All posts by Anthony Halse

Monmouthshire strengthens its Romanian connection by exalting their Grand Master

THE PROVINCE OF MONMOUTHSHIRE HAS STRENGTHENED ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE NATIONAL GRAND LODGE OF ROMANIA, BY EXALTING THEIR GRAND MASTER AND GRAND SECRETARY AT THE HOMFRAY CHAPTER NO. 1562 MEETING ON 14TH MARCH 2019
 
Held at the recently refurbished Risca Masonic Hall, the Grand Master of the National Grand Lodge of Romania, Radu Balanesc, and the Grand Secretary, Catalin Tohaneanu, were exalted into Homfray Chapter by Third Grand Principal Gareth Jones OBE, who was ably assisted by Derek Thomas, Second Provincial Grand Principal, and Neil Mounter, Third Provincial Grand Principal.

The officers of the Chapter were exemplary in the ceremony – building on an already strong relationship – with the Province of Monmouthshire playing a key role in the introduction of the Mark degree and the Royal Arch into Romania.

Richard Davies, Grand Superintendent for Monmouthshire, remarked in his response: ‘This is a historical moment for Royal Arch masonry in Monmouthshire and Romania.’ 

There are 14,500 members in Romania and many are keen to expand their knowledge and enjoy being part of other degrees. Monmouthshire Companions are more than pleased to assist and appreciate the consideration of their Romanian friends for allowing them to be part of the establishment of the Royal Arch in their country.

The Striguil Chapter No. 2186 at Chepstow will be exalting 10 Romanian members at their next meeting, which will then bring the number of Romanian companions in Monmouthshire to 38.

13 Romanian Brethren are exalted into the holy royal arch degree

At an emergency meeting of the Frederick Phillips Chapter 13 Romanian Brethren were exalted into the Holy Royal Arch. It was a spectacular occasion with much thought and effort put in to the preparation and execution of such an event. This is one of many exaltations that are planned within our Province as our Brethren from Romania are keen to enjoy the experience of being part of the ‘Supreme Degree’. We were very pleased to host them during their visit and everyone had an enjoyable time.

South Wales and Monmouthshire Knight templars appreciated by the charity they support.

Hospital salutes Welsh support

For their strong support of the world-famous Eye Hospital in Jerusalem, the Templar knights of the Province were presented with a highly prized Award in January.

A senior representative of the Hospital travelled from London to Neath specifically in order to make the Award to the province at the Installation meeting of Castell Nedd Preceptory – a sparkling occasion at which the Eminent Preceptor, E Kt Mark Nicholls, installed his successor E Kt Lee Saunders in the chair.

The Great Sword Bearer of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem E Kt Jamie Ingham-Clark, (who is also a Trustee and member of the Board of the Hospital) praised the brethren of Wales for their generosity and he officially announced that the knights of our province had now exceeded the target that had been set for the achievement of a Swift Award.

He therefore expressed great pleasure at being able to present a heavy bronze sculpture of “A Swift in flight” to the Provincial Prior of Monmouth and South Wales, RE Kt Dr Paul Calderwood.

The Provincial Prior expressed the admiration of the brethren for the great work of the hospital (which is performed in one of the most troubled areas of the world) and he said how delighted and grateful the Brother Knights of Wales were to receive this beautiful mark of appreciation.

Fundraising for the hospital did not end at this point in the evening because subsequently the Provincial Prior was able to present the Hospital with a cheque for a further £1,000 and  the new Eminent Preceptor of Castell Nedd Preceptory, E Kt Lee Saunders, presented it with another cheque for £150 – while an additional £160 was raised through the sale of hospital lapel badges

This hospital is the principal charity supported by the United Orders and it provides free treatment to men, women and children of all religions – in an area where eye problems are a major issue and where the rate of blindness is ten times higher than it is in the West.

The activity of the Order of Hospitallers in the 12th century, in having established a hospital in Jerusalem, is reflected today in the generous support given by the United Orders to the St John Eye Hospital Group based in Jerusalem.

