Honorary member problems
I refer to your Editor's Note (MQ, Issue 6) regarding 'Phone a friend'. I do not believe that the message from the Grand Master goes far enough in reaching those Masons who have left, or are contemplating leaving the fold.
What of the Mason whose record of past performance has been recognised by the award of honorary membership of his Lodge? Their new status is rewarded by being excluded from the lists of members both in Province or District as well as their own Lodge.
It is their official exclusion from the ranks which is cause for comments. I was initiated in 1958 and am now an honorary member of both my Lodge and Chapter. I still attend regular meetings, perform ritual work and conduct the annual audit as well as the audit of the District Grand Lodge and Chapter.
I am a past secretary of the Lodge as well as a past District Grand Secretary and Scribe E, positions I relinquished as a result of ill-health. But because I am not on the list of members I have the greatest difficulty in obtaining circulars and relevant information.
I have to specifically request the published copies of the District's Communications and Convocations containing the accounts which I audited.
I have to write, as an individual, to request I receive a regular copy of MQ magazine, as I was overlooked by virtue of being an honorary member. I still have not received issues 1 and 5.
This, then, is the recognition and reward 'earned' for service as a Mason. I have not joined another Lodge because of the distance involved, and the lateness arising from the resultant travelling on unsafe roads, and the added expense.
I know of a Past District Grand Master who has expressed concern at the possibility that Masons in similar circumstances may lose all interest in Masonry, and if they fall away, their wealth of experience will be lost to the Craft.
I G W Narraway Pinetown, South Africa
Modest VC winner
Regarding your most interesting article on the Victoria Cross (MQ, Issue No. 7), you say in relation to the first picture that the VC always takes pride of place at the head of a row of medals.
My Great grandfather Kells, a Lancer, won the Victoria Cross during the Indian Mutiny and we have photos of him showing his VC worn in the middle of his row of many medals.
I believe he was the only person ever to do this and his reason for doing so was that he did not want to show off. If anyone was interested in his medals, he always said that they would eventually see his VC. He was obviously a very modest person.
[Note: Lance Corporal (later Sergeant) Robert Kells of the 9th Lancers (The Queen's Royal) was award the VC at the age of 25 for his action on 28 September 1857 at Bolandshahr in India. His CO was lying in a street with a broken collar-bone and his horse disabled. Lance Corporal Kells defended him against a number of the enemy and staved with him until the danger was over. He died in 1905 and is buried in Lambeth Cemetery, south London - Editor.]
Ian Smith, Burghfield Common, Berkshire
Burry Port lifeboat
Further to the article (MQ, Issue No. 7) on the RNLI, the Burry Port Lifeboat Station, Carmarthenshire, has a very strong Masonic connection, and we have received donations from Prince of Wales Lodge No. 671 and Unity Lodge No. 6709.
There are five Masons involved with our Station, four on the committee and one on the crew. I served on the crew for 25 years and on a number of occasions attended Lodge meetings late due to lifeboat calls.
I am still active operationally, being Deputy Launching Authority and Station Press Officer.
Hugh Owen, Burry Port, Carmarthenshire
Thank you for the excellent article on The Royal Masonic School for Girls (MQ, Issue No. 7). It should promote a great deal of interest in the school.
In the article, reference was made to the six Foundation Scholarships awarded to the daughters/granddaughters of Freemasons each year. These Scholarships were for boarding/weekly boarding pupils only.
The Trustees, at their meeting on 9 October 2003, agreed to change the rules governing the award of these Scholarships and open them up to day pupils as well. We are sure many potential applicants will be interested in this new development.
Mrs J Heaven, Secretary, The Royal Masonic School for Girls, (T: 01923 725308/773168)
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