Nov 20

Adventures at an end......for now


The Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Tercentenary Celebrations drew to a memorable close on Saturday 11th November at the De Vere Hotel in Southampton.

At the event the Provincial Grand Master Michael Wilks received into his care the “Spare” Square Bear. Yes there have been two bears travelling simultaneously on some occasions.

This evening of celebrations also marks the drawing to a close of Square Bear Adventures, well for the time being at least. The No.1 Square Bear will now reside with Square Bear Guardian Clive Dobson enjoying retirement in Ryde, Isle of Wight.

However Square Bear is hopefully going to reappear in 2019. February 2019 is the 250th anniversary of the Province of Isle of Wight, and June 2019 is the 150th anniversary of the amalgamation of the Hampshire Province and Isle of Wight Province.

The “Square Bear” initiative was launched on the 2nd July 2014 at the AGM of the Province at the Guildhall in Southampton. The aim of this initiative was to share with the freemasonry community and the wider world how we enjoy our freemasonry and the work that we do to support our communities. In particular marking notable anniversaries of UGLE, our Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight and individual lodge milestones.

These adventures have been followed in a variety of ways via a Square Bear Facebook page, this duplicated in the Facebook Group “Bear on the Square” a Twitter feed squarebear @squarebearmason and for those who do not engage with social media a dedicated website

Friends and followers have engaged with the media from across the world, notably via twitter. Masons and their families across our province have contributed hugely to the success of adventures, many of which were really innovative.

Square Bear has undertaken 128 adventures not just across our province but visits to Scotland, Wales, Lancashire and London.

A selection of pictures from some of the adventures serve as a reminder of enjoyable times. Those included are represented by;

1. AGM celebrations at the Novotel June 2014
2. Glider flight
3. Picnic in the woods
4. Rugby Bastion Lodge Consecration
5. Royal Sussex Lodge Bi-Centenary
6. Dine-a-friend, Purbrook
7. Gurston Down hill climb
8. Portsdown Lodge, Heroic Masons – The Victoria Cross and Freemasonry
9. St. Vincent Lodge “Pirates and Wenches” Ladies Festival
10. Provincial Church Service, 2015
11. Needles Lodge Family BBQ
12. Clay Pigeon Shoot
13. South West Area Carol Service, 2016
14. EGM Launch of Tercentenary Celebrations
15. Landport Lodge Tercentenary Celebrations, visit Exeter
16. South East Area charities presentations
17. Elizabethan Lodge Tercentenary Celebrations
18. Launch of Classic 300 Square Wheels event, Windsor
19. Marwell Zoo Tercentenary Celebrations Family Fun Day

It would be unfair to single out any individuals therefore a great big Square Bear thank you to everyone who has taken part and shared in the adventures which have undoubtedly demonstrated what a wonderful fraternity we belong to. Lets look forward to the beginning of the next 300 years.

Farewell for now............Square Bear 

Oct 15

Vectensian Lodge No.7852

Friday evening was spent in the company of bear carer Andy Croucher at Vectensian Lodge Installation meeting at the Ryde Masonic Centre. Worshipful Master Dave Heather concluded his excellent year as master of the lodge by installing his successor, Mick Jones, best wishes for the year ahead to the new master of the lodge. Andy Croucher was invested as Charity Steward for the second year but also was invested in the office as Tyler of the lodge, congratulations Andy.

Over one hundred packed the temple to share in this special occasion and over 90 joined together at the Festive Board to celebrate the lodge starting out on a new masonic year together.

W.Bro. Dave Heather did the address to the new master, W.Bro Arthur Niblett did the address to the wardens and W,Bro Jim Lee the address to the brethren.

A lovely evening continued when some of the brethren were joined by their ladies in the bar. Celebrations continued late into the night.

A superb evening together. Many thanks to Andy and all the brethren and guests at Vectensian Lodge......Square Bear

Sep 4

Help Needed For Tercentenary Celebrations

Due to the change of date for the Grand Ball Square Bear is in need of bear carer who is willing to look after Square Bear for the evening of 11th November at the Tercentenary Celebrations. if you are willing to host Square Bear and take a few photos with guests enjoying this special occasion please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your contact details. This is the most important event in our celebrations. Help would be very much appreciated. Thank you, .....Square Bear

Jun 25

Marwell Zoo; UGLE Tercentenary Celebrations


The United Grand Lodge of England celebrated its Tercentenary on Saturday 24th June. Undoubtedly events across the world have taken place to mark this occasion. The Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight chose Marwell Zoo as the venue for our celebrations. This event has been almost 2 years in the planning, a number of masons from across the province were responsible for making this an outstanding event, the team were lead by Sean Whelan and can rightly feel proud that their tireless efforts enabled so much to be enjoyed by the 2,500 brethren, families and friends who attended at Marwell.

