Somerset Freemasons

News and Information about Freemasonry in Somerset


Two New Assistant Provincial Grand Masters Announced

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The Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Stuart Hadler, is pleased to announce the following appointments to Assistant Provincial Grand Master which will become effective in April next.

W Bro Barry Lloyd Thomas McCormack Assistant GDC, Provincial GDC
W Bro Martin Charles Slocombe PastPrJGW, Provincial GMentor

Bro’s McCormack and Slocombe will be obligated and Installed at the Annual General Meeting on Thursday 6th April 2017. W Bro Ben Batley will continue in Office.

These appointments arise due to the resignation of W Bro David Mason and the approval of the MW Grand Master to create a third Assistant PGM. Details regarding the duties of each Assistant PGM and other appointments will be issued in due course.

W Bro Richard Ellis will lead the planning and delivery of 2017 activities.

New Members enjoy an evening with partners at recent Initiates Evenings

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Two Initiates evenings were held during October and November this year.
The first, pictured below, which was held at Taunton MH was a curry evening with a gathering of Initiates/wives/partners and personal mentors with some of the Provincial Management team.
The evening was led by the Provincial Grand Master RW.Bro Stuart Hadler.
The evening was a great success and everyone enjoyed the informal atmosphere.

The Second event, pictured right, was a Chilli Con Carne evening at Weston Super Mare. This event was led by W.Bro John Winston Deputy Provincial Grand Master and again the evening was also well received.

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I wish to thank all of those brethren who accompanied the Initiates to give them support on the evening.

I look forward to you all encouraging further new masons to attend future events.

Ray Beckingham

Huge support for Yeovil Charity Event

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Over 80 people joined the PGM Stuart Hadler and his team for a Charity event at Yeovil Masonic Centre on November 4th.

The Lodge room became a conference centre complete with projector and screen. David Maddern, ProvGChStwd welcomed the visitors and explained a little about the Masonic Charities both local and National.

The PGM, Stuart Hadler then spoke about Freemasonry in general and the individual charities that the Province were supporting. Asst. PGM David Mason presented a brief history of Freemasonry and outlined the plans for the Tercentenary whilst Asst. PGM Ben Batley spoke about the DoE (Duke of Edinburgh) award Bursary (£16,500 over 3 years) which was recently launched by the Province at a special meeting in Taunton.

Pictured above from L-R. Justin Sargent (CEO SCF); RW.Bro. Stuart Hadler PGM; Helen Watkins (DoE Award); Victoria Poole (St Margarets); Lynda Williams (CEO Bibic); Jill Slocombe (DoE Award); Bill Sivewright (CEO DSAA); David Maddern (ProvGChStwd)

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The Charities in attendance were:

Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance. CEO Bill Sivewright introduced the new Leonardo AW169 HEMS compliant Air Ambulance that they would soon be taking delivery of to replace their Eurocopter TC135 T2 and thanked the brethren for their continued support. Andrew Mackay, WM of Parrett & Axe (814) was delighted to present Bill with a cheque for £3,000 consisting of £1,000 raised by the brethren, £1,000 SMC match funding (Somerset Masonic Charities) and £1,000 from the MCF (Masonic Charitable Foundation). The PGM was pleased to confirm that a further £2,000 was on its way from the MCF by way of their on-going support for Air Ambulance Services.

Saint Margarets Hospice. Provides high quality, responsive and compassionate care to patients and their families facing life-limiting illness – not just Cancer! There are two hospices, one in Yeovil and the other Taunton. The PGM confirmed the support of the SMC with a donation of £2,718 to each centre. Victoria Poole, regional fundraiser made a short presentation showing what the Hospices had to offer their patients and thanked the brethren for their generous support.

Bibic (formerly the British Institute for Brain Injured Children) helps children aged six months to 18 years with conditions affecting their social, communication and learning abilities to achieve their potential for a happier and more fulfilled life. Lynda Williams, the new CEO gave a video presentation which graphically demonstrated how Autism affects the sensory perception of a child, and thus their behaviour to events which most people would consider ‘ordinary’. The MCF has recently made a donation to Bibic of £5,000.

