Somerset Freemasons

Provincial News Items from 2013


19th December - Candle-lit Christmas Carol Service raises £273 for Weston Hospice

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The service organised by Somerset Rose Croix in conjunction with Weston Masons of all Degrees & Side Orders, was held at the beautiful All Saints Church on Thursday 19th December 2013. Despite the wind & rain, the service was very well supported by Masons their families & friends from Weston & beyond.
On arrival, all were welcomed by Very Ill. Bro. Ray Johnstone-Smith, Inspector General for Somerset Rose Croix assisted by a happy team of well-known Weston characters!
It was conducted by the Reverend Stuart Boyd, a member of Aisecombe Manor Chapter, 1067 Rose Croix & contained many of the favourite Carols known to all, O little Town of Bethlehem, Silent Night, Hark the Herald Angels Sing& Once in Royal David’s City to name but a few.
At very short notice, Barry Renwick, Mark Provincial Grand Organist tackled the mighty church organ with his wonderful music that made the whole evening an unforgettable start to the Christmas festivities, many thanks Barry.
The Readings were given by those familiar to us all, David Nelson, Vanessa Johnstone-Smith, Michael Skyrme, Stuart Hadler, Ray Beckingham & Stuart Boyd.
The Address was presented by the Reverend Ron Owen, a member of St. George at Wiveliscombe Chapter, 1173 Rose Croix. The Closing Carol, O Come All ye Faithful raised the roof, during which a collection was taken for Weston Hospicecare.
To end the evening of this new venture, wine & mince pies were served to all, courtesy of William de Irwin Chapter No. 28 & the Somerset Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons.
The Charity Collection was for the Weston Hospice it totalled £273, & was all gift-aided.
See you all next Christmas!
Top photo shows Reverends Ron Owen and Stuart Boyd, after the service of course! Below Barry Renwick works his magic at the keys of the church organ.
Story and pictures by Pat Morrisey.
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15th December - £13,000 presented to Somerset Hospices

Members of the Province have presented cheques on behalf of the Freemasons Grand Charity to four Somerset Hospices, the grants were part of the total of £620,000 Freemasons have donated to the 239 Hospices in England & Wales this year.
Presentations were made to Children's Hospice at Wraxall - £1,738, St Margaret' s Hospice in Taunton - £3,309, St Margaret's Hospice in Yeovil - £5,459. and Weston Hospicecare - £2,443.
The amount given to St Margaret's in Yeovil comprised of £3,309 from the Grand Charity together with £2150 raised locally. Justin Martin, whose wife Julia died in the hospice in October, asked that the collection from those attending her thanksgiving service at South Petherton Parish Church, to be donated to St Margaret's Hospice. The total collected was £1,650, and to underline the support, the Somerset Masonic Charities committee made an additional donation of £500.

Click the photo to see the gallery


2nd December - PGM Announces the names of his Wardens and other members of the Provincial Team for 2014/15

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Gerry Chilcott
Provincial Senior Warden designate.
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Steve Williams
Provincial Junior Warden designate
Provincial Grand Master, Stuart Hadler has announced that W.Bro Gerry Chilcottt will be his Senior Warden and W.Bro Steve Williams will be his Junior Warden for the year commencing 3rd April 2014.
Gerry Chilcott is a member of the Forest of Selwood Lodge meeting at Frome and is currently Lodge Charity Steward.
Steve Williams is a member of Admiral Blake Lodge in Bridgewater, he is currently their Director of Ceremonies.
Read the full list of Appointments and Promotions that the Provincial Grand Master will make at Provincial Grand Lodge to be held on 3rd April 2014 at the Winter Gardens, Weston super Mare

2nd December- Somerset Masonic Charities donates £1000 to Weston RNLI Appeal.

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We might not all be aware that the facilities under which the volunteers of the station at Weston operate are deteriorating rapidly. The pier at Birnbeck along which the crews of the Lifeboat have to run to get to the boats is in very poor condition and in the interests of safety, the RNLI will be leaving its old home on Birnbeck Island to what is hoped will be a new home at Knightstone Harbour.
The Fundraising Chairman for this project is Peter Elmont, Peter is also a member of King Alfred Lodge in Weston super Mare. As Chairman Peter is responsible for the appeal to raise £300,000 to facilitate the move.
Peter said “Weston Super Mare RNLI is very grateful to the Somerset Provincial Grand Lodge for the splendid donation of £1,000 towards the new station appeal, together with other local lodges and the Mark degree it means that Freemasonry has contributed over £5,000 to the appeal”. He continues by saying “I can only be amazed at the generosity of the Freemasons and assure them that the money will all go to the new facilities which are being planned for Weston Super Mare”
The photo shows the Atlantic Class 75 Lifeboat based at Weston.

