Saturday, 30 April 2016

Shrewsbury Brass Band playing for Festival

Cae Glas Lodge is proud to present a fantastic evening of brass music in aid of the 2019 Festival on Saturday, 18th June at the Marches School, Oswestry. Doors open at 1830 for 1900h start.


The Shrewsbury Brass Band is led by WBro Steve Pritchard-Jones, PM of Salopian Lodge of Charity 117, and is already well known among Shropshire Masons for its excellent performances in Llandudno and Shrewsbury. A most entertaining evening is guaranteed, with special guest artists from the Berwyn School of Music in Oswestry.

Tickets are £10 and may be purchased at the door.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Golfers - a few places left for October 1st Family Fun Festival!!!


W Bro Clive Jones visits Brighton to receive award


From Friday 22nd until Monday 25th of April, WBro Clive Jones of St Mary’s lodge no 8373 visited Blind Veterans UK at their centre in Brighton. WBro Clive is the Chairman and Secretary of the Blind Veterans UK masonic group, who meet annually for a wonderful weekend of Friendship & Freemasonry. Blind Veterans UK was formerly known as St Dunstan’s, and has rehabilitated blinded servicemen & women who have lost their sight in the service of this Country  or after discharge - a Charity that Clive has been with since he was blinded in service in 2000, and owes a great deal to. For more about this wonderful organisation, visit http://www.blindveterans.org.uk.

The weekend started with many Masons travelling from their respective homes all around the country to meet up at the Brighton centre in Ovingdene East Sussex. After a nice catch up the plans for the weekend were announced. These included W.Bro Clive chairing the group’s AGM on the Saturday morning, then arranging for the group to visit their long term friends at the Temple Lodge no 4962, where they witnessed a wonderful Passing ceremony. On alternate years the members of the Blind Veterans group take over and perform a demonstration of a degree. Considering the members come from all over the country, never rehearse or practise together, it is fantastic how well these demonstrations go! After the meeting and enjoying the company of the Temple lodge at their Festive Board, the members of Blind Veterans returned to Ovingdene.


On the Sunday, WBro Clive had arranged a white table Sunday luncheon and welcomed the WM of The Temple Lodge WBro Peter Whiteside (PProvJGD) (pictured above with Clive) and his good Lady Suzanne plus the Chief Executive of Blind Veterans UK Major General Nick Caplin CB and his good Lady Isobel as well as forty others to the Winter Gardens within the centre in Brighton. A very cosy welcome drink preceded a beautiful meal, and the fun and laughter resumed from the previous evening. Several presentations of block & Gavels were made to WBre Whiteside and Major General Caplin, and their Ladies received a lovely bouquet of flowers each.



A fantastic weekend was had by all Brethren in attendance, and the planning has already started for 2017.

[thanks to Clive for this article!]

Longmynd Lodge on Facebook

Church Stretton boasts two lodges - an earlier post includes an account of the work of its new Communications Officer, WBro Chris Morris. Chris has set the Lodge up on Facebook - click here to visit the page. It includes an account of Richard Pepper's recent London Marathon in just under 3h:18m - with Roger Wilson raising money for Sarcoma UK. Richard's performance put him in the top 12%! Not recorded is whether or not he stepped off with the correct foot!


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Pengwerne Chapter Installation

Roving reporter Andy Delamere sent in details of a fantastic night at Pengwerne Chapter 3229 - and he himself had a ringside seat as Installing Z!
Over 50 Royal Arch Companions witnessed EComp Andy Ibbott take the Chair as Z, while the positions of H and J were filled by EComp John Pollard and Comp Simon Aucott respectively.
Presiding Officer was EComp Bob Hatt, assisted by EComps Michael Broome and Mike Brown, and attended by a lively group of Active Provincial officers at only their second outing since the Provincial Convocation.
Over £160 was raised towards the Chapter's Centenary Fund - and a good night was had by all.
 
 
 
 

 

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Freemasonry Today online

"Freemasonry Today" has had plenty of input recently from Shropshire - but have you viewed the online magazine which has many more articles than can fit into the printed magazine?

Why not read about Clive Jones' recent national award by clicking here - or about the Provincial Perambulations by clicking here - or pick your own stories out of the many available by clicking here?!!

Peter Taylor at Shrewsbury Bookfest

Provincial Grand Master Peter Taylor was in Shrewsbury on the anniversary of Shakespeare's death to see how the SMCA's £500 donation to the Shrewsbury Bookfest is benefiting hundreds of young readers.


