Viva la Cornerstone

Following on from last year’s highly successful Scottish excursion, envoys of Essex Cornerstone Club resumed their International Tour, with a visit to Le Touquet-Paris-Plage in France.  Le Touquet is a renowned as a sophisticated holiday resort in northern France and is also home to Le Touquet Loge No 89.  Situated in the Masonic Province of Flanders and warranted under the Grande Loge Nationale Francaise, the origins of the Lodge are very much English (with strong Essex foundations)

Our welcome evening festivities commenced on Friday night as we joined members of Le Touquet Loge 89 in the plush ambiance of La Mahogany Bar at the Hotel Westminster. This was the perfect setting for us to find out more about the Lodge’s interesting history over a small bière or two. Of special interest was that the Lodge managed to survive a difficult period of non-recognition between UGLE and GNLF due to the tenacity of 10 die-hard members, affectionately known as ‘Les Dix Frères Fideles’ or ‘Ten Faithful Brothers’.

The next morning presented us with some free time to appreciate Le Touquet’s prominent local market and hunt down an obligatory Croquet Monsieur before heading back to prepare for the afternoon’s main event.

The meeting was held in the function suite of the Hotel Westminster.  It was evident how well regarded the Lodge and their Les Dix Frères Fideles are within the Province of Flanders. Several French Grand Officers attended the meeting including the Provincial Grand Master, DPGM and 2 APGMs. Although they fall under GLNF, the working of the Lodge is conducted in English and based on Emulation Ritual.  During the meeting we received an informative lecture by

W.Bro Ken entitled The Sceptre for the Trowel, which explored the Royal Family’s longstanding relationship with The Craft over the years. The festive board was a Champagne Reception which climaxed with a 7 course gourmet White Table Dinner from the hotel’s Michelin Star kitchen.

It was a marvellous weekend and definitely worth a visit for any Masons that wish to combine a Lodge visit with a pleasant weekend away in chocolate-box surroundings.  Such was the enjoyment it is possible the sound of petitions being requested could be heard.

Men at work!

On Saturday 7th April the Essex Cornerstone Club embarked on its first volunteering project of the year for Churches Homeless Emergency Support Scheme (CHESS). CHESS seeks to relieve homelessness, hardship and distress amongst single adults in Chelmsford and across Essex. They do this through the provision of support services and temporary accommodation that helps those in need move on with their lives.

The aim of the day was to assist with the clearing of gardens and driveways that had become overgrown at the head office and to help decorate and clear the gardens at one of the temporary homes in the centre of town. We quickly split into two teams and got to work!

Barbara Buxton, CHESS Business Support Manager, explained to the volunteers how volunteering for jobs like these helps save the charity money, money that can now be spend on more of the core services that they provide to the community.

Thank you to the 12 Essex Cornerstone members who gave up their time for this great cause, also a special mention to those Masons outside of the club who came along too. We’re hoping to do more volunteering in the future so watch this space for updates!

If you’re interested in volunteering for CHESS, hearing about their news and events please visit www.chelmsfordchess.org

Top Gun

On the 24th of March 2018 over 26 Essex Cornerstone club members and their guests attended a clay pigeon shot at the Essex Shooting Ground in Fyfield. 

Club members arrived and enjoyed a nice fry up in the form of a bacon roll, carefully prepared by club committee members Jack Saunders, Reiss Duthie and Jonathan McDonald. Breakfast provided an opportunity to network and get to know one another before the main event.

Shortly after breakfast we were greeted by Olley from the shooting club, where we went through the safety briefing with our instructors Darren, Phil and Rod. After going through our 20 practice shots from both traps, we moved onto a competitive round consisting of 30 shots. Bro Ian Graham taking the win overall with 26 shots out of 30 and our club Treasurer Jonathan McDonald finishing a very close second.

It was a fantastic day which also saw the attendance of Club Patron and DPGM Paul Reeves who provided guidance and moral support being a keen shooter himself. There was even talk on cards by some by some members of the creation of a Cornerstone Shooting club! We’re now looking forward to next year’s shooting event!

Thank you to all who attended and made our March event such a huge success.

Young Essex Masons cross the border!

The Essex Cornerstone Club announced in September that we were heading north of the border for what was possibly our most ambitious event to date, a weekend trip to Scotland.

On Friday 24th November the time finally arrived when 5 young masons flew into Edinburgh Airport and after a slick transfer we soon found ourselves in the William Wallace pub. A traditional Scottish bar steeped in history and overlooking the William Wallace Memorial.

On Saturday we attended the Installation of the new Worshipful Master R.W.M Bro. Andrew Preston at Lodge Zetland 391.  The warmth of the welcome given by the Lodge was reflected by how well attended the ceremony and festive board was.  It was great to see a number of other masons from the Province of Essex who had made the trip north for this special occasion. The ceremony was also attended by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Essex, Paul Reeves. There certainly appeared to be a ’work hard and play hard’ ethos at Lodge Zetland judging from the high calibre of the ritual carried out and the Festive Board which concluded in a disco.

On Sunday we had the good fortune to receive a private Masonic Tour of Rosslyn Chapel by Geoffery W Spence who is a Past Master of Rosslyn St Clair Lodge (606). As well as giving an overview of the history of Rosslyn, he gave an enlightening presentation of the Chapel’s links with the Knights Templar and walked us around the Masonic Symbolism crafted by our operative forefathers.

After the tour, we took a short walk to Rosslyn St Clair Lodge (606) where Geoff explained the antiquity of his lodge and some of the unique features of Scottish Lodges in general. You have to admire the dedication of Scottish Masons when 18 regular meetings a year, with two years in each office is commonplace.

It was an unforgettable weekend that we hope to arrange again next year!

Ian Graham

Earl of Dartmouth Lodge, 3279.