Somerset Freemasons

Provincial News 2017

Provincial News August 2017


Somerset Deliver the Tercentenary Banner to Devon

Despite inclement weather, the Province of Somerset safely delivered the special South West Tercentenary Banner to the Province of Devon. This event was held on Sunday 20th August in the magnificent Exeter Cathedral.

Stacks Image 265

This banner recognises the special fraternal bond that exists between the South West Provinces. It has toured to the Provincial Grand Lodges of the Channel Islands, Hampshire and IOW, Wiltshire, Dorset and Somerset. Devon will pass it on to the Provincial Grand Lodge of Cornwall later in 2017.

Stacks Image 277
Stacks Image 279

The Provincial Teams from Somerset and Devon paraded, in regalia, and met in the nave of Exeter Cathedral and the banner was formally passed over. Stuart Hadler, PGM of Somerset, and Ian Kingsbuery, PGM of Devon, greeted one another and expressed their delight to be able to publicly show and acknowledge the 300th Anniversary of the formation of the United Grand Lodge of England.

Stacks Image 281
Stacks Image 285
Stacks Image 295
Stacks Image 297
Stacks Image 283
Stacks Image 289
Stacks Image 291

Tercentenary Banner arrives in Somerset - Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance receive £30,000

Tuesday August 9th 2017 saw Brethren from the Provinces of Somerset and Dorset assemble at Henstridge Airfield near Sherborne to be escorted in convoy to the Operations Centre and Hangar of the Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance Charity (DSAAC). There they met Bill Sivwright, the Charity’s CEO, and members of the Organisation. The occasion was a double celebration for both Provinces. Firstly it was to transfer the Tercentenary Banner from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Dorset to the Provincial Grand Lodge of Somerset. Secondly it was to present the DSAAC with a donation of £30,000.

Tercentenary Banner

The original plan had been to fly the Tercentenary Banner, accompanied by the Provincial Grand Master for Dorset, into the event and for our Provincial Grand Master to fly it out in his own light aircraft. However, the weather had other ideas and, for safety reasons, the flights had to be cancelled. Despite this the Banner arrived safely, transported in the Dorset Team coach!

Richard Merrit, PGM Dorset, made the official presentation to Stuart Hadler (PGM Somerset) saying that during the time it had been in his Province’s possession it had been displayed in every Lodge room. On receiving the banner replied that, unfortunately, Somerset only have possession of the Banner for ten days and that this is during the “closed season” for most Lodges. However, it had been on display at the Provincial AGM on April 6th and many Brethren had taken the opportunity to view it there. Stuart assured Richard he would pass it on to the Province of Devonshire pure and unsullied as he now received it.

Tercentenary Appeal Presentation

Inside the hangar a stage had been set up where Stuart and Richard, in the presence of ninety Brethren and Guests, each presented Bill Sivwright with cheques for £15,000. Stuart told the assembled audience that Air Ambulance Services across the Countryside thousands of lives each year. Freemasonry recognises this and has donated considerable sums of money a National basis. He said “The Brethren of the Province of Somerset are delighted to be able to mark this historic moment in Freemasonry with this special donation in support of our local air Ambulance.” Richard added that he too was delighted to assist such a worthy organisation and, on behalf of the Brethren of the Province of Dorset, present a further £15,000.

Bill responded by saying that DAAAC deeply appreciated the support of the Freemasons and was proud that the aircraft carried the logo of Somerset on one side and the logo of Dorset on the other. He promised the monies raised would be put to good use and would doubtless save lives.

Dr Phil Hyde (Consultant in Paediatric Intensive Care) and Paul Owen (Critical Care Aircrew Paramedic) then gave a joint demonstration of a new automatic CPR Machine This device enables cardiac massage to take place both at the scene and within the confines of the Air Ambulance, which has limited headroom. It is this type of hi-tech lifesaving equipment that the Masonic Donation will be invested in.

The Brethren and guests then enjoyed a buffet lunch provided by the DSAAC and had the opportunity to view the new Augusta Westland 169 Air Ambulance Helicopter parked outside the hangar in readiness for a call out.

Don’t miss the next edition of Compass for further information on the Augusta Westland 169 Air Ambulance Helicopter.

