For the second year in succession, members of the Lancaster and District Group Universities’ Scheme, City of Lancaster Lodge No 281, attended the October Freshers’ Fair in the Great Hall at Lancaster University. This was one of the days when students new to university life have the opportunity to see what awaited them in their new home, as the academic year began.
Graham Rotherham and Jack Baxter, both leading members of City of Lancaster Lodge were joined by Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Grainger and Lancaster and District Group Universities’ Scheme Co-ordinator John Stanley (both of whom are honorary members of City of Lancaster).
These brethren were further supported by the current Lancaster and District Group Membership Officer Chris Brown, his predecessor Bernard Snape and also by John Lee, the South Fylde Group Membership Officer.
These individuals were the key workers in a team that manned the stall throughout the opening hours of midday to 4pm, when around 3,500 students passed through the Great Hall to sample the delights of Dominos and Greggs, as well as being welcomed by representatives from nightclubs, health clubs, churches and sports shops – and to have a dance at an on-stage disco.
As was the case last year, City of Lancaster members worked alongside local representatives of Women’s Freemasonry, Laura Aimson and Brenda Dobson, in what was a very successful occasion and a day of great co-operation for both spheres of the Masonic order. As John Stanley observed: “Our adjoining Masonic stalls fielded numerous enquiries and we gave out much information. It was great that so many inquisitive and intelligent students asked excellent and highly pertinent questions.”
Graham Rotherham obtained several ‘serious interest’ enquiries on the day from freshers who left details with the team. He commented: “Statistically, we are bound to get follow ups from these men in the coming weeks or months, not least from the contact details printed on their free gift, our City of Lancaster Lodge beermats.”
The beermats – such an essential of university social life – flew out, with over 1,200 being distributed. In addition, the team handed out over 500 printed flyers specifically about City of Lancaster Lodge and gave out 700 of the UGLE booklets ‘What is Freemasonry’. Some 40 United Grand Lodge DVDs were also given to the most interested enquirers, a number of whom filled in contact details. They will then be invited to visit Lancaster Masonic Hall, in the hope that as last year, several will formally apply to join.
David Grainger summed up the whole occasion commenting: “It was a very successful afternoon in which the team worked hard in getting the message of Freemasonry across to some of the brightest young men around. We now have to follow up on some very positive enquiries.”
In the meantime, thoughts inevitably turn to the next Freshers’ Fair in 2018.
Article and photographs courtesy of John Stanley.