September 2020: Almoners Report

Updated: Mar 2

A personal thought from Bro Almoner

To those I have helped, I wish I had done more.

To those I neglected to help, I ask your understanding.

To those that helped me, a sincere and fraternal thank you

Coronavirus Epidemic

When things are at their worst you will see the ‘Best and the Worst’ in people. Sometimes it will break your heart, but you will also be inspired Beyond belief by the goodness of others. At the end of the day, ‘Goodness wins, Love wins’

Just to Give you some idea of what has been happening to support our members (Edited updates from Malcolm Collier, Area Almoner - Late September 2020)

The Masonic Charitable Foundation (our national charity) since the beginning of the year have helped with 136 grants to beneficiaries totalling £ 277,354.

The trustees of the Masonic Charitable Foundation (our own Provincial Charity) has also provided to the brethren and their families (virtually instant financial support to the tune of £51.336). Brethren please don’t forget the important contacts; or the Masonic freephone telephone number 0800 035 6090. Should you need any further assistance my personal home telephone number is 02380 261892 and I have an answer phone.

Dear Brethren all, may I please ask you all once not to be a stranger to your fellow Brothers in the lodge, especially in these most difficult times, and as being at home give’s you all an opportunity to lift up your phone and say hello, most importantly to anyone living on their own, I am sure your call would be very much appreciated, (I know that If I was on my own, that I would be delighted with a friendly chat from a fellow brother).

Once again may I remind you that some Brethren and Widows suffer ongoing problems and those that I know to be suffering I try and help by contacting them on a regularly basis, mostly all that is ever needed is a friendly telephone call for Pastoral support.

Regrettably we are all getting older and aches and pains linger on, some ongoing conditions serve as a reminder to us all as to how vulnerable we can all be.

Brethren All, confidentially will always be my priority as your Almoner and it would be most inappropriate for me ever to discuss personal conversations or actions with anyone but the individual concerned.

Brethren, all the Widows and Brethren of the Lodge have all been recently contacted by me, and I can confirm that no one has reported to me that they have contacted the dreadful Coronavirus. Everyone that I have been in contact with have asked me to thank you all for thinking of them and send their regards to you and your families.

Brethren, it may be of interest for you all to know that it is Provincial request that all Craft Almoners try and make personal contact with the widows by phone (if possible) so as to make it more personal in these most difficult of times.

Edited e-mail messages received from some of our Lodge Widows

Shirley Morrissey (widow of Brian R.I.P)

Thanks Aubrey, have just returned from North Yorkshire, visiting my family and had a great time. Regards to you and your family, Shirley.

Sheila Price (widow of Michael R.I.P)

Hello Aubrey, thank you for your e-mail and I am pleased to say all’s well here and as you say it’s nice to meet up with family and friends, take care. Kind regards Sheila and family.

Eve Kirkham (widow of Bill R.I.P)

Brethren, pleased to report to you all that Eve and I speak quite often on the telephone, and she is always pleased to chat with Barbara and myself. Eve does suffer with poorer health and has just returned home from visiting her daughter Rachael where she has been receiving some well-earned T.L.C. She thanked me for the get well card she found on her return home from all at King Aelfred and wishes to be remembered to all her and ‘Bill’s’ old friends.

Ps. Get well cards also sent to Jan King and Di Flemming from all the Brethren.

Others Widows contacted; Lesley Allan Terry (Desmond R.I.P - Founding member of King Aelfred Lodge); Rita

Carter (John R.I.P); Moira Skinner (David R.I.P); Connie Bailey (Keith R.I.P); Mary Drury (Arthur R.I.P); Barbara

Robinson (Tom R.I.P) and Marion Flemming (Mother of David Flemming).

Edited e-mail’s from Brethren - Messages sent and received

V.W.Bro Jon Whitaker (Dep P.G.M in charge).

Dear Aubrey, thank you once again for maintaining contact. I think you and your family are being most sensible, If only more would. Lyn and I are intending to get away for a week on the Norfolk Broads tomorrow, only my phone, so no WiFi!. Difficult times for Masonry and life in general, though we must remain positive and look after our loved ones. My very best wishes, Jon.

