When Covid restrictions began early in 2020 and face to face meetings ceased, a void was created which some Freemasons had difficulty filling
Along with a drastic change in all of our lives, our much cherished meetings became impossible but new methods of keeping in touch were used. Zoom became a new byword for many of us- some for the first time and it became a lifeline for people unable to leave their homes.
The Amadeus Lodge No 9539 who meet at Dore in the Province of Derbyshire were quick to take up the challenge and held weekly zoom meetings to keep its members informed and involved, initially averaging fifteen participants, several of which were visitors. They quickly realised that this was a great opportunity to encourage members not only at Dore but throughout the Province to join in and as an incentive sought a way of encouraging friendly competition to spread the word. The Province already had a “Travelling Gavel" which had been very successful and this inspired Andy Glaves, Senior Deacon and Social Media Officer of Amadeus Lodge to come up with idea of the virtual "travelling Headset" which could be claimed by any Lodge whose members had the largest attendance.
The meetings included informative and entertaining talks and as the headset was claimed it moved to the Lodge who claimed it and at their next meeting they would organise their own talk. In September, the Lodge of Repose even managed to attract the presence of the Grand Secretary Dr David Staples who took a Q&A session.
Other subjects included one about the Virgins Inn, the first Lodge to exist in Derbyshire by the Provincial Grand Master for Derbyshire Steven Varley. The excellent work carried out by the Blood Bikes organisation delivered by Mark Vallis, an insight into the Order of Women’s Freemasonry by Jill Boyington and even a 5 minute pantomime Cinderella in true Amadeus fashion!
The number of attendees rose and regularly approached 100 attendees – a fantastic result. Andy Glaves commented: 'Appreciation must be given to all those who have helped to make the Amadeus Travelling Headset a success – the Provincial Grand Master for his support and promotion of the initiative, Julie Foster at Provincial Office for advertising the meetings while she was working from home, Steve Williams for his encouragement, the Secretaries and Masters of the headset Lodges for hosting and organising their meetings but of course the huge number of visitors and Lodge members who attended.'
On the 23 September the travelling headset was finally and formally retired, and had purely by chance returned to its home – Amadeus Lodge where every Lodge who had claimed it were represented and received a framed certificate presented by the Provincial Grand Master to proudly display at their meeting places. Congratulations go to Andy Glaves for this great initiative which was a beacon of light at a very dark time.