A charity radio station which has seen its presenters broadcasting from improvised studios in their homes, has been given a £1,000 boost by Harrogate Freemasons.
When the Coronavirus barred access to the wards of Harrogate District Hospital to all but patients and essential staff, its volunteer-led radio station moved its operation offsite.
Thanks to technology, a total of three makeshift studios were created in the homes of Harrogate Hospital Radio members – ensuring shows will go on, 24 hours a day!
And now with a £1,000 donation, the society has been able to purchase the necessary equipment to allow more presenters to broadcast from home.
The money has come courtesy of the Freemasons Province of Yorkshire West Riding’s Provincial Grand Master’s Fund, after being put forward for a grant by the members of Harlow Lodge, which meets at Harrogate Masonic Hall.
Each year, the fund distributes £200,000 to good causes around the Province, which is based on the old West Riding, geographically ranging from Sheffield in the South to Ripon in the North.
Harrogate Hospital Radio Chairman Mark Oldfield said: “I can't thank the members of Harlow Lodge enough for nominating us for this fantastic donation. It means we can now purchase the necessary equipment to enable more of our presenters to broadcast their shows from home.
“And once we are able to return to our studios, the technology will mean we can hopefully attract disabled people to our organisation, as access to our facilities is limited.
“Over the years we have received tremendous support from the Freemasons and have benefitted greatly from their financial support, including the refurbishment of one of our studios.”
David S Pratt, Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Yorkshire West Riding, said: “Harrogate Hospital Radio is a fantastic charity, run by volunteers for the good of the patients and staff within the town’s District Hospital.
“It’s a pleasure to have been able to award this grant. We have a long and happy association with this charity with two former chairmen being Freemasons.
“Coronavirus many have stopped its members from physically accessing their studios, but it hasn’t stopped them continuing the service they have provided for more than four decades.”
Further information about Harrogate Hospital Radio is available from its website, http://www.harrogatehospitalradio.org.uk/
Airedale Hospital in West Yorkshire received a Mobile Chemotherapy Unit funded by the M.B.F. in November 2018. Over the last 12 months, it has donated over £200,000 to Charities across West Yorkshire, including:
An Ambulance Support Vehicle for St John Ambulance Yorkshire £32,000
A Rapid Response Vehicle for Yorkshire Air Ambulance £32,093
A new Minibus for Martin House Hospice, Boston Spa £39,957
Refurbishment of a Canal Barge for Safe Anchor Trust £48,235
Special Syringe Drivers for Kirkwood Hospice, Huddersfield £23,400
A Flood Relief grant to South Yorkshire Community Foundation £20,000
Perinatal unit support, Forget-me-not Children’s Hospice, Huddersfield £16,585
Portable Electronic Gaming equipment for Forget-me-not Hospice £4.035
Similar to the Craft national Charity, the M.C.F., the Mark Benevolent Fund relies on Provincial Festivals for its funding and the Mark Province of West Yorkshire is currently in Festival. You can help to support the West Yorkshire Mark Festival just CLICK HERE
The Cleeves and Whitehead Trust is a local West Yorkshire Mark Charity, providing Support and Pastoral Care for West Yorkshire Mark Masons and their families. It also makes grants to worthy causes in the community and last year donated over £44,000 to Charities in our Province. These included:
Lost Chord (Dementia Charity, South Yorkshire) £1,000
SNAPS (Special Needs support, Leeds) £2,000
Asperger’s Children & Carers Together (Autism support, Sheffield) £1,500
Bradford Toy Library & Resource Centre (Toys for disabled children) £2,000
Safe Anchor Trust (Barge trips for disabled & disadvantaged, Mirfield) £2,000
Woodlands View Dementia Support Group (Sheffield) £7,200
Whiteknights Yorkshire Blood Bikes £2,000
Leeds Weekend Care (Weekend care for children with special needs) £1,000
Bradford Deaf Children (Supporting deaf children and their parents) £1,000
Performance Drama School (Providing children’s drama classes, Otley) £2,000
Clothing Solutions for Disabled People (Bradford) £2,000
Brighouse Central Methodist Church £13,440
Burley in Wharfedale Scout & Guide Group £1,890
Fulfil the Wish (Activities for children with disabilities, Bradford) £2,500
Round Table Children’s Wish (Fulfilling wishes for sick children) £2,000
Light Blue clubs came into existence in 2007 as a result of an initiative in London where young Masons met at the Connaught Rooms as a social group. This became known as "The Connaught Club".
