Code for Success at Abbeygate Chapter

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Essex Freemasons are on target to land over £5 million for the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) having worked hard to raise funds for the Essex 2022 Festival since 2015. In the same time period, the Companions of Abbeygate Chapter have worked hard not only to achieve Festival 2022 Patron status but also in building-up the Convocation attendees from 15 in 2014 to an average of over 50 now.

From facing the inevitable consequences of a decline in numbers to become a thriving Chapter is both remarkable and exemplary. According to Arthur Cooke, the Chapter Scribe E (secretary), this has been achieved by:

  1. Changing from being an evening to a Daylight Chapter.
  2. Inviting good quality speakers with interesting subjects, and
  3. The enthusiasm of the Companions.

A total of 65 attended the 21st January 2022 Convocation at which John Crudgington, an Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principles (APGP), presented the Chapter, which meets at St Giles Masonic Centre, Colchester, with a Festival Certificate for reaching Patron status. On behalf of the Chapter, Tony Ackers the Charity Steward, gave a cheque for £1,400 taking the total raised to over £4,700. John Crudington said “I was delighted to acknowledge this remarkable achievement by the Companions on behalf of the Province.”

The Convocation’s guest speaker was Mike Hoskins, a Past Provincial Deputy Grand Registrar (PProvDepGReg) of Sussex, who delivered a fascinating and moving account of the life and work of Leo Marks, a Codemaker for the Special Operations Executive (SOE) during World War II.  

The enthusiasm of the Members was evident for the visitors to see, with five new members: Peter Davies, Peter Lough, John Print, John Emms and Steve Boddice being welcomed by the three Principals: Geoff Pearce, Vishnu Ramoutar and Mark Eve, who are all reigning Masters of their own Craft Lodges as well.

At the meeting after the Installation Convocation on 6th May 2022, the invited speaker for 16th September 2022 is Eric Moody, a Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master (APGM) for Hampshire and Isle of Wight, who will recount how all four engines failed on the 747 in which he was the Captain enroute from London to New Zealand with 247 passengers on board, after flying into a cloud of volcanic ash.

The improvement to the good fortunes of Abbeygate was explained further by Arthur Cooke who added “I am not advocating that Daylight Meetings are the answer to all the prayers of failing Lodges or Chapters and it takes an awful lot of energy, work and planning from a dedicated team to make it work, but if we can provide an environment where Companions can enjoy the comradery of like-minded men, we have achieved what we set out to do.”

If still at the SOE, Leo Marks would no doubt endorse the fact that it does take an awful lot of energy, work and planning from a dedicated team to make it work and he would probably also endorse the fact that there is a ‘Code for Success at Abbeygate Chapter No. 4219’.

Tony Hales

Content Generator
Provincial Grand Lodge of Essex