May Newsletter 2021

Greetings Brethren, I hope you are still keeping safe and well.

Planned return to normal meetings.

There has been much discussion and speculation about the resumption of Masonic Activity and how the Pharos Lodge will be affected. Although some lodges are seeking to hold ‘Emergency’ meetings in the summer, the workload of our lodge means we can resume on our normal meeting dates. With two Installation dates missed due to the pandemic, the emergency rules from U.G.L.E. allow us to Elect and Install our Worshipful Master at our first meeting, subject to a Dispensation from the Provincial Grand Master. This has been granted for our October meeting! As yet I do not have a date for the re-opening of the Dover Masonic Hall, but I am hopeful that we will be able to resume Lodges of Instruction in September. The Secretaries meeting is booked for Wednesday 11th August when meeting and other dates are formalised. I will organise a GPC (virtual or otherwise) before then as our April meeting (2022) has problems regarding Lodges of Instruction.

The Dover Grammar School for Boys

As most of you are probably aware, over the last few years I have bee trying to get the lodge and the Dover Grammar School for Boys working together for the benefit of both. Thanks to the considerable help of our Worshipful Master, Roger Gabriel, much progress has been made. The lodge had planned to have a meeting at the school in February this year, but once again circumstances meant this could not go ahead. Our next projected date was February 2022 but guess what, Covid has interfered in the most unusual way. With so much work in the building industry delayed, the construction of the new school building is ahead of schedule!   Therefore we are at the planning stage for one of our regular meetings to be held there. I will keep you updated!

The Federation of School Lodges.

After a visit to the Federation Festival with Bro Bob Duffy in August 2019, I had set myself a quest to encourage lodges belonging to the FSL in the province to visit each other more frequently and if possible, have a representative attend following Festivals. This had an encouraging start. We had a team of 4, accompanied by our wives, booked in at a hotel in Bath last October. Due to the postponement this is now due to take place this October. If you are interested in going, please let me know as soon as possible. Why not visit the FSL website for more information?

The Federation is set up on an area basis, with the Provinces of East and West Kent constituting one such area. I have been approached by the Chairman to take on the role of Area Representative for Kent, a privilege that I have accepted. This from  the Chairman of the Federation;

After a year of Covid restrictions and few masonic meetings (even by Zoom or MS Teams), I am writing with some long-awaited and really good news: the Federation’s Annual Festival and Business Meeting is back on !

At a specially convened Zoom “meeting”, last night, the Management Committee gave the go-ahead for the resumption of “business as usual” and I wanted to provide an immediate update to you and your members.  The government plans to lift all Covid restrictions on or about the 21st June and, as soon as it does, you will receive full details of the new arrangements for the Federation’s 2021 Festival;  so, please make a note of the date and place:  23rd October, 2021, Kingswood School, Bath, Somerset.  The Lodge/Festival Secretary of Kingswood School Lodge will send you full details in June and inform you of the booking arrangements and hotels availability.

I am extremely pleased to be able to send you this preliminary announcement.  Please pass the information on to the members of your Lodge/Chapter.

Charity News

As last year’s Festival and other planned events did not take place, the Management Committee decided that the usual charitable donations to the hosting school and other associated organisational costs should be provided to an alternative worthy cause.  As a result, a donation of £4,000 was made to the Together Trust Schools www.togethertrust.org.uk for the purchase of special laptops to facilitate home learning by its pupils.  The Together Trust has two schools dedicated to special needs pupils.  It helps to break down barriers to education for all young people, helping them learn and grow at their own pace.  Because it recognises that every student is different, it creates individual learning programmes matched with a core team of therapists, helping every young person grow into the adult they want to be.  The Trust has six specialist learning environments supporting 300 students from across the North West, from the age of 5 all the way to 25 and provides specialist environments for young people with social emotional and mental health needs, autism services, vocational provisions and a purpose-built college for students with learning, physical disabilities, complex health needs and autism.  The Trust confirmed that they did have a number of students on home learning and that, as Special Schools and a charity, they had not benefited from the government’s Covid laptops-for-schools initiative.  Therefore, we made the donation to the Together Trust on condition that it was to be ring-fenced for the purchase of the computers and that they would be logo-d up with “FSL”.   Time being of the essence, this action by the Committee had to be immediate;  it will, of course, be set down for ratification at the ABM during the Festival in Bath. 

Kind Regards, Yours S&F.  Stay Safe.

RONALD

Bro. Prof. Ronald Barham, MStJ, LLM, PhD, FCIArb.(rtd)
PProvGSwdB (East Lancashire)
Old Blackburnian Lodge, 7933
Chairman of the Federation of School Lodges

50 Years of Masonic service

On the 17th of April 1971, a Mr. Roger John Cork was initiated into the Pharos Lodge. At the age of 24 he would, by todays standards, be considered quite a young man to be making such a commitment.

Passed on the 20th of November 1971 and then Raised on the 15th of January the following year, he took his first step on the ladder in 1976 as a Steward, holding that position for two years. In 1978 he took the Junior Wardens office, progressing to the Chair of King Solomon in 1981. In 1989 the Province honoured him with the rank of Past Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies.

In March 1988, Roger joined the Seven Sisters Lodge (L8539) in Sussex where he became Master in 1997. His Masonic career did not stop there. In May 2005 the Lodge of Sincerity (L8531) in South Wales welcomed him into their ranks, where he once more sat in the Chair of King Solomon in 2009. He was rewarded for all his hard work by the Provinces of both Sussex, PPAGDC, and South Wales, PPGSwdB. As well as his work within the Craft he held office in Chapter of Sker (C8204) and other side orders.

Roger regularly made the journey to Dover for Lodge meetings, greatly surprising one Mr. Mike Webb (an old school friend of Roger), when the blindfold came off at his initiation.

In normal circumstances his 50 Year Certificate would have been presented at our April meeting. With the pandemic restrictions and the resulting suspension of Masonic activity this was of course not possible. After several discussions with his wife Ann, I thought it would be a nice gesture from the lodge to deliver the certificate personally to his home. So, on the 24th of April I, accompanied by WBro. Mike Webb, headed to his Seaford home. Due to ill health Roger was not able to be present, so we joined Ann in her back garden for tea and cakes and asked her to forward the congratulations of the Worshipful Master, Wardens and Brethren.

At this point I would like to thank Ann for her hospitality and the help she has given me in filling in some of the blanks in my record of Rogers Masonic Career.

Stay safe, stay well,

Arthur

W.Bro. A. Hornby, PPrDepGReg
Secretary of the Pharos Lodge (6967)