The Widows Sons SW Chapter was founded in 2009. Now Ten years on with a membership of over 40 Brothers from an area covering from Cornwall to Gloucester, it was felt the time was right to have their own motorcycle lodge.
What started as a general discussion between the Brethren of the Widows Sons about having a lodge in Devon took a turn when a conversation was had with Assistant Provincial Grand Masters W.Bro. Christopher Yard and W. Bro. Colin Gale at the Ugbrooke Classic Car show in 2017. A seed was planted in our minds that rather than start a new lodge, maybe we would consider taking over a lodge that was closing. The seed began to take root and at the Installation ceremony of Vale of Haldon in February 2018, Bro. Michael O’Meara, the secretary of the Widows Sons had a further conversation with W. Bro. Christopher Yard and was told of the Mayflower Lodge which was due to close imminently.
Now was the time to turn ideas to reality, so after a brief discussion with the Widows Sons Southwest Chapter Officers, we approached the secretary of Mayflower with our proposal of taking on the lodge. The Widows Sons were invited to the Mayflower General Purposes Committee meeting to meet the Brethren and explain our intention. We spoke at length about the way we intended to take on the Lodge and although this would become a modern lodge with young Brothers, we gave assurances to the existing members that it was important to the Widows Sons to uphold Mayflower Lodge’s existing traditions, which we have incorporated in to our meetings. It was very important to have the right blend of new and old.
Now the work began in earnest, the members of the Widows Sons needed to become joining members of the Mayflower, cue a flurry of Forms P and letters of good standing for all the joining members. The existing lodge secretary, W. Bro. Ken Wheeler then informed the Mayflower Brethren of the details of all the joining members and the intent of taking on the Lodge to allow any members to voice concerns prior to the proposal in open lodge.
Having received no objections, we were then proposed at the next Mayflower meeting in February 2018 and the ballot of the joining members conducted at the March meeting 2018. The Widows Sons joined the members of Mayflower at the Festive Board that evening for a celebration of the new chapter of the lodge where the Worshipful Master W. Bro. David Westlake symbolically proffered the lodge gavel to the Widows Sons for the continuation of the Lodge.
W. Bro. Westlake stayed on with the Lodge to observe the requirement of a Master or Warden’s authority to summon the lodge. Then to complete the formal handover at the April meeting W. Bro. Westlake deferred the Master’s Chair to W. Bro. Graves who then invested the Officers to the vacant posts due to the Brethren who had left the Lodge. W. Bro. Wheeler resigned as Secretary after many years of hard work and the Worshipful Master appointed the Secretary of the Widows Sons, Bro. Michael O’Meara as Secretary of the Lodge.
During the transition, there were a number of late nights reading the Book of Constitutions, and hours of work from the Widows Sons, existing Mayflower members and the Devonshire Provincial Team who all pulled together to make this such a success.
The Lodge has now moved to Uffculme Masonic Centre and has had a steady stream of Candidates for Initiation and joining members. At the Installation in November 2018, W. Bro. Shane Hallett, as the first Widow Son, was Installed in the antient chair of King Solomon at the ripe old age of 28 and next year he has the privilege of installing his father W. Bro. Richard Hallett into that very chair.
Bro. Michael O’Meara
Secretary Mayflower Lodge No. 7241