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NEWS ITEMS


UGLE Annual Report

The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) has launched its first annual report, in its 300 year history, marking another major step forward in its commitment to modernisation, transparency and normalization.

Dr David Staples, chief executive of the UGLE, said: “Our first ever annual report is a major step ahead for the organisation in terms of the transparency and normalisation of Freemasonry, we want to tell the public who we are and what we do.

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This year, we have raised more than £42m for charity and given more than 18.5 million hours of our time in unpaid social and civic volunteering.
I am enormously proud to serve an organisation with such a story to tell.”

The annual report includes reports, which sits alongside the UGLE’s four key values of integrity, respect, friendship and charity. In addition, a recent study found that 75% of Freemasons take part in civic or charitable activities, compared to only 31% of non-Freemasons, in a matched geodemographic profile.

“All the effort and transparency has brought surprising results. Recent research showed that one in four people would consider joining Freemasonry today. The change is significant, because in 2018, the result of the same survey was one in ten,” explained Dr Staples.

Read the Annual Report here…

Article in the London Post (click here for full article)

Having donated £1million between April and July to help those impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, Freemasons are now focusing on protecting the homeless, with a new series of donations across England and Wales. 

The homeless crisis has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, with many people losing their jobs and finding themselves either living on the streets or in unsuitable living conditions. In 2019 Shelter estimated that 280,000 people were homeless in England whilst the Greater London Authority reported 4,227 people sleeping rough in London between April and June, of which 2,680 were sleeping on the streets for the first time. 

The funds raised will help provide safe living conditions, healthcare, meals, and employment opportunities for the homeless; as well as helping protect them from the winter weather, which kills hundreds of homeless people every year. In addition, Freemasons will be volunteering their time at 26 homeless support organisations.

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The United Grand Lodge of England has recently launched a new press section on the UGLE website to highlight masonic coverage.

This section will be constantly updated to showcase all the nationwide coverage including highlighting the fantastic work of Freemasons helping their communities across the country.

Click here to go to the Press Page

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Board lowers the age of Initiation to 18 years old

Following a presentation by  RW Bro. Michael Ward, a Deputy Metropolitan Grand Master, at the last Quarterly Communications on the the origins and work of the Membership Working Party, a recommendation was made to lower the age of Initiation from 21 to 18 years of age.

Read the full statement here

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In honour of all English Freemasons awarded the prestigious Victoria Cross (VC), the United Grand Lodge of England’s (UGLE) Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, unveiled a unique Victoria Cross Remembrance Stone at Freemasons’ Hall on 27th June 2019

The Remembrance Stone was commissioned in 2016 by Granville Angell to commemorate all English Freemasons who were awarded the Victoria Cross. The VC is the highest award for gallantry that can be conferred on a member of the British Armed Forces and since its introduction in 1856, more than 200 Freemasons have been awarded the Victoria Cross – making up an astonishing 14% of all recipients.

The Remembrance Stone was carved by Emily Draper, who was Worcester Cathedral’s first female Stonemason apprentice, having been sponsored by local Freemasons. During the preparation stage of the stone, Emily also found out that her Great Uncle was a Freemason VC recipient.

The event was opened by Dr David Staples, UGLE’s Chief Executive and Grand Secretary, followed by readings from Robert Vaughan, Provincial Grand Master of Worcestershire (My Boy Jack by Rudyard Kipling) and Brigadier Peter Sharpe, President of the Circuit of Service Lodges (The Soldier by Rupert Chawner Brooke).

Over 130 guests were in attendance including serving military personnel, a group of Chelsea Pensioners and Sea Cadets, as well as Sergeant Johnson Beharry, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for saving the lives of his unit – Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment – while serving in Iraq in 2004. Johnson is also a Freemason and a member of Queensman Lodge No. 2694 in London.  Music was provided by Jon Yates from the Royal Marines Association Concert Band, who performed the ‘Last Post’, a minute’s silence and the ‘Reveille’. 

This was proceeded by the grand Unveiling and Dedication of the Remembrance Stone by The Duke of Kent, as a fitting tribute to the service and sacrifice of those Freemasons awarded the VC. The Duke of Kent also presented Emily with a stone carving toolset to aid her future projects.  The event was concluded with a speech by Brigadier Willie Shackell CBE, Past Grand Secretary of UGLE and Past President of the Masonic Samaritan Fund. 

Dr David Staples, UGLE’s Chief Executive and Grand Secretary, said: “It’s been a huge honour to mark the dedication of this wonderful Victoria Cross Remembrance Stone and another significant milestone in our longstanding history.  “It is even more remarkable in the context that 14% of all recipients of the Victoria Cross have been Freemasons and I can think of no more fitting home than for it to be placed here at Freemasons’ Hall – a memorial to the thousands of English Freemasons who lost their lives during the Great War.

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