10 295 Miles - No barrier for Freemasonry picture of a world map, a line links Ashford UK with the Gold Coast in Australia

10 295 Miles – No barrier for Freemasonry

The 19th January 2023 will go down in my Masonic career as one of the most special meetings I have attended. Having been asked by WBro Steve Simmons to play the newly installed organ was one thing, but what came next, proved that indeed 10295 Miles, was “No barrier for Freemasonry”!
I will let the lodge take up the story from here.
Yours Website Manager.

An initiation ceremony is one of, if not, the most special of all meetings, so when a very well know Freemason by the name of WBro Max Gibbins was approached by his grandson Mitch to join Freemasonry, he was so proud and honoured to be able to propose him and welcome him into our fantastic fraternity.

Only one problem! Still an active Freemason, Max had moved to Queensland in Australia, 10295 miles away 10 years ago.
So, Max approached a life long friend and Freemason, WBro David Mowl, a mason that Max had in fact proposed into Freemasonry in 1994. David was thrilled to have been asked, and said, “having known Mitch all his life; I considered this a great privilege and honour”.

David asked if he could take the Chair of King Solomon in the absence of Max and step in for the current Master WBro Ian Smith. Ian and a few members in know agreed.

Picture of David standing in front of the projector screen, about to reveal the big surprise to everyone in the room.

So, the meeting drew nearer, and an idea was proposed by David to WBro John asking if the toast at the festive board could be recorded? John said he could go one better, as he already had all the equipment to host a live Zoom video link, including a projector and large screen. We started to make plans on how to make it work for both Mitch and Max. John and his wife Lin sorted out the technical issues and arranged a number of test runs with Max at some odd times of day and night! Testing included various locations, with Max standing in his lounge, on the balcony and under a palm tree on the beach!

Other than the Worshipful Master, Director of Ceremonies, W Bro’s Dave and John; no one knew about the live Zoom video link. However, we thought it sensible at the Tuesday Lodge of Rehearsal before the meeting, to let the members know of our plans, as they may have been asking why all the equipment was at the festive board!

Picture of lodge members sitting at the tables during the festive board, with David Mowl standing next to a video screen.

Tensions in the lodge could be felt by everyone, what was going to happen on the big screen behind David Mowl? Then as magic, a familiar face appeared.

picture of Max on the big screen

picture of Max on the big screen

Cheers erupted around the hall, the room filled with elation, shouts of MAX, There he is! Applause all round! ! What an atmosphere!

When the buzz subsided, WBro David Mowl took to the stage and the emotional video link between Grandfather, Grandson now a Brother took place. (Video link below in full).

Mitchel was as you expect, totally overwhelmed, and delighted to see his Granfather and now Brother on the big screen.
Mitchel, a civil engineer by trade, working on the railway, is a great fit into Stour Lodge, as the lodge was originally formed by railway workers.

I know all the members of the lodge, along with Max wish Mitch a wonderful, fullfilling and enjoyable Masonic Carreer.

Now, where’s that didgeridoo!

I bet you can’t beat that toast, 10 295 Miles  – Could this be the longest distance Toast ever?


picture of the lodge members after the initiation ceremony in Ashford.
a view from the masters chair at the festivae board, with Mitch and David either side of the video screen showing Max in Australia.

Video of the Speech

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