June 21st, 2023.
Five Heads Lodge, under the competent Mastership of Worshipful Brother Paul Lillington, held an emergency meeting to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their consecration (4th June 1973).
APGM Barrie Hewitt, escorted by a 23-strong Provincial escort, was in attendance to observe and support proceedings. This official visit by the southeast area APGM was to be his last. His tenure is due to end at the Hants & IOW Provincial AGM in London (July 5th), when Chris Bayliss is due to be appointed in his stead.
During the meeting, an interesting presentation was read, by several brethren, on the history of the Five Heads Lodge. This was followed by the APGM warmly and sincerely presenting a fifty-year certificate to Worshipful Brother Ray Bulman, their current Chaplain. The Worshipful Master, on behalf of the lodge, presented the APGM with a cheque to the MCF for £250.00.
Approximately 60 brethren dined at the festive board in a truly wonderful atmosphere, the visitors significantly swelling the normal lodge attendance figures, and greatly bolstering the charitable monies raised.
Barrie, in a characteristically humble manner, firmly stopped any attempt to make this meeting represent a celebration of his time as APGM, saying “Tonight is not about Barrie”. However, at least to me, there was a duality to this meeting that was undeniable. The presence of the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies (acting) and three Deputies bore this out. Their final act was to form part of the ceremonial exit archway at the end of the meeting. A visible show of respect.
Toward the close of the festive board, a gift was made from Five Heads Lodge to Barrie for the great devotion he has shown to Freemasonry and to the South East area in particular. For my part, and I am sure yours, I echo the sentiments in the presentation of that gift.
Many of you will know that Barrie’s masonic work will continue in earnest with his ongoing role as Festival Director.
To Five Heads Lodge, well done. You may be small in number, but you hosted a great evening and showed every commendable attribute that could have been expected of you. Here’s to your next 50 years!