21st October

The Freemasons have signed the Armed Forces Covenant during a ceremony at Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden on 20 October led by His Royal Highness, The Duke of Kent

The partnership aims to support members of the Armed Forces community and ensure they have the same access to government as well as commercial services and products as any other citizen. By signing the Armed Forces Covenant, the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) will be able to demonstrate its support to members of the Armed Forces in a number of areas, including education, family wellbeing, getting a home, starting a new career, access to healthcare, financial assistance and discounted services. UGLE has a strong Armed Forces background through its military Lodges. This partnership therefore represents an important step in further supporting both active and retired military personnel. Important Armed Forces personnel such as Admiral Sir Peter Parker, Francis Rawden-Hastings, 1st Marquess of Hastings, Captain Robert Falcon Scott, General Viscount Kitchener of Khartoum, Lieutenant Elias Henry Jones, Marshal of the Royal Air Force Cyril Louis Norton Newall, Commodore Wilfred Henderson and Thomas William Gould VC were all well-known Freemasons.

UGLE's Grand Master, His Royal Highness, The Duke of Kent, has a longstanding relationship with the military. In 1955, The Duke of Kent graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as a Second Lieutenant. That was only the beginning of a military career that lasted more than 20 years. He was promoted to Captain in 1961 and after having served in Hong Kong, His Royal Highness, The Duke of Kent was promoted again to Major in 1967. Three years later, he commanded a squadron of his regiment serving in the British Sovereign Base Area in Cyprus. In 1970, His Royal Highness, The Duke of Kent, also served in Northern Ireland, before being promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 30 June 1973. The Duke retired from active service on 15 April 1976. He was subsequently promoted to Major General on 11 June 1983 and to Field Marshal on 11 June 1993.

His Royal Highness, The Duke of Kent, said: “It is my great pleasure to sign the Armed Forces Covenant on behalf of the United Grand Lodge of England. This document represents part of our ongoing commitment to support active and retired military personnel. We are proud of our long-standing relationship with the Armed Forces and we will continue to promote their welfare, support, and respect amongst all our members.” By signing the Armed Forces Covenant, UGLE demonstrates its intention to support the Armed Forces community which, in turn, allows UGLE to be recognised by the UK government’s Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS). An ERS award shows that the recipient is delivering tangible support for the Armed Forces community. Major General Simon Graham, Director Reserves Army, signing of behalf of the Military of Defence, said: “The Armed Forces Covenant is a commitment to support those who have served and their families. The support of employers and making a public pledge of support to the Armed Forces community that they are valued by society is vital. This year we celebrate the Armed Forces Covenant's 10th anniversary, and for centuries the United Grand Lodge of England has a solid connection to the Armed Forces, and it makes perfect sense for us to have the Freemasons signing up to Armed Forces Covenant this year. I'd like to thank the United Grand Lodge of England for supporting the Armed Forces community.”

Dr David Staples, UGLE's Chief Executive, said: “It is a great honour to be able to sign the Armed Forces Covenant. From its earliest foundations, Freemasonry has always had a strong relationship with the Armed Forces. Today, we want to thank those brave men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting our country and the people who live here. They deserve all our thanks, our respect and this is one of many steps we aim to take in helping both active and retired members of the Armed Forces and their families.” On the same day that the UGLE signed the covenant at Freemasons’ Hall, heads of Freemasonry in the Isle of Man, Cheshire, East Lancashire, West Lancashire and North Wales also made their commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant. This is in addition to Staffordshire and Yorkshire North and East Riding regions. In total 24 Provinces have either signed or will sign the Covenant.

The Masonic Charitable Foundation and the RMBI will also sign the covenant in December 2021 at their AGM.

Chelsea Pensioners and Johnson Beharry VC

 Find out more about the Armed Forces Covenant here:


October 1st 2021

Suffolk Freemasons provide emergency funding
to support K1 Britannia Foundations relief efforts in Haiti after major earthquake

K1 Britannia Foundation’s disaster relief and crisis team has successfully completed its relief efforts in Haiti after the tragic 7.2 earthquake on August 14. Suffolk Freemasons working together with the Masonic Charitable Foundation donated £2000 to enable the K1 team to respond within 48 hours of the crisis developing.

The team’s relief efforts took place within the main areas of emergency logistics and the provision of personnel to load and offload much-needed supplies and equipment to affected areas. Based in Port-au-Prince, the team was able to help streamline and assist with managing emergency logistics at the Toussaint Louverture International Airport. This meant helping to manage flights carrying relief aid, supplies and personnel back and forth between the affected areas in the South and Port-au-Prince.

Due to the volatile situation on ground in the affected areas, travel by air was the safest way to move humanitarian aid, workers and equipment. On the ground, K1 worked closely with World Hope International, Global Support and Development (GSD), World Food Programme (WFP), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Mission of Hope Haiti, the United States Southern Command and others. The K1 team assisted with much-needed medical evacuations via helicopter from remote areas not reachable by road or larger planes. K1 also flew to the South to assess the damage and needs in various villages. K1 Direct’s Head of Operations said: “The deployment was a unique and challenging situation. It was unique because of the tasks we were entrusted with at the airport, and challenging because there were so many people in need and various circumstances made it hard to reach them”.

Rick Orme of Suffolk Freemasons commented “We were very pleased to be able provide emergency funding at extremely short notice to help fund the K1 Foundation’s relief operation in Haiti and we must thank the Masonic Charitable Foundation for assisting us in this donation”.

For more information about the charity visit

24th September 2021

The three millionth teddy to be given to poorly children across England and Wales has been presented, with Suffolk Freemasons playing a big part locally

Dave Wilson, TLC Co-ordinator for Suffolk Freemasons delivering teddies to the A&E Department at James Paget Hospital in Gorleston

Suffolk Freemasons have given teddies to 14500 children at hospitals across Suffolk since the TLC (Teddies for Loving Care) scheme began in 2001. The bears are given to children in hospital to comfort them or reward them for their bravery. Children are often first met by a bear when they arrive at a hospital Emergency Department to provide comfort and reassurance, in what can be a scary and unknown environment. The bears are used to demonstrate procedures, with doctors and nurses often showing children the procedures on the bear, before performing on children. The James Paget Hospital in Gorleston commented “Suffolk Freemasons have been raising funds to buy teddy bears for children arriving in A&E and this has resulted in hundreds of bears being donated to our team over the years for us to pass on to our younger patients who are in need of a friend during their hospital visit. More TLC Bears arrived recently and we would like to say a big 'thank you' to all the Suffolk Freemasons involved for this thoughtful donation, which we know will continue to bring smiles to the faces of the young patients who have to come into our Emergency Department”.

The three millionth bear was presented to Jackie James, Play Specialist at Peterborough City Hospital, in the hospital’s Amazon Children’s Garden,
by Dr David Staples a hospital Consultant Physician and CEO of the United Grand Lodge of England.

Speaking as she received the three millionth teddy, Jackie said: “The Teddies for Loving Care bears are very special to us in the Emergency Department and have a wonderful, positive impact on children who are receiving care. When a child first arrives at hospital not only are they feeling unwell but they may also be feeling scared and anxious. The little TLC teddies provide some comfort and really help make them feel at ease".

Dave Wilson, TLC Co-ordinator for Suffolk Freemasons said “This simple but effective idea was started in 2001 and we will continue our efforts to donate these bears to children in hospitals across the county when they are at their most vulnerable.”

For more information about the charity visit
or contact David Wilson, Suffolk TLC Co-ordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.