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March, 2020

Sir Thomas White Lodge and Chapter No. 1820

My weather predictions in the last issue proved to be wide of the mark as we have got through the winter months without so much of a glimpse of any hard frosts or snow. The wet February has been difficult for some though and our thoughts and sympathies must go out to those who have had their homes and businesses flooded.

Your OMT Freemasons have had a very active few months. As mentioned in the last issue, Peter Cox (1958-62) took part in the annual Lord Mayor’s Show Pageant in early November. Peter was part of the Metropolitan Grand Lodge “Float” (that’s a laugh as we had to walk!) and the photo shows the London Fire Brigade fire appliance that we accompanied. This was to recognise the £2.5million raised by London Freemasons to fund the purchase of two extended ladder appliances to assist in case there are future high rise building fires. Taking part in the Pageant is a tremendously emotional and worthwhile experience – the welcome and cheering from the crowds lining the streets cannot but help put a smile on one’s face. Although, for a 75 year old, it is physically demanding, the pleasure given out from the supporting crowds more than makes up for any temporary personal discomfort.

Our Fire Appliance Float

Both the Chapter and the Lodge held very successful November and December meetings. The December Lodge meeting featured a ceremony we were able to undertake on behalf of the Old Aldenhamians Lodge. This is a marvellous example of two PSLC Lodges working together to relieve situations where one Lodge is in difficulty. We would like to think that our reputation as superb ritualists was the deciding factor!! All joking apart, it is these events that enable us to build relationships for the future and are a great advertisement for Public School old boys camaraderie. Our photo shows Ian Crawford with the Old Aldenhamians team.

Worshipful Master Ian Crawford with the Old Aldenhamians

The beginning of 2020 saw new leaders for both Lodge and Chapter. Richard Wyndham-Smith (1969–74) became the First Principal of the Chapter and Mark Pedroz (1977-83) was installed as Worshipful Master of the Lodge.

2020 also saw the publishing of our brand new website. This can be found at www.omtmasons.org . Not only does the site provide lots of information about the origins and founders of both the Lodge and Chapter but also information about freemasonry in general and what to do if you are ever interested in finding out more. Much credit must go to Tom Hawley, the Secretary of the Old Wellingtonians Lodge, who provided most of the “technicals” for the site as well as conducting much interesting research into our founders. Our Immediate Past Master, Ian Crawford (1960-65) continued his busy schedule of showing the OMT flag at other PSLC Lodges meetings and was joined by Peter Cox on his visit to the Old Wellingtonians’ Lodge meeting held at the East India Club – a venue with venerable connections to historical OMT’s!

The next Lodge meeting in March will be to initiate Tom Woods (2006-13) and more about that exciting event in the next issue along with the news of the Summer BBQ social and the visit to the Old Crosbeian Lodge on March 23rd by Jeremy Gaskell (1957-59), Keith Griffiths (former staff-Music) and Mark Pedroz. The Chapter 2021 centenary planning took a bit of a knock over the winter when we were informed that our “booking” at St Bart’s had been cancelled due to refurbishment works of the Great Hall that were now scheduled to take place in 2021. Undaunted though, the centenary committee were able to find a new venue and so our celebratory banquet will now be held at the equally prestigious Freemasons Hall. Those of you who will be attending the Society’s annual dinner in November will recognise the venue!

We were all greatly saddened by the departed merit of a hugely popular member, Tony Bell (1952-57), in November. Tony was one of those larger than life characters who always had a huge store of cheerful quips and put downs for any member attempting to step out of line. He was Worshipful Master of the Lodge in 1988 and First Principal of the Chapter in 1993.

Masonic visitors are always very welcome at our meetings. Forthcoming dates are: Lodge – Thursday 26th March at Mark Masons Hall and Friday 3rd July at the School. Chapter –Tuesday  9th June at Freemasons Hall.

We also warmly welcome inquiries from any non-Freemasons and any Freemason wishing to know more about our work and the fun way we go about it.

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