How a bird box helped a Ukranian family

Brian Cattermole, as a hobby, makes bird boxes which he donates or raffles for charity. At a recent Leigh on Sea Chapter meeting he donated two. One of the lucky winners was Colin Felton who can be seen proudly displaying it. Previously Brian had also donated one for raffle at the Southend Masonic Study Circle. The total raised for both was £280 which was rounded to £300 by a generous donation.

Prior to the raffle Mike Hill approached Brian and asked if he would consider making any money raised to be given to a Ukranian family.
Mike proceeded to explain that he was aware of a family who had fled Ukraine and were living with their relatives locally to him.

The family had left Mariupol with a bag each. The father, who had been a policeman and a merchant sailor was having an interview for work at DP Ports. To support his family. The mother had never left Mariupol, until the war, is busy learning English. Whilst the daughter, whose English is improving each day, is hoping to go to Reading University.

Brian explained the predicament and all Companions of the Chapter were very happy for the proceeds to be put to such good use.

Brian put the proceeds from both raffles and was delighted to be able to present a cheque in person to the family
The family were most grateful for the assistance given by Brian through the raffling of his bird boxes.
We wish them well in their new lives and Mike will keep us informed as to how things develop for them.


Provincial Grand Lodge of East Anglia, Royal Order of Scotland

On Friday 8 April 2022, the Provincial Grand Lodge of East Anglia, Royal Order of Scotland celebrated the Installation of their new Provincial Grand Master. The ceremony took place at the St. Giles Masonic Centre in Colchester where the Province welcomed a Grand Lodge Deputation from Edinburgh. Following the formal opening, the Brethren were called to order by the Grand Marischal, Bro. Ray King to receive the Deputy Grand Master and Governor, Bro. Ewan Rutherford, accompanied by the Grand Secretary, Bro. Alan Dickson. It is interesting to note that the first Grand Lodge of the Order was formed in Edinburgh in 1768 when the King of Scots was made the Hereditary Grand Master.

At the conclusion of all competent business of the Lodge, the Grand Marischal presented the Provincial Grand Master Designate, Bro. Ralph Robertson to the Deputy Grand Master and Governor. After ensuring that the Patent of appointment was in order, Bro. Robertson was obligated and Installed as the 12th Provincial Grand Master for the Province of East Anglia. The Deputy Grand Master and Governor then addressed the meeting, informing the Brethren that this was his third visit to the Province, the first as the Head of the Order with the previous two being in the Office of Grand Marischal, accompanying the then Deputy Grand Master and Governor, the Rt. Hon Earl of Elgin. He also paid tribute to the Past Provincial Grand Master, Bro. John Robertson and thanked him for his chairmanship of the Province during the difficult period of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The Grand Lodge Deputation then retired from the Lodge which was then closed and the Brethren resorted to the festive board for dinner. The day concluded on a happy and high note, with everyone agreeing it had been a successful and enjoyable meeting.

The Provincial Grand Lodge of East Anglia meets on three occasions in the year; Colchester in April, Newmarket in May, and Lowestoft for the Installation Meeting in September. The Province encompasses Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, and North Essex as far as Chelmsford.

Qualification for membership requires that a potential candidate must have been a Master Mason for five years and upwards. In practice each Province lays down its own requirements, for example some demand that a candidate has attained 30˚ in the Ancient and Accepted Rite. In East Anglia candidates are usually limited to brethren who have been Master Masons for at least five years and have shown a keen interest in Freemasonry beyond their craft lodge.

The Province of East Anglia usually “Advances & Promotes” two candidates per meeting and entry may be protracted as there are about two hundred Lodges from which to draw candidates.

The photograph shows from L-R. The Grand Secretary Bro. Alan Dickson, The Deputy Grand Master & Governor Bro. Ewan Rutherford, The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, Bro. Ralph Robertson. The Past Provincial Grand Master, Bro. John Robertson, The Substitute Provincial Grand Master, Bro. Nick Franklin and the Grand Marischal, Bro. Ray King.

Enquiries regarding membership of the Royal Order of Scotland should be directed to the Provincial Grand Secretary whose details can be found in the various Provincial Year Book’s.


Charity Stewards’ lodge – up and running with a SNAP

Burntwood Lodge (the Charity Stewards’ lodge) No. 8016 started its new purpose and structure with a SNAP on Tuesday 7th June at Hutton.

