The statistics are thought-provoking:
‘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.
— 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
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.
Web site created by Mark Griffin