We have had young Mason's groups in this Province, in one form or another, since 2008. These groups have flourished across the country to the extent that national conferences are now held, with attendees from every Province.
In 2019 we sent five representatives to represent our Province, one from each area, accompanied by W. Bro Marcus Greenwood.
Our Provincial Grand Master was also present, as a guest speaker, to deliver a talk about "Solomon".
Initially, we had a very relaxed attitude to young masons groups allowing them to meet as and when they wished under whatever name they wanted. As a result of seeing how other Provinces were taking forward their own clubs, the PGM instituted a new initiative in this Province.
"Yorkshire West Riding New and Young Masons Clubs" is the Provincial umbrella and support body for all
Light Blue, Goose & Gridiron, Brothers Breakfast Clubs and Rough Ashlar Groups etc. It came into existence in February 2020 to set up a formal strategy and constitution for the running of groups across the five areas of the Province and is led by W. Bro Marcus Greenwood who reports directly to the Provincial Mentor.
The ethos is to bring New and Young Masons together to meet socially, to help with learning and development and to share ideas, experiences and develop best practices related to Freemasonry. It is also a forum to meet socially, debate Masonic issues, become better informed and enjoy like-minded Men's Company.
There are currently around twenty such groups meeting across the Province with a new Light Blue Club
just recently being formed in the Skipton, Craven and Keighley area.
Although the Yorkshire WR NYMC will operate under the Provincial banner, it will not interfere with the day to day running and formation of the clubs but will be available through the Provincial Lead for help, guidance and support.
Details of area contacts and a diary of events are available from the Provincial Lead for interested new and young masons or potential new Freemasons.
We are delighted to welcome two new Heads of Orders to our Masonic family in Yorkshire, West Riding.
Following the sad death of David Cordell, earlier this year vacancies were created to the local leadership for The Allied Masonic Degrees and the Order of Royal and Select Masters, both of which David held previously.
Right Illustrious District Grand Master for West Yorkshire, Order of Royal and Select Masters, Right Illustrious Companion Fraser McPherson
Fraser McPherson is a 3rd generation on his Fathers’ side and at least 5th generation on his Mothers’ so there is no doubting his Masonic pedigree. His parents actually met at a Masonic dance!
Fraser was Initiated as a ‘Lewis’, aged 19 years, into Lodge Possilpark, Glasgow, No. 1330 on 24th April 1980, soon after completing his other Craft degrees including, under the Scottish Constitution, his Mark Degree.
After moving to Yorkshire in 1984 he joined Trafalgar Lodge No. 971, Batley, in August 1991. Fraser joined Prince Edward Mark Lodge No. 14 in 1995, Royal Ark Mariners in 2002, Secret Monitor in 2003, the Royal Arch in 2004, Royal & Select Masters in 2007 and the Royal Order of Scotland in 2015.
WM of Trafalgar Lodge during 2009, Craft Provincial Rank came in 2015 as an Acting Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies before being promoted to Past Provincial Deputy Grand Registrar in 2017.
In the qualifying Orders for R&SM, Royal Arch and Mark, Fraser became MEZ of Scarborough Chapter in 2012, was appointed as an Acting Provincial Grand Steward in 2018 and promoted to Acting Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 2019, a role he currently holds. In Mark, Fraser was WM of Prince Edward in 2002, soon after becoming Lodge Secretary, a role he relinquished in 2019 to become their current WM for the second time. In 2006 he was appointed as Acting Provincial Grand Steward and was honoured to be appointed as Grand Standard Bearer in Mark where in November 2017 became Provincial Grand Secretary for the Province of West Yorkshire.
