The people of East Kent will be viewing Freemasonry in a different light this summer thanks to months of hard work by the Membership Events Team.
The Province’s Mobile Display Unit (MDU) has become a familiar sight over the last few years visiting around 50 High Street locations and community events each year. During that time it has travelled thousands of miles and been set up hundreds of times. This inevitably resulted in considerable wear and tear; and by the end of last year’s summer season it was starting to show it’s age. The team decided therefore, to take it off the road for a programme of refurbishment and upgrading.
David King has recently taken up the role of Membership Events Manager and has been responsible for overseeing the work. He explained: “One of the main problems with the old unit was a lack of rigidity as there was no internal metal framework to support the weight of the structure”.
Therefore one of the first jobs for the renovators was to install a new framework and upgrade the chassis.
“A second problem”, said David “was that the original unit was designed to be removed from it’s trailer when sited. Doing this on uneven surfaces caused considerable stresses and led us to conclude that leaving it on the trailer would be the better option going forward.”
However this meant there was a large step up from ground level , so a new set of retractable steps has been installed together with a fold out canopy to protect visitors from inclement weather.
Having to virtually rebuild the unit from the ground up provided an opportunity for the team to rethink it’s purpose. Now instead of just being a travelling display, the MDU has been redesigned as a hospitality unit with a comfortable seating area, video displays, a new high-tech enquiry logging system and storage to allow the team to offer tea, coffee or soft drinks to visitors who wish to learn more about Freemasonry. New graphics both inside and out complete an attractive and highly professional setup which does not fail to impress!
However the team hasn’t stopped there….
The old lightweight Marquee, which was used for smaller events, was very susceptible to strong winds. It has been replaced by a much more robust unit which again has all new graphics to convey Freemasonry’s message to the public.
Perhaps the most exciting new development is a portable “Pop Up” display which is going to be used inside shopping Malls and other indoor venues. It features a simple but informative narrative backed by a series of colourful and attractive photos which explain why Freemasons do what they do and which hopefully will persuade members of the public that they too might want to be involved.
The Head of East Kent Freemasons, Provincial Grand Master Geoffrey Dearing, recently attended a launch event for the new unit and commented: “The importance of the work of our Membership Team cannot be underestimated. In the modern world we have to provide new ways for young men to discover the benefits of Masonic Membership, an area in which East Kent has always excelled.”
“Having met many of the young men who have joined via this route, I am struck by their enthusiastic and positive response to the membership process.”
So if you are out and about this summer and you spot one of our teams at an event, do go along and say hello. You can be assured of a warm welcome and who knows…..
You may even get a cup of tea!
Report and photos by Richard Carney