David Kenneth Williamson Lodge No. 9938 held its first meeting outside of London at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester, to conduct a quintuple Passing ceremony on behalf of the three Universities Scheme Lodges in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland
The lodge is the Installed Masters Lodge for the Universities Scheme and whilst consecrated in London in 2016, it was agreed that the lodge meet around the English constitution to undertake second and third degree ceremonies on behalf Universities Scheme lodges.
The meeting was held in the very decorative surroundings of the Holmes Lodge Room on 4th May 2018 and was opened in due form by the Master Oliver Lodge, Grand Director of Ceremonies, with 66 Brethren in attendance, including David Kenneth Williamson, Immediate Past Master, Sir David Wootton, Assistant Grand Master, David Hagger, Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland, David Pratt, Provincial Grand Master of Yorkshire, West Riding, Peter Kinder, Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland, and Derek Buswell, Past Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland.
The five candidates David Hames of Wyggeston Lodge No. 3448, Jonathan Haslam and David Veryan Jones of Castle of Leicester Lodge No. 7767, and Marat Guysin and Steven Brian Szukielowicz of Lodge of Science and Art No. 8429 were Passed to the degree of a Fellowcraft in a superbly conducted ceremony.
Sir David Wootton, President of the Universities Scheme, provided an update on the Scheme and made mention of a recent audit undertaken of all Scheme lodges to help identify those who may benefit from extra help and support. He also highlighted the four strategic aims the Scheme was pursuing, namely:
- Providing support to lodges and producing ‘know how’ guides on topics such as lodge finance and ritual. Also suggesting to Lodge Almoners that they could focus on understanding their student members and when they have exams coming up, when they are graduating, and celebrating their successes.
- Talent transfer - how to assist members to find a new masonic home after leaving university.
- The Royal Arch – the Scheme now has five Royal Arch Chapters and is looking at how best to develop this important part of the Scheme.
- Overseas - students from districts graduation in England and helping Districts attract students in their home countries.
Also mentioned was the important work of the New and Young Masons Clubs (NYMC) and that the Scheme was increasing its engagement with NYMC both on a local and national level to ensure that with items, such as talent transfer, both groups can work together. He also referenced the links with the Association of Medical, University and Legal Lodges (AMULL).
David Kenneth Williamson, Past Assistant Grand Master, concluded: 'It was a perfect demonstration of how a multiple ceremony can be done without detriment to the candidates, and brought much credit to the lodge.'
The Brethren retired to the Holmes Lounge were they were welcomed with reception drinks before a four-course dinner.
After grace, Mo Afsa, of Old Mancunians’ with Mount Sinai Lodge No. 3140 in Manchester, presented the DKW Loving Cup to the lodge. Under the watchful eye of David Kenneth Williamson, whose initials the cup bears the name, as Founder President of the Universities Scheme, the Loving Cup circulated around the room. There being six members of Apollo University Lodge No. 357 present, Paul Grier rose to claim the Cup on behalf of that lodge and announced that the next meeting would be held on Saturday 2nd June 2018.
The Leicestershire and Rutland Provincial Grand Orator, David Hughes, was delighted to be given a 1958 bottle of Booth’s gin by a member of the Castle of Leicester Lodge No. 7767
Upon inspection, the bottle was a distinctive six sided shape, the colour of the liquor pale gold and it bore the traditional trademark of a red lion.
The Booth family started to make London Dry Gin in 1740, thus making their brand arguably the oldest in the world. The then head of the family, Philip Booth built a distillery in London at 55, Cowcross Street on the site of what is now Farringdon Station. There were further premises at Red Lion Street in Clerkenwell.
Philip Booth was succeeded by his three sons, William, Felix and John. They built an even larger distillery at Brentford, and Felix took sole control of the company in 1830.
Under Sir Felix Booth the family became the largest distillery company in the United Kingdom and King William IV conferred a Royal Warrant for the supply of gin on them in 1833. Thereafter Booths became known as the 'King of Gins'. It should be noted that Sir Felix was a a member of The Lodge of Harmony No. 255, then No.317, meeting at Richmond, which was noted for its generous and hospitable kindness to visitors.
