Somerset Freemasons

Lodge News 2019

News from Lodges July 2019

Exmoor Lodge - Charity Barbecue

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Thankfully, the weather on the afternoon Sunday 14th July proved to be just perfect for the occasion of the Exmoor Lodge 2390 Charity Barbecue.

Bright sunshine and a cooling light breeze greeted over 90 guests at the event which was held in the paddock at the rear of the home of W.Bro Clive Dunster and wife Sandy at Bilbrook near Minehead.

A goodly number of Brethren, their partners, family members and guests were able to relax with a drink in the shade of the party marque and parasols whilst traditional barbecue fayre was being prepared on the large charcoal barbecue by Exmoor’s current W.M. Andy Baird and Clive Dunster.
Meanwhile, Andy’s wife Heather and Sandy perfectly choreographed the arrival of oven-cooked chicken, the fish and vegetarian options as well as presenting salads and then fruit puddings for dessert. Beautifully done ladies. Couldn’t have done it without you!!

A prize draw was well supported with generous donations of prizes and the participation of those present. Thanks to Clive and Sandy’s daughter, Katey and daughter-in-law, Sammy for dealing with the draw.

In all, just over £900 was raised, with profits being shared between the W.M.’s chosen local charities and the Minehead Masonic Hall Company Building Fund.

The event turned out to be the social, culinary and fundraising success that Andy had hoped it would be.

He sincerely thanks the guests and Brethren of Exmoor and neighbouring West Somerset Lodges for their generous support. A contingent from Royal Somerset Lodge 973 in Frome had also made the long journey in support!

An event such as this requires a tremendous amount of planning and preparation in order for it to appear seamless and relatively effortless on the day.
Success would not have been achieved without Clive and Sandy Dunster’s generosity in providing the venue and marquees together with their (and other family members) time and hard graft in preparing and then returning things to normal afterwards.

Thank you all.

Andy Baird.
WM & LIO Exmoor Lodge 2390.

News from Lodges June 2019

5 Ashlars for Forest of Mendip Lodge

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Forest of Mendip Lodge have now achieved their Fifth Ashlar for the 2020 festival.

The Ashlar was presented to the Worshipful Master of the Lodge W.Bro Garry Sharp by the Assistant Provincial Grand Master Martin Slocombe at their meeting on Friday 21st June, when he attended as part of the Provincial team, plus a representation of members of the Holy Royal Arch. on a Provincial Fraternal visit.

Unfortunately the Charity Steward of the Lodge could not attend on this occasion, due to a family commitment.

Ray Beckingham L.I.O.

5 Ashlars for St Bernard’s Lodge

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On Wednesday 12th June the APGM W. Bro. Martin Slocombe, accompanied by W. Bro. David Maddern the Provincial Charity Steward, attended the meeting of St Bernard’s Lodge to present the Brethren with their 4th Ashlar Award for the Somerset 2020Festival Appeal. However whilst on their way they reviewed the figures and established that the Lodge had transferred sufficient money to entitle them to the award of a 5th Ashlar.

This information was kept from the Lodge until after W. Bro. John Hicks, the Lodge Charity Steward, had no sooner received the 4th Ashlar from Martin when Martin produced another Ashlar from the pocket of his apron and duly made a second presentation! This tactic has the desired effect with the Lodge Members taken by complete surprise. Well done St Bernard’s for all the hard work and commitment in achieving this magnificent milestone.

David Maddern
Provincial Charity Steward

Wincanton Freemasons’ Open Day - 29th June 2019 - 10:00am - 3:00pm

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On Saturday 29th June Wincanton Freemasons are holding an Open Day at the Masonic Temple, Church Street, Wincanton. BA9 9AA

The Masonic association with Wincanton stretches back to 1836. It includes the time that there was a French POW Lodge in Wincanton. Freemasons will be available to chat about this rich history and to answer any questions you may have.

if your ancestors may have been Freemasons come along and find out about them. If you are just curious come along and find out what goes on at a Masonic Centre.

News from Lodges May 2019

60 Year Certificate for Gerald

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On 23rd April at the St Luke’s meeting at Bath V W Bro. Ray Guthrie presented a 60 year Certificate to W Bro. Gerald Bryant, the longest serving member of St Luke’s Lodge.

