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The Masters Page

The Masters Page

Hello and a very warm welcome to Woolmer Forest Lodge's Master's Page.

Brian

 

Allow me to introduce myself and you to the masters page. My name is Elliott. I'm 29 years old and currently reside in Alton, Hampshire.

I have been in masonry for just over 6 years. My inspiration to join masonry was from my father W.bro Murry Port and grand father W.Bro Peter James. From a young age I was always so intrigued to find out where they were going in their matching smart suits and despite my best efforts to unlock the code.. I couldn't ever quite figure out what L.O.I meant!

6 years on since my initiation, deacon and warden offices completed I find myself in the masters chair. An exciting opportunity for me to put my ritual skills to the test and to make a big improvement in my masonic knowledge.

Throughout my year I aim to keep as many things as possible traditional. I would also like to give stewards of the lodge the opportunity to perform parts of the ceremonies and ritual as much as possible as this is so important. Giving them a real taste of what's to come and how to present each piece in the lodge with real feeling and emotion. There is a real difference between reciting ritual with feeling and emphasis than there is with just reciting from the book word by word and I have seen, since my time in Woolmer forest, this being done by every single member every single time. I want to make sure we continue to maintain and uphold that very high standard from the top all the way through to the very newest initiate and long may that continue! 

I'd also like to keep pushing the recruitment side in the search for new members as the future of Woolmer Forest has done and will continue to remain firmly in our hands. We must be active in the way we seek new members and approach those who we think are suitable candidates. The more the merrier but also its vital for keeping our lodge going. 

Brethren, I know we will have a fantastic year I am proud to be master of this lodge and excited to be leading such a talented team of brothers for the next twelve months. 

If you are a guest or potential visitor reading this, I urge you to attend a meeting if you have not attended yet or attend again if you have! You'll be in fantastic hands for the evening and will receive A warm and friendly woolmer forest welcome.

Thanks 
Elliott 
Worshipful Master,
Woolmer Forest Lodge No. 3872

 

 

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Covid-19

Brethren,
I write to you this evening after not only a very clear guidance from Grand Lodge but also from our very own P.M this evening in regards to the suspension of all masonic activity and the UK lockdown.

Obviously my main concern is the health and wellbeing of all our members, their families and friends and I hope you are all doing well and continue to do so throughout this dreadful situation. 

These are very difficult and unnerving times for us all. Having to adapt to entirely new way of life is not always easy and it can bring many challenges and complications. Many, if not all us will be effected by this pandemic, Even those that don't get effected by the virus itself, will be effected by other many eliments whether it be being laid off at work, financial hardship - particularly those of our brethren who are self employed (myself included!), anxiety, or just a sense of being stuck inside and alone and so on. It is absoloutely paramount, more so than ever, that we stay strong for ourselves, our members, families and friends and support each other in any way we can. 

You have already had an email from our brother Almoner- Brian Mcarthur, explaining that we are esembling a small group of brethren who are more than willing to help you all, in any way you should you need assistance. We can pick up medication, supplies, food, drink or will be at the end of the phone for a conversation, to check in with you and keep you company for a short while. It may seem silly. But sometimes all it takes is a phone call to really make a difference to somebody. Anymore volunteers would be warmly welcomed! 

We have also begun setting up a WhatsApp group for instant updates on all things woolmer forest and its members, important government guidelines and just a bit of general chit chat and a few jokes here and there to keep our spirits up. May I ask the members of that group to invite all members of Woolmer Forest who are on WhatsApp - if you are not on WhatsApp and don't desire to download it onto your mobile phone - any important information will be emailed in the usual way. If you do wish to download it our brother secutary Steve Russel has just sent an email out with details on how to download it to your devices. 

Looking forwards, 

With an evening or two a week to spare now we don't have an LOI or meeting(s) to attend I would like to inspire you all to pick up the ritual book and learn something new or dust off the cobwebs of those parts you've grown fond of over the years. Challenge yourself with the 2nd degree tracing board like Brother Justin has already announced, the charge after initiation or the working tools! I will look forward to hearing all your new pieces once we are back in the lodge!

Brethren, please look after yourselves and do not hesitate to contact Brian should you need any help or assistance we are here to help and remember that we are all in this together. We must support each other in these extremely difficult and uncertain circumstances. 

Stay safe. Follow the guidelines, protect yourselves and the NHS and save lives. 

Kindest and fraternal regards, 
Elliott
W.M

History of Woolmer Forest Lodge

A Brief History of Woolmer Forest Lodge

 

The first Masonic hall in the Bordon area was a small wooden hut dating from the 1914-1918 war which was owned by the Brewery and situated at the rear of the "Prince of Wales" Public House adjacent to the Whitehill cross roads junction. This was the home of Woolmer Forest Lodge until 1953 but was always subject to the whims of each successive Landlord. The hall was also hired out to the local community for various social functions. Conditions for Masonic meetings deteriorated after the Second World War to such an extent, that in 1953 the Lodge was forced to find alternative accommodation. Other venues were explored but none were found to be suitable. It was finally decided to relocate the Lodge in 1954 at the Petersfield Masonic Hall, which at that time was situated behind the "Red Lion" Public House, in the Portsmouth Road. This is where the Lodge remained for the next ten years. In 1957 Bordon Garrison Lodge was Consecrated at the Alton Masonic Hall and afterwards took up residence at the Church of England Institute Hall, in the grounds of the Bordon Garrison.

