The start of a New Year and the first meeting with W Bro Ian Barnett ‘in the chair’ promised many good things for Royal Brunswick Lodge as he welcomed 14 joining members. The meeting was tinged with sadness as the reason for the 14 joining Royal Brunswick was that they had been members of Hillsborough Lodge No.5444 which had unfortunately closed at the end of 2019. All 14 were warmly welcomed, not surprising as they had been regular visitors and were well known to the brethren and provided with several books on the history of Royal Brunswick Lodge.
February continued the good fortunes of the Lodge when another member, this time one who for reasons of his employment had moved from Manchester to Sheffield, requested to join Royal Brunswick and mentioned that he had a friend who was not a freemason, who had shown interest in joining the fraternity. Both were introduced to the members and at the 9th of March meeting were suitably welcomed into the Lodge. And just in time as notice came from the UGLE Grand Master on the 17th of March that as a result of government advice on the coronavirus pandemic all Lodge meetings would be suspended for a period of 4 months.
Had the meeting suspension not been in place, April would have seen a large celebration in the Lodge as the members, family and friends gathered to congratulate W Bro John Terrance Hobson (Terry) on the milestone of his 60 years membership.
Extract from the provincial website to commemorate the jubilee certificate –
John Terrence (Terry) Hobson was initiated into Hillsborough Lodge No. 5444 on 8th March 1960, having been proposed by his father, W Bro A.E. (Jack) Hobson who was himself initiated into Hillsborough Lodge in 1944. Terry was passed in the May and raised in October of 1960 making steady progress through the long ladder of offices to be installed as WM in January 1975. He was appointed as PPDeputy Grand Sword Bearer in 1984, with promotion to PPJGW in 1993. Terry had been exalted into Hillsborough Royal Arch Chapter No.5444 in March 1973, installed as Z in 1980, appointed as PPAssistant Grand Scribe E in 1987 and promoted to PPGrand Scribe N in 1995, a reflection of his commitment to Sheffield Freemasonry which, has included him holding the position of President of Sheffield Royal Arch Council.
During his time in masonry Terry realised that he had made many early connections in life, having attended Oakwood prep school alongside W Bro Venon Outram, late of Royal Brunswick, before moving on to Ecclesfield Grammar School (which the late R W Bro JK Clayton also attended) – gaining his School Certificate and Higher School Certificate. Terry then went into the RAF on national service and then on to RAF signals working mainly on V.H.F. D/F (Radar was not in general use at that time). Demob was delayed for 6 months owing to the start of the Korean War, but on his discharge, Terry followed his father into the butchery business. A career he continued through to his retirement on age 71.
Terry was married in 1960 to Shirley, who sadly passed away suddenly in 2011. They have two daughters and four grand-children.
Unfortunately for Terry, Hillsborough Lodge handed back its warrant at the end of 2019, but to allow him to continue to enjoy his freemasonry and provide an outlet for his experience he joined Royal Brunswick Lodge No. 296 which meets in Sheffield and preparations had been made for everyone to celebrate his being presented with his 60th Jubilee Certificate. As we are all too aware those celebrations had to be postponed, but the lodge does intend to honour W Bro Hobson when ‘normality’ is resumed in order that we can hear more of his adventures.
Another meeting that will have to be rescheduled is the one where we were going to welcome members of Palatina Lodge from Mannheim Germany. In June of 2019 W. Bro. Patel who is a member of Palatina was accompanied by W. Bro. Poole and attended their Johannisfest (end of Masonic year) meeting where bother Jeenda Sri Ranjan was passed to the degree of a Journeyman (2nd degree) in an excellent manner.
A return visit where a number of brethren were going to attend a special meeting on Saturday the 9th of May 2020 had to be postponed. But on the 23rd of May a number of members were able to embrace technology and were delighted to be introduced to the WM/Sec/PM’s and some members of Palatina online.
In case members, their families and friends were in any doubt that freemasonry is made up of good men, it was at the point of physical meeting suspension that the fundamentals of the fraternity came to the fore – The Lodge Almoner had offers of assistance from all quarters, from simple things like telephoning round those who were isolating to give them a chance to chat, to collecting and delivery groceries or medical supplies. Our Lodge did well in instigating a telephone tree system where regular contact was made with members, widows, and dependents to check if they and their family were well and reporting this to our Almoner who would make sure that any difficulties were addressed.
As it became clear that the meeting suspension would last longer than the original four months, the Master organised regular online gatherings which were open to all to give the members a chance to get together and keep their social bonds strong. There was the Friday lockdown quiz, and the regular second Monday of the month physical meetings were replaced by online meetings where much of the business, albeit in an informal basis, was discussed and talks on masonic subjects were received by a variety of the brethren so that we continued to make our daily advancement.
It was heartening to see both members and well-loved visitors of the Lodge volunteer to research and deliver talks on topics both Masonic and non-Masonic; including the history of the Lodge and individual members, the involvement of Brethren from Royal Brunswick Lodge during the Great War, explanations of aspects of our ceremonies and many more besides. This was yet another example of the principles of Freemasonry in action during trying times and the Lodge is forever grateful to those who volunteered.
The charitable elements also continued with a successful application by V. W. Bro John Beard to the Provincial Grand Masters Fund for £5000.00 in support of the Roundabout charity based in the Sheffield & other South Yorkshire areas.
W Bro John who is also a member of the Round Table Lodge No 8725 put forward this application after the lodges that meet at Dore in the Province of Derbyshire raised nearly £5000.00 in December 2020 to provide Christmas gifts for all Roundabout hostel residents by giving them an Amazon Gift voucher. Normally in cases like these a lodge can ask the Provincial Charity for matched funding. However, as Roundabout do not operate in the Derbyshire Provincial District, he suggested that RBL should try to obtain a minor grant for them from the West Riding PGM fund.
Roundabout provides help for homeless young people and have been supporting young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness since 1977, when they operated a small emergency hostel. Having developed their services to meet the changing needs of the young people, they now work right across South Yorkshire, providing support to over 300 young people aged 16-25 every day. They are strongly committed to ending youth homelessness through Prevention; Accommodation; and on-going support until the young people feel equipped to live independently.
Truly a wonderful example of how the two provinces can work happily together on charitable causes.