4th November 2022

The Provincial Grand Lodge of Suffolk were invited to a Choral Evensong Service at St. Edmundsbury Cathedral on the 23rd of October by the Dean, the Very Reverend Joseph Hawes

Provincial Grand Master for Suffolk, Ian Yeldham delivers The First Reading as part of the Evensong Service

The service provided many of those present with an opportunity of quiet reflection on the past and to evaluate the hopes for our future. A stepping stone to look back at the achievements that we, as Freemasons in Suffolk have made over the past 250 plus years and continue so to do to this very day. Within the Liturgy of the Service, the Dean, the Very Reverend Joseph Hawes, invited us to reflect on our Masonic values and the beneficial effect they have within our communities, especially those of Integrity, Respect, Friendship and Charity. Constants that have remained present as part of the fraternity in Suffolk since masonry began in the County during the 1730’s and later formalised in 1772 with the establishment of our Provincial Grand Lodge.

The Dean said during his sermon “You know a thing or two, Freemasons of Suffolk about the poor, the dying, the marginalised and those who have lost hope because you raise tens of thousands of pounds, over a hundred thousand last year alone to support charities, hospices, widows and orphans. Freemasons in this country are among the highest givers to charity every year, so as I say, you know a thing or two about caring for the human temples, repositories themselves of The Word who are most in need in contemporary society. When I was invited recently to Ashlar House to speak to you and spend a convivial evening, I was deeply impressed by the passion revealed to me in conversation, not just to take care of each other within your lodges, but to allow the strong bonds of friendship and integrity to manifest themselves in actions and donations which make the world, in small and great ways, a better place. I was impressed by that passion, impressed also by your openness, and even more impressed by full throated singing which accompanied the not infrequent toasts!”

Towards the end of the Service, the Dean invited all Freemasons to stand, whilst he said The Act of Rededication. He invited us to dedicate ourselves afresh, to God’s service, loyalty and grace and gave thanks for our steadfast way of life. As the service came to a close, the entire congregation, accompanied by the Alleyn Singers, who had provided the music throughout, sang the Closing Ode with great gusto and enthusiasm. Following the Blessing, the Choir, Clergy and Senior Members of the Province retired to the Felix Mendelssohn organ voluntary “War March of the Priests”.

This proved to be, not only an uplifting experience, but an inclusive and public statement of our Masonic standards; to serve as a reminder that fashions, politics and aggression between nations may come and go, but the core values of our entire Masonic family have remained steadfast for centuries.

4th November 2022

Suffolk Masonic Charity Clay Shoot at High Lodge Shooting School

It was a warm autumnal day on the 29th of October 2022 when Suffolk Masonic Shooting Society (SMaCSS) held the ‘later than usual’ annual summer charity clay pigeon shoot.Thirty four keen clay shooters comprised of Suffolk Masons, masons of other provinces and friends turned up at High Lodge Shooting School to shoot the 100 bird sporting competition. It was fair to say that numbers were down compared to previous years, but it didn’t hinder the fun and social ‘banter’ that was witnessed as old and new friends prepared for the challenge ahead. The event was kicked off by a plated English breakfast before SMACSS Chairman Roger Nash opened the day with a Suffolk welcome, a safety briefing and an outline of the rules for the day. With that said, all shooters readied themselves to head onto the shooting ground in their respective squads.

The sporting layout for the day was comprised of ten stands of ten clays (affectionally known as birds) per stand with varied difficulty to suit the social and serious shooter. High birds, fast crossing low birds and ‘rabbits’ had everyone scratching their head at some point. After three hours of shooting the results were collated and announced. In 1st place with 85/100 was Phil Ramsey (Suffolk Masons), 2nd place with 83/100 was Terry Chorlton (Essex Masons) and in 3rd place with 82/100 was Rob Styles (West Kent Masons), a satisfying day for the Suffolk Masons. We concluded the day with a raffle and appraisal of money made for charity for which we are delighted to report £302. Thank you to all who participated and supported Suffolk Masonic Shooting.

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25th October 2022

Suffolk Freemasons show their support to serving military and veterans
by signing the Armed Forces Covenant

The Suffolk Freemasons Almoners Conference 2022, which formed part of the ‘Year of the Almoner 2022’ celebration, took place on Sunday 16th October at Ashlar House, Bury St Edmunds. The 124 delegates from lodges all over Suffolk as well as many present and past military veterans, witnessed the signing of the Armed Forces Covenant by the Provincial Grand Master for Suffolk Ian Yeldham and Air Vice-Marshall The Honourable David Murray CVO OBE DL on behalf of the military.

The Armed Forces Covenant is a bespoke document specific to Suffolk which makes additional guarantees and promises above and beyond the basic principles of the standard Covenant. It is a pledge that together we acknowledge and understand that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, together with their families, should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they reside.

Ian Yeldham explained “By signing this on behalf of all of the Freemasons in Suffolk, I am delighted to pledge our support to the Armed Forces Covenant, in this, our ‘Year of the Almoner’ and in the memory of all our own members that served, which is something very close to our hearts and being”.

Air Vice-Marshall Murray said “The Freemasons are really leading the way in signing the Armed Forces Covenant and showing their support for the Armed Forces community - both the serving and veterans - in Suffolk, they have certainly set an excellent example for other organisations and individuals to follow”.

The signing was followed by a presentation from ‘The Not Forgotten’ military charity which provides support to any serving man or woman who is wounded, injured or sick and any veteran with a disability, illness, or infirmity; whatever the cause and whenever it arose. Their Chairman David Cowley OBE said after the Conference “I was delighted by the offers of help received following my talk on the work of ‘The Not Forgotten’ for veterans of all three Services and the Merchant Navy. I am confident that with the support of the Suffolk Freemasons ‘The Not Forgotten’ will play an increasingly important role in helping those in Suffolk who have served in the Armed Forces and who now suffer. I am very grateful to be given this important opportunity to spread the word about our work”.

Jamie Gwatkin, Provincial Grand Almoner and organiser said “I am delighted that the Conference was such a success. The feedback has been excellent which was summarised by one attendee who said “A wonderful day all around, one you couldn’t buy”.

Military veterans at the signing of the Armed Forces Covenant by Suffolk Freemasons


 For further information about the Armed Forces Covenant visit