Distinguished horticulturalist, Robin Crouchman, was presented with his 50-year Certificate on 4th October 2021 exactly 50 years after he was initiated into Forester Lodge No. 7760. Robin was an engineer by profession with interests in Cricket and Horticulture, particularly Daffodils, in which he is an experienced competition judge
The Head Gardner of Woburn Abbey in 2016 invited Robin as a Committee member of The Daffodil Society founded in 1898, to view the many unknown daffodils flowering in the grounds. Identification was very difficult without planting plans and other provenances but Robin never had any difficulties identifying the core values of integrity, friendship, respect and charity which attracted him to Freemasonry or the provenance of the organisation.
During his Masonic half-century at Forester Lodge, which meets at Loughton Masonic Hall, Robin became the Worshipful Master in1983, a Provincial Junior Grand Deacon in 1991, a Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon in 1992 and promoted to Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer in 1998. Graham Dickerson, an Assistant Provincial Grand Master presented Robin with his 50-year certificate on this special occasion.
It was during an Epping Foresters Cricket Cub match that the idea of forming a Lodge was first considered. Warranted and consecrated in 1961, Forester Lodge celebrates its Diamond anniversary year not only with a 50-year certificate but also with a Grand Patron certificate for raising over £12,000 for the Essex 2022 Festival. With only 12 Brethren the achievement is extraordinary. As Mike Barrett, the Lodge Secretary and Provincial Communications Team Photographer pointed out 'The generosity of the Brethren was such that every Brother achieved Patron status with two reaching Grand Patron by using Regular Payment Plans'.
Graham Dickerson presented each of the Lodge members with their Festival 2022 Jewels and the Grand Patron Certificate to the Lodge. He said 'The efforts of the Brethren were excellent for a Lodge of Forester’s size'. The Assistant Provincial Grand Master commended the Charity Steward, Keith Wood, for all his hard work in reaching this target. Keith was also celebrating his first Provincial promotion to Past Provincial Assistant Grand Registrar.
As Remembrance Day approaches, we also remember that several of the Past Masters of Forester Lodge had been awarded decorations; these included three Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Military Medals and two orders of the British Empire.
In this the sixtieth year of Forester Lodge, the 12 Brethren of today may be classified by the horticulturalists among us in the Province as a ‘special bunch’ but there is no doubt that Freemasonry flowers at Forester Lodge.