A personal letter by Dr David Staples, Chief Executive of the United Grand Lodge of England. This has also been placed as a full page advert in The Times, Daily Telegraph and Guardia.
At the United Grand Lodge of England, we value honesty, integrity and
service to the community above all else. Last year we raised over £33
million for good causes.
As an organisation we welcome individuals from all walks of life, of
any faith, age, class or political persuasion.
Throughout our 300 year
history, when people have suffered discrimination Freemasonry has
embraced them into our lodges as equals.
The United Grand Lodge of England believes that the ongoing gross
misrepresentation of its 200,000 plus members is discrimination. Pure
We owe it to our membership to take this stance, they shouldn’t have
to feel undeservedly stigmatised. No other organisation would stand for
this and nor shall we.
I have written to the Equality and Human Rights Commission to make this case.
I appreciate that you may have questions about who we are and what we
do, so over the next six months our members will be running a series of
open evenings and Q&A events up and down the country. These will be
promoted in the local media and on our website.
I am also happy to answer any queries directly.
Please feel free to
write to me here at Freemasons’ Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, London WC2B
5AZ and I will come back to you.
Dr David Staples Chief Executive United Grand Lodge of England
Bristol 2019 MSF Festival Report
The following report was delivered by the Bristol 2019 MSF Festival Chairman W Bro. Steve Bennett at Bristol Installed Masters’ Lodge on Wednesday 29th November 2017.
The final phase - just 17 months remaining of Our Bristol 2019 MSF festival.
In 2013 I stood here to give a talk on how we could deliver a successful festival by all working together and by encouraging our respective lodges to support this vital fundraising effort.At the outset of the appeal it was the Provincial Grand Masters instruction that the festival should have two objectives – raise as much money as possible and raise awareness of the support available to brethren and their dependents from the masonic charities.
I am delighted to confirm that, to date, we have been successful in one and very successful in the other.
The PGM announced at PGL in May that We have already raised our initial objective of £650,000 and we should be above £690,000 at the end of December.This is a splendid achievement and the brethren in the province are to be congratulated on their fundraising efforts thus far.
In raising awareness of the support available from the masonic charities to our members we have been very successful;
In 2013: 30 grants totaling £116,000 were made to members or their families in this province 2014: 33 grants totaling £99,200 2015: 27 grants totaling £99,600 In 2016 the number reduced to 18 totaling £41,000 and this will increase as some are ongoing.
It is obvious from these figures that we need to put more than our original target back into to the system to cover that which benefits our members in this province not only during the Period of the festival but in helping future needs going forward before the next festival arrivals.
Brethren we should be immensely proud of our Masonic Charities – there is not another organization in the country which offers such a vast range of support to its members in the time of need.
The average per capita amount raised for the masonic charities across all provinces is £647. To date, our total equates to a per capita amount of £544. From this, brethren, you can see that we must all continue in our efforts to produce a truly successful outcome to our festival.
So, how are we doing?
We Have 11 lodges who have hit their original target and all are still committed to supporting the festival.15 Lodges who are above 80% of their original objective and should achieve 100% and more during the remaining 17 months. Many more Lodge Achievement Awards will be presented in the coming months.
A very small number of lodges are below this level and I urge them to make every effort to shoulder their fair share of the responsibility.
Every lodge has been tasked equally with raising the per capita amount of £495. It makes no difference whether the lodge has 70 members or 25, the demographics of age, – every lodge has been tasked the same and should make every effort to fulfil its obligation to our festival.
Even this, The Bristol Installed Masters Lodge, was asked to raise a specific amount and I am delighted to say that that has not only been achieved but in fact exceeded- so I thank you all, worshipful brethren and I urge to continue!
Now for the burning question - What should we now aim to raise?
The projected amount of grants received from the end of the last festival to the end of this one is in the region of £800,000. If we then look at the national average across all provinces being a per capita of £647 and base our figure on the membership of all lodges except for BIML and Patrons we have 1,270, giving a total of £826,000.
So, in setting our final target at £826,000 - we can be certain of three things;
1. we will have repaid all monies received as grants into the province during that period. 2. We will have also added money to the charity. 3. We would have donated the average Per capita across all provinces.Brethren with this challenge we have 17 months to raise £136,000 to support a charitable system that provides cradle to grave support for our members and their loved ones in need.
