Charity Report  June 2021



June has been a busy time for the Province, we have supported the Bristol Baby Bank with a cheque for £500. A reminder that if you have Childrens Toys or clothes please contact Sarah Sutton on 07909 574379, she will advise you of what items are needed.

Tour de Bristol

On Sunday 27th June, our PGM, RW Bro Stephen Rawlings led a team of Six riders and one back up driver on a cycle ride through the Gloucestershire countryside to a place of refreshment.

 Unfortunately, the only facility available on our route was the Anchor Pub in Oldbury on Severn. After a restful Lunch of delicious Fish Pie or Ham, Eggs and Chips (other choices were available) accompanied by glasses of local Ale, we resumed our journey. The return ride was a reality check, the wind was always in our faces no matter what direction we traveled. We arrived back at base in good heart, and health.

Our route was 40K and we averaged 12.5MPH, which for 4 Brethren who had not cycled for a considerable time was a great achievement.

I must thank those Brethren, friends and family who have financially supported our efforts, to date the ride has collected £3450, most of which will benefit from the addition of Gift Aid.


Charity Report - April 2021


Firstly, allow me to register my disappointment, that both major grant applications submitted to the MMH MBF have been unsuccessful. Both the St. Peter’s Hospice and the Matthew Tree Project had applied for grants to purchase Panel vans to help with their transport requirements.

However, I must then register my delight, that the MMH MBF have announced that each Mark Lodge in the country will be able to nominate a Hospice for a donation of £1000. This is a Memorial to HRH The Prince Phillip. Further details will follow shortly.


We have this month supported both The St. Peter’s Hospice, and the ‘Hope for Tomorrow’ Charity that brings Mobile Care Units to treat patients with cancer at their homes, with a donation of £500. Please see the link :

On Sunday 27th June, our PGM R.W. Bro Stephen Rawlings accompanied by The Provincial Secretary, The Provincial Director of Ceremonies, The Deputy Provincial Secretary, and the Provincial Charity Steward will take part in the ‘Tour de Bristol’ in support of The St. Peter’s Hospice fund raiser. We are looking for willing cyclists to escort our P.G.M. on an approx. 20 miles sponsored ride.

We will travel at a gentle pace and stop for lunch at The Anchor, Oldbury on Severn. We will leave from my home near Michaelwood Services on the M5 and ride via quiet country roads to the refreshment stop. This is ‘rolling’ countryside so there are a few hills but none of ‘Tour de France’ magnitude. All types of bikes can be used including electric assisted. There will be a ‘breakdown’ recovery service if needed for riders as well as bikes!!

If you are unable to join the ride, could I request your support by sponsoring our PGM with a donation to The Bristol MBF, Ref Bike.

We will be remembering members of our Mark community, including W. Bro David Hake, Bro Bryan Fox, W Bro Ray Stone’s wife Margaret - all who were cared for by the Hospice.

Please see contact details below.

200 Club

Our 200 club is gently growing, but I would like to encourage more of our Brethren to subscribe to the scheme as a method of being involved in the support of worthy causes in our area. Now that we have had the first draw, the subscription will be £15 per number and will qualify for the two remaining draws. Please see contact details below.


If you are suffering financially help is available through our Almoner for small amounts and through the MBF for more serious situations, in each case please contact,

W Bro Reginald Bleaden – External link opens in new tab or

W Bro Brian Hamley Provincial Charity Steward. External link opens in new tab or


Charity Report - March 2021


200 Club Draw

On Saturday 13th March 2021 we held the first of this year’s 200 Club Draw during the informal Provincial zoom meeting, the lucky winners were;

W Bro Alan Dunn - £100,

W Bro Robert Bates - £50 

Brother Nicholas Sheldon – £25


We have been talking to a member of the Bristol Royal Children’s Hospital with a view to supporting the Bristol Play assistants with additional equipment to augment the trollies of sensory and craft equipment supplied by the MMH MBF and have donated £500 to the Hospital.

East Lancaster 2021 MBF Festival

"Dear Brother Brian

On behalf of the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master and the Festival Chairman, may I take this opportunity to thank you, and all the Bristol Mark Masons, for your very generous donation of £500.00 towards the East Lancashire Mark 2021 Festival appeal on behalf of the Mark Benevolent Fund it is very much appreciated.

Please can you extend our special thanks to R.W.Bro Stephen Rawlings for thinking about our Festival.

With fraternal best wishes,

David J.Rainsbury P.G.Stwd.RAMGR.

Treasurer, Mark 2021 Festival Committee"

We are sponsoring Major Capital Grant applications being completed by the Matthew Tree project and the St. Peter’s Hospice for specialized Vans. St. Peter’s Hospice have submitted their application.

Our 200 club is gently growing, but I would like to encourage more of our Brethren to subscribe to the scheme as a method of being involved in the support of worthy causes in our area. Now that we have had the first draw (see above) the subscription will be £15 per number and will qualify for the two remaining draws.


W Bro Brian Hamley

Provincial Charity Steward


Charity Report - February 2021


Firstly, let me thank those of you who have supported the Mark 200 Club, we have had a good response, but would welcome more subscriptions before our first draw in March.


This month we have supported the Bristol Baby Bank Network with a donation of £500. The creation of the Baby Bank Network was to help alleviate child poverty and to support families at what is a time of financial and emotional stress, it also helps to reduce the waste by recycling nursery products.

Please see External link opens in new tab or window for more information.

We have also supported the Keynsham Food Bank with a donation of £500 and have supplied them with guidelines to complete a Capital Grant Application from MMH-MBF.

Some interesting links:

MMH – MBF Annual review 2020 of the Charitable donation made by MMH - Bristol is well represented.

‘Freemasonry@86’ is a weekly newsletter from Mark Masons Hall in which News of Mark Masons and the Allied Degrees is reported weekly.

External link opens in new tab or window

External link opens in new tab or window

And of course, for the Mark Degree in Bristol

Sincerely and Fraternally

W. Bro. Brian Hamley

Provincial Charity Steward


Charity Report - January 2021



It has come to the notice of both the Provincial Almoner and myself that some of you are suffering financially from the COVID-19 Pandemic. There is help available through our Provincial MBF as well as through the Mark Mason’s Hall MBF. The help available is money that ‘WE’ have donated for such a crisis, please do not feel embarrassed to call for help it will be totally confidential. In the first instance please contact your Lodge Almoner or the Provincial Almoner, W Bro Reginald Bleaden -


I ask those of us who can donate, without detriment to themselves to do so, and to consider the relief you can be giving to a Brother.

Please consider either donating directly, or by subscribing to the 200 Club by renewing your numbers or joining for the first time.

January Donations

For such a small Province I can proudly report that we have been able to support many Local Charities and Worthy Causes during the past year, and I must thank you for the response to the Christmas appeal allowing us to support various Food Banks.

I am pleased to report that one of our Brethren has donated directly to the Young Carers Support Group and supplied a Gift Aid declaration which increased the donation from £500 to £625.

We have also donated £500 to the Children’s Hospice South West and are assisting the Hospice with a future application to the MBF for a Capital Grant.

Applications to the MBF Capital Grants are also being composed by the Matthew Tree Trust, and The St. Peter’s Hospice for the supply of specific Vans.


For you who are considering joining the Tour de Bristol, please note the date has changed to the weekend of 26th-27th June 2021, please use this link to register Tour de Bristol - St Peter's Hospice, and list Bristol Mark as your group.

Sincerely and Fraternally

Bro Brian Hamley, Provincial Charity Steward


Calling All Cyclists!


I am addressing this not particularly to those amongst you who cycle for pleasure and fitness.

Would you be interested in a ride to support the St. Peter’s Hospice?

On the weekend of 17th/18th April 2021 (hopefully) there are four versions of rides available. Three rides are following routes set by the Hospice and are 40K/25miles, 65K/41miles and 100K/62miles in length. These routes can be seen by visiting Tour de Bristol Routes - St Peter's Hospice and you can also sign up on this website.

