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Posts from May 2024

Members of The Order of Women Freemasons Lodges in Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire have recently supported the Love Grace Handbag Appeal by donating over 100 handbags full of toiletries and little items of luxury to women affected by domestic violence. Bags were donated to Women's Aid refuges in Sheffield and Grimsby and the Blue Door charity in Scunthorpe. 
Love Grace was set up following the death of Grace Millane in New Zealand in 2018 by her family and friends to help women affected by domestic violence. The Love Grace Handbag Appeal collects new or gently used handbags filled with a selection of toiletries and donated directly to women’s refuges who then distribute them to women staying in their accommodation and clients that come for counselling or help at their centres. 
On receiving the bags Women's Aid Sheffield said: “…. the Order of Women Freemasons have kindly worked with their members to collect handbags and various useful items to go inside for the women we support. Great quality and incredibly thoughtful, thank you so much! We hope to see you again soon.”  
“Receiving the bag was the first time I felt like someone believed me and believed in me.” - from a lady who received a bag through the Love Grace Handbag Appeal 
Tanya in front of the magnificent organ in the temple at United Grand Lodge of England, London. 
In June 2022 Mark Holloway PPrSGW and Martin Stewart travelled to London to attend the United Grand Lodge of England quarterly business meeting.  
Unbelievably, the trains ran on time with Mark travelling from Wigan and Martin from Stoke on Trent. Mark had booked the tickets for both journeys, this was the first of many things that resulted in Mark meeting Tanya. Mark had not attended the quarterly communications before and booked the return trains at 8pm, he discovered after booking the tickets that the meeting would finish at around noon! 
Quarterly communications ended at lunch time and Mark and Martin had lunch in Covent Garden, then looked around Covent Garden, they had a pint or two sitting in the sun outside the Prince of Wales and at 4pm they made their way to the Café in Great Queen Street to pass away an hour or so, until the Organ Concert (starting at 6pm) in the Grand Temple that Martin had booked, after having found out that they had several hours to wait until their trains departed from Euston Station. 
The Café was full of Freemasons and Mark and Martin waited a while for two seats to become free. Another of the many things that resulted in Mark meeting Tanya was that the Stuart Flynn (senior warden of Chivalry) should have been with Mark and Martin, sadly he had not been well enough to make the trip so when a seat became free next to Mark Tanya (the only lady in the café) came over and asked if the seat was free (if only Stuart been there!) Mark And Martin said it was and they started chatting, it transpired that Tanya had recently been initiated into Lodge Gordon No 49 that meets in Hanley Masonic Hall in Hanley, close to where Martin lives. 
After Chatting for an hour or so Mark had learned that Tanya also had a ticket for the Organ Concert so he asked if Tanya wanted to sit with them, to which she replied she would be happy to do. During the course of the conversation Tanya had given Martin her card as she sang in Staffordshire Military wives choir so that Martin could contact her if he knew of a lodge in Stoke that would like them to do a concert for them. Tanya also gave Mark her card, but said that they would not be able to do a concert in West Lancashire (was there another reason for giving Mark her card?) Mark reciprocated and gave Tanya his card! 
Arriving in the Grand Temple they were surprised to find that there were only around 40 people attending the concert this did not spoil the concert by Gerrard Brooks who is a Professor of Organ at the Royal Academy of Music. The concert was greatly enjoyed by Mark, Martin and Tanya and the hour seemed to pass very quickly. As they left the wonderful headquarter of Freemasonry, they said it had been good to meet and Tanya said goodbye to Mark and Martin who hailed a cab and made their way to Euston Station. 
Shortly after boarding his train Mark received a text from Tanya saying “I hope we talk again, it was lovely to meet you and Martin. Thank you for sharing so much” The rest is history for after nearly two years of seeing each other Mark married Tanya in April 2024, they held their wedding reception in O’Briens Tea Rooms which is on the ground floor of Ormskirk Masonic Hall and provides the catering services for the Lodges that meet in the Hall. 
Tanya is now a Master Mason and has joined the Order of Women Freemasons Lodge Joyus No 18 in Liverpool and is looking forward to enjoying her Masonic interests as does Mark. 
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