Bro. Gary Hinton Welcomed into our Lodge
Another bumper crowd of over 50 Brethren were present to welcome Bro. Gary Hinton into Freemasonry at our April meeting. Due to a family matter, what had been planned to be a Double Initiation ended up as a single one. We look forward to welcoming our other Initiate soon at a future meeting. In addition to an Initiate not being available some officers were unable to attend due to sickness or other family commitments. As usual, other members willingly stepped up to the plate to cover for absent Brethren, some at very, very short notice! Thanks go to Dean Casey (acting as Senior Deacon), Ray Claridge (acting as IPM) and, especially, Rick Walker for his outstanding presentation of The Charge to the Initiate after being requested to do so shortly before the start of the meeting! Our Junior Deacon, Carl Frew, not only conducted Gary throughout in a thoughtful and considerate way but, again, presented the Working Tools in a flawless and confident manner. After the meeting Bro. Gary said how much he had enjoyed the experience and warmly thanked those who had taken part in it.
Later in the meeting it was agreed to donate a total of £4,650 to various local charities, including The Fire Service Benevolent Fund and local charities such as Oxford Mind See Saw, Sobell House, SSNAP, Woodstock Stroke Club, Teddies for Loving Care and The Hummingbird Centre.
A Lodge sponsorship donation was also made supporting Bro. Barry Payne who will soon be undertaking a 250-mile sponsored cycle ride in support of Care for Police Survivors in which Barry will be riding in memory of PC Andrew Harper, who was brutally killed whilst on duty some 3 years ago.
The evening continued with an excellent meal at the Festive Board, when Bro. Gary was further welcomed with an superb rendition of the Entered Apprentice’s Song sung by our visitor W. Bro. Bob Buckingham, Master of Aelfric Lodge with Bro. David Braun presenting a fine explanation of the Masonic Chain.
Finally, W.Bro Tom was presented with a cake in celebration of his birthday accompanied by all of the Brethren singing Happy Birthday, because it was his special day on that very night. NOTE: We limited the candles to one because, as a Fire Brigade Lodge, it would be embarrassing to burn the building down.
A message from Berkshire’s Third Provincial Grand Principal
Following our successful 29th March 2023 convocation, this message was received by our companion Scribe E
Semper Paratus Chapter – Emergency Meeting
An Emergency Meeting of our Chapter was held on 29th March 2023 in order to Exalt 2 of our Semper Paratus Lodge Brethren, Bros. Kevin Juggins and Mark Bone, into the Holy Royal Arch.
Unfortunately our Third Principal, E.Comp Bob Greenwell was unable to take his place due to having sustained a broken shoulder a few days previously – all present sent him a collective “Get Well Soon Lord Bob”. The IPZ, Rick Walker, heroically stepped into Bob’s Chair and, along with the other Principals, conducted a faultless ceremony led by our MEZ E. Comp. Cliff Ward, and which was thoroughly enjoyed by the 40 or so Companions present. The Chapter was honoured with the presence of a number of Active Provincial Officers, amongst them being both our Provincial Second & Third Grand Principals along with Berkshire’s Provincial Third Grand Principal (who under took part of the ceremony in his usual excellent and cheery manner!) The ceremony included a few variations from the normal, which certainly surprised and entertained those not expecting them!
The Sojourners’ parts were spilt between a few Companions who undertook them in a truly excellent manner. Special mention has to be made of the work of our guest Principal Sojourner, Comp. Matthew Fisher, a visitor from St. Swithuns Chapter. Companions Kevin and Mark reported that they really enjoyed the ceremony and all agreed they are both excellent additions to our Chapter.
The evening was rounded off with an excellent Festive Board (although Bob Greenwell did complain as we had not arranged a “Deliveroo” delivery of the meal to him – sorry Bob we’ll try harder next time!)
Following the Ladies Festival the Lodge/Chapter made a donation of £550 from the proceeds of the raffle to MIND. Please see below the really heartwarming and pleasing response below received by our Charity Steward Dave Lockwood.
Thank you so much for your recent donation of £550. We honestly cannot thank you enough, Just so you are aware I tried calling to thank you personally earlier today.
Oxfordshire Mind is here to make sure anyone in Oxfordshire with a mental health problem has somewhere to turn for advice and support. Last year we helped over 30,000 people. We promote good mental health through the provision of high-quality services and campaigning for positive change. Our services include supported housing, talking therapies, benefits advice, a confidential and free information line, well-being courses, physical activity programmes, volunteering opportunities, and peer-support groups. Your donation will enable this vital work to continue.