The group runs hospitals at Jerusalem, Hebron and Gaza as well as a clinic and an outreach programme – all with a staff of more than 230 people and in 2015 it treats more than 125,000 patients each year.

 

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An out of Province visit to the AEPOW

What a lovely response from a distant visitor to our Province, it shows what an enjoyable fraternity we are.

‘Worshipful Master, Brother Wardens, Provincial Grand Master, Distinguished Brethren and Brethren All,

It has taken me 33 years to reach the Chair of King Solomon, which I did at the end of October last year.  What soon became clear to me was that I should have done it sooner and for someone who has shied away from any form of public speaking – the Temple greetings and response to the Visitors toasts have been a real joy – according to my diary this is my 7th.

However tonight I do feel a little overawed by the occasion and indeed the illustrious company.  I have an Official Provincial Visit this month myself.  It is always an honour to be asked to respond, on behalf of the Visitors – but gosh tonight – what a wonderful ceremony and I do congratulate you Worshipful Master in taking that big step into the Chair of King Soloman, but within a Lodge that I am confident, will support you in all your lawful undertakings.

As Installing Master WBro Adrian, you Sir, were sublime and if you are free this coming Thursday 24th October in Gosport I have a small proposition to discuss with you later.   ALL of the Officers have brought credit to this magnificient Lodge tonight and my heartest congratulations to you all and especially on the way that both the Addresses and Working Tools  were presented, all were a true delight to listen too.

I had hoped to start this speech in Welsh and indeed spent some considerable time with Google and have to confess the sad result was only a ruptured tongue and now discovering that not everyone speaks Welsh anyway (Google 21.7%)  – on that matter, hasn’t Welsh caught on as a language around here?   Anyway as I failed in this noble tongue I thought the next best thing was to tell a story about Japanese as it sounds so similar to me.

On a visit to Japan, a brother was fortunate enough to be invited to a Lodge in Tokyo and at the Festive Board, the Official Visitor rather like myself this evening, stood up, bowed to the brethren, said KONICHEWA once to which the whole room bust into raptious applause and then sat down.  A few days later our brother was in Yokoharma and was again invited to join a local Lodge, however this time he was asked to respond to the Visitors toast and when called by the Junior Warden stood up looked at the 3 tables in front of him, bowed saying KONICHEWA to each of them in turn – to his utter dismay, this met with total silence as he slumped down.  Afterwards mortified at what he had done wrong he questioned his host, who just replied – you no worry, they just don’t like long speeches.

In my thanks I must also mention all the members from Prince of Wales Lodges who have travelled here tonight and particularly my own Lodge 1705 in Gosport, Hampshire, I am sure I speak for them all, in bringing hearty, warm and fraternal greetings from each of them and indeed from my own Provincial Grand Master of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Right Worshipful Bro Michael J. Wilkes.  Hopefully the name check will be noted, as I need all the assistance I can get towards my dark blue.

On the subject of visits, 1705 are, I believe, leading the way in establishing an “alliance” of Prince of Wales Lodges and so far, we from Gosport, Hampshire have visited: Ipswich, Newcastle, Belfast, Jersey, Stow-on-the-Wold, Glasgow, Bradford, LLangelli, Bray, Sutton, and Bury, we have also made contact and had a visit from the Executive Officer of the new Aircraft Carrier HMS Prince of Wales which on completion is to be based in Portsmouth Dockyard, Portsmouth Harbour is the eastern boundary of Gosport.

As we keep saying this evening, you are all very welcome to come and visit us, it took just 2¼ hours to travel from deep south to deep South, there is no language barrier – good news for the other 78.3%, what I can promise is a welcome as warm as you have given us. It was so nice to see Adrian and Tony put themselves out to visit our motley crew at Wetherspoons last night.