The SNAP was the charity Special Needs and Patients,, and more than 40 Lodge members, family and visiting Charity Stewards were treated to a very interesting presentation by Karen Boath, CEO, and Sara Clifton, Fund Raising Manger who they are and what they do.

SNAP is an Essex charity for families with children and young people who have any special need or disability. SNAP's aims are to inform, encourage and support parents and carers so that they can grow in strength and knowledge and become better equipped to give the best possible help to their children.

From its Brentwood base, SNAP offers a helping hand to thousands of families in need of support. No formal diagnosis or professional referral is necessary to access SNAP services, which are available to families with children and young people aged up to 25 who live under Essex County Council, Thurrock, and Southend.

Facilities at the centre include a training room, multi-purpose activity hall, multi-sensory room and specialist IT suite.

SNAP needs around £750,000 a year to fulfil these services and their aims, and at the end of the presentation, the Lodge made a donation to help SNAP carry on the good work.

This was the first Burntwood meeting under its new format and, even with a few hiccups, proved very successful. In addition, over £150 was raised in the raffle.

The next Burntwood Lodge (the Charity Stewards’ lodge) meeting will be on Tuesday 6th September, at Hutton, the charity to present has yet to be confirmed.

At the November meeting, on Tuesday 1st, again at Hutton, there will be a presentation from the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association.


Essex Freemason Plunges 160 Feet!

Essex Freemason, Andy Cook, the Inner Guard of Brownswood Lodge No 4272 which meets at Rochford Masonic Hall, took a plunge for charity with a bungee jump from 160 ft, from a crane. 

With encouraging words from his son Bailey who messaged on his father’s JustGiving page “Good on ya Dad! Can’t wait to see it haha!” Andy’s nervousness was not from the worry of falling but was from being lifted in a man basket in the crane.

The event on Saturday 11th June 2022 was held in London close to Kings Cross Station. Andy was supported by his fellow Brownswood Lodge members and others from the social club which Brownswood use for their Lodge of Instruction.

The amount raised so far through, JustGiving and crowdfunding, is £850 but final total is expected to be over £1,000. The charity that will benefit is the Southend Cystic Fibrosis Association (SCFA) and the money will be used to provide equipment and services to improve the quality of life for those with CF in the Southend area.

SCFA, which is run entirely by volunteers, has given good support to the children of one of the Brownswood Lodge members so Andy is glad he did it for them but next time would look to do a fundraiser that didn’t take him to such new heights!


Saint John’s Lodge No. 1343 - Do It in Style

Celebrating the Platinum Jubilee and Supporting St Luke’s Hospice

Members of Saint John’s Lodge No. 1343 and their guests, gathered at Cross Keys Masonic Centre on Thursday 2nd June 2022 to celebrate in style HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with a Charity Dinner and Dance.

 A fantastic four-course meal of traditional British Fayre was served at the colourful event which was thoroughly enjoyed by all on what was a beautiful sunny day certainly befitting the occasion. Saint John’s Lodge provided a rousing live entertainment by the way of ‘Jamie’, who is a great vocalist and comedienne, for everyone in attendance.

 A raffle also held with all proceedings going towards the very worthy and much respected local charity ‘St Luke’s Hospice’ to help with the care needs of individuals and support for their families and carers living in the Thurrock and Basildon local communities.

 Flags were waved, songs were sung, and more than a few toasts were raised to celebrate this momentous occasion for HM the Queen with the party continuing long into the night in merriment and great humour.


Platinum JubiGLEE

A collaborative effort by number of Essex Freemasons who are members of Henry de Gray, Thurrock, St Johns and Old Palmerians Lodges, saw 600 Union Jack Bowler Hats and Flags donated to the pupils and teachers of Chadwell St Mary Primary School.

 The school which neighbours the Cross Keys Masonic Centre in Thurrock used this donation to help prepare a Platinum Jubilee Garden Party during the recent and forthcoming festivities.

 The Lodges also initiated an Art Competition for the pupils and donated many prizes of Amazon Kindles and Art Sets for the Winners and Runners Up across two different Age Groups. The competition itself was to create something ‘Regal or Royal’ in celebration of HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

 The entries ranged from collage to pencil drawings and the competition was a huge success. Representatives from the Lodges; Dave Barton, Chris Bushell, Clive Cheeseman and Joe Curtis visited the school on the 25th May to judge the entries in readiness for the prizes to be awarded to the winners and runners up at the school’s Garden Party.

