Somerset Freemasons

News of what is happening in Somerset Lodges

News from Lodges 2013


19th December - Exmoor Lodge donate over £2000 to local good causes

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The Christmas meeting of Exmoor Lodge on the 19th December was a very special occasion. The festive board was held with the ladies and partners of the Brethren together with invited guests from five local charities. After an excellent meal, the worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother Bob Moore introduced our guests as follows:
From Minehead Parkinson's support group, Peter and Angela Veevers, who were presented with a cheque for £500.
From WASPS, (Williton and surrounding area Parkinson's support), Joe and Linda Bishop who were also presented with a cheque £500.
From Alcobme food cupboard, Christine Payne who was presented with a cheque for £100 plus an additional £150 being 50% the amount of money raised by the raffle on the night.
From the Watchet Phoenix Centre, Fay Ross-Ward who was presented with a cheque for £300. The centre provides the support of hot meals and company for the elderly residents in the area. This donation was a particular focus of Val Moore, the master's wife, for fundraising during the year as her mother who died last year, spent many happy hours at the centre.
From Alzheimer's- - Alcombe support group, Paul King and Anne Snelling were presented with equipment to the value of £500. This is used to support their "singing for the brain" sessions and other support activities in the area.
All the recipients expressed grateful thanks to the members of the Lodge and all were warmly applauded for the work of the charities that they represent. After the presentations all the guests were given a conducted tour of the Lodge, which was suitably decorated in the Festive manner. The evening was a fitting end to a very successful year Exmoor Lodge, the warmth and good humour of the evening reflecting the atmosphere in which the Lodge had worked for the year.
Norman Ackland Exmoor Lodge Information Officer.

16th December - Henry Collins 100 and still going strong!

On 16th December 2013 W.Bro Henry Collins occupied the Chair of King Solomon for the traditional Lodge of Agriculture Farmers’ Night, three weeks before his 100th Birthday.
After opening the Lodge the Worshipful Master, David Megilley, passed the gavel into the more than capable hands of W.Bro Henry who began proceedings by replacing the Officers of the Lodge with farming Brethren, a tradition on Farmers’ Night. Then, with great clarity of voice, and perfect knowledge of the ceremony, he set about the business of initiating Bro Gavin Waller.
The Lodge was packed with over one hundred members and visitors who were treated to a memorable occasion, charged with emotion, and filled with admiration for the ‘Father’ of the Lodge. And what an honour for Bro Waller.
After the Ceremony the Brethren sat down to a splendid supper provided by the Farmers. This is a tradition which dates back to December 1945 when, to celebrate the end of hostilities, the Farming Brethren of the Lodge provided the Members and guests with a supper for which there was no charge, simply a request to make a donation for Charity on the Stewards’ trays. This is still done today. One of the three Farmers who started the Farmers Night tradition was Henry’s father, and at that December meeting Henry was proposed for Membership. He was initiated on 18th February 1946 and has missed only two meetings since that day. Quite remarkable.
As always on Farmers’ Night the after dinner speeches were of the highest quality, with much good humour and fraternal banter without losing sight of the need to raise a substantial sum for the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, a Charity which provides much needed support to the farming community. Thanks to a lively and entertaining plea from the Past Provincial Grand Master, Stanley Hopkins the Stewards collected the magnificent sum of £1800 on their trays. Another good night’s work by Aggy’s Farmers.
No Farmers’ Night supper would be complete without Henry’s rendition of the ‘Farmer’s Boy’, which he sang solo and unaccompanied to the delight and rapturous applause of all the Brethren.
Click on the photo to enlarge and see the other images. Words by Martin Yates photos by Paul Mallon

Worshipful Brother Henry George Collins
Masonic CV (brief)

Born 6th January 1914
Initiated into Lodge of Agriculture No 1199 - 18th Feb 1946
Founder, Wellington School Somerset Lodge No 7230 - 1953
Master Lodge of Agriculture - 1959
Exalted Wrington Vale Chapter No 1199 - 1954
MEZ Wrington Vale Chapter - 1964
Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden, Somerset. 1972
Past Provincial Grand Scribe N, Somerset 1972
Part Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies UGLE. 1980
Past Junior Grand Deacon UGLE. 2004


14th December - Forest of Mendip Lodge help Urology Department at Southmead Hospital

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As a professional diving instructor, Forest of Mendip member Garry Sharp requires a regular thorough medical. His examination two years ago revealed concerns which resulted in Garry being diagnosed with Bladder Cancer. This has meant him having to attend for regular treatment at Southmead Hospital Urology Department, in Bristol. Whilst there as an outpatient Garry heard that they were raising funds to buy equipment and being so grateful for the help and care they have given him, he arranged for money raised by Members of the Lodge to go towards their fundraising and on Friday 6th December Garry and fellow Lodge Members presented a cheque for £900 to the department.