Finally can I thank WBro Tony Charles, esteemed Secretary of our host Prince of Wales – Albert Edward and WBro Trevor Conduit from my own Lodge for all their hard work in making tonight happen, it is much appreciated by us all, and if it is not too late to wish everyone “A Happy New Year” – BLEWYDDYN NEWYDD DDA*.  I hope we have the opportunity to visit again – assuming that Brexit doesn’t have any effect on border crossings.  Seriously, tonight I have enjoyed myself immensely, and continued my daily advancement in masonic knowledge, this shared with making new friends, what more could you ask forThank you all again.

Brother Junior Warden, thank you for the warm and kindly way you proposed our toast and to each and every brother here, for staying awake long enough to listen it, you may now turn your hearing aids down and  enjoy the rest of the evening – goodnight my Brothers.’

 

Aydrian Martin and St Davids Hospice

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Celebrating all the hard work of 2018, Freemasons Lodges are reminding us of how great our supporters have been the past year (as always) and also how great they still are in this New Year

AEPOW Lodge have raised an incredible £1028.50 from their Ladies Night + other events, as well as The Armed Forces Lodge raising a fantastic £600 from their Ladies Festival!
Well done to you all – you have done an awesome job over 2018 and we are very grateful to have your support in 2019 ❤️

This article courtesy of W. Bro. Ayd Martin

St George’s Lodge support local family

How do you support a family that have been told that their two year old son has cancer? That’s a frightening position that we hope neither our families or friends ever have to consider. The Brethren of St Georges Lodge in Tredegar when told of such a situation did what St Georges always do, they raised a considerable sum to assist them in such trying time.

Pictured are the family receiving a cheque for the magnificent sum of £2000 which had been raised by the Brethren.

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‘There but for the grace of God’

kennard lodge continue to support local charities

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Last night at the Kennard Lodge Christmas Meeting the Worshipful Master Kelvin Bendon presented a cheque of £500 to Ieuan Hockaday, the captain of the Pontypool and District Schools under 11’s year group with players, parents and Lodge members all in attendance.

Last year’s team were the D.C. Thomas Cup Winners (Under 11’s Welsh Cup winners) and also winners of the Persse tournament in Italy and this year’s team are so far undefeated this season and hope to do the same.

The Worshipful Master and Lodge members wished all the boys luck for the remainder of the season and maybe we have some future Masons in the making!

The evening was a huge success with over £500 raised for local charities including £200 to the TLC (Teddies for Loving Care), supported by The Monmouthshire Light Blues Club giving comfort to those in The Children’s Assessment Unit at The Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport.

This article courtesy of W. Bro. Steve Price.

Widows Christmas function

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The widows of Monmouthshire Masons enjoyed a delightful ‘Carols and Mince Pies’ morning at Newport Masonic Hall earlier this week. The meeting was extremely well attended by over 80 and they held a very successful raffle which raised funds for a day trip out next year. The PGM RW Bro. Richard G. Davies is pictured circulating among the tables and mentioned how pleased he was at the success of the gathering.

 

Crystal Lodge support local charity

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“Terry Smith, this years Master of The Crystal Lodge of Freemasons recently presented a cheque for £500  on behalf of The Monmouthshire Masonic Trust Fund to Gavin Mote, Operations Manager of Growing Space  a registered mental health charity founded in 1992, which provides real work skills and a support network to help adults with mental ill health reach goals and improve their quality of life. Based in Newport,  within the  grounds of Tredegar House  training is provided in Horticulture, Woodwork, ITC, Craft and a work based learning programme leading to accreditation.

Terry said that he was delighted to present this award to such a worthy cause and Gavin Mote gratefully received it stating that the money would be used to purchase much needed therapy products.

Growing Space tackles the problems of social exclusion often experienced by people with mental health problems and encourages them to see themselves in a positive and constructive light and to maximise their unlimited potential. We have seen so many examples of how self esteem and self worth is built among people who have been involved with the project. Growing Space concentrates upon each individual’s ability and not inability.”

