Festival News

Bike Ride Update 29th April

W.Bro. John Donohue started his ride on 25th April. He disembarked at the port of Bilbao at 10:00 am. Bob drove the 120 mile trip to St Jean Pied de Port where he delivered John at lunch time for the start of his adventure. John reached his first stop on at Roncesvalles, after cycling 24.5 KM by 4:00 pm. He commented that he was sharing the accommodation with some lovely pilgrims from Brazil, South Korea and California. I think you can see from the photo which was his favourite, yes the Girl from Brazil, especially as she was in the next bed from him which was only 12” away. The following day, 26th April, he tackled the gruelling 42 Km ride to Pamplona where they stayed in a Jesuit Monastery dining on Pasta, fish, custard, wine bread and water. On route to the monastery they found a suitable shop for some extra sustenance.

The next morning they met a Mason from Virginia who was travelling with a Latvian friend called Youst. He had watched a Movie called “ The Way “,and this had inspired him to walk the Camino.

Given the weather, constant rain punctuated by Thunder Storms, it was impossible to use the pilgrims path as it had turned into a quagmire, so John had to use the tarmac path. He arrived in Pamplona, bike covered in Mud and squeaking. Luckily he met a Spaniard in a bar who had an oil can in his motor cycle pannier. Having oiled the Bike and themselves, off they went to find their accommodation.

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Keystone Memorial Bike Ride

Last months report outlined the epic 18 day 650 mile bike ride that W.Bro. John Donoghue is undertaking to raise money for the 2026 Mark Festival and in memory of departed merit for brethren who have passed to the Grand Lodge above. John is the 70 year old father of 4 children, two boys and two girls. He donated one of his kidneys to his daughter Tara in 2006 and since has needed major spinal surgery, leaving him in a wheelchair for two years and requiring a metal plate to be fitted in his lower spine. Adversity is there to overcome, and John is certainly showing us the way forward in this regard. Appropriately he is setting off on St Georges Day, when we celebrate the memory of England’s patron saint.

The trail is referred to by John as the “ trail of tears “ given the anecdotes each of the travellers has to share during the evenings, while staying in the local hostels along the route. Along the “Route of St James” which John will be undertaking, he will be crossing the Pyrenees a route that has been travelled by pilgrims for over 1000 years. You can also have a stone placed at The Cruz de Ferro memorial in memory of those who have passed to the Grand Lodge above. What a great way of honouring departed merit. You need to let John know as soon as possible as his wife has to prepare the stones that he will carry on his bike until he reaches the monument.

How can you and your Lodge become involved? Simple. We would like each Lodge to support John’s epic ride by donating at least £250 to this worthy cause. The money raised will go to the M.B.F. 2026 festival and will count against your Lodges Honorifics. It is not long before John leaves so time if of the essence.

Please pay to PGL MMM Hants & IoW sort code 30‐93‐17 account number 00969185 ref Lodge name & Bike Please inform W.Bro Nigel of your Donation. niwilk02@gmail.com

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On 23rd April 2024 W.Bro John Donohue will be undertaking a challenging cycle ride across The Pyrenes, starting at St Jean-Pied-dePort in France and into Northern Spain following the Camino de Santiago. This is an old Pilgrim Route which has been walked by thousands of men, women and children over many centuries.
W.Bro John will be cycling, not on an electric bike, but using his own pedal power to cover the 650 miles to Santiago de Compostela, staying in Albergues, which are local hostels along the route, just as others tackling the Camino de Santiago have done over the years.

John plans to undertake the 650 Miles in 28 days with an expected average of 23½ miles per day. Given this will be over rough tracks though the Pyrenees on his bicycle this is a pretty optomistic, incredibly arduous and all funded from his own pocket. The first leg begins in France at St‐Jean‐Pied‐de‐Port and finishes in Pamplona, the town famous for its Running of the Bulls festval . At first, it follows the Route de Napoleon over the Roncesvalles Pass (1500m) in the Basque country, and then crosses into more gentle terrain in the great region of Navarra. John plans to record his trip and will post updates each day on Facebook. In preparaƟon he is riding 50 miles twice a week.

How can you and your Lodge become involved?
Simple. We would like each Lodge to support John’s epic ride by donating at least £250 to this worthy cause. The money raised will go to the M.B.F. 2026 festval and will count against your Lodges Honorifics. You can also have a stone placed at The Cruz de Ferro memorial in memory of those who have passed to the Grand Lodge above. What a great way of honouring past merit.


News 28/08/2023 – Ideas for events

With the 2026 MBF Festival fast approaching, below is a list of events that your centre could run to raise funds. It is appreciated that not all lodges have the numbers required to put on, large scale events, so the suggestion is that lodges that meet in the same centre get together to run the events. By taking it in turns to host these events the monies raised can be allocated back to the Host Lodge for festival honorifics.  Potentially your centre could put on six events over the next three years.

It may be you are already planning events and need no help or assistance, but for those at a loss as to what to do, here are some suggestions.

Small get togethers:

Garden Party / BBQCheese and wine or skittles. (We have skittle alley available for you to use at your centre)

Medium events. 

Sunday LunchFilm night (sing along or themed). (We have a full AV system to show films)

Larger Events. 

Race night,  we have a full AV system to show the races, and everything else you will need to run the evening.

Murder Mystery Dinner.  These can be as elaborate as you wish from a full cast of actors to just a compere hosting the evening, with a few chosen guests as the unwitting cast. CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF THEMES

Depending on the choice of evening, this will dictate the cost, dress code and possible dinner choice. From a simple buffet with casual or fancy dress, to a  Black-tie evening.

All you have to do is choose the date you wish to run an event, rally the support and we will organise the entertainment you have selected.  On the day /evening you supply the audience and we will run the event for you, with your assistance.

With running any event, no matter the size, the most important aspect is advertising your proposed event early enough to your chosen audience, whether that be just Lodge members or to family and friends.  We can help with this supplying A3 posters to your design and by advertising on the Provincial Facebook page and the 2026 MBF festival web site. 

In addition, W.Bros Richard Cox and Ian MacGrain will gladly provide advice to any individual or group who wishes to lay on an event with proceeds going to towards the MBF 2026 festival. They will be enabled to make sure that events are co-ordinated and compliment others in various locations throughout the Province

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