In R&SM Fraser was appointed in 2013 by the then District Grand Master for Yorkshire, Right Illustrious Companion David S. Pratt, as Assistant District Grand Recorder, and when the District of Yorkshire was divided into West and N&E Yorkshire in July 2014, became District Grand Recorder for West Yorks under David M. Cordell. Fraser received his Silver Trowel Degree in 2014, was promoted to Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in Grand Council in 2016 and received his Excellent Masters Degree in 2018.
After 41 years working in the NHS, Fraser retired from Leeds Teaching Hospitals in July 2019 as a Senior HR Business Partner. He now spends his time focussing on his Masonry, a huge list of accumulated d.i.y. jobs, reading scientific publications, his garden (especially recently!) and maintaining his wife’s Land Rover! Fraser has been married to Tina for 32 years, and they have two sons, Benjamin and Lewis and a daughter, Hope.
The Masonic suspension permitting, Fraser will be installed as Right Illustrious District Grand Master for West Yorkshire on 1st August 2020, otherwise, he will
assume the position from that date and take responsibility for overseeing the 8 Councils in the District.
Right Worshipful District Grand Prefect for The Allied masonic Degrees in Yorkshire
Below is a report from the Home Manager, Victoria Wilson which shows that even in these most trying times she and her staff are doing everything they can to maintain the highest standards of care. Connaught Court is one of a very small number of Care Homes nationally which has achieved an “Outstanding” rating from the Care Quality Commission
and they are doing everything they can to keep to that very high standard.
Also below is a letter sent in mid-April by the Provincial Grand masters of the three ‘host’ Provinces thanking Victoria and her staff for their efforts and pledging our continuing support when life returns to some normality.
Hello from everyone at Connaught Court! We are now into our 5th full week of closure due to coronavirus, and what a journey it has been for us all. The home is a very different place with all our residents confined to their rooms and the areas they live in.
The dining room is closed and the main lounge only available for very small numbers from the same area to see a film, socially distancing of course!
Meals are all taken in residents rooms, and exercise is taken in our grounds only for short periods of time. Thank goodness for the lovely weather we have been experiencing, which has helped with this enormously.
Amongst all their other tasks the care team have been trying to help the residents keep in touch with their families via any means possible and those on the ground floor have had the occasional wave through closed windows. An equally difficult time for families who are unable to give them a hug or visit in person.
All our staff are masked for the duration of their shift strict infection control measures in place and for those residents showing symptoms of covid19 full barrier nursing is in place with complete isolation.
It is with great sadness that we currently have 11 residents throughout the home with symptoms and 7 were tested yesterday. We have one positive resident who is doing well in hospital and one other who is in the home and stable at the time of writing this. Unfortunately we have lost two residents who were covid positive, a very distressing time
for the families and for our staff who feel helpless to prevent this horrendous virus, despite all their hard work.
Staffing the home is now our greatest challenge as currently I have a total of 34 staff off with symptoms isolating, at last we are now able to have testing which has been a long time coming. We have had great support from our district nurses, GP practice and local authority, and most important from our senior team at the
RMBI who have worked tirelessly to get us the information which has changed hourly at first and secure PPE for us with weekly deliveries. Thank goodness for the support of the freemasons and trustees with very deep pockets who have taken extreme measures to purchase this valuable stock of PPE.
On a happier note we managed to have a lovely meal for Easter and Nestle sent many Easter eggs, which as you can imagine went down a treat with staff and residents. We have received lots of lovely letters from children accompanied with drawings, and the wine and sherry along with chocolate and excellent local food suppliers the Connaught Court standards
have been maintained!
This is just a short insight into Connaught Today at what is our lowest time in this journey; we look forward to happier times and welcoming you all back into the home.
Please stay safe and well.
Mrs Victoria Wilson,
Connaught Court Care Home
15th April 2020
We are writing during these difficult times to convey the deep gratitude of all our Members in the Provinces of Yorkshire North & East Ridings, Yorkshire West Riding and Lincolnshire for the immense efforts that you and all your staff are making to provide care to your residents.