The Booth family held control of the company until the death of Sir Felix`s nephew, Sir Charles, in 1897, while the last male heir of the family died in 1926. The brand was acquired in 1937 by the Distillers Company and later purchased by Guinness in 1986. The brand is now owned by Diageo. Although the company discontinued production of Booth’s in the UK in 2006, it continues in the USA, but without the traditionally distinctive bottle shape and pale gold hue.
Realising that the bottle was a collectors item, David Hughes generously offered it for sale via an online auction house based in London who specialise in the sale of collectible spirits in order to raise funds for the 2022 MCF Festival. At first the bids came in slowly but the bottle eventually sold for £160 which has been kindly donated to the Festival. David, a Past Master of the Lodge of Research No. 2429, has now become so interested in Sir Felix Booth that he is now pursuing further research into the life and times of this famous Brother.
Dale Page, 2022 Festival Chairman, said: 'Knowing David as I do, I appreciate what a huge gesture this is. Original ideas such as this highlight the many and varied ways we can all contribute to our Festival appeal. We have made a positive start, but our target remains a challenging one. However, if we can supplement our regular direct debit contributions and one-off donations with marvellous initiatives such as this I am confident our £1.8 million target is well within our grasp.'
The three Universities Scheme Lodges meeting in Leicestershire and Rutland donated £1,500 to Alderman Newton’s Educational Foundation at a presentation ceremony at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester, on Saturday 29th April 2017
Alderman Newton’s Educational Foundation offers financial support to individuals and schools in Leicestershire helping them access education or training opportunities.
The money was raised at the recently held special joint meeting where the three lodges, Wyggeston Lodge, Castle of Leicester Lodge No 7767 and Lodge of Science & Art No 8429. The Leicestershire and Rutland Masonic Charity Association additionally contributed half of the funds.
Andy Green, Universities Scheme Representative for the Wyggeston Lodge, and Vice-Chairman of thte Universities Scheme, said: 'As University Lodges, we are incredibly proud to donate this money to a local educational charity that supports those less fortunate than ourselves.'
Members of three Universities Scheme Lodges meeting in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland - Wyggeston Lodge No.3448, which is the Universities Scheme Lodge for the University of Leicester, Castle of Leicester No.7767 (De Montfort University) and Lodge of Science and Art No.8429 (Loughborough University) - met together for a joint meeting to celebrate the success of the Universities Scheme in the Province together with the Tercentenary of the United Grand Lodge of England.
The meeting, which was held at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester, on Saturday 25th February 2017 was attended by over 90 brethren who witnessed 3 ceremonies (an Initiation, a Passing and a Raising) with multiple candidates and conducted in turn by each of the lodges.
The Lodges were extremely honoured to welcome the Assistant Grand Master, RW Bro Sir David Wootton, who is President of the Universities Scheme, along with the Scheme Chairman, W Bro Edward Lord. Also attending were the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VW Bro James Buckle, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, VW Bro Peter Kinder, brethren representing ten other Scheme Lodges, and with other visitors.
After the Master of Wyggeston Lodge Master, W Bro Yogesh Patel, opened the meeting at 2.30pm, the Master of Castle of Leicester Lodge, W Bro Daniel Hayward, along with members of the lodge conducted a triple Raising. Following a short tea break it was the turn of Lodge of Science and Art to conduct a Passing. Finally, after a further tea break, Wyggeston Lodge conducted an Initiation ceremony for three new members, two of whom are students at the University of Leicester.
The meeting was followed by a wonderful Festive Board, where the lodges enjoyed a hearty three course dinner and the company of the guests and visitors. A raffle held in aid the Alderman Newton’s Educational Foundation, which is a local charity offering financial support to individuals and schools to help people access education or training opportunities in Leicestershire, raised £420. A collection for the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2022 Festival also raised £422 including Gift Aid.
W Bro Andy Green, organiser of the event and Vice-Chairman of the Universities Scheme, said: “Getting the three lodges together provided a wonderful occasion to celebrate the Universities Scheme in the Province and to mark the Tercentenary of Grand Lodge. It was encouraging to see so many younger members enjoying their Freemasonry, which created a real buzz throughout the day.”