The fourth option is to follow your own route – this option has arisen due to the COVID-19 restrictions. I propose to follow a 65K route from my house in Michaelwood near the M5 services; a route which is a lot easier than the 65K ride from UWE. I would be very happy for anyone to join me, I shall also ride a 40K route on the Saturday, and a 65K route on the Sunday all at a leisurely pace with refreshment stops. It does not matter what type of cycle you ride, be it the latest Carbon Fibre, or with a little assistance from electricity!!

There is a small fee to sign up for the ride, and you can also donate an amount or have friends sponsor you. If you decide to participate please list the group as Bristol Mark Masons and let me know by email.

In the future, when restrictions have been eased, I would also well willing to lead shorter rides in and around Bristol. These could for instance include the Bristol to Bath cycle route or the Cumberland Basin to the Avon M5 Bridge and back via the Towpath. These rides would simply be for the joy of cycling.

W Bro Brian Hamley


The 200 Club

Brethren, during the’ Zoom’ meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge on the 14th November 2020, the third and final draw of the first ‘200’ Club, took place, with Bro Steve Webster, W.Bro Sam Glenn and VW.Bro David Powell the three lucky winners.

We are immensely grateful to those Brethren who have subscribed to the draw, and hope that many more of you will help increase our charitable donations to local worthy causes. The proceeds of our first draw has enabled our Province to support many local Charities and worthy causes during the past 18 months. Funds have been donated to Food Banks, Hospices and Carers support groups, all of which have been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The success of the 200 Club has been such, that we will repeat it for the next 12 months, and I now invite you to subscribe to the fund. For those of you who have a particular ‘Special’ number please let me know asap as the numbers will be picked randomly.

It is hoped that if we can resume meetings at Park Street in 2021, the prize draws will be held during After-meetings. However, whatever approach must be adopted if restrictions continue, rest assured that your contributions to this fund-raising initiative will be distributed to local worthy and thoroughly deserving Charities that continue to experience extremely hard times. The opportunity will remain for Lodges to nominate worthy causes as potential recipients of funds.

Once again, there will be three draws during the year with three cash prizes in each draw. The prizes for the next round will be a first prize of £100, second prize of £50 and a third prize of £25. If we increase our numbers in excess of last years draw, we will increase our prizes.

To re subscribe please make a BACS or Cheque payment of £20 for each number you wish to hold and email me that you have made the payment.

To Pay by BACS our details are

Account name – BRISTOL MBF

Account number – 00270670

Sort Code – 30-92-13

Reference 200 Club

To pay by Cheque

Please make it payable to BRISTOL MBF

And post to

Brian Hamley

Further contact details available upon request via 

Please contact me if you need any information regarding the draw or any Charity you wish us to support.

Sincerely and Fraternally

W Bro Brian Hamley – Provincial Grand Charity Steward.


Introducing 'Preludes'

As well as receiving an MBF Grant of £4,500 which "will enable the charity to develop this vital support media for children in deprived areas of the City who have suffered a lack of educational input during the Coronavirus pandemic" our friends at Preludes have also been fortunate that Penny Rawlings, Manager of Preludes, The Bristol Ensemble, has been chosen by The National Lottery Promotions Unit as one of 13 individuals from around the British Isles to be rewarded for their contribution to the ARTS throughout the difficult times of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Preludes the Educational arm of the Bristol Ensemble works in areas of Bristol that are experiencing high levels of economic disadvantage and aims to put music at the heart of every child’s education. Manager Penny Rawlings is one of a group of dedicated music professionals, who bring enjoyment, confidence, coordination, speech and language skills into children’s education.

Some of the children have special needs and can easily feel like failures because they can’t do as much academic work. They can do the music, it’s a special place where they can be equal. Music is a great leveller; we make sure that everyone can achieve in music and not just those who are perhaps more academic. The teachers love our music lessons because we are able to level groups up and make sure that those children who are not succeeding in other areas can succeed in music.”

