At 6pm prompt, on Wednesday, November 15th 2023, the gavel of Worshipful Brother Michael Carter sounded the opening of Horndean Lodge of Harmony no.9015 for the last time.
A nearly full lodge room witnessed the procession into the temple of the Provincial Grand Master (R.W. Bro Jonathon Whitaker) accompanied by a 28-strong escort. This included the southeast area APGM (Chris Bayliss) and PAPGM (Barrie Hewitt). The purpose of such a notable gathering of Masonic V.I.Ps was to carry out item 8 on the agenda. This simply read, “To conduct the final closing of the lodge”.
Worshipful Brother Phil Grieves was escorted onto the floor and the Provincial Grand Master was very pleased to confer on him, with immediate effect, promotion to Past Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies. A “field promotion”, being a rare event.
Item 5 on the agenda was the Almoners report, delivered by W.Bro Leo Ward. He cited those Brothers who have made a significant impact on the lodge during its 41-year history before going on to mention those Brothers currently suffering serious medical conditions. This was not easy listening.
W.Bro Fred Holtby, the Lodge Charity Steward, urged the Brethren to continue with their charitable works as they move on into new lodges and continue with their Freemasonry. At this point, the PGM was presented with a cheque made out to the Masonic Charitable Foundation for £2,500.00 from the Worshipful Master’s relief fund. A second cheque to the sum of £500.00 was then presented, this total entitling Horndean Lodge of Harmony to their Silver Honorific. A fitting note for them to end their history on.
Item 8 was announced. It was time for the last words of a Master of this Lodge to be spoken. “Provincial Grand Master, will you please conduct the closure”.
There followed a handover of all key positions to members of the active Provincial team, followed by the PGM occupying the Masters’ chair. A dignified ceremony was conducted, with Prayers given by the Provincial Chaplain (W.Bro Peter Carter–Wardell). The Lodge warrant was then returned to Grand Lodge, before the final act, which was the handing back of the corn, wine, oil, and salt to the PGM.
The banner of the Lodge is to remain on display at the Horndean Centre. The Lodge of Prudence has taken on any ongoing care for the Widows of the Lodge of Harmony.
83 dined that evening. The theme from the PGM throughout was for the members of the Lodge to reflect on the good times had and the friendships made.