CELEBRATING 300 YEARS 'THE WILTSHIRE WAY'
The Tercentenary of the formation of the First or Premier Grand Lodge has been celebrated in many different ways with Provinces holding church services, dinners, superb balls and many other events.
Wiltshire Freemasons linked a fraternal visit of Lodge members and their ladies from Zur alten Linde Lodge No 368 meeting in Dortmund Germany to the Tercentenary with a weekend of specially organised events held in Chippenham.
The German Lodge through the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Germany are also celebrating the Tercentenary of the formation of the First Grand Lodge. Arnim Schneider Deputy Grand Master and leader of the visit commented that German Freemasonry acknowledges the importance of the 1717 event as the first step towards a regularly constituted fraternity. The first German Grand Lodge was formed almost sixty years later.
Fraternal visits have been taking place in Dortmund and Wiltshire over many years hosted by Lodges in Corsham Devizes and Melksham.
The celebrations started with a Champagne reception in Chippenham Masonic Hall followed by a Tercentenary Address on the formation of the First Grand Lodge which was given by Stephen Bridge PSGD, Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Wiltshire. Starting with the fact that for any organisation to have survived intact for three hundred years is an outstanding achievement, the AProvGM went on to describe the formation of the first Grand Lodge and how it fitted in with the structure of society at that time.
A banquet was held in the Town Hall and the evening culminated in a Gala James Last Tribute Concert. The show featured The Mike Smith Big Swing Band & Singers with guest artists Elektra Violin Duo. The concert was open to the public and raised £1,715 for the recently opened Julia’s House Children’s Hospice in Devizes which provides palliative care for children in their own homes or at the hospice.
In the words of organiser Jim Speed, It was an evening of up-tempo music by top flight artists and a fitting end to a glorious celebration.
Before the visitors returned home to Dortmund members of the host Lodges Chaloner No. 2644, Wiltshire Lodge of Agriculture No. 9090 and Fiat Lux Lodge No. 9773 organised a trip to Longleat Safari Park, House and Gardens.