Provincial Teams hold successful first cluster Lodge meeting

The Famous Five Portfolio heads assist as Lodge Officers and showcase their Teams’ roles

The heads and a number of the five main Provincial team members met for the first time as a cluster lodge meeting on 9th December 2023 at Upminster Masonic Hall. The event showcased not only the achievements of our five Provincial Teams but also the success of four lodges with declining numbers in finding a fresh purpose, increased membership and a renewed vitality for enjoying everything that is good about Freemasonry.

The Meeting was hosted by Sylvan Lodge No. 6381. The Worshipful Master, Colin Felton, welcomed 37 members and visitors including fellow Assistant Provincial Grand Master (APGM) Philip Lovelock who was congratulated on becoming the new lead for Communications on the Provincial Executive.

When the routine business of Sylvan Lodge was completed and the Officers from the cluster lodges were in place, an informative presentation entitled ‘Faith, Hope and Charity’ was delivered by Jayson Read, Joshua Vaughn, Rhys Wensley and Daniel Phillips. This was followed by two short presentations with Oliver Smith-Jones giving ‘The Lewis’ and Russell Keetch rendering ‘Keeping our secrets safe, intruders and cowans to Freemasons’.

The Province of Essex is fortunate to have five exceptionally hard working and capable Provincial Teams. A short brief about each one and its associated cluster lodge was given by their respective Provincial Grand Officers: Gary Hostler, ProvGAlm, of Richard Clowes Lodge No. 2936 for Almoners; Chris Hicks, ProvGChStwd, of Burntwood Lodge No 8016 for Charity Stewards; Ray Quiddington, ProvGMO, and Keith Johnson of Corinthian Centenary Lodge No 8488 for Membership Officers; and Russell Keetch, ProvGMen, of Sylvan Lodge No. 6381 for Mentors. Also, Peter Low, ProvGCO, explained the role of the Provincial Communications Team.

The Almoners have helped save several lives organising the CHAPS men’s health screening days and they also have an increasingly important role in membership retention. The Charity Stewards are aware of the responsibility they have to all Essex Freemasons who have donated money, to impartially select charities and local communities where support with a grant will have the most effect. They also encourage individual lodges to support local good causes with fundraising activities which may sometimes be match-funded.

The Membership Officers are at the vanguard of the Members’ Pathway, attracting and encouraging new members to join Freemasonry and helping lodges create enjoyment and add value for members. Provincial Mentors promote good practice to all Lodge Mentors so that everyone can enjoy their Freemasonry, which in turn increases the likelihood of recommending their friends to join.  

The Communications Team helps raise the profile of the Province and all its Teams with an abundant backdrop of supporting news publicity about Essex Freemasonry in the press, often second only to UGLE in the national press.  The Team also generates three monthly Newsletters, the newly combined Provincial website Provincial Grand Lodge of Essex ( and a high-profile social media presence.

Colin Felton praised all five teams and said “When the end-of-year figure is known it may be that the Province of Essex will have been successful in achieving positive growth in 2023”.  Colin announced that the next cluster meeting for the Provincial Teams and their lodges will be hosted by Richard Clowes Lodge No. 2936, the Almoners lodge, whose next Worshipful Master is Johnson Beharry VC.

To find out more about joining any of the four Provincial Teams Lodges or to help with the interesting and important work in one of the five Provincial Teams, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



(Back row): Sylvan Lodge Members.

(Front Row L-R): Philip Lovelock, Ray Quiddington, Chris Hicks, Colin Felton (WM) Gary Hostler, Russell Keetch and Peter Low.


(Back Row, The Deputies, L-R): Ray Heathfield, Steve Bruyel, Jason Borley, Keith Johnson and Tony Hales

(Front Row, The Famous Five L-R): Gary Hostler, Chris Hicks, Russell Keetch, Ray Quiddington and Peter Low