In an awe inspiring display of camaraderie and friendship, three brothers of Hungerford Lodge 4748 embarked on a gruelling 55-mile challenge along the picturesque Avon & Kennet Canal tow path.
Brothers Darren Duckitt, Ross Holden & Dave Wisson, set out on this extraordinary journey to raise awareness and funds for their Worshipful Masters charity of choice, the motor neurone disease association (MNDA).
From the crack of dawn, the determined trio pushed themselves along the varied terrains of the tow path, and with the weather seemingly to be on their side, providing them with favourable conditions to undertake their challenge.
However, as the day progressed, the temperature began to rise, creating a warm and challenging environment for the brothers. Despite the heat, they continued, driven by their determination and a bit of light goading between themselves.
Throughout their journey, the brothers received support at various checkpoints along the canal, which provided crucial opportunities for rest, refuelling, and gathering their strength. The brothers took advantage of these respites, allowing them to regain their energy and focus (and to smother themselves in various creams in areas I do not wish to mention)
As the brothers pressed on, their determination and focus was evident. However, amidst the excitement and physical exertion, the brothers became overzealous and inadvertently missed the 20mile planned checkpoint along the way. Despite the setback, the support relocated to an ad hoc checkpoint just ahead of their current position.
The missed checkpoint served as a valuable reminder of the importance of attentiveness and adherence to the prearranged plan. It was a humbling moment for the brothers, underscoring the need for careful navigation during such demanding challenges. Acknowledging the oversight, they regained their poise and pushed onto the next checkpoint.
At the 30-mile checkpoint, the brothers took a break by tucking into a quick meal to replenish their energy stores. They also took this opportunity to change into fresh clothing, relieving any discomfort from their sweat-soaked attire. Creams and ointments were generously applied once again! After the short break was over, they pressed on despite the heat.
However, the heat and the physically demanding nature of the challenge, it began to take its toll, at the 40-mile mark, brother Darren Duckitt made the difficult decision to gracefully bow out. Undeterred, Brothers Holden & Wissen continued on their arduous journey, shifting between running, walking, and even shuffling, pushing themselves further along the canal path.
As the day progressed and the daylight began to fade, there were a couple of stumbles in the dark, resulting in a minor injury, and at the 49.7mile mark the final decision to end the challenge was made by the remaining two brothers. It was a difficult choice, but one that underlined their commitment through unity, compassion, and perseverance.
As they rest and recover from their remarkable feat, despite their journey not culminate in completing the full 55 miles, the brothers have left an indelible mark. Their dedication, resilience, and unwavering stubbornness to persevere have already made a significant impact. The brother’s express their gratitude for the support they have received from everyone.
In common with the rest of the nation, Hungerford Freemasons paid their respects to all those that have served but especially those that gave their tomorrows for our today.
Our membership is drawn from a wide area covering Marlborough, Hungerford and Newbury and the surrounding villages. They paid their respects within their local communities with some participating in the larger ceremonies in Hungerford and Newbury.
On occasions like these we cast our minds back to members of the Lodge who survived the wars but have sadly been taken from us. We carry their memories forever because we were enriched by their friendship and brotherhood.
Bert Harrison, WW2 veteran, long-time Hungerford resident and Hungerford Lodge member was one of the nicest people that you could ever wish to meet. We will remember them…
Tuesday 15th November saw Mark Wiltshire installed as the Master or leader of the Hungerford Lodge by Jeremy Dickins. Jeremy has been a real asset to the Lodge over the last year. He has worked hard at the ceremonies and has been just as diligent with the administrative side of the Lodge. Jeremy thanked his team for their support over the previous year before installing his successor in the time-honoured manner. Mark then appointed his team for the coming year, demonstrating how capable he is at memorising and reciting the ritual whilst at the same time displaying a sense of humour and a deftness of touch.
Once the ceremonial part of the evening was over, the members and guests retired to the Newbury Royal British Legion (RBL) Club for a celebratory meal. In all, 88 people sat down to dine on tomato soup, roast beef and all the trimmings, followed by a cheese board. The buzz of excitement for the evening had been building over the last few weeks and the atmosphere at the meal was electric. Masons had travelled from near and far to witness the changing of the guard as it is always a special event in a Lodge’s calendar.
Mark is part of the Provincial Outreach team and most, if not all, of the team had turned out to support their colleague. The Outreach team runs Open Days at each of the Masonic Centres throughout Berkshire with a view to making Freemasonry more accessible to the public and dispelling some of the myths propagated by the national media. The team had recently opened the Newbury Masonic Centre for one such event as part of the Remembrance Day activities in Newbury.
Once the meal was over the raffle was drawn with some splendid prizes available. The generosity of those attending meant that £500 was raised by the raffle and a further £180 was collected for alms. Mark consulted with his team and they decided to present a donation of £250 to the RBL Poppy Appeal on behalf of the Lodge. The remainder was donated the Lodge Benevolent Association for future charitable works. The RBL team were extremely grateful for the generosity.
A traditional part of the celebrations at the Installation of a new Master, is the singing of The Master’s Song. This is a combination of solo and participatory singing. Those who have been the recipient, know this is a very emotional moment for the new Master. One of Mark’s close friends, Graham Reynolds had jokingly offered to sing the Master’s Song for Mark at his installation. Mark was delighted by this offer and held his friend to this commitment. Graham’s skills as a Heating (not cooling) Engineer are more in demand than his singing skills and he was a touch out of practice. This added to the fun of the evening.
