The culmination of the  East Lakes Group five mile challenge took place on 23rd August 2018, when the Worshipful Master of Derwentwater Lodge No. 6375 in Cumbria, Arthur Turner, had the great pleasure in presenting a cheque for £749 to Cumbria’s Children’s Hospice Jigsaw

The charity was selected by Derwentwater Lodge to receive the proceeds of the event. Members of the lodge 'walking' team were in attendance, as was the Group Chairman, Glyn Titterington.

The original idea for the walk was put together by Joseph Jackson, as a way of creating more interaction between the members of the East Lakes Group of Lodges in the Province of Cumberland & Westmorland and to include their families and friends.

After the idea was discussed with the Chairman, Vice Chairman and Secretary of the Group, it was decided to go ahead and create the event, with the first walk to be held in the rural town of Penrith. It was then decided that the lodge with the most members attending would win the chance to present the money raised, to the local charity of their choice.

Each year the event will be held in one of the East Lakes Groups towns, which include Penrith, Brampton, Kirkby Stephen, Appleby and Keswick. The walk has proved an innovative way for members from different lodges to work together in mutual support, to achieve something special and for Freemasonry to be seen working in their communities. Yet it is an important aspect of this event that the walk is not too challenging and should be inclusive of all mobility and fitness levels.

The inaugural walk was held on 24th June 2018, which started and finished at Penrith Masonic Hall and took in a five mile route through the town, taking in the views of the Lake District hills. The event was well supported by East Lakes members and their families. It was led by Glyn Titterington, and supported by the Assistant Provincial Grand Master Ian Darcy and his wife Heather.

Next year’s walk is being held in the market town of Keswick, taking in the vistas of Derwentwater.

The Spanish hero: How a mason of Spanish descent discovered his father's extraordinary masonic roots is revealed by Tom Forsyth

When retired Keswick hotelier Teodoro Lopez, a Spaniard by birth, applied to become a Mason in Derwentwater Lodge No. 6375 in the Province of Cumberland and Westmorland, he was anxious to follow in the footsteps of his late father, Teodoro Lopez Serrano, who had been a Freemason in Spain. 

He knew nothing about his father’s Masonic career, but was anxious for the Lodge to help him trace any background that would help enlighten him, given that Spanish Freemasonry was banned during the dictatorship of General Franco. 

The story that was to unfold was remarkable and terrifying, as it transpired that Teo’s father was no ordinary Mason. Indeed, following research in England and Spain, it was revealed that his father had been none other than the Grand Secretary of the Grand Orient of Spain. 

Moreover, his father had been sentenced to 18 years imprisonment for his Masonic beliefs, and served seven years of this sentence, being released in 1948. During this difficult time the needs of the family had been assisted by persons unknown to Teo. 

His father, undaunted by his years in prison for his Masonic beliefs, had been proactive in the reintroduction of Freemasonry into Spain, joining the reincarnated Lodge la Matritense No. 7 of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Castille, which meets in Madrid. 

This Lodge itself has a most distinguished history, having been consecrated as Lodge No. 1 in Spain in 1728, but following turbulent times in Spanish Freemasonry, has twice been reorganised. As the current Grand Lodge of Spain is recognised as regular by the United Grand Lodge of England, it seemed appropriate that Teo and other members of Derwentwater Lodge should visit his father’s old Lodge in Madrid. 

Contact was made with Manuel Calvo, then Master of Lodge la Matritense No. 7, and 14 brethren and three wives flew out to Spain for a meeting last September. A lecture was given at the meeting for the benefit of the visitors, who also included a Mason from Cuba and one from Chile. 

At the meeting Teo presented the new Master, Primitivo Mendoza, with a wall clock manufactured from Lakeland slate and suitably inscribed with Masonic symbolism and a presentation plaque, a fitting and lasting tribute to his father. The Master broke with tradition and embraced Teo in open Lodge and presented him with his father’s application form to Lodgela Matritense No. 7 and a Lodge tie. 

The toast to Absent Brethren included Lionel Nutley of Derwentwater Lodge who, at 100 years of age, thought the trip would be too much for him. Then the visiting Masons rounded off the evening with a rendition of the Absent Brethren song. For the two Lodges, regular communication now takes place, and Derwentwater Lodge has added Spain to its list of overseas countries it has visited for Masonic gatherings such as Canada, the United States, Thailand and Australia, underlining Masonry worldwide. 

The trip was a great success, due largely to the arrangements made the Master and the Immediate Past Master, Manuel Calvo, and one Brother has discovered the courage and tenacity of his father. 

Tom Forsyth is secretary of Derwentwater Lodge No. 6375

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