Sir David Amess MP RIP

He lived respected and died regretted

The Provincial Grand Master (PGM) of Essex Freemasons, Paul Tarrant, expressed his shock and horror at the stabbing and killing of Sir David Amess MP. Speaking on behalf of the 9,000 plus Freemasons who meet in 300 Lodges across the county he said “We send our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to David’s family. Their grief and distress will remain foremost in our thoughts at this tragic time.”

Paul added “The whole Province is devastated. As an organisation which believes in peace and harmony, we stand alongside the two orders of women Freemasons in sharing our abhorrence at such an attack. Sir David was admired by us as a man with high standards of integrity, friendship, respect and charity which are our core values.”

To celebrate NHS, Social Care and Frontline Workers Day on 5th July 2021, along with Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Sir David visited Saxon Hall, the Southend Masonic Centre and home to over 2,000 local Freemasons in 45 Lodges. Sir David described it as “a splendid and successful occasion and thought the people gathered together made it a fitting tribute to our frontline workers.”

Paul Tarrant, who was born and lived in Southend nearly all his life was one of the first to pay tribute to the MP for Southend West since 1997. He has also received many messages of sadness and disbelief from Essex Freemasons. Paul said that there will be many more tributes to come over the next few days as the nation mourns its loss.

The PGM continued saying “We have one member who started on the same day as David at St Bonaventure’s Grammar School in Forest Gate in 1962. They were classmates for five years and shared their interest in Scouting together. He told me that Sir David would have been very appreciative of all the good work the Freemasons have done to support the Scouts, often helping as volunteers and in raising money to provide equipment and improve facilities.”

The Brother who now lives in Colchester also said that David would have felt very proud that the charity ‘Teddies for Loving Care’ (TLC), was founded in Southend by two local Masons in 2001 and after 20 years over three million teddies have been cuddled by children in hospitals.

Paul added that in Freemasonry there is a phrase used on the death of a Brother held in high esteem. Without doubt, with his love for the community he served and the encouragement he gave us in our volunteering for good causes, especially during the pandemic, it equally applies to the late Sir David Anthony Andrew Amess MP, it is: ‘He lived respected and died regretted’.

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Jeff Cripps PPSGW 50 Years in Freemasonry

In the only Cinque Port north of the River Thames, Essex Masonic history was made on 23rd September 2021 at Brightlingsea Masonic Hall where the Installation Meeting of the Lodge of Faith No 6830 was held.  On behalf of the Provincial Grand Master (PGM), Paul Tarrant, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master (DepProvGM) Nick Franklin was delighted to present Jeff Cripps with a Certificate to commemorate his 50 years as a Freemason.

Also in attendance was Tony White, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master (APGM) for the Lodge of Faith; Clive Rees, also an APGM and a member of the Lodge; and Geoff Turpin the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies (ProvGDC) and 30 Brethren, all of whom watched Jeff, as the Worshipful Master of the Lodge for the last two years, install his successor, Tony Linton, a Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer (PPGSwdB), with sincerity and to a high standard of ritual which was reflected throughout the whole meeting despite the added pressure of hosting such high ranking senior Provincial Grand Officers.

The evening was made extra special when, on behalf of the PGM, who had sent his congratulations and best wishes, Jeff was given a field promotion to Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden (PPSGW) by Nick Franklin. This was well received and greeted with rapturous applause by all the Brethren who know only too well how dedicated a Freemason, the newly promoted Jeff Cripps PPSGW is.

Paul Firmin, a Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden (PPJGW) and the Lodge Secretary, explained on behalf of all the Lodge members, “One of the most impressive things about Jeff is that he is very keen to participate in everything the Lodge does. He gives himself and goes above and beyond all that could be expected of him”.  Paul continued “Promotion to PPSGW is special as there are so few of them and it is so well deserved by Jeff. We are all immeasurably proud and lucky that he chose the Lodge of Faith No 6830 nearly six years ago when looking for another Lodge to join”. Jeff is also a member of North Essex Master’s Lodge No 9831.

In Royal Arch Masonry, Jeff is a Past Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah (PPGSN) and a Companion of Grey Friars Chapter No 5169 where he is the Director of Ceremonies. “He definitely puts in the hours” said Paul “as he also works at the Essex Mason shop in Colchester. It’s all unpaid and admirable what he does to help all of us enjoy our Freemasonry in Essex”.

Jeff Cripps PPSGW, on behalf of the PGM and all Essex Freemasons, we wish you well and congratulate you on your 50 years in Freemasonry followed by promotion in the field.

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Another hugely successful Stisted Golf Day, at last

The rain held off and, despite the risk that the fuel crisis might keep some players away, everything went without a hitch and a great day’s golf was enjoyed by all.

