ISSUE 9, April 2004

The Duke of Wellington: A Brother in arms
Quarterly Communication: Address of the Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Life with the Stars: Masons and famous people
Hall Stone Jewel: Cyril Spackman, designer
Travel: Jamaica
Grand Charity: Annual Report and Accounts
Masonic stamps: Masonry on stamps
Library & Museum of Freemasonry: Antients and Moderns go on-line
Masonic education: Events for Freemasons
Masonic charities: The continuing work
Bowel cancer: How the Grand Charity is helping
Royal Arch: Russia and Eastern Europe
Richard Eve: A former Grand Treasurer
Book reviews

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Masons back vital training

Crucial training for bowel cancer has been boosted by a major grant from The Grand Charity, says Tara MacDowel

In 1999 Beating Bowel Cancer, a national charity working to raise awareness of symptoms, promote early diagnosis and encourage open access to treatment choice for those affected by bowel cancer, was awarded a generous grant from the Freemasons’ Grand Charity as part of its millennium grants to initiate an endoscopy training programme for medics.
      Research by Roger Leicester, colorectal specialist at St George’s Hospital, London found that, in an audit of regional colonoscopy procedures, 30% of medical professionals were self-taught, and less than 40% had attended any form of training course.
      The audit raised concerns regarding the completeness of examination for bowel cancer and the possibility that, due to lack of uniformly-trained medical professionals, many cancer cases could be going undetected.
      In recognition of this shortage of trained personnel, Beating Bowel Cancer used the Freemasons’ grant to help to fund the Endoscopy Training Programme, which was originally initiated by Mr Leicester and the Joint Advisory Group on Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.
      Based at the Raven Department of Education at the Royal College of Surgeons, the programme aimed to establish regional training centres to improve the quality and safety of endoscopic (colonoscopy) practice.
      This five-year programme is now almost completed and Beating Bowel Cancer has helped fund 10 training centres for endoscopy procedures across the UK. The training programme, which has been open to consultants, surgeons, nurses and GPs, has provided much needed expertise on endoscopy procedures used to detect bowel cancer.
      In February 2003, the government emphasised its commitment to saving lives from bowel cancer through introducing a national screening programme, which is to be taken forward by a new NHS Bowel Cancer Programme.
      Part of this programme includes addressing workforce and training requirements, which will need to be tackled ahead of any national screening programme being launched. Beating Bowel Cancer is delighted that the training centres are now to be used as the benchmark for the government who are expanding the programme as part of their Bowel Cancer Programme.
      Bowel cancer is the second biggest killer cancer in this country, and 35,600 people are diagnosed with the disease each year, and sadly almost half will die as a result. That is 46 people dying every day – men and women, young and old.
      Yet the comforting news is that bowel cancer is one of the most curable cancers if caught early enough. Over 90% of cases of bowel cancer could be completely cured if it is diagnosed in time and treated. The grant the Freemasons awarded Beating Bowel Cancer has helped in our aim to save lives from this common is cancer – but we have much work still to do.
      The charity relies almost entirely upon donations and the hard work of fundraisers throughout the country. Events such as Loud Tie, an annual campaign that encourages people to wear wild and wacky ties whilst having fun for a good cause, help to raise awareness and funds for the charity.
      Current projects such as publishing new and updated patient information, working with GPs to ensure they have all the latest information on symptoms and diagnosis, and other important bowel cancer initiatives all need funds. We continue to strive to achieve our objectives – and ultimately to prevent thousands of lives being needlessly lost every year from this terrible disease.

For further information about the charity, and fundraising events and campaigns, visit

To contact Beating Bowel Cancer, or make a donation, write to:

Beating Bowel Cancer,
39 Crown Road,
Twickenham, TW1 3EJ
T. 020 8892 5256 Fax 020 8892 1008.

Tara MacDowel is Head of Communications at Beating Bowel Cancer