Comrades Lodge No 2976 and The Dogs of War

Friday, 26 November 2021

On 15th November 2021 Mark Eve was proclaimed as the Worshipful Master of Comrades Lodge No.2976 which meets at St Giles, the Colchester Masonic Centre. This is his third year as Master which he fervently hopes will be a full one

Sam Clarke and Richard Harrington-Groves were invested as Senior and Junior Wardens and given a sincere Address by Michael Ferrier, a Past Provincial Grand Standard Bearer. The Address to the Brethren was superbly delivered by the Lodge Chaplain Michael Beeton, a Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden.

Simon Collins was presented with a Grand Lodge Certificate by Paul Masters, the Lodge Secretary and a Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer, which was made more interesting using two Certificates of differing eras. In addition, Paul is the Secretary and Centre Manager of St Giles and also established and maintains The Masonic Great War Project Masonic Great War Project.

Jon Clarke and Barry Foxon having been appointed Stewards enthusiastically discharged their duties at the Festive Board which was attended by several Masters of other Lodges and their representatives, including the visiting Deputy Provincial Communications Officer who was seen earlier practising sword-drill ‘Sandhurst style’ in the temple.

Barry Foxon had only been Initiated at the previous Meeting but has already visited a singing Lodge in Suffolk and is looking forward to an active Masonic career, encouraged by the Lodge Mentor, Robert Coxon also a Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer, who explained to Barry that he will discover many amazing facts about Freemasonry and not just why a certain Premier League Football Club wear light blue shirts as described in discover-freemasonry.pdf (essexfreemasons.org.uk).  Barry is a Staff Sergeant responsible for the welfare of the ‘guests and visitors’ at the Military Corrective Training Centre (MCTC) in Colchester which was formerly a wartime Prisoner of War Camp No 186 and is the only surviving Military Corrective Establishment following the closure of MCTC Stonecutters Island in Hong Kong in 1976.

The Brethren also congratulated Mark Eve on his forthcoming appointment as a Provincial Grand Steward. Having recently set up his own business after retiring from the police, he also gives presentations of his experiences as a firearms officer to support his favourite charity which is Nowzad. At a small town in Helmand Province called Naw Zad, as a Sergeant in the Royal Marine Commandos, Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing witnessed cruelty and suffering to dogs. In 2007, Pen and his wife Kaisa established the Charity ‘Nowzad’ to help care for and reunite returning servicemen from Afghan with their ‘battle buddies’. The Charity has grown considerably as its work extended to cats, donkeys and a veterinary practice in Kabul.

The Taliban refused to let visa-bearing staff through at Kabul Airport but Nowzad managed to get 67 workers across the border to Pakistan and into Britain with 94 dogs and 68 cats. Some staff will retrain to qualify as vets in the UK where there is a shortage. The support of Essex Freemasons is much appreciated: Newly arrived Afghans in UK given essential supplies thanks to Essex Freemasons’ grant to British Red Cross but every penny raised for the Master’s List of Mark Eves will go to fellow creatures who cannot themselves with gratitude say “Thank-you” enough to the Brethren of Comrades Lodge No. 2976 for supporting ‘the Dogs of War.’

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