This we know is challenging at the very best of times but in the current unprecedented position it is the dedication of you and all your staff that is the determining factor in providing the very best of care.
We appreciate that the pressure for you all will be enormous and it is unlikely that there will be any speedy end to all the restrictions and constraints under which you are having to work. Nevertheless we know that you will be doing all you can to deliver the outstanding care for which you and your colleagues have rightly been recognised.
Although there is probably little that we can do in practical terms to assist you during the difficult time please be assured that we all appreciate your efforts and stand ready to do anything we can to help you both during and after this challenging time.
Please pass our very best wishes and our grateful thanks to all of those working so hard to provide the care your residents need.
With every good wish to you all.
PGM, Yorkshire, West Riding
PGM, Yorkshire, North & East Ridings
Owing to the lockdown enforced on the population by the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus this was of course impossible. However, through the marvels of modern technology an informal ‘virtual’ meeting was held just after 8 pm on that very Thursday using an internet application called ‘Zoom’. This meant that fourteen brethren were able to greet each other from their computers and tablets, seeing in small frames their colleagues spread across the screen. W. Bro. Wade, after a short introduction in which he included some apologies from brethren who for either technical reasons or illness (not the virus) were unable to join in and a report from
the lodge Almoner, went on to deliver a PowerPoint presentation entitled ‘The Founders and Early Members of Fellowship Lodge’. He explained that the title reflected the fact that, while he had gathered materials for a large part of the centenary history before the enforced lockdown in
March, he had been unable to consult the remaining lodge books in the basement of Tapton Hall to complete the history.
Wednesday, 6th May with a presentation by W. Bro Ken Wootton, Provincial Grand
Orator and Provincial Training and Development Officer, entitled “An explanation of
some aspects of the First Degree” developed by Ken and our new Provincial Senior
Grand Warden and head of masonic Light W. Bro Tim Hendra.
slides and usually takes about 20-30 minutes followed by questions from the
What do I need to be able to take part? A computer or electronic tablet
preferably but not essentially with a camera so that you can be seen by others who
Do I need any computer skills? Not really. Once you’ve registered through one
of the links you get an email inviting you to join and when the start time comes
around you click on the link in that email and hey presto, you’re there! It really is
The webinar on May 6th focused on some aspects of the First Degree and was joined
by 24 brethren from around this Province and beyond.
At the end of each webinar participants are invited to complete a simple electronic
questionnaire about their experience. Here’s what some of them said about the
May 6th event:
“Very enjoyable as a relatively new mason only 2 years it’s good to hear
the reasons behind the actions”
“As an Entered Apprentice I have not had the chance to see an initiation
from within the lodge as yet so its great information of me, it give me
more background on why things happened as they did. That was an
“This was an excellent and very informative talk, as someone relatively
new to Freemasonry I found this very useful and has wetted my appetite
and interest to learn more.”
“Particularly enjoyed the ability to take part in polls, which added a level
of interest (and concentration). Excellent presentation and remarkably
comprehensive in just 20 minutes.”
Almost everyone who joined said it was easy to register, that the length was about
right and that the information presented was pitched at about the right level. All
who took part said that they enjoyed it!
So now it’s over to you. There are two more events planned for the coming two
Wednesday evenings. On 13th May the topic will be the Second degree and
you can register to take part by clicking on the link below:
Eventbrite Ticket Link - 2nd Degree
Wednesday 20th it’s another run of the presentation on the First
Degree and you can register for that here:
Eventbrite Ticket Link - 1st Degree
The current suspension has robbed us of some of our usual ways of being together
and advancing our Masonic knowledge so why not give this a try.
It really is simple and easy – give it a go!
Latest News from
The Provincial Communications Team
David Simister &
Deaf/Hard Of Hearing
Family Of Freemasons
Light Blues Clubs
Mark Benevolent Fund
Royal And Select Masters
Safe Anchor Trust
Scouts & Guides
Search & Rescue
St. John's Ambulance
Yorkshire Air Ambulance