Masons help build Outdoor Classroom

Responding to a plea for help, Hungerford Freemasons have delighted the teachers, parents and most importantly pupils of the Shalbourne Church of England Primary School with a donation of £500 towards their new Outdoor Classroom. Gilbert Mills, Chairman of the Lodge Benevolent Association said “Freemasonry encourages us to learn about nature and science and we hope this donation will help future generations of children to do the same.”

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Tim Norman (Benevolent Association Treasurer) presents cheque for £500 to Liz Darking (vice-Chair of Shalbourne School PTFA)

The Lodge was originally contacted via its website by the school’s Parents, Teachers and Friends Association in the hope that we would provide a raffle prize. The members of the Lodge discussed the application and felt that they wanted to really get behind the effort and so decided to make a donation instead.

Several members of the Lodge were present to witness Tim Norman (Association Treasurer) present the cheque to Liz Darking, vice-chair of the PTFA. Liz thanked the Lodge saying “Shalbourne is a small, rural school and we find it difficult to find funds for the little extras that enhance the learning environment for the children.”

About the Hungerford Lodge

The Hungerford Lodge has been serving the community since its consecration in 1925. It conducts all of its charitable activities through the Hungerford Lodge Benevolent Association which is a registered charity. Over the last five years, the Association has distributed over £25,000 of funds raised solely from the members of the Lodge and other Berkshire Freemasons.

Sharing the Knowledge

JOG donationHungerford Freemasons are delighted to have presented a cheque for £500 to the John O’Gaunt School Library Appeal this week.

Gilbert Mills, Chairman of the Hungerford Freemasons Lodge Benevolent Association, presented a cheque to Assistant Head Teacher Mrs Bunston, PSA Chair Penny Locke and Librarian Mrs Lamb.

Hungerford Freemasons have taken a keen interest in the local community since the Lodge formed 90 years ago and we were delighted to have been approached to help with the John O’Gaunt School Library project.

As a self-confessed silver surfer, Gilbert said “Freemasonry has always been about encouraging people to be the best version of themselves that they can be. We do this by taking what we call a Daily Advancement or doing something every day to improve yourself. We hope that this new facility will help our children and grandchildren to do just that, as well as demystifying modern technology for my generation!”

About the Benevolent Association:

The Hungerford Lodge Benevolent Association is a registered charity that has in the last five years distributed over £25,000 of funds raised solely from the members of the Lodge and other Berkshire freemasons.

About the Learning Resource Centre:

The new Learning Resource Centre (LRC) will be an open plan space, set out with distinct zones and touch pad technology. As well as appropriate, varied and inspiring books, there will be a teaching space with interactive whiteboard, iPod stations for listening to audio books, reading ‘nook’ to read comfortably (my own children like to read lying down or even upside down!) and gallery space in which to celebrate student work. There will be a careers area to show our children what they never dreamed they might be, a graphic novel section for those who like a little ‘Pow!’ in their narrative and a variety of reading seats about the space for those who like to just ‘be’. The LRC will be modern in design, whilst approachable and inspiring in outlook. It will also be a space for our community; book groups for different age groups, storytelling afternoons for toddlers, author visits and book signings in conjunction with our local book shop and town library and the setting for our ‘Silver Surfers’ ICT course. Reading should be as much at the heart of the Hungerford Community as it is at our school.

The Last Supper – Hungerford Lodge Leaves Home After Almost 90 Years

After almost 90 years at the heart of the Hungerford community, the Hungerford Lodge is to move to the Newbury Masonic Centre. The Lodge has used the Town Hall and Corn Exchange for its meetings since 1925 but this association has come to an end due to the changing business needs of the Hungerford Town & Manor. This is a source of great disappointment to the members who have always been very proud to call themselves Hungerford Freemasons, and support local Hungerford charities, including funding the disabled access lift for the Town Hall.

After almost 90 years at the heart of the Hungerford community, the Hungerford Lodge is to move to the Newbury Masonic Centre. The Lodge has used the Town Hall and Corn Exchange for its meetings since 1925 but this association has come to an end due to the changing business needs of the Hungerford Town & Manor. This is a source of great disappointment to the members who have always been very proud to call themselves Hungerford Freemasons, and support local Hungerford charities, including funding the disabled access lift for the Town Hall.

Traditionally a celebration of the best of Freemasonry, the meeting and Festive Board held on December 9th 2014, was tinged with sadness. It was the last meeting of the Hungerford Lodge in Hungerford. Every year the Lodge celebrates Christmas with a legendary meal accompanied by the Hungerford Town Band playing Carols – who knew that Land of Hope and Glory was a Carol?

