Jun 19

Solent Area Provincial Honours Celebration Dinner

Gosport Masonic Centre was the venue last evening for the celebration dinner to honour brethren and companions of the Solent Area who received Provincial honours during 2014. Guest of Honour was the APGM of the Solent Area W.Bro. Dave Perkis. Drinks in the bar prior to the dinner afforded the opportunity for those gathering together to recall meetings and events they had attended over the last year. An excellent meal was provided and during the meal Solent Area Chairman Ian Carneige spoke on behalf of all brethren and companions across the area thanking W.Bro. Perkis for all his hard work and support offered during the year. The APGM thanked Ian for his kind words and congratulated all those who had received appointments and promotions in 2014, thanking them for their continued work and support of not just the Solent Area but the Province as a whole and Freemasonry in general. The APGM made several references to recent comments in an address made by the Provincial Grand Master, W.Bo. Michael Wilks and in particular the need to encourage brethren to become members of the Royal Arch Chapter, ideally at least 50% of those joining The Craft to further their masonic development in the Royal Arch. The evening was conducted with much friendship and good humour in evidence, a most successful inaugural honours dinner for the Solent Area of the Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight.

The evening was concluded by undertaking a collection of charitable tokens which were presented by W.Bro. Perkis to representatives of a group of cyclists, who are to cycle today, Friday 19th.June from Gosport to Brighton, and return in aid of a various charities. A significant challenge indeed. Good luck to them all.

Several photo opportunities were taken and a particular favourite is the one with "Lewis Bear" the Provincial Passport Bear who travels to various other provinces promoting our work here in Hampshire and Isle of Wight.

Chris Bayliss continues to act as bear carer, so a few days rest in the rucksack before further adventures to Fareham Lodge on Wednesday evening.

Jun 17

Fareham Lodge of Instruction Festival

Tonight has seen the start of a busy week in the safe bear caring hands Chris Bayliss, the first of three visits was to Fareham Lodge of Instruction Festival. A seat was reserved in the East which afforded a perfect view of the evenings proceedings. An excellent third degree ceremony was undertaken by the brethren, a very special occasion, clearly a huge amount of work had been put in by everyone. The evening was made even more rewarding for the brethren due to the attendance of the Provincial Grand Master, Michael Wilks and he was accompanied by the Solent Area Assistant Provincial Grand Master,  Dave Perkis, they were both sure to have had a most enjoyable evening. A superb photo in the temple after the closing of the meeting has also been provided by Chris Bayliss.

Tomorrow evening Chris will again be bear carer as Solent Area brethren meet for a celebration dinner in Gosport to honour those brethren who received Provincial Appointments and Promotions in 2014.

Thank you all for this evening's hospitality.

Jun 6

St. Vincent Lodge No. 5295

Only as recently as April was a visit undertaken to St. Vincent's Lodge so it was with much pleasure and surprise to have the opportunity to make a visit once again to St. Vincent's last evening. This time in the company of bear carer Chris Bayliss​. A lovely evening spent in the company of brethren. Just when you think a few days are to be spent in the travelling rucksack tucked up in Chris's house and off we go on our adventures together, Chris is Provincial Deputy Grand Registrar, Area Vice Chairman for Fareham (Solent Area) and a Visiting Officer, the next couple of weeks are sure to be exciting. Thanks Chris and all those at St. Vincent's Lodge last night. I don't suppose there is chance of someone prepared to invite and act as bear carer for St. Vincent's Lodge Race Night in July. If there is 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 details, and if anyone has more photos from last night please send them on. Bye for now

Jun 4

Portsdown Lodge No.4356

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

Jun 1

Kensington Battalion Lodge No.3624, London


Currently staying with bear carer Ian Glading as a visit is planned for Wednesday at Portsdown Lodge it was a great surprise to accompany him on Saturday to Great Queen Street to see Kensington Battalion 3624 where 2 Brothers are also members. First a stop to say hello to the front desk people, then onto Room 3 where a seat was reserved in the northeast during their meeting, a great honour and then had a snapshot with the KBL Secretary - who was able to fast-track attendance ...permission, he being also the Portsdown Secretary.

Of course a special pleasure being able to join all the Brethen upstairs at the famous Freemasons Arms,  where there are some great pictures of Royal Masons around the room. Here after partaking in all the toasts, finishing at the WM's spot, who is also the IPM at Portsdown.

It should also be noted that as everyone was so welcoming at KBL 3624, that they raised £50.52 for HIOW Festival by a HeadsTailsPort game, and the contents of the KBL Coppers Helmet fund at the Festive Board. Monies raised were then presented by kind offer the the KBL Charity Steward -- who's unrelated to any North or South Isle Lodge.

All in all this was a wonderful adventure in the company of super new friends. Now very much looking forward to more adventures with Ian Glading and Portsdown Lodge brethren.


May 22

William Rufus Lodge No. 6979


On Wednesday Ash Bennette acted as bear carer for what turned out to be an exceptional visit to William Rufus Lodge for the occasion of their Installation meeting.

There were many brethren present, 53 in all and brethren visited from 5 different lodges.  Among those attending was the V.O. David Nash together with Charles Aspinal. The new Worshipful Master David Chislett was installed into the chair in a very fine manner by Colin McCabe.

  Not only was Ash Bennette pleased to be bear carer he had the very proud honour to be appointed Junior Warden, not long now Ash until it will be your special night, time passes quickly. Colin gave the address to the master, the secretary of the lodge took time from his responsibilities of recording the meeting minutes to delivering the address to the wardens and the charity steward Malcolm Cross gave the address to the brethren. all were performed with dignity and aplomb.

On a lighter note those two brethren who have become known as the Provincial Grand Bouncers, on account of their size, not their manner I hasten to add, Andy Venn and Rob Wilson are continuing their vegetarian diet for charity. They were looking miserable as others around them enjoyed their steak pie at the festive board.

On the charitable front well over £800 was raised on behalf of the 2016 Festival for the RMTGB. Well done to everyone.

A very concise report on the evening can be seen on the lodge dedicated website at williamrufuslodge.com

A wonderful time making many new friends and Ash was a terrific host. See you at Test Valley Lodge on the 27th. May.



May 11

Prudence Lodge No.7183 & Stirling Rock Chapter


The 8th. May was the start of an excellent weekend of travelling and visiting in the company of bear carer Dan Greasley. A ride in his rather nice car to Prudence Lodge was the beginning of the weekend. The lodge was very pleased to welcome APGM Mark Mills-Goodlet and many other guests to witness a super initiation ceremony for the lodges newest brother, Dan Couchman. The APGM W.Bro. Mills-Goodlet has described him as "A very keen and confident young man who will be a great asset to the lodge". The APGM further commented that "Dan is the first candidate Prudence Lodge has initiated in over a year and they now have another candidate and a joining member in the pipeline so things are looking up. Congratulations to the WM and his team for a super ceremony, especially Dan Greasley on his charge after initiation". He also offered thanks to the official team for their support on the evening. Some photos have been provided.

The weekend then became even better with a surprise 485 mile journey to Scotland to be honorary guest of Stirling Rock Chapter No. 2. The Scottish brethren were most hospitable. Dan has again provided some photos as a record of the evening. Dan has been a wonderful bear carer, a big thank you for the opportunity to make many new friends and celebrating masonic events together.