The Bookfest is very much a local charity, and began in 1999 as the only such festival in the country. Today it has grown out of all proportion, but is still reliant on local volunteers and donations. 

Peter wrote "It was an emotional and heart-warming experience to see the wonderful work being done by the Bookfest volunteers to encourage and inspire youngsters from Shropshire to open their minds to the joy of reading books."

A special reception at Theatre Severn on a gloriously sunny Saturday was attended by many sponsors of the Bookfest, visiting authors and by a very large number of children! Caroline Thewles, of the Bookfest charity, thanked Peter Taylor for attending, and is looking forward to attending the SMCA's next round of donations to local charities in June!

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Clive Lodge goes live on blog!!

A splendid Installation took place at Clive Lodge 1575 on Monday 11th April. The Deputy Provincial Grand Master and his new team did a sterling job! The new Worshipful Master W.Bro Mike Higgins was safely installed.

Huge thanks to the many Brethren involved in organizing the evening and to the new Officers for their support. Clive  was one of the first Lodges to raffle an MFEST300 souvenir bottle of whisky - it was won by the newly appointed Junior Deacon and raised £216 for the Festival! Cheers!!

[Ed. - Huge thanks also to Mike for the story!]

The Teme Lodge and Knighton Rotary Club meet

On Tuesday evening The Teme Lodge 4267 invited the members of Knighton Rotary International to join them after the Lodge's short business meeting. Around a dozen ladies and gentlemen were given a talk by VWBro Roger Pemberton on the origins and purposes of Craft Freemasonry and were treated to a recital of the Charge after Initiation given by WBro David Hedley.

The President of The Knighton Rotary Club, Kim Smith then gave a presentation on the origins and purposes of Rotary International. 


All agreed that a great deal of synergy existed between the two organisations, a fact that was much discussed at the excellent dinner provided by The Knighton Hotel. Roger Pemberton said, "Masonry must be see as Part of the Community and not Apart from the Community. We must reach out to achieve a greater understanding amongst the popular world."

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Ashlar stats

Shropshire's Masonic "stat-o" Andy Delamere has provided me with details from the book which accompanies the Travelling Ashlar in its peregrinations around the Province. If the information here is inaccurate in any way, Brethren, you have only yourselves to blame!!!

The ashlar (pictured right) has been claimed 21 times so far - but only 13 lodges have held it. Come on the rest of you!! Top of the raiding table is Salopian Lodge of Charity 117 who have made four successful raids. 

The longest 'ownership' of the Ashlar is claimed by St Mary's Lodge who held it for 13 months - the shortest by Fitz Alan Lodge who gave it up after just 14 days! The next opportunity to raid for the Ashlar will be on May 11th - please contact The Iron Bridge lodge for details. Please take a good picture or two of the raid and send me the details so that it can go on this blog - thus avoiding the near-fate of one Lodge (un-named) who were planning a raid on North Shropshire after the Ashlar had left!!

Another Iron Bridge...

Shropshire's famous Iron Bridge is a landmark famous since its opening in 1781 - and in recent times has been of added Masonic significance since the Consecration of The Iron Bridge Lodge 9897 early last year.  The Lodge (and the Bridge) have featured in "Freemasonry Today" - for more information about 9897 and the Universities Scheme, search earlier posts in this blog which will tell all!


W Bro Andy Delamere, the first Master of 9897, was particularly interested to receive a Masonic jug from the Durobrivae Lodge 6956 in the Province of East Kent. It was immediately apparent that the jug was a long way from home, as it showed an early iron bridge across the River Wear - only the second such bridge after our own! The Wearmouth bridge opened in 1796, and was the brainchild of Rowland Burdon, M.P. for Durham and Provincial Grand Master. It was subsequently rebuilt by Robert Stephenson and eventually dismantled when the modern bridge was built on the same site between 1927 and 1929.The jug shows a splendid view of the original bridge.


Research at the Library and Museum of Freemasonry in Great Queen Street, London showed that this was an example of Sunderland ware, and though fascinating, is not particularly rare: other examples may be viewed in UGLE's catalogue (type Wearmouth bridge into the search box) : the bridge was evidently a popular subject for the local pottery designers. There is another example in Worcester's Masonic museum. Over 30 variations on the design are known to have been made.