We are incredibly grateful for your lodge’s support. If you have any questions or would like to hear more about our services please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Mackenzie Aspell (she/her)
Community Fundraiser | Oxfordshire Mind | Mind in Berkshire
2023 Installation Meeting
This year’s Installation meeting saw our Worshipful Master, W. Bro. Gowan Hunt, proclaimed as Master for a second year. On this occasion the Lodge was honoured by a visit from the Provincial Grand Master, R.W.Bro. James Hilditch, who was accompanied by a number of Active Provincial Grand Officers. There was, again, a good turnout of over 50 Masons present in the Temple. The Worshipful Master thanked his officers from the last year for all their hard work and gave especial thanks to W. Bro. Peter Walker and W. Bro. Ray Claridge, who were standing down as Almoner and Chaplain respectively, both having giving many years of unstinting service to the Lodge. Once he had been proclaimed the Worshipful Master went on to appoint and install his officers in his own inimitable fashion! Later in the meeting our secretary, W. Bro. Jim Flinn, advised all that at our April meeting we would be undertaking a Double Initiation. The evening was rounded off with an excellent Festive Board which included the traditional Steak Pie!
Semper Paratus Lodge’s Ladies’ Festival 2023
Following on from our first Ladies’ Festival being held at The Cumberland Hotel, Bournemouth last year, we invaded again this year and had another great weekend!
Close to 170 gathered to enjoy the weekend, meeting old friends, eating great food, being well entertained and having just a few drinks!
The President, W. Bro. Gowan Hunt and his Lady, Mandy, hosted the weekend and everyone was happy with the experience. Some even requested the same rooms they had last year!
Many decided to make it an even longer break by staying from Thursday and/or staying onto Monday, allowing time to recover from the excesses of the Saturday banquet.
Many dressed up for the “80s” theme for the Friday evening (did we really look like that then?!) . The buffet-style meal went down well as did the cabaret and disco entertainment.
As before, formalities at the banquet were in the very capable hands of our friend and professional toastmaster, W. Bro Peter Collis who ensured that things ran smoothly.
Of course, all delved deep into their pockets, handbags etc. to buy raffle tickets and raise the amazing sum of £1095 on the night, which was then rounded up to £1100. This year, at the request of Mandy, the proceeds were split between Parkinson’s UK and Mind.
A selection of (printable!) photos will appear here soon.
Make a note in your diary for next year’s event being held on Friday 9th – Sunday 11th 2024! Now’s the time to start thinking about the Semper BBQ in August eh! Fraternally, Tom
A Warm Welcome to our Initiate, Bro. Shaun Tavener
A bumper crowd of over 50 Brethren were present to welcome Bro. Shaun Tavener into Freemasonry. All witnessed an excellent ceremony undertaken by our Master and his Officers. Particular mention goes to our Junior Deacon, Bro Grant Howes, for his first foray into conducting a candidate throughout the ceremony, to Bro. Carl Frew for yet again presenting the First Degree Working Tools in a flawless and confident manner and to W. Bro. Steve Earl, whose rendition of the Charge drew well-deserved applause. As is the custom in our Lodge at the December meeting we also Called Off partway through to sip mulled wine. Later in the meeting our Visiting Officer, W. Bro. David Laidlaw, presented a Grand Lodge Certificate to Bro. Mark Mills. As always David’s explanation of the content and meaning of the Certificate held the attention of all present. The evening continued with an excellent meal at the Festive Board, when Bro. Shaun was further welcomed with an superb rendition of the Entered Apprentice’s Song sung by our visitor, W. Bro. Peter Jones, Provincial Senior Grand Warden, and the Masonic Chain. (see pictures below)
Initiation Rehearsal & Grand Lodge Certificates Presented to 4 Members
Due to the late unavailability of our candidate for Initiation Bro. Mark Bone willingly stood in as the candidate when an Initiation was rehearsed at our October meeting. All who took part contributed to an excellent ceremony with particular mention going to Bro. Carl Frew for his flawless presentation of the Working Tools. Following the Rehearsal our Visiting Officer, W. Bro. David Laidlaw, presented Grand Lodge Certificates to 4 of our members, Bros. Pat Fagan, Mark Bone, Kevin Juggins and Matt Autery. As always David’s explanation of the content and meaning of the Certificate held the attention of all present. Another candidate for Initiation was then proposed and, subject to the ballot, he will be Initiated in December. Following the meeting around 40 enjoyed the excellent Festive Board.