29th November - The MSF funds successful study to find Prostate Cancer blood test

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Prostate Cancer UK has announced that a new study has found that the presence of a specific protein can distinguish between prostate cancers that are aggressive and need further treatment from those that may never seriously harm the patient
The Fund donated £34,625 towards the study earlier this year at the University of Cambridge. Dr Hayley Whitaker, Research Developer and Lead Researcher for Prostate Cancer UK accepted the donation from the MSF CEO Richard Douglas. The Masonic Samaritan Fund is delighted to have made a donation which will have a real impact on advanced medical diagnostics.
Dr Whitaker explained that the presence of these specific proteins now called NAALADL2, can be measured with a blood test, saving many men undergoing invasive tests and unnecessary worry, whilst allowing faster, targeted treatment for men with aggressive prostate cancers. The hope is that this test will be available on the NHS in the next five to ten years.
Richard Douglas said: "Accurate diagnosis of prostate cancer is the starting point to help men survive and have a better quality of life post treatment. With over 10,000 men dying annually from this disease, that is one per hour, we're delighted to have made a significant contribution towards the funding Dr Whitaker needed to identify prostate cancers through a low cost blood test."

22nd November - Masonic Classic Vehicle Club on public display

“The Masonic Classic Vehicle Club was formed in 2004 and is a club for classic vehicle owners who are also Freemasons. The club has members throughout England and Wales.
“Each year it holds a series of events for members ranging from informal regional Sunday Breakfast Meetings up to displays at the largest classic car events in the UK, both indoor and outdoor.
“ For the last ten years it has mounted club displays at the NEC’s Classic Motor Show, the largest indoor show in the UK. In 2012 the show attracted 60,000 visitors over the three open days. In 2013 the theme of the club’s display was Historic Competition Cars and featured: a 1958 Maserati 250F Grand Prix car owned by Gerry Hann, the DepPGM from Berkshire, a 1953 ’C’ Type Jaguar (Replica) constructed and owned by Phil Cottrell, from Aviation Lodge in London, a 1932 Austin Seven Ulster displayed by Roger Gourd from Merantune Lodge in Surrey and a 1922 AC Sports from the Brooklands Museum kindly loaned by Steve Gray.
“Undoubtedly the highlight of the club year was when Sir Stirling Moss, considered by many the greatest ever British racing driver, visited the MCVC stand at the NEC in November 2013 and was pictured, together with Phil Cottrell - the club Events Secretary - next to the Maserati 250F. Sir Stirling raced a 250F throughout the 1954 Grand Prix season, as well as a ’C’ Type at Le Mans in 1951 and 1952 During his visit the spectators were twenty-deep in front of the stand, illustrating the affection and respect that the public have for this great British motor racing legend.
“For further details of the club, please visit or contact the club Hon. Secretary John Cole
Visit Stirling Moss web site
Click on image to enlarge. Photos courtesy of Peter James Insurance and Stewart Miller Insurance.

18th November - Design and availablity of the new Festival Jewel

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Provincial Secretary Richard Ellis gaining his daily advancement in Masonic knowledge from a craftsman at Toye Kenning.

Provincial Charity Steward, David Maddern has said the new Jewel for the 2020 Festival has been approved by both the Grand Charity and Grand Lodge and is shown below.
The Provincial Secretary and the Provincial Charity Steward visited the suppliers of the Jewel to observe the production process. The Provincial Secretary Richard Ellis, has more than just a passing interest in masonic Jewels and is an avid collector, so he spent a lot of time talking with the skilled jewellers of Toye Kenning & Spencer located in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham. Toye worked very closely with the Province to ensure the design not only met the exacting standards of the Province but those of both the Grand Charity and the UGLE.
The Jewel depicts the colours of the Grand Charity with the Gold Ribbon and the distinctive Provincial Grand Lodge of Somerset cross banners emblem, which has been a traditional emblem on previous Somerset Festival Jewels .
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The first 1,000 Jewels will be available for distribution to Charity Stewards by early February 2014.
Application for the award of a 2020 Festival Steward's Jewel is made by the Lodge Charity Steward. The Jewel will be issued free of charge once confirmation of the personal qualifying contribution of £300 (inclusive of Gift Aid) has been received. Further donations, inclusive of Gift Aid, will be recognised as follows: Vice Patron £500, Patron £1,000 and Grand Patron £2,000. The Qualifying period for these Honorific's is from the 1st April 2011 to 31st March 2020. It is hoped that through Regular Giving the majority of Somerset brethren will qualify as Stewards
A special Launch programme is being arranged at the Provincial Meeting on the 3rd April with VW  Bro Richard Hone, President of the Grand Charity, who will give us an explanation of how the Grand Charity operates and how Brethren and their dependants in Somerset benefit from the support given. The jewel can be worn for the first time at the Provincial meeting on 3rd April 2014 and may be worn in Lodges after that date.
For more information on the Jewel and the honorifics system, please contact the Provincial Grand Charity Steward David Maddern.

20th November - Somerset Masonic Charites donate £6,500 to local good causes

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At a recent meeting of the Management Committee of the Somerset Masonic Charities seventeen applications for grants were considered. Ten grants, totalling £6,500, were awarded to the following organisations which provide a wide range of support to disadvantaged people in Somerset.
Children’s Hospice Southwest (Charlton Farm) A Grant of £500 was awarded by Match Funding a donation being made by Queen’s College Lodge No 6988
Teddies for Loving Care A grant of £1,000 will be used by the Regional co‐ordinator of the scheme to purchase stock and distribute throughout the Province.
Royal College of Surgeons The Royal Arch Chapters of Somerset have generously contributed to the appeal and a grant of £1,000 will help support the Provincial Grand Chapter in their efforts.
Somewhere House A grant of £500 will go towards the cost of running this valuable community service.
Friends of Avalon Hydrotherapy Pool A grant of £500 has been approved by the SMC committee which will go towards the project costs.
Wessex Counselling Service The SMC Committee has agreed of grant of £500, which will go towards the cost of running this vital service.
Cheddar Valley Plus the committee approved a grant of £500.
Sydenham Amateur Boxing Club The benefits of boxing are well known ‐ boosting overall fitness, reaching out to disengaged young people, improving self‐esteem, discipline and self‐confidence. A grant of £500 has been approved .
Somerset Care and Repair A grant of £500 has been approved towards the cost of personal protective clothing, travel and subsistence costs for the volunteers.
RNLI Weston Super Mare The Somerset Masonic Charity has awarded a grant of £1,000 to give Weston Super Mare lifeboat.
More details about these the organisations are available here.

18th November - Grand Charity gives £16,000 to Local Hospices

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On Friday 15th November the Freemasons' Grand Charity announced a grant of £600,000 to be shared by 239 adult and children’s hospices across England and Wales. Hospices in serving our local area have been given the following amounts by the Grand Charity.

£2,443 Dorothy House Hospice - Winsley, Bath
£1,738 Children's Hospice South West - Charlton Farm, Wraxall.
£3,309 St Margaret's Somerset Hospice - Taunton
£3,309 St Margaret's Somerset Hospice - Yeovil
£2,443 Weston Hospicecare - Weston super Mare
£3,597 St Peters Hospice, Bristol
Since 1984 the Freemasons' Grand Charity has donated over £10.5 million to the hospice movement in England and Wales

11th November - Grand Charity gives £50,000 for typhoon victims

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On Friday, 8th November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan known locally as Typhoon Yolanda struck the east coastal provinces of Samar and Leyte. It then headed west, sweeping through six central Philippine islands. It was the strongest storm ever to make landfall, and one of the most powerful ever recorded, with reports of winds over 190mph which caused widespread damage.

Millions of people have been affected; amongst these are those already left homeless by the earthquake that struck in mid-October. It is estimated that 10,000 people have been killed. Many towns have been affected by the typhoon; Tacloban, Leyte Province, largely flattened by a massive storm surge; Guiuan, Samar Province with a population of 40,000 has been destroyed; assessments in the far north of Cebu Province, had shown that some towns had suffered 80-90% damage and Baco, a city of 35,000 people in Oriental Mindoro Province was 80% under water.

On 11th November 2013, the President of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity approved an immediate emergency grant of £50,000 to the British Red Cross to provide immediate disaster relief across the region for much needed Hygiene Kits for 8,500 families.

A dedicated Relief Chest (E0129C) has been setup as part of a co-ordinated Masonic response for longer term redevelopment efforts. Please click here for further information.

An online fundraising page has also been setup by The Grand Charity for the benefit of the Philippines Disaster Relief Chest. Donations can be made online using a Debit or Credit card.