A particular attraction of this jug is the Masonic verse it bears on the reverse, which is reproduced here:






Installed Masters Installed

At Shropshire Installed Masters Lodge 6262 three new Principal Officers were installed this morning. W Bro David Stott is pictured below as WM, flanked by SW W Bro Roger Wedlake (left) and W Bro Mike Brown (right), the new JW. W Bro Stott was well supported by Brethren from Wrekin lodge 2883 in London, of which he is a member.

The Almoner pledged £1000 to the 2019 Festival, a fine and positive end to the meeting!

 

 

A second Second on the road!

An excellent evening at Forester Lodge 7221 saw Bro Thomas Perring of The Iron Bridge lodge 9897 passed to the Degree of a Fellowcraft. This is the second Second from 9897 to be done on their behalf by another local lodge (see "A Passing Phase") - in this case a very special event, as Forester is The Iron Bridge lodge's mother lodge! With representation there from the grandmother lodge as well, it was quite a family affair!
Not only did the meeting proceed with great goodwill and Brotherly Love, but it further cemented the bond between the lodges.

Friday, 15 April 2016

John Pullin receives his 50 Year Certificate

The Brethren of Salopian Lodge No 262 had the pleasure of seeing one of their distinguished members awarded his 50 year certificate at their last meeting on Monday 11th April 2016.
 
RW Bro James McAllister Hodgson PPrGM was the distinguished visitor who honoured the lodge by presenting W Bro John Pullin with a certificate acknowledging his 50 years of dedicated service to Freemasonry in Shropshire.
 
W Bro John was initiated into Salopian Lodge No 262 on 15th March 1965, over 51 years ago. He was passed on 15th November 1965 and raised on 7th October 1966. He went on to be installed as Master of the Lodge on 9th February 1976. Since then he has undertaken many roles in the Lodge, twice as Assistant Director of Ceremonies, once as a Steward and he was also Almoner of the Lodge for eight years from 1998 to 2006. In 2008 there was a gap in the progression within the Lodge and John stepped into the breach to become Junior Warden and progressed again to becoming the WM on the 8th February 2010, some 34 years after first being in the Chair. He then went on to hold the position for two consecutive years! Subsequently he acted as Chaplain of the Lodge for two years before returning to the back benches for a rest; no doubt however this won’t be for long as his experience will soon be put to good use once again as will his superb delivery of ritual. He is also presently the Chairman of the Shrewsbury Fellowship. His involvement and dedication has been recognised by Province as he was first appointed with Craft Provincial honours in 1982 with the active rank of PrGStB. He went to be promoted to PPrGSuptWks in 1995, to PPrGReg in 2009 and finally last year in 2015 to be awarded with the richly deserved promotion to PPrJGW.
 
W Bro John is the third generation of his family to be a member of Salopian Lodge No 262 and it was apt that when, as 262 tradition demands, the Minutes for the lodge held 100 years ago were read out they made mention of his late grandfather W Bro Frank Tanner. I am sure alongside his brethren at 262 the members of the Province will join in wishing W Bro John many happy years in Masonry to come and thank him for his dedication and commitment for the past 50 years.

[thanks to W Bro David Purslow for writing this article]

REGALIA - PROVINCIAL ONLINE SHOP and DISCOUNTS

An efficient regalia shop with discounts available (average 20%) has been established following talks between John Weaver and Crest Regalia. Their prices are already very competitive, and any commission received will go to the 2019 Festival.


A link should very shortly be available on the Provincial website.

Defibrillator Training

Training by the West Midlands Ambulance service has been organised for 4th June 0815 for 0830-1230h course at Crewe Street Masonic Hall; alternatively 1300h for a 1315-1715 course.


Training is open to all - Masons and non-Masons - and is free. Any donations however will go to charity.


Why not sign up - you could save a life!


Please email John Martin.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

A little TLC goes a long way!

Only a few days since some splendid donations from Brownlow and Cae Glas lodges, and more good news keeps flooding in from the Teddies for Loving Care charity.

A generous donation from Caer Caradoc lodge in Church Stretton has been sent to the SMCA Treasurer who administers our funds, then two separate deliveries of teddies have been taken to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Minor Injuries Unit at Bridgnorth, and finally we have received this note from the Reception staff at the A&E unit in Shrewsbury.

Thanks - and keep those donations coming!!

A Passing Phase...

The Iron Bridge lodge 9897 has a number of Passings to accomplish following its record-breaking glut of Initiations - so they passed one to St Milburga lodge 1120!

Brother Josh Greenroyd began proceedings with an excellent rendition of his Answers, and Worshipful Master Nick Barrett and his team followed in fine style. 14 members of Brother Josh's mother lodge attended to see him become a Fellow Craft Freemason, on an occasion which was not just memorable for the ritual, but also for the great sense of fraternal affection between the two lodges.