Not only were the animals out in the warm weather for all to marvel at but other entertainers provided shows and attractions to occupy children and adults alike. Fun characters in animal costume enthralled the children and the inflatable fun zone provided a safe venue for children allowing parents and grandparents time to relax in the private green and gardens adjacent to Marwell Hall. Archery inspired budding "Robin Hood's", you never know a future Olympian may have been discovered. Birds of Prey swooped over the heads of the audience and ladies playing with fire in the high energy dance and acrobatics show made those watching cheer and gasp at the entertainers show.

All the usual Marwell Zoo attractions were available for guests to enjoy and no doubt many pictures were taken to aid the memories last for years to come. Square Bear pictures were taken with lots of people. Those published here are done so with the permission of parents. Many others were taken on personal camera's for family posterity.
It was particularly pleasing to have several of our Province's charity partners attend with their stalls providing information regarding their important work serving countless people in our community.
Those charities present were; Lifelites, Jubilee Sailing Trust, The Elizabeth Foundation, ClicSargent against Cancer, The Honeypot, Rose Road Association, Naomi House and Jack's Place.

This unique event cannot be summed up in just these few words, you could say you had to be there to appreciate fun and friendship being experienced by those fortunate to have been able to get a ticket.
Perhaps we can all do it again some time, you know we don't need a masonic anniversary to celebrate to have reason to put on a show like this.

A big Square Bear thank you to the organising team, all the mum's, dad's and grandparents, but most of all to all the children, their faces of joy were worth all the work put in. See you soon....Square Bear.



Jun 23

Marwell Zoo Family Fun Day Countdown

One day to go until Hampshire and Isle of Wight Family Fun Day at Marwell Zoo to celebrate the Tercentenary of United Grand Lodge of England. 2,500 brethren, family and friends expected to gather together to enjoy a fun packed day. There are sure to be much to keep all entertained and Square Bear photo opportunities to be taken as we all wander around the zoo.

See you there.............Square Bear

May 31

Solent Area Charity Presentation

Wednseday 24th May in the safe hands of Bob Hannant from Hermes Lodge a very privilaged opportunity arose to be seated at Fareham Masonic Centre to witness representatives from various charities receive monies raised by brethren from all lodges across the Solent Area (Fareham, Gosport, Isle of Wight) of our province.

The charities which benifited were:
Chernoble Children, Compassionate Friends, Fare & Dist Parkinsons Association, Fareham & District Support Association for Disabled, Fareham's Mayors Charity, Childrens Liver Disease Foundation, MacMillan Support Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portchester CC, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, Foot Print, Canine Partners, Swan, Titchfield Haven Breast Cancer, QA Hospital Rocky Appeal, QA Hospital Rocky Scanner Appeal, Cancer Support, Rising Stars, Portsmouth Hospitals Charity, Planets, St.Johns School Project, Leesland School, Gosport & Lee-on-Solent First Responders, Footsteps for Oliver, Gosport Food Bank, Gafirs, Gosport Mayor's Charity, Love for Life, Hannah's Homes, Earl Mountbatten Hospice, Gosport Opportunity Group, Shore Leave Haslar, Tea, Talk & Tonk, Farehams Mens Shed, Southern Domestic Abuse Services, Coast Watch, Peel Common Infant Schoool, Falklands Veterans Foundation, Y Services, Rainbow Centre, RNBT, Rowans Hospice, Meniaise, Frankie's Heros, Fredrick Wallace Memorial Fund, MIND, Downs Syndrome, Naomi House/Life Lights.
Many brethren and charity friends were present. The Provincial Grand Master Michael Wilks addressed all those gathered, many kind words spoken. The Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Solent Area Dave Perkis also attended, this being one of his last duties in office before handing over the reigns to David Foot at the AGM in July.
As for many lodges the masonic year draws to a close this was a very fitting occasion for brethren to reflect on the tremendous work undertaken by those charities who received donations. Over £34.000 has been raised by Solent Area lodges and was distributed at this excellent event. Most humbling, Freemasonry at its best. Well done to everyone...thank you Bob Hannant.

May 22

TC300 Tercentenary Launch Event

Yesterday the review ground at Windsor Great Park was the scene of the launch of The Classic 300 (TC 300) Square Wheels event. Many brethren and their families from the province made the journey with there vehicles to attend. David Buttriss very kindly took on the role of Bear Carer and as you can see from the pictures a good time was had by all.
The Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent was present and it was a pleasure to see him.
This was a real family occasion and was another fine example of brethren and families coming together and taking opportunity to celebrate the UGLE Tercentenary.
A very special day, thank you all that took part and especially David. Bob Hannant of Hermes Lodge now assumes bear care duties and will ensure safe transport to the very important Charity Presentation on Wednesday evening......Square Bear