Barry Davies
Compass Editor

Press release

Click on picture to view gallery


Inter Degree Golf Challenge

Surprise Victory for the Royal Arch Team

In 2009 the late W. Bro. Robin Bee came up with the idea of an Inter Degree Golf Challenge involving four teams (representing Craft, Royal Arch, Mark and Knights Templar) of six golfers competing for a Provincial Trophy. The Captains of these teams would be Peter Layzell, Barry Woodside, Ray Guthrie and Robin Bex respectively. The matches would be organised annually by each Captain in turn.

The first event, held at Clevedon Golf Club, was a great success and this year the Competition returned to Clevedon on Monday 7th August where Jon Mansell, who took over from Robin was our host.

The course was in splendid condition and, despite a gloomy forecast, the weather was fine with spells of sunshine and an absence of wind. It was ideal weather for golf although some of the scores didn’t reflect the good conditions!

The twenty-four golfers enjoyed good company with the keen rivalry kept in check for most of the day! With golf being played on a good course and in good weather the result was always going to be close; both the Royal Arch and Knights Templar Teams scoring 163 Stableford points. A better score on the back nine holes resulted in victory for the Royal Arch Team (much to their surprise) for the first time in the history of the event.

Following and excellent meal this year’s organiser, Jon Mansell, presented the trophy to Barry Woodside, Captain of the winning team (in the photograph from left to right; - Harry Price, Brian Pollard, Peter Ashby, Jon Mansell, Barry Woodside, John Hartry and John Knight.

Martyn Russell, a member of the KT team was the only golfer to score a two on any of the par three holes so won the magnificent sum of £46! (The drinks are on you Martyn).

We are already looking forward to next year’s competition which will be organised by the Mark Captain.

Ray Guthrie

Stacks Image 218
Stacks Image 225

Cadogan Court Summer Fair 17th June

Stacks Image 173
Cadogan Court Fair - 2017
The sun was shining
and the gardens looking their best for the Cadogan Court Annual Fair on Saturday June 17th. Cadogan Court is the RMBI care home supported by the Provinces of Somerset, Devon & Cornwall. Proceeds from the Fair are used to enhance the lives of residents by purchasing items not normally covered by RNBI funding.
This year’s Fair was well supported with a strong contingent from Somerset. Bill & Sandra Wilson (Loyal Vacation 6209), Peter & Pauline Smith (Alfred & Guthrum 4535) and Fred & Pat Body (Alfred & Guthrum) organised and ran the Somerset Produce stand (Strawberries & Cream, Jams, Cheese, Eggs, Chutneys etc.) while Roger & Pam Bailey brought along an interesting collection of ‘brick a brack’ which was well received. Just over £1000 was raised from the two stands while sales of programmes across the three Provinces raised £4713 with donations amounting to a further £5407.81. Sandra Wilson said
“I would like to pass on my grateful thanks to all the brethren and their friends who donated so generously to the Somerset Produce Stand. The residents really enjoy the activity on the day and the amazing support of members and well-wishers”
The Fair was further enhanced by a contingent from the South West Chapter of the Masonic Bikers association (MBA) The
Widows Sons . Dressed in traditional bikers leathers with their Chapter insignia emblazoned on their jackets the brethren mixed with visitors and residents alike, discussing the principles of the MBA and of course their rather magnificent motor bikes! It was certainly a sight to see (and hear) when they all left in convoy! If you missed this year’s Fair be sure to make next years. You won’t regret it.

Barry Davies
Compass Magazine

Provincial News June 2017


Tercentenary Church Service to be held at Wells Cathedral on Sunday 25th June

Stacks Image 181
The Tercentenary Church Service will be held on Sunday 25th June, starting at 3.00pm, when, by kind permission of the Dean, we will be joining Evensong at Wells Cathedral. All members, together with their families and friends, are invited to attend this important event as part of our celebrations of the 300th anniversary of English Freemasonry.

There will be a public procession starting at 2.00pm from the Museum, Cathedral Green, into Sadler Street, Market Place and then through Penniless Porch to the West Door of the Cathedral. This will involve the Provincial Team (Active Officers) and Ruling Masters, in full regalia (including collars for WMs), which promises to be a colourful and memorable event.
All Brethren attending are invited to wear their full regalia if they wish (or just collars if preferred, but should not be discouraged from coming along without regalia). Lodge Wardens may wear their collars.

