Members of Doncaster & District Installed Masters Association (D&DIMA) finished the year by raising £1,500 in just ten days to buy gifts for underprivileged children through its ‘A Toy for Christmas’ appeal.
Toys purchased through the festive scheme were distributed via the Trussell Trust foodbanks, whose referral/vetting procedures ensured the presents went to where they were most needed.
Chris Wheeler, Association chairman, said: “I’d like to thank all those Masons who contributed financially to ensure that a good number of children across the Doncaster District, who were not guaranteed to get a Christmas present, received at least one.
“Charity is at the heart of Freemasonry, and this is clearly evident here, in Doncaster, at what has been a very difficult year for many people.
“I’m very proud to be a Freemason, and even prouder of our contribution to the Doncaster community where our members live and work.”
The D&DIMA is made up of Masters and Past Masters from St George’s Lodge, Don Valley Lodge, Danecastre Lodge, Hall Cross Lodge, Rockingham Lodge, St Nicholas Lodge, Bawtry Lodge, Stonegate Lodge, De Mauley Lodge, Boothferry Lodge, Forget Me Not Lodge, West Riding Fairways Lodge, Gothic Lodge and Aire & Calder Lodge.
Historical Treasure Trove!
Former Chapter of Sincerity Secretary, John Watson, with some of the records dating as far back as 1854
Historical records from a Bradford Masonic order are giving a fascinating insight into the German heritage of its early membership.
Included with items of regalia including aprons, robes, banners, collars and certificates from the now closed Chapter of Sincerity - which was consecrated in 1854 and initially met at The Literary Institute, on Darley Street - were detailed minute books and financial ledgers.
The records reveal that a good number of those who founded the Chapter were German, or from Germanic decent, who came to Bradford to work in the city’s burgeoning cloth and textiles industry.
The Founder and First Principal was Joseph Arnold Unna, who is recorded as taking a great interest in local trade and charitable organisations. Born in Hamburg in 1800, he came to Leeds in 1836, and then to Bradford in 1844, to take charge of the local branch of a Manchester merchanting house, Messrs SL Behrens & Co.
In the second quarter of the 19th Century, when Bradford was extending in leaps and bounds both in size and population, Germans settled in Bradford to merchant the wool and cotton goods manufactured in the district.
A local directory of 1853 counts more than 50 German Merchanting Houses in the city. The number of Freemasons in Bradford increased considerably by a large influx of members of German extraction, with ceremonies and conversations performed and carried on in a mixture of English and German.
Other founders named in the Chapter of Sincerity’s first minutes include Hermann Neumann, Salomon Bardsdorf, Michael Schonfeld, Ferdinand Spiro and John Grupper.
Early members listed include Julius Wolffsohn, Isidor Ahrens, Anton Engelmann, Moritz Rothenstein, John Ludwig Siltzer and Charles Unna.
Whilst there was a break in meetings of the Chapter from March 7, 1867 until April 6, 1871, the Franco-German War, which began in 1870, not only saw a boom in the export of cloth to the continent, it coincided with a marked increase in Masonic activity.
Four new members were ‘exalted’ (initiated) into the Chapter of Sincerity in April 1871, with a further four proposed for membership at the same meeting.
Following on from its consecration 167 years ago, the Chapter met at various locations apart from The Literary Institute. These were The Connaught Rooms, Spring Bank Place off Manningham Lane, and finally from December 2015 until its closure last October, Pudsey Masonic Hall.
Whilst the minute books detail the events of each Chapter meeting - namely the ceremonies conducted and who attended them - the itemised bills specify the food and drink purchased for the ‘Festive Board’ - the meal traditionally held after each meeting.
At one occasion, which took place on November 21, 1888, at the Alexandra Hotel, on Great Horton Road, the Chapter racked up a bill of five pounds and four shillings for 13 bottles of whiskey, a bottle of sherry, a bottle of brandy and cigars.
On October 2, 1894, the ‘supper’ order included 21-and-three-quarter pounds of mutton leg and beef crop, a scalded calf’s head, four pounds of cheese, two stone of potatoes, four cauliflowers, one butter and three dozen dinner buns. Also on the list was the loan of four plants and the purchase of cut flowers.
Ahead of another meeting on September 18, 1899, the Chapter purchased six bottles of Glenlivet whisky, six bottles of Irish whiskey, two bottles of gin and 72 bottles of Bass ale from Gladstone and Conghar wine and spirit merchants.
John Watson, who joined the Chapter of Sincerity in 1997, said: “The Chapter minute books give a fascinating insight into its first meetings and the Masons who helped found it back in 1854.
“The minute books are beautifully written and detail the events of each meeting, the ceremonies conducted, and who attended them.
“It’s clear from these records that the Chapter of Sincerity had a strong German cohort, and Bradford Freemasonry in general benefitted greatly from these migrants drawn to the city by its flourishing textiles industry.
“Whilst it’s a great pity the Chapter of Sincerity is no more, Bradford still has a strong Masonic community, with members drawn from across the community who are keen to be part of our fraternal organisation.
“My hope is that these records, and those from Masonic Lodges and Chapters from across our Province, are digitised and made available for the general public to access.”
John added: “Whilst the nature of our meetings has not altered much from the 1850s, the festive boards certainly have. They are still highly enjoyable but possibly not quite as boozy as those enjoyed in the later part of the 19th Century.”
A Yorkshire charity which supports people to work their way out of homelessness has received a £30,000 early Christmas present from the Freemasons.
Emmaus ‘communities’ in Leeds, Sheffield and Bradford, will each receive £10,000 to help finance their on-going activities, thanks to a grant from the Masonic Charitable Foundation
COVID-19 lockdown restrictions have meant that Emmaus social enterprise shops, which provide both income and employment training opportunities, had to close. The impact of this lost income meant that the communities could be at risk.
The charity, which first opened in 1992 and now has 29 ‘communities’ - the name it gives its residential sites, spread across the UK – was nominated for funding by the Freemasons Province of Yorkshire West Riding.
The valuable support from the Freemasons will help to ensure that current services are sustainable and able to continue to provide much needed support in the future.
Its Leeds and Sheffield communities provide accommodation, support and meaningful work to nearly 100 people, at any one time, who have experienced homelessness.
The combination helps to rebuild lost self-esteem, provides routine and stability to work on issues and enable those who have experienced homelessness to positively move on in their lives.
David S Pratt, the Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Yorkshire West Riding, said:
“We are absolutely delighted to have secured this £30,000 from the Masonic Charitable Foundation for the three Yorkshire Emmaus communities.
“Charity is at the heart Freemasonry and sadly due to COVID-19 many charities have been unable to undertake their normal fundraising activities. This grant will now go some way in ensuring Emmaus is able to continue the valuable work it does in supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our society get back on their feet.”
This latest grant is the third Emmaus Sheffield has received from the Freemasons this year.
In October, it was awarded £3,000 to part-fund the installation of two new boilers in its Victoria Quays community, a Grade II Listed former cutlery works which houses 18 former homeless people at any one time.
And during the first lockdown, it was given £5,000 to enable it to buy a fogging machine and personal protective equipment, so it could reopen its shop for the refurbishment and sale of second hand goods.
Big hearted Masonic bikers have been revving support for a number of Yorkshire charities.
Members of the Widows Sons ‘Ridings Chapter’ – Freemasons with a passion for motorbikes – have donated a total of £1,250 to six good causes across the region.
The funds have been raised mostly through the sale of merchandise to members and supporters and one member participating in the ‘Distinguished Gentleman Riders’ solo ride, a worldwide event to raise money for Men’s Cancer Charities.
Those to benefit are Connaught Court care home, York; Martin House Children’s Hospice in Boston Spa, near Wetherby; POPI (Pass On Pre Loved Items), Keighley; Follifoot Disabled Riders Group, Harrogate; PACT (The Parents Association of Children with Tumours and Leukaemia), Sheffield, who received donations of between £100 and £500.
Ridings Chapter President Matthew Duffy said: “Widows Sons are all Freemasons with a passion for motorcycles, meeting regularly at various haunts across the region when we can, and riding out, again when we can.
“One of the three great principles of Freemasonry is charity, and as well as enjoying biking, we have also been raising money when we can for a variety of different organisations across the region.”
Candidacy of the Widows Sons is open to all Masons who own a road worthy motorbike and hold a full licence.
The Ridings Chapter meet at Squires Café Bar, in Sherburn in Elmet, on a Wednesday evening, and Strawberry Fields, York, on a Friday night, both during the summer months. Rideout’s usually take place on a weekend.
