January 2018 Meeting

Our regular meeting on the 26th January 2018, saw us welcome our latest recruit, in the person of Nikolay Marinov.  Nik’s journey into Freemasonry began some years ago when he moved into the house next door to Senior Warden Malcolm Graham.  He had long been interested in Freemasonry but it was his growing friendship with his next door neighbour which finally convinced him to take the plunge and apply for membership.

nik marinov initiation
Nik was proposed by Malcolm Graham (l) and seconded by Neil Marshall (r)

Nik, aged 35, is an Accountant living in Maidstone with his wife Maria, who is a local GP,  and his 2 young boys aged 6 and 1.  His hobbies are “anything sporty” with a particular interest in  Martial Arts.  Malcolm of course proposed him.  He was seconded by Junior Warden, and Membership Officer Neil Marshall.

The meeting opened at 6pm and, in addition to a smoothly executed first degree ceremony, included a poignant moment in the Lodge’s history when long standing member WBro. Richard Hinge was elected an Honorary Member.  A local fruit Farmer,  Richard is the third generation of his family to have been a member of Agricola Lodge.  He served the Lodge in many ways over the years;  but is perhaps most remembered for his years as Lodge Secretary, and for his rendition of the “Address to the Brethren” which was a regular and much loved feature of our Installation Meetings for longer than most of us can remember.

The Lodge was also delighted to see WBro. John Beadle back with us after his stroke last year.

nik marinov initiation
Nik was welcomed by WM Paul Constable

The formal proceedings being over,  the Lodge was closed at around 8:15 after which the Brethren repaired to the Dining Room for our now traditional January Burns Supper.  The meal began with a warm and satisfying, home made, Cock a Leekie soup.  This was followed up by Haggis Neaps and Tatties and rounded off with Tipsy Trifle, Cheese and Coffee.

Following the usual Toasts, Neil Marshall rose to propose the “Toast to the Initiate.”  He outlined Nik’s background assuring the Brethren that although Accountancy didn’t enjoy the most exciting of reputations, Nik was very much at the hip “Rock and Roll” end of the profession.  Following a rousing toast, Nik thanked the Brethren for accepting him into the Lodge and said how much he was looking forward to getting to know more about Freemasonry.

With the Lodge’s Centenary looming in 2023, our Secretary Bob Burns kindly donated a bottle of Single Malt whisky which was raffled in aid of the Centenary Fund.  It was won by er…..  Bob Burns !!!  

A Stewards Enquiry has been ordered ;-)))

The meeting was brought to a close by Tyler Mark Kirby at approximately 10:00pm

From the Archives….

This photo was kindly submitted by Roger Waltham.  It was taken around 1999.  Sadly mobile cameras weren’t as good in those days so the quality isn’t great, but it brings back many happy memories of times gone by.

Cheese & Wine
Roger Waltham (R) running the bar with the late Tony Stanesby

During the 1980’s and 90’s the Lodge, In association with Agricola Chapter, ran an Annual Cheese and Wine Party every summer.  It was hosted by  Ernie and Daphne Nicholls at their Farm in Avery Lane Otham and often raised a 4 figure sum for Charity.

The Bar would be set up in one of Ernie’s apple stores which had to be laboriously swept out every year.  You can see the Apple Boxes from which it was constructed just below the red table cloth.

Members of the Lodge would make an annual trip to Calais to bring back the wine and the wives and partners of the members would prepare a sumptuous and extensive buffet for the enjoyment of all.

The photo shows Roger and former member Tony Stanesby who took over running the Bar from the late WBro. Tommy Thompson and his wife “Bubbles”.

Sadly a few wet years and the passing of time saw support for this event decline to the point where it was decided to abandon it.

The memories it left however remain strong….

If you have any old photos of Lodge events in times past,  please let us have them so that they can be preserved for future generations of Agricola Freemasons….

Community Action: Public Access Defibrillator

Agricola Lodge No 4501 recently got together with three other Lodges in the Maidstone area and the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons Charity to fund the purchase and installation of an Automatic External defibrillator.

Defibrillator Cabinet
The Defibrillator Cabinet


Installed at the local village hall in Sutton Valence (a village about 5 miles south of Maidstone) it was supplied by Suffolk based Charity The Community Heartbeat Trust who also provided training in it’s use.


Each year over 100,000 people in the UK suffer sudden cardiac arrest in a public space. Their chances of survival are increased by up to 50% if a defibrillator is used promptly.

Bill Laidler and Roger Odd try CPR

Modern defibrillators are completely automatic and can safely be used by members of the public without previous training. A recent handover demonstration was attended by representatives of the Women’s Institute, a local Dancing Society, Football Teams, Sutton Valence Gardening Association, Flower Arranging and Fine Arts Societies all of whom use either the Village Hall or the adjacent Sports Field. As well as familiarising themselves with the defibrillator, delegates were able to try Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on specially designed mannequins.

A third and vital partner in the project was Sutton Valence Parish Council who will be responsible for ongoing maintenance of the equipment.

Speaking at a recent handover ceremony, Eve Poulter, Chair of Sutton Valence Parish Council said…

“ I would like to thank all those who have made this possible. The generosity of our local Freemasons and the support of The Community Heartbeat Trust mean that our parishioners can use our facilities confident in the knowledge that should a problem arise, the most up to date and effective equipment is on hand.”

Bill Laidler, speaking on behalf of the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons Charity added…

“ We are delighted to be able to support such a worthwhile and important community project, as part of our celebrations for the 300th Anniversary of English Freemasonry. We hope that this partnership will become a model for others in the coming years”.

Community Heartbeat
The UK’s leading Defibrillator Charity

Community Heartbeat has so far provided over 3,000 public access defibrillators.

If a friend or member of your family is suddenly taken ill in a public space, phone 999. If appropriate, the Ambulance Service will guide you to your nearest defibrillator.

Freemasons support a wide range of Community projects like this.  If it is something you feel you might like to be involved in Click Here

Lodge Officers – The Charity Steward

Another important post in a Freemasons’ Lodge is that of the Charity Steward, whose role is to champion all forms of charitable activity within the Lodge.

It  is a job which should never be undertaken lightly, as to do it properly requires personal commitment,  time and effort.

Fundraising activities can be undertaken in  many ways  but a common pathway to success is to build a relationship of trust and goodwill with the membership.

Fundraising priorities will vary between Lodges and  will depend on whether or not the Province is “in Festival”.  However the specific duties of the Charity Steward which are common to all may be summarised as follows:

  • Presenting compelling cases for giving, without being either too forceful, (which may deter potential donors), or too passive (so as not to miss opportunities).
  • Encouraging regular giving e.g. through standing orders.
  • Increasing the value of donations through Gift Aid.
  • Discussing legacies, as appropriate.
  • Planning, organising and implementing events and fundraising activities.
  • Making regular  reports to the Lodge.
  • Keeping monies safe and, wherever possible, earning interest.
  • Maintaining accurate records.
  • Ensuring the Charity Accounts are presented to the Lodge/Chapter on an annual basis.
  • Disbursing funds as authorised by the Lodge.
CEKFC Charity
CEKFC Charity Presentation

Initiating and leading fundraising within the Lodge not only brings financial benefits to Masonic and non-Masonic Charities, but personal satisfaction and a great deal of fun along the way!   For someone who enjoys fundraising or event planning it is a great way to make a real difference not only in the Lodge but in the Community at large.

If this is something that interests you, click here to find out how to get involved.