March 2013

WBro David H Starbuck (PPJGW Cheshire) WM. Internet Lodge 9659 2012 - 13

Brethren I must first thank you for giving me this year in the chair of our wonderful Lodge. It has been quite an experience. I also thank you all for the fantastic help and support you have given to me.

The year started with our INSTALLATION in Bridge Street last March, when we were honoured by the presence of the newly invested Provincial Grand Master Sir David Trippier, who came to celebrate the 50 years in Freemasonry of W Bro Charles Lewis, who was Worshipful Master of our Lodge in 2007. A most enjoyable day.

The evening before we had the usual informal and convivial evening at the Campanile Hotel for Brethren and Ladies.

On the Saturday evening those staying over in Manchester went to the Royal Exchange Theatre to see “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning”, a play set in Northern England some 50 years ago, which was most enjoyable.

In May over 80 Brethren and Ladies headed to MALTA for a weeks visit superbly organised by Jaqui and Larry Porter. We saw most of the historic sights of Malta and learned of its history from Prehistoric times to the Hospitallers and finally the story of how MALTA was awarded the George Cross for great bravery in World War 2. We also had two visits to Masonic Lodges the first of which was to St John and St Paul UGLE Lodge in Valetta, where we were invited to perform a second degree ceremony for them. We had a volunteer team and after a brief rehearsal did a splendid job for the candidate!

The second visit was to Ars Discendi Lodge under the Sovereign Grand Lodge of Malta, where we witnessed an excellent third degree ceremony very different to our normal one in UGLE. Here we played a very small part answering the roll call of craftsmen to find out the villains.

Between the organised meetings and trips we had time to browse around Valetta and Sliema, by ourselves or to relax at the hotel and make use of the roof top swimming pool and sun deck. The only hiccup of the week was on our early Sunday morning trip to Marsaxlokk to visit the famed Fish Market .. only to find it was the one day in the year, when there was no market! Altogether a fantastic and brilliantly organised week for us and an excellent chance to enjoy the Island and to meet many old friends and make many new ones.

In August we met up again at the Cottons Hotel in KNUTSFORD for the usual Friday evening informal get together over dinner. Saturday morning we were off to Leicester Warren Masonic Hall, where my other Lodge meets, for our own meeting. The Grand Orator W Bro Kai Hughes gave us a splendid talk on “Initiation, what is the point” thoroughly enjoyed by all present. There followed the usual Festive Board and we managed to be away by 4pm as planned to keep us on time for our evening’s entertainment. This was a visit to GAWSWORTH HALL: An ancient manor house wrapped in romance, intrigue and great charm. Here you will find the Fitton family Chapel, first licensed in 1365, and still used by the family today. The original Norman house was rebuilt in 1480 and, following extensive remodelling in 1701, was the subject of the most famous duel in English history, in 1712 Lord Mohun and the Duke of Hamilton fought over the estates and both duellists were killed.

We arrived in time for a tour of the house, owned and lived in by Tim Richards and family.( He is the past PGM of Cheshire.). Then we took our seats in the open air theatre for the evening concert … “A Tribute to ABBA”, this was splendid and great to see our Romanian Brethren joining in the dancing on the lawns! Also our new member from Southport spent the whole evening dancing in his seat and reliving his memories of ABBA!

Sunday morning soon arrived and many Brethren and guests departed for their homes but a hardy number ventured to my home in Altrincham for a lunchtime Barbecue. The weather was great until lunch was served, when a heavy shower forced us all into the big tent .. luckily big enough for us all to sit and enjoy our lunch and continue our conversations. I took the opportunity of raising a few £’s for charity by renting out my umbrella for those needing to visit the toilets! The rain did not last too long and we were able to enjoy some sunshine before people had to leave to journey home. When the last one had left the house felt extremely quiet and I had great difficulty coming down to earth after such a splendid weekend with Internet Lodge.

