News

Swansea Masons raise £12,500 for the RMBI by cycling the length of Wales

On 22 June 2019, four Swansea Masons set out on gruelling 175-mile one-day ‘Home from Home’ ride from Llandudno to Porthcawl to raise funds for the 2021 festival in aid of the RMBI. The RMBI Care Co. is a charity which provides caring support for people in need of residential or nursing care, dementia support or limited sheltered accommodation, which it does via its network of 19 residential homes throughout the UK.

Simon Francis, Jason Thomas, Derek Johnson and Richard Owen – all members of an informal cycling club – had come up with the idea of cycling between two RMBI homes during the planning of the upcoming festival events.

The day of the ‘Home from Home’ event was sunny with a cooling breeze, and after a 4.30 am start at the Queen Elizabeth Court RMBI nursing home in Llandudno, the team set off at a relatively gentle pace towards Blaenau Festiniog. There, a respite from the energy-sapping gradients of Snowdonia was taken before a gentler run down to Machynlleth and then Aberystwyth.

However, the mid-Wales stage of the ride was more challenging than expected. Organiser and lead rider Simon Francis commented “the combination of steady headwinds and relatively gentle but long climbs made this stage a real test of endurance and toughness for all the riders.”

Fortunately, the rest of the journey via Ammanford and Swansea was easier. The team was joined for the last 35 miles by Alison Aberdeen, the manager of the Albert Edward Prince of Wales Court Nursing Home in Porthcawl, which was also their ultimate destination.

Francis commented that “Everyone had to dig deep to get the ride done in one day – it was very challenging, and it was an honour to have had such a team to do it with. Without exception everyone performed admirably, and it was fantastic that we were able to raise £12,500 for such a good cause”.

The cheque for the money raised from the ride was presented by the group to the Provincial Grand Master Gareth Jones OBE, and Chairman of the 2021 Festival Sir Paul Williams, at the PGM’s Summer Ball held in Brangwyn Hall on 29 June, where it was gratefully received.

Francis concluded “Events like these, where like-minded Freemasons capitalise on a passion or a skill to raise much-needed funds, are really important. Not only do we set ourselves a challenging personal task, but in doing so we are able to raise a significant amount of money, in this case for the RMBI, and to support our Province in reaching its £5m target during our festival period.”

PGM’s Business Persons’ Lunch 2019 – The Beech Tree, Cardiff

Tickets available from:
Paul Bunyan
E: paul.bunyan@nullcpengineering.co.uk
T: 07966 241980

Our guest speaker, Brynmor Williams

Brynmor Williams played representative level rugby union for British Lions and Wales, at invitational level for Barbarian F.C., as a scrum-half and representative level rugby league for Wales.

In 1977 he toured New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions when he had yet to be capped by Wales. He made his international début in the first test of the series against the All Blacks at Athletic Park, Wellington, in June 1977 and went on to play in the first three tests before being replaced due to injury during the third match.

He made his Wales début against Australia at Ballymore, Brisbane in June 1978 and scored a try on his début.

Brynmor played club rugby for Cardiff RFC, Swansea RFC and Newport RFC. His sons Lloyd Williams and Tom Williams are both professional rugby union players.

In 2016 Brynmor took up the voluntary role as Chair of Fields in Trust Cymru, a charity dedicated to protecting outdoor space for play, sport and recreation.

Moving the Provincial Office to Guildford Street

Dear Brethren and Companions,

I greet you well and I am delighted to confirm that work has started on renovating rooms at Cardiff Masonic Hall in readiness for the relocation of the Provincial Office. This work will continue throughout August and our new office will officially open at 5 Guildford Street, Cardiff, CF10 2HL on Monday 2nd September 2019. In order to undertake the necessary work related to the move, and as our IT and telephony services will have to transfer ahead of the opening, I will close the Provincial Office at 128 Newport Road at 5pm on Friday 16th August 2019.

It would be greatly appreciated if any routine queries that develop during the closure period could be held back until we have reopened, as we will have very limited scope to deal with enquiries whilst our computer network is being rebuilt.

Thank you for your support during this time of change.

Warm fraternal regards,

Ben Gait
Provincial Grand Secretary & Scribe E.
Masonic Province of South Wales

Learning & Development now a joint resource for the Craft and Holy Royal Arch

The Learning & Development team are delighted to announce that we have had approval from the R.W. Provincial Grand Master and the M.E. Grand Superintendent to make the L&D team a joint resource for the Craft and HRA in South Wales, led jointly by E.Comp. Simon Daniel, PPrGStdB, Provincial L&D Lead for the Holy Royal Arch, and W.Bro. Merrick Jones, PAGPurs, Provincial Grand Orator for the Craft. This means the team will be able to extend the provision and facilitation of presentations, events and masonic research to the Holy Royal Arch Chapters across the Province. As such, we are also delighted to welcome six Companions to the team to support this important work. You will shortly be able to read more about this development and meet the new team members at progress.swmason.com.

We believe this step forward will further enhance the profile of masonic learning & development in our Province and only further strengthen the link between the Holy Royal Arch and the Craft.

Annual Meetings of Provincial Grand Chapter and Provincial Grand Lodge 2020

Lodge Secretaries and Chapter Scribes E.

Dear Brethren and Companions,

I greet you well and am delighted to report that following a meeting of the Joint Craft and Royal Arch Executive, it has been agreed that both the Annual Meetings of Provincial Grand Chapter and Provincial Grand Lodge will be held at Barry MEMO: On Saturday 27th June 2020.

