Freemasons Hall Okehampton Devon

Open Days


Okehampton Choral Society

The Okehampton Choral Society has been given a welcome financial boost after they received a donation from Devon Freemasons to help towards the costs of concerts. The Society was nominated for an award by the Lodge of Obedience and was fortunate enough to be one of the twenty-eight Devon-based organisations and charities who benefited from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Devonshire latest allocation of funding. The money provided by the William Alexander Kneel Endowment (WAKE) Fund. WAKE is a Charitable fund accumulated from legacies and donations from Devonshire Freemasons and their Families. Each year approximately 50,000 pounds is distributed in two disbursements, spring/ autumn, among local charities and organisations. The programme was started in 2001 and has donated over 370,000 pounds to local causes since its inception. John Holland, the Director of Music, Composer etc of the Choral society said: 'It is fantastic that local organisations like the Freemasons can see the benefit in what we are doing in providing a varied musical programme for the community and we are grateful to the Lodge of Obedience and to the Provincial Grand Lodge of Devonshire for the support that they have given us

The Golden Age of Steam Masonic Train Ride

Friday 09th September 2011 On a sunny Friday morning on the 9th September a convivial group of Masons, along with their wives, partners and friends gathered at Bishops Lydeard Station to enjoy a steam train trip to organised by W.Bro Chris Henley of the St Thomas Lodge and W.Bro Chris Hodgson of The Lodge of Obedience. One hundred and thirty boarded the Festival Flyer to re-live the golden age of steam and to enjoy the leisurely 40 mile journey along the West Somerset Railway to Minehead and back. They came from all over the Province and beyond. Train enthusiasts mused over the engines while others simply relaxed and enjoyed the company and the day. The proceeds from the Festival Flyer are being donated to the 2012 Festival and the sponsoring Lodges are please to report that over 850 pounds was raised. The Organisers are very grateful to everybody that supported the event. Pictured are Chris Henley and Chris Hodgson both very keen Train enthusiasts.

Charity in Okehampton.

In the wake of recent events, local Freemasons have rallied in support of the Okehampton Food-bank and have donated 2600 pounds towards its cause. Unemployment has had a major effect on families in and around Okehampton and the Food-bank has been described as a life saver to many of those who have been affected. However the recent demand for aid has meant that the Food-bank had to launch an urgent appeal for help. Needless to say, local people, businesses and organisations responded to this appeal, including Freemasons from across Devon. Freemasonry in Okehampton is represented by The Lodge of Obedience. The Lodge sits quietly at the junction of Station Road, although few people identify it for what it is or recognise that Freemasonry has had a continuous history in the town since 1878. In that time local Freemasons have helped countless local, national and international causes and so The Lodge of Obedience was pleased to be able to coordinate support for the Okehampton Food-bank in this time of community need. Members of the Lodge of Obedience worked alongside members from the Freemasons Lodge in South Molton and with the charities of the Provincial Grand Lodge and the Provincial Grand Chapter of Devon. The result of this combined effort was 2600 pounds. Representing The Lodge of Obedience, Ray Rattenbury said that, "charity is close to the heart of every Freemason so it is a pleasure for the Lodge to be able to support both the Food-bank and the local community." .

Local BBC News.

Okehampton redundancies spark rise in food bank demand A local farm shop has been donating fresh vegetable to the food bank A food bank in a Devon town hit by redundancies in recent weeks said it has seen a "huge" rise in demand. More than 300 people have lost their jobs in Okehampton - 232 at desserts firm Polestar, 67 at the Robert Wiseman dairy and 20 at Browne's Chocolates. The Okehampton Baptist Church food bank has gone from providing one or two parcels to between 40 and 50 a week. "Every aspect of the food bank has changed in the past four weeks," the Reverend Barry Walton told BBC News. The retired minister said as the need to provide food parcels increases, the need for donations and money to buy fresh produce also goes up. 'Body blow' "I think we talk quite glibly about 'the knock-on effect', but we don't actually realise to what extent that takes place," the Rev Walton said. "It's not just affecting employees - it's affecting all the people they used to spend their money with." Ruth Kelsey has been donating fresh vegetables to the food bank from her farm shop in Okehampton. One of the only good things to come out of the three factory closures, she said, was local people pulling together. Mary and Nick Wonnacott have had no money since losing their jobs at Polestar Foods "I feel like part of the community and I just want to help out," she said. "It's an important part of people's diets to have fresh vegetables and I thought I could help with that. "Okehampton is a relatively small town and people feel genuinely concerned for each other." Husband and wife Mary and Nick Wonnacott, who both worked for Polestar for more than 15 years before losing their jobs, said the food bank had been a "godsend" without which they could not have managed. "We've had four weeks where we've had to manage with no income at all, so this has been a wonderful boon for us," Mrs Wonnacott said. Tim Jones, chair of Devon and Cornwall Business Council, has described the factory closures as a "body blow" which would have a profound effect in Okehampton. Polestar has been bought by Devonshire Desserts, but it is not known how many people will get their jobs back if and when the factory goes back into production.

Pictures kindly provided by Neil Gallagher

  • Corkies support local sporting talent.

    The Floating Corks Lodge of Devonshire have recently provided support to two young brothers, George and Edward Haskill, who are very talented table tennis players. George and Edward are highly ranked in the national league tables for their age range but had reached that stage where they needed a little bit of assistance in order to be able to progress their talent further. The Corks is a Masonic Order set up specifically to assist young people and the The Floating Corks Lodge of Devonshire were pleased to be able to give George and Edward a cheque for 100 pounds towards their travelling and training costs. George and Edward are putting the money to good use and have used it to enter the National Table Tennis Championship on the 30th April at Doncaster, with the surplus being used to cover travelling expenses as they train in Plymouth and in Exeter. These two young people have a fantastic future in a sport that they love and is fantastic that local Freemasons can help to nuture this local talent

  • Okehampton Battle of the Bands helped by Freemasons.

    The Okehampton Battle of the Bands have received 1000 pounds from Devon Freemasons to help them in funding the 2011 event. They were nominated for an award by the Lodge of Obedience meeting in Okehampton and were fortunate to be one of 23 Devon based organisations and charities who benefited from the Provincial Grand Lodges latest allocation of funding. The funding came from the William Alexander Kneel Endowment (WAKE) Fund. This is a charitable fund which has been accumulated by legacies and donations from Devonshire Freemasons and their families and each year approximately 50,000 is distributed amongst local charities and organisations in Devon. This funding programme was started in 2001 and in the last ten years over third of a million pounds had been donated to nearly 400 local causes. Speaking on the behalf of the Battle of the Bands, Dan Rose said, "The Okehampton Battle of the Bands is growing in size and stature, attracting interest from all over Devon. The event is about promoting music and providing opportunity for musicians but it is also about community and bringing people together. It is fantastic that local organisations like the Freemasons can see the benefit in what we are doing and we are really grateful to The Lodge of Obedience and to the Provincial Grand Lodge of Devonshire for the support that they have given us." The donation was presented by the Provincial Grand Master of Devonshire, Right Worshipful Brother Michael Penny who commented "I am delighted that the Freemasons in Devon are able to contribute to local causes. Many of these organisations are run by volunteers and on a limited budget, these donations provide real benefit and are much appreciated". Pictured are RWBro Michael Penny, the Provincial Grand Master for Devon, along with Chris Hodgson and Dan Rose representing the Battle of the Bands