The dedication of a new Banner is a rare occurrence in a Lodge, but one that can create immense interest. The Loyal Berkshire Lodge of Hope No 574 is the fourth oldest Lodge in Berkshire at 165 years, being consecrated in 1850. Its banner was over 40 years old and worn out, so it was time for change.
The process of commissioning a new banner is not one to be undertaken lightly. Ideally it should have an innovative design, which has to be approved by the Province and subsequently Grand Lodge. Credit for the planning goes to W Bros Jim Wood and Geoff Lobb. A banner takes several months to be manufactured and in this case the work was expertly carried out by Fabbs Regalia Suppliers.
The Province of Berkshire regards the dedication of a new banner as a significant landmark in the history of a Lodge, to such an extent that the Provincial Grand Master will personally act as the Dedicating Officer and bring a Dedicating Team of Acting Provincial Officers with him.
Such was the case on 3rd March 2015 when the Provincial Grand Master RW Bro Martin Peters dedicated the new banner. He stimulated the Brethren with his address, but apologised for the fact that he may not be around to see the next banner dedication in 2055! The event drew a capacity attendance of over 80 at Newbury Masonic Centre, followed by the Festive Board at Newbury and Crookham Golf Club, where commemorative cuff-links were on sale and commemorative pens presented to all attending.
It was indeed a night to remember and many of the newer Brethren remarked that “it was the best night of their Masonic career so far”.
The evening was further enhanced by the PGM making a presentation for W Bro Bill Coster, recognising his contribution to Freemasonry over 50 years of membership.
At the other end of the scale, VW Bro Colin Hayes Deputy Provincial Grand Master presented a Grand Lodge Certificate to Bro Ian Atkinson and wished him a long and satisfying career in Freemasonry.
The Lodge made a presentation to the Provincial Grand Master of a further £3,500 to the Berkshire Masonic Charity Appeal.
The commemorative photograph shows the Worshipful Master W Bro Peter Browning and the Provincial Grand Master either side of the new banner, together with the Dedicating Team, from left to right, W Bros Andy Cathcart ProvJGW, Paul Ackland-Snow ProvSGW, Ray Duncan ProvGPursuivant and Revd Stephen Cousins ProvGChaplain. The ceremony was expertly directed by W Bros Julian Pacey ProvGDC and Paul Wilding ProvDepGDC.
Brian Bicknell, Secretary, Loyal Berkshire Lodge of Hope No 574.