Provincial Grand Lodge of Essex

Press Releases


Being an elf is snow much fun

Christmas at the Cross Keys Masonic Centre in Thurrock has always been a fun and busy time. This recent Christmas season was no exception, and especially so for lodges and members that support the Cross Keys Community Fund (CKCF).

The festive fun began at the start of the month of December, with an Art Competition arranged for the Pupils of Chadwell St Mary Primary School.  Prizes were awarded in every year group at the school, to design and colour a fantastic ‘Festive Picture’ with bonus points as always for the most bright and colourful entries. A further surprise was in store for the lucky winners, with an added special prize of tickets to the CKCF Annual Christmas Party. Over 120 pictures and collages were judged, and the standard was just as high as ever. Parents not included . . .

On Tuesday 12th December, a Christmas Carol Concert was held for neighbouring residential homes Bennett Lodge and Carolyne House in Chadwell St Mary. A ‘silver band’ quintet was organised and classics from Silent Night to Good King Wenceslas were cheerfully and triumphantly played long into the evening, along with an amazing and rousing rendition of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer of course.  Fun and laughter were in plentiful supply along with the mince pies and hot chocolate. A great time was had by all, with the residents and staff in especially good voice.

Jill Hunt, Deputy Manager of Bennett Residential Home, was full of praise saying “A big thank you to the Cross Keys Community Fund for organising a quintet from the Tilbury Band to come in and perform for the residents for the second year running, we thoroughly enjoyed it! Also thank you for the mince pies.”

Just four days later, fun and laughter were on the menu again but this time for a slightly younger audience. In what has been an annual event for many years now, a Christmas Party was held at the Cross Keys Masonic Centre on Saturday 16th December for the children of Changing Pathways Women’s Refuge, local schools, local Freemasons and their grandchildren. A disco, party games, balloon modelling and a magician were the order of the day just before lunch was served for over 100 joyful visiting children and parents.

Brian Baffles and his very naughty dog stole the show once again with spectacular magic tricks and jokes for the young guests, and a few ‘older’ jokes for the parents along with some amazing sleight of hand magic tricks at the bar. The highlight, as ever of course, was once again the visit of Father Christmas with elves and bulking sacks of presents in tow.  More than 120 Christmas toys and gifts were colourfully wrapped and given to delighted and very excited children along with selection boxes, crisps, drinks and as many chocolates as they could eat!

The Christmas Party is an extremely popular annual event at the Cross Keys Masonic Centre and is getting bigger and better each year. It is certainly a highpoint of the year for all involved and especially when you see both the delightful and innocent reactions of so many happy children and parents.

Not finished there however, the busy elves of the CKCF ended the year by organising a fundraising combined Lodge of Instruction (LOI) supper on Tuesday 19th December. Fish and Chips were served, Christmas songs sung badly, jokes told relentlessly and over £500 was raised on the evening to further support the endeavours of the Cross Keys Community Fund into 2024, whilst wishing all Freemasons, their families and friends a very happy and ‘elfy’ New Year.



Various Photos:

The cheeky CKCF Elves with Santa and guests

Brian Baffles entertains

Two images of everyone enjoying the wonderful concert and festivities and lastly,

Santa and one of his Elfs sharing a party moment with an excited participant

Chadwell St. Mary School Prize Winners

The Chadwell St. Mary A 'Silver Band' giving a festive concert enjoyed by all present