 Tina Gale (Office Manager at the school) said “Jubilee celebrations have started with a bang in Chadwell. A big thank you to all the Freemasons Lodges for their support with prizes, hats, flags and for judging the winners of the art competition.  We had the music outside and the children danced and sang along with the teachers and staff.”

 The Chadwell St Mary Primary School Garden Party was held on Thursday 26th May and all the children and staff in attendance had a great day in the sun with plenty of ‘coronation’ chicken on the menu.

Judges, L-R: Joe Curtis, Clive Cheeseman, David Barton, Chris Bushell


Wivenhoe and Colchester Masonic Centres Sponsor Scouts to South Korea Jamboree

A united band of brethren from both Wivenhoe and Colchester Masonic Centres were joined by the 1st Wivenhoe Scout Group members on the 14th April 2022 at Wivenhoe Masonic Hall for a special presentation. 

Two of the Scouts, Tillman and Charlie accompanied by their leader, Karen Pilgrim, were presented with a cheque for £2,000 to go towards the cost of sending the Explorer Scouts to the World Scouting Jamboree in South Korea in 2023.

Watch the video interview in which both Tillman and Charlie expressed their delight at the donation by the Essex Freemasons and highlighted how it would not only help them but also Scouts from disadvantages background to attend the event in South Korea.  


Paul Fell and Bob Needham, the Secretaries of Ostrea and Colne Lodges respectively, were key in bringing the cause to light. In their video interview they explained that over nine Freemasons Lodges from the Wivenhoe and Colchester Centres were involved in donating to this very worthy cause.  

Neil Anthony, the Centre Communications Officer for Colchester, Wivenhoe & Brightlingsea Masonic Centres added “I was pleased to have been present and been part of demonstrating the strength that joint charity drives between local centres can have a proactive and positive effect on those recipients of it. “


"Simply the Best"

As Worshipful Master of North Essex Masters' Lodge No. 9831 (NEML), the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Nick Franklin, appropriately attired in his tartan trews, made sure that Friday 13th May 2022 was a lucky day for all the NEML brethren as they met on this occasion at the Braintree Masonic Centre, Howard Hall.

The regular business of the Lodge included the elections of Graham Poulter as the Worshipful Master and Brian Dack as Treasurer for the ensuing year, both brethren are Past Provincial Junior Grand Wardens (PPJGWs) and Brian is also the Lodge Organist.

The NEML Brethren were then most fortunate to receive an exceptional demonstration of a North East Scotland Third (NEST) Degree from ‘The Degree Team’ led by from o’er the Border. Although their degrees are the same, Scottish workings can be more dramatic and theatrical when compared to workings in England and this was no exception. In addition, it was also noted that the NEST Degree, as demonstrated, gave much more explanation than ours does.  

The NEML brethren enjoyed seeing the differences compared to our own workings as they watched the candidate being handled much more rigorously in a way which would be an unforgettable but meaningful experience.  Although essentially the same ceremony as ours, the NEST Degree is embellished with ‘fun’, is ‘louder’ as opposed to ours with its quieter demeaner but does not lose any of its gravitas and adds further to the meaning.

The journey south by the very experienced and committed ‘The Degree Team’, led by Steve Barker, was greatly appreciated by all the NEML brethren. It was performed to a packed house which added to the powerful effect on the audience who enjoyed something very different but equally connected. For those brethren who have seen many demonstrations over the years they could be forgiven for thinking of ‘The Degree Team’ as the ‘Tina Turner Team’ as it was ‘Simply the Best’.


Freemasons Provide a ‘Ticket to Ride’

Freemasons in Essex have made a £15,000 donation to the Castle Point Social Car Scheme (CPSCS), which provides transport options for the elderly and disabled in the borough.

The scheme, which launched in 1997, has a fleet of six vehicles – three 3 mini-buses and three disability cars – driven by three employed drivers and 27 volunteers, along with many more volunteers to help the passengers.

The Car Scheme offers transport and trips for the elderly and disabled in Castle Point, for a small membership fee.

More than 1,000 residents are currently able to book car journeys at a reduce cost, as well as places on minibuses for day trips around Essex, hospital visits or even holidays, and   allow scheme members to visit beauty spots, shopping centres and garden centres, etc.

This is a service the residents of Castle say is “invaluable” and, apart from the small annual membership fee and reduced mileage cost, the Car Scheme is financed by fund-raising and donations.

The scheme needs around £140,000 a year to provide around 6,500 journeys.