The Executive have taken into consideration the limitations of attendees taking time off during the working week and it is anticipated that Provincial Grand Chapter will be convened at (a time yet to be agreed; probably) 11am followed by Luncheon and thereafter, Provincial Grand Lodge will be opened (probably) at 2pm. The final timings and details will be further considered and discussed over the next few months.

Please be assured that formal notice and invitations will be issued in 2020, however we wanted you to be aware of this exciting innovation for you to kindly inform the members of your Lodge/Chapter of this change in good time.

Warm fraternal regards,

Ben Gait
Provincial Grand Secretary & Scribe E.

South Wales Freemasons donate £55,000 for a new Brecon Beacons mountain rescue vehicle

The Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team (CBMRT) is an organisation made up from volunteers, which provides an essential life-saving rescue service. It responds to ‘999 emergencies’ 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in any weather, and covers a vast area of southern Wales, which includes central section of the Brecon Beacons, the south Wales valley’s and the cities of Cardiff and Newport. The CBMRT solely relies on donations from members of the public to carry out is operations.

After a disastrous fire to the CBMRT headquarters, which destroyed it’s base along with equipment and rescue vehicles, the south Wales Freemasons came to the rescue of this rescue service.

Through its Masonic Benevolent Fund (MBF), which provides grants to assist organisations outside of Freemasonry, a ‘state-of-the-art’ rescue vehicle, the £55,000 Isuzu D-Max Utah – converted by Pickup Systems Burnley – was presented to CBMRT at the South Wales Provincial Grand Lodge meeting.

The Isuzu is a ‘first response’ emergency vehicle with the ‘call sign’ Mobile 1. It has search operations capability, it can traverse flood water with a high-level exhaust and is readily identifiable with Mountain Rescue colours and blue lights to support urgent responses.

Penny Brockman, CBMRT Foundation Team Member, said: “On behalf of CBMRT I would like to say a huge thank you to the Freemasons of south Wales for their extremely generous donation. Mobile 1 will be an invaluable asset and will be used in rescues across south, mid and west Wales, and undoubtedly will contribute to saving many lives in the area.”

Since the hand over to the Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team, operations have included a missing person callout in Cardiff, rescue of two people in a waterfall location, assisting with the rescue of an off-road motorcyclist, a further waterfall callout to a walker with serious injuries and saving a young boy missing on a south Wales mountain.

Patrick Pattison of the MBF, said: “On behalf of the Freemasons of south Wales and the Masonic Benevolent Fund we are delighted to help the Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team with the purchase of the new vehicle, and we are glad that this donation is immediately helping to save lives in the Principality.”

Pictured at the formal ‘hand over’ ceremony at Barry are (left to right) Andrew L. Gretton MBF Chairman, CBMRT Incident Controller David Cross, David Swain representing Brecknock Lodge No.651, CBMRT Team Leader Penny Brockman, CBMRT Foundation Team Member Kate Murray, Gareth Jones PGM , William E. Jenkins Deputy PGM, and CBMRT Fund Raiser & PR Officer Lee Faulkner.

Photo credit: Roger Gale

Cardiff homeless charity, Rainbow of Hope, receives a grant from local Freemasons

A Cardiff-based charity, that offers food, shelter and clothing to the homeless and disadvantaged people of the city, has received a donation of £500 from the South Wales Freemasons.

The Rainbow of Hope Charity offers support to people from a wide range of backgrounds, who are suffering from poverty and distress, by providing food, shelter and clothing as well as advice and guidance. The charity, which is approaching 20 years old, was founded by Elizabeth Perret-Atkins, who decided to set it up following a very difficult period in her own life.

Robert Payne of the South Wales Freemasons presented the cheque to Ms. Perret-Atkins during a recent visit, when he went to find out how the local charity was helping the homeless and disadvantaged people of Cardiff, which includes asylum seekers and refugees.

Ms Perret-Atkins said: “the Rainbow of Hope drop-in Centre on Broadway is open five days a week and offers a range of services, which includes daily free daily tea, coffee and lunches for anyone in need. We also have a diverse range of support and educational groups for those who are interested. These include a weekly Bible study group, a group for asylum seekers called “welcome a stranger” and a weekly free hairdresser”. She went on to say: “we also offer classes in English and arts & crafts and provide the services of a legal case worker”.

As well as the drop-in centre, the Rainbow of Hope also has a ‘soup-run’ in the centre of Cardiff, which it calls “The Paradise Run”. This is located on Charles Street, and between 8 pm and 9 pm every weekday feeds those who are hungry. It also offers friendship and support to those in need.

Ms. Perret-Atkins said: “this generous donation from the Freemasons of south Wales will really help us in our work with the people of the city, who through no fault of their own, have fallen on hard times”. She went to explain: “some of the people we help are those with nowhere to sleep, sleep in squats or live in hostels. Many have experienced relationship difficulties, struggle with drugs or alcohol, or are lonely or bereaved. What they all have in common is the need for someone to stand alongside them and share their burden.”

Mr Payne said: “the South Wales Freemasons are delighted they’ve been able to help the Rainbow of Hope, who do truly outstanding work helping some of the most vulnerable people in our community”. He went on to explain, “the South Wales Freemasons donate over £150,000 to local charities every year. This money is raised by our members in south Wales for many diverse and deserving local causes”.

Further information on the Rainbow of Hope (registered charity number 1088856) can be found on its website, wwwrainbowofhope.co.uk, or by telephoning 029 2049 4317. The charity is always in need of volunteers to help and assist them, either at their centre in Broadway or on the evening Paradise Run. Donations of clothes or un-wanted household items are also very gratefully received.
Opening hours for its drop-in centre in Broadway, Cardiff are: Weekdays 10:30am to 1:00pm (Friday evening twice monthly from 7:30pm to 9:30pm) and Saturday from midday to 1:00pm