This article courtesy of W Bro Rob Watkins

Director of Ceremonies cup 2018

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At the Charles Lyne Installed Masters Lodge Installation meeting this evening, the Director of Ceremonies Cup was presented by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master. The criteria of qualifying for the cup is the most improved and best presented DC during the previous year. Pictured above is the (left to right, VW Bro. Christopher Evens DPGM, WBro. Glynn  Williams of the Gwent Lodge and the Provincial DC WBro. John Judd.) It is an award that is greatly prized and is only awarded to those who have excelled during their year in office.

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Below is a close up of the commemorative glass presented to W. Bro Glynn as the original silver trophy resides at Newport Masonic Hall.

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Robert H. Arundel’s celebration dinner

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What a happy evening. Last evening there was a celebration dinner following the Silurian Royal Arch meeting, celebrating the long service and dedication that W. Bro. Robert Arundel had given to the Province over the 19 years that he had been on the executive of both Provincial Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Chapter. The evening was well attended and both he and his good lady wife Margaret appreciated their gifts. I’m sure he will continue to support the Province for the foreseeable future.

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Pictured is the RW PGM Richard G. Davies making the presentations during a very appreciative speech concerning W. Bro. Roberts dedication to Freemasonry in this Province and beyond.

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Freemasons aid Victory over Blindness.

 

On this the 100th Anniversary of the Great War, The Armed Forces lodge 9875 in Newport, Monmouthshire have donated £500 to a military charity. Blind Veterans UK was founded in 1915 and the charity’s initial purpose was to help and support soldiers blinded in the First World War. But the organisation has gone on to support more than 35,000 blind veterans and their families, spanning the Second World War to recent conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan.

For more than a century, the charity has been providing vital free training, rehabilitation, equipment and emotional support to blind and vision-impaired veterans no matter when they served or how they lost their sight.

Visit blindveterans.org.uk/support to learn more about the charity and how you can support its vital work today.

The Worshipful Master, W.Bro Clive Jones, himself a totally blind former Welsh Guardsman, was presented with a cheque for £500 by Rt.W.Bro Richard G Davis The Provincial Grand Master for Monmouthshire.  at their closest meeting to the 100th Anniversary.

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The donation of £500 will go towards helping those regain their confidence and independence whilst living with sight loss.

 This donation is just one of many given to charities both locally and nationally as well as to individuals since the Armed Forces Lodge consecration in 2013.

Light Blues club attend national conference

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The Monmouthshire Light Blues Club Chairman, Secretary and Communications Officer attended the 4th annual New and Young Masons Conference at Cardiff Masonic Hall on Saturday 27th October. The themes of the conference were standards, engagement and progression. With seventy delegates representing seventeen Clubs from England, Wales and Hong Kong, many ideas were shared and acquaintances made. The conference concluded with a triple Initiation Ceremony by the Universities Lodge No. 5461, with all three Mon. Light Blues Club attendees actively participating. Next year the conference will be hosted by the Leicester and Rutland Light Blues Club, and Monmouthshire will sure to be represented.

W Bro Huw Gallagher,

Secretary, Mon. Light Blues Club

Bro Paul Francis,

Chairman, Mon. Light Blues Club

 

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WBro George Reynolds at 100 years young

The first of WBro George Reynolds’ 100th Birthday celebrations was held on Friday 20th July at Newport Masonic Hall. 160 Family and invited members of Monmouthshire Craft Lodges were present to mark this momentous occasion.
RtWBro Captain Sir Norman Lloyd Edwards accepted an invitation to attend as an Honorary member of the Armed Forces Lodge accompanied by a good number of Lodge members to present WBro George with an inscribed cut glass decanter to mark this landmark. Sir Norman, in his inimitable manner, spoke about Georges’ incredible war time experiences as well as his illustrious Masonic career.

RtWBro Richard G. Davies, Provincial Grand Master, commented that “it was most appropriate for Sir Norman to make the presentation on behalf of the Province and I know that it meant a great deal to WBro George. All of us would wish to add our congratulations to a wonderful active Mason still acting as Tyler at the age of 100. I would not be surprised if this was a unique occasion.”

