The History of the Lodge Page 5
The next few years saw a steady progression, with some excellent ceremonies and a number of new initiates (including, in 1992, Bro. Austin Hanway, whose addresses at the Festive Board vied with those of Alan George in keeping the Brethren convulsed with laughter!).
All was going well, until in the Autumn of 1995 to the Lodge suffered the sudden and unexpected death, through an aortic aneurism, of W. Bro. Orville Westlake. As the 'Founding Father" of the Lodge Orville, apart from his two spells as W.M. had filled the office of secretary since the year after its inception, and had steadily ensured that Claygate maintained those Masonic standards upon which it was founded. His readiness to help in any circumstance sprang from a generosity of heart which he often kept concealed, but all who knew him well, held him in the greatest respect and affection. The Lodge is grateful to W. Bro. Paul Spearing who took over the difficult job of filling Orville's place as Secretary at such short notice, and who gave great service to the Lodge over many years
The following three years had unfortunately several meetings with no regular ceremonies, but the brethren again had the opportunity of expanding their Masonic horizons. The Minute Book records:-
Apr. 1996 -W. Bros. Frewin and Spearing gave a demonstration of the Lectures in the 1st.Degree.
May 1997 -W. Bro. Low gave a lecture on The Origins of the Craft', followed by an open forum.
Oct 1997 -W. Bros. Frewin and Spearing gave a demonstration of the second section of the 1st.lectures in the three degrees.
May 1998 saw W.Bros. Frewin and Spearing give a demonstration of the third section of the 1st.lectures.
During this period efforts were made to strengthen the social side of the lodge, and Lionel Frewin held meetings at his home to raise funds for the charity "Get Kids Going". In 1990, when W. Bro. Gerry Lambert was in the Chair, Claygate had the pleasure of travelling to Bridport, in Dorset, to share a Ladies Night with his other Lodge. W. Bro. Frewin invited the lodge to travel to the West Country to witness an Installation at Queen's College Taunton Lodge, which proved of great interest. Lionel also organised Summer barbeques for members, friends and wives which met with great acclaim. He also organised the first attendance of members at a Cbristmas pantomime (followed by a fish-and-chip supper) and later, in 1997, at a meeting at the Sandown race-track followed by an Italian meal.
Claygate Festive Boards had always been a matter of pride to the Lodge and pleasure to our guests, marked as they were by a certain amount of noisy conviviality. Prominent in this was the production of numerous groan-producing puns, to such an extent that Bro. Frewin was prompted to bring along a magnificent cast bronze bowl which was immediately labelled the Pun Pot. The object of this was that any brother guilty of a horrible pun should pay the forfeit of one pound thrown into the Pun Pot. This served to render the proceedings still noisier but also offered an easy way of extracting still further contributions for charity.
1998 onwards saw an increased influx of candidates, and W. Bro. Low presented the lodge with a heavy maul for use in the 3rd.degree. This year also saw W . Bro. Frewin presenting a fund in memory of Geoffrey Reed, for providing a pair of white gloves for every Initiate.
In 1999, extra colour was added to Claygate' s meetings, by the awarding to Bro John Rumbold, of the active rank of Provincial Grand Steward, which gave him the privilege of wearing a bright new apron, resplendent with red trimmings.
In 2000 we were joined, by joining member W. Bro. Peter Habermel, LGR. He had only been with us for a short when he attained the honour of Grand Rank (PGStB), thus presenting Claygate with its first Grand Officer member.
In 2001 we were saddened by the death of Emie Rush. Emie had been a joining member from Noel Accacia lodge and had entered fully into the spirit of Claygate. He had become a firm friend of all the members.
In 2002 W. Bro.lan Willis made a most generous and unusual gift of a replica skull and cross-bones for use in the 3rd.degree. In December of that year, W. Bro. Royston Low intimated that he wished to step down from his office of Director of Ceremonies. He had held the post for nearly Thirty years, and felt that at the age of 82 it was time he gave a younger brother the opportunity of taking over. W. Bro. Lambert had agreed to fill the post and it was felt that it could not be in better hands. For the previous two or three years W. Bro. Austin Hanway had been acting as Preceptor of the Lodge of Instruction and was performing an invaluable service. The enthusiasm evinced by the younger members of the Lodge was encouraging for the future and we hand the Lodge into their keeping knowing that their enthusiasm will nurture the flower of Freemasonry in their hearts to the benefit of all whom they may contact.