Mark Ravenwood, EKLBB Deputy Chairman and Information Officer, writes:
The East Kent Light Blues Brothers are a group of over two hundred Freemasons from Kent who have not yet attained Provincial or Grand Rank – and who therefore wear light blue aprons rather than dark blue ones. Our modus operandi is to arrange and attend events that make being a Mason more than just charity and ceremony; to embrace and deepen the bonds of brotherhood; and to enhance the Masonic experience for new and young Freemasons.
So – who are we? Mostly, an enthusiastic group of amateurs with a range of professions and experiences, being ably looked after by our Chairman, Howard Griffin. (I’m still trying to figure out how I ended up as the ‘Information officer’ as I’m sure I said it was the one job that I didn’t have the time to do!) Ian Thomas is our Treasurer: thanks to his hard work we now have a bank account. Andrew Berry is our Secretary. Neil Marshall oversees membership. Fraser Gregory arranges the events. I deal with most of the correspondence and publicity elements. That leaves the dozen more committee members who come up with ideas and share their contacts to help us arrange events (shout-out to Paul McGuirk for his Golfing expertise – not so much the playing apparently, but arranging the events at least!).
The Light Blues relaunch at the Curious Brewery in Ashford, 29th February 2020. Photo: Peter Floyd
What is the point of the EKLBBs? I think that everyone has their own opinion on this one. The first few months of Freemasonry can be quite a challenging period for someone like me who didn’t really know anyone before signing up. However, some of the Light Blues invited me along to a Go-Karting event and made me feel very welcome – my first real feeling of brotherhood within Freemasonry. When we choose to meet without our regalia, we are more than just a group of men who share a ‘peculiar system of morality’ – we are friends. So, the EKLBB for me provides the opportunity for us to build friendships beyond our Lodges and share our ‘brotherly love, relief and truth’.
It was around this time, twelve months or so ago, that what would become the EKLBB committee met for the first time to plan for the coming year. We decided to run four major events in the coming year, little knowing what would happen next. Since the launch of EKLBB on 29th February 2020 the world has changed dramatically, and we have all had to adapt.
What have we achieved so far? The inaugural event hosted around a hundred Freemasons, but we now have well over two hundred members. You can sign up via the website – www.eklbb.org.uk for a price of £10 for life membership (or until you gain provincial or grand rank). The website is due for an update in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled.
During the first lockdown we ran online quizzes, Desert Island Discs and a lecture on Admiral Nelson. These helped to keep brethren engaged and safe during a long period of separation. On our social media platforms, we encouraged members to donate food to shelters. We had many meetings to ask the question on everyone’s mind: what could we do together at a time where being physically together was dangerous? Suggestions included bike rides, socially distanced meetings in the park, trips to the pub where we would wave to each other from separate tables – and so on.
As the first lockdown loosened, we planned two golfing events – a ‘Day for Beginners’ and ‘The David Graeme Cup’, a Light Blues vs Dark Blues competition that you can read about elsewhere in this magazine. Sadly, the first event had to be postponed when the ‘Rule of Six’ made the morning training sessions a practical impossibility. We look forward to rescheduling this in 2021. I for one would like the opportunity to have a try at the Masonic pastime of golf without the pressure of more senior Masons wanting to play!
On the 20th November, in partnership with the Thornbridge Brewery, we offered a tasting experience with a professional beer sommelier via a Zoom meeting. Keep an eye out at masonicbeer.com for more events in 2021.
Coming full circle on my own masonic interests, we are hoping to offer a Go-Karting Experience early in the year, as well as clay pigeon shooting and more golf and music events. Details will follow as soon as we can be sure that the events are legal and safe to run.
Every Light Blue Freemason should be a Light Blues Brother!
Says Assistant Provincial Grand Master Mark Costelloe:
“It’s a one-off £10 to join – and I hope to raise a glass with all members in Lodges when it is safe to do so. Wear your EKLBB badges with pride, Brethren!”
To join, either point your smartphone camera at the QR Code or follow any of these links:
FORWARD WITH THE LIGHT BLUES!