Chairman Alan Beale said: “Now the pandemic and restrictions are over, I get a lot of members saying they just want to get out, and visit places. This makes this service even more important for the members’ quality of life and mental health.”

Chris Hicks, the Provincial Charity Steward for Essex Freemasons, said: “This is a good example of Freemasons supporting the community in Essex, particularly the vulnerable.”

The donation comes from the more than £1 million raised each year by Essex Freemasons through the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

For details of the CPSCS, go to:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The LODA Presentation Team in Action

What a superb evening was had on 3rd May 2022 at the Lodge of Daily Advancement No. 9979 (LODA), following on from Gerald Reilly’s thought-leadership oration in February. Both Graham Larke and David Badger, the co-leaders of the LODA Presentation Team made sure the Lodge lived up to its name and everyone made a ‘daily advancement’. 

For all those who have stood at Wembley Stadium and sung their hearts out, full of emotion, pride and with tears welling in their eyes, Graham Larke explained the story behind the hymn ‘Abide with Me’, the Anthem of the FA Cup.  The full oration is available from Lawrie Morrisson, the Secretary of the Lodge of Daily Advancement.  In bygone times, ‘abide’ had a similar meaning as ‘remain’ so the singer of the hymn is asking God to stay with them in times of trouble. 

David Badger, the Lodge ADC; Ian Simpson, WM and Peter Thomas, Lodge Mentor and Education Officer, all gave a splendid demonstration of a Lodge of Sorrow entitled ‘Roses and Evergreen - An Aspect of American Freemasonry.  It is convened at convocations of Grand Lodges working in the USA and is a marvellous way to recognise recently departed brethren. All those present were amazed by the poignancy of it all - you really could hear a pin drop! 

For their first time out as a team together, David said “It went very well and I was pleased with the end result” he continued “it was Patrick Wilkins, of the same mother lodge as Paul Tarrant and myself, Lodge of Fraternity No. 5916, who introduced the work to the UK about 15 years ago.”

Not on an official visit this time but as a guest, Trevor Darby PAGDC was seen enjoying the Meeting.  Although the future role of VGOs is still being considered, Trevor was pleased to be at LODA and said “I was impressed with the interesting and informative talk given by Graham Larke on the origin and use of the popular hymn ‘Abide with Me’. It was appropriate given what followed. I was equally impressed with the demonstration of a Lodge of Sorrow, as performed by Grand Lodges in the USA.”

You can book the LODA Presentation Team to visit your Lodge to present an oration or to give a demonstration of the Lodge of Sorrow ceremony. To book the team for either a special occasion or for a regular meeting, contact Lawrie Morrisson, whose details are in the Provincial Handbook on the Cube. Likewise, if you want to help others make a daily advancement as a member of the LODA Presentation Team, Lawrie will be pleased to hear from you.


My Sec’s Life

W Bro Dr Gerald Chevin is a member of Earlham Lodge No. 7266 and an experienced Lodge Secretary. In Craft he is a Past Grand Standard Bearer (PGStB).  In Royal Arch he is the Scribe E (secretary) of Earlham Chapter, a Past Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah (PPGSN) and also holds Senior London Grand Chapter Rank (SLGCR). His amusing story gives us an insight into his Sec’s life.

So, as the last of our members troop out of the Masonic Centre all that remains for me to do is to check to see who has left their mobile phones/cases/coats or indeed all three (there will be frantic calls on the morrow). As the old computer adage says ‘first in, last out’ yes that’s my Sec’s Life.

Day after the meeting…wake up very early get ready for work, (or Masonic Business) type up the minutes of the meeting held yesterday from my copies details almost “illegible” scrawl. . .  Can that be right yes of course Bro x said this and Bro y Proposed that . . . . . . .

Print out the first of many updates and amendments somehow it looks different on paper than the screen the mistakes seem to have multiplied exponentially on the print-out!!!  Oh well back to the Word Processor at last just one or two more amendments there goes the phone “Yes it was a great meeting I agree shame about the . . . . .”

The telephone does not stop ringing off the hook regarding last night’s meeting and some members/guests asking about their lost property “Yes, I have it in my case don’t worry”

“Yes, I’ll make sure that you sit next to Bro z next meeting and not with Bro q”

“Yes, I will ensure that your fish is grilled not fried next meeting”

“Yes, I will try to arrange . . . . . . . . . . .”

This goes on for some time and I am still trying to “clean up” the minutes for circulating.