W.Bro Alan Smith (Lodge Secretary)

Hi Aubrey, thank you for your e-mail and all remain well in the Smith household. I am getting much busier as Freemasonry makes its return to business and hope it won’t be long before we can resume ‘Business as Usual’. I understand your personal situation about attending and I will record and convey your apologies until you feel able to attend again. In the mean-time keep up the good work and I hope to see you soon. Kindest regards to you and Barbara. Sincerely and Fraternally Alan.

Ps. Brethren I think we should all thank Alan for his excellent work for King Alfred Lodge. I am sure of you all know that he is also the Area Secretary and therefore has a very heavy workload, especially during these most trying and difficult times.

W.Bro Mick Whitfield ( Lodge Preceptor)

Good evening Aubrey, It’s always a treat to hear from you and you may be surprised to hear that I have just got home after attending a Chapter meeting at Kings Court. All very different but a step in the right direction. I am keeping busy as usual with my family commitments and I trust that you and Barbara are well and taking care of each other. Regards Mick.

W.Bro Stuart Mawson ( Lodge A.D.C )

Dear Aubrey, thank you for your text, I will miss you at our meetings, but I think for your yourself, Barbara’s and the family you have made an extremely sensible decision. If, and when, this awful Covid thing has gone, then I’m sure everyone will be relieved. Stay safe my good friend and I’ll hope to see you soon. With kind regards, Sincerely and Fraternally Stuart.

W.Bro Mike Robinson (Lodge Chaplain)

Good afternoon Aubrey, it’s good to hear from you. We are also both keeping well thank you as I hope you and Barbara are too. It’s good news that Freemasonry is able to return to some sort of normality, however I feel that a considerable number of elderly members will like you choose not to attend meetings at the present time. I fully support your decision not to attend and I have made the same decision for the same reason as you. Make sure that you and Barbara and family all keep safe and I look forward to when we can all meet up face to face again. Yours Sincerely and Fraternally Mike.

W.Bro Phil Chapman (Royal Arch Representative)

Good evening Aubrey, Good to hear from you and that your family are keeping well. I can report that my family, including myself are also keeping well. My workload with the Ministry of Justice has increased enormously as I have been developing and delivering online training for magistrates and H.M.C.T.S staff. Please keep your good work up, as you are doing an amazing job for freemasonry in general and King Aelfred Lodge in particular. With my very best wishes Phil

W.Bro Mike Dant (Charity Steward)

Hi Aubrey, good to hear from you and it appears that all is well with you and yours. Bad news that the government has now prevented meetings of the brethren, probably a good thing even though infection rate in Hampshire generally and Winchester in particular is low. I am in agreement with you not to attend, as I am in my earlier 70’s and my wife is in her 60’s. Keep safe and keep well. Sincerely and Fraternally Mike.

W.Bro Alan Cookson

Hello Bro Aubrey, many thanks for getting in touch, I’m not intending to come to any meeting soon as my wife Susan has not been very well and I am now 81 and feel discretion is the better form of valour. Thank you for all that you do, kindest regards Alan.

W.Bro Richard Ings

Hello Aubrey, we are all well here thank you, and you are not alone when you say you will not be attending at the moment. I think a number of us will be considering the safety of ourselves and the family and not risking attendance at the meetings just yet and that’s not taking in to account the new rules from today. Stay safe, regards Richard.

W.Bro James Kneller (Asst. P.G.M)

Dear Aubrey, I was delighted to receive your message and am pleased that you and your family are well. These are indeed strange times and whilst some Masonic activities are starting to happen, I fear normality is a very long way off. I have also decided to keep a low profile as it is times like this that our families must come first, no matter what! I know that the Brethren of King Aelfred are in safe hands with you as their Almoner. I am pleased to report that all is well in the Kneller household. Please remain safe and vigilant, as we have a long road ahead, but I am sure it will not be long before I can enjoy your company at King Aelfred once again. With very kind wishes James.

W.Bro Ian Paddey (Lodge Treasure)

Hey Aubrey, all is well thanks likewise, I won’t be returning for some time being for health reasons, so I am being cautious for now. Glad you and yours are well and thanks as always for your message. Kindest regards Ian.

W.Bro Noel Voice ( P.Asst.Prov.G.master )

Good Morning Aubrey, all OK here thank you. I don’t like the increase in positive infections, as we might be in for another lockdown. I don’t blame you for being cautious, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Best wishes to you and your family, Noel.

W.Bro David Flemming (P.Asst.Prov.G.master)

Hello Aubrey, thanks for your thoughts. Best wishes to you and Barbara, Di and David.

