Consecration 16th March 2007 at Southend Masonic Centre, Saxon Hall, Aviation Way, Southend on Sea, Essex SS2 6UN

Petition granted 16 September 2006


The birth of a new Lodge is a varied, frustrating but gratifying occurrence. The gamut of emotions experienced by  the Petitioners, initially , and then the Founders,  covers the whole spectrum. It was thus with the West Essex Meridian Lodge.

The first spark of conception came in 2001 when the then Provincial Grand Master of Essex, Sir Neil Thorne announced that he would like to encourage some Lodges to meet in the daytime so that elderly and infirm brethren could still maintain their Masonry without the rigours of driving, and arriving home, late at night. And he would consider petitions for new lodges to fulfil this. In the next few years nine Lodges in Essex were consecrated to meet in the daylight hours.

During his year in the Master’s Chair of Thomas Ralling Lodge 2508 Chris Hicks and a number of members of the Lodge took the idea on board and discussions started with the London Lunchtimers, a group whose aim is “to extend the hand of welcome and fellowship to all those with a genuine and positive interest in Freemasonry regardless of sex, creed or any other limitation”, and with the Meridian Lodge 4106. This resulted in a proposition to form a new Lodge that would meet on a Saturday in the morning to encourage members who found it difficult to get to meetings during the week and preferred to spend Saturday evening with their families.

Many days were spent in discussing, planning and preparing for the submission of the petition to form the new Lodge. The venue and dates were key. Originally the petitioners thought to have the Lodge at Loughton, the home of Thomas Ralling Lodge, but this proved impossible with regard to the availability of dates at the very busy centre, the burden on the catering and the presence of a newly converted daylight Lodge, Brooke Lodge 2005.

From the initial ideas in 2001, it was not until October 2005 that the name, meeting dates and venue plus the, required, 25 Founders had been confirmed. This then enabled the secretary to the petitioners, Ron Carr, to submit the petition to Provincial Grand Lodge.

The petition was then approved in Grand Lodge, on 16 September 2006, for The West Essex Meridian Lodge No. 9821 to meet at Ilford Conservative Club on the following dates:

1st Saturday in February, June and September and 2nd Saturday in December

The Consecration meeting was set for Friday 16th March 2007 at Saxon Hall.


The Consecration……….

At the Consecration meeting a Lodge was opened by the following brethren:

  • W Bro David Tidman as Master, representing Thomas Ralling Lodge No. 2508, the sponsoring Lodge
  • W Bro Robert Jennings as Senior Warden, representing Richard Clowes Lodge No. 2936, a sister Lodge
  • W Bro John Cannon as Junior Warden, representing Fairmead Lodge No. 6894, a sister Lodge
  • W Bro John Jacobson as Inner Guard, representing Warren Wood Lodge No. 8284, a daughter Lodge of Fairmead Lodge
  • W Bro John Stuchfield as IPM, representing Bagshaw Lodge of Instruction

Once the Lodge had been opened the Consecration team entered in procession and occupied the offices as below:

Consecrating Officer R W Bro John Michael Webb Provincial Grand Master
Installing Officer V W Bro P E Holland PGSwdB Deputy Provincial Grand Master
W Bro G G Saunders PSGD Assistant Provincial Grand Master
W Bro A J Everard PSGD Assistant Provincial Grand Master
Senior Warden W Bro P B Humphrey PAGDC ProvSGW
Junior Warden W Bro P D Hammond PGStB ProvJGW
Chaplain W Bro Capt J R Simons PAGDC ProvGChap
Secretary W Bro A P Bishop PAGDC ProvGSec
Director of Ceremonies W Bro N L Catchpole PAGDC ProvDC
Sword Bearer W Bro D Potter ProvGSwdB
Deputy Chaplain W Bro M D Howse ProvDepGChaplain
Deputy Director of Ceremonies W Bro A J Clark ProvDepGDC
Organist W Bro R E Allder ProvGOrganist,   PPSGD
Standard Bearer W Bro P A Gibson ProvGStdB
Inner Guard W Bro M P Cowan PPJGW
Tyler W Bro J D Tagg ProvGTyler

The Lodge was Consecrated by the Provincial Grand Master, R W Bro John Michael Webb, and the First Master, W Bro Chris Hicks, was Installed by V W Bro Peter Holland Deputy Provincial Grand Master.

After the meeting, 135 officers, members and guests attend the Festive Board where the Provincial Grand Master proposed the Toast to the new Lodge, The response from the Worshipful Master, W Bro Hicks, is below.

Response to R W John Michael Webb PGM (Essex)


W Bro Chris Hicks PProvGStwd, First Master of West Essex Meridian Lodge 9821

To the toast to the Master at the Consecration meeting


Friday 16th March 2007

Saxon Hall, Southend-on-Sea


R W PGM, distinguished brethren, brethren all; Sir, thank you for those words and brethren thank you for the way they were received. Please let me present to you and V W Bro Peter Holland signed brochures as mementos, with my personal thanks to you and the rest of the Consecrating Officers for the excellent Ceremony today.

David, thank you for that wonderful Master’s song, it got me right here!

It gives me great pleasure to respond to this toast, on behalf of all the Founders, rather than on my own behalf.

It is great to see so many friends here today, it warms the heart. There was a time when this moment seemed impossible. The first discussions of forming a new Lodge date back to November 2001, after a visit by W Bro Alan Garner the then APGM for the Thomas Ralling Lodge 2508, at which time I was the Master. So it has taken five and half years to get here!

The Province had an objective to develop Daylight Lodges. Julian Smith, Ron Carr, I and a few others saw this as a great opportunity to help working younger masons to meet at a time convenient to work and family, Saturday mornings; however the Province was looking to encourage older masons to remain in the craft by being able to get to meetings during the daytime in the week. We can’t get everything right first time!