It is also supporting local charities in our communities and last year alone, over 4,000 local charities and initiatives in England wales received grants totaling over £6 million!!!
If we focus all our fund raising on the festival, we can do it and also support our local charities via the MCGF at the same time. Use the gift aid RPP forms which can still be taken out over a six-year period. The total amount is credited to the lodge at the time it is submitted.Free prize draws, and gift aid envelopes boost all takings by 25%! Encourage every new initiate to support by taking out a regular promise payment. Brethren I appeal to and urge all members of your lodges to rise to this challenge - if we all work together we will do it.
If every lodge achieves its original target and continues to raise money and support the festival, as most have been doing, we will achieve our goal. A small increase in the per capita amount will result in a truly successful Festival!Continued support from The Royal Arch, Bristol Masonic society, Masonic Golf Society, other orders, and circles will also boost our fund raising and the net result will be an additional per capita amount.
You can be assured that the members of the festival committee will continue to help and assist in every way to ensure a successful outcome. I take this opportunity to thank them for their dedication and hard work. And to you Worshipful brethren I thank you for the support that you have given to the appeal, thus far, and I say again that working together, encouraging and promoting we can do it - and what an amazing feeling of Pride that the brethren of this Province will experience when it is announced at the Festival Gala Dinner in April 2019 that we have raised £826,000!!!
W Bro. Steve Bennett Bristol 2019 Festival Chairman
Tim Brunton and Chris Cook as MCF representatives visited the charity at their offices at Upper Maudlin Street.
They are part of a network of charities that offers support and advise to young women who are in the process of self harming. Support is provided through a phone line, texting and the internet. They also go into local schools and prisons. Their services are also to older women and men.
They made Tim and Chris feel very welcome and we were pleased that we could help such a worthwhile charity.
Masonic Charitable Foundation
The MCF has defined its Strategy and Values as :
RESPONSIVE TO NEED MAKING A DIFFERENCE
STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE
Emergency grants in the wake of hurricanes Irma and Maria from the MCF: £110,000
£450,000 has been awarded to 245 hospices across England and Wales.
£41,053 of small grants awarded in July to 9 charitable organisations.
£552,045 of large grants awarded in July to 12 charitable organisations.
Province of Bristol masons and dependents in 2016/2017 received grants of £40,879 and so far this year £21,082.
In 2016/2017 across All Provinces a total of 4,024 grants at a total of £6,001,376.61 was awarded.
concerning the grant giving are soon to be produced. 177,801 votes were
cast. 87% from members of the general public.
Monies raised from Festivals completed in 2017 by provinces was £10.84 million.
By Jan 2018 the Relief Chest Scheme will have an on line donation platform.
MCF are launching an on line will making service.
MCF Hospice Grants Awarded in the Province of Bristol
On the 25th October 2017 The MCF approved £450,000
for hospices across England and Wales. In total the Masonic Community
has awarded over £12 million to the hospices since 1984 through the MCF.
This year Jessie May was awarded £1,000 and St Peter's Hospice £2,620.
In addition, significant monies will be awarded in
partnership with Hospice UK, the national charity for hospice care.
This is a pilot project to give more substantial grants to hospices.
grants will help develop and extend bereavement support services in
hospices; the effect of these services will enhance the well-being of
bereaved families or individuals.
The very significant grant will be
announced in March 2018.
MCF £25,000 Award for Avon Riding Centre for the Disabled
On the 4th October, our Provincial Charity Steward W Bro. Tim Brunton visited the Avon Riding Centre for the Disabled for the
presentation of a £25,000 cheque as winners of the MCF Community Award
for the Bristol Province.
The money is going to be spent on the purchase
of two horses and their training, the resurfacing of an out door
paddock so it becomes all weather and not muddy, and extending their car
park. This will allow them to host the regional riding disability
W Bro Tim was joined by Bro. Les Bakos from Moira Lodge [a
newly joined mason] who had voted for the charity in the summer, visited
their operation and has now put himself forward as a volunteer!
