An impromptu meeting was held underwater between three lodges at the bottom of The National Diving & Activity Centre on 14th October 2018
Michael Wilson, Senior Warden and Master Elect of Ashley Lodge No. 6525 in Dorset, donned his diving gear to meet with Luke Sibley, Master of Arthurian Lodge No. 5658 in the Province of Hampshire & Isle of Wight, and John DeLara, Past Master of the Loyal Berkshire Lodge of Hope No. 574 in Berkshire, to help Michael celebrate his 70th Birthday at a depth of 70 metres for 70 minutes, whilst raising funds for the charity DDRC Healthcare, the Diving Diseases Research Centre in Plymouth.
In the event, the depth and duration were slightly exceeded with 71.2 metres for 78 minutes. The temperature at the bottom of the quarry was 6C and on the wind and rain swept surface it was a balmy 15C. Following the dive, refreshments comprised numerous mugs of hot chocolate and lashings of Old Jamaica ginger cake soaked in rum and cream.
To date, over £400 has been donated to DDRC Healthcare by the British Sub-Aqua Lodge No. 8997, Ashley Lodge, Arthurian Lodge, Loyal Berkshire Lodge of Hope and Fins and Flippers Swim School in Poole, Dorset.
This sporting life
At the Installation Meeting of the Leicestershire and Rutland Lodge of Installed Masters No. 7896 on the 8th April 2016 the members and visitors were treated to an informative lecture on Freemasonry and Sport by W Bro Rex Hazeldine of the Lodge of Science and Art No. 8429
W Bro Rex, who trained as a Physical Education teacher and taught, coached, lectured in sport, health and exercise science for many years, highlighted the connections between his two great passions: Freemasonry and sport. He began with the comparisons between the two including the closeness, friendship, reliance on one another as part of a team and are guided, coached, taught by knowledgeable, experienced tutors.
The significant contribution made by Freemasons in establishing historic sports organisation such as the Football Association, Middlesex Cricket Club, Amateur Athletic Association and the Modern Olympic Games. There was also the critical contribution of the Reform Bill of 1832 in expanding schools which lead to 'games' being part of their ethos which was lead by Sir John George Lambton, Pro Grand Master.
W Bro Rex recounted the reasons why Manchester City adopted the light blue colour worn by a Master Mason, when the club, which was founded in 1880, was rescued from bankruptcy in 1894 by local Freemasons who requested the playing strip to be changed from red and black to the colour of a Master Mason.
He also mentioned a range of sports-based lodges including, the Sportsman’s Lodge No. 9440, British Sub-Aqua Lodge No. 8997, Flyfishers’ Lodge No. 9347, Silverstone Lodge No. 9877, Lodge of the Chevaliers de Fer No. 9732, Mike Hailwood Lodge No. 9839, Graham Milton Lodge No. 9796 and the Shotokan Karate Lodge No. 9752.
Special mention was made for lodges meeting in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland: the Reynard Lodge No. 9285, which was formed by members of Stoneygate and Westleigh Rugby Football Clubs, and the Joey Dunlop Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 1081 which meets in Lutterworth and was founded for those who are motorcycling enthusiasts.
The brethren were amazed by the number of high profile sportsmen who were Freemasons that had graced their respective sports: football (Alf Ramsey, Stanley Matthews, Jackie Milburn, Don Revie, Ron Greenwood, Sir Stanley Rous) rugby (Don White, Ron Jacobs, Eric Evans, Cliff Morgan), cricket (Len Hutton, Colin Cowdrey, Brian Statham, Clive Lloyd), motorsport (Donald Campbell, Joey Dunlop, Mike Hailwood), martial arts, boxing (Daniel Mendoza, James Figg, Sugar Ray Robinson, Jack Dempsey), and golf (Arnold Palmer).
W Bro Rex said, 'I know from my research that there are few sports in which masonic athletes, coaches and administrators have not made their mark. Freemasonry has contributed to and influenced sport in so many ways and at all levels of participation and performance. In many cases, as I have tried to show, Freemasonry has provided an environment, a value system, a culture which has links and similarities with the world of sport.'
The newly installed Master, W Bro John Peberdy, thanked W Bro Rex on behalf of the brethren, for a very interesting, entertaining and informative talk.