As there are no changing facilities, it is recommended that you bring your regalia in a carrier bag, or similar, that can be folded away during the service.

As it is a public service, there are no reserved seats, and you are asked to be seated by 2.40pm.

Limited tickets will be available for a cream tea in the Town Hall afterwards, but for those unable to get tickets, tea will be available in the North Transept as usual.

Provincial News May 2017


Consecration of Columbanus Lodge No. 9941

Stacks Image 154
There was not a spare seat at the Masonic Hall in Keynsham on Saturday 20th May 2017 when a flagstone of Masonic history was laid down.  Thirty motorcyclist freemasons from across Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire came together to form a new Lodge.  A Lodge based upon their love of not only the Craft but also Motorcycling.  Eight masons from Wiltshire, five from Gloucestershire, three from Wales and fourteen from Somerset became either Primus Officers or Founder members of the Columbanus Lodge No. 9941 which was consecrated in a wonderful ceremony led by RW Bro Stuart Hadler the Provincial Grand Master for Somerset.

W Bro Roger Penny was presented by W Bro Elliot Borthwick PrDGDC and installed as the Primus Master by our own Deputy PGM, VW Bro John Winston, in a splendid ceremony attended by the PGM for Wiltshire RW Bro Philip Bullock, the Deputy PGM of Gloucestershire VW Bro John Thurston as well as many other dignitaries and the full team of Provincial Officers.

The ceremony of consecration was conducted with great dignity by the Consecrating Officer, the Provincial Grand Master, and involved all founder members whilst the Provincial Choir, led by W Bro David Smith added solemnity. The alms collection was donated to the Somerset 2020 Festival.

At the festive board which followed, a traditional "bikers'" dinner of Gammon, Egg and Chips was enjoyed by all. The Provincial Grand Master gave a very suitable address to which the Worshipful Master responded in like manner, explaining how the Lodge came to be formed.

The Provincial Choir sang the Worshipful Master’s Song and the evening ended with the PrGDC, W Bro Chris Marchmont, leading us all in the Tyler’s song.

The raffle raised over £600 which is to be donated to the Freewheelers, Blood Bikers Charity, who provide an out of hours blood delivery service for the NHS.

Pic shows The Founder Members

Provincial Tercentenary Ball

What a Night

‘Elton John’ wows the audience at Provincial Tercentenary Ball!

What an evening! Over 500 attended the Provincial Tercentenary Ball at the Webbington on Saturday 13th May. Following a superb dinner the audience gave a tremendous reception for the headline act of the evening - Sir Elton John, resplendent is his famous 7 ½ inch heels! Well actually it was Gary Setterfield (JW St Cecilla 9341) with his Elton John tribute act, but who could tell the difference? Numbers such as ‘Crocodile Rock’, ‘I’m still standing’ and ‘Candle in the Wind’ ensured a packed dance floor and electric atmosphere. Gary was followed by Sunshine Boulevard who played through to midnight with a mixture of Pop, Rock and Dance music that kept the party going. The PGM Stuart Hadler thanked the brethren, their ladies and guests for supporting the evening and David Flack and his team for organising such a wonderful event. Definitely an evening to remember

To book Gary for your special function go to

Barry Davies
Compass Editor

Click on picture to view gallery

Provincial News March 2017


Inter Province Dinner

Stacks Image 62
PGL Bristol offered shares in ‘Bridgwater Bay Tidal Barrier and Tropical Lagoon Project’

It is becoming a custom for PGL Somerset and PGL Bristol to get together over dinner and exchange views and ideas.
This year it was Somerset’s turn to host the occasion and on February 20th a dinner was held at Nailsea Masonic Hall in honour of our guests.

Last year the PGM for Bristol, Alan Vaughan, presented a paper, which he explained was the culmination of his Province’s research into the likely results of Global Warming by the Year 2050 when he predicted that much of the Province of Somerset was likely to be ‘under water’ to a depth of around 12 meters, while the Province of Bristol escaped relatively unscathed.

