Brycgstow Chapter WSMBA Ride to the Wall 2023.
Members of the Forces and Emergency Services find a similar camaraderie in Freemasonry. Here ‘Sid’ Yule gives us a report on the Widow’s Sons, the Freemasons motorcycle group (Gloucestershire and Bristol chapter) joining up with others from all over the country at the National Arboretum to honour those who served.
‘On the 7th of October 9 members of the Brycgstow Chapter of the Widows Sons Masonic Bikers Association joined over 6,500 other bikers to Ride to the Wall on what was an unseasonably warm day.
The Ride to the Wall is an annual pilgrimage to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Each year thousands of bikers from around the country come together at the NMA to pay their respects to our serving and fallen service men and women, at the same time raising money for the NMA.
The Armed Forces Memorial (The Wall) is a 43 metre diameter stone structure with two curved walls and two straight walls constructed of 200,000 bricks faced with Portland stone panels. The panels contain the names of those honoured by the Memorial providing recognition and thanks for those who have given their lives in the service of the country since the end of the Second World War.
An immense amount of organisation goes in to getting 6,500 bikers from around the country to arrive in a safe and co-ordinated manner. The organisers have multiple meeting points around the country for bikers to ride in together.
With our riders coming from all over the province, some from outside the Province, we met at Worcester to make our way to the Tamworth Masonic Rooms to meet the other Chapters.
Merging onto the M42 the first time Wallers started to realize the enormity of the event. The number of bikes on the road was amazing, all riding in formation. As we made our way along the M42 we couldn’t help but wave back at all those who had made their way out to the various bridges along the way to wave at us all.
After a brief stop at the Tamworth Masonic rooms for a coffee and breakfast bap, we had a briefing on the ride up to the NMA before setting off as one big group. We were fortunate to be directed to park up towards the centre of the memorial. Once in we set off to have a wander around the various memorials before meeting up at the Masonic Memorial Garden where we formed the Entered Apprentice Chain, welcoming two recently initiated EAs into the Chain. Due to the number attending we had to form two chains.
At 14:00 we headed over to The Wall for the main service. This started with a flypast by a Spitfire followed by the service of remembrance.
We then headed off to look around the RAF memorials before making our way to pay our respects at the Wall.
Following the end of the day’s activities the group headed off to their hotel for the evening before heading out for a curry with other Widows Sons.’