Iron Bridge Lodge No. 9897 was founded earlier in 2015 as Shropshire’s first Universities Scheme member, and the first to be consecrated as such. In September more than 50 masons, including Shropshire’s Deputy Provincial Grand Master Roger Pemberton, a representative of the scheme and a brother from Canada, gathered to witness a double initiation of two young men – the first to claim 9897 as their mother lodge.
True to the modern principles of this new assembly, the start time was 7 pm and the work (which was of a fine standard) was shared among many members. An excellent buffet followed before the brethren gathered again for a reduced toast list. The meeting ended in good spirits at 9.40, and while some brethren headed for home, others repaired to a local source of refreshment.
Although the length of the meeting was short, there was no sense of rush: the ceremony was delivered in full and with feeling. Andy Delamere, the Worshipful Master, toasted Her Majesty The Queen who only a few hours before had become the longest-reigning monarch of this country. A generous cheque was presented to Teddies for Loving Care, and the lodge was able to report that its donations to Shropshire’s 2019 Grand Charity Festival were advancing well.
The two initiates were very much the focus of the evening. Brother Perring discovered that the Provincial Webmaster was a third cousin whom he had never met, while Brother Greatrex won a prize in his first masonic raffle… One later tweeted that two days later he was still ‘waiting to come down’.
VW Bro Roger Pemberton, DepPrGM later said '[The] evening’s meeting was one I shall always remember for several reasons but principally for a ceremony which came as close as possible to the very heart of what I believe is at the core of Freemasonry. The brethren who delivered parts of the ceremony, the Deacons, the Chaplain, the WM, all spoke with a genuine understanding of the work and feeling for the heart of the ritual and what it is we are “all about”.'