Further information about the Windows Sons Ridings Chapter is available from its website, http://www.ridingschapter.co.uk/ or by emailing the Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org
Freemasons from across Leeds have answered a call to ensure hundreds of children across the city will receive at least one present this festive season.
In previous years, members of lodges and side orders who meet in Headingley’s Castle Grove Masonic Hall have been asked to donate a present or money to buy gifts, which were then donated to a number of local charities.
The organisations who received gifts over the last two years include Leeds Children’s Hospital, Martin House Hospice Care for Children and Young People, Leeds Children’s Charity, and Leeds Jewish Welfare Board and Barnardo’s.
However, because the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced the closure of Castle Grove, toy appeal co-ordinator organiser Graham Shiers has asked for monetary contributions instead, resulting in an avalanche of cash donations totalling in excess of £2,700 plus donations of brand new toys and clothing.
Graham said: “The generosity of my fellow Freemasons is just overwhelming, and because of this we are able to increase the list of recipients this year from five charities to six, with Leeds Baby Bank, PhysCap Children's Charity and Homeless Street Angels now benefitting.
“I’ve been blown away by the donations to date. In addition to toys and gifts we are also buying more practical presents including pyjamas and winter clothing.
“It has also enabled us to provide other items including nappies, nappy sacks, baby wipes, baby shampoo and wash, plus other essentials that the Leeds Baby Bank will distribute to families in need over the festive period.
“We are also now helping four families via Homeless Street Angels, including a single dad whose partner killed herself two years ago. He lost his job due to struggling with child care - he has a ten year old daughter and has nothing for her so we'll make sure she has a good Christmas.
“And with many Jewish Freemasons meeting at Castle Grove, I’m once again delighted that Leeds Jewish Welfare Board will again receive Chanukah gifts for the 24 children under its care.”
Graham - a member of Loyalty Lodge and the Lodge of Fidelity who started the toy appeal two years ago - said: “Never in all my years of being a Freemason have I been prouder of being a member of this wonderful fraternity.
“Despite all the hardships that Covid has inflicted, not only has the local membership risen to the occasion, it has done so to the power of ten, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
“I would like to personally thank everyone who has donated to this cause. Charity is one of the three great pillars that Freemasonry is founded on - and charity is very dear to our hearts.”
R.W. Bro David Pratt, Provincial Grand Master
Each year the Provincial Grand Master considers recommendations from the Assistant Provincial Grand Masters for exceptional promotions in Provincial Grand Rank. Most notable amongst these are the few brethren whose exceptional service has earned them promotion to the highest Past Provincial Rank, that of Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden.
These recommendations are drawn-up by scrutiny groups in each Area of the Province. These groups are composed of senior members within that Area who have experience of brethren from across their patch. Those which meet with the approval of the APGM are put forward for the personal consideration of the Provincial Grand Master. Those few who are chosen would normally receive a surprise visit to their Lodge from a Provincial Ruler who would promote them under the authority of the PGM and present them with a collar jewel and apron badge.
As it is not possible this year to undertake these visits, each Brother received their promotion in a personal telephone call from their APGM, and their names appear below so that we can all celebrate their success.
R.W. Bro David Pratt, Provincial Grand Master, said:
“I am delighted to be able to acknowledge the special contribution of these brethren through their promotion to the highest Provincial rank of Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden. The reasons for each are individually determined, and their contributions have been varied. In some cases, I have acknowledged their exceptional length of service whilst in others, it has been the nature of their contribution that has been exceptional. Whichever, they are all to be congratulated for their dedicated service to Freemasonry in general and to this Province in particular, and I offer my heartiest good wishes together with my hope that they will soon be able to wear their new regalia with pride.”
A major grant of £74,500 has been awarded to the West Yorkshire Scout Group by the Mark Benevolent Fund. The Grant will fund the building of a brand new storage facility at the Bradley Wood County Scout Campsite & Activity Centre in Brighouse.
Scouting mirrors the aims of Freemasonry in so many ways, so it’s good to see the MBF supporting them at this challenging time.
The Mark Benevolent Fund made grants in excess of £200,000 to charitable projects in West Yorkshire last year, including major grants for an Ambulance Support Vehicle for St John Ambulance Yorkshire, a Rapid Response Vehicle for Yorkshire Air Ambulance, a new Mini Bus for Martin House Hospice and the refurbishment of a Barge for Safe Anchor Trust. It also supported several Hospices in the Province and the flood victims of South Yorkshire earlier in the year.
