Recently our Provincial Grand Master, R W Bro Roger Croucher, has had the pleasure of dedicating two new Banners:

Lord Harris Lodge 1494 Banner Consecration

On Friday 18 February 2011, the Lord Harris Lodge 1494 was honoured by the presence of the Provincial Grand Master, R W Bro Roger Croucher, who dedicated the Lodge’s new Banner. The meeting was a truly exceptional occasion. The R W Provincial Grand Master was accompanied by over 30 members of the Province. His arrival was announced by W Bro Greg Dunham, PrGDC. This was all the more meaningful for the Lodge as W Bro Greg is a member of the Lord Harris Mark Lodge. The Lodge was also honoured by the presence of both Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, W Bro David Green and W Bro Archie Torrance, who is also a member of the Lord Harris Lodge. The Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, W Bro Graham Raven, remained in his position as Lodge Director of Ceremonies. The Provincial Grand Officers were duly appointed to their various positions.

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The Banner Procession formed and the Banner was carried into the Lodge by W Bro Paul Lincoln, escorted by the Worshipful Master, W Bro Joe Oremi Cole. The Brethren sang the hymn “O God Our Help in Ages Past”. The banner was then presented to the PGM, who unveiled it and called upon the Provincial Grand Chaplain, W Bro John Sylvester, for the benefit of prayer. W Bro John also delivered a captivating oration.

The Lord Harris Lodge was consecrated on 21 January 1978 but had never commissioned the making of a Lodge Banner. Some two years ago, the idea of commissioning the creation of a Banner was raised by W Bro Archie Torrance. A round of activity, driven and coordinated by the Secretary, W Bro Derrick Lincoln, followed.

The Banner Committee worked on designing the banner and agreeing the proposed final outcome with the Lodge. Once this had been completed, attention focused on the practicalities of obtaining (and financing) a banner. Anyone, who has researched the matter, will be aware of the cost of a Banner. The Lodge was, however, fortunate that it has connections with W Bro David Stiff, ProvDepGSwdB. W Bro David’s wife, Mrs Janet Stiff, was approached and she agreed to make a Banner for the Lodge. The Banner was completely hand made by Janet. As can be seen, it is striking in its beauty. It was impossible to watch the Banner being paraded around the Lodge without feeling the emotion brought about by the culmination of two years’ intensive planning and work.

W Bro Paul Lincoln will be producing a booklet about the Banner. Two striking features of the coat of arms on the Banner are a castle, representing achievements from the military career of the first Lord Harris and three hedgehogs. The French word for hedgehog is 'hérisson', hence the connection with 'Harris'.

During the meeting, the Lodge presented the Provincial Grand Master with a cheque for £250 for the Kent Mark Benevolent Fund. At the festive board, where 73 sat down to dinner, the Charity Steward, W Bro Ian Gallehawk, presented W Bro David Stiff with a cheque for £150 in favour of the Orchid Trust, a charity devoted to fighting male cancer. This was Janet Stiff’s chosen charity, Janet having declined any personal reward from the Lodge!

To round the evening off, the WM, W Bro Joe Oremi Cole, gave the Lodge a brief history lesson. W Bro Joe is a native of The Gambia. On 18 February 1965, The Gambia gained independence from Great Britain. Exactly 46 years later, a son of The Gambia was able to stand proudly as the ruling Master of a Mark Lodge in England as its Banner was dedicated.

St. Martins Lodge No. 262 Banner Consecration

On Friday 25th February 2011, the Canterbury Masonic Centre was the focus for a Special Emergency Meeting of the St. Martins Lodge of Mark Master Masons No.262 to receive and dedicate their first banner.

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W. Bro. Jake Jackson remarked, “I was present at one of the Provincial Festivals and noticed, that when the banners of the Lodges in the Province were paraded, St. Martins was not included. On further examination, I discovered that the members of St. Martins had never thought of producing a banner in its 130 year existence. A subsequent meeting put procedures in place to rectify this”.

W. Bro Dr John Coleman, a renowned local artist and long term member of St. Martins was asked to design it. He called upon the gifted talents of his son, Jack, in producing the design of the main centre piece of the banner - St Martin on a horse and sharing his cloak with an unclothed stranger.

Manufacture was via the contacts of W Bro Jason Cameron-Potter and after the usual approvals and fund raising were entered into resulted in a wonderful meeting for all.

The Provincial Grand Master, R. W. Bro. Roger Henry Harley Croucher, led the Provincial Team, which included the Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, the Provincial Executive and most of the Provincial Officers, brilliantly directed by the Provincial Director of Ceremonies, W Bro Greg Dunham. Special mention must be made of the Provincial Deputy Grand Chaplain, W. Bro. Rev. Howard Pashley, whose Oration on the banner was exceptional and warmly received by all present.

St Martins Lodge now has a banner it and the Province can be proud of and we all look forward to it being on display in Margate in September.

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