VW Bro Chris Evans, Deputy Provincial Grand Master and Mandated Officer to the Armed Forces Lodge, had sent his apologies as he was away raising money for Masonic Charities participating in the Monte Carlo or Bust Rally, and said that “I hold George in the highest esteem, he is someone who I continue to admire and is a fantastic role model to us all. I offer him the heartiest of congratulations on his 100th Birthday”.

On Sunday the 22nd July, The Jasper Tudor Lodge (Georges mother Lodge) held a sumptuous buffet lunch where a short film of WBro George when he was interviewed by VW Bro Chris Evans giving detail of his time in the war and his experiences as a Japanese prisoner of war was presented by WBro’s Tony Charles and Paul Burley. WBro. Jonathan Roberts then gave a presentation giving dates and ages that George had been during his illustrious Masonic career. RWBro David Powell (The PGM of the Mark degree) then presented WBro George with a 100 year certificate issued by the Grand Master. WBro Nigel Roberts then read a letter from RWBro Richard Davies congratulating George on his achievement. The afternoon was finished off by George presenting the Tyler’s toast in his own inimitable way. This can be viewed on you tube by clicking on the link below.

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The afternoon was a great success and the 100 who attended all enjoyed what must be a unique gathering.

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ALBERT EDWARD POW COURT PORTHCAWL 2nd June 2018

Below is a photograph taken at AEPOWC, Strawberry Tea this year. The photo is of W. Bro. Vince White presenting cheques from our lodges to Mrs. Alison Aberdeen (Manager AEPOWC) and to his left is W.Bro. Alan Gardener (Chairman of the Friends of AEPOWC) and Assistant PGM of South Wales Province. The Friends of AEPOWC were delighted to receive so many cheques from our Province and the secretary will be writing to our lodge secretaries to thank them for these donations.

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W. Bro. Kelvin Reddicliffe raises even more funds for charity

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Pictured are, W. Bro. Kelvin on the left, his cousin Val centre and Franca from St David’s Hospice on the right when they presented a cheque for £1015 to St Davids.

Most of the monies raised came from the sales of a five track CD. The words of the title track “No More” were written by Val in memory of her late husband Graham Brettell who was nursed at home by St David’s Hospice  (CD’s are available from Kelvin at Timpson’s, Austin Friars).  After reading the words of a poem written by Val, it inspired Kelvin to write the music for the track, which is performed touchingly by Michael Cornford.  Hopefully the song will give some comfort to those who have lost loved ones.

The rest of the money raised came from the sale of various prints of the “The Chartist Mural” which Kelvin sells consistently in aid of local charities.

widows spring luncheon at Newport masonic hall

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Around 80 Ladies including 12 Lodge Almoners attended the event which was hosted by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master. VW Bro. Chris Evans. There was a talk entitled “Travelling the World” which was given by the Provincial Grand Almoner, W. Bro. Vince White along with a PowerPoint slide show of pictures. The raffle raised £363.00 which was given to the Newport Ladies Group. A good time was had by one and all. Also, as the Province is celebrating 200 years of Monmouthshire Freemasonry on 1st June this year, it has been decided by the executive to donate to the Newport Masonic Ladies Club as a one off gesture the sum of £250.00 for them to use for the benefit of their members.

Light Blues visit the llantarnam lodge

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Friday 20th April saw twenty-three Monmouthshire Light Blues Club members attend the Llantarnam Lodge on a Fraternal Visit for a Ceremony of Initiation. This was the first Fraternal Visit by the Club in its inaugural year, and the Club was rewarded with a superb Initiation Ceremony led by the Worshipful Master and his Officers. The Club was supported by the presence of the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Richard G. Davies.

Monmouthshire Masons Sojourn to Jersey

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A long weekend trip organised by WBro Mark Woodhouse of Silurian Lodge together with the above Brethren made a fraternal visit to Royal Sussex Lodge No 491 Province of Jersey on the occasion of their Installation Meeting and in particular to meet with former Chaplin of Silurian Lodge Bro Rev’d Michael Phillips who is now Chaplian of The Royal Sussex Lodge since his move from Cwmbran to take up a   Crown appointment of Rector of St Peters Church St Helier.

