Both Saltford Lodge No 8633 and St Keyna Lodge No 1833 celebrated the presentation of veterans certificates to their distinguished members this month.
At the meeting of Saltford Lodge No 8633 on the 1st of November, W.Bro Peter Godfrey received his certificate from V.W.Bro Ray Guthrie Past Deputy PGM.
Peter was initiated into Temperantia Lodge No 4088 on the 21st December 1971 in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland. He remembers it was a large lodge with around 120 members (29 members today). Being a temperance lodge no alcoholic drinks were served at the Festive Board, although a large number ordered Ginger Ale or Tonic Water to enhance their hip flasks!
A move from Rutland to Saltford necessitated a change of Lodge and Peter became a joining member of Saltford Lodge in 1985. Peter’s work as the sub post master at Saltford Port Office restricted his freemasonry and it was not until 1997 that he reached the chair. Appointed Treasurer immediately after he stepped down from the chair, a post he held for 7 years, followed by 11 years as secretary. That he thought was that! Until his successor moved house to Dorset leaving the post of Secretary vacant with no-one willing to fill it. Peter is once again the secretary of Saltford Lodge actively seeking a replacement!
At the same meeting Toby Rogers was initiated into Freemasonry by the WM, W.Bro David Newland. Congratulations to both Toby and Peter.
The meeting of St Keyna Lodge No 1833 on the 8th November was indeed a special occasion. Three distinguished members were to be presented with their veterans certificate. W.Bro Len Burden – PPrGSW – 60 years, Brother Gordon Pritchard PPrSGD – 50 years and W.Bro Alan Constance PPrGReg – 50 years, unfortunately W.Bro Alan was unable to attend.
The W.Master of Gerrard Lodge No 8999 presented the certificate to W.Bro Len Burden. None other than our Past PGM, Stuart Hadler who was proposed into Freemasonry and Gerard Lodge by Len Burden 40 years ago.
Born in Bath Len was twelve at the time of the Bath Blitz in 1942. A bomb dropped on the nearby Stothert and Pitt works severely damaged the family house killed his father also injuring other members of the family. The young Len was pulled out of the rubble, taken for dead and carried to the mortuary where he subsequently shocked a mortuary worker by ‘rising from the dead’!
Len spent 9 years in the Royal Air Force where he become Flight Controller. After discharge from the R.A.F. he went on to become a Lecturer in Engineering at Bristol University for 12 years, followed by a further 23 years at Soundwell College. Indeed, a number of the St Keyna brethren recall being taught by Len. Len has also been the proprietor of an Insurance Brokerage and an Engraving Business. The latter being a significant advantage to the Lodge as Len has refurbished and engraved many of the Past Master Jewels.
W. Bro. Len was a member of St. John Ambulance for over 50 years and was Deputy County Commissioner for Wiltshire and Chairman of the No.7 Region St. John Fellowship.
He was Initiated into St. Keyna Lodge on 18th July 1960 and became Worshipful Master in 1971. W. Bro. Len is a founder member of Saltford Lodge and the Founding Master of Gerard Lodge and was very instrumental in the transfer of Lodge Uno Corde from London to Keynsham, becoming their Worshipful Master in 2004.
Brother Gordon Pritchard was also born in Bath and a young boy at the time of the blitz. On leaving school he joined the Merchant Navy rising through the ranks to become a Master Mariner.
Gordon gave up the sea life and took up a post with Port of Bristol Authority where he ended with overall responsibility for the Avonmouth, Portishead and Royal Portbury docks. Whilst in this role Gordon was closely involved in the planning and subsequent passage of the SS Great Britain from the Bristol Channel back up the River Avon, to its current resting place.
Since being Initiated into St Keyna Lodge on the 9th February 1970 Gordon has remained an active and extremely dedicated member of the Lodge, which continues today, even though he has to travel up to our meeting’s from Uffculme in Devon. Although Gordon never went through the Chair, the Province rewarded him for his dedication to the Lodge by making him a PPrAGStdB in 2011 and then PPrSGD in 2019.