Our MBF Festival in 2023 and the support it receives from our own charity, the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust, will help the Mark Benevolent Fund continue the excellent work it does in our communities.
It’s good to have some good news in these difficult times, but those same times have severely restricted income to both the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust and the Festival. So please review what you give to the Trust by Standing Order and continue to support the Festival in any way you can. It will be very much appreciated and will help the good work our Mark charities do to continue.
Your money, your Province, your support, your success
A Sheffield charity that provides, trains and supports specialist assistance dogs for people with a range of disabilities has received funding for a Labrador puppy from local Freemasons.
Ivanhoe Lodge, which meets at Tapton Hall in Crosspool, has given £20,000 to Support Dogs, which will pay for the two-year specialised training of the dog, appropriately named Ivanhoe .
Founded in 1992, national charity Support Dogs provides all its services entirely free of charge to those in need of them, specialising in three specific programmes: autism assistance dogs for children with autism, seizure alert dogs to detect seizures in people with epilepsy, and disability assistance dogs for people with a range of physical disabilities and medical conditions.
Ivanhoe will be trained as an autism assistance dog to provide safety and companionship and helping to bring independence and a more socially inclusive life to both the child and their family.
Autism assistance dogs are shown to reduce stress for family members, promote positive changes in behaviour, provide comfort for children with autism when upset and reduce behavioural outbursts. They are also trained to keep a child safe using a wide range of methods.
John Clague, one of the Trustees of Ivanhoe Lodge, said: “Thanks to a sizeable legacy from the estates of the late Percy and Mary Parramore, we have been able to financially support this fantastic charity, and what Support Dogs do is simply inspirational.
“W Bro Percy Parramore was a highly respected Past Master of the Ivanhoe Lodge, and he and his sister, Mary, were life-long supporters of local charities, especially those associated with Freemasonry and scouting.
“I’m delighted that we are in a position to fund a new Support Dogs’ puppy, which has been called Ivanhoe in honour of our Lodge, and we look forward to hearing about his progress in the coming weeks, months and years.”
John added: “Charity is one of Freemasonry’s three founding principles. Last year, the legacy allowed us to purchase a new motorbike for the Whiteknights Yorkshire Blood Bikes as well as pay for its running costs for three years.
“I’m proud to be a Freemason and incredibly proud of the support we are able to offer to community groups in and around the Sheffield area.”
David Heugh, Support Dogs’ Partnerships' Ambassador, said: “I would like to say a massive thank you to Ivanhoe Lodge for this wonderful donation.
“It takes up to two years and approximately £20,000 to train a Support Dogs' partnership. We then provide ongoing 24/7, 365 days a year support throughout an average eight-year working career.
“Whilst we don’t receive any government funding we provide all of our services entirely free of charge to those in need of them.
“Without funding from the likes of Ivanhoe Lodge, we would not be able to provide the services that we do, to families and individuals throughout England, Scotland and Wales.”
Support Dogs would be delighted to hear from other Lodges who may interested in supporting and more information is available from its website, https://www.supportdogs.org.uk
Four Yorkshire hospices, whose fundraising activities have been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, have received a financial boost from Leeds Freemasons.
The members of Zetland Lodge, which meets in Castle Grove Masonic Hall, in Headingley, have given a total of £6,000 to them – the single biggest donation in its 150-year history.
The hospices, who will each receive £1,500, are:
Zetland Lodge is one of circa 200 lodges in the Freemasons’ Province of Yorkshire West Riding, whose geographical area is based on the old West Riding and ranges from Sheffield in the South to Ripon in the North.
Richard Knockton, Zetland Lodge Master, said: “During the ‘lockdown’, hospices have been unable to raise funds from their usual activities, including income generated via their charity shops. And more important, they are not aided by large amounts of Government funds.
“With this being the case, the Lodge took the decision to support our local hospices from our ‘Relief Chest’ funds.
“Albeit it is split between the four hospices above, this is probably the largest single donation that we have made from our Relief Chest, and I hope it goes some way in assisting them during this particularly difficult time.”
Richard added: “Despite being unable to hold our Lodge meetings, we have not lost sight of our three founding principles, with charitable giving being at the centre of them.
“This money has come from the pockets of our members, and I’m delighted that we are able to support the work of these four wonderful organisations, that are so valued by us all, in some small way.”
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