On the 30th of August Bro Bob Duffy and myself travelled up to Preston for the Federation of School Lodges 72nd Annual Festival which was being held the following day at the Preston Masonic Centre under the banner of the Old Crosbeian Lodge No. 4992. On the morning of the 31st we thought it advisable to locate the Hall to asses time and distance required to arrive for the meeting. Great news, it was across the road!
So to the event itself;
Arriving at 2pm, we registered and made our way to the reception for coffee and biscuits, introducing ourselves and meeting brethren from other lodges. Amongst those we met were W. Bro. Prof. Ronald Barham, MStJ, LLM, PhD, FCIArb.(rtd), PProvGSwdB (East Lancashire), Old Blackburnian Lodge, 7933, Chairman of the Federation of School Lodges. I make no apologies for giving his full title as he is responsible for making the whole thing work.
At 2.30 we assembled in one of the lodge rooms for the business of the day to be gone through, which included the usual items such as the minutes of the last meeting, Election of officers, accounts etc. I found it interesting to note that of the 173 Member Lodges, chapters and Mark Lodges only 53 were represented. A number of lodges sent their apologies, but many did not respond to the summons at all. Business issues being ended we returned for refreshments while the Temple was made ready for the 3.15 meeting. This was originally due to be held at the Old Crosbeian’s School, but for various reasons was moved to Preston and hosted by the North West Group of FSL Lodges. In attendance were The President and Chairman of the Federation, and their officers, The Provincial Grand Master of West Lancashire and the Right Worshipful Brother Sir David Hugh Wootton, Assistant Grand Master.
The Roll of Lodges was called with Bro Duffy and myself responding as representatives of the Pharos Lodge. The lodge was then called off and a paper was presented by WBro John Hubbard entitled ‘The Grand Lodge of Wigan 1823-1866: the last stand of the ‘Antients’’ which was both interesting and entertaining. The lodge was then called on and closed.
And so to the Banquet;
We had selected our menu preferences some time ago, so were more than pleased at the quality of the food and the service we received as I would assume were our 150 or so fellow diners. It was good to see so many wives/partners and even some children attending.
The evening meal finished at about 9pm with many who lived in the region heading home or to their hotels. As Bob and I were in no rush, we retired to the bar for a nightcap. I caught sight of the AGM just leaving with his DC, so asked if he would like to join us. He agreed and an interesting time was had discussing masonic matters.
To summarise, it was a meeting well worth the travel to attend and Bob and I are both looking forward to next years Festival to be held at the Kingswood School in Bath on October 24th. We will be taking our wives to this one and hopefully will see representatives of our sister lodges in East Kent attending.
WBro. Arthur Hornby, PPrDepGReg (East Kent)
Secretary of the Pharos Lodge.