The 2021/22 Masonic year kicked off in September, with the installation via an EGM of our new WM. We are hopeful that the remaining part of his year in the chair, will remain uneventful for Covid.
As we think the demand for a Ladies Festival has dropped, our WM has decided that we will be doing a white table dinner in December 2021.
Scientists have been saying for some time that an outbreak similar to that depicted in the film ‘Contagion‘ could and would happen at some point. Nobody would have predicted what an effect it would have upon our lives in 2020 onwards. We are fortunate that our current Worshipful Master, has been able to carry on his duties for another year.
The 2020/21 Masonic year essentially didn’t really happen, but with the advent of several different vaccinations, we are hopeful that the 2021/2022 year will recommence end of Q3 2021. Our first meeting will be an installation of the new WM, something that all the brethren can look forward to.
As we now find ourselves just a handful of days from the final meeting of our season, at which our current Master Elect will be installed into the chair of King Solomon, I find myself reflecting on my own time as Master of the lodge, which seems to have passed in the blink of an eye.
I was installed as WM of Loddon Lodge back in May 2015, which was the last meeting before our long summer break. Plenty of time then to spend lots of late nights and early mornings poring over that little blue book – or so you might think! Life, of course, often gets in the way.
Realisation that a new Masonic season looms usually begins to set in during August, when the members of Loddon Lodge, together with our families and friends, enjoy an annual summer BBQ and garden party. As well as being a wonderful social event, this is an excellent opportunity to kick-start fundraising for the WM’s chosen charity. Thanks to the generosity of the 115 people present, the lodge raised a magnificent £1700. All this and the new season was yet to get underway.
At our first meeting of the season, back in October, we threw ourselves in at the deep end by starting off with a third degree ceremony. We followed this up in November with a second degree, and December a first.
With the Masonic business for the calendar year now complete, we were then able to prepare for the usual festivities.
The first Christmas-period social event was our annual ‘Friends of Loddon’ lunch. This is held every December at the Basingstoke Masonic Centre, for the widows of any of our deceased members. We are always grateful to be able to share some festive cheer with so many long-term friends of the lodge.
The Basingstoke Centre’s annual Carols Concert at All Saints Church was then enjoyed by the members of each of the various Basingstoke lodges and their families, and it’s always a pleasure to see the smiles on the children’s faces upon meeting Father Christmas (the real one, I’ve little doubt!) at the Masonic Centre immediately afterwards.
As we found ourselves in the opening days of 2016, a very special privilege was bestowed on Loddon Lodge; at our January meeting we had the great pleasure of Passing a member of Ariel Lodge 8166, based in Andover. This had the dual benefit of allowing Ariel to avoid conducting a double ceremony and giving Loddon something special to do at our meeting, as until this was arranged, we’d had a gap in our programme. It came about at the suggestion of Loddon’s Visiting Officer, who is a member of Ariel Lodge. This was a tremendous experience and is, we hope, the start of a great relationship between our two lodges. Inter-lodge collaboration such as this really should be more commonplace; I can see no negative aspects.
For our February meeting, we were fortunate to secure the valuable services of WBro Tony Ayres, Provincial Orator for the Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight. WBro Ayres delivered a most enlightening lecture on the subject of ‘Gonfalonic Symbolism in Masonry’, which was warmly received and enabled all present to make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge. Having this break from ceremonies in February gave us all ample time to take stock and to polish our ritual in readiness for our March meeting, at which we conducted another second degree ceremony, our third Passing of the season.
Next in the calendar was our Ladies Festival, a one-nighter at Audleys Wood in Basingstoke. This was an evening of food, wine, live music, and great company in beautiful surroundings. The generosity of those brethren, ladies and gentlemen present resulted in a further £1130.31 being raised in support of this year’s charity. Truly humbling stuff.
April is traditionally when Loddon hosts its annual Past Masters’ night, and this year was no exception. The brethren were treated to a superb ‘Festival of Ritual’ which was masterminded and led by our Director of Ceremonies, WBro Templeton, who conducted proceedings from the chair. This was arranged as a series of short lectures punctuated by Q&A sections, across all three degrees, around aspects of rarely-heard ritual. Yet another daily advancement – we are beginning to make a habit of this!
And so we now turn our attention to the upcoming May meeting, Installation, which for Loddon Lodge marks both the closing of this Masonic season and the beginning of a new chapter in the history of our lodge. I feel certain that my successor will have a wonderful time during his year as WM and that although he may find his year to be demanding of his time and energy, above all he can expect it to be both enjoyable and rewarding.
Sitting in the East provides a unique and fascinating vantage point over the workings of the lodge. I have watched the Officers and brethren of this lodge working together as a team, in the spirit of friendship and shared experience. Serving as Worshipful Master of Loddon Lodge has been nothing short of a privilege, and I can only echo what I have so often been told – the time passes all too quickly.
On behalf of the brethren of Loddon Lodge, may you have much health and happiness over the summer break.
WBro B. Waring
Worshipful Master, 2015-2016
It can often be daunting when asked to give or respond to a toast at the Festive Board, and can be useful when examples are to be found online. At our last meeting, the task of toasting our Worshipful Master was taken on by one of our more junior members, on the occasion of his Raising. With his kind permission, we reproduce it here in full:
Well this is certainly an honour. My first toast at a festive board and on night of my Raising so that I now stand before you as a Master Mason.
