Chris Coyle installed his successor, Andrew Holmes, with both delivering a mastery of the ritual that was a joy to behold.
As the dust settles after another Installation meeting, we get to draw breath and reflect on the evening. It was a magnificent meeting with some of the finest ritual the Lodge has seen. Andrew Holmes, or as we now refer to him Worshipful Brother Professor Andrew Holmes, was installed by his predecessor Chris Coyle.
It was, however, an evening tinged with sadness as we started the evening by standing to remember Nigel Ludlow who was Master of the Lodge for two consecutive years in the mid-1980s. More recently he had served as the Lodge Chaplain, offering prayers during both the ceremonial and festive gatherings. Our thoughts and prayers are with Nigel’s father, Peter, as well as Nigel’s partner and his children.
Once the Installation got underway, it was obvious to all that Chris had spent many hours learning the ritual as he installed Andrew with sincerity and feeling. It is a true feat of memory to be able to deliver that much ritual in the way that Chris did. It is never easy and in front of sixty people it can be nerve wracking.
Andrew too had done his homework and appointed and invested his team for the year in a calm and unflustered way. They both surely impressed the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Julian Pacey and his retinue.
It was also great to see the talent coming up through the ranks as we have Light Blues, or those Freemasons who have yet to be Master of the Lodge, from Junior Warden to Inner Guard. Our new Junior Warden, Marc Cox is one of our youngest members, but I am sure his father, Peter, is immensely proud of his rapid progression.
With the ceremonial part of the evening complete, the members retired to the Newbury branch of the Royal British Legion where they were treated to a meal of tomato soup, roast beef and all of the trimmings followed by an excellent cheese board.
Hungerford Freemasons have donated £1,000 to the Brighter Futures Radiotherapy Appeal to help give people better access to life-saving radiotherapy treatment at the Great Western Hospital (GWH) in Swindon. Every month, 284 people in Swindon and Wiltshire are given a diagnosis of cancer at GWH. The current lack of a radiotherapy service in Swindon and Wiltshire means that these cancer patients must make the journey to Oxford, Bath or Cheltenham to receive their treatment.
The money raised from the appeal will enable
a new radiotherapy satellite centre to be built at GWH in partnership with the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Andrew Holmes, presenting the cheque on behalf of the Hungerford Lodge says, “The Lodge is very pleased to be involved in fundraising for the appeal. Whilst the Hungerford Lodge is in the masonic province of Berkshire, for many of our members the closest hospital is across the border in Wiltshire.”
“We would like to say a huge thank you to the Hungerford Lodge for their donation”, adds Chloe Thomas from Brighter Futures. “We have now raised £2,153,034 of the £2,900,000 needed to purchase key clinical equipment for the new radiotherapy unit, so we are well on our way to meeting our target.”
“At the moment around 700 patients a year make the 70 mile round-trip journey to the Churchill Hospital in Oxford for radiotherapy. Treatment usually lasts for a period of 4-7 weeks, made up of daily visits. This travelling just adds to the stress of fighting cancer.”
Gilbert Mills, chair of the Benevolent Association said “This is a once in a generation opportunity to make a huge difference to cancer treatment in Swindon and the local area. Freemasons have a long history of supporting developments such as this.”
Building of the new facility should start later this year.
Visiting is one of the pleasures of Freemasonry and Masons will often go to great lengths to visit a friend’s Lodge. This is a tale of just such a visit.
Freemasons will often travel long distances to visit another Lodge and the Hungerford members are no exception. One of our members was first brought into Freemasonry in a Lodge based in London, namely the St. Andrew’s Lodge no 231 which meets in Mark Masons’ Hall in St. James’s Street. Freemasons are proud of their Lodges and Robin duly invited members of the Hungerford Lodge to attend the installation meeting of his Mother Lodge.
A visiting team was assembled, led by Mark Wiltshire, our current Master, and off they went to the big smoke. Having successfully navigated the trains and tubes, the brethren prepared themselves for the meeting with all of their regalia.
Here we see Andrew, Chris, Mark and Sandy dressed in their finest ready for the off. They are clearly captivated by the beauty of their surroundings.
However, they must have been slightly overawed by the occasion as the boys took a wrong turning and found themselves part of the lineup saluting the new master of St Andrew’s Lodge!
Needless to say a great time was had by all at the Festive Board but all too soon it was time to head to Paddington station. They caught the last train back to Hungerford and headed home to bed. Some even stayed awake until they got home….. although Sandy claims he was just reliving the evening!
We look forward to hosting members of the St Andrew’s Lodge at a meeting of the Hungerford Lodge on a return visit in the near future.