Somerset Freemasons

Lodge News 2017

News from Lodges July 2017

News from Lodges July 2017

End of an Era at Rickford for Forest of Mendip Lodge

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The members of the Forest of Mendip Lodge who attended the last ever meeting at Rickford

In 1965 The Forest of Mendip Lodge was consecrated at Rickford a small hamlet near the Village of Blagdon.The building was the private Chapel of Sir John Wills over the next 52 years the members have enjoyed the location even the parking in the field with long grass, cow pats and when it is raining, mud. Lots of brethren arrived with black shoes and went home with brown ones due to the mud.

And guess what, when we move there will be no cow pats, no brown shoes and a Happy D.C. knowing that everyone has reached the Festive Board.

Many a brother has had to be towed out of the field before the race to our dining venue which have included the Burrington Village hall, The Burrington Inn, Coombe Lodge and other places including two stints at Blagdon Village Club.

Our last meeting was held on Friday 30th June with 75 members & visitors dining, it was a Happy meeting tinged with sadness, but because of rising costs for the upkeep of Rickford Chapel it was decided to move to Yatton.

The festive board was a very enjoyable and happy event, we had two raffles and we auctioned a print of the Lodge and a painting as memories of our time at Rickford, the magnificent amount of £850 was raised, for our Worshipful Masters Charity,"The Nolan Trust"

The Brethren of the Forest of Mendip would like to thank all of our visitors over the years who have supported us.and we would like to say please visit us at Yatton, we may have moved our Lodge meeting place but we are still the same band of Happy Forest of Mendip Masons The photo is of the members who attended the last meeting at Rickford.

Ray Beckingham. L.I.O.
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Few lodges could have enjoyed the pleasure of meeting in such a picturesque a setting

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W Bro Robert Mole with the Honours Board which will be moved to its new home at Yatton. W Bro Rob was twice WM while his father W Bro John Mole was in the chair three times

A New Tenant at Taunton Masonic Hall

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When clearing leaves in the car park of Taunton Masonic Hall the caretaker, Hayley Hunt, was surprised to discover a well camouflaged wild duck sitting on a clutch of eggs. Care has been taken not to disturb it and a bowl of clean water has been provided. Fingers remain crossed that the local cats do not detect her or that any ducklings fall prey to seagulls.

(It has been reported that W Bro Charlie Barker is undecided whether to charge the duck for parking or to propose any male ducklings as candidates for Richard Huish Lodge)
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Gordano Lodge make charitable donations to Julian Trust and Freewheelers EVS

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Two cheques for £600 each were presented to Vera Sanders of The Julian Trust and Mark Green representing Freewheelers EVS. The presentation of the two cheques took place at one of Gordano Lodges Sunday Lunches at Clevedon Masonic Hall on Sunday 11th of June.

The Julian Trust is also known as The Bristol night Shelter. It is open 5 nights a week throughout the year and over the Christmas period, where homeless people and rough sleepers are served dinner and breakfast. Such things as laundry and washing  facilities are provide, and clean fresh clothing is provided where needed. Most nights they deal with between 80 and 100 "guests", double the number of five years ago when they averaged about 40 a night. In the winter, their services become more necessary in the cold weather. They receive no government or council funding and are totally dependent on charitable donations. Not all homeless people are down and outs, some have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own, and are trying hard to improve their lot. We in Freemasonry are fortunate enough to have the support of our Brethren if we fall on hard times, some people do not have that support and so are worthy of our help and support.

Freewheelers Emergency Volunteer Service is, as it says, a service provided to the National health service by volunteer bikers. 

Most hospitals operate a daytime internal courier service to ferry diagnostic specimens, blood, notes, x-rays, frozen breast milk for premature babies and other medical equipment between themselves and other hospitals in the area.

But in the evening and at weekends and Bank holidays hospitals need to make other arrangements for those items that need to be transported there and then. Since 1990 Freewheelers EVS have provided a courier service to the NHS without any charge. Run entirely by volunteers, they deploy at least 3 motorbikes at the request of NHS units throughout week-nights, all weekends and Bank holidays including Christmas across our area, which stretches from Taunton to Thornbury, an across to Chippenham, Devizes, Frome and Glastonbury. Again a purely volunteer organisation receiving no government or council funding, and so dependant on charitable giving. In 2008, the volunteers were awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service, an award equivalent to an MBE and the highest honour that any voluntary group can be given.

The monies raised by Gordano Lodge were "match funded" by Somerset Province, which was mentioned to the recipients at the presentation and they both expressed their gratitude not only to Gordano Lodge, but to Somerset Province as well. They also enjoyed their lunches.

Being one of the smaller Lodges, large amounts of money are hard to come by, but the money was raised by holding several "open" Sunday lunches which included an open invitation to our widows and relatives, and by the generosity of the Brethren of Gordano Lodge 6244.