Forced to curtail their activities due to lockdown, the group made an incredible number of videos to send to schools using the music teachers who usually taught them. The videos were also put on school on-line platforms for children at home where they have internet. In some schools they were also able to continue teaching some vulnerable children – and in addition, there were 45 online recitals with freelance Bristol Ensemble players. Prelude was very fortunate to receive funding from the Mark Benevolent Fund to support the creation of these videos during lockdown.

“There can be a lot of vulnerable children in our groups, so if they're not going to school, they might not eat that day or access education. For us, it was trying to keep some of those more vulnerable kids going and giving them something to look forward to,” she says. "We put in a lot of sessions of music for these children, largely in Knowle West and Lawrence Weston, but we had kids coming from other schools coming in as well. We were providing quite a service.”

After creating two amazing videos dedicated to the Covid-19 pandemic, one of which is a comic take on the Lockdown experience and the other the Barber Adagio, Penny says the group’s latest plan is to reproduce The Lark Ascending, a work by Vaughan Williams from exactly 100 years ago. The first performance was held in Shirehampton Village Hall, Bristol in 1920 and it’s a wonderful piece of music to introduce to children.



Mark Province of Bristol

~ Christmas Appeal ~

Dear Brethren,

I hope you are all weathering this latest Lockdown and of course looking forward to a little more freedom when permitted. I write to you today in the hope that I can call upon your festive spirit and ‘Wenceslas ethos’.

I realise that in the present circumstances we are all subject to calls for financial support from deserving and worthy Charities. I appreciate that it is not possible to respond positively to all such requests, and that it may well be the case that individual personal circumstances make it impossible to contribute. We must not feel guilty about this but keep in mind the tenets that we learn in Masonry and only give if we are able.

We are all very much aware that the pandemic has brought a lot of people crashing from a prosperous lifestyle to near destitution. The food banks continue to face hardship due the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and are inundated with families of workers who have been made redundant. I hope that the Bristol Mark Province can help provide some of those families with a little joy during the Christmas period through our continued support of these very worthy causes.

It would be wonderful if we are once again, able to make significant contributions to local food banks during this Christmas period. However, that aspiration will only be possible if members feel able to offer financial support and can afford to.

Please Brethren, if you are able to contribute, rest assured that whatever you give will be gratefully received.

To donate by BACS or by Cheque. (please contact Brian Hamley for further details)

Sincerely and Fraternall

W Bro Brian Hamley PPrGMO

Provincial Grand Charity Steward


R. W. Bro. Philip Patrick

Charity Report - October 2020

Brethren, with the sad passing of R.W.Bro. Phil Patrick and to signify the deep respect The Mark Province has for him, a donation of £100 has been made to the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity

Tour de Bristol Sponsored Cycle Ride

This month after a successfully Sponsored cycle ride in aid of the St. Peter’s Hospice, we have been able to donate £1380, which when Gift Aid is added the total amount will be approximately £1700.

North West Bristol Food Bank


We have received a cheque payable to the NW Bristol Foodbank from a member of our province. Last week he was donating food to the foodbank, and during a conversation with one of the volunteers he was told how desperate they were for donations of all kinds. He has made out a cheque for £1000 plus a gift aid declaration which will increase the amount to £1250 and sent it to me to me so the donation might be presented by our Bristol MBF.

Thank you to all those who have so generously supported the Bristol Mark Benevolent Fund during the past year.

Charities generally, and particularly those that we have supported, have struggled, and continue to face hardship due the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the present circumstances we are all subject to calls for financial support from deserving and worthy Charities. I appreciate that it is not possible to respond positively to all such requests, and that it may well be the case that individual personal circumstances make it impossible to contribute. We must not feel guilty about this but keep in mind the tenets that we learn in Masonry and only give if we are able.

That being said, I hope that the Bristol Mark Province will again be able to make significant contributions to local Charity during the next 12 months, however, that aspiration will only be possible if members feel able to offer support and can afford to.

Please Brethren, if you are able to contribute, rest assured that whatever you give will be gratefully received by which ever cause we choose to support


Charity Report - August 2020

First let me thank those Brethren who continue to donate money to support those in need, and I would like to record a special Thank You to the Brethren of the Brunswick Mark Lodge for their generous donation of £400 to the Bristol MB.

