All those who attended the meeting of Lactodorum Lodge No. 8526 held at Towcester on Thursday the 21st of February 2019 will no doubt remember their experience for many years to come. 

Not only was it the occasion of an official visit by the Provincial Grand Master, RWBro Max Bayes, but it saw the initiation of twins, Bro Matthew Russell and Bro James Russell, by their father, WBro Phil Russell, who is Master of the Lodge.

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From left, the Provincial Grand Master, RWBro Max Bayes, Bro Matthew Russell, Bro James Russell, and WBro Phil Russell WM

The ceremony, which had been expertly choreographed over the course of several weeks by Lactodorum's Director of Ceremonies, WBro Bob Cox ProvSGW, was very much a friends and family affair:

  • Both Matthew's father-in-law, WBro Richard Coleman PPJGW, and James's father-in-law, Bro Allen Smith, were in attendance.
  • Bro Allen, who is also a member of Lactodorum and one of the lodge's stewards, did a super job of presenting the Working Tools.
  • Bro Dave Adams, Lactodorum's Junior Deacon and another close personal friend, did an outstanding job of escorting James and Matthew throughout the ceremony. He was ably assisted by the Senior Deacon, Bro Paul Weatherley.
  • Lactodorum's ADC and the Provincial Webmaster, WBro Simon Key ProvGStwd, presented the North East Corner. WBro Simon is a close personal friend of WBro Phil and was his proposer into Freemasonry. Notwithstanding that WBro Phil was extremely proud of his two sons during the ceremony, WBro Simon was just as proud of WBro Phil!
  • At the conclusion of their initiation, Bro Matthew and Bro James were each presented with a Masonic Bible and a copy of the Charge by their seconder and another of WBro Phil's best friends, Bro Jeff Wells, who is also Lactodorum's Treasurer. The Charge had been presented faultlessly during the ceremony by WBro Terry Morgan PPGReg.

Amongst the other brethren in attendance were VWBro Wayne Williams PAsstProvGM, WBro Barry Howard PAGDC and holder of the Provincial Grand Master's Certificate of Merit, and WBro Dale Gilbert PAGDC ProvGDC.

Many of those present had known Bro Matthew and Bro James since they were young boys, so emotions ran high throughout the entire evening.

One particularly touching moment saw WBro Phil give his sons a hug once the main part of the ceremony was over. It's still not entirely clear how he managed to choke back the tears!

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From left, Bro Greg McGuinness JW, WBro Richard Coleman PPJGW, Bro Dave Adams JD, Bro Matthew Russell, WBro Phil Russell WM, Bro James Russell, Bro Paul Weatherley SD, Bro Alan Sparham SW, and Bro Allen Smith

At the conclusion of the work in the lodge room, the Brethen adjourned to Towcestrian Sports Club where WBro Richard Brice PPJGW, Bro Des Morris, and the rest of the stewards did a fantastic job of taking care of the festive board, which was excellent.

A particularly special moment was a wonderful rendition of the Initiate's Song by another close family friend, Bro John New. John performed the song entirely from memory, with no song sheet in sight.

During the festive board, the Provincial Grand Master, RWBro Max Bayes, welcomed Bro Matthew and Bro James into Freemasonry. He also praised WBro Phil for doing such a super job of initiating his two boys.

The PGM went on to say that it was particularly encouraging to see a packed lodge room, witness the performance of good-quality ritual, and be part of such a wonderful atmosphere.

He said that the ceremony and festive board exemplified all that was good about Freemasonry, and that he had no doubt all those present would remember the occasion for many years to come.

WBro Phil, who had not long completed his Challenge 302, expressed his pride in Bro Matthew and Bro James as both their father and Master of the Lodge. He went on to thank all those who had assisted in the ceremony and festive board, and the preparation thereof.

We congratulate Bro Matthew and Bro James on joining our wonderful order, and wish them many happy years to enjoy their membership of the Craft.

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