W Bro Brian S. Clayton WM

Gordano Lodge 6244

Elizabethan Lodge raise more than £3800 for Youth Orchestra Charity

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The members of Elizabethan Lodge of Bath Freemasons have raised £3884 for OpenUp Music, the Bristol-based charity responsible for the creation of The South West Open Youth Orchestra (SWOYO), the first disabled-led regional youth orchestra in the country.

OpenUp Music exists to help young disabled musicians to play a musical instrument, to develop their musicianship, and to experience the joy of performing as part of an orchestra for the very first time. Their Musical Director, Doug Bott, who conducted the concert, said afterwards:
"The South-West Open Youth Orchestra was delighted to give its Bath Fringe Festival debut at Bath Masonic Hall. Live performance is such an essential part of development for all young musicians and it was a joy to bring our music to life in such an historic and beautiful venue. We are extremely grateful to the Elizabethan Lodge for making us so welcome and for their generous donation to this, the UK's only regional disabled-led youth orchestra."

The money had been raised by the Lodge over the previous eighteen months through raffles at their regular meetings, generous donations from friends and colleagues, and fundraising events including the Lodge’s annual Ladies Festival at Cumberwell Golf Club in April.

The cheque was presented to one of the musicians, Ben Pollard, by the Master of Elizabethan Lodge, Malcolm Toogood, at the end of their Festival Fringe concert on Thursday 8th June 2017. The concert was also filmed live by the BBC to be broadcast on Thursday 15th June as part of BBC Music Day 2017.

Image details:
Front (left to right), Musicians:
Bradley Warwick
George Roberts
Ben Pollard (with cheque)
Left Front - Barry Farrimond, Chief Executive OpenUp Music
Left Rear - Doug Bott, Musical Director OpenUp Music
Right - Malcolm Toogood, Elizabethan Lodge


£3000 for Weston-super-Mare Sea Cadets

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When Wessex Lodge were looking for a charitable focus they decided that the Weston-super-Mare Sea Cadets deserved their support. The Sea Cadets do not receive funding from the MOD so have to raise it themselves.

This year Weston Sea Cadets will celebrate their 70th Birthday. Over 100 boys and girls, between 10 and 18 years of age, attend the twice weekly meetings where volunteer ex-Naval personnel provide guidance and training.

The £3000 donation from the Brethren of Wessex Lodge will help fund activities and provide equipment for the Cadets and assist with visits to the traditional Naval bases at Dartmouth, Plymouth and Portsmouth.

News from Lodges May 2017

Brother Malcolm Ness Initiated into Queen’s College Lodge

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On 13th May Malcolm Ness was initiated into Queen’s College Lodge.

Another unique Queen’s ceremony very well received by our 30+ guests. It was an evening when all those doing floor work distinguished themselves.

The Initiation ceremony was carried out by WBro Jim Virjee, IPM, seen congratulating Bro Malcolm with Wm Geoff Dolling looking on. Dates for Malcolm’s initiation last year had to be postponed so our current Worshipful Master very thoughtfully invited WBro Jim to conduct the ceremony which included a demonstration of the ‘Masonic Chain’, resuming the Chair to continue the remainder of the business.

Richard Baker
LIO Queen’s 6988
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Queen’s College Lodge attend Tercentenary Ball

Fourteen brethren supported Worshipful Master Geoff Dolling and his wife, Sally, at the Somerset Provincial Ball on 13th May at the Webbington Hotel and Spa, Axbridge, held as part of the celebrations marking the Tercentenary of English Freemasonry. Among our number on the two tables we were privileged to have the company of the Deputy PGM, John Winston (an honorary member) his wife Lin and the Wm of Bovey Tracey Lodge 8698 (a regular guest) and his wife Jackie.

Richard Baker.
LIO Queen’s 6988

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Teddies return to Paulton Hospital

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When the 2016 Worshipful Masters of the two Midsomer Norton Lodges discovered that Paulton Hospital was the only one in the Province not to give Teddies to the young children treated at the Hospital’s Minor Injury Unit Kevin Chard, of Connaught Lodge No. 3573, and Frank Silver, of Kenneth Kinnersley Lodge No. 9218, decided they would do something about it.

During their year in the Chair of their respective Lodges they raised the required funds to provide a supply of the much loved teddies to the Hospital.

The teddies were presented in May and have already brought comfort to upset children attending the MIU.

In the photograph, from left to right, are: -

Kevin Chard, Helen Hunt; Minor Injuries Nurse, Bernice Drew; Radiographer, Tom Knight; Trainee Radiographer, Jill Flower; Minor Injuries Manager, Kelly Vaughan; Health Care Assistant Minor Injuries and Frank Silver.