St Milburga lodge is celebrating its 150th birthday in December - The Iron Bridge lodge has more than 148 years to go to catch them up!


Tuesday, 12 April 2016

MEGS Address to Provincial Grand Chapter of Shropshire, 2nd April



PROVINCIAL ROYAL ARCH ADDRESS 2016

I have great pleasure in welcoming you all to the Annual Convocation of the Provincial Grand Chapter of Shropshire.  We assemble together in support and promotion of the Royal Arch and I have to say that it does my heart good to see such a full array of Royal Arch colours filling this Hall – we have the red and the blue, the scarlet,  the flash of gold, - and the occasional tantalising glimpse of the red socks!  You will perhaps be aware Companions that I have not yet succumbed to the entreaties of the advocates of the red sock but have to admit that there are many changes afoot!


As Shropshire Royal Arch Masons we share a love and pride of our Province and we rejoice in the kindness and support that we receive from our fellow Companions in other Provinces particularly demonstrated here today with the attendance at our Annual Meeting of Grand Superintendents and Principal Rulers of 13 Provinces around the country.  Although I have already welcomed them individually, I do wish to record my thanks to them all for their collective support which is much appreciated.


In any Annual Address such as this it is inevitable that there will be an element of a “State of the Nation” health report and indeed our Province is in great shape and thriving.  The Registrar’s figures produced today show that in the last year the membership figures have increased by 3½% compared with last year, and most importantly this increase includes 15 new Exaltees which in a small Province such as ours with only 12 Chapters other than the Installed First Principals’ Chapter, is most encouraging.  During the past year I have introduced new measures to promote the Royal Arch including the provision of a Royal Arch tool kit for the better understanding of the scripture readings and our ritual, the encouragement of Chapters of Instruction and the appointment of Royal Arch representatives to work within their Craft Lodges on a three year appointment cycle.   There is always more that we can do but with the introduction of these new measures and the help of all of you as ambassadors for the Holy Royal Arch, I am lead to hope that our enjoyment and understanding of this great Order will increase and multiply.


You will perhaps all be aware that I am a member of the MFG team in London which has been carrying our surveys through the medium of Freemasonry Today and I thank all of you who have participated in those surveys and particularly the most recent third survey, the results of which were featured in the latest MFG article in that publication.   It is clear from the most recent data that the retention problems encountered in the Craft are not being replicated in the Royal Arch and that quite simply is down to the greater commitment of those who have joined the Royal Arch and other Orders.  From the recent survey, over 80% of respondents indicated that they were members of the Holy Royal Arch and of these a large majority stated that they had joined the Royal Arch before any other Orders with most of them joining between one and five years after Initiation.  To reinforce my point regarding commitment, more than 60% of all respondents were also members of other Orders although most of those were also in the Royal Arch.  These figures suggest, in the main, a sense of steady progression towards enlightenment through the Royal Arch, and then on to other Orders.


However, an examination of the Adelphi data reveals that a significant number of Brethren who are no longer subscribing members of any Craft Lodge, retain subscribing membership of a Royal Arch Chapter, and the Committee of General Purposes, after consultation with the Board of General Purposes, Provincial Grand Masters, Grand Superintendents and others, has concluded that it is anomalous that an individual  should be able to pursue actively his membership in the Royal Arch when it is no longer supported by the foundation of membership of a Craft Lodge.  I would add that in my view the continued membership of a Craft Lodge is the bedrock and irrefutable basis of all that follows thereafter.  Accordingly at Supreme Grand Chapter on  the 28th April next there will be a proposition  to be voted upon to amend Regulation 66 in order to provide that in future no candidate should be Exalted into the Royal Arch or admitted as a joining or re-joining member unless he is a subscribing member of a Lodge under the United Grand Lodge of England and that on and from the 31st  December 2016 any Companion who has at any time been a subscribing member of a Lodge and thereafter ceases to be a subscribing member of any such Lodge then he shall be granted a period of grace within which to join or re-join a Lodge at the end of which, if he fails to do so, his membership of the Royal Arch Chapter or Chapters will automatically be terminated.  This provision will not apply to an Honorary Member of a Lodge nor will it be retrospective in its effect.  I am confident Companions, that this new provision will not only reinforce the inclusive relationship of the Craft and the Royal Arch but will also assist other Orders with regard to the position of the unattached Craft Mason.