When I asked for advice on what to say I was told if in doubt keep it brief and Joke free. Which is a shame really because I will not be able to tell you about the armed hooded robber who bursts into the Bank of Ireland and forces the tellers to load a sack full of cash. On his way out the door with the loot one brave customer grabs the hood and pulls it off revealing the robber’s face. The robber shoots the man without hesitation. He then looks around the bank to see if anyone else has seen him only to see one of the tellers looking straight at him. The robber walks over and calmly shoots him dead. Everyone by now is very scared and looking down at the floor. “Did anyone else see my face?” screams the robber. There is a few moments of silence then one elderly guy, looking determinedly down at the floor, tentatively raises his hand and says, “I think my wife here may have caught a glimpse.”
In all seriousness however I am sure that for everyone in this room, even those of more mature years, will vividly remember their initiation and subsequent passing and raising ceremonies and will recall that sense of trepidation as you entered the lodge for the first time. How many of you went home that night thinking a little like me “What have I done? What on earth was all that about?” Then when you turned up for the next meeting a Ceremony of Raising was taking place so you were asked to leave after a few minutes only to be called in again for the final part of the evening after languishing outside the lodge for an hour. Surely there is more to Masonry than this? I am sure Brother Sinclair is going through that phase at the moment. The answer of course is yes there is more as I am now beginning to discover. Every single Mason irrespective of rank and privilege has participated in an identical transition. For my own part that first ceremony was perhaps a little more traumatic both because of the unknown and my hearing difficulties. It is very difficult to lip read when you are hoodwinked. ☺ But we got there.
So what is it that made me continue through those early meetings? Well I can tell you. It was a sense of genuine warmth from fellow Brethren, a sense of camaraderie, a sense of belonging, a sense of maintaining ancient traditions and a knowledge that if ever I needed help the Lodge would be behind me. When I look around the Lodge now and having left it so late I cannot help but feel envious of our younger Brethren who hopefully can look forward to 30 or even 40 more years in Freemasonry given good health.
When I mentioned earlier how I am sure that you all, no matter how long ago, will have remembered those first ceremonies you will also have remembered the name of the Worshipful Master at that time. For me I have had the good fortune to have Brother Bailey as Worshipful Master for my Raising. I can genuinely say good fortune because Maurice is an inspiration to us all. I remember only too well at his installation ceremony the very short and emotional speech that he gave where he indicated that he never thought he would achieve the rank he now justly enjoys and had so often wanted to give up his progression but it was the persuasion and backing of his fellow brethren which enabled him to carry on. There is so much to learn and it can be no easy task. The one thing that I have personally learnt from all of this is that Freemasonry is NOT all about perfection. It is more about commitment. It is about commitment to the traditions and history of Freemasonry, commitment to the many charitable causes that Freemasonry supports, commitment to the lodge and commitment to fellow Brethren.
I am sure that all those here tonight will agree with me when I say that there is no one more committed to Freemasonry in general and our lodge in particular than our current Worshipful Master and it is an honour as well as giving me great pleasure in raising this toast. Brethren – a toast to our Worshipful Master.
At its February 2015 Regular Meeting, Loddon Lodge is delighted to have the opportunity to host a visit by Diane Clements, Director of the United Grand Lodge of England’s Library and Museum of Freemasonry.
Once the usual lodge business has been conducted, the lodge will be called off to enable Diane to deliver a talk on the subject of English Freemasonry during the First World War.
We anticipate a very well attended meeting; any Brother wishing to visit us can be assured of a warm welcome at what is sure to be a fascinating meeting.
Thursday 12th February 2015, 6pm close tyled at the Masonic Centre, Victoria Street, Basingstoke.
…and the winner is: Loddon Lodge!
This was the first of what will hopefully become an annual event, being held at Weybrook Golf Club. The Loddon team consisted of Michael Port, David Blackmore, Jim Weldon and David Brown. Loddon, Elvetham and Basing lodges were all represented on the day, and we even had one team who travelled from North Wales to compete. This was a very proud win for Loddon!
Congratulations to Roger Robertson of Elvetham Lodge, who won the individual prize.
Above all, very well done to all who took part in support of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys.
The March meeting of the Basingstoke Light Blues Club, at which Bro Colin Williams gave a superb talk on the subject of Formula 1, was a great success. The raffle raised a magnificent £275 towards our speaker’s chosen charity, which in this case was the Hampshire & Isle of Wight 2016 Festival in support of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys. Demand for this one was so high within the province that a re-run has already been pencilled in for later this year. Watch this space, F1 fans!
Once a year Loddon Lodge holds a Ladies Festival, where each of our members and their wives come together for a formal dinner. It is our way of saying “thank you” to the ladies for allowing us to take time away from our families whilst we raise money for charities and other good causes, as well as attend to our personal development.
At Loddon, we often extend these festivals to run from Friday to Sunday. These extended festivals allow time for events which can make the time more memorable – in recent years including a visit to the Morgan car factory and a tour of Cardiff Castle.
Tonight we meet to rehearse for our next Regular meeting, which is to be a double first degree. We’re looking forward to welcoming two new members into Loddon Lodge.