Freemasonry for Women (Coventry) supporting a high-flier of the future

When we set up our HFAF Uni Scheme it was with the intention of not only attracting younger members from Universities, it was also with the intention of providing bursaries to deserving students.

A high-flier for the future

Our project at Coventry aimed at re-opening Centrum Lodge 46 as a University Lodge recently received a request from UGLE University Lodge 9907 if we would join with them in supporting a very promising student called Farrah Barber. We were very happy to do so and agreed a sum of £250 and in conjunction with AMULL (Association of Medical, University and Legal Lodges) a grant totalling £1000 was made to enable to Farrah to pursue her MSc studies at Oxford in Social Science of the Internet, having recently graduated from St Andrews with a first-class honours degree in International Relations.

Centrum Lodge was due to be re-opened in April but due to the COVID-19 epidemic this has been postponed until next year. We wish Farrah every success in her future life. She certainly is deserving of our help as she has made every effort to support herself in her studies.

Volunteering in the community

Many of our members have been busy supporting their local communities by volunteering their services as drivers, shoppers and prescription collectors.

Some of our members who had retired from the NHS answered the government’s call and returned to front-line service.

Others provided hot meals, baked treats and sewed kit-bags.

HFAF Charity responding

We have been pleased to respond to local charities and initiatives during this time of national lockdown.

Obviously we had to stop our meetings and the caterer for our Headquarters, Oli’s Kitchen decided to set up a takeaway business for the local area and also to provide hot meals for NHS staff. We were pleased to provide him with funding for 300 meals.

Goods for Good UK, which we have supported in the past, was also providing help to vulnerable families, and the homeless in the local area. We decided to support them with another donation of £1000 which enables them to buy goods. Because of their buying power they are able to obtain goods worth approximately ten times the value of any donation.

Unitas our local Youthzone project obviously had to close down their normal operations but decided instead to focus on helping the homeless and vulnerable in the area. We were pleased to contribute £2000 towards their running costs

So although we are unable to hold our masonic meetings we are still able to provide help and support for our local headquarters area.

Father's pride

When Sumaira joined Surrey 45 in February she was joined at the Festive Board by her extremely proud mother Shaista and father Altaf, a member of Finsbury Park Lodge 1288 who had flown in from Saudi Arabia, where he currently works to share the occasion with her. Sumaira first met members of Surrey Lodge 45 at the Surrey University Freshers’ Fair.

IWD 2020

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, Freemasonry for Women is proud to play its part in the empowerment of women both here in the UK and in our overseas lodges. For more than one hundred years women have stood firm in their belief that they were justly entitled to become Freemasons and to be recognised as such. In today’s increasingly busy  world many women feel isolated and alone in a society which is still dominated by men. They appreciate the different environment of an all female group.

 Freemasonry provides women with support networks, and friendships which span the divisions of race, class or age whilst offering spiritual and personaldevelopment. Our teachings direct us to help those in need and our members are encouraged to raise funds for charity and our members in India have put these principles into practice by actively supporting leprosy communities and schools in their area. 

Freemasonry offers women friendship, inspiration and empowerment.

Beverley - a Master in the lodge and in the water!

Beverley the Worshipful Master of Unity Lodge 58 in Letchworth was given a day pass to miss the 3rd meeting of the new lodge in order to compete in the 1500m of the British Masters Swimming Championships which were being held in Swansea and simultaneously compete in the Welsh Championships. This is her story ….

I came into Freemasonry, reading of its morality and brotherly love.

Life’s circumstance had knocked my confidence and Vitiligo, a trauma-based skin condition had manifested over my entire body . It took courage to journey through to the Masters Chair and each step forward was a constant challenge.

My work hours however were getting longer and meetings harder to get to. So when I was given an opportunity to be involved with forming a new weekend lodge , it felt like the perfect solution -therefore Unity evolved.

I decided , with my girls’ encouragement ,to train for a charity swim raising funds for the Fraternity and Independent Age. As a child, I was a competitive swimmer but facing the swim suit after more than 30 years and now covered with giraffe patch skin, was terrifying. After six months of four times a week training, I proudly completed the 10k open water challenge , raising £2400.

Having trained that hard, the next step into competitive swimming again, you would think would be simple but I was going into the unknown. A woman in her fifties facing the pool, body aches and long hours of training but unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.

I was accepted into the Barnet Copthall Swim team, completing my first race in November ‘19. Having entered a few competitions, I had a call to say that I had qualified to swim in the first leg of the British Masters Championships in Swansea.

I am so grateful for the friends I have made in our fraternity who have showed kindness and constant support throughout this experience. I hope I’ll prove that courage doesn’t mean that you don’t get afraid -just that you don’t let fear stop you!”

The result of all her hard work was a 3rd place in the 1500m event of the British Championships and into further events at the end of April and a double win in the Welsh Championships in the 800m freestyle and the 200m medley.

Everyone should join!

It was amazing, everyone should join!” Those were the words of Lisa, a new Companion who along with Barbara travelled from Calahonda Lodge 53 in Spain to be Exalted into Royal Arch Freemasonry in Chapter of the Holy Sepulchre No. 6 at Rochford, Essex. The three Principals, Z, H and J and the Principal Sojourner delivered a beautiful ceremony to ensure that these two candidates had a day to remember. This was the first ceremony for MEZ Sue, H Elaine and J Angie since the Installation in November last year. Not even the presence of the 1st Grand Principal and the 3rd Grand Principal put them off. Anyone familiar with Royal Arch knows the important part played by the Principal Sojourner and Iskra certainly rose to the occasion. Proud Preceptor Jenny, (standing on the right) was delighted with the Officers. Director of Ceremonies Chrissy (Standing on the left) kept everything moving smoothly.

Spreading the word in the Midlands

On 17th February the WM of our Ambassadors project at Coventry, W Bro Patricia Garraway was invited to deliver a talk for a Friendship Evening at Solihull Lodge 8088 about Freemasonry for Women and the work of Ambassadors Lodge 13 in helping to establish new lodges. She spoke about the formation of our overseas lodge in Spain, Romania, India and America and imparted the exciting news that Ambassadors 13 will once again be travelling to India in January 2021 to consecrate three new lodges.

She also spoke about the project in Coventry which will lead to the re-dedication of Centrum Lodge No. 46 as a University Lodge meeting at Dalecote House in Coventry and working with the Province of Warwickshire. 

Despite battling ill-health Patricia’s efforts should see this project come to fruition in August of this year. To show their appreciation the lodge members had a collection for a charity nominated by Patricia which was the Derby & Burton Hospital Charity, one of whose projects is the provision of ‘nicer’ hospital gowns.

Carole returns to work

On February 12th W Bro Carole returned to work as WM of Grace Bilantz 34 when she was beautifully installed by the amazing Helen. We are sure that Helen wont mind us mentioning that she is 85 years young and came to the rescue when the outgoing WM was unable to attend the meeting due to work pressures. Grace Bilantz 34 is one of our London lodges meeting at our headquarters, 402 Finchley Road, London NW2 2HR.

Discover Freemasonry event at Great Queen Street

On 6th February, GM Christine and Grand Secretary Maxine attended this event at Great Queen Street, organised by Metropolitan Grand Lodge to promote Freemasonry. Hundreds of people attended, amongst them many women and we were pleased to be able to discuss Women’s Freemasonry with them.

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