Mathew Redman of Perpetual Friendship 135 pictured above, spoke of his charity Skydiving adventure with Richard Winter (Admiral Blake1692) which was featured on the front cover of the June edition of Compass. Between the two Lodges and SMC match funding Matt and Richard raised a total of £6,000. The money was shared between the Tercentenary Air Ambulance Charities, Hollow Lane Club, Beacon Centre, 14th Bridgwater Scout Troop and ‘Hope for Tomorrow’. Matt said “I was 18 inches (45cm) shorter after I landed – but it was worth it”!

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(Pictured L – R) Bill Sivewright CEO of DSAA receives a cheque from W.Bro. Donald Gray, WM Parrett & Axe 814 with the Provincial Grand Master

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W.Bro. Alan Holton Provincial Senior Grand Warden keeps a watchful eye on proceedings
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Stuart Hadler makes a presentation to Victoria Poole of St.Margarets Hospice
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Several local dignitaries attended the event
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The Provincial Grand Master with Lynda Williams of Bibic

The evening was rounded off with a buffet, served downstairs in the restaurant where visitors and distinguished guests were able to mingle and discuss the finer points of the evening.

Barry Davies - Compass Magazine

Province Launch Duke of Edinburgh Bursary Fund at Taunton Rugby Club

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Back Row (Pos.1) Pete Singleton (DofE Regional Director); (Pos. 2) Brigadier Tom Lang; (Pos. 3) John Winston (DPGM); (Pos. 4) Ben Batley (APGM; (Pos. 5) Justin Felice (ATC Co-ordinator); (Pos. 6 ) Steve Coles (Sea Cadets Co-ordinator)
Front Row (Pos. 1) Gill Slocombe (DofE Committee); (Pos. 2) Lady Gass (Honorary President)

DPGM John Winston, APGM Ben Batley, ProvJGW Barry Davies and Provincial Communications Officer Richard Ellis accompanied by their wives joined Lady Elizabeth Gass, Honorary President the Somerset Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Committee, together with representatives from over 23 schools and Colleges for the unveiling of the new bursary fund sponsored by the Province. Introduction to the DofE Award Programme was made by Chairman Jeff Brown and Plaques and Certificates were awarded to the attending organisations by Ben Batley. John Winston addressed the audience, explaining how the bursary fund would work and reinforcing the message of Freemasonry in the Community, which was well received.
A quartet of from the Hestercombe Centre for Young Musicians, led by Principle Rachael Parvin entertained the visitors and an excellent buffet completed a most successful evening.

Barry Davies
Compass Magazine

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John Winston(DPGM) explains how freemasonry is supporting the DofE Award Programme.

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Hestercombe Centre for Young Musicians Principle Rachael Parvin with three of her students entertain the guests.


Somerset Freemasons announce partnership with County Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme to support disadvantaged and vulnerable participants

Marking the 300th anniversary of the formation of the United Grand Lodge of England during 2017 and recognising the 60th anniversary achieved in 2016 of the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award Scheme in Somerset, the Freemasons Provincial Grand Master, Stuart Hadler has been pleased to confirm bursary support for disadvantaged and vulnerable participants to take part in the award scheme. Funding will be managed by the Somerset DofE Committee whose President is former Lord Lieutenant Lady Elizabeth Gass with support provide by the province overseen by the Somerset Masonic Charities Committee. Assistant Provincial Grand Master Ben Batley is also a member of the Somerset DofE Committee.

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Pictured: Somerset CC Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme Committee members on their visit to Taunton MH with VW Bro John Winston DPGM and W Bro Ben Batley APGM (also a committee member).

Somerset DofE Committee’s aim is to enable more young people aged 14-24 to complete a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme. Working with the Somerset County Council DofE team and other organisations that support DofE such as Somerset Freemasons, it does this through:

• Raising awareness of DofE and the benefits it provides among young people and parents

• Providing financial support to disadvantaged participants

• Improving Somerset employers’ understanding of DofE and the employability benefits it provides

• Raising money to support the expansion of existing DofE provision, with a focus on young people who experience disadvantage

• Using its influence to improve understanding and communication between organisations which provide and support DofE

• Celebrating young people’s achievements through events and publicity

Somerset Freemasons and DofE celebrate anniversaries in 2016-2017 and the organisations plan to mark these occasions by launching a development programme to enable more young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to experience the potentially life-changing benefit of completing a DofE programme. Key elements of this development include:

• Direct bursary fund support to help young people access a DofE programme.

• Subsidised training and resources for organisations which offer provision to young people with SEN and additional needs (e.g. Special Schools, Pupil Referral Units and complementary education providers) to improve existing DofE provision and develop new groups and opportunities.

• Subsidised participation for disadvantaged participants.

The DofE bursary fund - focusses on disadvantaged young people (family on means- tested benefit; SEN or additional need; rural deprivation; minority group) and provides up to £200 for Bronze, £300 for Silver and £400 for Gold in order that the participant can access appropriate programme opportunities and has the necessary equipment. The support could be for transport to and from a programme activity (such as volunteer placement), to secure appropriate equipment for an expedition (where possible hired via the Youth Equipment Store rather than bought) or to offset the cost of the expedition or residential activity. The bursary will launch in autumn 2016 and will have a formal application process overseen by a sub-group of the DofE committee. The young person will agree their commitment to the programme and their DofE group leader will confirm that every effort will be made to enable the participant to complete.

Provision of training and resources - for staff and volunteers who support disadvantaged young people completing a DofE programme. DofE provision for disadvantaged groups often requires dedicated resources and greater time, effort and input than for mainstream groups. This means more staff and volunteers have to be trained and confident, which presents a challenge in small establishments where pastoral care and student support capacity is limited. By providing subsidised or free training and resources, alongside dedicated support, the scheme can unlock the willingness and goodwill of teachers and support staff, most of whom understand the value DofE and the impact it can have on their students’ education and life outcomes.

Subsidised participation places for disadvantaged young people - many disadvantaged young people do not have the family resources necessary to benefit from DofE opportunities, and for some even the price of a participation place can be prohibitive. Including the administration element, participation places are £29 for Bronze and Silver and £36 for Gold. The DofE committee expect to subsidise up to 50 places each year in groups supported by the DofE team.

Somerset Freemasons are to invest £5,500, renewable annually over three years into this partnership arrangement. The funding was generously left as a bequest to the province by Ted Mear, a freemason who some may remember as a Director of Yeovil Town FC but many as the Headmaster at Halstock Primary School where he worked for over 20 years. The school fed into senior schools in Crewkerne or Beaminster. Wadham School, Crewkerne is a school that reengaged with DoE a couple of years ago, which is now showing significant growth that is expected to improve. Obviously Somerset DoE don't cover Dorset but its safe to say Ted would hopefully have approved that his and Somerset Freemasons support is to contribute directly to pupils in Crewkerne schools future as well as those across the county and beyond.

Participation events are planned during October and November to provide detail of the funding arrangements to DofE Leaders and Freemasons across Somerset.

National New and Young Mason’s Club Conference hosted by Adair Club

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Somerset’s Adair Club hosted the second National ‘New & Young Masons Club’ (NYMC) Conference on Saturday October 1st at the Old Theatre Royal, Bath. Over 60 delegates from all over the country attended the conference held in the magnificent Grand Temple. A number of workshops were held with delegates forming into groups to discuss a range of topics with the focus on how the NYMC’s should develop in the future. The Adair Club, together with the Connaught Club based in London, have been at the forefront of this initiative and their success has encouraged the formation of similar Clubs in many Provinces throughout the Country.

The high point of the day was a presentation by Gareth Jones, PGM for South Wales and Deputy Chairman of the newly formed ‘Improvement Delivery Group’ (IDG). Gareth addressed the conference with a talk entitled ‘Wither Directing Our Course’, in which he emphasised the importance of introducing the ‘right men’ as candidates for Freemasonry and not to confuse quantity with quality. He cited an example within his own Province in which a once vibrant Lodge introduced a succession of unsuitable candidates, resulting in tension within the Lodge and the eventual surrendering of its Warrant, all within a space of about two years.

He stressed the importance of the Royal Arch being a key step in pure and ancient Freemasonry and encouraged delegates to join at an early stage, explaining that their understanding of Craft Masonry could not be considered complete until they had done so. He then took questions from the floor on a variety of topics and his answers were frank and well received.

