The History of Lodge St Servanus No. 771

The history of Lodge St Servanus No. 771 by Bro. Gordon N.S. Neave

The 1970s


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The Seventies

Comparatively youthful, hardworking and determined to succeed in all they undertook appear to be characteristics of the Seventies Masters and Office Bearers.

Degree work was practised with skill, dignity and efficiency, the continuing with benevolence in a humane and understanding way to needy brethren, the giving to charity and good causes was high on the agenda and of course always co-operating with outside bodies and sympathetically considering any demands from them.

Records indicate that Spina Bifida sufferers and/or research benefitted to the tune of £280, a cheque for £315 was donated towards a lift for the Eventide Home at Inglewood; orphaned children from local Children's Homes were entertained at Christmas, letters asking for help from a multitude of charities were carefully considered and sums up to £23 were invariably sent, this is of course all in addition to the generous donations given to Grand Lodge for their various Masonic Funds.

Considerable money had to be found for a new club lounge plus toilets, early in 1970. An unsecured loan for £4,000 was gratefully accepted. A few years later during the summer recess the Lodge was completely rewired. To fulfil the aspirations of the Masters and Office Bearers in their desire to maintain and improve the property money was always tight, nevertheless a new source was found and that source was the 'Ladies'.

It may be uncommon to comment upon the ladies in an historical account of the activities and highlights of a Masonic Lodge but Lodge St. Servanus owe a great deal of thanks and gratitude to the St. Servanus 771 Ladies Circle.

This particular group was formed on the 15th February 1972 and they held their first meeting on the 11th of April that year. Their objective was simply stated "To raise funds for Lodge St. Servanus". The qualifications for membership of this enthusiastic body was a masonic connection i.e. Father, Son, Husband or Brother being a freemason. To date they have raised over £8,000 (and that is a conservative estimate).

Their fund raising activities have never ceased, bingo teas, floral art, cookery and beauty demonstrations, fashion shows, concerts and they have actively been involved with sales of work, coffee mornings, Autumn Fayres and similar money making projects. They have bought cups, saucers and much paraphernalia to make the Lodge more comfortable for all concerned on social occasions.

Their efforts were noted at least twice when one reads from the minutes after a Provincial Grand Lodge visitation. I quote, "a great contribution to the Lodge has been made by the Lodge Ladies Circle and that the appreciation of Provincial Grand Lodge be conveyed to all members of the Circle", and a further quote in 1978 reads "they are greatly assisted by the Ladies Circle and grateful thanks are accorded to them for the amount of work they do on behalf of this Lodge. They have contributed to the comfort of the premises and it is to be hoped that the Lodge members make them aware of the fact that their efforts are greatly appreciated". I wonder do we (outwith the office bearers) think of their worth and contribution as much as we ought?

Early in the seventies on Saturday 3rd February 1973 a particular highlight and honour to the Lodge was a visit from the Grand Master Mason of Scotland, Brother David Liddell Grainger. He was accompanied by his wife and several members of Grand Lodge. This was an informal visit and he and his party were entertained to light refreshments and home baking produced by members' ladies. Over one hundred Lodge members some with their wives received and welcomed the Grand Master Mason, his wife and party. At that time this was the first occasion that a Grand Master Mason had visited Lodge St. Servanus.

A frequent visitor to Lodge St. Servanus in the Seventies was W.P.G.M. Depute Brother Angus Campbell who later became the Provincial Grand Master. The fact that he lived and worked locally plus the presence of P.M.'s Colin Wyse and Fred McGhie, who at that time were Junior Provincial Grand Warden and Provincial Grand Sword Bearer respectively probably made him feel very much 'at home' when attending meetings in Alva—his Mother Lodge was Craiginnan, Dollar No. 850.

A key figure in any organisation is the Secretary and this is no less so in a Masonic Lodge. St. Servanus was particularly well served by P.M. Brother John Chalmers who held the office of Secretary, during the whole period under review. His full but unambiguous minutes reveal a total involvement in his office and a tremendous interest and enthusiasm for Freemasonry. He was seldom, if ever, absent from any meeting and his efforts and service were highly regarded by everyone who had dealings with him. His special interest in 'bowls' was such that he was a leading player and organiser when bowling matters and fixtures were reviewed in masonic circles or indeed as John Chalmers with a local bowling club. He and the Treasurer of the Lodge for many years in the seventies, Brother R. Marchbank (now a Past Master) appeared to work extremely well together.

It was interesting to note in this particular decade that P.M. Colin Wyse officiated and was invited to take the chair when his sons Colin and Alan were initiated into Freemasonry on 3rd April 1972 and 3rd April 1978 respectively. It was surely a rare occurrence too, when P.M. Brother Fred McGhie, then in office as Depute Master chaired and initiated his father Samuel into the Craft on 6th March 1972.

Fifty years memberships certificates were presented to the following:-

Bro. T. McGuire P.M.
7 September 1970
Bro. J. Monks
Bro. T. Dawson
Bro. A. Horne
Bro. T. Anderson P.M.
23 September 1974
Bro. D. Paisley
18 April 1977
Bro. W.P. Fyfe
6 March 1978

During this period approximately 400 meetings were held. These ranged from regular to small meetings when decisions relating to the distribution of benevolence were made.


The Eighties


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