Gerald is 95 years old having been born in Wiltshire in 1923. He was educated at Lord Wandsworth College in Long Sutton, Hampshire from 1935 until 1939 when, following the outbreak of World War 2 he returned home to help his widowed Mother run the village shop and Post Office. He was called up in 1941, on his 18th Birthday, and trained as a Wireless Operator before being posted to the Salisbury area where the 6th Airborne Division was being formed. He took part in Operation Varsity (the Rhine Crossing) where his glider was forced to land in an orchard!

At the end of the War in Europe Gerald returned to the UK only to be posted, with the 6th Airborne, to Palestine; he returned to the UK in 1947 and was demobbed with the rank of Sergeant.

Gerald took and passed the Civil Service Examination and was assigned to the Admiralty in Bath and met Sylvia; they were married in 1950 and settled happily in Bath where they built the house in which Gerald still lives. Quite unexpectedly Gerald was appointed Assistant Secretary to the Flag Officer, Malta and spent 4 years there along with Sylvia and their two children. Gerald retired from the Civil Service in 1978 and now lives alone since Sylvia’s death in 2006.

Gerald was initiated into St Luke’s Lodge No. 6540 in October 1958. (St Luke’s Lodge was formed by Masonic Civil Servants who moved to Bath when the Admiralty was evacuated from London during WW2). He joined the Royal Naval Lodge in Malta and became Worshipful Master in 1962 (only 4 years after his Initiation because of the rapid turnover of Naval personnel). Gerald was appointed District Junior Deacon and retained this rank on his return to UK.

Although Gerald had been Worshipful Master in Malta he was not exempted from joining the progressive line when he returned to St Luke’s. He was appointed Steward (one of 10 in those days) and progressed through all the Offices before becoming Worshipful Master in 1975 and an appointment to PPrSGD in 1981.

During the early 1980’s Gerald was instrumental in the move of Royal Naval Lodge from Malta to Somerset. There was insufficient support for an 8th Craft Lodge in Bath so Royal Naval Lodge No. 2761 arrived in Yeovil in 1984 where Gerald became the first UK Master in a Ceremony attended by the Incumbent WM, the IPM and the Grand Inspector for Malta.

Gerald was promoted to PrJGW in 1989 and PPrSGW in 1993. He is a Member of the Holy Royal Arch, Rose Croix and Knight’s Templar. He is still regular attendee at St Luke’s Meetings.

David Gill

The Rt. Hon Dr Liam Fox visits Estune for DOUBLE Celebration

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The Rt. Hon Dr Liam Fox, Minister of State for International Affairs joined the members of Estune 6817 and their Ladies on May 19th for a very special occasion. Firstly it was to celebrate Estune’ s 70th anniversary and secondly it was PGM, David Medlock’s birthday! Liam addressed the audience in a most amusing and informal manner, explaining without a hint of Politics about being a Minister and what it entails. He said that he was very much aware of the good things that Freemasons do within the Community and the money they raise for charity. The PGM was presented with a very impressive cake and managed to blow out all the candles in one go. Compass is not at liberty to say how many there were, however the AsstPGM Martin Slocombe, accompanied by Richard Reeve (PGL Gloucestershire) donned a ‘Beatles’ wig and entertained everyone with his rendition of ‘When I’m 64’! Also in attendance were past PGM Stanley Hopkins and Past AsstPGM Terry Hart, accompanied by their wives. John Wyatt (Estune Sec) who organised the event told Compass “ Liam Fox has been MP for North Somerset for 27 years and we are delighted that he was able to join us for such a special occasion. It was a most enjoyable afternoon”.

Barry Davies
Compass Editor

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DPGM Ben Batley is Number One with Quantock

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Deputy PGM Ben Batley had a surprise on his fraternal visit to Quantock 4446. WM Chris Crump presented him with a framed football shirt in the colours of Bens favourite team – Reading – nicknamed ‘The Royals’. Ben told Compass “It was completely unexpected and a wonderful surprise. And the number on the shirt? – Number 2 of course!

Barry Davies
Compass SMR Editor


Portcullis 2038 celebrates Somerset Day 2019 in style

Langport, situated on the banks of the River Parrett, at the heart of the Somerset Levels is one of the smallest towns in England. It also has one of the smallest Masonic Halls!

