Global magazine bears tidings of ‘Comfort and joy’ in Essex

Blanket coverage for Thurrock Freemasons as they give community groups seasonal support

Freemasonry Today is the quarterly magazine of the United Grand Lodge of England which is posted to around 200,000 members in over 7,000 lodges within 48 Provinces in England, Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands as well as some Districts overseas.

In the Winter 2023 edition is a news story entitled ‘Comfort and joy’ based on a post on the Provincial Grand Lodge of Essex website News on 27 June 2023 at Women’s Institute and Essex Freemasons form a Tight Knit Group.

Several lodges which meet at the Cross Keys Masonic Centre in Chadwell St Mary joined together a year ago to form the Cross Keys Community Fund (CKCF) and have had a busy year organising events and fundraising to support local community groups. This fits in well with ‘Service’, one of the four key values of Freemasonry.

Supporting knitting groups with balls of wool helps get people out, especially seniors, and into a warm place with social interaction which is extremely important for mental health. Not only do they produce knitted items for babies but recently over 150 lap blankets and knitted scarves were delivered to residential homes across Thurrock. As the pictures show these were extremely well received,

‘Knit and Natter’ is a fantastic project which the CKCF will continue to support but the run-up to Christmas has also been busy in with many other projects including:

  1. Hundreds of thermal socks and dental kits were delivered to night shelters in Stanford le Hope, Grays and Basildon as well as the Seamen’s Mission in Tilbury.
  2. A television was purchased and donated to MIND Charity in Grays, plus help with a sensory garden designed to help those in the borough suffering with mental health issues.
  3. A ‘Christmas Art’ competition has been arranged with Chadwell St Mary Primary School. Winners in seven different year groups will be judged on 11th December, and will win both a festive prize and a ticket to the Annual Christmas Childrens Party being held on the 16th December for the children of Changing Pathways Women’s Refuge and local masons.
  4. A brass band Christmas carol concert has been arranged for the residents of Bennet Lodge and Carolyne House on Tuesday 12th December with the kind help of local Freemason Dick Fox and his troupe.
  5. 25 large Snow-Globe arts and craft kits were donated to Thurrock Foodbank for distribution to Children of Families using the service.
  6. A donation of £250 to be made to Thameside Primary School. This school goes above and beyond to look after children in some of the poorest areas in Thurrock. The money will be used to help pay towards a Christmas Panto event organised for pupils that was, to date, completely funded by Teachers and Support Staff.
  7. Raffle prizes for Christmas events donated to Stifford Clays Medical Practice Patient Participation Group, Chadwell St Mary Primary School and Thameside Primary School.
  8. The amazing ‘Get Started Art’ initiative, is partly funded by the CKCF , with 50,000 Art Therapy Colouring Books being distributed not only in Essex but from Scotland to Kent to hospitals, including Great Ormond Street and Barts, care homes, Alzheimer and dementia day centres and schools with special educational needs units.

The ‘Comfort and joy’ title the magazine Freemasonry Today gave to the news story seems exceptionally appropriate as the Thurrock Freemasons’ CKCF reaches out to so many with seasonal greetings bearing tidings of comfort and joy.


Top: Showcasing the wonderful work of the ‘Knit and Natter’ project