In the run-up to its Platinum (70th) Anniversary in February 2022 the Brethren of Colcestria Lodge No. 7123 have been active in giving to good causes and attracting new members to Freemasonry
In response to the call to help combat loneliness by Gary Hostler, the Provincial Grand Almoner, a group of Colcestria Brethren visited the North Colchester Men’s Shed Charity on 18th November 2021 to see for themselves how a large shed full of tools and projects can make such a difference to men experiencing unwanted isolation. They also gave the charity a donation of £500 on behalf of the Lodge.
On Saturday 27th November 2021, the Lodge Mentor and Membership Officer, Brian Chenier, in his capacity as the Group Membership Officer representing all 12 Lodges which meet at the Colchester Masonic Centre attended the new Members’ Pathway event at Braintree together with Paul Tarrant, the Provincial Grand Master and nearly 70 Brethren.
Brian Chenier is the Prosthetics Support Officer for ‘Blesma, The Limbless Veterans’, an Armed Forces charity helping those who have lost limbs or sight live independently. His article entitled ‘The lowdown on the Freemasons’ in the latest issue of Blesma Magazine | Blesma, The Limbless Veterans Charity at pages 12-13 is especially informative and well worth reading.
Emphatic that the Members’ Pathway event was a great success, Brian immediately returned to the Centre at Colchester and put up a Provincial Membership Team poster on the notice board. At the Colcestria Lodge meeting that evening he reported to fellow Brethren that 'It was extremely pleasing to see the enthusiasm of all those who attended and the support from the very top which is appreciated' he added 'I will do my best to help our Lodges attract and benefit from more members'.
Earlier in the meeting, Brian had given the Charge after Initiation to Colin Branch, a Support Hub Manager for Help for Heroes, whom he had proposed. Colin had his leg amputated following an operational infantry assault while serving as a Corporal with 1 Royal Anglian Regiment in Afghanistan in 2007. He has a wonderful positive philosophy about being alive with his wife and children as they grow up. The First Degree ceremony was performed by Mark Ingram, the Worshipful Master, who was the seconder and an accomplished Explanation of the Ceremony was given by Tony Brewers, the Director of Ceremonies.
The Chairman of Teddies for Loving Care in Essex, Robert Whittingham, a Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master, was presented with a £1,000 cheque for Teddies for Loving Care which was started 20 years ago by two Freemasons in Essex. Since then, more than three million bears have been given to children in hospitals in England and Wales with over 500,000 in Essex. Central support and administration for regional Teddies for Loving Care charities is provided by the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the Freemasons’ charity which gave over £51 million to UK Charities and deserving causes in 2020
Within one week of his Initiation Colin Branch and his wife enjoyed their first Colcestria Lodge Masonic Ladies Festival Dinner and Dance at the St Giles Masonic Centre in Colchester on 4th December 2021. Over £1,000 was raised by the 42 guests for the children’s mental health charity ‘Place2B’ which had also received a £25,000 grant from the Essex Freemasons for additional support in the Harlow area just a few days before Essex Freemasons helping to improve mental health in Harlow.
As the Platinum anniversary of Colcestria Lodge No. 7123 approaches, the Brethren can celebrate being a Lodge that welcomes Heroes and, with a focus on charity, gives, gives and gives.