Last evening was spent in the company of bear carer Ian Glading as the guest of Portsdown Lodge No 4356 meeting at the Cosham Centre. In fact, entry in to the room was on a report as an Official Guest of HIOW Province. Several Brethren confirmed eligibility as a bona fida member of Prov Grand Lodge as the DC escorted to a seat reserved in the East.
The evening upstairs was short as the main attraction for the many attending visitors from within HIOW and several other Provinces ...was a Blue Table excellent lecture on Heroic Masons - The Victoria Cross and Freemasonry.
The Curator of the Royal Artillery Museum - himself an Essex Grand Steward - gave a fascinating account of the origin of the medal, and some of the awards made of it.
An interesting piece of history, about the material used to make the medals, can be read here: http://firepower.org.uk/explore/the-victoria-cross-guns/
And, specially for us, the Curator allowed a real medal to be passed - carefully - around the room.
Of course several guests took pictures of the medal, and the Secretary was informed that it would be a good idea to charge them for having done so, in the good cause of the 2016 HIOW Festival. Bear carer for the day, Ian Glading who is also the IPM of the Lodge agreed to sub Square Bear for a picture, as of course the bear fur skin does not have pockets for carrying money.
Overall the evening raised an additional £110 on top of the "normal" raffle & Alms money, and the non Masonic guests got to hear a great tale, see a Victoria Cross, and be amused by a Teddy Bear charging them for taking pictures.
Huge thanks to Ian, brethren and guests of Portsdown Lodge for a wonderful few days of adventures. Today arrangements are in hand to be transferred in to the care of Chris Bayliss for the forthcoming visit to Fareham Lodge