October soon came round and we met up at The Hunting Lodge Hotel near KETTERING for our Friday evening get together. Saturday morning the Brethren took the coach down to the Kettering Masonic Hall for our regular meeting, and the coach then took the ladies on their own day out. We held our usual rehearsal first before the actual meeting started and after routine business we “called off” to enjoy a demonstration of “A LODGE NIGHT IN 1759” by the Northants and Hunts Demonstration Team. An intriguing view into masonic life back then. I am just very glad that we no longer allow drinking in the Lodge, as their WM finished up sliding off his seat and lying on the floor! After the lodge closed we hastened back to the Hotel to prepare for the Ladies Evening and entertainment. After a splendid dinner we moved to the adjacent room to be entertained by “Sound Sensation” with excellent singing and a wide variety of music.

Sunday morning arrived all too soon and many Brethren and guests departed with fond farewells at different times to drive, catch trains or planes on their homeward journey. However a hardy few ventured off for lunch in a nearby village and then to an “Organ Recital”, in the next village. The village hall was full and it was a real taste of village life with tea and biscuits at the interval, while the local news was given out. The organist was Nicholas Cotton and he displayed all his talents and used all the magnificent features of his superb electronic organ. The only difficulty we had was keeping our Grand officer awake! Many, many thanks again to Heather and Pete Clark for their excellent organisation of the weekend.

It is only fair to comment that both weekends provided the Charity Steward with ample opportunities to empty our pockets and wallets, which he readily took and a considerable amount was added to our charity funds. Thank you Steve.

Apart from these regular meetings much has happened behind the scenes as is usual with all lodges. Various groups were set up to handle different tasks for the good of the Lodge as follows:

The Technical Group under Chris White with Larry Porter, John DutchmanSmith, Chris Malpus and Chris Boyes was given the task of updating our web site and software, while increasing our security and spreading some of the work load from Charles Arnold our Web Master, who has done such excellent work for the Lodge over very many years, while still a working man with a top job in industry. The first results are now visible in the new web site presentation, but much remains to be done and it will take some time to complete We DO NEED more Brethren to assist in two ways: Some with the technical skills, ability and time to help with the redevelopment and software and then some to act as “editors” who will maintain the web pages and keep them up to date and of interest to the Brethren and other visitors to our site. Brethren PLEASE do come forward, it is really important to spread this workload for the good and security of the Lodge, which does of course entirely depend on our web site and Internet facility. Any volunteers do NOT need to be UK based, wherever you are you can join in and contribute .. remember we are the Internet Lodge!

The HARRIS group chaired by Roy Hodgson with Rich van Doren, Stuart Robinson and Mark Griffin was asked to consider ways of using the donation we received from W Bro Frank Harris of 10,000USD, which Frank would have approved. They reported at the October meeting and are proposing a motion in March to activate their proposal.

The “In Memoriam” pages were an idea from Roy Hodgson and worked up with Charles Arnold, but there is more to be done. The aim being a record on the web with a print out to be shown beside the attendance book at each meeting, so that Brethren have a reminder of those who have passed to the Grand Lodge Above, when going to or returning from their work in the lodge meeting!

The DISABILITY Group under Laurie Headland assisted by Ted Pater and Mike Herman was Laurie’s idea … the aim being to investigate how we can better help such Brothers to actually visit the Lodge or benefit from it in some other way. No conclusions have yet been reached as Laurie has been unwell once again.

Brethren we should all thank, most heartily, all these Brethren for their work and the time they have put in for our benefit. To you all my very sincere thanks and please continue your efforts.

Brethren I have to mention one item that was completely unplanned by me and that was my 6 months of chemotherapy treatment for Myeloma, which finished on 6th March. I was fit for the Installation and enjoyed seeing many of you there. Just reminds us that we can never be certain what is coming next in life, regardless of how much planning we have done! This does unfortunately mean that I cannot join in the trip to Romania, which I really wished to do. I thoroughly enjoyed Installing the Master Elect, W Bro Jim Hogg, last Saturday and passing on the delights and problems of being WM of Internet Lodge.!

Sincerely and fraternally,
WM of Internet Lodge 9659 for the year 2012/2013.