Nurse Rachael Skews thanked Garry and the Brethren for their very generous donation which will go towards the purchase of a Bladder Scanner.

In the picture are nurses Rachael Skews and Amanda Fuller,accompanied by Garry, Ray Beckingham, Brian Newman & Garry's daughter Reanne. Photo by Paula, Garry's wife.
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At the November meeting of the Forest of Mendip Lodge, several of the members appeared to be doing impressions of Fu Manchu!
WM Paul Weller - Ian Angel - Ian Drewitt - Garry Sharp - Keith Taplin - Barry Goodyear and Damien Pick had all signed up to the Movember campaign to raise money for Men’s Health Charities by growing a moustache. Great photo fellas but are you sure that's real Damien?"

PS. The money that was raised was combined with the presentation to Southmead Urology Dept.
Editors Note; Would you buy a used car off these guys? Well Dodgy!

9th December - Royal Sussex Installation and Christmas Party!

On Monday 3rd December W.Bro Ian Strickland the Provincial Junior Grand Warden represented the PGM at the Royal Sussex Installation. He saw Val Cooke install Paul Mayes in exemplary fashion.
On Sunday 8th.December the Lodge held their Christmas Lunch in the Temple at the Bath Masonic Hall, to which the widows of past Lodge members were invited. A good number of Lodge members and their families and friends entertained eight of our thirteen widows, a total of over fifty. They enjoyed an excellent traditional Christmas dinner, provided by Ben Hayward, the new Bath Masonic Hall caterer.
Modifications, undertaken by the Trustees, enable the wider use
of the Lodge Room which, apart from this function has been used for wedding receptions, birthday parties and as a venue for several events during the Bath Festival. Not only does this raise the awareness of Freemasonry in Bath, but generates a useful income for the Masonic Hall Trust Company.
Mike Cotton, Lodge Information Officer.

Click on the Installation photo to see the gallery


4th December - Denis receives his 50th Certificate from the PGM

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The Provincial Grand Master Stuart Hadler was at the regular meeting of Royal Albert Edward Lodge No 906 in Bath last night not only to witness an excellent initiation ceremony carried out by the Master, Roy Short and his team but also to present V.W.Bro Denis Calderly, PGSwd Bearer, Past Grand Superintendent in and over the Province of Somerset, with a certificate celebrating his 50 years in Masonry.
It was fifty years to the day, the 4th December 1963 that Denis was initiated into the Royal Albert Edward Lodge. The Provincial Grand Master gave the brethren a potted history of Denis’s life and work and of course his considerable Masonic CV!
Denis had moved to Bath after qualifying as a teacher with his wife Muriel, also a teacher in 1960. Denis soon became involved in the local community and joined Royal Albert Edward in 1963 becoming Master in 1975, for eight of the twelve intervening years he was Lodge organist. Denis was also Master of Somerset Masters Lodge No 3746 in 1996 and again became Master of 906 in 2011 and 2012! He has also been the organist of Somerset Masters for many years in addition to playing for many other Lodges on an ad hoc basis.
In the Royal Arch he was exalted in to Royal Cumberland Chapter No 41 in 1966 and was MEZ in 1988 he was MEZ of Somerset First Principals Chapter No 3746 in 2004. Denis was appointed Grand Superintendent in and over the Province of Somerset in 1998 and held that position for 10 years. Denis has made other Masonic achievements and is well known in Somerset and beyond in both the Craft and Holy Royal Arch.
The PGM concluded by telling the brethren that Denis had been Provincial Organist in 1979 and 1980 and he was delighted that he had accepted his invitation to take that post again in 2014.
In response Denis thanked the PGM for presenting his certificate he said “Provincial Grand Master you have certainly spent a great deal of time researching and I was quite surprised with what you had been able to find out! Particularly the dates when I was organist and choirmaster at St. Mary's, Saltford, the window Muriel and I had renovated in the chancel there at the time of our Golden Wedding and our association with the Keynsham Hospital League of Friends.
Freemasonry has been, and will continue to be important to me and I couldn't have become so involved without Muriel's support. I consider myself very fortunate.
I am hoping that the Initiation of Bro Tony Davis tonight and another candidate in January will prove to be a turning point for Royal Albert Edward Lodge. As you know, we have struggled in the recent past but we have an enthusiastic group of Past Masters who are willing to give their full and continued support.”
The presentation and response concluded with much applause for Denis from his many Masonic friends who had come to celebrate his 50th Anniversary.
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Ray Guthrie - Deputy PGM, John Bennett - Grand Superintendent, Tony Davis, the Initiate,
Stuart Hadler PGM, Denis and Roy Short Master 906. Photos by Paul Mallon


23rd November - Past Master of Royal Naval Lodge now Grand Tyler in Malta!