Sportsmen's Lodge Walk Around Bristol Docks
The Worshipful Master of Sportsmen's Lodge and his wife Janet would like to thank all those that attended and enjoyed a splendid summers morning walk around Bristol's iconic harbour side on Sunday 20th August, all in support of the Tercentenary celebrations.
Departing from Millennium Square the tour headed for the Trumpet Bridge for a photo shoot before a coffee stop at The M Shed cafe.
Cook delighted everyone by issuing them with a raffle ticket for a Free
Prize Draw, the 2 winners receiving a bottle of wine each, donated by the lodge's first Worshipful Master.
along the riverside passing numerous points of interest it seemed that
in no time at all, the "Underfall Yard" came into view where an alfresco lunch
stop was held.
The members of Sportsmen's Lodge thank the generosity of all who came, with donations raising £100 which will be donated to MSF 2019 Festival.
Just a thought for Summer 2018............ a walk in the countryside including a pub lunch?
The Classic 300 Car Run - South West Route 2
Ashton Gate Stadium (Bristol) to Haynes International Motor Museum (Yeovil)
On Sunday 2nd July 2017 crowds gathered on a lovely summer's morning at Ashton Gate Stadium, home of Bristol City FC and Bristol Rugby to await the arrival of a wonderful selection of classic cars. This was the departure point of the South West Route 2 run to the world famous Haynes Motor Museum in Somerset. A giant electronic screen on the side of the stadium welcomed all the crews as they entered the car park.
After light refreshments the first cars were ready to leave. The Provincial Grand Master of Bristol, Alan Vaughan, accompanied by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Jonathan Davis presented the "travelling gavel" to John Slade, driving a beautiful 1967 E-Type Jaguar.
The Union Jack was raised and then at thirty second intervals the other 23 cars began their scenic journey. They passed through Cheddar Gorge, Wookey Hole and the Somerset Lowlands.Morgan’s, a Sunbeam Tiger, an Aston Martin, a Triumph Stag, a Royal Sceptre, a Bentley and a Mini Cooper to name but a few were cheered by the spectators as they left.
The Province of Bristol was extremely pleased to be involved with this event and supporting The Classic 300. We also thank Phil Cottrell, a member of the 300 committee for travelling from Berkshire to set up the flags and banners. From there he went to Haynes Motor Museum to welcome John Slade and retrieve the gavel for the next event. Thanks also to Ashton Gate for their help, assistance and use of their facilities.
We wish the remaining "Runs" well and hope they have such a good turnout of classics and brilliant weather as we had.
Most of all, we thank the classic car owners for being part of the day
Report by Chris Cook
The Avon Riding School for the Disabled
The Avon Riding School for the Disabled kindly invited Tim Brunton (Provincial Charity Steward) and Chris Cook (Past Provincial Charity Steward) to look around their operation.
They are one of the four nominated charities for the MCF voted award of £25,000 - Louise Leigh informed that their 5,000 followers on Facebook and all visitors have been encouraged to vote on the MCF Portal mcf.org.uk/vote.
If they were to win the top prize of £25,000 this would buy 5 horses or cover the running costs of 4 horses for the year.
The other three charities are: Bistol Playbus Project - who have also advertised the MCF Voting Poster on their website and facebook page. Bristol & District Tranquilliser Project, andBristol Underprivileged Children Charity
PGM's Address to Provincial Grand Lodge ~ 13th May 2017
I am very
pleased to see so many Bristol brethren here today. I again thank the visitors
for coming and allowing us to repay the hospitality and friendship we receive
I congratulate those
receiving Provincial Honours and thank them for their loyal service and
contribution. It is your special day
today and I hope that in accepting the Honour you appreciate the responsibilities
attached to it. Continue to support the
Province, the Initiatives to take Masonry forward and your Lodge. I am also
looking to you to instruct and to find new members.
I would like
thank those Provincial Officers who have completed their year in office. I thank them for their support and I am sure
they have enjoyed their year, especially with the four Provincial Visits to
lodges and the other special events.
