A St David’s Day tradition
Every year Coningsby Lodge holds a St David’s Day celebration at its March meeting. This includes the ordeal of eating raw leeks, and current Worshipful Masters are ‘invited’ to take part in the ceremony. This year the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro the Rev David Bowen, agreed to join them for a sponsored leek-eat in aid of the 2020 Festival.
In introducing the event W Bro Roger Tomlinson explained that it was a tradition for all new members of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, of which he had been Bandmaster, to eat a leek on St David’s Day. He said that the tradition dates back to the 6th century when St David advised the commander of the Welsh army that his soldiers should wear a leek on their head-dress to distinguish them from the Saxons, with whom they were about to do battle. Having won the battle, the Welsh celebrated, and honoured St David, by eating the leeks. The tradition has continued among Welsh soldiers, and for a number of years has been re-enacted by Coningsby Lodge.
As well as the PGM, the Worshipful Master of Coningsby Lodge, W Bro Kevin Jones, took part, together with W Bro Keith Farmer, WM of Dean Waterfield, and W Bro David Joyce took part. A salver of raw leeks was carried in by W Bro Gordon Bumfrey, to a drum accompaniment by W Bro Ian Warren. The four participants were then invited to select their leeks, and eat them whole. Having done so, they were rewarded with a drink of Welsh beer.
In recognition of the RW PGM’s participation, and in his role as President of the Festival, the Lodge then presented him with a cheque for £100 in aid of the Festival. The PGM thanked the Lodge, and said how much he had enjoyed taking part.