Covid 19 update

Dear Brethren & Companions

You will, I am sure, be aware that further covid-19 restrictions came into force in certain defined areas of England at midnight yesterday, 15th October. These additional limitations are, as is to be expected, having a substantial effect in some parts of England and Wales on the ability or otherwise to hold Craft meetings and Royal Arch Convocations. The Province of East Kent is, however, unaffected by this latest Government announcement and we remain in Tier 1.

Therefore Lodge and Chapter meetings may continue to be held provided that the Rule of Six is complied with at all times in terms both of the meetings and, if offered by caterer, dining afterwards in covid-secure conditions.

Whilst I have a duty as Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent to impose suspension of meetings in order to prevent breaches of the law, ensure the safety of the Craft, its members and the public, that position has not been reached in East Kent. We all, of course, hope that that will remain the case until restrictions are no longer necessary.

However, should any areas within our Province be lifted into a higher Tier of restrictions then an appropriate, but targeted and localised response will be applied by the Province. If that becomes a reality then Tier 2 will make the holding of meetings highly unlikely and Tier 3 would result in holding, or travelling to meetings in another area, impossible.

You may hear, or have already heard, of the impact of these changes on other Provinces and London, and I am in no doubt that this situation is going to remain fluid for us all for some time to come. I can, however, reassure you that the Provincial Executive of East Kent will respond quickly and effectively to any and all developments having an effect on Masonic meetings as soon as they become known.

Neil H Johnstone
Provincial Grand Master
Grand Superintendent

Wickhambreaux School Playground (plus) Renewal Project

News update from Melanie, the chair of the PTA at Wickhambreaux School, by WB Tony Eldridge.

She is pleased to report that just before lockdown, she, contractors and parents put our donations to very good use and she has now sent several photos.

They have now completed 80% of the planned work.  And in addition to replacing the (condemned as unsafe) playground safe/soft surface, and climbing frame & activity house, they have also been able to acquire an ergonomic den, a unique nature play hideaway.

Our donation has also enabled them to buy storage units for the back and the front of the school, to enable the children to look after and access their toys. These new tidied areas have inspired the parents to donate wooden palettes so that on these palettes creative parents could make things like Lego boards for the children to use outdoors and ‘outdoor music making areas’.

This has been a big project for our Lodge 31.  Moved by their story, we gave them £6000 with an additional contribution of £250 from the  Masonic Cornwallis Trust.

We are now looking forward to when things eventually get back to normal, to an on-site celebration with PTA members and staff!

EDITOR: Well done Tony and thanks for the update!


Letter from Neil H. Johnstone – Provincial Grand Master – East Kent.
Dear Brethren,
It is with great personal regret that I write to you now to reiterate the communication from the Most Worshipful the Grand Master, issued at midday today (17th March 2020), that all Lodge meeting under the United Grand Lodge of England are suspended with immediate effect for a period of four months.
This includes Lodges of Instruction, Committee meetings and I have extended the suspension to all Masonic social activities within the Province.
This causes me, and I know all of you, enormous disappointment. How we proceed at the end of the suspension period is yet to be clarified but you will be advised at the earliest opportunity.

The primary responsibility we all now share is the welfare of our Brethren, and their families. Whilst it is in normal circumstance the Almoners role, in this current situation, we are all Almoners. We must all share that responsibility and be aware of and react to the needs of our Lodge members particularly those who we know are more vulnerable. Unfortunately personal visits are precluded, but phone calls, email or any other form of communication, I am sure, will be welcomed by the recipient.

This is the opportunity for the true spirit of Freemasonry to shine through and I have no doubt that you will all continue to support your Lodge and Brethren in these troubling times.

Neil H. Johnstone
Provincial Grand Master/
Grand Superintendent

New Lodge Members

We at the lodge have been very fortunate to attract 4 new initiates this year – all have been made Entered Apprentices and are keen to further their masonic knowledge by attending Lodges of Instruction and rehearsal.

WB Peter Swinbourne with 4 new members

From left to right:
Bro Richardson, Bro Murphy, WM Peter Swinbourne, Bro Blythe, Bro Burton

The Worshipful Master WB Peter Swinbourne has been ably assisted in the ceremonies by WB Adrian Keep, WB Ray Hubbard and WB Tony Eldridge – plus the rest of the floor officers.

Well done to everyone – we are planning another initiate for September!

Fishy Catch

Worshipful Brother Gerald Lee presents Worshipful Brother Pat Todd with a cheque for £500 to go towards supporting the Masonic Fishing Charity.

“The Masonic Fishing Charity’s aim is to bring an interactive fishing and countryside experience to people with special needs”.

It achieves this by running fishing events, both coarse and fly and inviting participants with special needs to come and join in. This includes anyone over 11 with mental or physical disabilities, the disadvantaged or those who have suffered trauma.

We hope to ‘Catch The Smile’ along the way.

The Charity provides:

  • A fisherman or helper for every participant usually on a one-to-one basis.
  • Lunch is provided for all participants, helpers and fishermen and usually consists of barbecued burgers, sausages and maybe some fresh trout at fly fishing events!
  • A ‘Certificate of Achievement’ for all participants.
  • Medals for Biggest Fish, Best Caster, Best Retriever etc., are also often awarded.
  • Participating organisations or individuals are provided with Risk Assessments and Health & Safety Instructions
  • Health and safety instruction is given to all helpers and fishermen.
  • Some game fish caught may be kept by the participants.
  • Qualified first aider always on hand.

CRY – Cardiac Risk in the Young

Worshipful Master, W Bro Ian Gilmour (R) and Lodge Charity Steward, W Bro Revd Grahame Whittlesea (C), accompanying W Bro Tony Eldridge (L) who proposed a donation of £1000 to Cardiac Risk in the Young, seconded by Bro David Ball, in memory of Tonbridge Angels U-18 Footballer, Jack Maddams who died in his sleep, aged 17, and much respected senior past master W Bro Philippe Lacamp who died of a sudden heart attack at the end of 2018.

Our donation will go towards screening programmes for young people in East Kent. Every week in the UK at least 12 young people die of undiagnosed heart conditions.

CRY supports young people diagnosed with potentially life-threatening cardiac conditions and offers bereavement support to families affected. Roger Maddams, Jack’s father, who works hard to promote the work of CRY said: “of the 100 or so screened locally earlier this year, 10 were referred for further examination so that something can be done about whatever strand of heart condition is at question.”

The Lodge is proud to support this work and appreciated receiving letters of thanks from Roger Maddams, and CRY Chief Executive Dr Steven Cox.

Burns Night White Table

For the first time in recent years the United Industrious Lodge 31 celebrated the Scottish poet Robert Burns in glorious style.

The menu of Scotch Broth soup, followed by Haggis, neeps and tats, then in a break from tradition – a full roast beef course, then dessert, biscuits and cheese and coffee.

The speeches were delivered in great style by our piper and W Bro Roger Gabriel. With W Bro Gerald Lee as toast master and chief.

Over £200 was raised for charity.

Well done and thank you to all who attended. – see you next year?

100 Years – In Memoriam

Brother Rupert E. Everitt 1875 – 1917
Killed by a shell splinter at Poperinghe

On the wall of the temple is marble plaque to remember those Masons from Canterbury who gave their lives in the Great War.

Photo Courtesy Of Dick In California
Rupert E Everitt

One of these is Brother Rupert E. Everitt who was Inner Guard in the Lodge when he was killed in action on 24th June 1917.

Details about Rupert, his life and his tragic death can be found in the following links: