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History of the Royal Sovereign Light Lodge

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The Nineties
In February 1990 the brethren enjoyed a third degree ceremony conducted by the Past Masters of the lodge and on this occasion the lodge was closed in all three degrees. This was unique for the Royal Sovereign Light Lodge and is still unusual to see in other lodges in the Province.
17th March 1990 saw the eagerly awaited Banner Dedication. W.Bro. Richard H. Mosse, P.S.G.D. the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, led the Officiating Officers, a team of 13 Acting Provincial Officers including our own Director of Ceremonies, W.Bro. Ian Greenlow, Assistant Director of Ceremonies supported him. The Temple was very full for this happy occasion and in addition to the Officiating Officers there were 29 visitors and 51 members. The Chaplain was W.Bro. The Reverend C.H. Cartwright P.Pr.S.G.W., P.Pr.G.Chap. and it was he who delivered a moving oration during the ceremony. Later in the year the new banner was displayed at the annual Provincial meeting held in the Town Hall at Worthing. Following the ceremony in the Temple the brethren subsequently dined together at the Granville Hotel. The highlight of the Festive Board was the presentation by W.Bro. Richard Barnes of a beautiful cake, decorated with a representation of the new lodge banner. The Deputy Provincial Grand Master and the Worshipful Master ceremoniously cut the cake which was then shared with all the brethren.

As the Lodge progressed through the early years of the new decade, two highly respected and much loved brethren passed to the Grand Lodge above. They were W.Bro. Jack Cousins and W.Bro. Roy Lane Smith.
W.Bro. Jack will always be remembered for his happy disposition and unassuming nature. At our lodge meetings today, the Worshipful Masters are proud to wear the collar purchased in his memory as a gift from his daughter Rita.
W.Bro. Roy Lane Smith was an outstanding character in every way. He will always be remembered for the excellent Lodge of Instruction suppers that he organised and which were enjoyed so much. Also for the guiding hand he gave to so many brethren as both Preceptor of the Lodge of Instruction and Director of Ceremonies of the Lodge. Recent Masters of the lodge are also proud to wear the Past Masters' Jewels that were provided in his memory.
On the 21st March 1992 the candidate for initiation was Mr Kevin Greenlow. Kevin is the Bro. of the then lodge Director of Ceremonies, W.Bro. Ian Greenlow and the son of the late W.Bro. Ken Greenlow. Kevin proved to be the first of a number of brethren whose place of work is the "permanent way".
The November meeting of 1992 heard W.Bro. Tom Cranmer give an interesting report on the proceedings at the 275th Anniversary Meeting of the Grand Lodge of England.
In February 1993 the lodge held a Past Masters' Night and for the ceremony W.Bro. Ian Greenlow occupied the Master's Chair. I am sure that it gave him much pleasure to raise his own brother, Kevin, an occasion that we all enjoyed.
The October meeting of 1993 proved to be a very happy and special occasion. Bro. Bill Clements became our Worshipful Master and our remaining Founder, W.Bro. Frank Spooner received from the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, W.Bro. Donald E. Durrant, P.S.G.D., a certificate to mark his 50th year in freemasonry, which had not been available in 1988. The Assistant Provincial Grand Master gave a report on the distinguished civil, service and masonic careers of W.Bro.. Frank which reminded all the brethren present of just how much Frank has given to his country and to the lodge over many years. To complete the evening, W.Bro. Bill Clements then presented W.Bro. Frank with a new and the only Founders' Jewel to mark the brethen's appreciation.