Sam Mayer, who is Chairman of the Adair Club and headed up the team responsible for arranging the conference said ‘I am absolutely delighted with the success of today’s conference. Many of the delegates have travelled hundreds of miles to be here and we have had some very positive feedback’.

The day concluded with an address from our own PGM Stuart Hadler who is also a member of the Improvement Delivery Group. Stuart thanked the Brethren for attending and said that the feedback and ideas expressed during the workshops would be channelled directly back to the IDG for consideration and discussion. He said “the deliberations we have held this afternoon may well have an impact on the future of this important aspect of Masonry”

Many of the delegates, following suitable refreshment at the famous ‘Igloo Bar’ in central Bath, attended the meeting of St Alphege in the Grand Temple. A most fitting end to a first class day.

Next year’s conference will be hosted by the Rough Ashlar NYMC in the Province of Staffordshire.

If you are interested in joining the Adair Club then do not hesitate to contact Sam Mayer who will be delighted to hear from you. Membership is open to any Somerset Freemason who is under 40 years of age or has been in freemasonry for less than five years (regardless of age). Sam can be found at and the web site

Barry Davies
ProvJGW Compass Editor


The Assistant Grand Master gives his approval to the Somerset 2020 Festival Socks!

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During his visit to St Alphege 4095 in Bath last April, the Assistant Grand Master, Sir David Hugh Wootton was presented with a pair of yellow 2020 festival socks by the newly installed Worshipful Master, Alex Rhys. Sir David was delighted with his gift and as the evening progressed, a challenge was laid down by the Provincial Grand Master, Stuart Hadler and the Assistant Grand Master (both pictured left) for them both to wear their colourful festival socks at the Quarterly Communications of Grand Lodge!
Accordingly at the September Meeting of Grand Lodge, the Provincial Grand Master, accompanied by nine Brethren from the Province travelled to Great Queen Street resplendent in their yellow hosiery. As the Procession of Grand Officers was formed the Somerset Brethren held their breath as Sir David entered the Grand Temple and took his place on the right of the Deputy Grand Master and yes, he was most definitely sporting a pair of official 2020 festival yellow socks!
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At the festive board afterwards Sir David met with the Somerset contingent and posed for some photographs. He joked; “I really enjoyed my visit to St Alphege Lodge and I couldn’t let a challenge like that go unanswered, especially for such a good cause.” The Provincial Grand Master said “it’s been a splendid day out and it was really sporting of Sir David to take up the challenge.” Several Brethren took full advantage of the occasion by visiting the new ‘Three Centuries of English Freemasonry’ exhibition being held at the Museum of Freemasonry in Freemasons Hall at Great Queen Street, all those who looked round the exhibition agreed that it was well worth a visit

Story & Photographs by Barry Davies

Somerset Provincial Charity Committee Present Defibrillator to St. John’s Ambulance

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On 27th July three members of the Somerset Provincial Charity Committee presented a defibrillator to the Bridgwater branch of the St Johns Ambulance for use on one of their ambulances.

An defibrillator is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses and treats life threatening cardiac arrhythmias through the application of electrical therapy, allowing the heart to re-establish an effective rhythm. Immediate defibrillation can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved. It is estimated that around 30,000 people have a cardiac arrest each year outside the confines of a hospital and the chance of survival after the heart stops falls by around 10% for every minute that passes without defibrillation so having one of these units on board the ambulance can literally save lives.

The names of those in the photograph above are listed below in left to right order:-

Louisa Stone, Richie Sheen, John Chinn, Matt Gridley, Verity Small, Jon Warren, Steve McCarthy, John Law, Sam Parsons, Norman Hercock

Masons who are serving members of armed forces or veterans invited to parade on Armed Forces Day

The Province will be having a stand at Weston Air Days over the weekend of 18th & 19th June, this event will take place on the Beach Lawns at Weston Sea Front.