The Deputy Provincial Grand Master (deputy leader for Berkshire Masons) Anthony Howlett-Bolton was on hand to witness the event along with his retinue and they left having thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
After almost 90 years at the heart of the Hungerford community, the Hungerford Lodge is to move to the Newbury Masonic Centre. The Lodge has used the Town Hall and Corn Exchange for its meetings since 1925 but this association has come to an end due to the changing business needs of the Hungerford Town & Manor. This is a source of great disappointment to the members who have always been very proud to call themselves Hungerford Freemasons, and support local Hungerford charities, including funding the disabled access lift for the Town Hall.
Traditionally a celebration of the best of Freemasonry, the meeting and Festive Board held on December 9th 2014, was tinged with sadness. It was the last meeting of the Hungerford Lodge in Hungerford. Every year the Lodge celebrates Christmas with a legendary meal accompanied by the Hungerford Town Band playing Carols – who knew that Land of Hope and Glory was a Carol?
After the meal, the Lodge runs its Christmas auction. Over the years, this auction has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity through the generosity of the Hungerford and visiting Freemasons. The money raised supports the activities of the Lodge Benevolent Association, which is a registered charity and since 2009, they have donated over £25,000 to local and national charities including:
The members of the Lodge formed a steering group which was tasked with investigating the alternatives within Hungerford and the surrounding areas. Although every effort was made to remain within Hungerford, no suitable accommodation was found which necessitated a move away from the Lodge’s traditional home. It was therefore decided to approach the Newbury Masonic Centre to host them for the future. This will bring the Hungerford Craft, Chapter and Mark Lodges all back under one roof again.
To maintain a link with Hungerford, the Lodge will hold its support meetings (General Purposes Committee, Lodge of Instruction and rehearsals) in the Cygnet Room of the Three Swans Hotel. The Lodge has also chosen to hold its Festive Board in Hungerford. The steering group will continue to take feedback from the members as to what is working and what needs to change as we adjust to our new home.
The Lodge wishes to thank the management committee at the Newbury Masonic Centre as well as the Berkshire Freemasons Executive team for their advice and guidance during this difficult time.
Most people think you become a Freemason by going through an initiation ceremony and to some extent they are correct. However, long before a man is initiated, he will need to have become a Freemason in his heart. The ceremony of initiation simply confirms that transition.
Candidates for Freemasonry are typically looking to make themselves better men by being more useful to society in general and are already volunteering or involved in charitable activities. For example, there is a strong association between the Scouting movement and Freemasonry. The values instilled into young people during their time in the Scouts mirror those valued by Freemasons. There are several Lodges, such as the Be Prepared Lodge no 9845, for whom this bond is part of the reason they exist.
Freemasonry nurtures an inherent desire to be more than an individual, to serve the community and to grow as a person. Scouts learn to always do their best and to be prepared. The aim being to help them achieve their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potential so that they become constructive members of society. The degree structure of Freemasonry leads the individual on a spiritual (not religious) journey from ignorance to enlightenment or self-awareness.
Candidates will come via a variety of routes but all will be looking to become something more than they are today. If you believe that you are ready to take the next step on this journey, we recommend that you read through the following paragraphs and the What is involved? section and when you are ready, contact us to discuss how to take things forward.
The essential qualifications for becoming a Freemason are:
You believe in a Supreme Being
You are at least 21
You are free and of good report
Belief in a Supreme Being
Craft Freemasonry is open to men of all faiths and does not focus on the name they use for that Supreme Being. Freemasonry acknowledges and respects that people find different routes to understand their own spirituality.
Being of mature age
The rules of Freemasonry require that a man has reached what was considered the age of majority at the time of their writing. Certain lodges in Oxford and Cambridge had a dispensation to initiate at 18 as they were aligned to the universities and this is being expanded under the Universities Scheme to cover more and more universities. The rule is intended to ensure that men are sufficiently mature in their thinking to make such an important decision.
Free and of good report
Freemasonry and therefore the ritual text predates the abolition of slavery and the requirement to be free or freeborn harks back to that time. Being of good report is a reference to the need for all candidates to be of high moral standing and with no unspent convictions.
This post marks the official launch of the Hungerford Lodge no 4748 website. It is amazing to think that when the Lodge was founded in 1925, the era between the “War to end all wars” and the Great Depression, the times, dates and places of Masonic meetings were regularly published in the local papers.
There then followed a period of retrenchment, during which publicity was considered a bad thing. In part, this was due to the suppression of Freemasonry and persecution of freemasons on the continent during the run up to World War 2 and the war years. Although this changed with the changes to the European political landscape, there has been significant continued opposition to freemasonry.
It has taken a long time to get back to the point where Masons are encouraged to be open and proud of their membership. When the idea of the Hungerford Lodge having an online presence was first discussed at our General Purpose Committee, our current Master (or leader for the year) expressed his own inner struggle with the idea. He was initiated in the early 1970’s and has been a member of the Lodge during the time when news media coverage has typically been negative and Masons were taught to be cautious about revealing their membership. He recognised the need for greater openness as we had evidence that Hungerford residents were largely unaware of the existence of a Lodge of Freemasons within their midst, never mind the good we were doing for the community in general.
The fact that we, as a Lodge, now feel comfortable with a website and a presence on both Facebook and Twitter is a significant positive step, in this writer’s opinion. Furthermore, this openness is not limited to the Hungerford Lodge but the United Grand Lodge of England has a presence on the main online and social media platforms and has recently constructed a YouTube channel.
Some Lodges, in particular the North Harrow Lodge no 6557 have used the online world to turn a decline in numbers into a success story, which has truly inspired the Hungerford Lodge no 4748 to take this step into the online world.
We hope that you find the information on our site useful and we hope that:
If everything you have read about Freemasonry before you found this site was negative, we have succeeded in putting the other side of the story.
If you have thought about joining Freemasonry, this site answered your questions. If not, please contact us and we will attempt to answer any lingering questions and use the experience to improve our website.
If you are already a Mason, please come and visit us when you are in the area.