ISSUE 19, October 2006
Historic: Rabbi and Mason
Travel: Morocco's exotic charm
Quarterly Communication: Address by the Pro Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Working with Youngsters: The Grand Master goes fishing
Community Relations: Saying it with flowers
International: Spanish Freemasonry under the microscope
   Events: Grand Lodge Award; Royal Masonic Variety Show
Specialist Lodges: Masonry on the canal
Freemasonry and Society: A Churchman's view of Masonry
Education: Toast of the town and Events
Young Masons: The Universities Scheme
Library & Museum: The Freemasons's Tontine
Masonic Charities: The Grand Charity and NMSF and RMTGB and RMBI
Book reviews

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Photo: David Peabody

John Hamill (left) receives his certificate from Alan Englefield, Provincial Grand Master for Oxfordshire

   On 2 August, Grand Lodge’s Director of Communications, John Hamill, completed 35 years as a member of the Grand Secretary’s staff. To his very apparent surprise, the Board of General Purposes and his colleagues organised a celebratory buffet to mark the occasion.
    Before congratulating and thanking John for his service, the President of the Board invited the Assistant Grand Secretary, Graham Redman, to make a presentation.
    This was in the form of a unique document: a “Certificate of Congratulations” issued “By Command of the Grand Secretary’s Staff” which, after reciting John’s Masonic career, did “Give and Grant to all and each of the members of the Grand Secretary’s Staff our full permission to congratulate the said John MacKenzie Hamill in such manner as may be appropriate for the said occasion so far as may be consistent with sobriety and uprightness”!
    Speaking after the party, John said “I little thought 35 years ago when I joined the Staff as the Junior Assistant in the Grand Lodge Library what an amazing life I would have at Freemasons’ Hall.
    “I thought I was going to have a quiet academic life doing my own and helping others in their research into Masonic history. That all changed in 1984 when the Craft was swamped by bad publicity and I was asked to be the alternate to the Grand Secretary as spokesman for Grand Lodge.
    “If anyone had forecast in 1971 that I would appear on radio and television, appear before a Parliamentary Select Committee (twice!) and the Welsh Assembly’s Committee on Standards as well as travel the world as a Masonic speaker, I would have thought they were barking mad!
    “I have been very lucky, not least in my colleagues over the last 35 years. I have worked with some amazing characters. The Staff are like a family, we have our ups and downs, but we all pull together when things have to be done.
    “There is an incredible sense of loyalty to the Craft and Grand Lodge, even amongst the non-Masons on the Staff. I am deeply touched by today’s “surprise” and the warmth of the good wishes from my colleagues.”

The Royal Masonic Variety Show promises to be another major event in the world of entertainment. This will be the fourth year that top entertainers have come together donating their services in aid of charity fund-raising.
    The Show is being held on Remembrance Sunday, 12 November at Prince Edward Theatre, Old Compton Street, London, commencing at 7.30pm.
    Artistes invited to appear include Bradley Walsh, Lionel Blair, Emma Bunton, Martine McCutcheon, Italia Conti, Robert Meadmore, Liberty X, Paul Zerdin, Roger D’Courcey, Zack Laurence, Keith Skues and Fatman and the Tenor – subject to availability.
    To date the Variety Show has raised well over £100,000 for numerous charitable causes and this year’s show aims to carry on the excellent record.
    Held in the presence of the Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, and the Pro Grand Master, the Marquess of Northampton, the proceeds of this year’s show will go to the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution, the Entertainment Artistes Benevolent Fund and the Abandoned & Destitute Children’s Appeal Fund.
    Founder of the Royal Masonic Variety Show, Lord Northampton says:
    “Freemasonry is founded on the principles of good fellowship, charity and integrity. These qualities form the cornerstone of everyday life for Freemasons and help them to become better citizens and be of more service to their fellow beings. Over £100 million of charitable help can be directly attributed to the generosity of English Freemasons.”
    The Royal Masonic Variety Show is arranged and promoted by Masonic Promotions Limited consisting of chairman David Calderhead, Charles Firth and Greg Lunnon. This year’s show will be produced by Peter Elliott and Ray Donn, both members of Chelsea Lodge, and directed by Bonnie Lythgoe with production coordinator Mandy Lee.

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