A Masonic Classic Car will be on display along with the Provincial sign boards and will be manned by enthusiastic Brethren over this period from Weston and surrounding Lodges and the Adair Club. Any Brethren wishing to volunteer for a half day slot on either day please contact Keith Baker

Running parallel to this event and more or less on the same site is Armed Forces Days for which Garry Hawkes is one of the lead organisers. This is a sister event to the Air Days in short we run the events in the arena.

As part of this there will be an opening parade. Any Mason who is either a serving member of the Armed Forces, a Reservist, Veteran or a Cadet Instructor is welcome to join the opening Parade. Form up is at 11:30 on the Promenade North of the Grand Pier on Weston Seafront ( look out for the signs) The Band of HM Royal Marines will be joining the assemble personnel for March off to the arena at 12:00 where the official opening will take place.

Dress is Regimental Beret, Blazer and Medals, the APGM recommends wearing the MCF lapel badge available on line.

On no account is Masonic Regalia to be worn, this is an Armed Forces Community event, not a Masonic procession.

Ex Armed Forces Brethren should join the Veterans contingent of the Parade

Further information on the following websites:

or email Garry Hawkes

Smarten up your Masonic event with the new Display Equipment

The Province is pleased to announce the arrival of our new event gazebo and flags. These will be available to lodges and centres to borrow and it’s hoped that their availability will encourage attendance at local fetes, carnivals and shows. The gazebo is 4.5m x 3m and the flags are 3.9m high. The equipment will fit in the back of a large estate care and can but put up by two people (although it’s easier with 4). It is likely to be stored at Nailsea Masonic Hall from where it will need to be collected and returned. Our Provincial Communications Officer, Richard Ellis, is the point of contact to arrange to use the equipment and can be contacted on 01275 855037/07455 002692"

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Wells Cathedral host the 2016 Provincial Church Service

The Cathedral Church of St Andrew at Wells played host to the Provincial Church Service on April 10th. The PGM was well supported by brethren and their wives from across the Province who were welcomed by The Rev. Cannon Andrew Featherstone, Acting Dean of the Cathedral. The prayers and Collects were in the hands of the Keith Fisher, the ProvGChap and Readings were given by Wayne Crawford (Corinthian Pillar 7552), David Roberts (Vale of Brislington 1296) and David Gleeson (Eldon 1755). The Address, which had the theme of ‘Peace and Unity’ was given by the PGM for Monmouthshire, The Rev. Malcolm Lane JP and was well received by the congregation. The Offering was in support of the Provincial Air Ambulance appeal as part of the celebratory plans for the Tercentenary. Following the Service, tea was served in the North Transept by members of the SMFA. Distinguished visitors included: David Medlock (Vice Lord Lieutenant for Somerset); Edward Bayntum Coward (High Sherriff of Somerset); Cllr. Gordon Wilson (Mayor of Wells); Cllr. Michael Clarke (Mayor of Burnham & Highbridge); the Chairs of Somerset County Council; Sedgemoor, North Somerset and Mendip District Councils; Jennifer Board (Chair of St. Margarets Hospice) and Ian Porter of Weston College. The Provincial Rulers and visiting dignitaries wore their Chains of Office, while members of the Provincial team and Ruling Masters wore their Collars. The service lasted for around 45 minutes and was a pleasant way to complete a Sunday afternoon.
Barry Davies
Editor Compass magazine

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31st March 2016 - PGL Somerset AGM held at Webbington Hotel

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VW. Bro. John W Winston DPGM, RW Bro. CA Stuart Hadler PGM, W. Bro. David CA Mason APGM, W. Bro. Benjamin GW Batley APGM

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Provincial Team 2016-2017


Somerset Provincial Team Annual Visit to Somersetshire Lodge No. 2925

Annual Visit to Somersetshire Lodge No 2925

In what has now become an annual event the Provincial team visited Somersetshire Lodge for their March meeting. The team carried out a 2nd Degree Ceremony with the R. W. Provincial Grand Master occupying the Master’s Chair in the Grand Temple of Mark Masons’ Hall. As would be expected for a team coming toward the end of their tenure the Ceremony was carried out in an exemplary manner with the Provincial Deputy and Assistant Directors of Ceremony delivering the Explanation of the Second Degree Tracing Board.

The evening culminated with a superb Festive Board where a lively and convivial evening was enjoyed by all.

