On Thursday 22nd March 2018, members of the Royal Arch gathered at London Road, Leicester, for the Installation of Excellent Companion Noel C. Manby as the Grand Superintendent in and over the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland.

A bright morning in Leicester greeted the early risers, the Provincial Grand Stewards to assist with the logistics of the day and the marshalling of the car park, and those who were to receive appointments as they gathered for a rehearsal, not to mention the catering staff and of course the Royal Arch Executive to put the finishing touches to what would be a very busy day.

Amongst the many guests and visitors to London Road that day, was the Most Excellent Companion Gareth Jones, the Third Grand Principal, who along with his team and able assistants were to perform the ceremony of installation. The companions of the Province along with all visiting Companions were seated in the Oliver Lodge room by 2pm, and by 2:30pm the ceremony of installation had begun.

The Third Grand Principal opened the Provincial Grand Chapter, assisted by the Officers of Supreme Grand Chapter, afterwards he addressed all those present to state the objectives of the meeting. The Grand Director of Ceremonies then submitted the Grand Superintendent designates Patent of Appointment to the Third Grand Principal for inspection. A delegation was then formed to introduce the Grand Superintendent designate to the waiting audience. Excellent Companion Noel, after taking his obligation was then invested and placed in the Chair.

​The 300 mile trip not only marked the 300th anniversary of Freemasonry but raised over £21,000.00 to be split equally between the Rainbows Children’s Hospice in Loughborough and the Masonic Charitable Foundation. The 23 cyclists ranged from 19 to 64 years of age and were from 15 masonic lodges based in Leicester, Oakham, Syston, Market Harborough and Ashbourne in Derbyshire.

They were waved off from Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, V.W.Bro. Jim Buckle, and Helen Smith from Rainbows, and during the ride were welcomed by Brethren at the Masonic Centres in Loughborough, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Coalville, Hinckley, Lutterworth, Market Harborough, Uppingham, Oakham, Melton Mowbray and Syston. They were also warmly welcomed at Freemasons’ Hall, London by the Chief Executive of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, David Innes. The cyclists made a quick detour in London to visit St. Paul’s Churchyard where the first Grand Lodge of England was formed 300 years ago in 1717 at the Goose and Gridiron ale-house. 

W.Bro. Simon Oldfield from the Wyggeston Lodge and organiser of the event, said: “We are all proud to have taken part in a great adventure, and such an achievement by all the riders and support crew, great team spirit and camaraderie to raise money for charity.” The cyclists arrived back on schedule at Freemasons’ Hall Leicester where they were welcomed by the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, V.W.Bro. Peter Kinder and a large number of family and friends.

On Sunday 30th April 2017, the Old Oakhamian Lodge meeting in Oakham held its annual Ladies Lunch at the stunning venue of Launde Abbey, East Norton, with over sixty people in attendance. During the afternoon a collection was made through generous donations from the lodge and a raffle, enabling W.Bro Chris Gibbins to present a cheque of £400 to Rainbows Hospice, Loughborough.

Old Oakhamian widows are always invited to attend our Ladies Lunch and this year, were joined by Jean Peters, wife of Henry Peters, member of the lodge from 1969 to 2011. After consuming over-generous portions we were treated to a warm and sincere speech from the wife of W.Bro Chris Gibbins, Gill Gibbins, which was very well received. Each lady was presented with a gift which were distributed by Chris and Gill’s sons, Harry and Thomas. The afternoon was concluded by drawing raffle prizes. 

The collection on the day and a top up from the lodge, amounted to an amazing £400.00 which was presented to Lisa Todd, Staff Manager at Rainbows Hospice, Loughborough on Sunday 14th May. Lisa informed the Lodge that they are always in need of donations to assist with families arriving direct from hospital with no toiletries or clothing, fulfilling special wishes and for provision of specialist equipment. We know the donation will be put to good use and Lisa thanked the Lodge for their kind donation on behalf of all the team at Rainbows. 

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