Estune & Tyntesfield support “Tough as Nails”

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Two of Nailsea’s Lodges, Estune Lodge No. 6817 and Tyntesfield Lodge No. 4494 have joined together to provide funds to support the “Tough as Nails” Charity Event on July 16th.

The money has been donated to enable the youth of Nailsea to take part in a Charity Assault Course that will help in raising funds for the Nailsea Youth Shelter.

John Wyatt (Estune) & Dave Grounsell (Tyntesfield) stated they were pleased to support the event so as to help both the youth of Nailsea and the local Community at large.

Cheques we received by Julie Raby & Donna Jordan from Carpe Diem Boot Camp who run the event with help from the Nailsea Police Beat Team led by Sgt. Mark Raby.

Donna said “We really appreciate the support to enable the youth of Nailsea to take part in outdoor activities that raise much needed funds for local causes”.

The Members of Estune will also be stewarding at the event

News from Lodges March 2017

Queens College Lodge Installation

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Queens Installation Ceremony 18th March!

The passing of a resolution to remit a further £1,500 to Province for the 2020 Festival produced a fourth Ashlar from the pocket of Presiding Officer VW Deputy PGM John Winston, kept in case of need like the good Scout he is (was a District Commissioner!) and presented this to WBro Jim Wiltshire, Charity Steward, who had confirmed that the Provincial Match Funding Scheme agreed to contribute £1,000 to increase the amount shortly to be presented to the Taunton Association for the Homeless to nearly £4,500.

To a packed lodge and with Past PGM Stanley Hopkins looking on Wm Jim Virjee began the Extended Working Installation ceremony to install his successor, WBro Geoff Dolling. To say he was excellent was an understatement – he was superb! The commitment and effort which has characterised Jim’s twelve months in the Chair shone through the entire ceremony for which he justifiably received great credit.

Very generously, WBro Lionel Frewin decided to return his Past Masters Jewel to the Lodge recently and it gave him great pleasure when he was invited to present it formally to WBro Jim. From the hallmarks, Toye Kenning said it was originally made in 1954. Sadly the name of the original holder was erased before it was presented to Lionel in 1985. For posterity, his name along with that of WBro Jim are engraved on it this time.

After an excellent festive board and quite late into the evening, our VW Deputy PGM was to be found behind the bar under the watchful eye of WBro Peter Thomas!

A successful and memorable meeting for our many guests who clearly thoroughly enjoyed the occasion if the enthusiastic thanks are anything to go by.

A hugely successful Ladies Night for Connaught Lodge!

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On Saturday 11th February, the Members of Connaught Lodge with their many guests met at Cameley Lodge Hotel for their Ladies Festival. The Worshipful Master, Kevin Chard and his wife Alex, worked tirelessly to ensure that the evening was a huge success.
The venue for the night was Cameley Lodge, the function room was set-out with suitable party decorations and tables seating 12. The hotel provided a superb meal which was enjoyed by all and the Director of Ceremonies, Neil Arthur conducted proceedings in an excellent manner.
The Ladies all received a gift and a raffle raised £250, the proceeds of which will be presented to an Alzheimer's Charity, the Worshipful Masters chosen charity for the occasion.

Photographs taken during the event can be viewed on the Connaught Lodge website:

News from Lodges January 2017

Frome Lodges donate more Teddies!

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The two Craft Lodges at Frome, Royal Somerset Lodge and Forest of Selwood Lodge have for many years supplied Teddies to the A&E Department at the Frome Community Hospital, which allows the staff to use them as a comfort to any youngsters who unfortunately have to use this facility.

The Teddies are a great comfort to the children who are sometimes understandably very stressed depending on their injuries. Linda Green, one of the Healthcare Assistants at Frome insists they are a vital ingredient in keeping the children calm, sometimes even the teddies themselves getting bandaged can be a very useful distraction!

The Teddy bear liaison for the Freemasons at Frome, John Collier feels that supporting the hospital is a rewarding and satisfying use of Masonic resources. It is estimated that around 250 teddies are handed out at Frome Hospital in any one year which also demonstrates what a busy unit it is and just how popular the teddies are!

Pictured are Linda Green from the hospital, along with John Collier (Lodge Almoner) and Chris Stilton (Worshipful Master) of Royal Somerset Lodge

Fairway Sunday Lunch

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The Members of Fairway Lodge are spread far and wide throughout the Province and as a result, a function such as a Ladies Night would prove impractical so on the last Sunday in January, Fairway Lodge traditionally hold a “Sunday Lunch”. The venue changes year on year, with the Worshipful Master allegedly deciding where to go.
This year, on Sunday 29th January, Fairway paid a return visit to Cameley Lodge in Temple Cloud where the Members, their Partners and other non-Masonic Guests all enjoyed an excellent meal in very pleasant surroundings avoiding the below par weather around that day!