The ‘Hanging Chapel’, a 13th century archway bearing a perpendicular building formally known as the ‘Chantry Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary’ is home to Portcullis 2038 and Somerset Farmers 9018. The building has been a Masonic meeting place since 1891 and In celebration of Somerset Day 2019 it was decided to open its doors to the public.

Ian Moore, Portcullis Secretary told Compass “The response has been absolutely unbelievable. In all, we had over 500 visitors and as a result two people are to apply for initiation and one to become a Joining member.”

WM George Small said “We are delighted to be able to integrate with the community in this way and have received some very favourable feedback. One of the visitors even sat down at our Organ and began playing, the atmosphere was absolutely amazing!”

Barry Davies
Compass Editor
Dir. of Comms

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Brethren & Visitors at the Langport MH Openday
(Center rear) Seated - Charlotte & Aiden Redfearn (Left of Centre) Mandy & Ian Moore (Sec): (Right of Centre) Barry Horsgood (Treas.): neil McGrath (SW)
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Portcullis 2038 Banner

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The Pillars in Silhouette through the door of the Hanging Chapel

Worshipful Master Initiates Son at Saltford Lodge

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On Tuesday 7th May the Worshipful Master of Saltford Lodge, W Bro DG Newland PPr G SofWks, initiated his son, Mark Newland. There was a very full temple and festive board in Keynsham as it was also the occasion of the annual fraternal visit from the Master and brethren of Forest of Mendip Lodge.
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W Bro Ray Beckingham, LIO of the Forest of Mendip Lodge followed up with this report:

The Forest of Mendip Lodge Wanderers paid a fraternal visit to their daughter Lodge, the Saltford Lodge on Tuesday 7th May 2019. Ten members attended, including our newest Initiate. to witness an Initiation by a father to his son. The ceremony was moving. The Festive board was a buffet, not a normal buffet, but a choice of two curries, Chilli & Rice, Pork chops & Chips, followed by a delicious assortment of cakes - no good
if you are watching your weight!

Chris Waterhouse returns to his NZ roots to make important presentation

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W.Bro. Chris Waterhouse (on right) with the Worshipful Master of Lodge Takahe, W.Bro. Ian Bassett

As a Kiwi now living in the UK, I recently visited New Zealand where I was a guest at Lodge Takahe in Christchurch. I was able to present $1000 NZD via the NZ Grand Master’s relief fund for victims of the Christchurch Mosque terror attacks which took place on Friday 15th March.

£400 was collected by Brethren of the Lodge of Fidelity and Sincerity No 1966, meeting at Wellington, Somerset. A further very generous donation of £100 was added to the total by the outgoing PGM for Somerset, R.W.Bro. Stuart Hadler.

Whilst in Christchurch I also visited the Al Noor Mosque where one of the attacks took place.
I found this to be a very moving and saddening experience.

W.Bro. Chris Waterhouse
Lodge of Fidelity and Sincerity No 1966
Wellington, Somerset

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W.Bro. Chris Waterhouse at the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch

News from Lodges April 2019


Lodge of Unanimity and Sincerity Donate to the South and West Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA)

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On Saturday, 6 April W Bro Dillon Hughes IPM of The Lodge of Unanimity & Sincerity No 261 accompanied by his partner Carole Aspden presented a cheque for £752 plus an iPad donated by W Bro Charlie Barker and his wife Karen, to the South and West Somerset Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA). The money had been raised by raffles at 261 Ladies Festival and at the November meeting. The monies will be used to support families affected by MND in the South and West Somerset area. The iPad will enable the MNDA to support nurses by showing those living with MND and their families how to use equipment that they will need now and in the future.

MND is a progressive neurological disease that can affect mobility, speech, eating and breathing and in some cases dementia.’


Midsomer Norton Lodges provide valuable support to Freewheelers Charity

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The two Masonic Lodges based in Midsomer Norton recently held a presentation to “Freewheelers” the emergency voluntary blood bike charity when they presented a cheque for £1,555 which had been raised at several joint social events during the year.

The Masonic Province of Somerset in recognition of the two Lodges contribution donated a further £500 to the total raised.