Companions, on your behalf and my own, I thank so many who have helped in the work of the Province during the last year.  In particular my grateful thanks go to my Deputy Grand Superintendent E Comp John Francis Williamson whom I have today reappointed for his twelfth year in Office.   John served for six years as Deputy Grand Superintendent for my predecessor E Comp James Hodgson, and will now be undertaking his sixth year in Office as my Deputy; I know that E Comp James will join with me in saying that John’s enthusiasm for the Royal Arch is legendary and that the support and encouragement he gives to the Companions is unceasing and selfless.  Thank you John for all your help and wise counsel.


It has been my very great pleasure to Install today E Comp Dewi Michael Parry as Second Provincial Grand Principal but in doing so I thank his predecessor in Office E Comp Roger Pemberton who stands down after having served five years as Provincial Haggai.   His contribution to the Royal Arch in Shropshire over that five years has been immense, and he leaves Office today safe in the knowledge that through his hard work around the Chapters,  his lectures delivered here and around the country, and his unfailing assistance given to the Provincial Executive, he has set a marvellous example for others to follow.  E Comp Eric Booth stands down today as Third Provincial Grand Principal and he has been a tower of strength during his year of Office visiting all the Chapters in the Province in addition to enjoying many visits to other Provinces where I know he has forged new and lasting friendships around the country.  Whilst thanking E Comp Eric for his support, I, at the same time, welcome E Comp Mike Brown into that Office and I very much look forward to working with Mike and hope that he enjoys his year to the full. 


The administration of the Province continues to run smoothly and efficiently and for this our thanks must go to the PrGScE, E Comp David Kettle and his team at the Provincial secretariat, and to the Provincial Grand Treasurer E Comp Dennis Hill and also to the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies E Comp John Weaver for his work during the year and for helping organise today’s Annual Convocation.


I congratulate all of the other Companions whom I have appointed to or promoted in Provincial Grand rank and hope that their health and circumstances will permit them to visit all of our Chapters as representatives of the Province, and to thoroughly enjoy the friendship and fellowship that they will receive and share during their year.


Companions, it is time for us to cease labour and go to refreshment that profit and pleasure may be the result.  To those senior Companions who are unable to remain for the Craft meeting following our luncheon, I wish you a safe journey home and thank you for being with us.


Thank you Companions.


The PrGM's Address at Provincial Grand Lodge



CRAFT ADDRESS 2016

Distinguished Guests and Brethren


In Shropshire we are most fortunate to have this University as the venue for our Annual meeting and particularly this Hall for our formal ceremony.  Your presence here in such great numbers today does justice to these splendid facilities and I welcome you all to this celebration of Shropshire Masonry.


The main focus of this Annual meeting centres upon those Brethren who have been appointed to or promoted in Provincial Grand rank.  I congratulate you all upon your achievement but would impress upon you, that with rank there comes responsibility, as the Province will be looking to you for your support in our joint endeavours, with you setting the high example that others may aspire to achieve.  Those of you whom I have appointed or re-appointed to active Provincial rank will be the vanguard of our Masonic development and will be integral to the successful conversion of the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.


You will all have read in the latest edition of Freemasonry Today, the article on The Iron Bridge Lodge No. 9897 which of course reflects well on Shropshire but it will also resonate well with modern thinking Freemasons. The article is termed “a Sea Change in Shropshire” – well I think that is rather overstating the case and is probably a bit of editorial licence. However, The Iron Bridge Lodge has adopted, with my blessing, the “modern manifesto” which is particularly relevant for Lodges within the Universities Scheme as it promotes the more efficient use of time spent in Lodge meetings, with opening times that are more achievable for the young business man with family responsibilities and the streamlining of the procedures without affecting the ceremonial content. Brethren, being prepared to adapt and change some of our ancient practices and traditions in order to render our Freemasonry more fit for purpose in the modern era, does not mean that we need to change any of our ritual or abrogate our tenets and beliefs in any way, it merely means that with a strategic modern approach we have a better chance to secure our future for the next 300 years and to become openly recognised within our communities as the premier fraternal organisation. 


