John Dutchman-Smith WM, Internet Lodge 9659EC, 2004 - 2005
"Some day, when the cloud of prejudice has been dispelled by the searchlight of truth, the world will honour Masonry for its service to freedom of thought and the liberty of faith. No part of its history has been more noble, no principle of its teaching has been more precious than its age-long demand for the right and duty of every soul to seek that light by which no man was ever injured, and that truth which makes man free."
These, the words of an American freemason of great foresight, Joseph Fort Newton who died in 1950, set the theme for my year.
My installation meeting was much enhanced by the presence of the Provincial Grand Master, an honour both for me and for the Lodge. We have had more than our fair share of visits by senior members of the Province who obviously think highly of this special lodge.
Shortly after the Installation Joyce and I took a long awaited and extended holiday to South Africa followed by a cruise back to tha U.K. and a long weekend on the South coast of England. Then it was back home and back to Masonic business
The summer meeting took place in Worcester, a venue that we had selected some two years earlier because of its Middle England location and excellent Masonic museum. The meeting took the form of a Lancashire "Old England Night" and introduced the Lodge to the traditional delicacies of tripe and black puddings followed by traditional Lancashire folk music which was distributed on CD by special arrangement with the performers.
The Ladies Festival weekend in October was very well attended and attracted many overseas visitors (almost twenty from the U.S.A.). The Lodge meeting featured a demonstration of the building of King Solomon's temple during which the Lodge was "called off" enabling our Ladies and non- masonic guests to observe this enthralling re-enactment in miniature.
This was my comment immediately after the weekend
"Well after nearly three years of planning our Festival in Kendal has come and gone.
Joyce and I enjoyed it tremendously and from what has been said I know that those who went enjoyed it too.
The weather was superb and this did make a big difference to the trips that we made. We were able on Friday to stop on one of the Lakeland Fells and with the naked eye clearly see The Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Galloway in Scotland, Blackpool Tower and the mountains of Wales. Quite extraordinary and something that our extremely knowledgeable guide had seen only three times previously in all his years touring the Lake District. Both Bob and Gordon our guides were excellent and I learned lots of new things about parts of the Lake District that I have visited many times.
I must thank again a number of people who made especial efforts to help the weekend go so well.
Firstly to Naunton Liles who played organ and piano for us and to Martin Roche for his super singing.
Next I want to record my appreciation of our D.C. Arthur Renshaw Q.P.M. who was on hand throughout the entire weekend to make sure that things went as planned.
A first for Internet Lodge was that we finished the Lodge meeting ahead of time giving a welcome extra half hour to prepare for the evening festivities. Thanks to Jimmy Rogers for arranging the magnificent display of King Solomon's Temple.
Thanks to W.Bro Malcolm Warren of Rivington Lodge No 8013 for procuring the gifts for the Ladies at a very affordable price.
I have known Bill Holden and his wife Jean for around 35 years. I knew when I asked Bill to be Festival Organiser that I had picked the right man but Bill exceeded my wildest hopes. He was truly magnificent in all he did in the weeks leading up to the festival (it became almost a full time job) and during it both as organiser and charity steward. His commitment was beyond belief and I am truly grateful to him. Even though serious family problems forced him to return home on Saturday evening he was back for Breakfast on Sunday morning. Sadly for those of you who are unaware Jean's mother died on Sunday morning. I know Jean will have all your sympathy.
Thanks too to my own wife Joyce who has supported all that I have done over the years particularly in Freemasonry.
We finished off with another excellent trip out on Sunday and a very convivial meal in Alexander's Pub in the hotel grounds.
Thanks to each and everyone one of you who came from near and far. You all made it the weekend that it was.
I hope that you enjoyed it as much as we did. I was delighted to meet you all, delighted that so many came from overseas and must make a special mention of Frank Harris a new member who though not in the first flush of youth travelled on his own from Minnesota
It didn't end for us as expected and I apologise to all those in Alexander's on Sunday night who we arranged to meet for breakfast on Monday. After we had gone to bed on Sunday we got a phone call to tell us that our 14 year old cairn terrier was very unwell. We decided to do what in this part of the world is called a midnight flit and we got up, packed our bags, checked out at 11.30 p.m. and drove home. We were seen by our Vet at 1.00 a.m. and got to bed at around 2.30 a.m. Sadly she survived for only a short time. Well loved and well remembered
Then after a busy and interesting winter it was back to Manchester to instal my successor Mike Herman.
Internet Lodge is the third UGLE Lodge of which I have been Master. Of course there is always a special place for your mother lodge but being Master of this lodge is a unique and truly wonderful experience, and one that I will never forget.
Thanks again to you all
Immediate Past Master