From The Berkshire Lodge Of Enlightenment
The current Master of Abbey Lodge W Bro. Laurence Jennings has been an “action-man” during his time as WM. In addition to having two young children and his own business to look after, Laurence works on Home Community Safety Projects with Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and is also an On-Call Fire Fighter at Eynsham and a Community First Responder for South Central Ambulance Charity
At Easter 2019 while ME, Bro Laurence and his twin brother completed the Three Peaks Challenge, that’s Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowden, the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales. A total ascent of 3,40 M (cf Mont Blanc 4,808M and Everest 8,849M). The brothers completed the challenge in just under 24 hours including travel between the climbs. Laurence was Installed as WM in October 2019.
As if all that was not enough, in 2020 he was been seconded to South Central Ambulance Charity for 2 months during the first peak of the Corona-19 pandemic, as he is a blue-light qualified driver and Community First Responder, he was a valuable addition to the Ambulance Service during that period of extreme demand on the frontline. At the start of 2021, Laurence was again seconded to the Ambulance service for another 2 months.
Laurence says, “it has been the most incredible, challenging, exhausting and rewarding experience. I have been constantly amazed and inspired by the incredible work of our frontline ambulance crews and, honoured to join their ranks for a while.”
During the lockdown, he and his family even found time to move house. As for what lies ahead? Laurence says “life is gradually returning to some form of normal……exciting challenges and adventures no doubt…..”
No doubt at all!
Remembrance Sunday was a shadow of its former self this year, due to Covid restrictions.
With the Parade abandoned, Newbury Freemasons were denied the opportunity of marching in force, as we have done for many years. The modest commemoration ceremony was limited to Council Officials only.
However the good news was that, at three o’clock precisely the Worshipful Master of the Loyal Berkshire Lodge of Hope No 574 Owain Harrison, representing all Newbury Freemasons, laid a wreath in tribute to those who had bravely sacrificed themselves.
This was a separate private visit, made to the town’s war memorial to express our condolences to those who gave their lives in two world wars in the cause of freedom and peace.
Organisation and photography was by courtesy of Brian Sylvester, Town Crier for Newbury.
“We will remember them”
Written by Brian Bicknell
Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden
A lack of appropriate activities for a person with dementia can lead to social isolation, apathy, a decline in health and increased risk of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.
Consequently, a primary aim of the charity is to run a variety of workshops across the county to stimulate social activity for clients, and, provide some respite time for their carers. Some activities run all year, such as the choir, whilst others may run in six-week blocks.
Earlier this year the owners of Padworth Rectory granted access to a dedicated area of land and a building for YPWD to host appropriate indoor and outdoor workshops, during the working week and to utilise the building for training purposes.
On 10th December at the conclusion of a YPWD‘s 8th Harmony Choir Christmas Concert, WBro Neil Murphy of Padworth Lodge No. 7505 presented a cheque for £1,000 to Mark Hainy, Director of YPWD, on behalf of the Berkshire Masonic Charity, the funds are to provide materials and equipment for the YPWD Padworth Project. Also featured in the picture (below) are two choir members, WBro Mike Swales, a young person with dementia, and WBro Mike Kennedy a carer for his wife.
If you know of anyone who might benefit from the support provided by YPWD please see their website for referral details. Similarly, if you have a skill base that could form the foundation of a workshop or would like to help at a workshop, volunteer details can also be found on their website http://www.ypwd.info/
Barry Elford from The Loyal Berkshire Lodge of Hope, together with his wife and a little bit of help from the Beatles wrote and then sung a song call Thank you NHS.
The backing tune is the Beatles Let it Be, but the words are all by Barry and his wife. They reflect their views and thoughts of the tremendous work the doctors, nurses and all other people in the NHS have done throughout this Covid-19 period. He felt their sterling work needed recognising and the best way was to do it in a song!
