Saturday, 31 December 2016

Youngest Mason in Shropshire?

Brother Richard Slack of The Iron Bridge Lodge 9897, one of Shropshire's newest Freemasons, has been completely upstaged on New Year's Eve by his baby son Mason, dressed to party the night away at the age of just 11 days.

Baby Mason already seems to have picked up some of his Father's dance moves. Watch out Richard - heavens only knows what Mason will be getting up to by the time he's two weeks old...

Crime and the Craft

The next regular Crewe Street meeting of Shropshire Installed Masters Lodge 6262 on Saturday, February 4th at 11 a.m. will feature a Lecture on the subject of Crime and the Craft, open to all Masons.

WBro Mike Neville will be speaking about a number of mysterious crime-related stories with a Masonic 'angle' - including the old question - was Jack the Ripper 'on the Square'? The meeting is followed by a meal, all done by about 3 p.m..

Guaranteed to entertain, you can book in by contacting Secretary David Griffiths.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016


It has to be said that Freemasonry's age profile is often slanted towards the grandparents
rather than the parents - we are, after all, not an organisation which excludes older members - so this story is a little bit special. Once again The Iron Bridge lodge is in the news as its newest Initiate, Brother Richard Slack, has just become a father for the fifth time.

Richard and wife Becci (who it is understood had something to do with it too) welcomed the latest addition to their family on 20th December, as their children Abigail, Megan, Maya and Harvey were joined by a 7lb 11oz son. Our best wishes go to them all - especially as the new arrival has been given the name Mason. 

All jokes about stepping off with the left foot please kept in reserve for the next few days at least...

Friday, 16 December 2016

Shropshire in "Freemasonry Today"

Two picture stories in "Freemasonry Today" keep our high profile at UGLE where it deserves to be! The stories are of a young footballer assisted by the new MCF, and the presentation by the Midlands Air Ambulance in recognition of 25 years' partnership in fund raising for that excellent charity.

You can read the entire magazine by clicking here.

Does your lodge have more stories for us?

Send them to the Blogmaster!

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Calling all Sportsmen!!!

There are a number of sporting events that take place across the Provinces, including bowls, cricket, football, rugby, clay pigeon shooting, fishing and golf. I’m sure there are many others that also deserve consideration.

The suggestion is that there might be an appetite for a ‘national’ competition(s) where teams selected from Provinces and Regional Communication Groups might compete to become UGLE champions.
This could be kicked off in 2017 with a view to establishing a permanent competition.

Do you feel that there would be an interest in your Province competing – at Provincial or Regional Communications Group level – and which sports might be considered?
I would very much value your thoughts.

Kind regards,

Mike Baker, UGLE Communications Officer.     Replies please to our Tercentenary Co-ordinator for Shropshire, WBro John Norman.

Idsall's Bob Williams received 50yr certificate

At a recent meeting of Idsall lodge, Idsall's own RWBro Peter Taylor presented Bob Williams with his certificate of long service, preceded by the following citation:

Robert Denis Williams, you were born on 25th February 1943 in the New Forest, Hampshire. You thus claim yourself to be a “Hampshire Hog”. No Brethren, this is not a derogatory term; Hampshire being the home for hundreds of years of wild boar, the people of Hampshire have had the pleasure of being referred to as ‘Hampshire Hogs’, from the late 18th century, and Bob is proud to be one of them. 

You were born during an Air Raid, a fact that your mother often used in order to explain to others any of your strange foibles or behaviour that may have been observed in your childhood and formative years.

You moved to the Midlands with your family, firstly to Leamington via Sutton Coldfield and eventually settling in Shifnal in 1973.

You were educated at King Edward V1 Grammar School, Stratford-upon-Avon and you accept that it is fair to say, that sport was of far more interest to you than academic study, with you developing a talent for cricket and rugby in particular.

After leaving School you served an apprenticeship with Coventry Gauge and Tool Ltd. You attended Lanchester College in Coventry and the Aston Technical College in Birmingham gaining an HNC in Production and Mechanical Engineering and you eventually became a highly skilled tool design draughtsman in the design office. Your career developed, and with your expertise in precision engineering and automation, you subsequently rose through the ranks of management to become a Director of the Company.

You were an enthusiastic rugby player playing as a wing-forward with Leamington RFC, Coventry Gauge Company, and then Sutton Coldfield RFC.  As with many retired players looking back on their careers, you say “the older you get – the better you used to play”. You were also a keen cricketer at Leamington, playing in the South Warwickshire and Cotswold areas; again you admit you
became a much better player after retirement. You also played tennis at a competitive level in the Coventry Works League.

You have always been an enthusiastic Mason and as we have heard you started your Masonic career in Prudence Lodge in Warwickshire.  You occupied most of the offices in that Lodge although it would be fair to say that you were not always in step with the other officers and were evidently noted for your 'edited ceremonies', which made prompting near impossible and reduced the Lodge preceptors to a state of nervous exhaustion!

