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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Please click on the link above for the poster with full details of what is likely to be another fantastic day out. Last year over 200 exhibits were displayed and over £11,000 was raised by the end of the proceedings!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What an absolutely exceptional period the last 12 months have been! This time last year we prepared to celebrate our Tercentenary year. Over the last 12 months we have thoroughly enjoyed celebrations Nationally, Provincially and at a Lodge level to the extent that I am very happy that we, in Monmouthshire have used this unique opportunity to our best advantage; both enjoying the moment and also strengthening our future through the heightened promotion of our work within our local communities.
As our ‘mini-festival’ in favour of the Monmouthshire Masonic Trust Fund concludes, we will continue as a Province to enjoy a charity resource that enables us directly to benefit the communities in which we live, and for many years to come. The establishment of a building fund, a fund growing slowly but surely, will support the repair and improvement of our buildings in the future. There are very healthy signs that positive interest in Freemasonry has grown recently, leading to increased applications for membership.
As members of the Province of Monmouthshire and as we move forward into the next 300 years, this is our golden opportunity to embrace this significant upward trend and to join with its momentum, for the benefit of our Membership and our Lodges.
As ever we remain proud to be Monmouthshire Masons, so lets move forward with total determination to be stronger for the future generations of our members.
At Newport Masonic Hall earlier this week many of the widows and loved ones gathered for the annual ‘Carol’s and Mince Pies’. The morning was well attended and gave several the opportunity to meet old friends and acquaintances. Pictured are several of the Ladies and the Provincial Grand Master the RW Richard G. Davies circulating. The next gathering will be in the Spring when the Ladies enjoy a luncheon.
At the Charles Lyne Installed Masters Lodge Installation meeting the PGM RW Bro. Richard G. Davies, gave an address regarding the Tercentenary year and the Province of Monmouthshire in general.
He mentioned the hugely successful charity donations which had culminated in the presentation evening at Newport Masonic Hall, where the grand total donated or awarded came to £120,900. A truly staggering sum of money which has gone to very worthwhile causes.
He mentioned the 10 ‘Goose and Gridiron’ Dinners held around the Province and how pleased he was that many of those involved took part in the Lord Mayors parade in London. Also, the very successful Inter-Provincial Dinner held with our close friends and neighbours in the Province of Bristol. These events, along with the other major events that Monmouthshire had either organised or had been part of made him feel truly satisfied the Province had celebrated our Tercentenary year with style and great enjoyment and no doubt would move forward into 2018 all the stronger for what we had achieved in the past year.
Looking forward to 2018, he mentioned the setting up of the Provincial Building Fund with its potential to assist Lodge buildings in case of emergency or development in the future. The fund is growing quietly but surely.
The formation of the Light Blues Club for new and young Masons was now established. The introduction of the TLC scheme at the Royal Gwent Hospital, where distressed children are given a Teddy to comfort them in A & E and that the Light Blues Club were currently fund raising for that appeal. He was very pleased that the publicity we had enjoyed from the South Wales Argus had been frequent and constructive and that Freemasonry at present appeared to be riding on ‘A crest of a wave’ generally and Monmouthshire were striving to continue that both regarding membership and closer links with the community.
He closed by mentioning the ‘Mini Festival’ in aid of the depleted capital funds within the Monmouthshire Masonic Trust Fund. This will be concluded on the 31st December and it was hoped that the final figure would be in excess of £325,000. He thanked all those who had been involved in raising such a magnificent sum, particularly the Provincial Grand Charity Steward, the Charity Committee, the Lodge Charity Stewards and all those who gave so generously.
The Provincial Grand Master would also like to take this opportunity of wishing you and your loved ones a happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year.
A highly colourful Malta meeting was held in the Province of Monmouth and South Wales in November when seven candidates were admitted to the Ancient and Masonic Order of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta.
This annual Provincial Malta Meeting cut quite a sight with Bro Knights robed in the red, white and black regalia of the Malta Degree together with Knights in the red and white Templar regalia also.
The meeting this year attracted a particularly large number of brethren from right across the south of Wales from Chepstow to Milford Haven.