In Shropshire I am keen to encourage our younger Masons to become more involved and to  let their voice be heard so that we can all join, in sending out the message, that becoming a Freemason should be a commitment for life not just a passing hobby that can be picked up and put down at will.  Two examples of this advance are that, firstly, I am advocating that we should have a “light blue club” involving younger Masons before the Chair whose experiences and ideas can be communicated to Province through a structured forum; moves are now in hand to bring this about and I will lend to it my positive approval.  Secondly, UGLE have commissioned Emporium Productions to produce a “fly on the wall” documentary following the circumstances of individual Freemasons around the country in order to demonstrate the impact and benefit that Freemasonry has upon their family, their work and their Masonic lives.  In Shropshire our Brother David Stubbs who is currently the Senior Warden in both the Salopian Lodge of Charity No.117 and Old Ben Lodge No. 9461 has been selected as one of the film stars (!) and, having coped admirably with the embarrassment of having to wear makeup for the first time in his life (so I believe!) he has, during the last 14 days been filmed with his family, at his place of work, in the congenial surroundings of a local pub whilst with his fellow Lodge officers and then the following day at the regular meeting of Old Ben Lodge.  Brother David will be going into the Chair of Old Ben Lodge in May and the film crew will be returning then to film him on his special day although I would add that there will never be any filming allowed inside any Lodge whilst it is open.  The TV rights of the film have been purchased by Sky and it is presently mooted that the four one hour episodes will be shown on ITV2 either in late autumn of this year or early next year.  We have seen the work previously done by Emporium Productions in similar documentaries for the Scouting movement and other organisations and these have all been excellent with the accent placed firmly on the positive.  To be on the safe side the Grand Secretary has retained full editorial control of whatever goes out, so I think we can rest assured that when the public tune in to see the film on ITV they will be receiving a clear picture of all that which is good in Freemasonry, concentrating upon our integrity and our respect and our concern for others. 




Next year we shall be joining in the Tercentenary celebrations of Grand Lodge, and for the Brethren and their families in Shropshire our main celebration will be the MFest 300 two- day event to be held at Weston Park Shropshire on the 24th and 25th June.  This is a joint event combining the Provinces of Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire, and the “Early Bird” E tickets are now available from “mfest300.com” priced at £10 each.   My new Provincial Senior Grand Warden W Bro John Norman is the Provincial 2017 representative and coordinator.  John has already sent out to each of you the details of this Anniversary event and so you will perhaps realise that this is going to be a landmark celebration where we anticipate between five and ten thousand people will be in attendance.  Provinces around the country will be holding celebratory events throughout the whole year of 2017 and the Grand Lodge Rulers will be in attendance at many of them.  The Grand Lodge itself will be celebrating the event on the 31st October 2017 when there will be a ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall followed by a premier dining event at Battersea Evolution.  The Royal Albert Hall will accommodate up to 5,000 and I will shortly be receiving details of the ticket availability and allocation; I am lead to believe that Shropshire may be allocated up to 17 tickets and I shall be writing to you through the medium of our Provincial Office in due course with further details.  I am, however, advised that Grand Lodge will be approving a Tercentenary jewel which will be exhibited in the next June edition of Freemasonry Today with the jewel availability from the 24thJune 2016.  I understand that the jewel will be available in versions of solid gold, silver gilt and gilt metal.  In addition, and from the same date, a new Craft tie will be available displaying the new UGLE logo.


To add to our celebrations today Brethren, I am pleased to confirm that at the Grand Lodge Investiture on the 27th April next, W Bro Alan William Sykes will be appointed to the rank of PAGDC. Alan was our Provincial Senior Grand Warden in 2010 and he is a key member of this Province.  He has been Editor of the Shropshire Year Book for 14 years (longer than some life sentences!) and, as many of you will know, he was Deputy Provincial Grand Master in the Mark Province of Staffordshire and Shropshire from 2007 to 2011. This appointment to Grand Rank is an honour he richly deserves.  I further confirm that W Bro Dennis John Hill who is our Provincial Grand Treasurer in the Royal Arch, will also receive Grand Honours and is also to be appointed to the rank of PAGDC.  This honour has been conferred upon Dennis through the Grand Charity for his work as a Council member and to anticipate his further involvement with the new Masonic Charitable Foundation.  We 
congratulate both Alan and Dennis and wish them happiness and fulfilment as Grand Officers.

As we close one Masonic Provincial year may I give my thanks to my outgoing Wardens, W Bro Chris Jones, the PSGW and W Bro Allan McCartney, the PJGW who have discharged the duties of their respective offices with dignity, dedication and infectious enthusiasm.  I know only too well that the other Provincial Officers from the active team who are now standing down, do so with some sadness that their year has come to an end.  I have to say that the last year has been absolutely superb and most enjoyable for me with the great friendship that has been shared between the whole Provincial team of active Officers.  I extend to them my gratitude for their support and their willingness at all times to go that extra mile when properly called on. 


I conclude this address with my thanks to W Bro David Kettle the Provincial Grand Secretary  and his team in the Secretariat who have worked tirelessly all year to maintain the smooth running of the Province and I thank W Bro David Hedley the PGDC and his team for all that they have done and particularly for helping make the event today such a success.  


Brethren, I wish all of you good health and happiness for the Masonic year ahead, and a safe return to your home and to those whom you love.




Thank you, Brethren.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Clive Jones receives prestigious award

Friends of Welsh Guardsman, Freemason and fund raiser extraordinaire Clive Jones of St Mary's Lodge will be delighted to know that he has recently received a national Community award for his charitable work. Blind Veterans UK honoured Clive at a ceremony at Brighton, in recognition of his non-stop work for the benefit of others.
Clive lost his sight in 2000 whilst serving on duty, and yet those who know him well can attest that this has barely slowed him at all - Curry nights, Quiz nights and Provincial Perambulations all with but one thought in mind - to relieve his friends - and anyone else, for that matter - of their hard-earned cash so that it can go to charity!
Clive received his award from Maj Gen (Rtd) Nick Caplin, CEO of the Charity, on 31st March. Clive is not just a charitable man, but also a massive inspiration to those who suffer from similar disabilities, who take from Clive the simple message that they can still be positive and make a big difference in the world.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Cae Glas for Loving Care

The Brethren of Cae Glas lodge in Oswestry have made a most generous donation to TLC at their April Meeting that will ensure (alongside Brownlow's fine work the night before) that a significant fraction of the charity's costs for 2016 will have been defrayed.
Pictured are WBre Martin Edwards and WM Keith Arscott. Martin has been the architect of charitable giving to TLC, the Princess Royal neo-natal unit and the Stroke Association.

Perambulations! Congratulations!!


On Monday, 4th April and Wednesday 6th April a band of brave walkers completed a forty-five mile hike from the Masonic Hall at Constitution Hill, Wellington to the Masonic Hall at Brand Lane, Ludlow. Apart from twenty minutes of sustained hail and rain at Ironbridge the walkers enjoyed sunshine and warm weather all the way. On the first leg, Wellington to Wilderhope Manor YHA, the walkers were: Roger Pemberton DepPrGM (Roden Lodge 6243), Robin Richardson Provincial Junior Grand Warden,  Bruce Allwright, Colin Edwards and Mrs Edwards, Colin Albrow and Mrs Albrow, Peter and Cerys Brerton and Scott the Dog (all Lodge of the Marches 611). This leg took ten hours including a short break at Much Wenlock. The walk proceeded via Wrekin College to Hadley, Ketley, Lawley, Madeley, Ironbridge Much Wenlock, the Wenlock Edge, Presthope, Easthope, and Wilderhope.  We couldn’t have managed without the wonderful assistance of WBro Glyn Condliffe who provided us with coffee and biscuits at strategic points on route.

The second leg, walked by Roger Pemberton and Andrew Henderson (WM Caer Caradoc 6346) took in the magnificent countryside of the Corve Dale including the two highest points in Shropshire, Abdon Burf on the Brown Clee and the Titterstone Clee before travelling down to Farden, Knowbury, Ledwyche and Ludlow. This section also took ten hours,  Many thanks to John and Joy Alban-Davies for providing a shower and changing facilities before the Deputy PrGM travelled into Ludlow for the second time that day to attend a meeting of The Lodge of the Marches. At the car park near the Police Station, VWBro Roger was met by senior members of the Lodge, WBros Keith Armstrong, Arnold Packer, Graham Simister, John Alban-Davies and George Loades, each of whom carried the maul on the short walk to the Brand Lane Masonic Hall.

At the meeting, WBro Brian Hardy, the WM of The Lodge of the Marches presented VWBro Roger Pemberton with a cheque for £5,000 for the 2019 Festival Appeal in aid of the Freemasons’ Grand Charity and at the Festive Board the Brethren donated a further £424.00 in cash and cheques as sponsorship of the walkers.  The Deputy PrGM thanked the Brethren for their wonderful hospitality and very generous donations to the Festival Appeal.

The Deputy Provincial Grand Master did not walk home from the meeting; the Provincial Senior Grand Warden, WBro John Norman very kindly gave him a lift.

Thank you Brethren of The Lodge of the Marches.

