Welcome to the First Southsea Lodge Newsletter of the year. When I stood down as your Charity Steward I promised to continue with a Newsletter, obviously not all members can make the meeting each month therefore a newsletter will hopefully keep all in the picture to what has happened in the lodge each month, but hopefully all will have the opportunity to read Lodge Meeting Minutes which gives a full account of our meetings. I will also endeavour however not to step on W,Bro. Mark Williamsons ( Our new Charity Steward) toes. 

Written by W.Bro. Paul Hitchcock PPSGD

The November Meeting saw the Installation of Worshipful, Brother Stefan Rochon into the Chair of King Solomon. Becoming the 96th Master of the Lodge. The ceremony was conducted by both W.Bro Keith Walton and W.Bro. Paul Hitchcock with yours truly conducting the installation in the Inner Workings. Overall it was a great Ceremony with a good number of guests making for a happy and entertaining atmosphere. Sadly The Worshipful Master in the Chair W.Bro George Duncan could not attend due to illness which would have been a worthy and exceptional finale to his three years in the chair. The Festive Board was once again a joyous and raucous event ending with the usual toast to the Master following the singing of the Masters Song. During Lodge proceedings The ladies of the Lodge at the invitation of Stefs Partner Diane followed the tradition of Dining at a nearby hostelry The Still and West.

Christmas Party – Our Worshipful Master W.Bro Stefan Rochon and His Partner Diane have produced a very busy and interesting Social Calendar which kicked off with the traditional Southsea Christmas Party held in the Phoenix Lodge Rooms in December. The evening was well attended and followed our usual Christmas party itinerary with the singing of carols, Christmas songs, readings and a visit by Father Christmas who was assisted by the Children in handing out the presents. A bumper raffle was held with proceeds going to the WMs Charity; The Honey Pot. After a hearty meal of Baked Potatoes and Chilli the evening concluded by the singing of the Twelve days of Christmas which was delivered with great gusto by all. All in all a very successful and enjoyable evening.

The January Lodge Meeting celebrating the Birth of the Scottish Bard Robert Burns on 25th January 1759 was a First Degree Ceremony where we initiated and welcomed into the Lodge Brother Sheridan Beattie a Butcher and Grandson of W.Bro. Richard Herd who conducted the Ceremony in the absence of the Worshipful Master. Worshipful Brother George Duncan IPM opened and Closed the meeting with Worshipful Brother Peter Rowling presenting the charity part of the ceremony and Brother Alan Hudspeth delivered a faultless explanation of the Working Tools.

The First Degree Charge was delivered by the Circle of Brotherhood which involves 12 members of the lodge reciting proportionate parts of the Charge with the final paragraph delivered by the Master in the Chair with all participants hold hands around the Candidate. Once again it was a memorable and joyous occasion and Sheridan proved to be an excellent candidate.

The Festive board celebrated the Birthday of Robert Burns and the Haggis was paraded in by Alan McHudspeth, Andy McBanting and Peter McSanders.

The Address to the Haggis was delivered superbly By Alan McHudspeth. The toast to Sheridan now affectionately named Shazza was performed by our Brother DC Kim Fenton with all attendees joining hands for the initiates Chain. Brother Sheridans response to his toast was rapturously applauded. Once again A great evening, thoroughly enjoyed by all.

The Horse Racing Evening our second Social of the year was held on the 25 th February at the Drayton Community Centre and was attended by 47 Members and guests of which only 16 were Lodge members which was rather disappointing, however the evening was superbly run and organised by Worshipful Brothers Ralph Waldren, who run the Tote, and Richard Herd who facilitated the evening. W.Bro. Spud Murphy and Brother Bob Wisdom were the Jockeys and willing volunteers from the floor rolled the dice.

Great excitement ensued throughout each race and concluded with an auction for each Jockeys coloured hat which was won by Mrs Pat Rowling Wife of W.Bro Pete who bought the Black Horse with a tidy sum outbidding the other serious contenders and her horse romping home in first place. Well done Pat! The overall profit made for the Masters Charity was £397 from the Tote and £150 from the Raffle.

The February Lodge Meeting was another First Degree Ceremony, this time we initiated and welcomed Brother Theo Devenish a Musician from Portsmouth. The Ceremony was once again conducted in its entirety by W.Bro. Richard Herd in the absence of our Worshipful Master and was assisted by Yours truly acting as IPM due to the Absence of W.Bro. George Duncan who’s Twin Brother had sadly passed away prior to the meeting.

The Charity part of the Ritual was Brilliantly conducted once again by W. Bro Pete Rowling and Brother Alan Hudspeth presented the Working Tools once again in a faultless manner.

The First Degree Charge was once again delivered by the Circle of Brotherhood. Brother Theo proved to be an excellent candidate and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. W.Bro. Pete Sanders did his usual walk round the lodge with Brother Theo explaining the duties of the various Brethren who took part in the Ceremony: the Walkers and the talkers as Pete calls them. This he does on each occasion we have a new initiate. During the meeting Brother Dominic Creasey was presented with his 3rd Degree Master Mason Certificate by W.Bro Graham Jickells our Visiting Officer.

With a good attendance of over 47 Brethren the Festive Board proved to be what has become a lively and enjoyable event. The toast to the Candidate was once again delivered by W.Bro. Kim Fenton and the Initiates chain formed by all the Brethren. Theos response to his toast was again rapturously applauded by all.

With yet more Brothers joining our ranks our March and April Meeting will be a Double Second Degree Ceremony a first in Southsea for some considerable time and a testament to our recruitment Team. W.Bro. Kim Fenton and Brother Bob Palmer our Membership Officer.

Trip to Peace Lodge Bristol A Bristol trip is being arranged by W.Bro Neil Hall on 5th May and he is asking for anyone who is interested in going to this very popular venue to witness great Bristol Workings Ritual to contact him.

My next News letter will be published in May. In the meantime If anyone has any items they want to publish in the Newsletter for next time please let me know.

W.Bro. Paul Hitchcock PPSG