It was with the greatest sadness that the United Grand Lodge of England learned of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, our longest serving British Sovereign.

Queen Elizabeth’s father, His late Majesty King George VI and her consort, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, were both Freemasons.  Her cousin, HRH The Duke of Kent, has been Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England since 1967, and will be sending a message of condolence on behalf of all English Freemasons to His Majesty The King.  Another of her cousins, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, has been Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of England and Wales since 1982, and an announcement is being made from Mark Masons’ Hall.

God Save The King.

22nd June 2022

Freemasons continue their funding for life-changing medical research

The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) has been committed to funding vital medical research since its inception in 2016, with the aim of improving knowledge, treatment and services for people with life-changing diseases and illnesses. By funding PhD studentships, Freemasonry is not only advancing the medical community’s understanding of complex diseases, it is cementing the next generation of research experts and scientists. In February 2022, the MCF awarded a total of £541,000 to medical research, working with four partners to fund seven new PhD studentships under the theme of degenerative diseases. These new partners include Alzheimer’s Research UK, British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK, and the University of Bradford.

The MCF recently spoke to two students to discover their goals and findings of their PhD studentships.

PhD Student: Richard ScharffCharity: Fight for Sight with the University of ManchesterMCF funding:£100,000

What is Richard researching? Richard’s study aims to better understand how age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a disease that affects a person's central vision, develops.

Why AMD? “When I was introduced to AMD while studying my masters, I was struck by how debilitating a disease it is, as well as how much of the UK population suffers from it –roughly 600,000 people. To lose ones sight is such a major struggle, so I felt that any work I could do to prevent AMD would be worthwhile and fulfilling.” says Richard.

What has Richard discovered? As he approaches the end of his studentship, Richard has seen impressive findings through his research: “I’ve discovered that the protein ITIH3, which is found in high quantities for people with AMD, can attach to a range of different molecules within the eye, as well as to itself. I’m currently in the process of imaging sections of donated eyes to find out where exactly ITIH3 is, what it attaches to, and how that changes the area of the eye.”

How will Richard’s research make a difference? “While my research will not cure AMD, it will be another brick in the process that will be followed by those who will develop new therapies based on what I learn. This will lead to better treatments and eventually prevent the disease from harming anyone at all.”

PhD student:Russell FrewCharity:Diabetes UK with the University of ExeterMCF funding:£88,935

What is Russell researching? Russell’s research aims to understand the link between mitochondrial dysfunction and insulin disorders, like diabetes.

Why this study? “I was initially interested in this area of study because of the rarity of mitochondrial dysfunction. Learning about this led me to the fascinating revelation that mitochondria are more important than given credit for. Mitochondrial dysfunction is a poorly-understood cause of diabetes and a fascinating area of research.” “It was such great news to hear that the MCF decided to fund our project.I feel so lucky to be given the opportunity to be part of such an impactful and inspiring team of scientists,” says Russell.

What has Russell discovered? “Even in the early stages of my PhD, I have found evidence to suggest that one genetic variant, previously not associated with diabetes, may be involved in the development of diabetes in new-born babies.”

How will Russell’s research make a difference? Of course, the most important aspect of medical research is how it will impact lives. Through Russell’s research, more accurate diagnoses could be given to babies living with rare genetic insulin disorders, ensuring they can access the best treatments for their condition. His research could also allow these genes to be genetically screened for, ensuring earlier diagnosis for babies and improving access to potentially life-saving treatments.

By nurturing the talent of young scientists like Richard and Russell, and providing the funding necessary for them to become experts in their fields,
Freemasonry is enabling the research breakthroughs of tomorrow.

Learn more about MCF support through medical research here


11th April 2022

Freemasons contribute to £500,000 for Ukrainian refugees

The photo shows a Red Cross medic in Poland helping a family newly arrived from Ukraine

Thousands of Ukrainian refugees as well as displaced people still inside Ukraine will be given help and support, thanks to half a million pounds raised by Suffolk Freemasons and other Provinces across England and Wales. The money is being directed to charities working on the ground in Ukraine, as well as organisations helping refugees in neighbouring countries including Poland, Moldova, Romania, and in the UK. The £500,000 was raised in less than three weeks and the total is still growing as Freemasons continue to dig deep to help the refugees. The war in Ukraine has created by far the largest refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War, and more people are fleeing Ukraine for countries to the west every day.

The chosen charities, each of which will receive £100,000, are:

  1. The UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) – which could help setup a ‘Blue Dot Hub’ to provide a safe space for up to 5,000 children and families on the move every day. Blue Dot Hubs offer critical services such as child-friendly spaces, mother and baby facilities and a crucial family reunification support.
  2. Plan International UK – which could help set up 55 temporary learning spaces in Poland, Moldova and Romania, so children can learn and play in a safe space away from the war.
  3. The Refugee Council – which could help to fund two full-time therapists to provide specialist therapy for hundreds of traumatised refugees.
  4. British Red Cross – to fund work with hundreds of Ukrainian refugees in the UK to help them overcome loneliness and isolation and to offer other practical support to help ease them into life in Britain.
  5. UK for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency – which could help provide essential repairs to severely damaged homes in Ukraine that have been damaged by shelling and conflict.

Suffolk Freemasons contributed to the grant through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales. Ian Yeldham, Provincial Grand Master for Suffolk, said: “Freemasons have an outstanding record helping those in need in this country and around the world, but this huge sum to support Ukrainian refugees was raised in record time. I’m very proud that we in Suffolk have been able to play such an important part in this essential work."