Freemasons celebrate 250th anniversary
FREEMASONS will gather this weekend to mark the 250th anniversary of the North Walsham-based Lodge of Unanimity.Sunday's 3pm celebration service, in North Walsham Parish Church, is open to the public, and organisers hope it will help dispel any remaining myths about the secrecy of the organisation.
FREEMASONS will gather this weekend to mark the 250th anniversary of the North Walsham-based Lodge of Unanimity.
Sunday's 3pm celebration service, in North Walsham Parish Church, is open to the public, and organisers hope it will help dispel any remaining myths about the secrecy of the organisation.
Founded in 1758, the lodge has 90 members from all over Norfolk, plus a few further afield.
In the past three years they have donated over £6,700 to local causes.
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Meetings have been held in North Walsham since 1827, but the lodge began life in Norwich, later moving to Coltishall, Wroxham and Bungay.
Nowadays freemasons come from all walks of life, according to former North Walsham High School headteacher
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Keith Johnson, secretary of the lodge's 250th anniversary committee.
“There are very few restrictions to becoming a freemason nowadays,” he said. “Our criteria are that someone who wants to belong should benefit the lodge and society, and believe in a supreme being.”
Anniversary events have included the dedication of a specially made lodge banner at the installation earlier this year of the new worshipful master, Simon Cole.
“I don't think people feel threatened by freemasonry any more,” said Mr Johnson, who has been a mason for 30 years. “It's not about what people can get out of it - it's what they can put in. Anyone who thinks they can use freemasonry to pull strings for themselves is wrong.
“There's nothing at all secret any more - it's all out there on the web!”
Unanimity is known as a moon lodge. Its meetings are held at North Walsham Community Centre, between September and April, on the Monday nearest to the full moon. For more information visit www.norfolk-masons.org.uk