At the Annual Communication of the Sovereign Grand Lodge of Malta, held at the Masonic Hall Valletta on 23rd November 2013, Jim Hunter, who was Master of Royal Naval Lodge in Yeovil in 2009, was installed as the Grand Tyler of the Sovereign Grand Lodge of Malta.

Since arriving in Malta Jim has joined 2 Lodges, St John and St Paul under the English Constitution and the Lodge of Count Roger of Normandy under the Maltese Constitution. He is currently ADC in St John and St Paul.
Jim writes "We are lucky now that the Maltese lodges under the SGLOM are recognised by UGLE, and are well attended from Grand Officers from the UK. In fact our very own Grand Inspector of the English a Group of Lodges is a joining member of a Maltese lodge too. So all is good here in Malta with regards to Masonry in fact the Maltese have had three consecration ceremonies in the last year. We also all meet in the same Masonic Hall now which has turned out to be a great move. You can see one of the photos is taken under the old Royal Naval Lodge Banner, still proudly displayed in the Masonic Hall here in Malta."
From left to right on the photo are the following:
RWBro S Bush. Grand Secretary, RWBro R P C Strutt. Grand Director of Ceremonies, MWBro A A Pisani Grand Master of the Sovereign Grand Lodge of Malta and VWBro Jim Hunter Grand Tyler and new boy. Click to see the second Photo is taken under the Royal Naval Banner.

18th November - Forest of Mendip Lodge supports Police Cadets

Click to enlarge image.
Note - The Volunteer Police Cadets under Avon and Somerset Constabulary is open to young people between the ages of 14 to 17 years. For more information visit Avon & Somerset Constabulary.
The Master of the Forest of Mendip Lodge Paul Weller agreed that proceeds from the raffle held at the festive board after his Installation should be donated to the North Somerset volunteer Police cadets, who are based nearby at Churchill.
The unit has been running for just over a year and PC Ray Bradley QPM, the local Blagdon bobby has been in overall charge. The unit is self funded and relies on support from local businesses etc. The £210 raised by the Lodge will go towards purchasing more radios for use by the cadets.
Recently they have been involved with the Bristol Ballon Fiesta, a multi faith day in Bristol, on patrol in Weston super Mare for Halloween and crime prevention duties in Portishead. They will be on crime prevention duties on Thursday evenings in Weston super Mare during the run up to Christmas.
My grandson Nile Beckingham aged 15 is seen holding the cheque from the Lodge with PC Bradley in the centre of the other cadets with members of Forest of Mendip Lodge seated in front, Ray Beckinham, Paul Weller, Brian Newman and Garry Sharp.
Ray Beckingham Lodge 8019

11th November - In for a Tweet! Lodge of Honour gain new candidate via Twitter

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The November meeting of Lodge of Honour was a ground breaking event , not only was the temple full and buzzing expectantly with anticipation of seeing a double initiation but one of the candidates had come to 379 as a direct result of contact through the lodges Twitter account @lodgeofhonour

This was certainly a first for Lodge of Honour and is most likely to be a first within the Province of Somerset (pardon the pun!) and demonstrates how social media is starting to be used within Freemasonry for communication, networking and in this case, recruiting. Lodge of Honour have a well established twitter feed which is regularly updated providing their almost two thousand followers with interesting news updates pertaining to lodge matters.

Both of the candidates were reported as being excellent and were ably introduced to the craft, with help from brethren from Lodge of Honour’s sister lodges in Bath.
The Festive Board was also a buzz with merriment and both Bro. Phil and Bro. Mike were delighted with their experience.

Left to Right - Bro. Phil, W. Bro Geoff Ifill WM, Bro. Mike

9th November - Hayley and Peter raise over £1400 for Macmillan

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By abstaining from alcoholic drinks for a month Hayley Hunt and Peter Catlow, the caretaker and caterer respectively at Taunton Masonic Hall, raised £1420 for Macmillan Nurses.
Hayley had noted the idea promoted by Macmillan as “Go sober for October” and decided it was a way to help a good cause. Peter offered to join her to make a team effort.
A cheque was presented to Toby Fielder of MacMillan Nurses, at a gathering at The Masonic Hall. Toby thanked all for their support and explained how the organisation helped cancer sufferers and their dependants. He said that “Go sober for October” had raised over £1m for this year.
Hayley and Peter thanked all family and friends including Taunton Freemasons for their sponsorship. Peter reported that “it was not too great a hardship once you got your head around it” but Hayley admitted that having a fairly active social life she found it “a challenge”.
The photo shows Toby Fielder explaining the work of the charity, Haley and Peter look on.
Report by Peter Light, Vivary Lodge Information Officer.

