It seems that it is not only Britain’s athletes who have attained gold in recent times.
The Province of Wiltshire may be small in terms of lodge representation, but it has an active and vibrant membership which embodies the oft-quoted sentiment of the Provincial Grand Master that it possesses a large heart, lives well, laughs often and loves much.
Last year three of its members have been presented with 50 years service certificates.
On Wednesday 21 November, Gooch Lodge No. 1295 was honoured with a visit from the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VW Bro Peter Winton who presented a 50 years service certificate to W Bro Dennis Bull.
A few days before, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, W Bro Philip Bullock ‘did a double’ when he presented certificates to W Bro Keith Newton and W Bro Stuart Brown, both members of the Lodge of Friendship and Unity No. 1271, which meets in the lovely market town of Bradford on Avon, famed for its history as a wool centre.
Not forgotten was W Bro Dennis Simmons a member of St Edmund Lodge No. 4714 meeting in Calne, who has also received a well merited certificate recognising and celebrating his 50 years service to Antient Freemasonry.
To round off a very happy few months the Province also recognised W Bro John English who has completed 60 years of service as a Wiltshire Freemason. Initiated into Gooch Lodge No. 1295 on the 15 October 1952, John was installed as Master of the Lodge in 1967. He was promoted to Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 1982, and was made an honorary member of the Lodge in 2008. He has now completed 60 years service as a Wiltshire Freemason.
This remarkable achievement was marked by a visit to John's home in Devizes by the Provincial Grand Master for Wiltshire, RW Bro Francis Wakem, together with members of Gooch Lodge.
With each presentation there is invariably a story to be told about the recipient of the honour, and it is these stories which bring alive the various ‘honours boards’ which are to be found in lodge rooms. For in achieving such a milestone as 50 years of service it must be acknowledged that the brethren will have known many of the names of those who have served in the capacity of Master and will remember with a mixture of awe and affection the part they played in the life of the lodge.
We are reminded that for our ancient brethren it was ‘the hope of reward which sweetened labour’. While a certificate may not be strictly termed a reward, it is hoped that brethren who have laboured in the cause of Freemasonry for so many years will accept the grateful thanks of the Province and their lodge for their selfless service.