The head of Freemasonry in Gloucestershire, Tim Henderson-Ross, took over as Master of the Impeesa Lodge No9385 on the 26th of October 2023 at The Hill in Stroud.
The Impeesa Lodge is the Scout lodge. The link between Scouts and Freemasonry has been very strong for many years for one simple reason: that the values of ‘Honour Bright’ and service to others are exactly reflected in those of Freemasonry. It is therefore entirely understandable that those who grew up holding to those values should wish to maintain them throughout their lives and therefore find a welcoming host in Freemasonry. They will find the singing of the Scout hymn brings back memories! The lodge recently moved from its base in Downend in the South to Stroud, which being more central makes it more easily accessible for many Freemasons who are former Scouts. While the lodge welcomes anyone with an interest in the Scout Movement, particularly of course former members, it particularly appeals to those who play an active role in running Scout packs. The lodge also of course attracts more senior members with a Deputy Commissioner for the County of Gloucestershire there and a new District commissioner. The Deputy County Commissioner, a member of Hands of Friendship Lodge, tells us that they have something like 63 troops meeting every week throughout Gloucestershire with around 8,500 young people and more than 2,000 adult helpers. It’s a sizeable organisation that needs constant support of both time and of course money so it is hoped that the lodge may be able to help to meet those needs.
The importance the province gives to the close relationship with the scout movement is reflected in the number of very senior Freemasons who fill the offices of the lodge:
Master: Tim Henderson-Ross (Provincial Grand Master);
Senior Warden: Nigel Bridges (Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master);
Junior Warden: Richard Reeve (Past Provincial Grand Mentor);
Director of Ceremonies: Mark Robinson (Past Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies);
Almoner: Frank Smith (Grand Officer);
Mentor/Membership Officer: Ian Davies (Assistant Provincial Grand Master);
Junior Deacon: Rob Stephens (Provincial Assistant Director of Ceremonies);
Assistant Director of Ceremonies: Martin Tucker (Provincial Grand Mentor)
and other very well known brethren.
As well as attracting support from senior members of the Province the lodge is attracting new members into Freemasonry with two Fellow Crafts and three Entered Apprentices currently (those who have attained their second and first degrees). All five of them are actively involved in running scout troops so have a particular affiliation to this lodge.
A notable feature of the lodge is that it plans to open at 7.00pm and conclude after the meal by 10.00pm. That is part of a popular movement to make lodge meetings easier to get to in time by those who are still working whilst not keeping those who need to be away out too late.
We wish Tim a very enjoyable year as Master of the Lodge and that the Lodge, representing the link between Freemasonry in Gloucestershire and the scouting movement, goes from strength to strength.