National Association of Masonic Clay Shooting Societies – Tercentenary Competition
The association, of which East Kent is a Founder Member, recently hosted a competition to celebrate Freemasonry’s Tercentenary. The seeds of this were sown in February 2017 when Grand Lodge asked sporting groups within freemasonry if it were possible to hold a national competition during the celebrations. The National Association rose to this challenge and began looking for a suitable ground on which to hold the event. This was followed by a meeting at Great Queen Street with Mike Baker, Grand Lodge’s Director of Communications, when the plans were confirmed.
Several meetings were arranged and the chosen ground was Eriswell Lodge Shooting Ground (Formally Lakenheath SG) in Suffolk. As the President of the National Association is the Deputy Grand Master, Jonathan Spence, the competition was called the “Jonathan Spence Tercentenary Challenge Cup”. The four primary organisers for this event were the association’s Chairman Brian Saidman (London), Vice-Chair Mike Casey (West Lancs), Treasurer Nick Jenkins (West Kent), and Secretary Roger Wilkes (East Kent). The date was fixed for Saturday 16th September 2017.
167 shooters turned up for the event and, as is usual, the day began with breakfast. Then, after a brief safety talk, the competitors went off to their respective stands and the competition began. Each participant, including Jonathan Spence, shot one hundred clays over twelve stands with some very exciting scores being recorded. Following the shoot everyone retired to a comfortable marquee where lunch was served to a very hungry band of shooters. A wine goblet, suitably engraved to celebrate the day, was presented to the Deputy Grand Master. He in turn thanked everyone for their support and especially the organisers for a magnificent event. The winning Provincial Team was West Lancs and the High Gun was Dan Bishop (Hampshire & Isle of Wight) with a remarkable score of 97/100.
East Kent were represented by Keith Jones, Chris Ray and Roger Wilkes (Lodge of Friendship and Service No 6584), Bernie Connolly (Brownrigg Lodge of Unity No 1424) and Mick Daly (Trinity Mariners Lodge No 8406). The team came fifth overall and, in the individual competition, Chris Ray missed out on Runner-Up High Gun by three clays coming fifth.
In his closing speech the National Chairman, Brian Saidman, thanked everyone for supporting the event. With nineteen provinces represented it had been the largest masonic sporting gathering ever held. He went on to thank the committee for their tireless work and the Provincial Officers from Suffolk, without whose help they would have struggled. He singled out the National Secretary, Roger Wilkes, who had been instrumental at every step of the way. Roger spent three days in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk choosing the venue. He also received all the entry applications, registered the shooters on arrival and collated all the scores on the day.
Finally, Brian closed the event by wishing everyone a very safe journey home.
Report: Roger Wilkes