Presided over by the Provincial Prior for Monmouth and South Wales, RE Kt Dr Paul Richard Calderwood, the ceremonial was largely conducted by the Provincial Sub-Prior, E Kt David Francis Court â€“ and in an exemplary manner.
As the Provincial prior said in his address: It was so good to see so many Bro knights in attendance and so many new entrants seeking to extend their masonic knowledge.
The photo shows (left to right) E Kt Paul Calderwood, Kt Christopher Evans, E Kt David Court, Kt Louis Mahendra and E Kt Stephen Hookey.
For more information about Knight Templar masonry please visit the provincial website at kt-msw.org
Earlier this week W. Bro. Vince White and W. Bro. Vernon Edwards attended a Celebration of Lifelites upgrades to the special equipment installed by them at Ty Hafan in Sully. The Provincial Almoner and his wife Val attended representing the Province along with W. Bro. Vernon Edwards and his good lady Elaine. Pictured left to right are: Carol Killa, Director of Care Services, Ty Hafan; Katherine Bentley, LifelitesTrainer; Simone Enefer Doy, C.E.O. Lifelites ; W.Bro. Vince White, Provincial Grand Almoner.
In the centre of the picture is the latest ‘Eyegaze’ equipment which allows the user to control the computer cursor by simply looking at the screen. Special sensors on the equipment detect where the eye is looking and moves the cursor accordingly.
The CEO of Lifelites and the staff at Ty Hafan thanked the Freemasons of Monmouthshire for their most generous support.
It was most rewarding watching the children enjoying the sights and sounds of some of the new equipment. More information can be found on the Lifelites website : www.lifelites.org
The Sparkle Appeal were very pleased to invite me to the Serennu centre to show off their fantastic facilities for the young with disabilities. It was good to meet such dedicated people, well deserving of the £25,000 from the Masonic Charitable Foundation.
Above is a picture of the Casnewydd Lodge member, W. Bro. Kelvin Reddicliffe (aka serial fundraiser). The picture shows him presenting a cheque for the magnificent sum of £1725 to the Dreams & Wishes charity which the Lodge support. He has raised the money from the sale of Chartist Mural limited editions and other memorabilia sold through various fundraising events in and around Newport.
John Mayo (second from right) of Vassar-Smith Lodge has just returned from Belgium where he attended the Passchendaele centenary commemorations. In a small cemetery near Ypres, he and his sister Margaret laid a wreath on the grave of their Great-uncle Jim. He was also the uncle of Jim (Vale of Castiard Lodge) and Phil Blatchly (also Vassar-Smith), said John.
When we arrived, there were a number of old cars parked outside, all proudly sporting the Welsh Dragon. We thought no more of it, but after laying the wreath and about to walk around the rest of the cemetery, I noticed a chap who bore a startling resemblance to Bob Jones from just over the border in Monmouthshire. As we closed on each other, I realised it was Bob, together with Chris Evans, the Deputy PGM for Monmouthshire and Joe Price another Chepstow Past Master, all accompanied by their wives. Bob had driven his Morris Minor, Chris his Triumph Stag and Joes wife Sarah, an Alfa-Romeo.
Commenting on the photo, John said, Sadly, the lens appears to have distorted some of us around the waistline!
The cemetery was also the last resting place of the poet Hedd Wyn and BBC2 was present, filming for a programme to be broadcast this Saturday. HRH The Prince of Wales visited this grave the following day after the commemoration at Tyne Cot.
This article, written by W. Bro. John Mayo of the Province of Gloucestershire forwarded courtesy of W. Bro. Bob Jones.
What a fantastic show!! Over 200 exhibitors at the 3rd Annual Classic Vehicle show in Monmouthshire. We had it all, wonderful cars, wonderful weather and many visitors to view them. Exhibitors were free and it was only £5 per car to come and view them. All for local charities and good causes. We finished the day off with an evening event which included a Queen tribute band, the figures aren’t finalised yet but it is likely to be many thousands of pounds. Many thanks to all who participated and we look forward to seeing you next year. Not forgetting also, many thanks to all those who gave their time helping to organise such a wonderful day and evening.