News 18th Mar 2023 Updated 23rd Mar 2023

The 157th Mark Benevolent Fund

President: R.W.Bro. Ian Wright PGM

Annual Festival 2025, Oxfordshire

Chairman: Bro. Mocky Khan PrGCO

Festival Update

March 2023


Address from Festival Chairman
Bro. Mocky Khan
Provincial Communications Officer

Dear Brethren,

I hope you have had a great start to 2023. Personally, it is going to be a big year as I have the challenge of being Chair of the 157th MBF Annual Festival 2025 in Oxfordshire, trying to fill the shoes of our Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VW Bro. Barry Prior.
I am gearing up for the challenge, but I cannot do this without your help. The Festival in 2025 is not my Festival or your Festival, it is our Festival. We need to work together to deliver a fabulous event which Brethren, friends, family and other Provinces enjoy, having fun and raising money for the MBF to help them continue to fund great initiatives.
When the light of the Mark Masonic world focusses on Oxfordshire, I want us to shine brightly and showcase that we have great Lodges, an active Province and know how to work as a team and have fun!
The Festival – The Story So Far
The first few years of our Festival period have flown by, and we are now just over two years away from celebrating our achievements at the Oxford Examination Schools on the 5th July 2025 (which is only around the corner).
Despite Covid restrictions and having to work in parallel with the Oxfordshire Craft Festival, we have raised over £150,000 to support the Mark Benevolent Fund in the great work they do for those in need.
Now What?
During the final two years we need to make a real effort to enjoy Festival events and raise more money. We cannot be complacent; every pound we raise will make a difference.
Arranging events during Covid proved difficult, yet some did take place and were very much enjoyed by those who took part. We met on The Golden Hinde, played many rounds of golf, visited Lord’s, went to Newbury races, held race nights, and some individual Brethren took on sponsored challenges to help the Festival cause. Please remember, we appreciate all events, regardless of size. Why don’t you join forces with another Lodge to hold a combined event? Half the workload and double the fun!
This Is Just Some Of What We Have Done So Far


Events Planned Soon
      17th March – Gala Night with and ABBA theme at The Highfield Club, Bicester
      21st April – Race Night at The Salisbury Club, Henley
Visits to Lord’s Cricket Ground and Pavilion – dates to be announced soon
      21st July – Day at Newbury Races
      22nd September – Golf day at Badgemore Golf Club
Keep checking our website for the latest list of events:
What You Can Do
If you can, attend these events; in addition, think of something you might arrange to do yourself or with your Lodge Brethren. No one expects you to get yourself sponsored to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or walk from John O'Groats to Land's End (that would be great if you did!). But how about a Race Night at your Lodge, or a summer barbeque? Focusing on holding a fun and social event, the Brethren will attend and money will be raised.
I mentioned the Craft Festival earlier. Many of us had standing orders set up to support the MCF. Now that the Craft Festival is over, are you able to set up a similar arrangement to support the MBF in the last two years of the Festival? I know times are hard financially, but please do this if you can. Just £10 a month (possibly gift-aided) would make a difference.
I want to show that although Oxfordshire is a small Province, we are big when it comes to having fun and raising money.
As Chair, I will keep you updated on a regular basis. Look out for our e-newsletter and check out our website for the latest.
Thank you for all you do and continue to do in Oxfordshire.
Mocky Khan
Festival Chair
Provincial Communications Officer


Provincial Class of Improvement

Whilst the sessions of the Class of Improvement will be of particular use to those who may be still young in their Mark Masonry and just starting out on the journey through the progressive Offices, all members of the Province (including Directors of Ceremonies and their assistants) are welcome to attend. Having a familiarity with the ritual assists in both learning, teaching, and delivery. We only get one opportunity to make a first impression which is both good and well received by the candidate. The Class of Improvement can help to supplement rehearsals as well as serving as a friendly atmosphere in which to get to know brethren from a wider circle of lodges across the province.