Freewheelers Emergency Voluntary Service is a blood bike registered charity based in South West England that provides a free out-of-hours motorcycle courier service to hospitals in the South West of England.
Founded in Weston-super-Mare in 1990, It is funded 100% by public donations and 100% of members are unpaid volunteers.

The picture shows, from the left, Roland Bilsom the Worshipful Master of Kenneth Kinnersley Lodge and Chris James Worshipful Master of Connaught Lodge presenting their cheque to Andy Peaple of “Freewheelers,” Tony Cooper presenting the Cheque from the “Somerset Masonic Charity” and finally Colin Lunt, Charity Steward of Connaught Lodge.

Tony Cooper
Connaught Lodge 3573

News from Lodges March 2019


Admiral Blake Lodge Holds Sportsmen’s Dinner

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Following a previous interim donation of £1000 to the newly formed Somerset branch of the Masonic Fishing Charity the Admiral Blake Lodge at Bridgwater held a charity sportsman’s dinner when good company and good food was followed by an entertaining and interesting insight into the life, times, trials and tribulations of Mr Roger East, a Premiership and Champions league referee, one of the chosen few to officiate at the very top levels of the game. An auction and raffle was held which raised well in excess of £1000 to further assist the fishermen fund the required sporting and health and safety equipment needed for their first outing in June when they will be entertaining and educating pupils from Ravenswood School at Nailsea Meningitis Research was the charity chosen by Worshipful Brother James Brown during his year in the Chair in 2017/18, a subject very personal and close to his family. Fund raising during his year enabled a donation of £1500 to be made to assist in education and recognition of this illness.

The photo shows W Bro James Brown making a personal presentation to Mr Craig Berry who accepted it on behalf of the Meningitis Research Trust at the dinner


Admiral Blake Lodge Supports Masonic Fishing Charity

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Following a very interesting presentation at the 2018 annual Secretaries Meeting by W Bro Graham Snell and Bro Rob Collins of the objectives of the of the Masonic Fishing Charity W Bro Robin Back, Worshipful Master of the Admiral Blake Lodge No 4692 adopted it as his primary charity for his year in the Chair.

A further, more detailed presentation was given to the Brethren and Ladies in December when an auction and raffle was held, a very successful race night in February increased the total raised so far to well over £1500 with the proceeds of a planned sportsman’s dinner being held on 26th April 2019 also being donated to this worthy cause. Premiership football referee Mr Roger East will provide an entertaining insight into the life and times of a premiership and champions league referee. The newly formed Somerset Brach of the charity urgently needs equipment not only for the fishing but also personal protective equipment for the participants to comply with all health and safety aspects of giving disabled and disadvantaged children a fun and interactive day out, enabling them to gain confidence, meet new challenges and achieve tangible results to take away from the day. With the new fishing season fast approaching an interim donation of £1000 was made to W Bro Mark Burton at the March meeting of the Lodge enabling their plans to be financed. Several Brethren have also offered their expertise and services to assist at the fishing days.

The photo shows Charity Steward W Bro Stewart Morgan, and W Bro Robin Back making this presentation to W Bro Mark Burton


Olympian Lodge Support Bristol Bears Disabled Rugby Section

Members of Olympian presented a cheque for £2500 to the Bristol Bears disabled rugby section. The presentation was announced at half time at the recent Gloucester game and made on the half way line in front of 17000 supporters.
The Lodge has already given £40,000+ to various disabled sports charities including a similar amount five years ago to Bristol Bears. A plaque on the main entrance wall of the stadium acknowledged this contribution.

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The fit looking sportsmen of Olympian pictured from the left - Brad Giles (WM 2018) Lee Roff, Derek Gunningham (Dings RFC Blazer), Sandy Kemlo, Brian Rees (Dings RFC Blazer), Keith Ham and Andy Gunningham


Queens College Lodge receive 5th Ashlar

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The PGM RW Bro Stuart Hadler presented a 5th Ashlar to Queen’s College, Taunton Lodge at their installation meeting on 16th March. W Bro Jim Wiltshire, centre (L) stepped aside for personal reasons in 2018 after spearheading Queen’s 2020 Festival campaign. W Bro Peter Thomas is the current Charity Steward. Wm Alan Watkins looks on.

