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Lockdown Lowdown Update

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Grand Master Letter


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Dear Brethren,

What a year for us all so far; not one of us could have imagined one year ago, where we would be now. I hope that you are and your families are keeping safe and well; that is the priority for us all. In being asked to write this foreword for our Provincial AGM, let us be mindful of those Brethren in our Province and beyond who lost their lives to the Coronavirus. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all.

Since the suspension on Freemasonry was lifted in July, I know a great many of you have been concerned about the return to our lodges. I share your concerns and every day I speak to members of the Province who are supportive about returning or who are totally against returning to meetings.

In my previous communications to you, I said and reiterate now, that no one must feel under pressure to return to their Lodge. Those who are vulnerable or who have loved ones who are vulnerable must make the right decision
for themselves and their families.

For those, who do wish to return, I thank you for your patience with the adapted ceremonies; not ideal I know, but it gives us something to work with should you have initiates who may not wish to wait until we resume full meetings and dining.

We have over 160 initiates waiting to join us and not one of us knows when we will be able to resume fully and conduct the ceremony of Initiation as we experienced. My special thanks and deep appreciation go to the Provincial Cabinet, the Area Committees, Provincial Secretariat, Treasury and Almoners for keeping the wheels turning during the suspension.

The Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works and his team for all their work and advice to Centres. The Trustees, Committees and members of Masonic Centres striving to become ‘Covid ready’ in those Centres that are re-opening. It truly has been a magnificent effort.

I also thank the Heads of the Companion and Progressive Orders for their strong support and continued friendship. I must also pay tribute to my predecessor R W Bro Michael Wilks who completed ten years as our PGM.

I thank him for his leadership of the Province. Ian Preece, our indefatigable Provincial GDC who also completed ten years of excellence service in the role and David Taylor, our Provincial Tyler who undertook the role for the same period. We wish them all a long and happy retirement.

May I take this opportunity to congratulate all those who were appointed and promoted from the 1st July.

Finally, Brethren my thanks to you all for keeping in contact with one another, for adapting to virtual meetings where possible and for your patience during this most challenging of times.

I look forward to the day when large gatherings are allowed again, we will meet and join together in that ‘brotherly love and affection which may ever distinguish us as men and as Masons’.

VW.Bro. Jonathan C Whitaker PGSwdB
Deputy Provincial Grand Master in Charge
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Some great coverage but what an awful thing to happen. Aged just 21 Amy suddenly lost the use of her legs 😢 well done Twynham Lodge ... See MoreSee Less

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Like so many of our recent lodge meetings yesterdays Provincial AGM went ahead in COVID style.

Afterwards, DepPGM in charge Jon Whitaker said “It was different, not quite the usual 1100 masons at Southampton Guildhall but the business was done, the friendship continues. The show must go on.”

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Funds were also raised for Bournemouth Hospital and individual lodges donated to other charities during the pandemic. Our members were innovative in their fundraising efforts; some slept out in tents, others made and sold lapel pins and several online competitions were held.

APGM Leon Whitfield presented a cheque for £2,821.25 to Arthur England, Trustee and Joint Chair of Lymington Hospital Friends. Arthur said: “We really appreciate and value the magnificent fundraising by the local Freemasons to support our hospital, patients and staff during this challenging time. “Due to COVID security guidelines, we have not been able to provide our normal volunteering services, but continue to fundraise for additional equipment to enable the hospital to enhance patient care and treatment for the local community.”

Leon added: “One of the main activities of the Freemasons is our support for charitable causes in the community and during the lockdown our members raised money for local hospital staff and key workers. “Promoting health and well-being amongst our members and in the local community is an important part of what we do.

“We value the chance to provide ongoing support for the work of the hospital to care for our local community.”

Good work Brethren.
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Letters of Thanks

Twynham Lodge Christmas toy donation to the Neonatal Unit at Poole Hospital Charity – Letter of thanks