Masons afloat

It all started three days out of Southampton for Peter Halliwell, past master and secretary of Hope Lodge No 4003. Peter was cruising on the P&O vessel Arcadia heading for the Caribbean when he picked up the on board ship’s daily newspaper and saw an invite for any Mason on board to attend an informal get together.

Left; souvenir programme for the reception on board the Arcadia. Right; Peter and his wife on board.

Left; souvenir programme for the reception on board the Arcadia. Right; Peter and his wife on board.

Peter was keen to attend and met 18 other brethren from all over the country. Following introductions, and general chit chat, in true Masonic style, they started to organise themselves and plan to raise some money for charity. A chairman, secretary treasurer and a director of ceremonies were duly elected, and it was decided that they would organise an event, a charity drinks reception, to be held on the ship.

Being aware that the Captain’s charity was supporting Macmillan Nurses, a very worthy cause, a raffle was to be organised with the proceeds destined to add to the pot. The reception was held later on in the cruise, with wives, guests, Masonic widows, and five members of the ships Company present. There were numerous prizes for the lucky raffle winners; the star prize donated by the Captain was a personal guided tour around the bridge. The ship’s Company were very supportive of Masonry, assisted in the preparation, and had provided all the printing and endless assistance to make the evening a success; and success it was, with around £420 raised and presented to charity.

At the end of the evening, an interesting epilogue was reading through the ships Masonic minute book which recorded all such Masonic events taking place on board. It was a great experience for Peter who recommends any brother at sea to take advantage of.

Article written by Barry Dickinson.