Riding to the Somme
Seven members of the Artificers Masonic Motorcycle Association and two of their partners undertook a sponsored ride to the Somme, where they laid a wreath at the Thiepval Memorial in memory of those who fell during World War I, and returned a bugle reportedly used in the Battle of Mons to sound the first retreat.
The team included Jim Humphreys, a Zambian mason from Lusaka – the eldest of the group at 72 years old; Ray and Jacquie Sparks of the newly formed Sussex Motorcycling Lodge, No. 9871, who owned the 100-year-old bugle; Gary Dark from Chantry Lodge, No. 6454, East Kent; Mike Hogsden of Hamelesham Lodge, No. 8243, Sussex; Colin Wallington of White Horse of Kent Lodge, No. 8784, West Kent; Chris Ray of Pro Deo et Patria Lodge, No. 4425, London; and Dave Weedon from Hanslip Ward Lodge, No. 3399, Essex, and his partner Jeannette.
When motorbike enthusiast Andy McGowan’s wife Sarah, a deputy sister, was admitted to Colchester Hospital’s critical care unit, he was so impressed with the staff’s dedication and kindness that he decided to raise funds for the hospital.
Andy, who is a member of United Lodge No. 697, which meets in Colchester, set out on a 24-hour sponsored motorbike ride around Great Britain, starting at the hospital and touring Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bristol and London, before returning to Essex.
Andy, a keen motorcyclist, and member of the newly formed Artificers Masonic Motorcycle Association (AMMA), completed the journey on his beloved Triumph Speedster.
‘The staff were wonderful and I’m so grateful that my wife is well now. The money will be used to improve the facilities for patients and their relatives,’ said Andy of his achievement.