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Argus sports awards

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Monmouthshire Masons are pleased to support local good causes and at Chepstow Racecourse on the 14th of March presentations were made to many inspiring people. Pictured presenting the award to Miss Bethany Paul, the winner of ‘Disability Sports Performer of the Year’ (the award Monmouthsire Masons Sponsored) is RW Bro. M. John Hughes.

A superb example of a veteran

Castleton Masonic Hall was buzzing last month as over 60 Masons were present at St Mellonius Lodge to see W. Bro. Peter Duke receiving a certificate to mark 50 years in Freemasonry.

The Provincial Grand Master, R.W. Bro. Richard Davies was joined by Past Provincial Grand Master, R.W. Bro. M. John Hughes and Past Assistant Grand Master. W. Bro. Robert Arundel together with several Grand Officers and visitors from across the Province.

In presenting the certificate, the Provincial Grand Master referred to the work that W. Bro. Peter has done and continues to do for charity, for Castleton Masonic Hall and Freemasonry in general.

The brethren enjoyed a magnificent meal at the festive board and many further tributes were paid. With typical modesty, W. Bro. Peter said that it had all been a team effort and took up his normal place behind the bar.

 

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What a man and a Mason!

Comrades lodge installation

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The installation of the Comrades Lodge, No. 2740,  took place in the Egyptian Temple at the United Grand Lodge of England on Friday the 9th of February.

The Installing Master was W Bro Andy Price and the Master Elect was the Junior Warden of the Comrades Lodge, W Bro Ayd Martin.  In attendance were a large number of Masons from Monmouthshire including the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother Richard G Davies, The Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Very Worshipful Brother Chris Evans and in excess of twenty other Monmouthshire Masons who had travelled down especially to support W Bro Andy and W Bro Ayd.

The Festive Board was held at Parkers and the whole evening was a tremendous success.

W Bro Ayd announced that he would be holding a joint Ladies night with the Albert Edward Prince of Wales Lodge No. 1429, of which he is also the current Master and the date would be announced later in the year.

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congress theatre cwmbran

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left to right Richard Williams, RW PGM Richard G. Davies and Martyn Redwood, the theatre manger.

As part of the support of local good causes the RW Provincial Grand Master Richard G. Davies (middle) was pleased to present a cheque for £500 to the Congress Theatre in Cwmbran to assist them in delivering cultural entertainment to the general public. The Congress Theatre has often been a recipient of funds from Monmouthshire Freemasons an we look forward to a continued association with such a worthwhile organisation.

Mon. Light Blues Club donate TLC Bears to Royal Gwent Hospital Children’s Assessment Unit

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The Chairman and Secretary dropped off a goodly number of bears to the Royal Gwent Hospital Children’s Assessment Unit this afternoon, replenishing stock for the Teddies for Loving Care Scheme that began last May.

The bears have proved both very popular with the Children and staff within the Unit. The bears are used as a reward, to befriend the children, used as a distraction, and also used for demonstration purposes. Bears have been bandaged, had injections, and have even been placed on intravenous drips!

The staff at the Unit have embraced the scheme to date and are in the process of placing a notice board within the reception area. Information regarding the scheme will be displayed, along with pictures and stories from the children and their bears.

This article courtesy of W.Bro. Huw Gallagher

The passing of the veils

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Unusually, there will be a demonstration of the ‘Passing of the Veils’ Ceremony in Monmouthshire. This ceremony is only permitted to be used in the Province of Bristol except for demonstrations. It should be a very popular event so book early to avoid disappointment.

Fraternal visits for the Newport Lodges

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The first of the new fraternal visits was held at the Jasper Tudor Lodge last Saturday. It was a well attended, enjoyable event and there were also two initiates. The idea is that the Newport Lodges from time to time visit each other. The next fraternal visit will be at the Albert Edward Prince of Wales Lodge on Thursday 8th February.