Lest we forget – Integrity, Friendship, Respect and Service

The annual Armistice Day Meeting of Stanford le Hope Lodge No. 5217 reminds us of some key Masonic values

The phrase ‘Lest we forget’ originates from the poem ‘Recessional’ by Rudyard Kipling, written for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. In modern context it is more commonly known as having been adopted as part of Armistice Day traditions and is often added on to the end of other remembrance poems such as ‘For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon and seen inscribed on war memorials, graves, poppy badges and other remembrance items.

On Saturday 18th November 2023 at the Annual Armistice Day Meeting of Stanford le Hope Lodge No. 5217 which meets at the Orsett Masonic Centre in Thurrock, these three words also embodied the four main values of Freemasonry. Integrity, Friendship, Respect and Service. In an extraordinary meeting that encapsulated all the guiding principles of Freemasonry, Charity Steward, Mark Gillam, announced that £14,000 would be donated to various charities across the Province, including the Essex Branch of the British Legion.

£5,000 each was donated to ‘TLC’ (Teddies for Loving Care) and the new ‘Get Started’ Art Therapy Books initiative, and further donations were made to Changing Pathways Women’s Refuge, Little Heroes ASD support, Thurrock Christian Fellowship Trust, Redeemed Christian Church of God – Majesty Connections and Lads Need Dads. Links to all Charities with websites are below.

In a true show of Brotherhood, the Lodge also conducted the ceremony of Passing of Jim Ball and Aaron Withers, both members of Orsett Lodge No. 5424.  Orsett Lodge members assisted in the proceedings, with the Worshipful Master, Kevin Wheeler delivering a faultless explanation of the 2nd Degree Tracing Board and Craig Noler of Orsett Lodge, sharing the working tools with Bro. Connor Walden of Stanford-Le-Hope Lodge. Both delivered the working tools confidently whilst showcasing the differences between Logic ritual and Emulation ritual.

The festive atmosphere of the evening continued as brethren and guests gathered at the Festive Board. In keeping with the Armistice Day theme, the hall was decorated with wartime posters, adding a historical touch to the setting. Bunting of British flags was hung from the ceiling, creating a vibrant and patriotic ambiance. A minute's silence was observed, offering a sombre moment for reflection and remembrance of the fallen. This solemn tribute was deeply moving, instilling a sense of gratitude and reverence in everyone's hearts.

As the meal commenced, a unique and delightful tradition unfolded. In the spirit of camaraderie and festive cheer, diners were playfully informed that they had to 'sing for their dinner.' Before each course, everyone stood and sang poignant and patriotic wartime classics, filling the hall song and laughter. This merry practice not only enhanced the enjoyment of the meal but also fostered a sense of unity and cheer among all present.

The Festive Board of the Stanford le Hope Lodge No. 5217 was not just an occasion of fraternal bonding, but also a profound reminder of the sacrifices made for our freedoms. It was a memorable evening that beautifully blended festive joy with solemn remembrance, truly embodying the spirit of 'Lest we forget.'

Teddies for Loving Care - Delivering teddy bears to hospitals for children in distress

Home (getstartedart.com)

Changing Pathways - Changing Pathways

Little Heroes ASD Support Group | Little Heroes ASD

Lads Need Dads CIC


Top: Stanford-le-Hope Lodge - Armistice Day Remembrance table at Orsett Masonic Hall. Lest we Forget.

Left: A very Patriotic Festive Board

Right: Singing for their supper and paying tribute to those who gave their life so that we can live ours