“Have You Anything to Give in The Cause of Charity? - Oh Yes, We Have!”

A year of joint fundraising events by Essex Freemasons who are members of Lodges meeting at the Cross Keys Masonic Centre

in River View, Chadwell St Mary, culminated in a Spectacular Children’s Party on Saturday 19th December in Thurrock.

Over 120 children, parents and grandparents pulled Christmas crackers, ate chocolate, told festive jokes and enjoyed a wonderful pantomime of Aladdin followed by the marvellous magician ‘Professor Rainbows’ and his naughty and mischievous dog.

After Christmas songs, dinner and more treats and drinks consumed, the children followed Santa and his elves into the amazing Christmas Grotto made up in the Centre itself where each child received further gifts and sweets from jolly ol’ St Nick.

The children who came were from Chadwell St Mary Primary School, the Changing Pathways Refuge Service for adult women and their children experiencing domestic abuse, as well as children and relations of fellow brethren from the Lodges which meet at the Centre. Everyone had a fantastic time and certainly made enough noise to let the local neighbouring community know they were enjoying themselves.

The festive event was well funded in no small part because of the amazing efforts throughout the year by members of Thurrock, Henry De Gray, St John’s, Stifford Heath, St George’s and Old Palmerians Lodges to name but a few.

Pupils of Chadwell St Mary Primary School were invited to attend as part of a competition for the Winners of a Christmas Card competition. Tickets for the Party and Snow Globes were presented to the Winners on 2nd December at the school. The winning card designs ranged from Gardens Peas with Santa Hats ‘Hap pea Christmas’ to a Square and Compasses on the side of Santa’s Sleigh. Clearly a winning entry.

Children of Changing Pathways women’s refuge attended as part of the ever-growing relationship with this worthy local good cause. Changing Pathway’s Operations Manager Zoe McKeel praised the local Freemasons saying, “Thank you so much for a wonderful afternoon for the Mums and Children. They were all very grateful. You have done us proud once again. Superstars! We are lucky to have your support and kindness”.

Other events which were organised and held throughout December included a Brass Band which played at Bennett Lodge Residential Home on the 6th December. Dick Fox and Greg Evans from Stifford Heath Lodge along with members of Tilbury Brass Band, performed Christmas songs and carols well into the evening whilst the residents sang along, clapped and enjoyed mince pies and sherry supplied by the Cross Keys Masonic Centre.

To say that the Freemasons meeting at Cross Keys Masonic Centre have achieved so much within the local community during 2022 is somewhat of an understatement. Local hospitals, hospices, foodbanks, community groups, charities, refuges and retirement homes have all benefited from the kindness and generosity of local Freemasons getting together, working together and pulling the same way together for the same cause.

With several events for 2023 already planned and organised it should be another year of great fun and new friendships for the members of Lodges based at the Cross Keys whilst supporting local communities, charities and other good causes.


Top: Panto in full swing.

Right: Elves and Santa = Elves L-R Clive Cheeseman, Dave Barton, Chris Bushell / John Lally as Santa and Sandra Lally as Mrs Claus.

Bottom group:

Top Left: Dick Fox and Greg Evans with members of Tilbury Brass Band

Bottom Left: Winners of Christmas Card Competition at Chadwell St Mary Primary School

Right: Santa's Grotto, made and fabricated in the Masonic Centre.