Ps. Brethren sad to report to you all that David’s Wife Di is unwell, and therefore I have sent a get-well card to her with all our regards and I will of course continue to keep you all updated as and when I know more. May I also ask you all to please remember to include Di in your prayers for a full recovery, many thanks.

W.Bro Derek Saunders

Hi Aubrey, we are all well and thank you for your kind e-mails (and our telephone calls). All the best to you and your family. Sincerely and Fraternally Derek.

Ps.Brethren.. I must thank Derek for his continued help through these most difficult times, by continuing to contact brethren on my behalf, which is very much appreciated by me.

W.Bro Brian Saunders (Lodge Organist)

Hi Aubrey, we are both doing well. I have also suspended my Masonic business for the time being. From today’s news, it looks like the country is back in semi - lockdown. It’s very sad, but let’s hope we get a Vaccine soon. Regards Brian.

Bro Lee Saunders (Inner Guard)

Hi Aubrey, all is still well and I am glad that you and your family are also keeping well. Regards Lee.

Bro Henry Gill

Dear W.Bro Aubrey, thank you for your concern, I do hope you and your wife are well. I hope you and your family stay safe and look forward to seeing you back at lodge as soon as it’s safe to do so. Regards Henry.

Bro Colin Tester

Good morning Aubrey, so good to hear from you and your family are well in these difficult times and your kind thoughts are greatly appreciated and all my family are well. I am still a community first responder for the Ambulance service. Wishing you well and hoping to see you soon. Sincerely and Fraternally Colin.

W. Bro John Harvey

Dear Aubrey, it was nice to hear from you, I am well thank you and still doing my voluntary work from home and still get into the office once or twice a week. I attained the big number of 70 earlier this year. I am glad that you and your family are keeping safe and well. Sincerely and Fraternity John.

Bro Lal Basra

Good morning Aubrey, many thanks for keeping in touch. I am trying my best to avoid Covid-19 which is a plaque that will no doubt cause further havoc and distress as winter arrives. I am simply too afraid to do much until hopefully a vaccine is available. Keep up the good work and your communications are greatly appreciated. Kind regards Lal

Bro Ian Gowers

Dear Aubrey, I totally understand your decision to keep isolated away from meeting. It will soon be coming up to the Flu season, so added complications for us all. Myself and my family are doing well and I’m looking forward to a holiday away next week in the sun as I’ve been working almost daily since the Covid outbreak in primary and secondary healthcare. Stay safe and take care, Ian.

W.Bro Ray Fisher

Aubrey, thanks for your e-mail, like yourself I do not think I will be attending 7487 for some time, but do hope to see you later in the season. Keep yourself well and the family. Yours sincerely and Fraternally, Ray.

W.Bro Roy Quinn (P. Asst. Pro. G.Master )

Many thanks for your e-mail yesterday, it is a real delight hearing from you and to know that you and your family are keeping safe and well. Linda and I are both good and enjoying the fact we are at able to spend some time with our family, be it still in a somewhat of a Controlled manner. We have missed the Masonic socialising with all our fiends during the last few months, but look forward to meeting up with them after once this dreadful situation is under control. I see from your excellent report that many of the brethren are also keeping safe and well and I would appreciate it if you could pass on our very best wishes. Once again my sincere thanks for your e-mails, they are greatly appreciated by me and I am sure all the brethren. Kindest regards Roy and Lin.

Bro John Wright

Dear Aubrey, once again many thanks for your e-mail. I suspect that our next lodge meeting will now not take place until the New year! and sincerely hope that we might Catch up again then. In the mean-time I will look forward to hearing that you remain well next month. Sincerely and Fraternally John.

Mid September - Bro Simon Stone (Lodge Caterer)

We’re all good thanks Aubrey, and thank you for thinking of us. Kindest regards Simon and Hilary.

For your general information Brethren, Simon our caterer at the Winchester Centre has started a limited take away meals service (which is excellent and at a very modest cost) and I include his telephone number for those who might be interested 02380 – 265914. He also tells me that he also does a limited delivery service within the Winchester (but Brethren this is something you must discuss with him personally).

Ps.. Simon Update - end of September

All OK Aubrey, hope you are well too. Catering still the same, meals every Wednesday to take away 10-12 pick up. Kind regards Simon.