A total of fifty golfers from lodges in Essex and some non-masonic guests making up teams of four teed-off in a golf classic that sadly, due to Covid, had to be cancelled last year.

Organiser Nigel Oldacre was determined this year’s event would go ahead on September 27th and the response from the brethren in Essex was a positive one.

The course, at Braintree Golf Club, was in tip-top condition and after bacon rolls and coffee, play got under way, with Graham Larke and Eric Broadbent providing great support and humour at the starter tees.

Thanks were given for the efforts of organiser Nigel Oldacre, who will be presenting a cheque for £500, the proceeds from the day, to the Association of Friends of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent Court, Stisted. Also helping out on the day were Andrew McLeod and Mike Saffill, who checked all the scores.

The overall winner was David Krouse.

The team prize went to Elliot Mills, John Mills, Noel Cummins and Lee Cummins.

The competition runner-up was Lee Cummins, while winner of the prize for ‘nearest to the pin on the 10th’ was Michael Young.

 

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Mother lodge receives welcome gift from late PGM

The wife of the late RW Bro Rodney Bass, Mrs Margaret Bass, and daughter Lydia were invited to the recent meeting of Tollesbury Lodge.

They attended to present the lodge with a cheque for £4,000, a generous bequest from the late Provincial Grand Master to his mother lodge.

Pictured at the presentation are WBro Robert Stone, Mrs Margaret Bass with daughter Lydia and the Tollesbury WM, WBro Ian Poulter.

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Essex Freemasons fund eyes on the sea to help save lives

New state of the art CCTV cameras will ensure that eyes will always be on the sea looking out for people in distress and saving lives around the Canvey coastline, thanks to a series of grants from Essex Freemasons.

The money, totalling some £3,600, has been donated to the Coastwatch charity situated in the grounds of Canvey Island Yacht Club. It is one of the busiest areas in the country for call outs to rescue people in difficulty, which means that CCTV has become a vital tool to assist volunteers on the ground.

Grahame Harris, Station Manager at the Canvey HQ, explained: “Because of the tidal situation which can catch out unwary visitors and the large numbers who enjoy being on the sea the Coastguard record more incidents around the Canvey and Southend area establishing the Southend RNLI Station as the busiest in the country.”

“This is why we needed to install CCTV to ensure that we always had eyes out to sea to provide a record of incidents and ensure that rescue teams can reach those in distress as quickly as possible. This is why the money from Essex Freemasons will make such a difference.”

The £3,600 needed to fund the new TV system was made up from donations from St Katharines Chapter which meets at Rochford, a direct grant from the Essex Freemasons Community Fund and additional donations from St. Katharine’s Lodge and from Counos Lodge which meets at Southend.

“One of the members of St. Katharine’s Lodge, Bill Blissett, is a volunteer at Coastwatch, Canvey,” said Keith Frost, Charity Steward for St Katharines Chapter. “He told us of the need to raise money to pay for new CCTV equipment and once we knew how it would be used, our members were pleased to authorise a donation.”

Members of St Katharine’s Chapter and Lodge and Counos, together with other senior Essex Freemasons turned out in force to see how the money had been spent and the difference the new CCTC system will make. They are pictured with Station Manager Grahame and volunteers Bill Blissett and Joanne Stapleton.

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British Red Cross supported by Braintree Masonic Centre

The Home Office reported that over 8,000 Afghans, who had worked with UK forces, and their families arrived in the UK during the evacuation from Kabul. Demonstrating their own state of readiness, Essex Freemasons jumped into action and assisted the British Red Cross (BRC) Afghan Crisis Appeal by providing basic essentials such as warm clothing, baby items and toothbrushes.

Feeling strongly about the plight of the Afghan refugees, Daniel Broyd, an Essex Provincial Grand Steward, and his wife Kristi encouraged local Freemasons to donate clothes, toiletries, toys and essential supplies for the refugees as they arrived in the UK.  They also arranged for Braintree Masonic Hall to open its doors on Sunday 5th September 2021 to receive the donations.

Daniel said “The support that the Brethren, families and friends and even passing public bestowed on our venture was breath-taking, with several thousand pounds worth of new or nearly new clothes, toiletries, baby essentials, toys, art and crafts material and bedding donated.”  With enough to fill a large Luton van, delivery to the BRC was arranged.

Charles Elliott, an Assistant Provincial Grand Master, with his wife Sue supported the appeal and gave their own donations. The Centre Chairman, Andrew McLeod, who is an Assistant Principal to the Grand Principals in Essex Royal Arch Masonry, said, “A simple heartfelt request by Daniel and Kristi clearly resonated with fellow Masons and their families resulting in a fantastic response. I am very proud of the Braintree Masonic Centre and its members.”

