W Bro Trevor Koshalka PAGPurs describes the event.
It was a dull and wet day for the Senior London Grand Rank investiture and annual meeting of Metropolitan Grand Lodge, but the day was
considerably brightened for those attending the events at Freemasons Hall as they walked along Greet Queen Street.
They were greeted by the magnificent sight of the first of the ‘Super Hi-Lift’ turntable vehicles parked outside Freemasons’ Hall and liveried with the square and compasses and the words: ‘Donated by London Freemasons’.
This was the fruits of the hard work of many brethren in response to the challenge set by the Metropolitan Grand Master, R W Bro Sir Michael Snyder, two years ago to raise £2.5 million for the purchase of two of these vehicles for the London Fire Brigade.
Inside the Grand Temple, Bro Michael invested those brethren who had been honoured with Senior London Grand Rank taking time to have a conversation which each of them at the dais. At the end of the investiture Sir Michael addressed those brethren together with many friends, colleagues and family members who had travelled to London to witness this colourful event.
He said, “I congratulate all those I have had the great pleasure of promoting this morning. You have been recognised for your long and devoted service to your respective lodges, as well as to London Freemasonry in every way possible”.
Towards the end of Bro Michael’s speech, he said “I never cease to be amazed at the tireless generosity of London masons as well as the multitude of local and national charities that you collectively support each year, with time as well as money.
“We have extended the Teddies for Loving Care programme into eleven hospitals and have also distributed 80,000 toothbrushes through London hospitals to promote the improvement of dental care of children in London. It is therefore all the more remarkable that you met my challenge of raising £2.5 million for the London Fire Brigade.
“That money has enabled the purchase of two super-aerial high-rise platforms. Since we started the appeal, I am also delighted to learn that the technology has moved on and instead of a 55 metre reach platform initially envisaged, London Fire Brigade have been able to upscale and take delivery of the 64 metre version, the tallest in Europe and only just shy of the world’s tallest at 68 metres.”
Sir Michael then invited the new London Fire Commissioner, Andy Roe accompanied by his team into the Grand Temple escorted by the Metropolitan Grand Director of Ceremonies, W Bro Warren Duke. They were greeted with a standing ovation.
Andy Roe said, “Thanks to Sir Michael and all Freemasons of London for not only gifting us with these fantastic machines but also inviting us back again to your prestigious annual investiture.
“I am proud of this partnership with Freemasons of London and I am glad to say as a Londoner myself, and now representing LFB as Commissioner, I am overwhelmed with your generosity for what these turntable ladders will do; not only for my officers in terms of their excellent operational capability, but also for the people of London.
“Recent changes in technology have meant that LFB (with your help) have procured three 64 metre turntable ladders, two funded by yourselves and one funded through LFB. This will mean potentially being able to reach up to 24 floors.
“Each of the vehicles will have a rescue elevator to safely and quickly transport firefighters and casualties to the ground from height, be able to deliver 2,500 litres of water per minute at any height.
“The three vehicles will be based at Old Kent Road, Dagenham and Wimbledon, two of them will carry the Square and Compass sign and the wording ‘Donated by the Freemasons of London’.
“They will be deployed to incidents every day and are expected to be in service for at least 15 years and attend approximately 5,000 incidents a year.”
Bro Michael then presented a cheque to the Commissioner symbolising the balance of the £2.5 million donated to the London Fire Brigade.
The Commissioner and his party then retired from the Grand Temple to rapturous applause.
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 40 April 2020 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons - Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 40 here.