Coronavirus restrictions have prevented Masonic activity for the longest period in memory and I know that many brethren are keen to get back to lodge meetings. However, Columbanus Lodge No 9941, the Somerset lodge for motorcyclists which also meets in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire managed to hold their Installation on Saturday 26th June at Chippenham.
We were restricted to twenty brethren according to the very strict Covid Protocol and all social distancing rules applied. However, W Bro John Ingram Installed W Bro Grahame Bodman, albeit in a slightly adapted form, and the WM appointed his officers in a very sincere fashion.
After the meeting the brethren enjoyed a meal in the dining room on five round tables of four. Sadly we were not allowed to sing the Masters’ Song or have any toasts or speeches but the meeting was enjoyed by all those who attended, it enabled us to move forward as a lodge, W Bro John having had to serve for two years, and most of the brethren enjoyed perfect conditions for their ride to and from the lodge.
W Bro Kent Baxter of Columbanus Lodge wanted to find a way to support his local Children’s Hospice so decided to make a parachute jump. Despite being a little nerve wracking it was a great success and he raised over £2500.
Kent takes up the story……“I arrived at the airfield at Netheravon on Salisbury Plain at about 7.15 with my wife Jill. After signing the paperwork I had a 20 minute briefing, then I was rigged up with a harness and by 9.15 was sitting on the floor of a plane on my way to take the jump. We reached just over two miles in altitude, I shuffled to the exit with my instructor. He sat on the edge of the plane and I was outside, tied to him by the harness – then we jumped! We spent around 40 seconds in the freefall sky dive then at about 6000ft the parachute was deployed and we drifted back to land. There’s something weird about seeing your shadow on top of a cloud then flying through the cloud! By 10.30 we were back home and having a bacon sandwich for breakfast. It was a fantastic experience and a great way to earn some well deserved funds for such a worthy cause and raised £2565 with donations from many individuals and a number of organisations and I would like to thank you all.”