Lodge MBF Honorifics So Far

Grand Patron Gold
University 55Thames 1183
Thames 1183
Grand Patron
St. Mary's 1242
Abbey 225Abbey 225
Alfred 247Marlborough 980
Cherwell 847Menatschim 1838
Marlborough 980
Weyland 1305
Windrush Car & Motorcycle 1386
Wychwood 1443
Vice Patron
Bowyer 1655Alfred 247
Menatschim 1838


Turkey/ Syria Earthquake and
2022 Mark Benevolent Fund Report

On Monday 6th February 2023 a series of powerful earthquakes devastated southern Turkey and northern Syria. In keeping with the motto of the MBF, the Trustees were quick to act and by the close of business on Tuesday 7th, had approved an emergency grant of £50,000 to help with the rescue efforts in association with trusted partners at the ShelterBox charity. The support of the Mark Benevolent Fund helped to provide Tents, Shelter Kits, Blankets, and Solar Lights amongst other resources to assist those affected by this disaster.
Throughout 2022 the Mark Benevolent Fund made 30 grants to local charities, Provinces, Districts and other worthy organisations, and 20 grants to our own members & their families going through difficult times, totalling £1,108,300. It is through the Mark Benevolent Fund Annual Festival in 2025 that the province of Oxfordshire will support the important work of the MBF, and it is only through the generosity of brethren across the country that the MBF can continue to do this important work.
A link to the full MBF 2022 report can be seen below.



Mark Lodge Meeting Dates


Installation Dates are displayed in bold italic.

We have been advertising Lodge meeting dates on our social media exactly one week before a meeting takes place. In order to benefit from these helpful reminders, please ensure that you are following us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

University Lodge No. 55 Sat 27
Abbey Lodge No. 225 Thu 27
Alfred Lodge No. 247 Wed 19
Cherwell Lodge No. 847
Marlborough Lodge No. 980 Tue 11
Thames Lodge No. 1183 Fri 28
St. Mary's Lodge No. 1242 Fri 2
Weyland Lodge No. 1305 Wed 10
Installed Mark Masters Lodge No. 1330 Fri 5
Windrush C&M Lodge No. 1386 Fri 7Fri 19
Wychwood Lodge No. 1443 Thu 18Thu 15
Godstow Lodge No. 1546 Wed 7
Bowyer Lodge No. 1655 Mon 12
Menatschim Lodge No. 1838
See the full calendar here.


RAM Lodge Meeting Dates


Installation Dates are displayed in bold italic.

Oxford University Lodge No. 55 Sat 27
Abbey Lodge No. 225
Alfred Lodge No. 247 Wed 19
Cherwell Lodge No. 847 Tue 27
Marlborough Lodge No. 980 Tue 9
Thames Lodge No. 1183 Wed 17
St. Mary's Lodge No. 1242 Fri 2
Installed Commanders Lodge No. 1330 Tue 6
Windrush Lodge No. 1386
Bowyer Lodge No. 1655 Thu 6
Menatschim Lodge No. 1838 Mon 19
See the full calendar here.

Provincial Team Visit to
Godstow Lodge No. 1546
On Wednesday 1st March, the Provincial Team made a visit to Godstow Lodge in Woodstock. In addition to a warm and jovial atmosphere, they were treated to an exquisite performance of the Advancement ceremony by V.W.Bro. Philip Kavanagh and his officers, which brought Bro. Antoine Flett into our wonderful order. The brethren then retired to enjoy an excellent four course festive board, raising £250 in the raffle and alms collections. The Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies also raised a modest sum for the 2025 MBF Festival through fines of Provincial officers without their Festival Tokens, coming breathtakingly close to catching the Provincial Grand Master without it in arms reach.
The next Provincial Team Visit will be to Bowyer Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No.1655 on 6th April 2023.