You have a house on the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria and have a love of that country and its way of life. You are still trying to get to grips with the both the language and the rather odd workings of the official systems there, but you have apparently been accepted by the locals who refer to you as 'Robotski'.

Your hobbies include gardening and making garden features, watching rugby and particularly supporting Wasps (well, each to their own!). You also enjoy reading Masonic and esoteric history, and studying Balkan history.

You are certainly not idle in retirement, for in addition to all of this, you undertake voluntary work on two mornings per week in the gardens of the Severn Hospice in Telford.

You are a widower with three married children and six grandchildren. You describe driving your partner Mary to distraction with your perceived eccentricities and workaholic tendencies; luckily she has immense patience and tolerance as she tries to keep you on the straight and narrow.

Bob, over your fifty years, you have contributed an immense amount of hard work to Freemasonry and I know you will continue to do so. We thank you for your continued support of this Lodge and the Province of Shropshire. It is my great pleasure to award, and now present you with this Certificate, which is so thoroughly deserved. 

Masonic Charitable Foundation First Year

A video about the work of the MCF in its first year has been produced - click here to view it.

News from St Mary's

On Saturday 3rd December Santa’s Workshop once again opened its doors to the children of Market Drayton and surrounding areas. Once again the King's Head opened its heart, and its doors to the workshop.
This year the workshop that is run by W.Bro Clive and Stephanie Jones raised in excess of £750 for the Winston’s Wish Charity. Winston’s Wish is a Charity for bereaved children. They help children and young people rebuild their lives after the death of their mother, father, brother or sister enabling them to face the future with confidence and hope.

This year the Workshop was full of fun, laughter and happiness and there was plenty of things for the children to do. These included Gingerbread Reindeer face decorations and a festive arts corner. A tombola plus much, much more. There was a raffle and the STAR PRIZE was a Tablet computer which was kindly donated by Central Tattoo Supplies of Market Drayton.

The meeting of St Mary's L of I held on the 13th December was the annual Christmas meeting with fun, laughter and a beautiful dinner afterwards.

This year was no different. The evening arranged by W.Bro Clive Jones went down a treat with 33 Brethren, wives and friends at the Kings Head in Market Drayton. The food was absolutely lovely, the attention to detail and the service were superb, This evening was arranged for St Mary’s Lodge,
and yet again, another substantial donation was made towards the Santa's Workshop that took place on the 3rd of December in aid of Winston's Wish, a charity for bereaved children who have lost parents or siblings enabling them to face the future with confidence and hope. This brings the amount raised for this Charity in excess of £750. 

A raffle and an auction for a lovely Christmas Hamper which was donated by our Worshipful Master W.Bro Phillip Wright and his good lady Sue fetched nearly three figures. This amount was matched by Bro Keith Stokes the Junior Warden and donated to the Almoner's account. What a wonderfully generous donation.

May I take this opportunity to thank all those who attended this annual event and gave so generously to such a wonderful cause. Special thanks must go to W.Bro Mark King and the Team tonight for their hard work and commitment on what was a full on and busy evening. Thank you all at the King's Head, I look forward to arranging this event again next year.

May I on behalf of St Mary’s Lodge wish Mrs Sue Wright the good lady of our Worshipful Master all the best with her pending knee surgery and may we all at St Mary’s Lodge wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

WBro Clive Jones

Getting festive with the "Masonettes"

[thanks to Mike Higgins of Clive Lodge for this article:]

A great time was had by all at Clive Lodge’s Christmas Festive Board, held on Monday night at Tern Hill Hall.   A pianist played a selection of classics and Christmas favourites on the grand piano in the entrance hall to greet guests as they arrived, setting the tone for a wonderful evening of friendship, good food and festive fun.

The tables were named after Santa’s Reindeer and everyone was delighted to find that Santa had left them all a small gift at their tables, along with a Christmas card and, of course, a Christmas cracker!
During the evening the guests were treated to the debut performance of the newly formed Clive Lodge Freemasons’ Wives’ Choir (a.k.a ‘The Masonettes’).  

Threatened that if there was ‘no singing – there’s no pudding’ – the whole party joined in singing some Christmas songs and carols led by The Masonettes and accompanied by the pianist on a white baby grand, which all added to the festive atmosphere and made sure the room was full of Christmas cheer!

Everyone was in good voice, especially the ladies, and from the comments made as the evening ended, the whole event was declared a great success - with some saying it was the best Christmas Festive Board they had ever been to!

All thanks to The Masonettes:- Joyce; Trish; Jane; Jean; and led by the WM’s wife Carole, who also organised the ‘extra’ decorations, printed songbooks, wrote cards, bought and wrapped presents and generally added to all the  festive cheer we could possibly have wanted . 