This month we have supported three very deserving causes with each receiving £500.

St Peter’s Hospice

This charity has suffered a great loss of income through the closure of their Charity Shops, we have been instrumental in securing funding from the Mark Masters Hall to supply ‘Sneeze Screens’ to enable the shops to reopen. Our grant will assist with their cash flow.

The Matthew Tree Project

Well supported by our Craft Brothers with donations of Food Pallets, we have supplied £500 to help with the cost of transporting the food from the market to their clients in need.

Message from Mark Goodway CEO of the Matthew Tree Project

Hi Brian

This is fantastic. Thank you so, so much. The demand continues to increase at an alarming rate now that so many people are losing their jobs so this will help considerably.

Yes, the bank details are the same.

Thank you for your support.

Kindest regards,


The Young Carer’s Support Unit for Bristol and South Gloucestershire

This organisation has suffered greatly from the restrictions as the carers have not been able to meet face to face with their supporters, our funds will help to provide the PPE that will allow meetings to happen.


Letters of Thanks


Charity Donations - June 2020

Brethren, we would like to thank those of you who have set up a standing order, or who have made a financial contribution to help others in their time of need.

The following donations have been made during June 2020;

Matthew Tree Project

In keeping with the Bristol Craft Charity donations, we have donated the cost of a food pallet - £325 to the Matthew Tree Project, our funds are to be used to help with the transport costs of delivering the fantastic grants from the Craft, apparently 15 pallets so far.

Bristol and S. Gloucester Young Carers Support

We have helped the Young Carers support group with a grant of £250 to cover an immediate need, and an application has been submitted to the MBF for a grant of £3000. This would contribute to the costs of additional IT requirements necessary to enable the support staff to keep in contact with the Carers.

North Bristol Food Bank

We have supported the North Bristol Food Bank with a donation of £300.

A number of email ‘Thank You’ messages have been received from all those that we have supported; the response from the Children’s Hospice - printed below, is a example of the need our funds are helping to overcome.

Thank You for Your Continued Support


St Peter's Hospice

The Mark Province of Bristol have successfully sponsored a £5,000 grant for ‘Sneeze Screens' for the St Peter’s Hospice Charity Shops.

These are similar to the screens now installed in supermarkets and will enable the shops to open and help provide some of the missing funds the hospice desperately need.

"Thank you to Stephen Rawlings from The Mark Province of Bristol who visited the Hospice recently to provide us with vital face visors for our nurses. The Mark Province of Bristol have also supported us with a grant, allowing us to purchase specialist equipment for our shops which will allow us to re-open some of them and operate safely. The grant comes from the Mark Benevolent Fund at Mark Masons Hall."


St John's Ambulance

Our PGM delivering face shields for the key workers at St John's Ambulance - the Harry Crook Centre.


The Matthew Tree Project

A  big thank you to those who have set up standing orders to help others in their time of need.

Thanks to the recommendation of one of our Brethren, the Bristol Mark Province has donated £300 to the Matthew Tree Project.

We recommend that you visit their Website, where you will be able to understand the despair experienced by some people in the community and to appreciate the fantastic work done by this Project.

Bristol Craft Members also continue to support this Charity.


The 200 Club - Winners


On the 27th May we held the Mark 200 Club draw during an open Zoom meeting

The Lucky winners were

Bro. Jasbir Singh

Bro. Paul Sidney

W Bro. Michael Whitworth

The next draw will be held during the first available Mark/RAM meeting at Park Street, or as a Zoom Meeting in October.



An amount of £500 will be donated to the Keynsham Food Bank this month, please inform the Provincial Grand Charity Steward if you know of a Food Bank near you that is in need of support.


The 200 Club Draw Update

Dear Brethren

On Wednesday 27th May we shall hold a 200 Club Draw, 3 numbers will be drawn, and 3 lucky Brethren will each receive £100, but the difference is that we shall hold the draw in front of a camera on a Zoom network. If you wish to take part in the Zoom meeting to see the draw details will be sent out soon by our Provincial Secretary.