6th November - Congratulations from the Queen!

Elizabethan Lodge No.7296 this week celebrated its Diamond Jubilee with a special meeting at the City’s famous Masonic Hall in Old Orchard Street. After welcoming their distinguished visitors, the gavel was passed for the evening to the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, the Very Worshipful Brother Raymond Guthrie, who conducted an initiation ceremony with the Provincial Team, ably supported by the choir from the St Cecilia Lodge.
Click the Image to enlarge, Photos by Paul Mallon.
At the Festive Board afterwards the Master, Worshipful Brother Paul Mallon, read a letter of best wishes and congratulations from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, after whom the Lodge was named when it was formed in her Coronation Year.

Several speeches alluded to the history of the Lodge, which is well‐known for its popularity among visiting Brethren, who sometimes outnumber members on Lodge nights. Such was the case not only on this occasion, but at the inaugural meeting back in November 1953, when temporary tiers of seating had to be erected at the sides of the Temple to accommodate more than 150 visitors, some from as far afield as Australia and the USA, attending in support of the Lodge’s 21 Founding Members during the ceremony of consecration performed by the then Provincial Grand Master, Rt.W. Bro. Brig. Gen. Claude Lumsden Norman DSO MVO DL. The Lodge’s first Master, W.Bro. Arthur Prince, was a Bath shopkeeper.

Mention was also made of the Lodge’s longest serving member, W.Bro. William Neate, who had already been a Mason for thirty years when he became one of those founder members. In 1993, he was presented with a certificate commemorating 70‐years in Freemasonry, and was still a member of the Lodge when he died four years later at the age of 100. His name is toasted at the Lodge’s annual Installation Meeting using an engraved silver loving cup donated in his memory.

Elizabethan is the youngest of Bath’s seven Lodges that meet regularly at the Masonic Hall, formerly the original Theatre Royal which was opened in 1750. The building, which now opens to the public for guided tours, also contains the Bath Masonic Museum, created in 1922 and containing many interesting items, including the complete minutes of the Royal Cumberland Lodge, which has met in the City since its formation in 1732, making it the oldest continuous Provincial Masonic Lodge in the country.Best Regards

Paul Mallon

31st October - Somerset Masters' raise awareness about dementia

At Taunton Masonic Hall today Somerset Masters Lodge hosted a talk given by VW Bro Chris Caine of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution on the subject of dementia. The Lodge room was packed with Members and guests to listen to what was a most instructive talk on the types of dementia and some simple advice for carers trying to help those suffering with dementia.
Chis also outlined what the seventeen care homes run by the RMBI throughout England and Wales were doing to improve the care of dementia sufferers who are resident in the homes.
He gave some brief details regarding the plans for increasing the capacity at Cadogan Court in Exeter for those suffering from this debilitating condition.
Ray Beckingham the Master of the Lodge thanked Chris for his very enlightening presentation and presented a cheque from the Lodge for £300 for the RMBI.
Following the meeting ninety Brethren enjoyed an excellent lunch, with much discussion and laughter.
Click on the photo to see the other images from the meeting. Visit RMBI web site
It is interesting to note that the meeting started at 11.00am and the lunch finished at 2.00pm, excellent timekeeping!!
Anyone who is a Master or Past Master of a Somerset Lodge is welcome to join the Lodge. It meets twice a year on the last Monday in February and the last working day of October. The Lodge exists to promote Masonic knowledge, membership costs £8 per year. For more details contact the Lodge secretary David Perkins

18th October - Barry Woodside Installed as Master of Vivary Lodge

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It may surprise many to know that Worshipful Brother Barry Woodside, who is well known in Somerset as the Second Provincial Grand Principal in the Royal Arch, had never been through the chair of a Somerset Craft Lodge. He is however a Past Master having been Master of Breanick Lodge No 8610, meeting at St Agnes in Cornwall in 1986.

This was remedied when he was installed, by Worshipful Brother Bhuvi Bhalla, into the chair of Vivary Lodge No 8654 at their October Meeting. Barry acknowledged that Bhuvi had also been through the chair in a Kenyan Lodge, before joining Vivary, by thanking him in Swahili. Barry joined Vivary Lodge in 1992 and has been the Director of Ceremonies of the Lodge since 2002.