The supplies were desperately needed by BRC staff at airports around the country as they welcomed Afghan families to the UK. One volunteer described the plight more graphically saying that the people turning up had nothing, children were so dirty you could see track marks down their faces where they had been crying and their clothing wasn’t suitable. Daniel Broyd added “I would like to thank everyone who donated and took time out of their Sunday to provide such kindness”.

 

Pictured from left to right: Sue and Charles Elliott, Mrs Wash, Richard Wash, Paul Duchar-Clark, David Giles, Andrew McLeod, Barry Broyd, Daniel and Kristi Broyd and John Adlam.

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Essex Provincial Grand Stewards in Charity Clay Shoot

On Saturday 25th September 2021, twenty-four novices and thirty-six experienced shooters convened at the Essex Shooting Ground in Fyfield for a morning of clay shooting. Gary Soars, a Provincial Grand Steward, helped make the event enjoyable for everyone who took part.

After an informative and interesting safety briefing, the novices quickly began to down the clays with increasing ease whilst the more experienced shooters headed into nearby woodland and began their eighty-clay shoot competition.

Gary said “A fantastic time was had by all involved with many of the novices commenting that they would be looking to purchase their own gun in the near future so that they could participate in the sport going forward."  Those who took part also had a large cooked breakfast and tasty lunch provided by Nicola and the other staff at the Blackbull Inn in Fyfield.

The novice category was won by Darren Ridgewell with Daniel Smith finishing second whilst Dave Wilder won in the experienced shooter category with Mark Woollard as runner up. Mrs Marie Brown was the winner in the Ladies section.

The event raised a further £1,450.50 by this year’s Provincial Grand Stewards towards the Essex 2022 Festival target.

Gary added “Special thanks are due to Paul Bates and Rob Hollier, Essex Masonic Clay Association Chairman, and the staff at the Essex Shooting Ground for everything they did to make the event a success."

Pictured: Peter Hollingsworth, APGM, presenting  the top experienced shooter prize to Dave Wilder.

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Freemasons donate £1140 to Maldon Saints Youth Football Club Defibrillator Appeal

 

Having seen Maldon Saints YFC appeal for funding to purchase Defibrillators, the Brethren of Mitre Lodge No 9307, (many of whom live in Maldon), decided to donate £500 towards the cost. However, this amount was not sufficient to purchase all that was necessary, so the Secretary of Mitre Lodge asked the Brethren of the Maldon Masonic Lodges if they would join in and also support Maldon Saints YFC with their appeal.

All were pleased to join in, and they were, Lodge of St Peter, Beeleigh Abbey Lodge,

Daen Ingas Lodge, Wheel of Fellowship Lodge, Frederick Leistikow Lodge, Coromandel Chapter, Frederick Leistikow Chapter, and Plume Chapter.

The Grand Total was increased from £500 to £1140 which therefore allows Maldon Saints to buy the Portable Defibrilator and the Training for the members who will operate it.

The Donation was made on Saturday the 4th September by Dave Harrop the Master of Mitre Lodge and Paul Beech the Chairman of Maldon Masonic Hall on behalf of the Maldon Lodges.

Pictured are:-

From the left, Matt Elderton Maldon Saints YFC Fundraiser, Paul Beech Chairman Maldon Masonic Hall, Dave Harrop Worshipful Master Mitre Lodge, Darren Suitmore Chairman Maldon Saints YFC.

Also present from Maldon Saints YFC were Zeta Conway Secretary and Paul Height.

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Essex Masons Win National Championship

An eagle-eyed Essex Masonic Clay Shooting Team has won the National Masonic Clay Championships with a score of 252 to finish two ahead of the runners-up, a team from the Province of Surrey, in an exciting finish to a tough contest.

Teams from 21 Masonic Provinces and five non-masonic teams travelled from all over England and Wales to take part in the National Championships held at Barbury, near Swindon, on Saturday 18th September 2021. The final Provincial Team results included West Lancs in third place with 242 and the Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London team with 241. Wiltshire, the host team, came fifth with 237.

Team scores were decided by taking the top three shooters’ scores from each team. Neil March of Saint Cedd Lodge was awarded ‘High Gun’ as ‘Top Shot’ for the Competition with a score of 90 and fellow Lodge member Mark Lambkin totalled 82. David Purches, who came second in the Super Veteran Class, shared the same score of 80 as Clive Fry, both from Thames Estuary Lodge.

Team members representing the Province also included Mark Woollard, Siebert Lodge; Terry Attewell, Canon Stafford Morris Lodge; Gary Jones, Comrades Lodge and Essex Masonic Clay Shooting Association Chairman, Rob Hollier of Eureka Lodge. Formed 21 years ago, Rob is very proud of the team’s current success but they are already focussing on the next event in October 2021 which is the International in Falkirk, Scotland, with teams travelling from as far as India and the rest of the world.

