Dear Bro Secretary & Brethren
The recent sombre news that Covid-19 related deaths have now exceeded 100,000 was indeed a very low point in all our lives and most likely caused us all to reflect on the enormity of this horrific pandemic. In the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury, “100,000 isn’t just an abstract figure. Each number is a person: someone we loved and someone who loved us”.
Whilst the number is both staggering and quite frightening, we should also consider what that number might actually be had it not been for the heroic efforts of our NHS workers who have put themselves in the frontline to save, care and protect those who have caught the disease. For this very particular reason, Freemasons throughout England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are giving their full support to the NHS Workers day on Monday 5th July.
Our Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Jeffrey Gillyon, has given his wholehearted support to our planned Provincial Events and hopes as many Lodges as possible within his Province will take part. The range of events will very much depend on whatever restrictions are in place by the 5th July, hopefully, the rollout of vaccine will ensure limitations are at a minimum as we expect the restriction on social mobility to have been relaxed before the day.
The following is a suggested format for your Lodge to engage with. It is not exhaustive. Should your Lodge have any further suggestions on how best to celebrate and promote the day, then please go ahead and feel free to share your ideas with me for onward transmission to other Lodges within the Province.
• Each Lodge / Masonic Centre to display a banner promoting the day. The banner will be of similar size to the 2017 Tercentenary banners. Our Provincial Grand Master has kindly arranged for the cost of these banners to paid for by our Province. It is intended that banners are put up during the month of April giving ample notice of the day.
• Brethren may wish to consider buying one of the smaller flags (as detailed on the website below) for display at their homes. This is not mandatory but would indicate our collective support of the NHS.
• Each Lodge / Masonic centre to open their doors to the public from say 10am to 3pm. Provide public with a cup of tea / coffee and a biscuit. Public to view a display / exhibition of the wonderful work (Covid-19 related) carried out by the NHS staff plus a display of how Freemasons have helped during the pandemic – provision of PPE, scrubs, visors, hand sanitiser, Laptops, help with Foodbanks and the homeless, specific local aid and assistance etc. Community Engagement will liaise with the NHS to obtain generic pictures for their part of the display and they will also help with local lodge displays if needed.
• Should members of the public enquire more about Freemasonry, then be prepared to show them around the Lodge and promote our organisation as much as possible for the benefit of future new recruits.
• Each Lodge / Masonic centre to invite NHS workers to come along between 4pm and 6pm for afternoon tea. It is hoped that partners / wives of brethren will assist with cakes, scones, sandwiches etc. Community Engagement will advise where to send out invitations.
• Invite local dignitaries to attend the afternoon tea session. Take pictures or invite the local press to cover the event.
It is recognised that not all Lodge meeting places are suitable for public admission. If you deem that your lodge falls into that category, then please consider “joining forces” with another nearby lodge to help out on the day. Similarly, York and Hull have more than one Masonic centre and, at the time of writing, it has been agreed that only Castlegate and Duncombe Place, in York and Dagger Lane, in Hull will participate. Members of those lodges which meet in St. Saviourgate and Beverley Road may wish to collaborate with the participating Masonic Halls if they wish to be included in the celebrations.
The banners referred to above are designed so that they may be displayed to either promote and support the day or to be used to also invite the public and NHS workers to attend.
Details of who is involved and what “national” events are being planned can be found at: www.nhsfrontlineday.org
UGLE and our Provincial Grand Master see this day as a great opportunity for Freemasons to engage with their local communities and demonstrate our collective thanks for all that the NHS has done during this horrific pandemic. Should you require any help, advice or support, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org Further communications will follow in due course. In the meantime, please keep referring to the dedicated website and look out for National media coverage via The Daily Express
I would be grateful if you could circulate this letter to the brethren of your Lodge and give me an early indication as to whether your Lodge will be prepared to participate in the day’s events. Regardless, whatever the situation with the pandemic restrictions, the Provincial Grand Master expects all Masonic Halls will display the banner provided.
Yours Sincerely & Fraternally
Community Engagement Lead – Province of Yorkshire North & East Ridings