Harrogate and Ripon Freemasons have turned to “flower power” to help celebrate key milestones in the fraternity’s history
Three floral displays – located on Harrogate’s Montpellier Hill, within the Valley Gardens and in Ripon’s Spa Gardens – have been created by Harrogate Borough Council’s Parks & Environmental Services Department to mark the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Premier Grand Lodge and the bicentenary of the Province of Yorkshire West Riding.
The official unveiling of the beds, which feature the masonic symbols of the square and compasses and the white rose of Yorkshire, was performed by the Mayor of Harrogate, Coun Anne Jones, Ripon Mayor Coun Pauline McHardy and the Provincial Grand Master David S Pratt.
The flower beds, containing around 7,500 plants, were the brainchild of Doug Mills, Charity Steward of The Spa Lodge No. 7609, who came up with the idea that the Tercentenary of the United Grand Lodge of England and the Bi-centenary of The Province of Yorkshire West Riding, could be celebrated by a floral display in Harrogate.
He approached Harrogate Borough Council to see if they would support planting out beds to mark the two landmarks, which it readily agreed to and added Ripon to the mix.
Doug Mills commented: 'These three flower beds are simply stunning and they look absolutely fantastic. Six months ago it was merely an idea and now it is reality.'
Rt W Bro David S Pratt, who presented commemorative hand trowels to the mayors, said: '2017 is a very special year for Freemasonry in England and Wales, and in particular for our Province as we are also celebrating our 200th birthday.
'We very much welcome the support of Harrogate Borough Council, as without them Doug’s floral tercentenary and bicentenary tributes would never have seen the light of day. Thanks to the skills of the parks team, thousands of people walking in the three locations will be able to enjoy these stunning flower beds throughout the summer months.'
The Treasurer of The Spa Lodge, W Bro Peter Dodds, facilitated the manufacture and supply free of charge of four powder coated stainless steel display cases from In Stainless Engineering Ltd together with graphic boards provided by Signs Express that detail the history of the United Grand Lodge of England and the Province.
Spa Lodge No. 7609 entered the world of fashion on Saturday 19th October when it organised a fashion show in conjunction with Beales department stores
Two one-hour shows were performed with a local Stray FM radio DJ giving the commentary on each of the 35 outfits modelled. Six models were drawn from the brethren’s wives, partners and friends, with one brother being persuaded to ‘strut his stuff’.
The change of clothes was a logistical problem with hair being reset between each, except for the brother who was sporting a zero style!
The shows were held at the Harrogate Masonic Hall in the main temple which added to the occasion in providing a backdrop which few of the audience had seen before.
Beales offered light refreshments, a discount voucher and personal shopping appointments in store after the event.
The lodge is pleased to report a profit of £700 which will be donated to the 2017 Festival in support of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution.