donation. “It takes up to two years and approximately £20,000 to train a Support Dogs' partnership. We then provide ongoing 24/7, 365 days a year support throughout an average eight-year working career. “Whilst we don’t receive any government funding we provide all of our services entirely free of charge to those in need of them. “Without funding from the likes of Ivanhoe Lodge, we would not be able to provide the services that we do, to families and individuals throughout England, Scotland and Wales.” Support Dogs would be delighted to hear from other Lodges who may interested in supporting and more information is available from its website, https://www.supportdogs.org.uk
Four Yorkshire hospices, whose fundraising activities have been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, have received a financial boost from Leeds Freemasons. The members of Zetland Lodge, which meets in Castle Grove Masonic Hall, in Headingley, have given a total of £6,000 to them – the single biggest donation in its 150-year history. The hospices, who will each receive £1,500, are:
St Gemma’s Hospice, Moortown, Leeds
Sue Ryder Wheatfield’s Hospice, Headingley, Leeds
Saint Michael’s Hospice in Harrogate
Martin House Children’s Hospice, in Boston Spa, Wetherby
Zetland Lodge is one of circa 200 lodges in the Freemasons’ Province of Yorkshire West Riding, whose geographical area is based on the old West Riding and ranges from Sheffield in the South to Ripon in the North. Richard Knockton, Zetland Lodge Master, said: “During the ‘lockdown’, hospices have been unable to raise funds from their usual activities, including income generated via their charity shops. And more important, they are not aided by large amounts of Government funds. “With this being the case, the Lodge took the decision to support our local hospices from our ‘Relief Chest’ funds. “Albeit it is split between the four hospices above, this is probably the largest single donation that we have made from our Relief Chest, and I hope it goes some way in assisting them during this particularly difficult time.” Richard added: “Despite being unable to hold our Lodge meetings, we have not lost sight of our three founding principles, with charitable giving being at the centre of them. “This money has come from the pockets of our members, and I’m delighted that we are able to support the work of these four wonderful organisations, that are so valued by us all, in some small way.”
The donation from the Freemasons is to help the Trust with the cost of ensuring that all pupils, students and teachers have access to the relevant personal protective equipment (PPE) in the school and college setting.
Alexis Johnson, executive principal of Doncaster Deaf Trust said: “We are extremely grateful to the Hall Cross Lodge of the Freemasons for this very kind and much needed donation.
“We have been very lucky that a number of local and national companies donated visors and facemasks to the Trust to enable us to provide for a wider opening of school and college for our pupils and students.
“This donation means that we can now add additional wall mounted hand sanitising units in key locations throughout our building. This will be an extra health and safety measure in addition to those we already have in place giving extra piece of mind as we keep our core educational services going over the next few weeks and as we plan ahead to September.
“The Freemasons have supported Doncaster Deaf Trust on a number of occasions in the past and we remain thankful to them for their continued support.”
Doncaster Deaf Trust manages Little Learners Day Nursery, Doncaster School for the Deaf, Dickson House – Children’s Home, Communication Specialist College Doncaster and Specialist Employability Services.
Rob Jenkins from the Hall Cross Lodge of Freemasons said: “We are pleased to be able to help Doncaster Deaf Trust at this time. We know how important specialist education is to the children and families who access it.
“It is great to know that our donation will be put to good use to make sure that children and young people can continue with the education in a safe setting.”
Bro. Peter Smeaton from Olicana Lodge 1522 and his family have not let the grass grow beneath their feet this month.
Although having to shield the family for medical reasons has limited their ability to help others in need, they are on target to achieve amillion steps for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation a charity close to their hearts.
So far they have raised over £1000 from friends, family and brethren and some have even joined in with the walking.”
The Province of Yorkshire, West Riding is one of two Provinces involved in a trial for Solomon, the UGLE learning and development platform.
Invitations, by email, have been sent to all Brethren initiated since the beginning of 2019 offering a centralised registration and enrolment process onto Solomon. Although there are now over 30,000 users of Solomon, a very small percentage have difficulty with registration. It’s also the case that a significant number of Initiates are unaware of what Solomon is, or what it offers.
Brethren taking up the offer will have an account created for them on Solomon and be enrolled into the modules covering the First Degree, Lodge Matters, and Masonic History. They will be informed of how to login by email. Solomon has been greatly expanded during the suspension and now includes audio and video presentations, webinars and interactive quizzes.
The Lodge Mentors of those involved in this pilot have been informed and asked to encourage their charges to take up this offer. If the pilot is successful, and early indications are that it will be, then all Initiates throughout the country will be offered the opportunity to be registered on Solomon once they are entered onto Adelphi, the UGLE membership database. Solomon is open to all and can be accessed here: solomon.ugle.org.uk. Instructions on how to register are contained in a video on the front page.
The District of West Yorkshire of the Order of Royal and Select Masters, as do all other Districts in England and Wales hold an annual District meeting every year, in our case the 1st Saturday in August which for obvious reasons this year has been postponed. At these District meetings the other Districts in England & Wales are invited, and a charitable collection is always taken. In the past we have donated to the RMBI 2017 Festival for the Craft and to the Mark Benevolent Fund.
As we had not made any donation for the past few years our Treasurer Tony Williams mentioned we had a sizeable amount building up in the account and where there any suggestions as to who could benefit most from a donation. Our Deputy District Grand Master in Charge V Ill Companion Ronald J Murtagh immediately suggested we keep our donation close to home and donate to “The Association of the Friends of Connaught Court”.
The friends of Connaught Court commit to spending a considerable amount each year to pay for the little extras that all go towards providing extra comfort and a range of social, leisure and entertainment activities for the residents. The major part of their annual income comes from the Annual Garden Party which is held in the grounds of Connaught Court on the 1st Saturday in June each year which due to Coronavirus was this year cancelled depriving the association of much needed income. The members of the R&SM Executive agreed with Ron and were delighted to provide a grant of £1000.00 to the Association.
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/