The line-up in the photo (Left to Right)
W.Bro. Richard Lewin. PrSGD (Middlesex) University Scheme Liaison Officer.
W.Bro. John Grumbridge. Assistant Provincial Grand Master with responsibility for the introduction and management of “The University Scheme” in East Kent
W.Bro. Bob Goodwin. WM of St Augustine Lodge No 972.
Bro Ben Hulme. First “University initiate”.
W.Bro. Stephen Salisbury. Candidate’s proposer.
W.Bro. David Alexander. PrDGDC A member of the White Rose Lodge at Dover.
At the beginning of 2005 Grand Lodge set up The Universities Scheme Group with the objective “To establish and/or enhance arrangements and opportunities for undergraduates and other university members to join and enjoy freemasonry”.
Since then a number of lodges around the country have opted to a participation of the scheme and continue to encourage and support students and staff from nearby universities to become actively involved in the craft.
In August 2007, having considered the relative merits of a number of local lodges, The Provincial Grand Master made the decision that the St Augustine Lodge had the necessary attributes to take the scheme forward in East Kent. In January 2008 the Lodge formally applied to participate in the initiative and approval from United Grand Lodge was received shortly after, the St Augustine Lodge thereby becoming the 13th Lodge to gain admission into the scheme.
Ben Hulme, a 19 year old Undergraduate studying at the Christ Church University was previously educated at the Duke of York’s Royal Military School at Dover where he had ultimately become Head Boy. He comes from a family in which a number of members (male and female) are freemasons and as a result he has always held the Craft in high regard. When he discovered that two of his former teachers, W.Bro Stephen Salisbury and W.Bro David Alexander were active Masons he approached them to gain more information. As a direct result Ben was proposed into the St Augustine Lodge No 972 by W.Bro Salisbury.
Following the granting of a dispensation by the Provincial Grand Master, Ben was initiated into the Lodge on 21st May, shortly after his 20th birthday, by the Worshipful Master W.Bro. Bob Goodwin.
The meeting was attended by W.Bro John Grumbridge. PSGD, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, who has responsibility for the introduction and management of The Universities Scheme in East Kent. Also present, was W.Bro. Richard Lewin. PrSGD (Middlesex) University Scheme Liaison Officer and Director of Ceremonies of the Isaac Newton University Lodge, Cambridge.
W.Bro David Alexander, Ben’s teacher for 11 years and Housemaster, was invited to deliver the Charge to the initiate, which he performed faultlessly, whilst W.Bro Stephen Salisbury, Ben’s teacher for 8 years presented the Working tools.
At the festive board after the meeting Bro Ben impressed the assembled brethren with a warm and accomplished response to the toast in his honour.