Sunday, 22 May 2016

Charity Lodges hold annual meeting in Shrewsbury

A wonderful meeting of the Charity Lodges was held this year at Crewe Street under the banner of the Salopian Lodge of Charity 117. Brethren from as far away as Ireland attended and were treated to a fascinating ceremony which included excerpts from the Almoners Book and History over the last 207 years read by Bro David Wood, and to a Walking Charge presented by a team of Brethren.

Everyone then retired downstairs for a Shropshire Festive Board with fidget pie and Shrewsbury biscuits. A coincidental placing of three Brothers in adjacent seats inspired the photograph below, with the caption "I look up to him" -- or, alternatively (from WBro Griffiths) "I know my place!" A great meeting - we look forward to next year.

"Shropshire Blue"'s 100th Post!!!

Well, here it is, Brethren all - our 100th post! After just over three months, Shropshire's Provincial Masonic blog has hit a new milestone.

In that time, we have had 13,159 pageviews - with a huge surge in May as our US audience has taken off! We are also being watched in many other countries, including Slovakia (3rd), Ireland (4th) and Germany (5th). 

By a long way the most popular post has been that concerning Audley Court, and our contribution towards the building of a new entrance for their centre which is now in place and looking superb! Clive Jones has also 'gone viral' (almost!) and The Iron Bridge Lodge has figured prominently in the news stories, as has Old Ben Lodge and its recent filming session at Crewe Street.

Keep sending in the stories - and the photos - and we'll keep posting news from your lodge. Click here to contact us.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

At some point on Friday 13th, our blog passed 5,000 pageviews. In the three months since its inception, "Shropshire Blue" has not quite 'gone viral' (yet!), but it is becoming established as a popular and informative news vehicle for our wonderful Province. Keep spreading the word!! Most especially, keep sending in the news to your Provincial Communications Officer, WBro Jeremy Lund...

Old Ben - new friends and old

The Installation meeting at Old Ben brought together Masons from  near and far - and friends old and new. Some had travelled from Glasgow to this vibrant meeting, but there was one special addition to the list of Brethren. 

Craig Letheren was welcomed into the Lodge (he is still a member of St Luke's lodge in Cornwall), and is pictured here with WM Dave Stubbs. Craig has already been 'nabbed' to become Assistant Secretary and to manage the Twitter a/c @OldBen9461. Please follow!!!

The new Worshipful Master also had quite a following on his special day - from Salopian Lodge of Charity 117 , his Mother Lodge - and it was a special pleasure for those of us who saw David initiated into 117 to be there and witness his broadest of broad smiles as he took the Chair! Pictured (right) is his Proposer into Freemasonry, WBro Garry Breakwell.

Also present were some old friends of the lodge - WBre Ray Smith and John Adams (pictured below) who have visited the lodge each year for some time now! Ray and John were good friends of WBro Geoff Delamere - Geoff is still fondly remembered in Shropshire - and all belonged to Epworth lodge in Manchester, sadly now defunct. They still catch up with Geoff's son Andy who is
also well known in the Province and beyond!

'Old Ben' takes its name from the Old Benevolent Fund which supports members and former members of the news trade (now under the name "NewstrAid"). As £500 was raised at the meeting, it is clear that Benevolence and Charity were once more amply illustrated!

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Stars of stage and screen...

Old Ben Installation was a special event in many respects, with a film crew on hand to record the experience of David Stubbs as he had his special day. Dave is well known in Shropshire for (as Roger Pemberton noted) the best polished shoes in the Province - but also for his Shredded Wheat commercial appearances on T.V. as a devotee of Northern Soul! The film crew are making a documentary about Freemasonry, and if this meeting was anything to go by, it should be a very positive and memorable message they have to give!!

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Grand Charity donates £5000 to Midlands Air Ambulance

PrGM Peter Taylor was among those who recently presented the MAA Charity - based at RAF Cosford - with £5,000 from the Grand Charity. A reporter from the Press was put firmly in his place when he enquired if the Freemasons supported such charities often - our PrGM pointing out the more than £1.5m donated to the Air Ambulance movement since 2008.

Speaking with a medic at the same event who had experience supporting troops in Afghanistan, RWBro Peter was struck by the fact that Freemasonry has been quietly supporting so many very worthy charities over many years - including Combat Stress and many more besides. Let's be proud of our wonderful organisation, and publicize the superb work that it does!!

9897 have 70 to a Triple 2nd!!

