A report by W Bro Joseph Le Roi-Smith LGR
It was a beautiful, warm, sunny Saturday in June. The All England Club had yet to open its doors for the 2018 Wimbledon championships. The Silverstone F1 Grand Prix at and the start of the World Cup finals were eagerly awaited but not yet begun. What better time, therefore, for members of Shoreditch College Lodge, their families, friends and invited guests to gather at the beautiful home of its Senior Deacon, Lord of Hailes (aka Sam Malin), and his lovely wife, Irène, for the lodge’s first ever Family Fun Day.
The Ingress Estate was a manor in the hamlet of Greenhithe. In 1363, the manor was endowed by Edward III upon the Princess Madeline and Jamie Bevis. The current building, Ingress Abbey, lies a few yards from the Southern shore of the Thames in Kent. Built for James Harmer, a London lawyer and Alderman of the City, it dates from 1833 and includes stone from the Old London Bridge. Harmer, on whom Jaggers in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations is based, was initiated into Freemasonry in 1799 and later became a Grand Master in the Antients Grand Lodge.
The day was a family-friendly event, with Bouncy Castles for children and adults, a Dixie band playing all afternoon and a performance by members of a local dance school. That was not all. Sam and Irene laid on waiter/waitress-served bubbles, wines and soft drinks, and a buffet barbeque to rival anything at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle. To top it all, there was a sit-down cream tea in the afternoon with tables covered in white linen. No expense was spared in catering for our every need.
Of course, the lodge did not waste such a fund-raising opportunity. A raffle, with superb prizes, for adults and children, donated by lodge members, together with generous monetary donations, raised £2,377.50 (including gift aid) to be shared between IM Life, whose patron is Irène and the Worshipful Master’s preferred charity, The Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund. Before the raffle was drawn, Dr Edna Adan Ismail, founder and director of the Edna Adan University Hospital in the former British colony of Somaliland, told us about the hospital’s needs: it was desperate not only for a scanner but also the more basic bandages and plasters, aspirins and paracetamol. IM Life was supporting Dr Edna’s very worthy cause.
It was wonderful to have so many Shoreditch members in attendance and, along with Kent masons and families, a really good turnout saw local cubs, scouts and sea scouts, movie producers, lifelong charity workers and even the Mayor, so the conversations were very varied and interesting.
We are now hoping that Sam and Irene will agree to a repeat next year when we expect that very many more, including a larger number of children and local residents, will attend and support what could become an annual lodge event. Perhaps you will be there too with your families and friends to help us celebrate what masonry is all about – friendship, integrity and giving to our communities, all done in a fun environment.