I must say how
much I have enjoyed the company of VW Bro. Chris Williams who retired today. I
thank him for his support and his advice. I am sure he has enjoyed a
marvellous six years.
particularly thank the retiring Wardens W Bro. Peter Wills and W Bro. Alan Reed, who have
been very conscientious in making so many visits to all the Lodges and
representing the Province extremely well. They have enjoyed their time as Wardens,
supported all the activities in the Province and I know that the Masters in the
Corner and indeed all the Brethren have
enjoyed their company. The new Deputy
Provincial Grand Master W Bro. Jo Davis will I am sure be made very welcome in all
the lodges and I look forward to working with him in future. The two new
Wardens I have appointed, W Bro. Dr Jonathan Hayes and W Bro. Stuart McKendrick need
no introduction and I know you will also enjoy their company.
This year is a
very important year in Masonry since it represents the 300th Anniversary of the
formation of Grand Lodge. Locally we are
supporting this event on the actual day, 24th June, by attending Evensong at
our own Cathedral followed by Dinner in the Hall. There are many other events planned including
an Open Day in September and a very special Dinner in Bristol with the Province
of Monmouthshire in November, when the guest Speaker will be Sir Gareth
Edwards. I congratulate W Bro. Arthur
Grannan and his committee for their work in organising these events.
carried out extensive research, Bro. Gary Williams has identified five pubs
being former meeting places of lodges in the Province and we have had
permission from the planners, from the landlords and from the tenants to put
blue plaques on those buildings, the earliest of which dates from 1735. I am hoping that these blue plaques will be
unveiled by the Lord Mayor in due course.
Nationally, there is a major celebratory meeting at the Royal Albert
Hall on 31 October where Bristol will be fully represented. I am delighted that many Lodges are taking
the opportunity to celebrate in their own way and I am sure this would create
much interest and produce hopefully more candidates.
Grand Lodge had
the foresight to commission the documentary series called 'Inside the
Freemasons' which is currently being shown on Sky television. The viewing figures are very good indeed and
this has resulted in double the normal web traffic and many more potential
candidates responding with a view to becoming members. In addition, the unveiling of the Victoria
Cross Stones outside Feemasons Hall in London has created additional interest
and shows that we are truly part of the community. The television programmes
show that as masons we come in a range of ages, representing many different
religions and from all walks of life. There was a great feeling of friendship
shown in the programmes and that is the message we need to get across to the
survey carried out by the Masonic Charitable Foundation, in 2016 masonic donations
across the country totalling £33 million were made, the majority of which were
to non-Masonic causes. It is anticipated
that in 2017 the amount donated will be in the region of £40 million. In
Bristol we are actively seeking our own publicity and I have appointed W Bro. Kash
Dewani as the Communication Officer in charge of external relations who is
doing an excellent job.
I am delighted
with the support given to the Masonic Samaritan Fund 2019 Festival and I can
tell you that while the total donated is over £600,000 I would ask the Brethren
to bear in mind that we have two years left and we need at least another
£200,000 to repay to central funds the amounts which we have received in
benefits since the last Festival in 2008. I congratulate W Bro. Stephen Bennett and his committee for the hard work
and dedication they have put in to this Festival.
A year ago I
appointed W Bro. Stephen Carter as Provincial Membership Officer. In the last 12 months we have held three
Information Evenings where 49 potential candidates attended, of which 47 were
subsequently assigned to Lodges. Of the
49 only one came from the UGLE website and the others came from our own
website, from friends of members, from the outside events we held in the year superbly
organised by W Bro. Bob White, or from talks given by W Bro. Stephen to professional
and sporting bodies. Many Lodges have
benefited from these candidates and I ask all Lodges to appoint a Membership
Officer in order to take advantage.
also thank W Bro. John Allen for the tremendous work he has done as Mentor in
helping reduce resignations.
continuing quest for education, W Bro. Tony Baker the Provincial Grand Orator has
produced a series of five minute talks which he calls Snippets. These Masonic
'Thoughts for the Day' may be given by the lodge Mentor after each ceremony
which will provide the newer members (and possibly the older members) with
information on a variety of topics mainly relating to the ceremony which has
just taken place. I am sure you will find these very interesting.
Two weeks ago I
consecrated a new lodge called the Scoutcraft Lodge. This was a very enjoyable
day and it showed the Province of Bristol in an excellent light. I congratulate W Bro. Peter Wills the first
Master who did so much work to get the lodge off the ground and all those
Brethren who took part in the Ceremony. I am sure the Lodge will go forward from
strength to strength.