Fairway Lodge meets 4 times a year, three of those Meetings (in April, June and September) being preceded by Golf at various locations around Somerset. The Lodge also took over the responsibilities of the Somerset Masonic Golf Society some years ago and arranges all “Masonic Golf” within the Province (matches against other Provinces, PGMs Golf Day etc).
If you would like to know more about Masonic Golf in Somerset you can contact the Lodge Secretary, Iain Robertson

Pictured right is the Worshipful Master for 2017, W Bro Tony Guthrie with his partner, Jayne.

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Tynte Burns Night

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On Friday 27th January, with the the Haggis Hunting Season in full swing, a very successful Burns Night was held at the Walnut Tree Hotel, North Petherton by the Brethren, Ladies and Guests of Tynte Lodge No 7994.
In keeping with tradition the haggis was piped in and addressed by W. Bro. Chris Marchmont (in his best Robbie Burn’s accent) before it was carved and then served along with the usual whiskey gravy.
Following the meal the guests were entertained by Bro. Ian Moore’s extremely amusing toast to the memory of Robbie Burns.
After the formalities a local trio provided musical accompaniment while everyone a relaxed social gathering.

Dai Wood (obviously a honorary Scotsman)
Information Officer, Tynte Lodge

Bath Masonic Hall Celebrates 150 Years

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A most unique occasion was celebrated at the Masonic Hall, Old Orchard Street, Bath on Saturday 3rd December 2016 when the Mayor and Mayoress of Bath joined Brethren and Guests to celebrate 150 years (to the day) of Masonry at the Old Theatre Royal.
The assembled audience were treated to a humorous enactment of the opening of a Lodge by W Bro. John Townsend assisted by the Masters of the other six Bath Lodges W Bro. Malcolm Toogood then related a very interesting and informative talk on the history of Masonry in Bath with particular reference to the events leading up to the acquisition of the building. (Even the most enlightened of the audience learnt something new about this fine old building!).
The “formal” part of the evening was followed by a delicious buffet and a late night disco with tour Guides in attendance to provide our guests with the opportunity to explore the building and learn about its chequered past.
A full account of the evening can be found on the Old Theatre Royal Website.

Phil Cottrell, WM Royal Albert Edward Lodge No. 906

Sir Thomas de Cheddre Presentation to Frenchay After Burns Children’s Unit

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In part celebration of having served a second term as WM of Sir Thomas de Cheddre Lodge 9188, W. Bro. Geoff Adams stood in at our January Meeting while his successor took a well-earned break.In doing so he was able to arrange a small presentation to one of his and Sue’s favourite charities, the Frenchay After Burns (FAB) Children’s Club which aims to support and help children to recognise that their hopes and goals are still the same and achievable as any other child in spite of suffering from highly traumatic injuries.

To emphasise the work of the FAB Charity the brethren of 9188 received a talk from Mrs Cathy Marsh a nurse and FAB Trustee at the (now based) Bristol Children’s Burns Unit. Cathy was accompanied by her husband Nick who is also a Trustee. This was followed by a short presentation from Geoff and the donation of cheque for £700 by the Charity Steward, W. Bro. David Harris, on behalf of 9188.

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During his second term as WM of Sir Thomas de Cheddre Lodge 9188, W. Bro. Geoff Adams (and his wife Susan) aimed to support two local charities; the Frenchay After Burns (FAB) Children’s Club and the Holly Hedge Animal Sanctuary. Having presented a cheque for £700 to FAB in January, Geoff accompanied by W. Bro. Frank Kendall (Chaplain) presented a similar cheque to Holly Hedge at Barrow Gurney on the 27th February.

Holly Hedge Animal Sanctuary was founded in 1982 by Pauline Leeson with the aim to provide a safe haven for cats and dogs until caring, permanent and responsible new owners can be found. It is an independent charity which relies on the generosity and goodwill of its supporters to meet its £475,000 annual running costs.

Pictured left is Pauline receiving the cheque from Geoff. Also in the photo left to right are Nicky Leeson (HH), Janet Temperton (HH), Pat Moon, Frank Kendall and Angela Millard (HH) with Susan, Winnie and Buddy in the foreground.

W.Bro Tony Schofield

Lodge Information Officer - 9188

Perpetual Friendship’s Warming Winter Wander

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What better way to beat the January blues than a very enjoyable evening of good food and great companionship!!

Perpetual Friendship enjoyed some pre-dinner Cocktails followed by a visit to a local Thai Restaurant.
The evening proved to be great success, as we all enjoyed some freshly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components and a spicy edge.
The evening was made that little bit more special; as we were joined by members of other Bridgwater lodges.
By coincidence, there just so happened to be a birthday celebration (always a good reason for the pre-dinner Mojitos).

We must also acknowledge the sturdy efforts of Charity Steward Matthew Redman who kindly organised another great evening.

Kevin Richardson
Lodge Information Officer 135