Sitting down at the table with his wife, he gathered his thoughts and then the magic flowed. The chorus was written first then the rest just fell into place. A few weeks later, whilst having their dinner and listening to Radio Berkshire their song came across the airwaves.
Before the pandemic swept across the UK, a unique installation ceremony took place at Sindlesham on the 12th March where R W Bro John Clark, PGM of Buckinghamshire was installed into the chair of Cookham Manor Lodge No. 4191
John Clark (a long-time friend of the Secretary WBro Tim Lee) has been a visitor to Cookham Manor for over 25 years joined the Lodge just over a year ago. Cookham Manor has been a struggling small Lodge for several years with just 21 members. John was quickly encouraged to become Senior Warden in 2019 and kindly agreed to be Master in 2020.
Tim Lee said “I have tried and failed to get John to join the Lodge for many years. Following his appointment as Provincial Grand Master of Buckinghamshire he agreed with our own PGM that he would join a Berkshire Lodge and chose Cookham Manor due to the close links forged over many years”
The evening was certainly a draw for both Buckinghamshire and Berkshire Masons and saw RW Bro Anthony Charles Howlett Bolton OBE, both our Provincial Wardens, VW Bro Peter Sands and many of the Buckinghamshire executive in attendance. In total there where 106 guests at the festive board comprising 15 members and 91 visitors.
This is the first time Cookham Manor Lodge has seen over 100 attending an installation meeting for probably over 50 years and it provided a huge boost to the Lodge who have struggled with numbers for many years
Cookham Manor will be celebrating its centenary at its centenary in 2021 where there will be both an installation meeting and centenary and banner dedication ceremony so this will hopefully ensure another big meeting next year.
At the meeting the Lodge gave notice to transfer £2,500 from its relief chest to the 2023 Festival and RW Bro John confirmed that his fund raising for the year will also support the festival. The meeting was a huge success and the Lodge are most grateful, particularly to the Province of Buckinghamshire, who supported the meeting in large numbers.
Out of the blue, The Loyal Berkshire Lodge of Hope No. 574 have recently received a legacy of £1,000 from the Estate of the late Ruth Kathleen Tobias which was a mystery as no one in the lodge could remember a “Tobias” being a member so an investigation was begun to try to find if there was a masonic connection.
As all the lodge records are stored under lock and key elsewhere from the lodge, a few of the brethren turned to the internet and the ancestry website to try to enlighten us and this is what they found, which is very interesting:
William Tom Tobias was a solider in the Army Ordinance Corps and it appears from the photograph that he was involved in the first part of WW1 as he has a 1914-1915 medal, which includes a ‘Mons Bar’ issued to those who served from the very outset. The last medal is a long service medal granted after 18 years’ service; these were issued after 1930.
In the July-to-September quarter of 1914 he married a Lena Florence Brownsey in Cambridge and as we see here was later promoted to Warrant Officer. After leaving the army, the 1939 Register describes him as being:
- A managing clerk for the Newbury Building Society, and
- A retired warrant officer.
At some point in his career, he was initiated into the Loyal Berkshire Lodge of Hope on 7th April 1936, aged 48, passed on 6th October and raised on the 2nd February 1937. He was never master of the lodge.
Lena and William had 4 children between them, Joan, Robert (who died in a flying accident), Ruth and Dorothy (who later married a John Roberts of Reading).
William passed away on 15th January 1961 whilst living in Earley, leaving an estate of £2,581. Probate was granted to his eldest daughter Joan (but not his wife who lived until 1979). Joan died a spinster at the same address, by which time her estate was worth £8,916. We must assume this legacy was passed to her younger sister Ruth, who in turn donated £1,000 to the lodge on her death.
It all raises a series of questions …
- What was his military service?
- What memory did Ruth have, which prompted her to leave £1,000 to the lodge?
We may never know the answers to these questions, especially the one pertaining to why leave the lodge £1,000. The lodge has decided to share the good fortune and that the legacy will be passed to the 2023 Festival appeal.
WBro Paul Tomlinson, Secretary