The next walk, from Ludlow to the Column Lodge at Shrewsbury will be undertaken by WBro Roger Michell and Brethren of The Column Lodge on 14th April.

On Sunday,  September 4th there will be a much gentler walk from Oswestry to Ellesmere (The Brownlow Lodge). Anyone interested in taking part please contact the Deputy Provincial Grand Master (roger@2rbp.co.uk) or WBro Roger Michell  (roger.michell@tps-cs.co.uk).

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VW Bro. R. B. Pemberton PGSwdB
Deputy Provincial Grand Master

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Brownlow for Loving Care

Brownlow Lodge 2131 for its April meeting had a talk on the work of Teddies for Loving Care, given by WBro Jeremy Lund, Shropshire's TLC representative. This was followed by a generous presentation to the charity by the Brownlow Lodge.
After the presentation was over, WM David Lewis asked why it was that his granddaughter Solie had not received a teddy when she had to go to A&E recently with a split lip. Perhaps an oversight?
No sooner mentioned than solved - WBro David received a pristine yellow teddy and was asked to pass it to Solie with our compliments - better late than never!
The work of the charity may be viewed at www.tlcappeal.org.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Provincial Convocation and Communication

A somewhat grey and rainy day emerged as Shropshire geared up for its Annual meetings of Provincial Grand Chapter and Provincial Grand Lodge. We welcomed distinguished guests from as far away as Suffolk and the Isle of Man, as well as other familar friends from neighbouring Provinces.

Somewhat sadly, a ban had to be enforced on photography and social media naming of our traditional venue - sadly, as all of the comments which were published were unfailingly positive and full of praise for the warmth of the welcome and especially the exceptional lunch laid on for those present.

MEGS and PrGM Peter Taylor settled into his day's work with the aplomb born of experience: the only technical glitch of the day fortunately came (just) before the start of the Chapter meeting, when the tablet controlling the PA system turned out to be capable also of automatically lowering a video screen across the stage. With screen removed and important guests in place, the meeting proceeded, and appointments and promotion were made. As ever, the colour and pageantry of the Royal Arch didn't disappoint, and our new 2nd and 3rd Provincial Grand Principals Mike Parry and Mike Brown took their places either side of the MEGS.

In the afternoon, many of those present enjoyed a fine lunch, which was exceptional in more ways than one, with Mrs Maria Gough in attendance alongside her husband Andy. Peter Taylor presented the couple (who had donated £1000 to the Festival in lieu of receiving wedding gifts) with an album of photographs of the happy event. An announcement was also made about progress towards our Festival target of £1m: after two years, and with three years to go, Shropshire has raised around £420k. Well done all - don't slacken now!

The Craft meeting saw John Norman and Robin Richardson installed as the Provincial Wardens, and the PrGM's speech announced (among other things) the imminent launch of a Light Blue club for Shropshire, following the pattern of those now being established in many other Provinces. The many appointments and promotions pleased the audience of Masons - there seemed especially to be a good number of lodge Secretaries being rewarded for their labours! The sun came out in time for the journey home.

Particular thanks to Pengwerne Chapter and Idsall Lodge, who stewarded the event in fine style, despite being rained on in the morning. See you all again next year!!

Oh, yes - someone left a glove...

St Mary's Lodge Ladies Evening

St Mary's Lodge 8373 is holding its Ladies Evening this year on Friday, 20th May at Tern Hill Hall Hotel, Tern Hill, Market Drayton TF9 3PU.

Reception 1900h: Meal 2000h: Carriages at Midnight.               £28/head

This traditional Ladies Evening will include the Toast to the Ladies and the Ladies' Song, with bouquets and gifts, a raffle and Dancing to Hotsy Totsy afterwards. Dress: formal.

For information and bookings please email Assistant Secretary Nigel Pocock.

Masonic Golfers ahoy!!!

The next meeting of the Shropshire Masonic Golf Club will be on Friday 13th May at the Shifnal Golf Club, beginning at 1230h. Dining will be as close to 1900h as possible.

The May meeting will feature the competition for the Jimmy Riddell Spring Cup, open to members of Shropshire lodges only, and details will be sent on application. If you wish to attend, please contact Secretary Mike Charles by Wednesday, 4th May at the latest. 

Other dates for your diaries include:

24th June       Cleobury Mortimer GC     Match v Herefordshire Province

11th August    Cleobury Mortimer GC     Match v Worcestershire Province

16th September     Mile End                      Autumn meeting

1st October     Cleobury Mortimer GC     Family Fun Day in aid of Provincial Festival