A number of Freemasons attended the annual Holocaust Memorial Service in Southport. The event is multi-faith and open to all, it is a civic service rather than a Masonic service, but has been supported for some time by a number of local Masons.
Colin Jenkins originally initiated the tradition of Masons attending jointly when he was the Southport Group Chairman and continues to attend with diligence. The tradition has been continued in sombre fidelity by the current crop of group officers, led by the Southport Group Chairman Phil Stock and group secretary Paul Hardman joined by other Masons in the group.
The event was held in Christ Church on Lord Street, a contemporary building which offers a large hall able to cope with the large crowds. The Masonic contingent arrived well in advance and took their places together. A number of local dignitaries also attended and it was they who opened the proceedings by parading in together.
As the Remembrance itself being multi-faith, was not made up purely of a religious service. There were also talks by individuals on both the events of the Holocaust and the topic of human rights in general. The Masonic contingent and the attendees in general observed with great sadness and dignity.
It is not forgotten that Freemasons were among those who suffered in those dark days. Indeed, at the time Masons were required to wear a forget-me-not to identify them to the authorities. The symbol has now been reclaimed as a badge of honour and brotherhood by modern Masons who often wear a forget-me-not on the lapel.
The event from start to finish was however extremely moving and thought provoking with appropriate time allowed for individual thoughts. Following the service itself, all parties had the opportunity to lay their own tributes at the front of the church. The Masonic officers were among the last to do so, laying them together in the spirit of brotherhood and remembrance.