FREEMASONS in Hampshire have further reinforced their commitment to the armed forces.

The Provincial Grand Lodge of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight met on Monday, June 20 to sign an Armed Forces Covenant.

The lodge held a special ceremony at the Great Hall in Winchester, following Hampshire County Council's annual flag raising service that was held to mark the start of Armed Forces Week.

READ MORE: Flag raised in Winchester to mark the start of Armed Forces Week

Frank Milner, provincial secretary, said: "Freemasonry in the Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight has long maintained a strong relationship with the Armed Forces through our 17 military lodges and substantive number of members who are veterans and serving personnel.

Hampshire Chronicle: Picture by Free Square Picture by Free Square

"The signing of the covenant represent our continued commitment to ensure that no member of the armed forces community should faces disadvantage within out organisation compared to any other member and where appropriate to provide grants and support services for financial, health, family and care-related needs via the Masonic Charitable Foundation."

Freemasons were joined at the service by Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Defence People and Veterans) Leo Docherty, Provincial Grand Master Jonathan Whitaker and Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire Rear Admiral Iain Henderson.

Mr Docherty said the signing came at a perfect time, at the start of Armed Forces week, which has shortly followed after the 40th anniversary of the liberation of the Falkland Islands, and also after government bills the Overseas Operation Act and The Armed Forces Act have recently passed through parliament. He thanked the Freemasons for their support.

Hampshire Chronicle: Armed Forces Covenant signing at the Great Hall. Picture by Roger Maber.

He said: "I am very proud that the support military personnel in Hampshire receive is first class due to the support from people like yourselves. It is an honour to be signing this declaration."

Mr Whitaker added: "It is a great pleasure to sign the Armed Forces Covenant. Our lodges have always had a close relationship with the armed forces as our values of integrity, friendly, respect and charity are a perfect fit with their own."

Mr Henderson, who stood in at the last moment as the Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire Nigel Atkinson tested costive for Covid, said: "The signing of the Armes Forces Covenant cements the strong relationships that Freemasonry has with the military, veterans and their families. I welcome this continued commitment and am delighted to witness today's signing."

After the signing, attendees enjoyed lunch in the Great Hall.

Freemasonry is one of te oldest social and charitable organisations in the world. There are 9,000 Freemasons spread across 255 lodges in the UK, with Hampshire and Isle of Wight being the largest province.

For more on Freemasonry in Hampshire email or go to

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