At last a hiatus in the telephone situation I might just get some actual work done now but wait . . . . .

I must just check with our Worshipful Master (WM) about the next meetings schedule, and give him my suggestions for the meal. That “brief” call took nearly forty minutes.

Still I can now e-mail the members with my draft minutes for their approbation.

I can also upload them onto our Lodge WEB SITE.

Back to some real work, but first I must just produce the layout for the next summons…. wow that’s eaten away another hour.

Time for lunch as soon as I take this telephone call from one of our members. To inform me he is on a special diet so could I ensure he gets what he needs at the next meeting not what I order.

I sometimes wonder if we refused to supply “special meals” and offer the only choice as take it or leave it would we have so many people actually leaving it?!!!!

Just a quick bite of my sarnie as I really must talk to the Director of Ceremonies (DC) to ensure that Bro’s a b c & d are up to the work they have volunteered to do at the next meeting.

After a long chat covering almost everything but the main reason for my call, he refers me to the Preceptor who is apparently intimately involved with the various members capabilities. Now where is the rest of my lunch, oh under this pile of photocopies of the minutes of last night’s meeting.

Ok just a quick munch on my apple, the phone rings again it’s the Preceptor…. well it saves me a call, we chat about last night’s meeting and what we could do to improve at the next meeting.

We finally get to the various Brethren’s Masonic grasp of the ritual and finalise who is doing what but I should call them in turn to ascertain their level of happiness and availability for the next meeting.

Oh, the apple has turned a horrible shade of brown; I best “bin it”, and have a coffee just to keep my throat lubricated all this talking (I really must try to do some work as well)!

I try to contact all the nominated Brethren but run up against a brick wall as some are actually doing a paid job and are unavailable at this particular moment in time, but I do get many promises (usually unfulfilled) that a return call is on the cards.

I must just produce the dining slip and wait, Bro h has moved, and Bro j has a new telephone number. Oh, how I wish that they would change their details in alphabetical order, it would make my life so much easier!!!

Ok, just about ready to finalise the dinning slips when one of the more senior members calls me and relates many apocryphal stories about the “old” days culminating in the standard line of how things were so much tougher/better/cheaper (perm any one out of three) in his time!!!!

I really must get on and do some work... but wait a moment all three lines are ringing off the hook, it’s some of the returned calls I was promised (oh ye of little faith).

At last, I crossed the T’s & dotted the I’s I am ready to create the Summons.

Last minute checks are carried out it’s on the way.

Skip forward FORTY days . . . . I did manage to do some real work in between.

Fantastic just before the standard call to the caterers to order the meal type and quantity and at least five members have replied but based on the replies so far, the WM, Wardens, Deacons, ADC, DC and IG will not be coming…. this is par for the course but the Candidate has confirmed his intention to be there, well I guess we could just give him the ritual book and he can Initiate himself!!!!

I must spend some time contacting the various members (almost all of them it seems) who have not responded, some have changed their mobile numbers, and/or e-mail addresses without informing me so even more time wasting is called for.

Skip forward SIX hours. So from five members confirmed the numbers (with guests) has dramatically increased (along with my phone bill) to eighty three!!!!!!!

I also know (from bitter experience) that on the day of the meeting some people will “cry off” others will turn up unannounced with guests wanting to sit with them and have their specific choice of meal!!!! You get used to it but what a way to behave!!!

Skip forward to the day of the meeting the morning is full of calls from members who for various reasons, “crying off” wanting more guests, a different selection of food or just enquiring when the meeting is being held !!!!!!!!!

I usually leave in early enough to get to the venue in plenty of time, with fully loaded briefcases extra supply of summonses etc etc.

Finally, the meeting gets underway.

My head is spinning it seems to me that as a general rule of thumb that when the meeting goes well the WM is held in high esteem by all. But if hiccups occur then what an inept Secretary we have, c’est la vie . . .  

So as the last of our members troop out of the Masonic Centre all that remains for me to do is to check to see who has left their mobile phones/cases/coats or indeed all three (there will be frantic calls on the morrow). As the old computer adage says ‘first in last out’ yes that’s my Sec’s Life.

Please let me be very clear that contrary to the above observations, it may seem traumatic, and you may wonder why anybody would undertake the onerous task of Secretary. It is, let me assure you, very rewarding, and I enjoy it immensely.

Dr Gerald Chevin


Festival 2022 Summer Ball | Saturday 18th June 2022


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