Mark Men that belong to the Mandalay Craft & Chapter consecrated the Mandalay Mark Lodge in 2007 with members of the Ravensmead Mark Lodge that had decided to surrender their warrant. The lodge is flourishing and have maintained the core of freemasonry in their charitable donations. In 2008 they raised £1200.00 for a paver at Demelza House, in 2009 they qualified as Patrons for the Mark Benevolent Fund & in 2010 were awarded Grand Patronage. Not bad in less than 3 years I’m sure you will agree.

In 2010 an appeal was launched by the ‘Mandalay Group’ with the specific desire to raise £9500.00 to buy an inshore rib for the RNLI to allow this to respond to emergencies anywhere in Kent.

The hard working Charity Steward W.Bro Philip Clare, PrGMO (Surrey) PPrGStwd (Kent), undertook this challenge and embarked on a number of sponsored events. In July 2010 he cycled Lands End to John O’Groats over 12 days. This is not the first time he has cycled this in aid of charity and explains:

“I don’t know what it is about cycling, but I love the freedom of being out on a road; travelling at my own steam. The scenery up the country is breath taking in places. It’s no mean feat to cycle 100 miles a day, over some challenging hills and through the usual British weather. We actually cycled from Carlisle to Glasgow through a severe weather warning and damp was an understatement. This ride is as you can imagine a massive physical challenge, but the 3 colleagues from work made the ride entertaining and enjoyable.”

It was whilst training on the Isle of Wight for this ride that W.Bro Phil had a chance phone call offering him a place in the New York Marathon.

“I had just finished cycling the 85 miles round the Isle of Wight and was in the pub when I received a phone call from the Chair of Care of Police Survivors (COPS), who are a charity for the widows and orphans of Police officers killed during service. They had managed to secure 6 places in the New York Marathon for November and would I be interested in running. As I said it was late in the evening, in a pub and I think had I of been of clearer mind the answer would have been firmly NO. However I agreed there and then and in the morning started to regret it. I’m not a runner by any means, I’m over 19 stones & have dodgy knees. It’s fare to say I am the percentage of fat as a pork scratching. However in the words of Arthur Daley ‘My word is my bond’, so as soon as the cycle ride finished, I donned my running shoes. I have completed a number of events for COPS and having lost 2 dear friends at work I would have finished on hands and knees if need be!

My first run was a disaster; I couldn’t even run a mile. Fortunately I managed to rope a number of friends from the gym into helping me and I was soon up to 10 miles fairly comfortably. Disaster struck in September when I tore my calf muscle on a fairly gentle run. This continued to be a problem and I had to rest for a number of weeks. When I started running it would tear again. Intensive physio and strapping got me to the start line on Staten Island, but I hadn’t run for 5 weeks prior to this. I was determined to finish and as it isn’t about a time for me I didn’t care how long it took. I started slowly was convinced that my calf would tear again, but I am pleased to report it didn’t. I finished in 7 hours, 13 mins, 51 seconds. Not fast, but I FINISHED!

I had by this time managed to secure a charity place for MACS (children born without eyes) to run in the London Marathon and continued to train through the winter. What a winter we had and it seemed to last forever. I completed in a number of half marathons and 10-mile events and even managed to do some winter training in Cuba.

The London Marathon was a sweltering hot day, I finished in 6 hours, 32 mins, 38 seconds, beating my personal best by 40 minutes!

Five weeks after this I drove to Edinburgh for my final marathon. On paper it looked a gentle route, the first 3 miles gently downhill from the Castle then along the Firth of Forth to Gosport House, before turning back to finish at Mussleburgh. I was on fire for the first 30k, doing this in under 4 hours and looked to finish in around 5hours, 45 mins. Oh dear the last 6 miles were into a strong head wind that I even struggled to walk into at one point. However I did set another PB of 6 hours, 24 mins, 42 seconds. Still not shabby for someone of 19 stones".

These events raised over £5,000 for the 3 charities and the Mandalay Group have now reached their target for the RNLI rib.

W.Bro Phil has 2 blogsites of his exploits & further information can be seen at: for the cycling and for the running

Looking ahead to 2012, W.Bro Phil has a number of ideas up his sleeve including LEJOG again and a real challenge is being planned for May 2012. To walk the 3 peaks challenge of Snowdonia, Scarfell Pyke and Ben Nevis in 72 hours... oh and to cycle the 450 miles in-between!

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