After the meal, the Lodge runs its Christmas auction. Over the years, this auction has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity through the generosity of the Hungerford and visiting Freemasons. The money raised supports the activities of the Lodge Benevolent Association, which is a registered charity and since 2009, they have donated over £25,000 to local and national charities including:

The members of the Lodge formed a steering group which was tasked with investigating the alternatives within Hungerford and the surrounding areas. Although every effort was made to remain within Hungerford, no suitable accommodation was found which necessitated a move away from the Lodge’s traditional home. It was therefore decided to approach the Newbury Masonic Centre to host them for the future. This will bring the Hungerford Craft, Chapter and Mark Lodges all back under one roof again.

To maintain a link with Hungerford, the Lodge will hold its support meetings (General Purposes Committee, Lodge of Instruction and rehearsals) in the Cygnet Room of the Three Swans Hotel. The Lodge has also chosen to hold its Festive Board in Hungerford. The steering group will continue to take feedback from the members as to what is working and what needs to change as we adjust to our new home.

The Lodge wishes to thank the management committee at the Newbury Masonic Centre as well as the Berkshire Freemasons Executive team for their advice and guidance during this difficult time.

Freemasons give early Christmas present to School

The Hungerford Lodge of Freemasons has donated £500 to Great Bedwyn School to fund the school’s plan to replace its outdoor climbing frames.

The Hungerford Lodge of Freemasons has donated £500 to Great Bedwyn School to fund the school’s plan to replace its outdoor climbing frames.

Gilbert Mills, Chairman of the Hungerford Lodge Benevolent Association said, “Many people are not aware that the Freemasons, nationally, are the second largest donors to charity, donating many millions of pounds each year to worthy causes.  Our own Lodge has donated in excess of £25,000 over last five years to local organisations and needy individuals.  We hope to add to the sum we have given to Great Bedwyn School in the near future.”

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Kim Spencer, head of Great Bedwyn School said, “We are delighted to receive this donation.  Our existing outdoor equipment is coming to the end of its life and will need replacing soon.   School funding is increasingly coming under pressure, so every little helps.  We are still some way off our target, but hope to be able to erect the new frame within the next two years.  At our recent summer fete, our PTA managed to raise over £9,000 towards our fund but we still need to raise thousands of pounds to cover its cost.  Once we have reached our target sum, our children will have a say in what type of playground equipment they would like to have. “

Website Launch

Turning the keyThis post marks the official launch of the Hungerford Lodge no 4748 website. It is amazing to think that when the Lodge was founded in 1925, the era between the “War to end all wars” and the Great Depression, the times, dates and places of Masonic meetings were regularly published in the local papers.

There then followed a period of retrenchment, during which publicity was considered a bad thing. In part, this was due to the suppression of Freemasonry and persecution of freemasons on the continent during the run up to World War 2 and the war years. Although this changed with the changes to the European political landscape, there has been significant continued opposition to freemasonry.

It has taken a long time to get back to the point where Masons are encouraged to be open and proud of their membership. When the idea of the Hungerford Lodge having an online presence was first discussed at our General Purpose Committee, our current Master (or leader for the year) expressed his own inner struggle with the idea. He was initiated in the early 1970’s and has been a member of the Lodge during the time when news media coverage has typically been negative and Masons were taught to be cautious about revealing their membership. He recognised the need for greater openness as we had evidence that Hungerford residents were largely unaware of the existence of a Lodge of Freemasons within their midst, never mind the good we were doing for the community in general.

The fact that we, as a Lodge, now feel comfortable with a website and a presence on both Facebook and Twitter is a significant positive step, in this writer’s opinion. Furthermore, this openness is not limited to the Hungerford Lodge but the United Grand Lodge of England has a presence on the main online and social media platforms and has recently constructed a YouTube channel.

Some Lodges, in particular the North Harrow Lodge no 6557 have used the online world to turn a decline in numbers into a success story, which has truly inspired the Hungerford Lodge no 4748 to take this step into the online world.

We hope that you find the information on our site useful and we hope that:

  • If everything you have read about Freemasonry before you found this site was negative, we have succeeded in putting the other side of the story.
  • If you have thought about joining Freemasonry, this site answered your questions. If not, please contact us and we will attempt to answer any lingering questions and use the experience to improve our website.
  • If you are already a Mason, please come and visit us when you are in the area.