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At last we appear to be returning to some semblance of regular masonic activity which could be no better illustrated by the outstanding turn out for our Provincial meeting on 22nd September. It was uplifting and heartening to see so many smiling faces and to listen and observe the enthusiastic way in which we re-engaged with each other particularly at the festive board.

To all of you who felt able to attend and receive your appointments and promotions or just to enjoy the Installation meeting I think that you will agree that there was no indication that we had not had a Provincial meeting for two years and the quality of execution by our Provincial officers and the UGLE team was exemplary.

I fully appreciate that some remain reluctant to travel and we must strive to maintain contact with all of our members to ensure that they remain engaged and feel welcome and safe when they eventually feel able to return to their regular lodge meetings. As we enter the winter months do consider arranging transport for our older brethren and other simple acts of consideration to ease us all back into our masonry.

We have much to look forward to with a backlog of over 100 initiates, many long service certificates to present as well as numerous lodge celebrations including banner dedications and centenary celebrations as well as all our usual business.

However, as we have also lost over 300 members in the past 18 months, we should perhaps take stock and acknowledge that times have changed. Strive to welcome new members of any age and background and to ensure that we retain their interest and engagement particularly in the early years. Remember that although we were all young working masons once, the world that the working man now inhabits is a very different one to 30, 40 or 50 years ago. 

Finally, my thanks go to all who work behind the scenes in arranging and managing our meetings and catching up on the backlog of work, be they lodge officers, centre managers or all of us as lay members who will ensure that the maxim of Happy Hertfordshire prevails.

Enjoy this edition of our newsletter and I look forward to seeing you all soon.

Neil Connolly
Provincial Grand Master



After an unprecedented year, we spoke to the outgoing Provincial Grand Master, Paul Gower, who reflected on his time in office. We also spoke to the new Provincial Grand Master Neil Connolly who looked ahead to the coming years as the head of Hertfordshire Freemasonry. Please click the video above to watch the full interview.


The Provincial Grand Lodge 2021 was held on September 22 at Freemasons Hall London. A packed temple witnessed Neil Connolly become the Provincial Grand Master of Hertfordshire in a ceremony performed by Deputy Grand Master Jonathan Spence and the United Grand Lodge of England team. 

This was a special occasion for so many, from Brethren receiving promotions and first appointments, to those who attended Freemasons Hall for the first time. For many it was their first masonic meeting back, since the pandemic, and this gave the ceremony a really friendly feeling. 

After the meeting many dined in the Connaught Rooms for a special dinner to welcome the new Provincial Grand Master. Much like the ceremony this dinner was held in a very warm Happy Hertfordshire style and there was a rapture of applause when the new Provincial Grand Master was once again announced.



On Monday November 1, all members of Royal Arch Freemasonry are invited to attend the Provincial Convocation to be held at Freemasons Hall, Great Queen Street.

This meeting is an opportunity to support those who are receiving recognition of their contribution to our Order. Those who feel comfortable about attending the Convocation are welcomed and encouraged to do so.

A significant change this year concerns the dining. Freemasons’ Hall has recently started offering the opportunity to dine within the building following meetings. Hertfordshire will be one of the first Royal Arch Provinces to take advantage of this new initiative.

Following the Convocation, we will hold our drinks reception on the ground floor, in the original Temple No 1, now known as the Galleries Suite. We then make our way upstairs to the first floor where we will dine in the three vestibules immediately outside the Grand Temple. This will provide a wonderful setting, showing off our superb art deco building to maximum effect.

The ticket price is, on this occasion, being subsidised to encourage greater usage and employment of the asset we all help to maintain through our subscriptions.



The memorial and celebration of Michael ‘Mike’ Cooper took place in Stevenage on September 5. 

More than 150 members of Mike’s family, friends, brethren from Hertfordshire and other Provinces gathered at the Hotel Cromwell in Stevenage Old Town, to remember our much-loved Assistant Provincial Grand Master who passed to the Grand Lodge above in February.  

After a speech by Mike’s wife of 49 years, Lin, (the couple met at school when he was aged just 14), Provincial Grand Master Neil Connolly gave a heartfelt tribute to Mike. He said, "Mike was a Dad, a grandfather, friend and also a husband, and behind every good Mason is an exceptionally supportive wife and so thank you very much Lin for all those years of support".

"Everybody dies twice. The first time there is physical passing, and the second time is when there is nobody left alive who has any memories of them. Every single person in this room has huge memories of Mike, and, as a result of that, he has a very long and lasting legacy".

"There’s something that we say in Masonry which is the grand design of being happy and communicating happiness. Mike will certainly be able to do that in our memories for many years to come".

Mike’s masonic career spanned 36 years. He joined Freemasonry in November 1985 when he was initiated into Latimer Lodge. He was a founding or joining member of four lodges and was Worshipful Master five times.

In 1987, Mike was exalted into Hooks Cross Chapter and he was made Provincial Grand Senior Nehemiah in 2013. Honorary member of six lodges, Mike received his first Provincial appointment in Hertfordshire in 1998; and in 2015 he was appointed Assistant Provincial Grand Master.