Finally, it is not too later to purchase a number for the next draw, please contact me direct.


Brethren, because of your generous donations we have been able to support the East Bristol Food Bank with a £1,000 cheque and will continue to donate to other Bristol Foodbanks each month.

If you are considering donating to this essential worthy cause, please contact me to arrange payment.

Sincerely and Fraternally

W Bro Brian Hamley

Provincial Charity Steward


The 200 Club Draw

Dear Brethren

In view of the current situation, it is appropriate to give you an update regarding the ‘200 Club’.

The second draw for the ‘200 Club’ was due to take place on the evening of the Canynges Lodge Installation meeting, and the third at the Harris RAM Installation.

However, these plans have fallen by the wayside due to the immediate cessation of all meetings in March as a result of Covid-19. In consultation with the Provincial Grand Master, we had intended to hold a draw at the Ernest Dunscombe Installation meeting in October and thereafter to select another rescheduled Installation meeting for the third draw. This plan has now become uncertain as a result of the recent statement by Prof. Chris Whitty the Chief Medical Officer for England, who has suggested that restrictions may continue for some months to come and it is therefore possible that we might not meet until the New Year

With this in mind, we now intend to hold a draw in May this year, which we think might be more interesting if the draw was conducted ‘live online’ by way of a ‘Zoom’ meeting. I am sure that quite a few of you have Zoom already, I can assure those of you who do not have it that it is easy to install and to use, as I appear to have managed it!

If the May draw is a success, we would then hold the third draw in October or November, again on Zoom.

Alternatively, should we be allowed to return to Park Street later this year, a draw will be held in the first available Mark meeting.

Finally, it is not too later to purchase a number for the next draw, please contact me direct.

Sincerely and Fraternally

W Bro. Brian Hamley

Provincial Grand Charity Steward


Bristol Mark Charitable Donations 2019 to 2020

During this year we have successfully sponsored a £56K grant from the MBF to the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity.  The specialised equipment is on order from the manufacturers and will be officially presented when available.


We have donated a further £2,200 to local Childrens Charities as follows;

The Young Carers Support Centre for Bristol and South Gloucestershire

The PGM, DPGM and Charity Steward present a £400 cheque to Kara McKenzie the Young Carers Service Manager.

The Young Carers Service provides help and support to Children aged 8 to18, their families and professionals working with young carers in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

External link opens in new tab or

Flamingo Chicks

We also presented a £400 cheque to Bethan Guest the Flamingo Chicks Volunteer Manage.

Flamingo Chicks is an inclusive community giving all children, including those with disabilities and illnesses such as cancer, the opportunity to enjoy dance and explore movement alongside friends.

The Baby Bank Network / Bristol

External link opens in new tab or window

A further donation of £400 was presented to Sarah Sutton the Baby Bank Network Administration Manager.


Baby Bank Network was set up in Bristol in June 2015 to help alleviate child poverty and support families at what may be a time of financial and emotional stress, whilst reducing waste and promoting reuse of items.

External link opens in new tab or window

The Bristol Children’s Charity

We were due to present a cheque for £500 to representatives of the Bristol Children’s Charity at Park Street on the 19th of March, but, with the current pandemic, under the guidance of UGLE directives this was cancelled, and a BACS payment has been made.

External link opens in new tab or window

Preludes Bristol

Preludes Bristol is another Childrens Charity we were to present with a £500 Cheque, we have instead posted the cheque.

Preludes is a bold and innovative music project that has been running successfully since 2009 in several school areas in Bristol experiencing high levels of disadvantage.

The aim is to put classical music at the heart of every child’s education and by doing so improve confidence, co-ordination, speech and language and benefit all areas of their learning.

                                                                    External link opens in new tab or window

For further information and for an insight into the work of these charities, we earnestly recommend viewing the webpages to see for yourselves some of the wonderful work carried out in our City.

We would like to thank all members of the Mark Province of Bristol for their support.