Matt Joins Thames Mark Lodge
as Allan Stabs A Sheep
At the latest meeting of Thames Mark Lodge, Bro. Matthew Catt was Advanced and twenty-eight Brethren celebrated this at the festive board.
The diners were entertained at their Burns' Supper by Worshipful Brother Allan Dishington, suitably clad in his kilt, reciting the "Address to a Haggis" in the Scottish dialect. Fortunately, for those of us unfamiliar with this mode of speaking, an English translation was provided to guide us as Allan stabbed the already-dead sheep. Allan brought excitement, drama and laughter to our evening and was deservedly applauded warmly.
There was a very rare occurrence that evening. Only four Provincial Certificates of Merit have ever been awarded in Oxfordshire Mark Province, and three of those recipients (Very Worshipful Brother Barrie Vernon, Worshipful Brother Percy Taylor and Thames Mark Lodge's Worshipful Brother John Grout) were in attendance.
Congratulations to Matt on joining our Lodge. We wish him a very happy future in Mark Masonry. This was certainly an exciting start.

Matt is toasted by the Worshipful Master and Deputy Provincial Grand Master


Allan addresses the haggis


The Deputy Provincial Grand Master with Percy, Barrie and John


Festival Events

17th March   -   Gala Night at Bicester
This is an ABBA-themed evening. A flyer has been circulated through the Winter Newsletter and on Social media. Contact Nick Walker or Ray Harrison (events(at)
21st April   -   Race Night at Salisbury Club, Henley
Thames Mark and RAM held a race night last year at The Salisbury Club, Henley, organised by Stephen Quant and Allan Dishington. Good fun was had by all and over £300 was raised for Festival funds. Contact John Grout (events(at)
2nd June (TBC)   -   Greyhound Racing at Oxford Stadium
More details to follow. Contact Barry Weston (events(at)
3rd July   -   Marylebone CC v Melbourne CC at Lord’s
Marylebone CC play Melbourne CC and we will arrange for attendees to visit the famous Lord’s pavilion; another visit is to be arranged later in the year depending on the fixtures at Lord’s. Contact John Grout (events(at)
21st July   -   Horse Racing at Newbury
This is always a great day out, and was well attended last year. Contact Allan Dishington or Barry Weston (events(at)
22nd September   -   Golf Day at Badgemore Golf Club
Brethren will soon be sent a flyer about this event, which in the past has been a real success. Players are charged £30, for which they get a round of golf, tea/ coffee and bacon roll and the chance to win prizes. Contact David Cumming (secretary(at)
Golf at a variety of courses via 4-ball vouchers
A flyer about these vouchers, an excellent source of fun and Festival revenue, will be sent to all Brethren in the Province and is included at the end of this Newsletter. Contact John Grout (events(at)

If a Lodge would like to support the Festival by hosting an event but are unsure of what to do, W.Bro. Stephen Quant Prov.G.Ch.Stwd is happy to help lodges to host Race Nights in aid of the Festival. Please contact brother Quant for more details (donations(at)

(Replace all email addresses containing "(at)" with "@")

A Masonic Journey: Chapter 2
Hope At Last ... Well, I Hoped So!
The first stage in my Masonic journey had, as described in the last edition of the newsletter, ended in disappointment and disillusionment. It seemed that I was not destined to derive pleasurable benefit from Masonry which my friend had assured me “You will enjoy”.
Then, just two years after the interview described in the previous chapter, my father-in-law spoke to me about Masonry. I had been unaware of his involvement until then. He was a kind and thoughtful man and I wanted to be associated with Masonry because of him and his demeanour. He was most encouraging and did not doubt or question my motives; his acceptance of me as a potential candidate was endorsed by other members of his Lodge and everything looked very positive. The name of the Lodge, New Hope, filled me with optimism too.
Our meetings were held in London at Mark Masons’ Hall. This location proved to be a good omen for how my Masonic journey was to progress in later years. (Perhaps there ought to have been a ‘spoiler alert’ at that point as a ‘happy ending’ is suggested. On reflection, there does need to be some form of allusion to a positive outcome on this journey; otherwise, it would appear, with all the ‘bumps in the road’ to be a tale of doom and gloom).
Getting to London from Reading on Friday evenings proved predictably difficult. My father-in-law was retired, but working full-time I found it all a bit of a rush. I should have said something, but did not want to let him down as he had shown such faith in me. I did try to learn my words, but it was hard finding time when I had such a busy job. My performance at rehearsals (which involved more trips, on Tuesday evenings, after work) was not good, and not improved by critical ‘tutting’ when I should have been receiving encouragement from more senior Masons.
After a couple of years, I was finding involvement in Masonry to be very tiring. I was a Master Mason and was now Junior Deacon, but I was weary. The journeys were taking their toll, my job had become busier and less easy to escape on Friday evenings. I discussed this with my father-in-law and he was, of course, totally sympathetic. We decided that the main problem was the Lodge’s location and we sought a Lodge closer to home.