The Iron Bridge lodge 9897 has not been much out of the news since its inception last year. Its most recent meeting - originally to have been a Quadruple Second - became instead a Triple ceremony, but that did not dampen the enthusiasm of a packed Meeting Point House in Telford. Bre Ryan, John Watt and Harvey Greatrex (pictured with WM Simon Clare) became Fellow Craft Freemasons within seconds of each other.
Simon is also pictured with the successful raiding party from Audley Lodge (forming an Audley queue???) after they had claimed the Travelling Ashlar, with just five Visitors. Around 70 Masons, including University lodge members from Liverpool and a deputation from the Lodge of Brevity in Southampton, witnessed a well conducted Ceremony led by The Worshipful Master, who had travelled up himself from Gillingham in Kent.

Derwen College students benefit from Cae Glas help

Twelve students from Derwen College are preparing for their Duke of Edinburgh skills, volunteering and physical elements with the help of a generous donation from Cae Glas lodge in Oswestry.

This summer the youngsters are to undertake a three-day (and two night) canoe expedition, and their training is being supported by £400 from Cae Glas. Pictured with Laura Griffith of Derwen College are WM Keith Arscott, WBro Andy Clarke and WBro Pete Adams.

Not stated is whether the Brethren are also getting out their paddles!!?!


Saturday, 7 May 2016

Idsall Installation!!

At this week's Idsall Lodge Installation meeting, WBro Dave Waldron was again placed into the Chair of King Solomon by the Installing Master, WBro Bill Gould  (aged 90). Bill not only led the ceremony, but did so with the sort of fantastic ritual that we all hope we are delivering at 90!! Dave was in the chair of Idsall Lodge in 2005 and agreed to serve a second term to help the lodge with its progression. This shouldn't be the case again for a while as the lodge now has over 10 other Light Blues, 8 Initiates and 29 ceremonies to look forward to! 

The Festive Board as ever was a splendid and enjoyable occasion at Lilleshall. During the evening over £1,000 was donated to Blind Veterans, £311 to MFEST 300  and £80 towards the 2019 Grand Charity Festival.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Allegations of corruption in high places!!!

From Andy Delamere

Whilst visiting Clive Lodge 1575 Installation onApril 11th, W. Bro Winston Cree who was sitting on my immediate left won the bottle of MFEST whisky. The next installation I attended was Lodge of Venture 6916 Staffordshire on April 23rd. I was shocked that the person on my immediate left also won the MFEST whisky. I was feeling unlucky!

Next I attended Idsall Installation and I mentioned my recent bad luck to Bro. Peter McConville (pictured) of Fitzalan Lodge, No. 1432 and suggested as he was on my immediate left that he might buy more tickets! Just before the draw I asked Peter if he wanted to swap his tickets and he declined. The draw was then taken and large gasps were given as W. Bro Bill Gould drew out ticket 250 which was Peter's ticket, with some Brethren comparing me with the magician Dynamo!!

I must be a lucky mascot so the big question is, Who wants to sit on my left at Old Ben's installation?

[thanks, Andy. Answers on a postcard, please! Ed.]

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

A click (or two?) for Lifelites

Freemasonry up and down the country has been supporting the excellent Lifelites charity, which aims to provide terminally ill and disabled children in hospices with entertainment and activity. Read about some of their recent work below - and then (if you wish) follow this link to vote digitally for the charity - and help them become a Digital Leader!

For the first time in Lifelites’ history we showed off our specialist assistive technologies to over 75,000 tech fans that walked through the doors of Britain’s largest consumer tech show - The Gadget Show Live 2016. The exhibition was held at the NEC Birmingham between 31st March - 3rd April 2016. The Lifelites stand was situated in The Lab where the charity showcased the equipment and held a fundraising competition using their special tech and gadgets raising an incredible £1,135.
The Lab was a newly introduced area to the show where The Gadget Show Live visitors discovered inspirational tech for the future as well as advice and education on how the tech of tomorrow can change lives; something that Lifelites is extremely familiar with and have seen the impact their magical technology has on enhancing the lives of terminally ill children in hospices.
Lifelites showcased the Mobile Magic Carpet which enables children in hospices to have experiences they wouldn’t otherwise have such as flying a plane, splashing in the sea or play football with their brothers and sisters. We also demonstrated the revolutionary Eyegaze equipment which is an eye tracking device meaning that children who are unable to communicate like normal children are able to now tell their carers what they would like for breakfast, when they are thirsty and can even, for the first time, tell their parents that they love them just by using their eyes. 
In addition to this, for a minimum donation of £2, Lifelites held an Eyegaze competition through a retro game, ‘Eagle Alien’. Each day, the person who shot the aliens in the quickest time using just their eyes won a star prize; a one year subscription to T3 Magazine. 
Huge thanks goes out to our volunteers from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire for giving up so many hours of their time to volunteer for us on our stand and to T3 magazine for donating the competiton prizes.