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Despite meeting their commitment to 2020 Festival, Queen’s Lodge has still been able to support two local charities in the past 12 months; £2,500 to S.U.R.E. with help of £500 from Provincial ‘match funding’ scheme (WM Alan presenting to Chair, Paul Always), W Bro Peter looking on, and £550 at their popular Christmas meeting when £550 was donated to Yeovil Freewheelers (‘Blood Bikes’). Chair, Martin Surrey receiving from WM Alan.

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Chair of Yeovil Freewheelers (‘Blood Bikes’), Martin Surrey receiving their cheque from WM Alan.

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RW PGM Stuart Hadler and VW Deputy PGM John Winston were making their last visit to Queen’s Lodge in their official capacities, photographed alongside W Bro Graham Ten Broeke, newly installed Master being congratulated by IPM W Bro Alan Watkins, flanked by W Bro Ray Conneely, (L), SW and W Bro Lindsay Edmunds, (R), JW.

It was later learned that the Acting DC, W Bro George Sargeant PrAsstGDC, seated extreme (L) in visiting Queen’s Lodge had completed his ambition to visit all 89 craft lodges in the province during his year in office!

News from Lodges February 2019


St. Dunstan’s Lodge donate to Avalon School’s Hydrotherapy Pool Campaign

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On Friday 23rd November 2018 a Cheque to the value of £10,000 was presented to Avalon School’s Hydrotherapy Pool Campaign.

The presentation was made at the afternoon assembly by WM Tom Nutt of St Dunstan’s Lodge No 7973 Glastonbury to Alison Murkin, President, Friends of Avalon School and Head teacher, Avalon School.

Also in the photograph are Adrian Huggett, Lodge Secretary, Dudley Tremaine, Charity Steward (ret.) and children and staff of Avalon School.
Members of St Dunstan’s Lodge Glastonbury also made a donation of £500 in 2013 and £4500 in 2014.

John Hawkins
LIO 7973

Bro. Paul Binding Installed as Master of Tynte Lodge 7994

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W. Bro Tony Saunter installed Bro. Paul Binding into the chair of Tynte Lodge on 21st February, 2019.
There were 56 masons in attendance including W. Bro. Martin Slocombe, Assistant Provincial Grand Master.
After a very good ceremony everyone sojourned to the festive board where a convivial time was had by all.

Tivoli Lodge support Baytree Special Needs School

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W.Bro. Daniel Kennedy(Right) and W.Bro. Trevor Barnett (Left) presented a cheque for the sum of £1,130 to Baytree Special Needs School for special sensory equipment for classroom and playground.

A special thanks to all of the Weston Brethren for supporting the Burns night and adding their coffers from their lodge xmas cards and cakes to the coffers.

The photograph shows staff and children of Baytree School, especially the lovely Rose who accepted the cheque on their behalf.

David Kennedy CCLO

News from Lodges January 2019


Backwell Lodge donate to St Peter’s Hospice and feature in North Somerset Times

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Backwell Lodge Charity Steward Richard Barclay and Worshipful Master Harry Jordan made a donation of £1025 to St Peter's Hospice on behalf of the lodge and were thanked by Registered nurse Serena Edwards (Day Services) and Community Fundraiser Maddy Alton.


North Somerset Times Article


Andy Baird installed as Worshipful Master of Exmoor Lodge

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L-R. W.Bro’s Andy Baird, Ben Batley APGM, Andy Hadley. Presentation of Fifth Ashlar to Exmoor Lodge

The evening of Thursday 17th January saw Exmoor Lodge No 2390 install their new Worshipful Master, W. Bro. Andy Baird, at the Minehead Masonic Hall.

The Assistant PGM for Somerset, W.Bro. Ben Batley accompanied by the Assistant PGDC, W.Bro George Sargeant joined the brethren and their guests to enjoy the occasion of the Installation and the ‘sell-out’ festive board afterwards.

W.Bro John Lendon opened the Lodge and then, much to Andy’s surprise, it was his good friend and proposer into Freemasonry, W.Bro Clive Dunster who installed him as Master according to ancient custom.

Having been Installed, Andy thanked W.Bro Ben for attending, whereupon he was pleased to present Exmoor’s Charity Steward, W.Bro Andy Hadley with their fifth Grand Charity Festival Ashlar.

