When the current WM’s plan for his year in office was drawn up last Autumn it had seemed that the February meeting would be a quiet one with a lecture being presented. As the WM needed to find suitable dates to take his wife on a winter cruise it seemed early February would be the most suitable and the IPM was available to take that meeting. Having made his booking, those well known words of Robert Burns “the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry” swang into action.

Firstly, Meridian Lodge, 164’s daughter Lodge, approached with a request for Perseverance to perform a Raising on their behalf. This was readily agreed to, could fit into the February meeting and members were found to present different parts of the ceremony. Next, while I was at my Lodge in Weston-super-Mare just before Christmas, some of the Brethren who had made a visit to 164 early in 2015 showed an interest in repeating the trip early in 2016. On finding that I was taking part in the ceremony and was busy learning the Perseverance version they decided to come down for the February meeting (as cheerleaders or critics I’m still not sure which). At first there were about 5 interested but as time passed the number grew and once the summons was distributed the number had grown to a dozen members of Tivoli Lodge.

With another group attending from Meridian to witness the raising of their member what had been expected to be one of 164’s smallest and quietest meetings of the year was now going to be a busy and well attended one.
In the left hand picture we see Bro Ernie Gregory the candidate’s proposer and grandfather, Bro Joseph Gladwin the candidate, W Bro Chris Taylor IPM and acting WM and W Bro Cyril Reed who had been WM of Meridian for the candidate’s Initiation as well as his seconder into Freemasonry. The right hand picture shows the members of Tivoli with the acting WM. Front centre is W Bro David Pettitt WM 9417 with W Bro Chris Taylor.

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Come the night of the meeting all the visitors arrived though a few were last minute due to the road works that have currently closed one of the main arteries into Sidmouth town centre. By then our WM should have flown into Barbados and be settling into the cruise ship that was to take him and his good lady “up the Amazon”. A week or so before this meeting he had discovered that another member of Perseverance would also be on the trip. It transpired that E Comp Jonathan Walker was making the trip as a resident lecturer and would be addressing those interested on a variety of subjects while they were heading South on the high seas as well as on the return journey.

The meeting went smoothly and I’m sure will have proved a most interesting experience for Brother Joseph. It should be remarked that Perseverance working has quite a few differences from that seen throughout most of Devonshire let alone the rest of the country. However, it was still quite late when the Lodge was closed and the Company had returned downstairs, packed regalia away and found their drinks and table places in the dining room. Throughout the meal the room was abuzz was conversation and an extremely cheerful atmosphere prevailed. Thanks must be recorded to the catering officer who in his table plan had skilfully intermingled Tivoli and Perseverance members allowing some quite interesting and illuminating discussions on ritual variations.

With the meal completed some of the lost time had been made up and the DC moved things on speedily through the normal toasts. Proposals and responses were kept short and proved remarkably pertinent. First comers to 164 were, as often happens, taken aback by Perseverance Fire. It had been a very successful and satisfying gathering but all too soon goodbyes were exchanged as Brethren left for their respective trips home.

Arthur Rowe