July 2019

Following on from the extremely moving masonic Act of Remembrance ceremony (reported in the Spring News Sheet) Peter Cox (1958-62) was able to complete the School’s masonic remembrance by visiting Ypres and the Tyne Cot Cemetery during May and on behalf of the Lodge and the Chapter was able to pay a last sad tribute of respect to departed merit.

At St George’s Chapel in Ypres is a commemoration plaque honouring the 316 OMTs who died in the Great War and the 146 who died in World War Two.

Since the last News Sheet the Lodge has met twice, once at Mark Masons Hall in London and once at the School. At Both meetings it was a real pleasure to perform the completion ceremonies for Richard Alexander (current staff) and Nikhil Sangani (2002-2007) respectively. Both are now fully fledged Master Masons.

Our photo shows Nikhil’s installation team. Front row from left to right: John Barraclough, Howard Norman-Taylor, Keith Griffiths, Mike Caesari, Nikhil, Ian Crawford (WM), Jeremy Gaskell, Daniel Khana, Peter Henson. Back row (from the left) David Locke, Nick Carter, Richard Wyndham Smith, Mark Pedroz, Peter Cox, Bob Helliar, Neil Richards and John Short.

Unusually we are all in shirt sleeve order due to the extremely warm weather on the day. After the formalities, 35 of us dined in the Club House.

As reported in the last issue, Sir Thomas White Lodge was well represented in the organisational structure of the PSLC Festival held at the Royal Masonic School for Girls at Rickmansworth. Howard Norman-Taylor acted as Festival Secretary whilst Peter Cox was the ceremonial Director of Ceremonies. We were blessed with amazingly fine and warm weather for the day. The proceedings commenced with a non-denominational church service accompanied by the welcome to the Pro First Grand Master – Peter Lowndes – who was deputising for the Duke of Kent. Following the service everyone retired to the Great Hall where we were treated to a masonic musical entertainment performed by the PSLC choir. There then followed a most splendid and convivial banquet in the dining hall, an afternoon treasure hunt and a farewell tea. All in all a brilliant day in the company of 200 Public School old boys and their partners. Tonbridge are the hosts in July 2020. The photo shows John Short (1947-54) with wife Margaret and daughter Julia together with Peter Parr-Head.

Our next event is the Ladies Summer Lunch at the end of July at the Cock Inn, Sarratt, and I hope to report on that occasion in the next issue.

The Chapter continues its planning for the centenary in June 2021. We now have a confirmed booking for the celebratory banquet to be held in the Great Hall at St Barts Hospital in the City of London. This is a most prestigious venue and those that attend will be able to view first hand the evidence of Robert Clive’s benevolence. The Chapter is in the process of raising a target of £10,000 to enable a grant fund to be established at the school to enable, particularly, those scholarship boys from less well off circumstances to participate in school activities they might otherwise not be able to. Simon Everson has accepted our invitation to attend the banquet and to receive our cheque.

Masonic visitors are always very welcome at our meetings. Forthcoming dates are: Lodge –Thursday 19thSeptember, Thursday 19th December and Thursday 27th February 2020 (Installation), all at Mark Masons Hall. Chapter –Tuesday 19th November and Thursday 16th January 2020 (Installation) , all at Freemasons Hall.

March 2019

After many years editing the Lodge & Chapter news for the News Sheet, Jeremy Gaskell ( 1957-59) has decided to hang up his keyboard and to seek a slightly more quieter lifestyle. We thank Jeremy for his unstinting efforts and dedication to keeping our Alumni up to date with all that is going on in our small but thriving Masonic community. Having been “volunteered” to carry on Jeremy’s mantle, I will do my best to live up to his standards and to keep the information machine going.

The Armistice Centenary commemoration meeting marking the end of WW1 included a very special masonic service held at Freemasons’ Hall on the 10th November 2018. This was held under the banner of the Victoria Rifles Lodge No. 822 on behalf of all 1,321 “Hall-Stone” Lodges at which – most of whom – including our own Sir Thomas White Lodge – were represented.

Following the formal Act of Remembrance when,  as the room fell silent, a cascade of poppy petals floated down from the ceiling, and after the bugle call of “Men to Meal”, there was a silent recession as members placed poppies next to a Vickers machine gun in their personal tribute to the fallen.

The photo shows W Bros Peter Cox (1958-62) and Neil Richards (staff 1987-2008) approaching (top left) to lay their poppies.

A Hall-Stone Lodge is one where the Lodge contributed to the construction costs of, what in 1919, was called the Masonic Peace Memorial but is now known as Freemasons’ Hall in London. Each Hall-Stone Lodge was presented, by the Most Worshipful Grand Master at the time, a Hall-Stone Jewell, which is worn by every current Master of the Lodge in conjunction with the Master’s Collar and is annually passed on to his successor. What is not so generally well known is that one of the co-Architects of Freemasons’ Hall was an OMT – H.V.Ashley (1896-99) who was also a member of our Lodge.

This winter has seen the annual change over of Lodge Master and Chapter First Principal. Ian Crawford (1960-65) succeeded Neil Richards as Master of the Lodge and Lewis Cohen (1982-87) became Chapter First Principal succeeding Gerry Greenland (grandfather of Joe Reagan 2015-2017). This is Ian’s first attempt at being Master but Lewis is being “re-cycled” for the second time.

2018 was a very successful and enjoyable year. A fantastic Ladies Summer Luncheon was held at the Cock Inn, Sarratt, and many visits were made to meetings of our PSLC (Public Schools Lodges Council) sister Lodges including Wellington, Highgate, Rugby, Winchester, Felsted, Clifton and Westminster – where the inter school banter and camaraderie are second to none. In March Jeremy Gaskell and Keith Griffiths (staff 1975-96) visited the Old Crosbeian Lodge, Liverpool. This is a much enjoyable annual “beano” involving an overnight stay in an extremely vibrant city – need I say more! Amongst all this fun the Lodge & Chapter managed to donate almost £5,000 to various (mostly non-masonic) charities.

2019 is already looking just as exciting. The Lodge will be involved in assisting with the arrangements for the PSLC Annual Festival which this year is being held at the Rickmansworth Girls Masonic School on the 25thMay. This is a very high profile social event which is open to all, including non-masons. Also the Federation of School Lodges will be holding their 2019 Annual Festival in Preston on the 31st August and under the banner of the Old Crosbeian Lodge. Jeremy and Nina Gaskell will be attending and are hoping to be joined by other “Tommy Whiters”.

The Chapter is well advanced in planning for its centenary in 2021. There are plans to hold the celebratory banquet in the Great Hall at St Barts Hospital in the City of London. St Barts has a long association with MTS and will be a magnificent and fitting venue for our celebratory party.

Masonic visitors are always very welcome at our meetings but most especially at the July school meeting. Forthcoming dates are: Lodge – Friday 5th July (at MTS), Thursday 19th September, Thursday 19th December and Thursday 27th February 2020 (Installation), all at Mark Masons Hall. Chapter – Tuesday 11th June, Tuesday 19th November and Thursday 16th January 2020 (Installation) , all at Freemasons Hall.