Understandably concerned by this, our PGM immediately tasked the Somerset Provincial Research Team (SPRT) to conduct further investigations, and following nearly a year of intensive research they have discovered that there is a crucial error in Bristol’s original calculations, probably caused by a faulty abacus.

The SPRT report predicts that sea levels are likely to rise even HIGHER than PGL Bristol predicted resulting in Somerset GAINING a Tropical Archipelago (collection of islands) along with a magnificent new lagoon at Bridgwater Bay.

Being an entrepreneurial Province Somerset have investigated the potential of this situation and have partnered with ‘Masonic Mutual’ to offer share options in the soon to be announced ‘Bridgwater Bay Tidal Barrier and Tropical Lagoon Project’. The potential returns from energy production, sporting and other leisure pursuits are likely to be irresistible!

Unfortunately the report also predicted that the Centre of Bristol was likely to be extensively affected by the flooding, with water level rising well above the threshold of the Masonic Hall in Park Street.

In the true spirit of Brotherly love Stuart then generously offered Alan and his brethren the opportunity to become founding partners in the Bridgwater Bay Project. He said “We are offering you the opportunity to get ahead of Global warming. Sell Park Street now while the property market is strong and invest the proceeds in this wonderful project.”

Alan thanked the PGM for his kind offer and said he would give it due consideration. Stuart then presented Alan with a pair of 2020 festival yellow socks.

The evening was well supported by officers from both provinces and was concluded with an entertainment from the well-known Somerset composer Martin Emslie who performed a song he had written especially for the occasion. This was extremely well received – especially by the Somerset brethren!

Barry Davies
Compass Editor

Provincial News January 2017


£50,000 Ambulance for British Red Cross at Taunton

Stacks Image 20

The British Red Cross (BRC) at Taunton are the proud owners of a brand new Ambulance thanks to the Province of Somerset and the Freemasons Grand Charity. The ambulance, officially known as a ‘Patient Transport Vehicle’ is specifically designed to accommodate patients who require specialist transport to and from hospital.

The first of its type to be operated by the BRC, it can accommodate up 7 seated or 4 seated and one stretcher patient. The stretcher is of a new’ bariatric’ design which means it can easily be adjusted to accommodate people of larger size. Based on the ‘Renault Master’ 3.5 tonne chassis the ambulance is fully air conditioned, equipped with oxygen, a defibrillator and basic medical supplies and can be used in adverse weather conditions. It has wheelchair access via the rear ramp and a special arrangement that enables one of the seats to be adapted as a securing point to allow a patient to be safely transported in their own wheel chair.

Stacks Image 29
Stacks Image 31

The vehicle was officially handed over to Malcolm Allsopp, BRC Ambulance Support Operational Manager by the PGM Stuart Hadler. Malcolm said “this will make a tremendous difference to the service we are able to offer both the NHS and our charitable activities. The vehicle will be available to our volunteers as well as our professional drivers. I cannot thank the Freemasons enough.” Stuart Hadler, who was also interviewed by the BBC for Radio Bristol told reporters that Somerset Freemasons are generous supporters of the Freemasons Grand Charity, which, since 1981 has donated over £100,000,000 in grants. He said “We are all used to the support of Red Cross Volunteers at major events and are delighted to be able to provide truly practical assistance”. Cheryl Murray, Chair of the Volunteer Council for BRC in Somerset said “This vehicle could also be used to support the work of emergency response volunteers during large-scale incidents. The Red Cross worked closely with the South West Ambulance Service during the emergency and recovery stages of the Somerset flooding in 2013/14. Since then the Red Cross has set up teams working with the NHS to provide transport to hospital appointments and emergency care transport to hospital. This vehicle will allow the Red Cross to develop more services in this area”.

Stacks Image 36
Stacks Image 38

The PGM was accompanied by a number of brethren including the Provincial Grand Charity Steward David Maddern, ProvJGW Barry Davies and Provincial Information Officer Richard Ellis.

With the Masonic Charity Foundation logo displayed on the livery, the people of Taunton can clearly see that ‘Freemasonry Cares’.

Barry Davies
Compass Editor

Stacks Image 22
Stacks Image 24