Interestingly at the same time Julian and a few others began to regenerate a London Lodge, Meridian Lodge 4106, into a Saturday daylight Lodge as well. At the moment he is Master of the Lodge. We aim to build relations with this Lodge and to inter-visit etc.

The initial ideas led to a long chain of events starting with discussions with W Bro Alan Garner about Founding a new Lodge at Loughton. It also led me to meet the Brooke Lodge members who were looking to change to a Daylight Lodge, also meeting on Saturdays, where today I am honoured to be Master.

Alan Garner and I spent quite a time working out how we could get the Lodge founded at Loughton, but many factors were thrown up, catering and dates to name but two; and at one stage we even looked at being a 5th Saturday Lodge, to fit us into a busy Loughton. There was a change in caterers at Loughton, we had some acceptable dates; the Lodge seemed to be up and running. However other circumstances caused us to look elsewhere, and after a couple of weeks thinking the whole thing over again we looked at Ilford as the venue. So in the middle of 2005 we found that they had some spaces for us, and the pace of progress accelerated.

However we still had to get 25 Founders as required by Province. We have added up all those who had shown interest in being Founders – when we were to be at Loughton based on shared Saturdays, then on 5th Saturdays and eventually  at Ilford. The total, if they had all stayed the course was 55!

The last of the 25 petitioners was W Bro Cyril Gathergood, who unfortunately passed to the Grand Lodge above just before Christmas. I am sure he is looking down on us today, and he would have enjoyed the ceremony, Cyril we are thinking of you!

A Daylight Lodge by definition is for brethren who have a proclivity for events during the day, and therefore, being members of London Lunchtimers, Julian, Ron and I looked for support from that group, as we aimed to meet at lunchtimes. Support came in the form of Mike Pinfield, Dave Fage, Richard Hollier and Francesco Burelli (the latter two cannot be with us today).

So would Thomas Ralling Lodge be the Sponsoring Lodge? This proved so, with George King, Ron May, Steve Hatton, Peter Burch, Dick Mathews, Kelvin Stone and Bob Rayner (who is Tyling elsewhere today) joining our merry band. This would make this the 3rd daughter Lodge of Thomas Ralling and led us to choose representatives from Richard Clowes 2936 the 1st, Fairmead 6894 the 2nd, and Fairmead’s daughter Lodge Warren Wood 8284 to be the officers to open a Lodge today. And as Bagshaw Lodge of Instruction has been so influential in getting me this far, it was only right to invite John Stuchfield to assist.

It has been an honour for me to be a Provincial Steward, so I also talked to my brother Stewards. Ian Jones, Duncan Jennings and Ron Stephenson (who is in Spain today) decided to join in.

With the hard core in place others followed, my newly discovered cousin Tony Curtis, Geoffrey Snelling, Eric Foster, Philip Dawkins, Keith Sims, Gordon Harwood and Stan Smith, who Ron Carr and I met in Skopje when we were privileged to see M W Bro Vladimir Sukarov Installed as the 1st Grand Master of Macedonia, and see the Consecration of that Grand Lodge. We are honoured that M W Bro Sukarov is able to be present today.

The preparations for today have gone very smoothly, in no small measure thanks to W Bro Ron Carr, boy am I glad I asked you to be secretary to the petitioners! And I would like to make this small presentation to you from me as a token of thanks for all your efforts.

I’d also like to thank W Bro Andrew Bishop, Provincial Grand Secretary, for his assistance with the setting up of the Lodge and W Bro Nigel Catchpole, Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, for all his efforts today and in the preceding months. I would also like to acknowledge W Bro John Simons in what will be his last Consecration.

The Lodge looks to have a sound footing; we have two candidates this year, and another one in the pipeline for next year, so we’ll have to brush up on the work! And today we also have forms from two joining members, so we will increase by four at the June meeting.

There is just one last thing I’d like to do before I end. Sir, as your newest Lodge in the Province I’d like to give you this cheque for £400 from today’s alms collection and from ourselves for the Festival 2011 to get us started.

Brethren all, thank you for today, and may I close with “sol semper fulsi per meridian opulentia”, or may “The sun always shine with meridian splendour” on our new Lodge,

Thank You



Founding Officers and Members

Worshipful Master W Bro Chris   Hicks PProvGStwd
Immediate Past Master (Acting) W Bro Ron May PAGDC
Senior Warden W Bro Julian Smith PPJGD
Junior Warden W Bro Tony Curtis
Chaplain W Bro Eric Foster LGR
Treasurer W Bro Dave Fage PPGSwdB
Secretary W Bro Ron Carr PPAGReg
Director of Ceremonies W Bro Duncan Jennings PProvGStwd
Almoner W Bro Dick Mathews PPDepGSwdB
Charity Steward W Bro Phil Dawkins
Senior Deacon W Bro George King
Junior Deacon W Bro Ian Jones PProvGStwd
Assistant Director of Ceremonies W Bro Stan Smith
Assistant Secretary W Bro Kelvin Stone PPDepGSwdB
Inner Guard W Bro Keith Sims PPSGD
Steward W Bro Peter Burch
Steward W Bro Francesco Burelli
Steward W Bro Stephen Hatton
Steward W Bro Gordon Harwood
Tyler W Bro Bob Rayner
Members W Bro Richard Hollier PPSGD,   LGR
W Bro Mike Pinfield
W Bro Geoffrey Snelling PAGDC,   LGR
W Bro Ron Stephenson PProvGStwd
Petitioner (deceased) W Bro Cyril Gathergood PPSGW


Founding members at the Consecration meeting
Founding members at the Consecration meeting