Life Can Be A Struggle
Learning lines and memorising floor work are not easy, and become progressively more difficult with the passage of time, thanks to declining powers of memory and failing eyesight.
Brethren, and especially those who, like me, have passed 'three score and ten' will be able to relate to the predicament of a brilliant actress of the twentieth century, Dame Sybil Thorndike, when she was rehearsing for what turned out to be her final theatrical performance. She was acting in a play appropriately entitled "The Old Lady" at the age of ninety.
She surprised the play's young director by coming on to the stage haltingly, bent forward, miming pushing something rather erratically with her right hand. From the back of the stalls, the young director called out, "Excuse me, Dame Sybil, but can I ask what you are doing?"
"I'm doing what it says in the script, dear", replied the actress.
"And what does it say in the script, Dame Sybil?" enquired the young man.
"It says that the Old Lady comes on and hoovers at the back".
"Hovers, Dame Sybil," cried the young man, "hovers!"

This One's On Me
One Wednesday evening a middle-aged man walked into a bar and ordered three pints of Guinness. He took the three drinks to a table and proceeded to take a sip from each glass in turn until all three were empty. As he was leaving, the barman asked why he had not ordered each drink in turn, thus ensuring that each pint was freshly-poured.
The man explained that he was one of three brothers. He lived in England, one brother lived in Sydney and the other in New York. When they had gone their separate ways, they had vowed that they would each share a drink with the other two in the way that he was doing to maintain their brotherly connection albeit at a distance.
The barman smiled, understanding that this was a brilliant example of brotherly love. From then on, the man came in every Wednesday and the ritual was repeated.
Then, several months later, the man came in and ordered only two pints of Guinness. Seeing this, the barman and the regulars in the pub felt that this could mean only one thing.
The barman walked to the table where the man had taken his two drinks and said quietly, "I am so sorry for your loss; please accept my condolences".
The man turned to him and smiled, "No one has died. I have just married a Methodist girl and so I have given up drinking".

How can I support the Oxfordshire Mark Festival?

A Mark Festival in support of the Mark Benevolent Fund (MBF) is hosted by a single Province for the year. The Mark Province of Oxfordshire will be hosting the celebratory dinner on Saturday 5th July 2025 being the conclusion of our current fund raising efforts. At this event we also be receiving many guests from Provinces from around England and Wales together with a deputation from Mark Grand Lodge.
Donations and fund raising in support of the Festival can be as individuals, the Lodge, and the Province. All events held should be fun and enjoyable.
As Individuals
Purchase the Oxfordshire MBF Festival Stewardship Jewel. The application form may be downloaded here.
Now that the Craft Festival has finished you may wish to this opportunity of making the regular contribution by
         Standing order to the MBF.
         Ad-hoc single donations.
         The forms may be downloaded here.
         Arrange an event to raise funds.
A range of merchandise is also available, please contact your Lodge Charity Representative, your Lodge's Festival Area Representative or visit the website here.
The Lodge
Arrange an event or series of events to raise funds. Don't forget to invite other members and Lodges from around the Province.
Hold a raffle at the end of the meeting.
A number of events to be held have been planned. The exact dates will be announced in good time to enable you to reserve the timing in your diary.
Details of Lodge and Provincial events will be publicised here.
The Oxfordshire Mark Masons Benevolent Association (OMMBA)
Where funds are raised through an event either as a Lodge or by an individual, our own charity OMMBA has agreed to match the funds raised to a limit of £1,000 per event for a Lodge or £100 for an individual.
Further information
Our dedicated Festival Website.

The motto of the MBF is "Bis dat qui cito dat" – he gives twice who gives promptly


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