Thursday 8th September 2021
Semper Family BBQ 7th August 2022
Over 100 of the Semper Family from our Lodge & Chapter along with our social supporters enjoyed an excellent afternoon at Marsh Baldon Village Hall for our annual BBQ.
The shade given by the trees was most welcome as the temperature was the hottest we have had for many years, with no concerns about whether we would have to decamp to the Hall itself due to poor weather! No one complained about the weather this year (well not many!)
As always, there was plenty of food to go around, which included chicken, burgers, sausages, a vast variety of salad items and “proper” bread rolls and baps made by the Chapter’s very own MEZ, Cliff Ward. Dessert was then called for in the form of a choice of gateaux or Sue Flinn’s wonderous trifle!
The main thing is it was a chance to meet up with family and friends away from formal Lodge/Chapter meetings
What’s not to like about all that !
Thanks go to the organising committee and those who slaved over the BBQs, cooked the fried onions, served the food, did the washing up, packed the tables away, cleaned the hall, sold raffle tickets and picked up all the rubbish!!
The raffle raised £550 which will be distributed to local charities.
Click any of the images below to see a larger picture
2022 Chapter Installation Meeting
Semper Paratus Chapter was honoured by the presence of the Deputy Grand Superintendent, E. Comp. Les Steward, accompanied by a large retinue of Provincial Grand Officers, at its Installation Meeting when E. Comp. Cliff Ward was inducted into the MEZ’s Chair. Illness prevented our MEZ. E. Comp. Rick Walker, Scribe E., E. Comp. Peter Leaver and a few others from attending as did work commitments and a large traffic jam starting in Oxford caused by a concert at Blenheim Palace!
With those difficulties put aside all were treated to a great ceremony which included a Semper version of “musical chairs” due to some members moving between offices during the meeting in order to cover for absent Companions. The evening also included the presentation of Supreme Grand Chapter Certificates to Comps. Luke Fowler and Geff Graham by the Deputy Grand Superintendent, which was enjoyed by all for the very informative yet relaxed manner it which it was conducted.
As always, the evening was rounded off with yet another wonderful Festive Board prepared by Lorraine and her staff.
An appropriate plaque displayed in the Temple at Woodstock Masonic Hall
Yet Another Raising Ceremony
Due to the healthy situation that we find ourselves in it was necessary to hold an Emergency Meeting (by Dispensation) to Raise a further 2 of our Fellow Crafts, Bros. Pat Fagan and Mark Bone. A good number attended the meeting held on 19th May. Due to it being an Emergency Meeting a lot of the business usually conducted at a Regular Meeting was dispensed with. 2 Stewards who had not been present at the Installation meeting were invested by the Worshipful Master before all witnessed yet another superb Raising Ceremony undertaken by the Worshipful Master, W. Bro. Gowan Hunt, who was ably assisted by other members of the lodge. Some officers were unavailable due to sickness, work or other Masonic commitments and their places were taken by willing volunteers who undertook their duties in an excellent manner. Whilst all who took part contributed greatly to the enjoyable ceremony it has to be said that our Junior Deacon, Bro. Grant Howes delivered a magnificent rendition of the Traditional History which resulted in spontaneous applause from those present. Bros. Pat & Mark were raised to the sublime Degree of a Master Mason in true Semper style, guided expertly throughout by our Deacons, Bro. Dean Casey and Bro. Grant Howes.
The evening was rounded off as usual with an excellent Festive Board with thanks to the team at the Woodstock Masonic Hall. Picture and words from our Brother DC
Our Light Blues are growing
Around 50 masons attended our April meeting. It started with a warm and fitting tribute to our late Brother and friend, W. Bro. Derek Bampton which was presented in an excellent manner by Bro. Geoff Graham. Officers not present at the Installation meeting were then invested by the Worshipful Master before all witnessed a great Raising Ceremony undertaken by the Worshipful Master, W. Bro. Gowan Hunt, who was ably assisted by other members of the lodge. It should have been a double raising but, unfortunately, one of the candidates was unavoidably detained with work duties. Bro. Mark Mills was raised to the sublime Degree of a Master Mason in true Semper style, guided expertly throughout by our Deacons, Bros. Dean Casey and Grant Howes. The evening was rounded off as usual with an excellent Festive Board. All are now looking forward to a Double Raising to be undertaken at an Emergency Meeting on 19th May.
masonic charitable foundation 2022
Message from Andrew Keech – Provincial Grand Charity Steward for the province of Oxfordshire
“I am delighted to advise that Semper Paratus Lodge has reached the silver level within the 2022 Festival appeal.”