Ceremonies create great interest in other Provinces and we have either recently
demonstrated or will demonstrate in Berkshire, Middlesex, London, the Isle of
Man and in the Grand Temple at UGLE.
am delighted to see the Dunckerleys, our Young Masons Club, acting as Escort
Officers today as they did last year.
This is a fast growing Club that meets socially and brings together
newer members. Every Lodge has a
Representative and if you are not a member and you qualify, you could be
We will continue
to improve and alter the building, not merely repair and maintain it. To this end, in the summer we will be
starting on the air-handling and soon after that we will be looking at
upgrading the foyer, the corridors and the stairways. It is a continuing task but I am sure you
will agree Brethren, the results justify the means.
I am indebted to
VW Bro. Chris Williams and the senior members of the Province for their commitment
and support over the last year. I must
thank on your behalf W Bro. Philip Harrill the Director of Ceremonies and his team,
together with W Bro. Steve Rawlings the outgoing Provincial Grand Secretary and his office
team, and W Bro. Paul Corder and Bro. Des Eastup for the music, all of whom made today’s
meeting so enjoyable.
I express my
thanks to the directors of St George's Hall for their co-operation in allowing
us to use this venue. Each of you will have a gift aid envelope and I would ask
you to use this for today’s collection. The charity we are supporting today is of course the 2019 Masonic
Samaritan Fund Festival.
Brethren I am
honoured to represent this ancient Province and I look forward to another enjoyable
year ahead in your company. Thank you for your attendance
Jerusalem Lodge have donated £200 to Macmillan Cancer Support.
(Picture) Bro Shaun Lloyd, Charity Steward of Jerusalem Lodge presenting the cheque to Dave Kelly
GWAAC & Freemasons Flying High
PRESS RELEASE – For immediate release
Freemasons will be flying high as their logo has been placed
on their local air ambulance in recognition of their support.
The Bristol Freemasons were one of the first groups to
support the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity when it was formed in 2008, and
continue to be a great supporter nine years on. To date they have donated an
GWAAC relies on the public to raise the £2.6million a year
needed to stay operational, and this money has helped to ensure the crew can
reach more people in need across the city.
To mark this support the Freemasons logo has been placed on
the helicopter, and representatives from the Bristol province visited the base
to hear more about the vital life-saving service.
In 2016 the crew attended 1,735 jobs, and of these 39.7%
were in Bristol.
Tim Brunton from Bristol Freemasons said: “We are proud to
see the Masonic Square and Compass on the side of the Great Western Air
Ambulance, which does a hugely important
job saving lives every day across Bristol and beyond.”
The Bristol Freemasons were joined by representatives from
the Gloucestershire and Somerset provinces, including GWAAC trustee and Freemason
Jonathan Skeeles, who was involved in forming GWAAC in 2008.
In total the three provinces have raised £130,584.35.
Chief Executive John Christensen said: “We have been blown
away by the generosity of the Freemasons, and wanted to do something to
recognise the huge contribution they have made to our charity. It seemed
fitting to have their logo placed on our helicopter, as this will be visible
wherever we go across the six counties we cover. I was delighted to be able to
meet representatives from the three provinces to thank them in person, and tell
them more about how their support has made a big difference to us.”
GWAAC receives no day to day funding from the Government or
National Lottery, and so support from organisations such as the Freemasons is
crucial in ensuring the charity can stay operational.
Notes for editors
1.GWAAC has been providing an air ambulance service for 2.1
million people across the counties of Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset,
South Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire, North Somerset and parts of Wiltshire
for 8 years.
2. The GWAAC critical care team consists of a highly trained
and experienced Critical Care Paramedic and Doctor, who bring the skill and
expertise of an Accident and Emergency Department to the patient.
3. In 2016 the Critical Care Team attended 1,735 jobs: by
helicopter and by one of our critical care cars. It is estimated one in five
people who would otherwise die are saved by the actions of the GWAAC clinical
4. We need to raise £2.6million each year to stay operational,
but receive no day to day funding from the Government or National Lottery.