A delighted Provincial Grand Master (PGM), Paul Tarrant, conveyed his personal congratulations and those on behalf of all Essex Freemasons to the Team on their success in representing the Province. Paul also wished the Team Captain, Mark Inns of Benfleet Lodge, a speedy recovery as he was booked to shoot but was unable to attend due to illness.

On learning of the achievement, the PGM added “Freemasonry helps its members develop their self-confidence and this is reflected not only in their eagerness for charitable giving and helping the community but in a number of sporting activities as well. Making friends with different people and all pulling together as a team go hand in hand with the timeless traditions which we all value as Freemasons”.

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Orsett Masons plant their very best for a Garden of Rest

Graham Larke, a leading Essex Freemason, has reported that on NHS Day on 5th July 2021 the Essex Freemasons who meet at Orsett Masonic Hall raised a grand total of £1,500. 

The Freemasons gave £250 to the Orsett Village Forum to help towards the provision of a defibrillator, which will be held in the sports pavilion on the local sports field. Community Forums are independent non-political voluntary groups made up of representatives from the local community including residents, schools, local businesses, voluntary, community and faith groups.

The rest of the money was used to provide a Rest Area for the Staff at Orsett Hospital. The local Freemasons fenced off the chosen area off with materials provided by courtesy of Travis Perkins with other local businesses providing the gazebo, picnic tables, barrel planters and some of the plants.

Jackie Firmin, the Orsett Masonic Centre Manager, said “All the plants are low maintenance and either evergreen or perennial. One of the ladies in the Minor Injuries was so thrilled when I was talking to her about the plants needing to be watered until they were established and said she was happy to see to that as she enjoyed gardening. There is, fortunately, an outside tap beside the gazebo. I have provided a watering can as well.  The apple tree is a patio variety that only grows to approximately 6 feet and will blossom in spring with apples from around August to September.”

Graham Larke thanked all the local villagers and Freemasons for giving so generously and especially Jackie for being the driving force in organising the NHS Day at the Masonic Centre and in making the plans for the Rest Area “We owe her a huge debt” he said.  Chris Webb, an Essex Provincial Grand Steward, described the efforts by the local community and Essex Masons as ‘fantastic’, adding “It’s lovely to see the money raised going to a worthwhile cause”.

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Essex Freemasons’ Teddies for Loving Care welcomed young refugees from Afghanistan

The London Search and Rescue is a charity of the Metropolitan Police which was recently deployed, at short notice, to support the British Red Cross (BRC) in the Afghanistan Resettlement Scheme and the Essex Freemasons’ Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) scheme formed part of the welcome package.

The London Search and Rescue team worked 24-hour shifts to be available for every refugee flight into Heathrow from Afghanistan. Its volunteer members supported the families with a welfare support system, alongside the BRC and other agencies. They provided immediate support in provisions, food clothing and, of course, the very popular teddies.

Operations Director Steve McGowan thanked Essex Masons for “helping us make a positive difference and bring a smile to so many children at a time when they needed it most”.

Today there are 47 regional TLC programmes across England and Wales that provide teddies for their local A&E departments. Once a hospital joins the scheme, they can replenish teddies on request through their local TLC representative. Some TLC programmes also donate a portion of their TLC funds towards teddies for minor injuries units, children’s wards and hospices; there are even teddies flying on air ambulances!  

Recent months have seen the introduction of a new model of teddy and Essex, as the founder of the scheme, is proud to have been the first Province to receive supplies for its hospitals, medical units and air ambulances.

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Engaging with the Community

On Friday 10th September, the Chairman of Braintree District Council, Cllr. Sue Wilson, received guests to a Reception in the Town Hall, prior to a preview of The Lodge of Saint Mary’s exhibition, marking its 150 years of local service.

With artefacts, pictures and documents, the exhibition seeks to demonstrate that local Freemasons were normal, decent people; a significant number of whom, made a substantial contribution to local government, business and civil society. The Council Chairman said,

“My visit to the Town Hall and the Braintree Museum will definitely be a highlight of my manorial year and I felt very honoured to have been invited by St Mary’s Masons to open their history section being displayed in the Braintree Museum. A lot of very hard work has gone into presenting this exhibition which hopefully as many people as possible will be able to visit.”

“The Lodge of St Mary has shared 150 years of history with the town of Braintree both in terms of the community figures that have been members of the Lodge and the contribution the Lodge has made to the community over that time. This exhibition is a first in terms of a Masonic Lodge displaying its history in a public museum and we are delighted that visitors to the museum will not only be able to learn something about Freemasonry but also about the many ways in which the Lodge of St Mary has engaged with the local community.“

The Exhibition is being held at Braintree Museum:  11th September – 2nd October; Tuesdays – Saturdays; 10am – 4pm.

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