30th October - Grand Secretary addresses Somerset Grand Officers

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The October meeting of the Somerset Grand Officers mess at Nailsea Masonic Hall was honoured by a visit from Nigel Brown the Grand Secretary. Also present were the PGM Stuart Hadler and Grand Superintendent, John Bennett plus 65 other Grand Officers and Supreme Grand Chapter officers. The Grand Secretary spoke for twenty minutes on a wide range of subjects that concern all Freemasons.
Nigel started by talking about his recent trip to Nigeria and the joys of air travel. He expressed the opinion that whilst the Districts abroad were not in the strictest sense structurally viable they added so much to the mix of universal Freemasonry that their existence was important for the future. He said as long as our districts continue to support us we will support them.
Membership of the Holy Royal Arch – Nigel expressed the view that all Masons should be members of HRA but that joining was very much a matter of good timing, not too soon after being raised.
Untied Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) had a number of websites. The public site is designed to attract new members by being open and supplying information about how to join. 400,000 copies of “Freemasonry - Whats it all about” had been distributed and a pdf version was available on the UGLE website
2013 – The appeal for the Royal College of Surgeons by Supreme Grand Chapter had been very successful, at the time of speaking the figure raised stood at just over £2 million. The events to mark the celebration in London had all gone very well.
2017 – How many organisations had existed for 300 years, he asked. The “Mother” Grand Lodge had been part of our communities for all that time. To mark the achievement there would be an event in London. Grand Lodge are encouraging Provinces to mark the anniversary with a series of events by Lodges and Provinces throughout 2017.
Retention – we still do not fully understand why we loose so many members before they complete five years of membership but we know that good mentoring is a vital part of helping to retain members.
Question from Peter Layzell about rising costs having a detrimental effect of membership particularly for younger and therefore new members. – response from Nigel was that Grand Lodge were doing all that they could to contain costs. During his tenure as Grand Secretary £600,000 had been cut from the annual expenditure bill. The events business at Grand Lodge was a commercial success, raising significant revenue to the benefit of members. He felt that the cost of being a freemason was comparable to similar organisations and while GL were mindful of the consequence of increased subscriptions they could not guarantee not to do so in the future.

He concluded by saying that Freemasonry should be fun, we should enjoy what we do.

He sat down to loud applause and was then sincerely thanked for taking the time to visit the Province by both John Bennett and Stuart Hadler.

25th September - Suprise visitor presents Past PGM with his 50th certificate.

Stanley Hopkins celebrated his 50 years as a Freemason in Great style at his mother Lodge Prudence and Industry No 1953 in Chard. Stanley was the 15th Provincial Grand Master for Somerset and held that office from 1991 to 2001. The evening commenced with the current PGM Stuart Hadler accompanied by a full team of Provincial Officers entered the Lodge in procession. A report was heard on the door of the Lodge and the Tyler W.Bro Ken Wheadon informed the Master that W.Bro David Hughes Assistant Grand DC was at the door of the Lodge and requested admission. Suspicions were aroused! W.Bro David, son of the late Tom Hughes, Stanley's Deputy PGM, informed the Lodge that R.W.Bro David Williamson the Assistant Grand Master was outside and he demanded admision. He was escorted into the Lodge and welcomed by the Master. He then preceded to present R.W.Bro Stanley with his certificate much to the enjoyment of all present.
Following on from that the PGM and his team raised Bro Andrew Campbell to the sublime degree of a Master Mason with the Assistant Grand Master taking part by communicating the secrets of the degree to Bro Andrew.
The meeting was followed by a festive board in the Phoenix Hotel where the fun continued!

Click on the image to view the gallery


13th September - David Mason installed as Assistant PGM.

It was a great evening at Olympian Lodge on Friday 13th September. The Lodge room was packed to with the great and the good :) All there to see David Mason invested as Assistant Provincial Grand Master and Brother Chris Cronin passed to the degree of a fellow craft. It goes without saying a good time was had by all!

Click on the photo to see the gallery. Photos by Barry Davies.