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The Provincial Teams of Somerset and Bristol join forces for their Annual Supper

Global Warming! – Somerset in 2050 by PGL Bristol

The Provincial team recently visited the Masonic Hall in Park Street to attend a dinner hosted by the Province of Bristol. This has become an annual event which last year was arranged by Somerset at the Theatre Royal, Bath.
It is an opportunity for members of the two Provinces to get to know each other and exchange ideas. The PGM for Bristol, Alan Vaughan, presented a paper, which he said was the result of his Province’s research into the likely results of Global Warming by the Year 2050. The result was bad news for the PGM for Somerset, because much of his Province was likely to be ‘under water’! To illustrate this, a map had been meticulously prepared and was distributed to the assembled Brethren. It showed the proposed ‘Webbington Beach & Surf Resort’, Glastonbury Island and the ruins of the submerged Masonic Temple at Bath (a very popular maritime visitor attraction). The Bristol Temple had of course survived on the aptly named ‘Freemasons Quay’.
There then followed an entertainment performed by Bristol’s foremost Masonic singing group ‘Storm Force 10’. This included a rendition of a song, which had been specially written for the occasion and pertained to Somerset being a predominantly Country Province. In order to fully express the feeling behind the words (or so we were informed afterwards), it was sung in a strong ‘Bristolian accent’ and off-key! This was met with tumultuous applause and suitable comment from the assembled Somerset brethren. Stuart suitably replied, however, if we know our PGM, he will come up with something even more inventive for the return visit next year!
Barry Davies
Compass magazine

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Metropolitan Talking Heads Team visit to Somerset

On Friday 4th March the Wraxall Lodge hosted an evening with The Metropolitan Talking Heads Team.
The team carried out a Playlet regarding the Royal Arch Chapter, It was very interesting and at times humorous. The Team travelled great distances for which Wraxall Lodge are grateful.
A raffle was held for The Metropolitan Air Ambulance appeal and the W.M. Bro Richard Hicken. presented a cheque to V.W.Bro Ian Currans A.Met.G.M. for £300.

Pictured right is Richard Hicken presenting cheque to Ian Currans, Stuart looking happy with the result.
Members and visitors all enjoying an excellent Festive board

Ray Beckingham.

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Initiates Brunch - Clevedon Masonic Hall

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This years meeting with the PGM Stuart Hadler his wife Sue and the management team was held at Clevedon Masonic Hall.
In previous years we have held evening meetings with a buffet. This year we held a Saturday Brunch. It proved to be the most successful with 20 Initiates and several wives/partners attending as well.We also invited Personal Mentors and proposers.

The brunch was cooked and served to everyone's satisfaction by Zena & Neil. after the Brunch the Initiates assembled in the Lodge room, where they were addressed by the PGM and Sam Mayer chairman of the Adair Club. Questions were asked by the brethren and wives and the event finished with conversations between Provincial Officers and Initiates.
The photograph to the right shows the assembled gathering listening to the PGM.

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Following the event, two attendees wrote to W.Bro.Ray

Both my wife and myself would like to thank you for the wonderful morning at your Lodge Brunch. We both enjoyed the wonderful food and the company it was outstanding
The food was of the highest quality , the catering staff ,and the waiting staff were outstanding, second to none .
With regards to the visit to your Lodge Hall , my wife was as were a lot of other visitors very interested in the talk , and also the way it was all presented , from the heart and not sheets of paper.
Both my wife and myself would visit again , and also recommend others to do so ,pointing out our experience .
Very well presented, speeches and the fact that people were allowed to ask questions

Very well done and kindest regards to you all.
Ron and Penelope Bidder

Thank you for organising the breakfast at Clevedon Masonic Lodge on Saturday. It was, I think, very worthwhile. My wife, Michele, found it very interesting and informative and the breakfast itself was first class.
It was good to meet different people from all around the Province of Somerset.
The informal breakfast idea / setting is ideal, as if it was to be a dinner venue I think the moment would be lost in the formality as well as the added cost and trying to get to a Masonic Hall possibly after a day at work !
Thank you once again.
Sincerely and fraternally

Report by W.Bro. Ray Beckingham
Provincial Mentor