The November meeting of Rural Philanthropic Lodge No 291 at Burnham was a special veterans evening. Assistant PGM, W.Bro Martin Slocombe presented a 60 year service award to Bro James McLauchlian and a 50 year certificate to Bro John Robertson (known as Ian). Ian Robertson was also awarded a 50 year certificate from his Scottish Lodge- which also included a Jewel.
Both these brethren were initiated in Lodges in Scotland and became joining members of 291 when they moved south of the Border!
Jim McLauchlian was an electrician who worked for ICI for many years until he was made redundant. He then went to work at Pontins Brean also as an electrician where he worked for 16 years. His first visit to RPL 291 in October 1961 as the guest of W. Bro. Walter Vickery landlord of the S & D who told him they wouldn’t be staying for the Festive Board as they only had sandwiches so they retired back to the S & D!
He became a joining member in November 1974 and was Master in 1984. In the Province he was appointed Past JD in 1990, promoted to past Supt Wks in 2001 and then to Past Junior Warden in 2010. He is still an active member of the Ldge.
Jim is also a member of the Vale of Jehosephat Chapter where he was MEZ in 1986, William Long Mark Lodge, Master in 1985 and William Long Royal Ark Mariner Lodge where he was Commander in 1987.
Bro Ian (John) Robertson initially moved to Highbridge on a Plastering Contract when the Morland Estate was being built in the late 60’s early 70’s. Whilst staying at the Railway Inn Highbridge, (long demolished of course) the then Landlord invited him to his Lodge, the Admiral Blake Lodge in Bridgwater, where in turn he met Dennis Bagshaw (Highbridge Hotel ) & Stan Woodberry of 291 who proposed him into the Rural Philanthropic Lodge in 1984.
Ian became very well-known and popular in the Burnham area as a partner with Ian Spence known locally as “Big Ian” & “Little Ian” of Spence & Robertson Plastering Co…
Little Ian ( Ian JG Robertson ) then bought the Burham Pub called “The Ring O’ Bells” in Oxford Street, very well known for regularly flooding out with Heavy Rain ( such was the Burnham drainage system in those days ) Duck Boards were a normal feature for the Pub regulars to walk on ! A very popular Pub with a good Folk Scene and Football Team, sadly demolished not too long after Ian’s tenure in 1981… !