This back page has often focused on Brethren outside of their Lodges – back in Arena 52, for example, we met W Bro Peter Locke, now a successful writer of children’s books outside of his Masonry. If you’d like to feature in what is now formally called “Beyond the Square”, or know someone we should feature, please email


W Bro Richard Spooner’s involvement in Freemasonry started with his initiation into London Lodge No 108 in 2013, having just turned 55. He says, “Charity is the most admirable aspect of the fraternity as well as a central pillar. It is something I am keen to support wherever I can”. He has done so with two remarkable campaigns.

At the time, he was playing cricket for his village side, Penn Street CC. The village green features a memorial to locals who fell in World War I – including Frederick Wingrove, the son of one of the founding members of the cricket club. “With the centenary of the start of WW1 looming, a fellow player and I decided we would organise a charity bike ride to commemorate the fallen; in particular Frederick, who died at the Third Battle of Passchendaele in 1917, aged 21.”

Across four days, 14 residents rode the 190 miles from Penn Street, Buckinghamshire, to Ypres in Belgium, accompanied by five motor outriders from the Royal British Legion, the team’s principal charity. They arrived at Menim Gate on the 4th August 2014. “We were also able to proudly commemorate Wingrove’s memory, as the Penn Street flag was carried to the Gate”, says Richard.

“Leading up to the event, we organised a raffle and auction”, he says. “From these events and generous donations, we managed to raise roughly £10,000 for the Royal British Legion, something of which I am very proud. In 2018, 16 Penn Street residents also commemorated the end of the war by returning to Belgium and the war graves of  Ypres. This raised a further £2,000 for the RBL.”

After many years of working in the city, Richard was made redundant in 2019. At 61, he decided that the time had come to slow down – but not to stop completely. A career change beckoned, and he became a Learning Assistant at a local secondary school, Chalfonts Community College. His role is to assist young students between the ages of 11 and 16 who have various educational and physical needs. Two boys under his care touched his heart, suffering from the incurable disease, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). It is a particularly cruel disease, affecting only boys. “Both are wheelchair bound, and sadly have a much diminished life expectancy. Despite everything that life has thrown at them, they remain astonishingly positive, and I therefore chose Muscular Dystrophy UK as the chosen charity for my time in the Chair of London Lodge No 108. The generosity of the Brethren at the five Festive Boards during my time in the chair raised approximately £1,300 and this was boosted with £4,300 at a well-attended Ladies Night. Charity Steward, Dennis Randall, and I were therefore able to present a cheque for over £5,600 to Connal Kelleher of Muscular Dystrophy UK. I am very proud of what we achieve as Masons, and often to make a difference in the communities in which we actually live.”

This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 54 April 2024 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons - Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.

Read more articles in the Arena Issue 54 here.