Sixteen months after it should have happened and two years after its warrant was signed, Lincolnshire has at last consecrated its newest Lodge: Free Wheelers 9991
With a membership made up of motorcycling enthusiasts, the lodge has ambitions to meet in each of Lincolnshire’s 21 centres, with the first of those meetings to take place in Long Sutton on October 2nd.
The Lodge was consecrated at Grimsby’s Masonic Hall with about 150 brethren present, with its warrent having been signed by the Grand Master almost two years to the day earlier, writes Nick Brown, Lincolnshire's Provincial Learning & Development Officer.
The lodge was consecrated by Past Provincial Grand Master Graham Ives, in the absence of current Provincial Grand Master Dave Wheeler through illness, assisted by Deputy Provincial Grand Master John Crutchley, Assistant Provincial Grand Masters Peter Brooks and Bruce Goodman, and Provincial Chaplain the Rev Dr Brian Roberts under the watchful eye of Provincial Director of Ceremonies Noel Fisher. This was followed by the first Installation of Officers for the Lodge.
They report the idea of forming a motorcycle Lodge started in a bar, appropriately enough on a road trip to Switzerland. Chris Jones had the honour of being the Primus Worshipful Master – though he maintains that he was voted to the Office by the other brethren after he’d decided to have an early night and retired to bed, leaving them to work out who should fill each role.
Corn, wine, oil, and salt form part of the ceremony to create a Lodge, symbolising plenty, joy, friendship, and peace. In this instance I wondered if engine oil might have been more appropriate…
Free Wheelers No. 9991 is a peripatetic Lodge, which means that although they are nominally based in Horncastle, its members will visit as many Masonic centres in Lincolnshire as possible for their Saturday morning meetings, to which visitors will be welcome.
The Lodge also has a unique set of gavels, made from pistons by Inner Guard Stuart Buckingham. Their use brings a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘firing on all cylinders’.
The festive board was an extremely friendly occasion and a welcome opportunity to be with fellow brethren. It involved something I didn’t think I’d ever see at a Masonic function – a memorable rendition of Steppenwolf’s ‘Born to be Wild.’ The Provincial Grand Master sent his warm regards, humorous comments and presents for the new Lodge – all of which were warmly received. The raffle and other donations meant £4,000 could be presented to Provincial charity funds.
The original plan has been to have the consecration at the Lincolnshire Showground on May 16th 2020 surrounded by other motorcyclist Freemasons from across the UK representing various motorcycle Lodges and more Lincolnshire brethren, but circumstances proved otherwise. That delay is part of our history and theirs, but it certainly started on full throttle with both well-tuned ritual and engines.
As I sat observing the consecration it occurred to me that perhaps this mixture of motors and Freemasonry is an ideal combination. It reminds us to focus on the journey that we are travelling on masonically. Perhaps it teaches us of the importance to thoroughly enjoy every minute of that journey and the fellowship of friends that we are lucky to meet on the way.