W.Bro Andy, the son of a Scottish Freemason, was initiated into Exmoor Lodge 2390 in February 2013. He is also a joining member of Royal Somerset Lodge 973, meeting at Frome.
He became Exmoor Lodge Information Officer in January 2016 and was appointed as PGLS S.W. Area Communications Officer in April 2018. He is currently working with others to assist W.Bro Barry Davies in the successful delivery of the new Compass annual magazine due out in April 2019.Andy is also a member of the Mark Lodge at Minehead and Chapter at Frome. He is a retired Avon and Somerset Police Officer living in Timsbury near Bath. He is married to Heather and they have a daughter, Jessica.

Andy was also delighted to welcome two Scottish brethren to his Installation.
W.Bro’s Tom Smith and Raymond Kerr are both past masters of Lodge St Peter 331 meeting at the fabulous Barr Castle in the Ayrshire town of Galston. This was the home town Mother Lodge of Andy’s late father, Nat, which Andy visits annually on his fishing holiday with Minehead brethren, W.Bro’s Clive Dunster, John Munson and Paul ‘Woody’ Wood.

Tom and Raymond caused quite a stir at Minehead’s Foxes Academy Hotel when they entered the hotel lounge wearing their kilts for pre-meeting drinks with fellow hotel guests, brethren from Frome. Not something seen every day at Foxes, whereupon the duty students made sure the photo-op wasn’t missed!

The ‘Student Fund’ at Foxes is Andy’s principle local good cause recipient of Exmoor Lodge financial support during his year in the chair.

Another recipient is the ‘Keep In Touch Club’ (KIT), which is voluntarily run by the staff of The Seahorse Centre, effectively as a youth club for those with learning difficulties who currently attend that centre, but often at different times to each other.

Exmoor Lodge will also purchase some essential equipment for the Minehead RNLI Lifeboat Station, to be utilised locally.

Andy received some totally unexpected, beautiful and generous gifts during the festive board.
From the Scottish brethren, a dedication engraved silver Quaich (Friendship Cup) together with a limited edition re-print of Robert Burns’ first book of poems from 1786.
From the brethren of Royal Somerset Lodge in Frome, a dedication engraved glass wine goblet.
All are now proudly on display at his home.
The words ‘Thank you’ cannot adequately sum up exactly what they mean to him!

It was a great evening and Andy is very much looking forward to the year ahead.

W.Bro Andy Baird
Exmoor Lodge Information Officer

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Barr Castle, Galston, Ayrshire. Owned and occupied by Lodge St Peter 331

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Interior view of Barr Castle

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W.Bro’s Raymond Kerr & Tom Smith with Foxes Academy Hotel students


Showmen’s Guild Lodge hold special meeting

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On Thursday 17th January, The Showmen’s Guild Lodge 9089 held a very successful raising and initiation ceremony in the presence of W Bro David Medlock and a Fraternal Visit from Admiral Blake Lodge 4692.

The Lodge Tyled early to raise Bro Brandon Fullwood, after which the Lodge was called off for a short period to allow the brethren to take refreshment. The Worshipful Master W Bro Edward Henderson then called the Lodge on and proceeded to initiated his son Bro Charles Henderson into freemasonry. Ensuring that this was a memorable evening for the initiate, the worshipful master was assisted by his other son Bro Edward Henderson, the Senior Warden, who invested the initiate with distinguishing badge of a mason, bringing the total number of Henderson in the lodge to seven, and complicating the secretaries job even more.

The Worshipful Master and the Officers of the Lodge, some of the officer being called upon at short notice, delivered two memorable ceremonies, and for those present it was an experience which I doubt will be seen often.

Pictured L to R are Bro Charles Henderson (Initiate), W Bro Edward Henderson (Worshipful Master) and Bro Edward Henderson (Senior Warden).

Kevin Dean


Tynte Lodge present cheque to St Margaret’s Hospice

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Following a very successful summer garden party organized by W. Bro. Tony Saunter, ably assisted by his wife Annette and their family, when they cooked 300 sausages and 300 beef burgers, with music provided by ‘The Jukeboxers’. A cheque for £2100 was presented to Kara of St Margaret’s Hospice, Taunton on Friday 11th January.

The photo shows Tony and his wife Annette, Dai Wood, Charity Steward and W. Bro Terry Joyce, who thought he was going for free beer!