Freemasons from the Province of Devonshire and the brethren of the Order of Women Freemasons attended the Devon County Show held between 2nd and 4th July and both made an outstanding contribution to the success of the show.
Starting with the set up on Thursday evening, the group enjoyed a highly successful show. The team carried out their own risk analysis prior to the event before making a final decision on 30th June to proceed. One of the members of the team was a qualified Nursing Tutor and he was asked to carry out lateral flow tests each morning before the team members started work. He also acted as Covid Marshal to ensure the team and the public respected social distancing. The management of the team and the whole event was carried out by our Provincial Membership Officer Mark Lewis.
On Friday, the team engaged with 1605 members of the public, the number being reduced somewhat due to the marshalling being carried out by the show team which encouraged people to move on and not linger. This seemed to be very much relaxed on subsequent days. The 2 teams, working well together that day, were Mark Lewis, David Goode, Chris Sidwell, Glen Weaver, Al Porte and John McMillan, who were joined by Aileen Nott, Margaret Taylor and Hannah Furneaux-Gotch of the OWF.
It was somewhat different on the Saturday, when the team engaged with 2685 people even though the weather was not as good as the previous day, overcast at times but mainly dry. The teams that day were Mark Lewis, Glen Weaver, David Goode, Chris Sidwell, John McMillan, Dan Fifield, John Creek, Jill Henken, Sarah Hands-Ledger and Christine Fill.
Sunday however was different day weather wise. Overcast occasional showers and several tropical downpours plagued the show. This did not however dampen the spirits of the team or the public and the team still engaged with 2240 people. The team that day were Mark Lewis, Ed Hornibrook, Adrian Cotter, Kevin Bartlett, Glen Weaver, James Mead, Dan Frost, Joan Collacott and Elizabeth Cargill.
In total over the 3 days, the team spoke to 6580 people and generated 20 approaches regarding membership and 29 approaches about joining the OWF. The team also had four brethren from other Provinces who had moved to Devon and requested assistance in finding a Lodge. Freemasons from as far away as Aberdeen, Cornwall, Bristol, Sussex, Somerset, Berkshire, Brecon and London found the team and said hello.
Overall it was an extremely successful show. The team attracted some people to consider membership, informed the general public as to who Freemasons are and what they stand for and having the OWF with in attendance produced a new dynamic in drawing people in as very few people were aware that there was an order for women to become Freemasons.
Mention must be made of the work that Provincial Membership Officer Mark Lewis, Aileen Nott and Joan Collacott put in to make all of this possible, from initial meetings and through the planning to make it all possible. There is certainly hope that the OWF will join the team again next year and possibly at other shows as well. Finally, thanks must be given to Glen Weaver who acted as the team's Covid Marshal and set up and carried out lateral flow testing to ensure that all were safe.