Barry's origins were also noted when he advanced to be installed and the Provincial Organist, W Bro Alwyn Clegg played the well known Cornish anthem of "Going up Camborne Hill coming down."

Peter Light - Lodge Information Officer, Vivary Lodge. Photo by William Allen

10th October - Cancer Research UK trial to find new ways to treat prostate cancer given £1,500 boost by Somerset Farmers Lodge

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The donation, raised during the term of office of Master Richard Hill through a variety of fundraising events, will specifically support Cancer Research UK’s STAMPEDE clinical trial.
Cancer Research UK says that Somerset is an important hub for cancer research. Of the thousands diagnosed with cancer every year in the Somerset area, many patients from local hospitals such as Taunton Musgrove Park, are participating in UK wide trials to directly improve the lives of people with cancer.
Richard says “Cancer Research UK is making huge and on-going strides in the fight against cancer. The clinical research such as the STAMPEDE trial is an essential step into finding new ways of preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer, and is enabling doctors to test the newest discoveries in cancer treatment and offer patients the latest available treatments. Too many of us have lost friends and family to cancer. Research holds the key to cancer treatment and ultimately to a cure. Cancer Research UK is conducting vital work and deserves all our support.”
Dawn Harrison, Cancer Research UK’s local fundraising manager for Somerset, said: “I would like to thank the Somerset Farmers Lodge for the wonderful gift of £1,500 supporting the clinical trials. Cancer Research UK has made enormous progress in the fight against cancer and continues to do so because of the support we receive from the general public, however, we have only been able to do this thanks to the dedication and commitment of people like the Somerset Farmers Lodge without whom we would not be able to fund our vital research. For more details about research and how you can help go to

9th October - Nyanza Lodge Celebrates centenary of move to Berrymans Lane

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The Nyanza Lodge in Ilminster last week celebrated 100 years of being based in the town at Berrymans Lane.
The Lodge was founded in 1867 and originally met in premises at the top of North Street, in the old doctors’ surgery.
In October 1913 they moved premises and to celebrate that the members marched in full regalia from North Street to Berrymans Lane where they still meet today.
So, 100 years later and the members of Nyanza Lodge repeated the walk in full Masonic dress.
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The Worshipful Master of Nyanza, Hall Smyth, and the Provincial Grand Master for Somerset, Stuart Hadler, were joined by 18 Members of the Lodge who marched from North Street to Berrymans Lane – just as their predecessors did back in 1913.
The procession down the main High Street in full regalia was a first in Somerset since the Second World War and shows how Masonry is looking to be more ‘open’ in modern times.
Photos by kind permission of Christine Jones - Yeovil Press.
Download two page document produced by the Lodge Secretary, Roger Allen giving more details of the original move to Berrymans Lane and a list of officers 1913 & 2013.

August 8th - Forest of Mendip Member, Martyn Bangham makes marathon kayak ride in aid of Arthritis Research

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Forest of Mendip member, Martyn Bangham and his lifelong friend Steve Hewson, decided to make a sponsored kayak ride from Devizes to Westminster - a 125-mile challenge - raising £1,425 which they have donated to Arthritis Research.
Beginning on August 8 they set off from Devizes in Wiltshire for the 4 day challenge. It was the first time that the two had attempted this well-known Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Marathon event so were excited to take it on. Covering around 35 miles a day, Steve and Martyn - who has suffered with rheumatoid arthritis since he was a child - enjoyed nice views on the riverside including regattas and even Windsor Castle while keeping their strength up with chocolate bars and energy drinks. The duo were supported throughout the challenge by their families who met them at designated pit stops where they had lunch and well deserved rests.

Martyn said about the challenge: “It went really well but we were both pretty tired when we finished. Because of the tide, we finished earlier than expected and beat our families to the finish line. Looking back, we should have done a bit more training but we’re both really glad we did it.”

2nd June - Admiral Blake supports Childrens' Hospice South West

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Kylie Gallagher, the local Community Fund Raiser for Childrens' Hospice South West, was delighted to be presented with a cheque for £1500 from the Admiral Blake Masonic Lodge, Bridgwater. The money was raised at a special charity auction in December 2012. Childrens' Hospice South West carry out vital work in the West Country for very sick children and their families. They receive very little government funding and rely on donations such as this.
In the photograph, front left WM Adrian Robson, centre Kylie Gallagher, front right Charity Steward Stewart Morgan, rear left DC Steve Williams and rear right Lodge Sec Mark Bejona.