On Friday 26th November the Province marked its commitment to the armed forces in signing the Armed Forces Covenant at The Household Division Lodge. The covenant was signed by Deputy Provincial Grand Master VW.Bro. Hugh Douglas-Smith on behalf of Buckinghamshire Freemasons and Major Spencer Jones of the Coldstream Guards on behalf of the Ministry of Defence. The signed Covenant will be displayed on the Secretaries desk at future meetings of the Lodge.
The Armed Forces Covenant is not a charitable organisation. It is a promise from the nation to those who serve or who have served, and their families, which says we will do all we can to ensure they are treated fairly and are not disadvantaged in their day-to-day lives.
Friends, wives and partners were invited into the Lodge room to witness the signing, before joining 60 people for a white table dinner. Guests enjoyed a musical performance by the Drums and Pipes of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards, based at the Mons Barracks in Aldershot.
The individuals in the band were;
- Pipe Major Thomson
- Pipe Sgt Pinter
- LCpl Wilson
- Dmr Turner
- Dmr Howard
The Household Division Lodge was formed in May 1994. The intention of the Lodge, as set out by its founding members, is to bring together men of all ranks who have served, or are serving with any of the seven regiments of the Household Division, together with members of other regiments who have served for not less than twelve months.
The Lodge currently supports two charities;
The Household Cavalry Foundation - https://www.hcavfoundation.org
And Blue Acre Horse Rescue - https://www.blueacrerescue.co.uk
It is with great sadness that we hear of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh. Our condolences and best wishes go to Her Majesty the Queen and the entire Royal Family. Aged 99, Prince Philip lived respected, died regretted.
Freemasons’ Hall has announced its first Organ Concert of 2021, which will take place on 30 March, at 7pm.
The event, being held virtually, will showcase the magnificent Willis pipe 0rgan, which resides in the Grand Temple of Freemasons' Hall in London, an art deco masterpiece completed in 1933.
The concert is to be given by Carl Jackson, MVO, director of music at the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music and he has held organ scholarships at Downing College, Cambridge as well as his current base of Chapel Royal.
Before his current role at Hampton Court Palace, Mr Jackson taught at Goldsmiths’ College and he has held positions at Croydon Minster and St Peter’s, Eaton Square. He has also appeared regularly on television with the Chapel Royal choir and features with them on CDs. He was appointed MVO in the 2012 New Year Honours list.
Dr David Staples, Chief Executive of the United Grand Lodge of England, commented: “It is an honour to welcome Carl Jackson to perform for our first Organ Concert of 2021. The various lockdowns the country has faced during the pandemic have left many people feeling isolated and lonely. The virtual concert will bring world-class music and joy into people's homes whilst also giving the audience an opportunity to take in some of the stunning architecture of our headquarters here in London.”
The concert will be held at Freemasons’ Hall, which was designed as a pentagon to suit the irregular area in which it is located. Built in the central courtyard of the splendid art deco building, the Grand Temple is rich with multi-coloured details of blue, gold and white.
While enjoying the concert online, attendees will be able to experience the splendor of the Grand Temple, including the majestic 1.25-tonne organ with its ornate pipes as well as the stunning mosaics that surround the ceiling.
The original organ was installed in 1933 by Henry Willis, the third generation of an extended family line of organ builders. It originally had three manuals and 43 stops, giving a total complement of some 2,220 pipes, and was the last big organ built by the Willis firm. After 80 years it was in need of a complete renovation, which was carried out in Durham by Harrison & Harrison in 2014 and included the cleaning, repairing and re-voicing the existing mechanisms, as well as mounting a new case of some 400 pipes on the east wall.
Free tickets are available to book via: https://event.bookitbee.com/32027/freemasons-hall-organ-concert-30th-march-2021-carl
After the success of the freezers to COVID wards at Stoke Mandeville Hospital last week, Buckinghamshire Freemasons again partnered with Paula Tompkins and her team to bring a little joy to the staff of Ward 9.
Buckinghamshire Freemasons provided a fridge and microwave so staff can store and heat their meals when there isn’t enough time to leave.
A coffee machine and microwave were also supplied by Paula and her team.
In addition to practical solutions, the Buckinghamshire Freemasons also provided some pamper packs for the staff including hand cream, face cream and body mist. Haddenham Lodge also provided lip balms.