9th September - Provincial Grand Master's Golf Day

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The competition is an annual event, all golfers who are members of a Somerset Lodge are invited to partake. If you would like to play in next years competition then please email Allen Day or phone 01460 52116. Full details of next years competition will appear on the web site early in the New Year.
On an overcast 9th of September, golfers from all over the Province converged on the immaculately turned out Golf Course at Taunton and Pickeridge Golf Club. An enjoyable afternoon was had by all, with some keen Stableford scores amongst the players.
After supper was taken, the prizes were presented by our Provincial Grand Master, Stuart Hadler. Second and third places were a close run thing with Steve Williams with 34pts, beating Steve Edwards with 33pts. Both players receiving some very nice cut glass wine and whisky glasses. First place went to David Flack with 35 pts, who not only received a some excellent cut glass pieces, also won the P.G.M’s Trophy
The P.G.M said how pleased he was to be able to attend this year to present the prizes. In presenting the trophy to David Flack he congratulated him and thanked him for very kindly donating the prizes, it was perhaps fitting that on this occasion he was the overall winner!
A good days golf was had by all and thanks go to our P.G.M for taking the time out of his busy schedule to attend and present the Prizes.

Allen Day-Organiser


14th August - Change of Assistant Provincial Grand Master

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W.Bro David Mason of the Eldon Lodge No 1755 has been appointed as Assistant Provincial Grand Master by R.W.Bro Stuart Hadler the Provincial Grand Master. His predecessor as APGM, W.Bro Justin Martin decided to stand down from office following the news that his wife Julia has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The PGM said " I can fully understand and sympathise with Justin's decision, I thank him for all the valuable work he has done for the Province both as Assistant PGM and prior to that as Provincial Registrar. Our thoughts and prayers are with Justin and Julia."
David was initiated into Eldon lodge 1755 at Portishead by his father in October 1990 and rose through the ranks to be installed in the chair in September 2000. He has held several offices since then including Treasurer for seven years. He was the founding Assistant Secretary of Olympian Lodge No:9703, and was Secretary for five years before going into that chair in 2011. He is also a member of Yatton Lodge of Hospitality No:9299. In the Holy Royal Arch he is a Past First Principal of Eldon Chapter No:1755
Married to Lorna for 28 years they have two delightful daughters. Ellie, the eldest, got married last July and has just given birth to a wonderful daughter, Isla. Grandparenthood has so far been a joy, especially David and Lorna can hand Isla back if she cries or needs changing!
Outside of Masonry David still works full time running a dental practice in North Somerset and in his spare time he enjoys going to their cottage in South Devon where he can indulge his passion for messing about in boats and fishing.

20th July - Somerset Masonic Charites donate £4,325 to local good causes

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At a recent meeting of the Management Committee of the Somerset Masonic Charities, fifteen applications for grants were considered. Seven grants, totalling £4325, were awarded to the following organisations which provide a wide range of support to disadvantaged people in Somerset.
Children’s Hospice Southwest (Charlton Farm) A Grant of £350 was raised by Birnbeck Lodge No 7160 through the collection, when they hosted the recent Provincial Church Service at All Saints Church, Weston Super Mare.
Great Western Air Ambulance "It is an academic estimate that without the critical care that GWAAC offers 1 in 5 of our patients would not survive" ( J Benger 2011). A grant of £1,000 will go towards the operational budget of GWAAC to keep the Helicopters flying
Somerset Cruse Bereavement Care A grant of £500 will go towards the cost of running this valuable community service.
Wookey Playgroup A grant of £500 will go towards the cost of this running this valuable community service.
Positive Action on Cancer A grant of £500 has been approved by the SMC committee to deliver counselling sessions for people over 50 years of age.
Sedgemoor Playday – Wednesday 7th August 2013. The SMC Committee agreed a Legacy Match Funding grant with Royal Philanthropic Lodge No. 291 of £500, making a combined total of £1,000 towards the cost of running the day.
Tissue Viability Clinic An application for Match Funding was received from Somerset Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge No. 9189, King Alfred Lodge No. 3169, Vale of Brislington Lodge No. 1296 and Birnbeck Lodge No. 7160. The SMC had awarded a Match Fund totalling £975 to go towards the purchase of the pump
More details about these the organisations are available here.

16th June - Summer Fair at Cadogan Court

21st June 2014 - All Freemasons their family and friends are welcome to come to this years Summer Fair!!
It was a typical June day, showery and not too warm! That didn't stop everyone who attended the annual summer fair at Cadogan Court an Exeter from enjoying themselves. For many years now the Friends of Cadogan Court have been raising Money for the RMBI home by organising the summer fair. It is an event that is eagerly anticipated by the residents of the home, a special day in their calendar.
Somerset Lodges and their members not only gave great support for the event on the day but together with the proceeds from the Somerset stalls raised a staggering £8000!
Thanks to all in Somerset who donated produce and contributed in any way to make the day successful. Click on the image to see the gallery of photos.