Also thanks to the DC for his trademark well-organised function and the Lodge Secretary for doing all the necessary organising of the event to make sure we had the fine food and service to give us the basis for a truly exceptional night. We raised over £300 for the Lodge, with thanks to all who contributed raffle prizes and to the guests for buying the tickets.  

Merry Christmas Everyone – and here’s to a successful New Year to all Lodges throughout the world, to Provincial and Grand Lodges and all who give of their time and resources to make Freemasonry such a worthwhile and friendly activity.

The next Clive Lodge social function is our Ladies’ Lunch at Tern Hill Hall on Sunday March 12th which promises to be equally enjoyable and memorable.   Book early to avoid disappointment, contact Lodge Secretary Steve West-Wynn.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

A message from the Deputy PrGM

Brethren I have so many thank-yous to make and I haven't opened a single Christmas present yet!

Thank you to everyone who attended the Installation Meeting at The Iron Bridge Lodge on Saturday morning - a huge crowd and a most enjoyable ceremony.  Of course I'm usually at the transmission end of the Address to the Master rather than the receiving end - it was very special for me to have the PrGM presiding and presenting that address.

As Chairman of the 2019 Festival in aid of The Freemasons' Grand Charity may I thank you all for your wonderful generosity over the past two and a half years. You have enabled us to bank £525,000 - over halfway towards our target. To everyone of you who has helped arrange or participated in fund raising events; to everyone who has donated using whatever method; to those who have biked, hiked, cut off your pony tails or eaten curries. Thank you.

And to you all, a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful and healthy New Year.

Roger Pemberton

Deputy Provincial Grand Master.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Masonic Dress Code violation???

Oh dear, oh dear...

Following a recent post on "Shropshire Blue" which showed RWBro James Hodgson very informally clothed, another picture has emerged from the same historic South African lodge room with proof that another Brother well known to Shropshire Masonry has been taking liberties with the Masonic dress code.

Surely a fine must be in order???

Thanks to WBro Andrew Symon for dropping WBro David Stott 'in it'...
A message from WBro Clive Jones:

As you are all aware, I attended the Pride of Shropshire awards last Monday night as a finalist in my respective category. It was lovely to be around all these inspirational people - twenty-seven finalists in total - and a wonderful night was had by all.

I never won my category and therefore never won the main prize of Pride of Shropshire 2016. However what I did win tonight was friendship, hope and humility. I was surrounded by twenty-six other champions and unsung heroes from Shropshire. After thousands of entries, we were the lucky and overall champions. However there could only be one winner.

This fell to Carrie Fulcher, an inspirational women who has overcome adversity and devastating injuries to become the woman she is now. What has happened to her hasn’t made her the inspirational women she is today - she has always been that person.

I congratulate Carrie and it truly was a privilege and a pleasure to be with her on her special night.

May I take this opportunity to thank you - and I mean all of you, who have supported me and voted. Sadly it wasn’t to be, but I was beaten by the better person. Thank you all for your support and commitment with everything that either St Mary’s lodge or I am involved with.

May I personally take this opportunity to wish you and your families a pleasant and safe festive season.

The Iron Bridge Lodge Installation

At the recent Installation of 9897, WBro Simon Clare capped a year in which he had visited over 60 times and overseen "14" Ceremonies by installing VWBro Roger Pemberton, DepPrGM as his successor, and the third WM of the Iron Bridge Lodge.

RWBro Peter Taylor presided, and was kept busy as Grand Lodge Certificates were presented to three new Master Masons. A ballot was held in order that two more Initiates might be brought into Freemasonry in February.

Despite the Installation having a formal Festive Board (normal meetings have a buffet and reduced Toast list), the whole meeting lasted just four-and-a-half hours.

The lodge also appointed Bro Ryan Preece, a Fellowcraft, as its Charity Steward. Ryan has already organised an inter-Province bowling event and is the first Secretary of the Shropshire Cornerstone Club.

And as to the significance of the balloon...

Answers on a postcard to Andy Delamere!!

The Ashlar is on the move again!

Seven months ago, The Iron Bridge Lodge no. 9897 relinquished the Shropshire travelling Ashlar to Audley Lodge, No. 1896. Many lodges thought about going to raid the ashlar in the months that passed but none was fruitful.

The "young boys" from TIBL were keen to raid it back immediately but were persuaded to let others have a chance. Eventually last week they could be held back no more and under the organisation of Fellowcraft and Shropshire Cornerstone secretary Bro Ryan Preece, they mounted a successful raid at an Initiation ceremony.

The Iron Bridge Lodge invite all Shropshire lodges to try and raid it from them at a double Initiation on Monday 6th February at 7pm at Meeting Point House. Please book in via

Pictured from left are Bro. Harvey Greatrex, W.Bro. Dave Hedley, Bro. John Watt, W.Bro Andy Delamere, Bro. Ryan Preece, W.Bro. Zed Pazio (WM of Audley Lodge) and W.Bro Ray Dickson.