In 2016, he was appointed as a Grand Officer within the United Grand Lodge of England. 


The Fleet House Light Blues Club is not a lodge but a social club for freemasons in Hertfordshire who are yet to receive provincial rank. Members of the club helped in various capacities at the recent Provincial Meeting and are pictured above at the festive board.

The new Provincial Grand Master had been their chairman for a number of years, and now becomes the President of the club. The members were delighted to support their new President at the meeting and look forward to working with Provincial Assistant Grand Master John Norris as their new chairman.

If you wear a light blue apron, you are eligible to join the club.



September saw the 5th installation meeting of Hertfordshire’s newest Lodge, the Lodge of True Aim. The meeting was the last official visit of the Provincial Grand Master Paul Gower at the Lodge he consecrated in 2017, and he was supported by his Deputy and Assistants and accompanied by the Provincial Escort team. The meeting saw the installation of Andrew Sinclair and the Lodge's first initiate Pip Hughes attained the Warden's chair.

Lodge of True Aim is a specialist Lodge with members comprising of shooters who meet in the morning for a clay shoot. They are also one of the largest working lodges in the province with 59 members, at the meeting a further three Initiates and a joining member were proposed.


The last 18 months have prompted us to look at things differently. Made us re-evaluate our perspectives, and to have conversations we may never have considered before; including planning ahead for the ‘worst case scenario’. When we reflect over Covid and learn of those instances where Brethren have passed or who have fallen ill, many of them have been instrumental in the mechanics and functioning of our lodges. Holding key positions within them and often being the single point of access for things like accounts, finances and governance.

Conversations around this topic generally were not commonplace before the pandemic. Perhaps because it connects to the subject of mortality, or even the notion that somebody isn’t capable in their role due to deteriorating health.

The reality is, much the same as we would do at home, the pandemic has prompted more of us to think about the way things are managed presently and to plan for future eventualities. Many lodges and side orders have discovered after their Treasurer or Secretary has passed away for instance, that access to key information including accounts for instance is not possible. In such situations this has caused further distress to those lodges in what is already a difficult time for Brethren.

Many units have migrated to an electronic management of their affairs for some time, but how many of those accounts have only single person access? This is a prevalent issue and one that needs focussed consideration for all units to engage upon. There are some great examples of best practice that have been adopted, with some lodges looking ahead to provide support for officers in those roles. The reality is that key positions within the lodge are generally held by our maturest members (by age that is!) and illness and infirmity is a reality that will inevitably be a factor for us all at one point to manage. Working with and checking in with our Treasurers and Secretaries rather than adopting a reactive response will ensure the right mechanisms are in place.

For information around sound practice from a Treasurer's perspective, lodges can contact the Provincial Grand Treasurer, Richard Phillips via with further enquiries.


This month sees the reintroduction of the St Alban’s Masonic Luncheon Club at Ashwell House. In existence for many years, the club welcomes ladies and gentlemen who have a connection with freemasonry. Many of the regular events have seen Brethren (current or former), widows, and family members get the chance to come together.

Every month, with the exception of January, February and July, the club hosts an event at Ashwell House in St Albans. With tea or coffee and a warm welcome on arrival, each meeting a guest speaker provides a presentation in the main temple, and these include a wide variety of interesting topics. Thereafter guests enjoy the opportunity to connect in the bar before enjoying a 3 course meal in the main dining room, all for a very reasonable £24 per person.

The next scheduled meeting for the club is on Thursday 28 October 2021 starting from 10:30am. For further information contact



The Open House Festival is the capital’s largest celebration of architecture, design, engineering and public space. Now in its 30th year, the festival is a city-wide celebration of the buildings, places and neighbourhoods that make London special. A simple but powerful concept, the festival provides an opportunity for ordinary people to explore buildings and spaces they are not normally able to access and to learn about London’s incredible architecture, history and neighbourhoods through directly experiencing great buildings and places.
This year the event took place over the first weekend in September and Freemasons Hall in Great Queen Street, London, was one of the buildings open to the public over both days, with the newly introduced digital tours being available to visitors.
Hertfordshire Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge were asked by Freemasons Hall to assist with the running of the event. Over the course of the weekend, Keith Gilbert, Robin Crozier, Mick Chalkley, Roger Saunders, John Gamble and Phil Ainsworth (from Sussex Province) all formed part of the Hertfordshire contingent to support this extraordinary event. With in excess of 3,100 members of the public in attendance, Robin Crozier said ‘It was good to have the opportunity to interact with members of the public, to discuss Freemasons Hall and Freemasonry in general. And one person was sufficiently impressed to want to join too!’


We want you to keep in touch with us!

We always like to hear about your Lodges and members. Are you trying anything new? Have your members been going the extra mile to support the local community? Do you have events planned now that circumstances are beginning to improve? Let us know!

You can email your stories to us at,uk.
Those of you on social media can also tag @pglherts on our:
Facebook GroupFacebook Page, Instagram and Twitter or use the hashtags ‘#pglherts’ and ‘#happyherts’.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you!
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