ISSUE 16, January 2006
Editorial
Historic: Sherlock Holmes incarnate
Travel: In the Footsteps of the Incas
Sport: Batting for England
Grand Lodge: Pro Grand Master's speech and Quarterly Communication
Supreme Grand Chapter: First Grand Principal's speech and Committee of General Purposes
Royal Masonic Girls' School: Stories in windows
Specialist Lodges: Brotherhood of the Angle
    Napoleonic Wars: A Mason's Word
International: Macedonia: New Grand Lodge consecrated and Enthusiasm unbound
Grand Lodge: Development of Freemasons' Hall
Masonic Rebels: Rise and fall
Bristol Museum: A Phoenix from the Ashes
Freemasonry and Religion: United in diversity
Library and Museum: Most glorious of them all
First Aid: Masons learn to shock
Education: The Third Degree and Forthcoming events
Masonic Charities, Letters, Book Reviews, Gardening

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    ‘Is there a doctor in the Temple?’
Such words are not normally heard as part of the tyler’s ritual. However, it was that very line which followed a knock of alarm at the consecration of a new Lodge in Lincolnshire in 2004.
    As a physician and Master of St. Matthew Lodge No. 1447, I was a visitor to the Lodge, and retired for a short while to attend to an elderly distressed brother. The Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies, trained in first-aid, joined me and assisted in resuscitating the collapsed brother.
    The Provincial Grand Master (PGM) for Lincolnshire later remarked that, on observing the doctor being followed out of the temple by a funeral director (the profession of the ADC), he had been tempted to send the Provincial Chaplain to join them! Happily, however, the latter was not required. The ailing brother lived to celebrate his 80th birthday.
    The outcome may well have been very different if suitably trained brethren had not been present. This sobering thought highlighted the importance of First Aid training and subsequently led to a worthwhile partnership between the Province of Lincolnshire and the St. John Ambulance (Humberside), of which I am the Commander.
    Along with the executive director for St. John Ambulance (Humberside), Richard Wright, also a Freemason and the then Master of Wilberforce Lodge No. 2134 in the Province of Yorkshire, North & East Ridings, I met the PGM for Lincolnshire, RW Bro Gordon Walkerly Smith.
    The outcome of that meeting was an agreement for the Province to purchase from the St John Ambulance, at the cost price of approximately £32,000, some 28 automated external defibrillators (AEDs), used for shocking the heart back into rhythm.
    The plan was to place an AED in each Masonic building in Lincolnshire. In turn, the St John Ambulance (Humberside) offered to train, free of charge, 200 Freemasons in Lincolnshire (representing two or three members per Lodge) to operate the AEDs. Such training would normally have cost £15,000 at commercial rates.
    The St John Ambulance was pleased to consider the agreement as part of its charitable mission, in recognition of the significant assistance that the volunteer organisation has received from Freemasonry over recent years.
    The training, which is now almost complete, played a large part in prompting the neighbouring Province of Yorkshire, North & East Ridings, to follow suit and arrange Basic Life Support (BLS) training for its brethren.
    In this respect, an agreement has been reached for St John Ambulance (Humberside) to train, free of charge, 200 Freemasons (two per Lodge) in BLS skills. Training would normally cost £6,000 on a commercial basis.
    The overall result will be some 400 Freemasons, across two Masonic Provinces, with life-saving skills of value not only to their individual Lodges, but also to the wider communities in which they live and work. Cardiac arrest strikes suddenly and often without warning. It can affect anyone, at any age, at any time and anywhere.
    The statistics are thought-provoking:
    — Every two minutes somebody somewhere in the UK has a heart attack.
    — Every year, over 170,000 people in the UK die from cardiac arrests.
    — Only about 5% of people who have had a cardiac arrest outside hospital survive.
    — The best chance of survival is within the first two to three minutes.
    — For every minute defibrillation (giving shocks to the heart) is delayed the victim’s chance of survival decreases by 10%.
    — The majority might be saved if only their heart could be defibrillated within five minutes.
    — Defibrillators are now available which can be operated safely by lay people with just a few hours training.
    As the UK’s largest First Aid organisation, the St John Ambulance is working alongside the Department of Health in the first government-led national public access defibrillation programme, training operators in AED use. As a result, some 700 AEDs have so far been sited in public places.
    It is hoped that the training partnership developed between the St John Ambulance (Humberside) and the Provinces of Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, North & East Ridings, will be the stimulus for all Provinces to consider training in First Aid and AED skills for their brethren.
    After all, these are the very skills that may one day enable a Freemason to render the ultimate assistance to a brother in need – that of saving his life.

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