W.Bro Ron Rainbird

Thank you Aubrey, I think we are both of the same opinion regarding attending meetings. Maureen and I have been very careful and have only been out of the house twice since the lockdown started. I am glad to hear that you and your family are keeping well. Sincerely and Fraternally Ron

W.Bro Bob Seago (Regular Telephone calls to Bob!)

Brethren no real change with Bob, sadly he has memory loss. He always is pleased to hear from me and always seems cheerful and always sends his regards to us all at King Aelfred and informs me that he is looking forward to seeing us all soon Again (sadly brethren this is most unlikely). Brethren, I will of course keep you all updated as to Bobs’ general health and wellbeing.

W.Bro Gordon Brakewell (North Central Area Vice Chairman)

Hi Aubrey, thank you once again for your e-mail, it’s good to hear from you and good to know that all’s OK with you. Both my wife Sue and I are well, and keeping busy with various things, my wife with church matters and me with Masonic matters. I personally have not attended a Lodge meeting yet and will probably only attend my Mother Lodge if I do - It will be interesting to see how things work out and how we move on, in the meantime take care - my very best wishes. Gordon.

W.Bro Nigel Barber ( King Aelfred V.G,O)

Thank you for your communication Aubrey, it’s really appreciated. Hope you and your family are safe and well also. I am very well actually and hopefully the restrictions won’t last too long and we can start to move through to the next stage, anyway please take care and keep safe. Sincerely and Fraternally Nigel

W.Bro Dave King and Jan.

Good afternoon Aubrey, how very nice to receive your e-mail and calls. Jan and I are very pleased to hear that you and Barbara and family are well. Jan continues to being going along nicely with her recuperation. Please stay well Aubrey for all our sakes, with very kind wishes to you and Barbara. Jan and Dave.

Ps. Brethren, may I please ask you all to remember Jan, in your prayers for a full recovery, many thanks and I have sent her a ‘Get Well‘ card from us all at King Aelfred Lodge .

Bro Brian Hall

Good to hear from you Aubrey, I don’t think I will be able to attend meetings in the near future for the same reason as you, except we are in our eighties! Best wishes Brian.

Brethren for your INTEREST - “Solomon“ -

Brethren All, this is worth exploring while you are at home. It contains a vast amount of Masonic information that is equally beneficial to newer members and more experienced members alike. On the subject of on-line communications, for those of you that use social media, King Aelfred Lodge has a WhatsApp group. Please speak to Bro Secretary for more information, if you are more interested.

Finally Brethren, should you know of any Brother or Widow that might need my help our assistance, particularly in these sad and distressing times. Please let me know and I will contact them and help if I can. Once again, my thanks to those that have been helping me, particularly Bro Alan, our Secretary through these difficult times. God Bless you all and your families, keep safe and do take great care.

‘Now that we are returning to ‘SOME NORMALITY’, Would you please remember to read my ‘Brother to Brother‘ letter (which is always attached to my Monthly Almoners report for your personal light reading ).

'' Please remember to help me, to help you ''

Yours Sincerely and Fraternally


D A Monahan. (King Aelfred Lodge No. 7487 Almoner)

Brother to Brother

Brethren All..

As members of the Craft, we have a shared interest that brings us together during the year to enjoy each other's company through our meetings, followed by the social interaction provided at the festive board. It is noticeable however, that we seldom see some members and as Lodge Almoner, I see it as part of my duties to make contact with any Brother who is not attending Lodge on a regular basis, or in some instances, not at all.

I am therefore trying to establish the reason for this. Is it due to pressure of work, responsibilities at home, health issues, cost, or simply disenchantment? Or could it be that they are simply too embarrassed to attend following a prolonged period of absence? Should it be the latter, they should not worry as they would be welcomed back with 'open-arms'. Myself, along with others, are currently in the process of trying to discover the answer to this potentially sensitive question. Perhaps with your kind assistance, we can collectively identify the reasons that are keeping a Brother away, and how we might get them back into Lodge, or provide comfort and support to those who are unable to attend.

In this respect, should you be aware of a Brother (or it might even be yourself), who does not attend regularly, would you please contact me so that we can discuss any issues being faced, but more importantly, how we might resolve them.

I thank you all in advance for your anticipated assistance in this matter.

Sincerely and Fraternally


D A Monahan. (Lodge Almoner)

023 8026 1892