Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, and Sir David Amess MP were among the many dignitaries celebrating NHS, Social Care and Frontline Worker’s Day at local masonic centres across Essex.
The Essex Freemasons provided 14 of their 25 masonic centres as public venues for the national day of celebrations on 5 July 2021. Encouraged by Dr David Staples, a consultant in acute internal medicine and the chief executive of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), who said “The NHS has never been so tested in its history. Its staff have been stretched beyond comprehension during the last year and they deserve our gratitude, our applause and all the support we can give”.
Sir David Amess congratulated the Freemasons at Southend’s Saxon Hall Masonic Centre for organising what he described as “A splendid and successful occasion” adding “I thought the people gathered together made it a fitting tribute to our frontline workers”. The East of England Ambulance Service, Essex Police, One Love Soup Kitchen, South East Essex Homes, East Essex Hackspace together with Councillors from Southend and Rochford Council and the Mayor of Southend, Cllr Margaret Borton, were among the many guests and organisations represented. £210 was collected on the day to which the Freemasons added a further £1,000, all of which was donated to Southend Hospital staff amenity fund.
Meanwhile at Howard Hall Masonic Centre in Braintree, Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, and Sue Wilson, the chair of Braintree District Council helped mark the occasion with members of the NHS, Essex Fire and Rescue Service, local dignitaries and prominent Freemasons. Following the two-minute silence and a bugle call, the Toast was proposed by the Lord Lieutenant followed by a ceremonial presentation of the Standards of the Royal British Legion of Braintree and Bocking and the affiliated Tabor Academy.
Earlier in the day, after a 5 am start, four Essex Freemasons met at Braintree Masonic Centre and drove in a white taxi cab, specially decorated for the occasion, to Freemasons Hall in Great Queen Street in London, the HQ of the UGLE. They then drove back to Essex, visiting masonic halls in Chingford, Loughton, Harlow, and Orsett where they joined in the celebrations at each venue. At Loughton this included St Francis Hospice and the Order of Women Freemasons. After safely arriving back at Braintree at 6pm they were fed and relaxed before joining in the national handclap at 8pm, during which everyone, who had taken part in the day’s festivities across the nation, was reminded of just how much the NHS, social care and frontline workers are appreciated.