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.
Masters of the Hungerford Lodge are getting used to a regular stream of initiations. Chris, our current Master has overseen the introduction of four new members since the turn of the year. It would have been five, but one candidate had to postpone due to pressures of work.
Each candidate is treated to a high-class ceremony with the “troops” well drilled by Chris and his right-hand man and Director of Ceremonies, Gilbert. Chris has encouraged his team to take sections of the ceremony and really hone them so that the delivery is as close to perfection as a man can get. Each time Chris stretches himself by taking on more of the ceremony himself, standing in for any member of the team that cannot make it on the evening.
On this occasion, we welcomed Tony King to our fraternity and we look forward to him playing his part in the continued growth of this thriving Lodge. Tony joins Tristan, Andrew and Alex who have joined the Lodge this year. They come from a variety of backgrounds, which is one of the joys of Freemasonry, that we meet people from all walks of life, always on the same level. We are all brothers seeking to make ourselves the best human being that we can be through a series of dramatic plays that teach us about life in general and ourselves in particular. We have a lot of fun at the meal after each meeting with jokes and friendly banter as well as fundraising via a raffle.
Our candidates are visibly moved by the power of the initiation ceremony, none more so than Tristan in February. However, we take care to ensure that each candidate is put at ease and that the ceremony is explained by means of the Preamble. The Preamble is a piece of ritual that has been lost from the Emulation ritual but has been delivered in our Lodge for decades. It is worked slightly differently in each Lodge that delivers it due to its omission from the standard ritual texts.
If this sounds like something you might enjoy, but are waiting to be invited, please consider this your invitation. All you need to do to start the joining process is to ask us but please recognise that Freemasonry is about giving back to society, it is not a business network or a way to get a pay rise.
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.