England, St George, Roast Beef and Scotland!

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st-george1In a hushed temple the Installing Master and his wardens presented their swords to the naked breast of the candidate who knelt before them. This was but one of the memorable moments of a Scottish Initiation demonstration performed by The Trades House of Glasgow Lodge No 1241, on 15 April at a meeting of the Radcliffe Lodge at Welbeck Road, Nottingham.

The Brethren from Scotland had travelled south at the invitation of David James who is an affiliate member of their Lodge. The demonstration took place whilst the Lodge was Called Off and was witnessed by over 100 brethren - some of whom had travelled from Hertfordshire, Northampton and Sheffield, as well as from all parts of the Province of Nottinghamshire.

The demonstration was well received by all and there was much discussion in the bar afterwards about the differences in the ritual and the richness of the Masonic message in its various forms. The Worshipful Master of Radcliffe Lodge, Jonathan Harris, expressed the views of all when thanking the Installing Master, Rt. W. Brother Hamilton Purdie, and all the Scottish contingent for the superb delivery of the demonstration; and especially for treating the volunteer candidate from Radcliffe Lodge, Albert Bradbury, 'gently'!

The Festive Board, planned by Graham Riche, was given over to a celebration of St. George and England. The dining room was hung with flags and the meal was themed to reflect the colours of the flag of England, the St George's Cross. The WM entered the packed dining room to the music of the Royal Marine Band playing 'Hearts of Oak' and the enthusiastic, rhythmic, clapping of the assembled Brethren.

When the tables were cleared in readiness for the second course the room was darkened, the herald (Nigel Morley of Galway Lodge) played a fanfare as the Roast Beef of Olde England was escorted in by a knight (Wayne Harris also of Galway Lodge) carrying before him a jewelled sword. The beef was presented to each Warden's table and then the Worshipful Master carved the magnificent joint before it was held aloft by the chef, Darren Griffiths, as Nick Hallam (Bramcote Lodge) recited 'The Ode to Roast Beef'. The assembled throng, including our Scottish guests, then raised their glasses and enthusiastically declared the toast, 'Roast Beef and Liberty'.

st-george2During the evening Rt. W. Brother Terris Stoddart of Kilwinning Lodge No 0, presented 'A History of the Mother Lodge of Scotland' to Radcliffe's WM; and Rt. W. Brother Scott Waugh of Trades House Lodge also presented Radcliffe's WM with 'The History of Trades House of Glasgow Lodge, No 1241 – The First 85 Years'. Scott extended an invitation to Radcliffe Lodge and the assembled Brethren to visit his Lodge some time soon.

The toast to the visitors was given by Frank Noonan - and W. Brother Goodman, of Halsey Lodge No 1479 in the Province of Hertfordshire, responded. Brother Goodman sprinkled his speech with witty anecdotes and gentle jokes which were well received by the Brethren. The raffle, conducted with enthusiasm by the stewards - led by Pawan Joshi and Charles Kennington, raised £540; and a sale of beautiful, cuddly, white bears (donated to TLC Nottinghamshire by John Lewis plc.) raised £110. One bear was presented to a new member of the Lodge Keane Lees, whose partner is expecting their first baby.

The evening concluded with the enthusiastic singing of patriotic English songs and the waving of flags. Frank Noonan selected the music and led the singing. Our Scottish friends, no doubt helped by the fine golden liquid of their country, joined in the festivities - even waving the St George's Cross flags! At the end Graham Riche asked everyone to cross their arms, join hands, and as a tribute to our Brothers from the North to sing out the evening with 'Auld Lang Syne' followed by 'Happy Have We Met'.

All agreed they had participated in a wonderful evening of celebration, of fellowship, and of fun, in the true spirit of Brotherhood.

Special thanks must go to Alan Shirley, the chef and all the staff at Welbeck Road for a great meal and excellent service.