Emergency Chapter Meeting
A special Convocation was held on 30th March 2022 to Exalt 2 Brethren from Semper Paratus Lodge Bro.’s Kieran Mace and Geff Graham in what proved to be a superb meeting where the Principles were assisted by 2 visitors namely E.Comp Julian Salcombe who stood in as J and E.Comp. Alistair Eden who had multiple roles as PS, Organist & Pianist at the Festive Board. Finally the night was concluded with Companions Dean Casey and John Blackford receiving their Supreme Grand Chapter Certificates by our very own Grand Officer E.Comp. Norman Sawyer.
Heartfelt congratulations to the 2 Exaltees and the whole team for an excellent evening (see photo below).
2022 Installation Meeting
This year’s Installation meeting opened with a warm and fitting tribute presented by W. Bro. Ray Claridge to our late Brother and friend, W. Bro. Brian Mayling. The evening then continued with the Installation of Bro. Gowan Hunt into the Master’s Chair. There were over 50 Masons present to witness the ceremony, which was conducted in true Semper Paratus fashion, i.e. with the right amount of gravitas where appropriate but also in a relaxed and happy atmosphere. The Worshipful Master was then pleased to present V.W. Bro. Graham Ellis, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, with a cheque for the 2022 Festival in the sum of £3,000. The DPGM thanked the Brethren and said that in having now donated over £21,000 to the Festival the Lodge had gained the Silver Award which he will be pleased to return to the Lodge and present on a future occasion. The evening was rounded off with an excellent Festive Board which included the traditional “Semper Steak Pie!”
Note: The year 2002 was the last time Semper Paratus had all light blues in the progressive offices. We are proud to say that after much hard work by many Brethren we have achieved this milestone again!
Semper Paratus Lodge’s Ladies’ Festival is back !
After a 2-year break due to the pandemic Semper’s Ladies’ Festival was back with a bang this year in Bournemouth!
Over 160 gathered at the new location, The Cumberland Hotel, to enjoy a great weekend, meeting old friends, eating great food, being well entertained and having just a few drinks!
Everyone seemed happy with the quality of the accommodation provided (which is always a good start and a weight off the WM’s mind!)
Formalities at the banquet were in the very capable hands of our friend and professional toastmaster, W. Bro Peter Collis who ensured that things ran smoothly.
The only change from the usual format was that, due to a technical issue, the Semper “Choir” was not able to perform its “pitch-perfect” rendition of the Ladies’ Song. However, some who had heard previous such renditions said this was a bonus as the cotton wool they had brought along for their ears was not needed.
As usual all delved deep to buy raffle tickets and raise the amazing sum of £960 on the night, which was then rounded up to £1000. This year the proceeds are being presented to Cancer Research UK in memory of W. Bro. Brian Mayling.
Rumour has it that Bro. Gowan Hunt, soon to be our Worshipful Master, is looking forward to next year’s Ladies’ Festival so we’d all better get saving for it!
Here a few photos of the event (see below) if anyone has any more that they would like to see here feel free to email them to your friendly webmaster…
A message from our WM
It is with great sadness that we have to report that W. Bro. Brian Mayling PPrGSwdB LGR, Secretary of Semper Paratus Lodge and Scribe E of Semper Paratus Chapter, passed to the Grand Lodge above this morning, Friday 10th December 2021.
We thank the Great Architect of the Universe that he is now at peace after his long fight with illness.
A Mason in the truest sense of the word, he was kind, considerate, always there with a kind word of encouragement and a friend to all.
He was, and will always remain, Semper’s Father Figure.
R.I.P. W.Bro. Brian
Our Newest Members
Wednesday 8th December saw the initiation of our newest member Bro. Kevin Juggins, an excellent ceremony with Kevin escorted perfectly by Bro. Dean Casey a fine JD. A most enjoyable meeting with over 40 Brethren in attendance. We also welcomed W.Bro. Paul Hanlon PPrSGD into the Lodge.
From Left to Right – W.Bro Adrian Barlow PGAlm, W.Bro. David Laidlaw PJGD PPrAGM, W.Bro. Mick Hollis PPrSGW, SW-W.Bro. Rick Walker PPrGSwdB, W.Bro. Martin Bourton PPrGSuptWks, WM-W.Bro. Tom Edwards PPrGSwdB, Bro Kevin Juggins, JW-Bro David Scott, DC-W.Bro Jim Flinn PrSGW, W.Bro Julian Salcombe PPrADC, SD-Bro Garry Twynham
Return of the chapter
Members of the Semper Paratus Chapter were honoured by the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent of Oxfordshire by receiving the “Oxfordshire Chapter of the Year award for 2021”. This was made even more special by the exaltation of 2 new Companions – Comp. Dean Casey and Comp John Blackmore.