Delivered once again by Bill Smithson, one ward sister said ‘Oh, wow! This is so great and we can now have a hot lunch...so exciting!’
Once again, thanks to all our NHS workers from all of the Buckinghamshire Freemasons.
In September 2020 the Deputy Provincial Grand Master contacted W Bro Eddie Irwin (of Marlow Masonic Centre) to see if he would be able to assist with a project on behalf of the Province to provide meals for Slough Homeless Our Concern (SHOC) and Carers in Buckinghamshire.
On 11th October, the evening before this was due to begin, Eddie’s sous-chef ,Josh, broke his hand and would therefore be unable to assist. A call was put out for ]assistance and In stepped W Bro Gary Fraser (Iver Lodge) and his wonderful partner Julie Robins who both very kindly said ‘we’ll see you in the morning’ and have given up every single morning since then to help.
On Christmas Day, the team were in the kitchens from 05:00 and delivered a full Christmas meal with all the trimmings, as well as meals for Bank Holiday Monday.
The team prepared 65 freshly cooked meals daily, using fresh, locally sourced produce. With the funding provided, they will continue to make meals until the end of January 2021, by which time will over 4,800 meals will have been cooked including dietary requirements such as vegetarian, gluten and lactose free.
A special thank you to WB Martin Wing and Heatherton Lodge for their massive support collecting the meals from Marlow and delivering to SHOC.
In addition, Eddie and his team were contacted by WB Steve Jones (Stokenchurch Lodge) to see what they could do for the One Can Trust. With the help of WB Tony Martin and the Brethren of Marlow Masonic Centre, they raised over £3,000 towards this.
With Eddie’s contacts within the catering industry he secured massively discounted produce turning this £3,000 into £6,000. This has been a huge help to the One Can Trust who advise we have helped in excess of 4,000 families over the 3-month period. There is one more delivery left to make in January.
Thanks go to Eddie and all those who have supported him in this fantastic endeavour.
These bears are part of Bucks Freemasons Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) initiative.
Teddies for Loving Care has distributed over 1 million teddy bears to children's A&E departments across the UK. Not only do the teddy bears comfort and calm the children, they really do make the nursing staff's job somewhat easier in appraising and befriending the often distraught kiddies. Not every child receives a teddy, but those that do, get to keep it and take it home.
Lou Amey a member of Fenny Stratford Lodge of Freemasons, which meets in Bletchley, has been involved with the delivery of the teddies to MK Hospital for several years. On this latest delivery he was accompanied by the Assistant Head of Freemasonry in Buckinghamshire, John Clark, John's wife Sarah and TLC co-ordinator Mel Shah.
Mel Shah, who organises the distribution of the teddies throughout all of the children's departments in Buckinghamshire hospitals, said: "This delivery of teddies represents just one month's supply and brings the number of bears delivered to Milton Keynes to 650 this year alone. They have made such a difference to the sick children, comforting them during their recovery. All of the teddies are purchased by funds raised and donated by local Freemasons."
At the start of the lockdown in March 2020, Florence Nightingale Hospice was put in a terrible position. Patients within the hospice were unable to have visitors. A time when their family and friends longed to be with them in the final days of life to offer support and comfort and also to say those hard goodbyes.
The Lodges in the Aylesbury area have always been close supporters of the charity and Buckinghamshire Freemasons generally is a true advocate of all they do.
A call-out to some of the local lodges to see if they could assist in raising money to enable a fast procurement of tablet computers to enable each patient to be allocated one for the term of their stay to have 24/7 contact with friends and family.
As you would expect, the lodges contacted stepped-up to the plate and monies raised quickly to enable 8 tablets and cases to be obtained. These are:
> Haddenham Lodge 8944
> Haddenham Mark Lodge 1629
> Vale Lodge 6632
> Ferdinand de Rothschild Lodge 2420
> Ferdinand de Rothschild Chapter 2420
> Entente Cordiale Lodge 9490
The hospice has waited for months to be able to invite a representative along to make the presentation and was only able to do so recently when restrictions lifted and they had changed their own guidelines for non relatives / friends to attend.
They are so very thankful for this initiative we assisted with so quickly and Buckinghamshire Freemasons for the continued support given to them.
Here is the Charity Steward of Haddenham Lodge presenting the Tablets (which had been quarantined purposely for this) to two of the staff:
> Tracey Batt - Day Hospice Team Leader
> Heather Wilkinson – Healthcare Assistant