On the 5th of July 2021, the 73rd birthday of the creation of the NHS, Essex Freemasons joined together with other local and National organisations to celebrate the work and dedication of the NHS, social care and frontline workers and to remember the ultimate sacrifice that many had made during the pandemic
The Howard Hall Masonic Centre in Braintree was honoured to host Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Essex, Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, as well as the Chair of Braintree District Council, Councillor Sue Wilson, to help mark this important date and remember all those who had gone above and beyond in the service of us all. Our Deputy Grand Superintendent In Charge Nick Franklin, Andrew McLeod, as well as several other brethren were able to show our appreciation and support.
It was our pleasure to have representatives from the NHS and Essex Fire and Rescue, as well as representatives of the membership of the hall to witness the NHS flag being raised, lowered, a 2 minute silence being marked along with a local bugle player and grandson of a member of Joshua Nunn Lodge in Halstead, then a toast proposed by the Lord Lieutenant of Essex which was well received by all present.
It was an extra special treat for everyone to witness the sharp presentation of the standards of the British Legion, the Braintree and Bocking Standard, as well as the Tabor Academy standard (the first bespoke affiliated school standard in Britain) by David Wiles, Gordon Roach (both Rosslyn Lodge, Braintree) and Chris Butcher of the Lodge of Hope (Brightlingsea). The three standards, as well as the welcome and farewell to the Lord Lieutenant was superbly marked by Mike Simmons (also Rosslyn Lodge) to the sound of his bagpipes, which provided the perfect sound track to the formal part of the day.
All present were then provided with a perfect ploughman’s lunch, which J&J Goldsmith (caterers) produced boxed in order for everyone to be able to enjoy as a safe, socially distanced, lunch.
In the evening, the Provincial Grand Stewards completed their county wide tour at the hall and were joined by 40 other brethren and their partners to mark the 8pm clap outside of the hall, after which all retired to take part in a short quiz.
The day ran smoothly and the Lord Lieutenant wrote to Nick Franklin to thank the hall for such a fantastic event to recognise the important work that the NHS, social care and frontline workers are achieving. It was also a great chance to welcome people back to the hall for the first time since the pandemic began and we would like to thank all who attended, worked hard before the day and on the day, especially David Wiles, Gordon Roach, Chris Butcher and Mike Simmons for their ceremonial work and Stephen Nichols and Mike Barrett for recording the event for posterity during the day and evening.
Article written by Daniel Broyd (Provincial Grand Steward)