Arrowhead Lodge of Freedom No 8500, based at Bryn Masonic Hall, had the great pleasure of hosting the 2023 Autumn Festival of the Kindred Lodge Association. The association consists of about 40 lodges and chapters whose members are drawn from scouting, Boys Brigade and other uniform youth organisations in the UK and the Commonwealth.
Brethren of Arrowhead Lodge of Freedom were delighted when their offer to host the festival was accepted. A little previous experience of this started in 1978 when they hosted what was then the Association’s Annual Festival at Freemasons Hall in London. In those days it was just one a year with autumn and spring festivals starting later. Since their first hosting experience Arrowhead Lodge of Freedom have played host again several times at the old Wigan Masonic Hall in Tower Buildings and also at Bryn.
The three-fold event started at 11am when the Lodge of Unity, Peace and Concord lodge No 316, which is a former travelling military lodge which was adopted as their Association’s Installed Masters’ Lodge, held a meeting by dispensation at Bryn to elect their new master.
A short committee meeting of the Kindred Lodges Association followed with the purpose of electing a new Chairman of the Association who in this case was Pat Farr from Essex. This meeting was well supported by their lodge members and several local and visiting brethren from other kindred lodges taking part in the festival. Furnishings for this meeting were very kindly provided by Arrowhead Lodge of Freedom. A short buffet lunch followed the meetings which was of the usual high standard provided by Christine Hughes and staff.
The main festival lodge meeting was Arrowhead Lodge of Freedom’s regular October 2023 meeting, permitted by dispensation commencing at 2pm. Once the Lodge was opened, Assistant Provincial Grand Master Malcolm Bell was admitted, accompanied by other grand officers and Kindred Lodges Association officials, all under the watchful eye of Rob Fitzsimmons who guided everyone in the right direction as is traditional in the Province of West Lancashire.
Following appropriate salutations, a very interesting and informative talk was presented on the work of an operative Mason by Tony Baker, himself a former operative Mason at Liverpool Anglican cathedral. Judging by the number of questions posed by the brethren, his presentation was very well received.
Next, the lodge voted to donate two amounts of £500 from the lodge’s Relief Chest; the first to the Arnold Singer Memorial Fund which was started by bequests from the eponymous founding master in 1973 and the other to the NW Region of the Boys Brigade based near Kirkham, Lancashire. A collection then took place for the fund which raised over £400. The Arnold Singer Memorial Fund was also the recipient of the charity collection at the lodge meeting which raised £313 and later at the festive board where the draw raised £225 making a grand total of well over £500.
At the first rising, a Grand Lodge Certificate was presented to Matt Coles by the WM who in turn invited Tony Harvey, Matt’s proposer, to explain the certificate to him. Following the third rising, greetings were invited and vigorously given in a clockwise motion round the lodge by many brethren present as has become tradition at KLA Festivals.
A wonderful festival board provided by Christine, Phil and their staff followed which was heartily enjoyed by all present. At the end of the meal with the coffee/tea, those present were given a piece of a special cake made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the consecration of the lodge at Wigan Masonic Hall on 29 June, 1973.
Following the formal lodge toasts, the Kindred Lodges toast was then given by the lodge’s founding secretary and first senior warden in 1973, Keith Lang, who referred to two lodge members, the late John Roberts and Michael Allen who sadly passed away during the lockdown but were involved in the plans for this event. Keith wished the KLA the best of futures. A reply was given by Steve Gough who thanked the lodge for hosting the festival.
At this point the KLA tile and mascot Cub Doll ‘Dobbie’ were passed on to the WM of the Pathfinder Lodge No 8596 in the Province of Worcestershire to be displayed at their lodge meetings until they host the 2024 Spring Festival. The tyler’s toast by Denis Skett ended a splendid festival, following which those present made their happy way home.