A decade tinged with great sadness

Sadly also in October 1993 the Lodge learnt of the passing to the Grand Lodge above of W.Bro. Charles Denton. Charles fought a severe illness for many years and will always be remembered for his excellent ritual and delivery.
The Lodge General Purposes Committee met prior to the November meeting and it was then that a working party was established to make plans to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Royal Sovereign Light Lodge. The initial members were W.Bros. Malcolm Cowlard, Bill Clements, Derek Greenwood and Roy Sydney. Brother Mike West and W.Bro. George Gibson later joined them. On 15th January 1994, the Worshipful Master, W.Bro. Bill Clements conducted a 1st Degree ceremony and following the Charge after Initiation, an explanation of the First degree Tracing Board was given by W.Bro. James Knight of the Bexhill Lodge. This was at the invitation of the Worshipful Master and enjoyed by all the brethren. The evening was completed with a poem entitled, "The Initiate". After completing 16 years as the Temple Tyler, W.Bro. Stuart Elford retired from his post in October 1994 and was elected a Honorary Member of the lodge. We were all used to seeing Stuart outside the door of the lodge and it is now good to see him "in the warm" for a change. The office was taken up by W.Bro. David Lane. Also at the October meeting Bro. John Carey was installed a the 47th Worshipful Master and his first ceremony in November was one of those rare occasions when a father initiates his son.
It was with great sadness that on 22nd December 1994 the news was received of the sudden death of our remaining founder W.Bro. Frank Spooner. On passing to the Grand Lodge above, Frank will leave behind many brethren who have benefited so much from his guidance and kindness. The Royal Sovereign Light Lodge became the great light in his life particularly in his later years and we will all miss so fine a man and a mason.
The lodge was struck with further tragedy when on 10th April 1995, W.Bro. Richard 'Dick' Barnes died following a short but severe illness. Dick will always be remembered for his excellent ritual and sharp wit. A speech given by W.Bro. Dick either at the Festive Board or at Ladies' Festivals always held the complete attention of his audience and was enjoyed and appreciated by all those fortunate enough to be present. A glance around the honours boards in our Temple will show how busy a mason Dick was and as with everything he did, no effort was too great to achieve the perfection of ritual and presentation that was his hallmark. He is greatly missed by all who knew him and the standards that he set down for us to strive to achieve are a fitting tribute to such a dedicated mason and so fine a man.
The loss of two so highly respected brethren came as a sad blow to us all, but their memories will never be forgotten.

Towards the Millennium

We left off at that time in our history which saw the lodge rapidly approaching its 50th year. The 50th Anniversary working party, established in 1993, had been hard at work looking at ways in which the occasion could be celebrated and planning a wide variety of fund raising ideas to enable the activities to go ahead.

Amongst the foremost of these were teddy bear raffles, a pie and pea evening, a number of barbeques, big breakfasts, a selection of garden parties, a valentine evening, gourmet evenings, many taxing quizzes, hot cross bun mornings and mince pie and coffee mornings. In addition Christmas Carol evenings, established in 1989, were held in the lodge room, at the Mermaid Restaurant and later in the Manor Barn.

 As plans progressed it was agreed that a meal would be arranged at the Powdermills Country House Hotel, Battle, to celebrate the Golden Jubilee when the brethren would be joined by wives, family and friends. In addition we were delighted to welcome the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master for Sussex, Right Worshipful Brother Ian Homan Lay, and Mrs. Jill Lay as our guests.

 After the meal the brethren were presented with an engraved and polished English Pewter hip flask together with a ceramic disc of the lodge’s crest and the ladies received a single golden rose. We were then entertained by the “Regency Singers” who performed a varied programme of popular songs.

 Following the publication of ‘Towards the First 50 Years’, W. Brother Peter Bulmer and W. Brother Roy Sydney spent many hours researching and preparing a presentation entitled ’The First Fifty Years’. This included the use of appropriate music from the time, drama, narration and costume. This was performed at the Anniversary Lodge meeting on 18th April 1998 when W. Bros. Peter Bulmer and Roy Sydney were assisted by budding actors W Bros. Bill Clements, Reg Keys, George Gibson, Ren Phillimore and Richard Parker, Alan Fuller, Malcolm Cowlard, Derek Greenwood, Mike West and Keith Mason. It lasted one hour and was very well received by the brethren including the R.W.Provincial Grand Master.

 Saturday  25th April 1998 saw the lodge room taken over by a display of Royal Sovereign Light Lodge memorabilia. Much of what was on display were items found in the lodge room cupboards, the contents of past minute books, gifts from the crews of the Royal Sovereign Light Vessel and Tower and contributions, such as Ladies’ Nights menus, summonses and photographs from the brethren themselves. Families and friends were invited to enjoy the display and also the tea and cake which was provided.

 In response to requests made by several of the lodge members, the ‘First Fifty Years’ was presented to the brethren and their families and friends in the Wilton Road Centre at a later date in December 2000.


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