Message from the Provincial Grand Charity Steward

There are many people in this prosperous city of ours who need the charity of ‘Food Banks’. A consequence of the onset of the Coronavirus Crisis and the ‘lockdown’, is that the supply of donated food is reducing and the number of persons in need is increasing

Whilst this situation continues, I would like to suggest a financial donation from those of us who are able to donate, without detriment to ourselves

Our lack of meetings in Park Street has reduced our own outgoings, and I propose to contribute monthly, the average cost of a meal and carparking, to the ‘Trussell Trust Fund’ via the Provincial MBF.

If you wish to join me in helping those less fortunate than ourselves, you can set up a monthly Standing Order - please contact me for details.

Sincerely and Fraternally

W Bro Brian Hamley PPGMO

Provincial Charity Steward


St John Ambulance

At the turn of this century St John Ambulance had a mixed fleet of aged, worn-out vehicles. Post millennial ambulance legislation rendered most of the fleet redundant and this led to the development of the Crusader 900 Ambulance, a purpose built £40k vehicle jointly designed by the SJA and Renault.


St John Ambulance estimated they needed 100 Crusaders almost immediately and committed to raise £2m by public subscription. This was matched by The Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons and the Mark Benevolent Fund committing to fund 50 of the Crusaders, and these were duly handed over in local ceremonies across the country during 2001/02, including Bristol.


By 2017, those vehicles had also worn out and needed replacing. Once again the Grand Lodge of MMMs, the MBF and the St John Ambulance charity joined forces to replace these 2001/02 vehicles and a £3m fund was donated, sufficient for up to for 52 state of the art ambulances and support vehicles, to be handed over during 2017/18. This latest donation marks the 140th anniversary of St John Ambulance in 2017 and the 150th anniversary of the Mark Benevolent Fund in 2018.


On 26th June, after a short Service of Dedication by St John’s County Chaplain, the keys of a new ambulance were handed to His Honour Simon Darwall-Smith (Chair of the Avon County Priory Group of the Order of St John) by the President of the Mark Benevolent Fund, RW Bro Dr John Wright PGSW. The hand-over was at the Raleigh Road HQ of Bristol’s St John Ambulance and was attended by PGM W Bro John Platts, DPGM W Bro Steve Rawlings and a plethora of Bristol Mark Masons and supporters.


PGM RW Bro John Platts congratulated and thanked the assembled Brethren for their fund raising efforts which had resulted in the purchase of two essential pieces of ambulance equipment: a) a portable defibrillator and b) a twin-pack mobile radio phone for use by the on-duty crew; both pieces of equipment had already been installed in the ambulance.


The St John Ambulance volunteers were very enthusiastic about their new vehicle and set about discovering its features, and there was even talk of “drawing lots” to see who should drive it first – but that may have been a degree too far!


And, to top off a lovely evening, we retired into the main hall and there enjoyed a refreshing buffet, prepared and served by our own Fredy Eyermann, who else could it have been?!


St John Ambulance can trace its origins back to 11th century monastic hospitallers who provided care for sick, poor or injured pilgrims coming to the Holy Land.


By the Late Middle Ages the hospitallers had been succeeded by the founding of the Venerable Order of St. John, a French order of charitable chivalry which has much in common with Freemasonry but to which it is not connected in any way.


The Order migrated England where it became The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, and is now more commonly known as the Order of St John - an Order of Chivalry of the British Crown.


The St John Ambulance Association was set up in 1877 to teach first aid and provide on-the-spot treatment in emergencies, initially in heavy industry but then also in villages, seaside towns and suburban areas.


In 1887, trained volunteers were organised into a uniformed Brigade to provide a first aid and ambulance service at public events. In many parts of England, St John Ambulance was the first and only provider of an ambulance service right up to the middle of the 20th Century, when the National Health Service was founded. When there were far fewer doctors and hospital beds than today, St John Ambulance nurses looked after the sick and injured in their own homes.


The St John Ambulance Brigade and St John Ambulance Association merged in 1968 to form St John Ambulance, a single organisation providing both training and first aid cover, and is now the leading supplier of ambulance services and first aid training courses in the UK.