Members of the Hungerford Lodge recently gathered with family and friends for a Sunday lunch at the Chequers Hotel in Newbury. Everyone had a wonderful time enjoying the food and the atmosphere. Funds raised from those attending the event were split as follows:
Hungerford Lodge is now the proud sponsor of three guide dogs for the blind over a two-year support programme, the Lodge members have supported two of the dogs and our Master, has sponsored the third – Oscar.
Bella is an affectionate little puppy who enjoys cuddles.
Daisy is a bundle of fun who loves to play.
Oscar is an adventurous chap who loves to explore.
Also attending the event were the Chairman of >WBRRC (West Berkshire Rapid Response Cars) and Peter and Lyn Congerton. WBRRC had recently been presented with a cheque for £1000, from the Hungerford Lodge Benevolent Association, to support the good work they do in around West Berkshire. Peter and Lyn have been part of the Lodge’s extended family ever since the Lodge assisted Peter with a new mobility scooter.
Hungerford Freemasons have donated £1,000 to the Brighter Futures Radiotherapy Appeal to help give people better access to life-saving radiotherapy treatment at the Great Western Hospital (GWH) in Swindon. Every month, 284 people in Swindon and Wiltshire are given a diagnosis of cancer at GWH. The current lack of a radiotherapy service in Swindon and Wiltshire means that these cancer patients must make the journey to Oxford, Bath or Cheltenham to receive their treatment.
The money raised from the appeal will enable
a new radiotherapy satellite centre to be built at GWH in partnership with the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Andrew Holmes, presenting the cheque on behalf of the Hungerford Lodge says, “The Lodge is very pleased to be involved in fundraising for the appeal. Whilst the Hungerford Lodge is in the masonic province of Berkshire, for many of our members the closest hospital is across the border in Wiltshire.”
“We would like to say a huge thank you to the Hungerford Lodge for their donation”, adds Chloe Thomas from Brighter Futures. “We have now raised £2,153,034 of the £2,900,000 needed to purchase key clinical equipment for the new radiotherapy unit, so we are well on our way to meeting our target.”
“At the moment around 700 patients a year make the 70 mile round-trip journey to the Churchill Hospital in Oxford for radiotherapy. Treatment usually lasts for a period of 4-7 weeks, made up of daily visits. This travelling just adds to the stress of fighting cancer.”
Gilbert Mills, chair of the Benevolent Association said “This is a once in a generation opportunity to make a huge difference to cancer treatment in Swindon and the local area. Freemasons have a long history of supporting developments such as this.”
Building of the new facility should start later this year.
Tuesday 15th November saw Mark Wiltshire installed as the Master or leader of the Hungerford Lodge by Jeremy Dickins. Jeremy has been a real asset to the Lodge over the last year. He has worked hard at the ceremonies and has been just as diligent with the administrative side of the Lodge. Jeremy thanked his team for their support over the previous year before installing his successor in the time-honoured manner. Mark then appointed his team for the coming year, demonstrating how capable he is at memorising and reciting the ritual whilst at the same time displaying a sense of humour and a deftness of touch.
Once the ceremonial part of the evening was over, the members and guests retired to the Newbury Royal British Legion (RBL) Club for a celebratory meal. In all, 88 people sat down to dine on tomato soup, roast beef and all the trimmings, followed by a cheese board. The buzz of excitement for the evening had been building over the last few weeks and the atmosphere at the meal was electric. Masons had travelled from near and far to witness the changing of the guard as it is always a special event in a Lodge’s calendar.
Mark is part of the Provincial Outreach team and most, if not all, of the team had turned out to support their colleague. The Outreach team runs Open Days at each of the Masonic Centres throughout Berkshire with a view to making Freemasonry more accessible to the public and dispelling some of the myths propagated by the national media. The team had recently opened the Newbury Masonic Centre for one such event as part of the Remembrance Day activities in Newbury.
Once the meal was over the raffle was drawn with some splendid prizes available. The generosity of those attending meant that £500 was raised by the raffle and a further £180 was collected for alms. Mark consulted with his team and they decided to present a donation of £250 to the RBL Poppy Appeal on behalf of the Lodge. The remainder was donated the Lodge Benevolent Association for future charitable works. The RBL team were extremely grateful for the generosity.
A traditional part of the celebrations at the Installation of a new Master, is the singing of The Master’s Song. This is a combination of solo and participatory singing. Those who have been the recipient, know this is a very emotional moment for the new Master. One of Mark’s close friends, Graham Reynolds had jokingly offered to sing the Master’s Song for Mark at his installation. Mark was delighted by this offer and held his friend to this commitment. Graham’s skills as a Heating (not cooling) Engineer are more in demand than his singing skills and he was a touch out of practice. This added to the fun of the evening.
The Deputy Provincial Grand Master (deputy leader for Berkshire Masons) Anthony Howlett-Bolton was on hand to witness the event along with his retinue and they left having thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
For the third time in recent weeks members of Hungerford Lodge have been out presenting a cheque to a local good cause. Following their donations to Great Bedwyn School in December 2014 and, more recently, to projects at John O’Gaunt and Shalbourne CofE Schools, it was back to Great Bedwyn. This time it was The Bruce Foundation who have benefitted from their benevolence.
The Berkshire Masonic Charity has donated £1,000 to the Foundation to help towards meeting the £120,000 capital cost of a unique, specially built and equipped motorhome. The wheelchair accessible vehicle, which is now ‘on the road’ is fully fitted with every aid and facility to enable people with disabilities or special needs to have a holiday, including a high end scissor action hospital bed with hoist and track system to a wet room at the rear of the vehicle.
Hungerford Lodge member Ken Phillips, who has been involved in the Bruce Foundation application to the Berkshire Masonic Charity, was so impressed with the sterling work of the Foundation that he suggested Hungerford Lodge might also consider making a donation. The Hungerford Lodge Benevolent Association readily agreed, and moreover, agreed to match the £1,000 given by the the Berkshire Masonic Charity.
So on Saturday 18th July, several Lodge members were greeted at Great Bedwyn Wharf by David Bruce and his daughter Rebecca. They were shown around the motorhome and David and Rebecca shared some tales of how the vehicle had already given pleasure to so many who might otherwise not have a holiday at all. The front passenger seat is removable and factory fitted anchor points can secure a wheelchair in its stead. One moving recollection of Rebecca’s was of a young lad in a wheelchair who was beside himself with joy at being able to sit in the front next to his driver dad, something he’d never done before.
In what at first sight seems a role reversal, Ken Phillips presented a cheque for £1,000 on behalf of the Berkshire Masonic Charity and esteemed Berkshire Freemason, and honorary member of Hungerford Lodge, Michael Tanner, was delighted to present the second £1,000 cheque on behalf of the Lodge. With the formalities over, Lodge members donned their Marigolds and showed willing to help in getting the Foundation motorhome (and the Bruce Trust canal boat) cleaned and ready for the next hirers.
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.”
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.
Hungerford 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.