Semper Family BBQ 8th August 2021
107 of the Semper Family – Lodge members, Chapter members, and Social supporters kicked-off the post Covid social activities with our annual BBQ.
As usual it was a very enjoyable occasion during which over £1,120 was raised for Charity. This in itself was remarkable as this was raised completely by voluntary donations. The usual raffle being avoided due to any lingering Covid concerns.
It was an unusual sight to see the whole buffet, which included chicken, burgers and sausages followed by gateaux and trifles all served by masked volunteers wearing surgical gloves. However, this did not detract from a tremendous afternoon, even the weather, while not baking hot, was dry and sometimes sunny.
Click any picture(s) to see full size
The latest pictures from the Woodstock Masonic Hall refurbishment
Click here to see a video of the Temple
The Provincial team have created a new website with some interesting news and links specifically for the province of Oxfordshire, click the link below to go there
The latest pictures from the Woodstock Masonic Hall refurbishment
All pictures were taken in December 2020 by WBro.Jim Flinn
Welcome visitors and newcomers
12 | December | 2018
The Deputy Provincial Grand Master VW. Bro Neal Clive Spencer, escorted by the PrAGDC W. Bro Stephen Pope and accompanied by the PrSGW, W. Bro Cliff Ward and the PrGOrg, W. Bro Peter Smith attended the Semper Paratus Lodge number 3015 on the 12th of December at Woodstock and witnessed an excellent ceremony of a double raising of Bro’s Gilbert and James. The Ceremony was carried out by W Bro Bob Greenwell who was ably assisted by both older and younger members of the Lodge. Over 50 brethren were in attendance for both the meeting and the festive board that followed, all enjoying the occasion.
Left to Right:Bro D Braun SW, W.Bro Stephen Pope PrAGDC. VW Bro Neil Clive Spencer DPrGM. Bro Mark James & Bro Lee Gilbert, W.Bro Bob Greenwell WM, W.Bro R Claridge Chaplain and the acting Junior Warden, W.Bro Steven Earl
Photo by bro. K Mace
A warm Semper Paratus welcome on a cold night
02 | March | 2018
A wonderful installation ceremony at the Semper Paratus Lodge No. 3015 was held on 28th February where W.Bro. Bob Greenwell was installed into the chair by W.Bro. Julian Salcombe.
The ceremony was followed by a very enjoyable and entertaining festive board where over 70 brethren attended including 31 visitors.
A very generous cheque was presented to the PSGW by the WM for the 2022 festival.
The evening was witnessed by a good number of active provincial officers led by W.Bro. Chris Beckley who was representing the RWPrGM and included W.Bro. Ivor Hawkins PrGSec, W.Bro. Peter Smith PrGOrg, W.Bro. Yanto Evans PrGStwd and W.Bro. Bob Swanton PrAGDC escorting.
Left to Right:
W.Bro. Ivor Hawkins, W.Bro. Peter Smith, W.Bro. Chris Beckley, W.Bro. Bob Greenwell WM, W.Bro. Julian Salcombe IPM, W.Bro. Yanto Evans and W.Bro. Bob Swanton .
Left to Right:
(L-R) W.Bro. Chris Beckley PrSGW, W.Bro. Bob Greenwell WM
Semper Paratus Lodge No. 3015 restores link to its history
16 | April | 2017
When ex-firefighter, W.Bro. Bob Greenwell acquired a bell formerly used on a London Fire Brigade Dennis fire engine and presented it to the Semper Paratus Lodge, little did he realise that he would be instrumental in rekindling one of the oldest traditions of the Lodge.
Bro. Secretary, W.Bro. Brian Mayling recalled seeing an article published by the “Freemasons” when reporting on the Lodge’s Consecration on 9th January 1904. It carried a reference to the Lodge’s expectation to provide a Masonic home for members of the National Fire Brigade’s Union. And the following extract from that report draws an interesting analogy between the Fire service and Freemasonry:
“An onlooker would think it wonderful how each man took his station, and everything was in order and regularity within one minute of ringing the fire bell”
The bell has now been beautifully mounted and adorned with an assortment of Fire Service and Masonic emblems and badges by W.Bro. Karl Symes of the Alfred Lodge No. 340. It also carries a variety of Masonic symbolism so while it is a lovely piece of Lodge furniture it is also of great interest.
The bell is used to call the Lodge and Festive board to order and the nine o’clock toast.