Father of the Lodge celebrates 60 years’ service

This is the story of one man’s dedication to Freemasonry and the joy it continues to give him.

Peter George Townsend Ludlow

Peter George Townsend Ludlow is the current Father of Hungerford Lodge. This term is used to describe the member with the longest continuous service to the Lodge. He started his long and illustrious masonic career on 19th February 1957 when he was initiated into the Hungerford Lodge and he has been a constant member ever since.

Progressing steadily through the ranks within the Lodge he was installed as Master on 15th November 1966. His performance as Master obviously caught the eye of the Berkshire Provincial team as he subsequently rose to the rank of Assistant Provincial Grand Master for Berkshire and then on to Past Senior Grand Deacon of the United Grand Lodge of England.

Despite being 90, Peter is a very active Mason. He is a member of a number of Masonic Lodges and other Masonic orders within Berkshire, Wiltshire and Somerset and visits widely. He regularly brings a retinue of guests to our meetings.

Peter is well-loved within the Lodge and his is the calm voice we turn to when guidance is required, for example when the Lodge moved its meeting place from Hungerford to Newbury. When we recently interviewed a young prospective candidate, Peter spoke passionately about Freemasonry’s ability to keep him interested for 60 years as well as the support it has given him through troubled times such as the recent loss of his beloved wife, Daphne. Which other hobby can bring men of 23 and 90 together in this way?

Peter (in his regalia) flanked by Kenny (L) and Adam (R) who were Passed, together with some of the members and visitors

At our meeting on 21st February, 65 members and visitors saw Peter presented with a certificate thanking him for his 60 years of service to Freemasonry in the Province of Berkshire. This was then followed by a certificate recognising his dedication from the Province of Somerset. Those attending were also treated to a double Passing ceremony for two of our Four Aces.

After the meeting, all present joined Peter at the Festive Board at the Royal British Legion Club in Newbury. No doubt a few memories were shared and new ones created.

© Hungerford Lodge 4748

Tips for Dealing with Trolls

Running any form of online presence makes you a target for trolls but running accounts with links to Freemasonry does seem to attract a special kind of crazy. This post aims to help you deal with trolls whilst remaining in control.

Turning the key
Turning the key

Running any form of online presence makes you a target for trolls but running accounts with links to Freemasonry does seem to attract a special kind of crazy. I was recently tweeted a single word “Traitor” from an account I had been following for ages and I wondered what on earth I had done to deserve that slur. Then I thought back to a session I had recently attended at work and realised I was being goaded by a troll. (I work in the IT industry and part of my continuous personal development is regular sessions on social media usage.)

A troll is the Internet name for someone who deliberately says something provocative to get you to have a verbal spat with them. Trolls exist anywhere people gather on the Internet to discuss and have existed in every discussion forum since the earliest days of the Internet. They are the playground bully of the Internet. They make everyone’s life worse and serve only to feed their own ego.

So what does a troll look like?

Internet meme for a troll

Well they try to look normal for most of the time and you will find that some will set up accounts specifically for the purpose of trolling. Others are described as parody accounts. One of the nastiest of these is @SavileLodge which purports to be a Lodge of Freemasons built around the disgraced performer Jimmy Saville. It claims to be Lodge number 616, however whilst there was a Lodge registered as number 616 by the United Grand Lodge of England, it was deleted a long time ago. This Twitter account has nothing whatsoever to do with Freemasonry and exists purely to troll.

It suckers people in by retweeting “normal” tweets and then starts spouting its real message. I am not going to repeat it here because it will attract the wrong kind of attention to this site. If you want to see for yourself, simply follow the link above, but be warned you will need a strong stomach.

How do you deal with them?

There are several strategies that you can adopt depending on the platform that you are on. Twitter is one of the most popular platforms for troll activity, so I will concentrate on that here.

  1. Stay calm and ignore them – trolls are looking for a reaction, they feed off your response so starve them. Internet forums have long had signs on them reminding users “Don’t feed the trolls”
  2. Mute the account – Twitter allows you to mute the account which means that you no longer see the tweets and the troll does not know that you have silenced them. This works well if you only use one Twitter application, if however you use a number (and I have lost count of how many I use!) then you need to mute an account in every tool you use to see your tweet stream.
  3. Unfollow – this means that you no longer follow the account and so do not routinely see their tweets, unless they @mention you. An @mention is where an account that you do not follow simply includes your Twitter name in their tweet to get your attention. This means that you can still be trolled even though you do not follow the troll.
  4. Block – this is part of the ultimate sanction. As a user you can block an account to ensure you never see tweets from that account again. Additionally, if you report it to Twitter as an abusive account, you assist the rest of the community. If they get enough reports about an account or the behaviour contravenes their usage policy, they will close the account.

I have written a follow on article to help you to block rogue Twitter accounts.

© Hungerford Lodge 4748

Website Launch

Turning the keyThis 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.