 

Negotiations commenced in 1957 to obtain land in the Bordon area on which to build. The site where the recently demolished Hall stood was then purchased for a little over £450.00. However, for various reasons, no further work was carried out until early 1963 when a planning application was made to errect the Temple, Robing room and a gents toilet facility. Work commenced later in the year, mostly by members of the Masonic community. Prior to completion, Bordon Garrison Lodge made a donation of £500.00 which enabled a Committee Room to be added to the south side of the new building. The project was completed and opened in August 1964, by the then Provincial Grand Master Major-General R.L. Bond, C.B.E.

Old centreOld temple facing east

Old temple facing west

Following the opening of the premises, attempts were made to hold Festive Boards within the Robing area, but these proved unsatisfactory and both Lodges were required to travel to hotels, in various locations, as far apart as Alton, Hindhead and wherever suitable accommodation could be found. It was not unusual at this time for the after proceedings to seat between 60-80 Brethren. In 1973 plans were submitted to construct a Dinning Hall, kitchen, ladies toilet facilities and a small bar (which was later turned into a stage). Also a pitched roof over the Committee room area between the two buildings. When planning permission was approved, work commenced on the site, much of which was carried out by various Brethen. The new addition was completed at a cost of just over £6,000.00 in November 1974 and was named the "Farminer Hall" as a tribute to the late W.Bro. PJ Farminer, PAGDC who had been instrumental in making the project possible.

 

In the following years central heating was installed in the whole of the building at a minimal cost, by a small band of Brethren working at weekends and evenings.

 

As the Masonic community grew with the formation of more Craft Lodges and other Orders of Masonry, Lodges began to hold their Ladies Festivals as well as other social events at the premises. It soon became obvious the bar facilities were inadequate to cope with the demand and more space was required for entertaining guests. In 1983 plans were submitted to extend the east end of the dining room to form a lounge, bar and to enlarge the kitchen, also to change the existing bar into a stage area. This project was completed at a cost of £12,000.00, and opened in March 1984 by the then Provincial Grand Master RW. Bro. Thomas Bennett Langton, M.C.

 

Early in the following decade improvements were made at a minimal cost to relocate the main entrance and foyer from the north to the west side of the building and also to modernise both the Ladies and Gents toilet facilities. All the work involved being carried out by a small group of Brethren prepared to give up their time and energy to improve the property. From the commencement of the work in 1963, to the demolition of the property in 2003, most of the work carried out was by truly Operative Masons from all the resident Lodges in the complex. It is also worthy of note that from the completion of the temple in 1964 to the present day, all the finance was raised by loans or gifts from Brethren, donations from the Lodges, proceeds from raffles, dances, social functions and the Centre's 300 Club. The Management was never required to take out a Bank loan.

 

In 2003 negotiations commenced with representatives of Bordon Masonic Properties and Garner Holdings, who were the owners of the site on which the new Tesco Store is now situated and also the land on which the new Masonic Hall is now standing. Garner Holdings, were anxious to acquire the freehold land on which the old Masonic premises were situated in order complete their negotiations with Tesco. Consequently, they undertook to design, plan and construct the present centre to our requirements on the current site, this was opened in May 2004.

Bordon centre Scaled

New temple facing eastNew temple facing west

Lodge of Instruction

We have a lodge of instruction which is open to all freemasons. It is usually held at 19:15 each Monday evening with the exceptions of July, August, December and Bank Holidays.

July 2017, we held our annual Lodge of Improvement Festival, as a tradition of our lodge the current Worshipful Master acts as the candidate and is Initiated.

Dib

 

This year the acting WM was Dib Stevens and his team, the ceremony was as good as any you will see in the Province.

Dib himself Initiated the candidate with complete sincerity and was near word perfect, he should feel very proud of himself.

Justin Ford acted as the senior deacon and expertly escorted the candidate around the floor, his progress in masonry is remarkable. Justin also delivered a word perfect Charge to the Initiate just to top it off!

Ben Mulleady presented the Mode of preparation as good as we have ever heard it delivered, this is even more remarkable as he is a fellow craft and has only been a member for a few months.

Mark Last with Jim Harper acting as DC and ADC kept everything running smoothly, Jim also presented the Working Tools.

We would like to thank John Bradshaw who stood in as Senior Warden, Scott Duffield who stood in as Junior Warden and Stuart Senior as Inner Guard all from Whitehill Lodge.

Special thanks should also go to W Bro's Murry Port and Steve Russell who give up so much of their time to support the Lodge of Improvement and give the benefit of their experience.

Thank you to anyone who hasn't been specifically mentioned and especially all of the Members and Visitors who come and support this festival every year, it would not be the same without you all.

Weblinks

United Grand Lodge of England

 

Provincial Grand Lodge of Hampshire & Isle of Wight

 

Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge of Hampshire & Isle of Wight No 9263

 

Freemasonry Today, The Official Journal of the United Grand Lodge of England

 

HampshireFreemasonry.com, A freemasonry website for the public

 

Insight Magazine, A freemasonry magazine for the Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight

 

Click here to visit the Farminer Hall (Masonic Centre) Website