IN the past they may have been known for their secrecy.

But a historic organisation celebrated its 300th anniversary with an open day for all to attend.

Freemasons, their families and friends celebrated three centuries of the society while raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support at their event in Chandler’s Ford.

Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values based on integrity, kindness, honesty and fairness.

It is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations.

Organiser Mike Davis said: “There is a perception that the Freemasons are secretive.

“We are not a secret society but we do have some secret ceremonies, most of which tell short stories.

“It is all about making a man better than he otherwise would have been.

“We’ve had a bit of a transition in the last ten years or so; we have been trying to be more open and doing lots of events like this to achieve that.”

Speaking about the open day, he added: “We wanted it to be as outward-looking as possible and to make as much as we can for charity.”

This year marks three centuries since the foundation of the first grand lodge in London and is also the 250th anniversary of the formation of the masonic province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight.

There are more than 9,000 Freemasons in Hampshire and Isle of Wight, and more than 250 Lodges.

Ken Guy, a Freemason at the event, said: “ Of course there’s a real sense of community and teamwork with it, but it also brings a widened variety of life experiences.”

To celebrate their birthday, there were a series of events for all at the Kings Court Masonic Centre.

There was first a chance to visit the lodge room and for guests to learn about the history, culture and work of the Freemasons.

A ‘bake-off’ style competition was held, while a car wash was put on in aid of Chandler’s Ford District Scout Canoe Club.

The event finished with a cheque presentation and the chance to hear from the charities that have been supported by the Freemasons over the past year, including the Countess Mountbatten Hospice and Naomi House and Jacksplace children’s hospice.

Anyone interested in the Freemasons can contact Mike Davis on or 07582 985980.