In what has ended up with a successful Six Nations campaign (yet disappointing start to the season) for English Rugby; the East Kent Rugby Association has seen some exciting events and helped launch a new rugby themed lodge in East Kent.
We started the year with a family group outing to the Kent Cup Plate Vase Finals held at Cranbrook Rugby Club and a tasty meal at a local restaurant afterwards. We witnessed some close games and caught up with rugby friends from outside of Freemasonry. The day gave us the opportunity to help do just a little bit more to help bring Freemasonry into the mainstream, inform the wider community who we are, what we do and how to get involved.
In August we arranged a visit to the Olympic Stadium to see the Barbarians play Samoa in their World Cup warm-up game. It seemed appropriate that a group of Freemasons were supporting the match given that the wider international rugby community has united to support the small Polynesian nation that struggles to fund its own international players’ travel, accommodation and training. We had over 70 freemasons and friends attend in excellent weather, we served a picnic fish and chip lunch on a grassy knoll in the Queen Elizabeth Park. It was the first game of rugby held in the Olympic Stadium and to everyone’s amusement the Stadium Delivery Team clearly had some work to do ahead of the World Cup as the sprinklers popped up through the turf and turned on half way into the game! Cue a chorus of “Singing in the Rain”!!!
Following the home Rugby World Cup, the Argentinians stayed on to play against the Barbarians at Twickenham in November. This time the weather was a little colder to say the least but again fish and chips in the Cardinal Vaughn Car Park with copious refreshments kept up the spirits of about 70 EKRA members and friends.
Behind the scenes the EKRA and its members have this year helped to spawn a new lodge in East Kent with a rugby theme. A good number of EKRA members petitioned for and are now “founders” of the SPIRIT OF RUGBY LODGE No 9922. Many more members and freemasons from across the UK attended the consecration at The Winter Gardens on 29th February. The progressive and peripatetic lodge will meet on the third Monday of February, April, September and November and will meet at various centres across East Kent. The lodge has at least two initiates lined up and if you are interested in attending or joining or know someone who might like to join a lodge that celebrates the shared values of rugby and freemasonry please contact the EKRA in the first instance.
Throughout the course of the year surplus profit from events and money raised at raffles has enabled the Association to donate over £1000 to rugby charities.