The Lodge Banner

 

The Lodge banner is shown above. It bears the arms of the Harris family. The arms are described in Cracroft's Peerage as follows:

"Vert on a Chevron embattled Erminois between three Hedgehogs Or as many Bombs Sable fired proper on a Chief of Augmentation a Representation of the gates and fortress of Seringapatam the drawbridge let down and the Union Flag of Great Britain hoisted above the standard of Tippoo Sahib all proper."

In order to use the Harris arms, it was necessary to obtain permission from the family. Much work was carried out by WBro Kevin Russell, who took on the task of making sure that all relevant matters were properly researched and correct authorities obtained. As a result of WBro Kevin's hard work, permission was obtained from the Harris family for the Lodge to use the Harris family crest. The Lodge is grateful to WBro Kevin for his hard work and to the family for giving their permission.

On Friday 18 February 2011, the Lord Harris Lodge 1494 was honoured by the presence of the Provincial Grand Master, R W Bro Roger Croucher, who dedicated the Lodge's new Banner. The meeting was a truly exceptional occasion. The R W Provincial Grand Master was accompanied by over 30 members of the Province. His arrival was announced by WBro Greg Dunham, PrGDC. This was all the more meaningful for the Lodge as WBro Greg is a member of the Lord Harris Mark Lodge. The Lodge was also honoured by the presence of both Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, WBro David Green and WBro ArchieTorrance, who is also a member of the Lord Harris Lodge. The Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, WBro Graham Raven, remained in his position as Lodge Director of Ceremonies. The Provincial Grand Officers were duly appointed to their various positions.

The Banner Procession formed and the Banner was carried into the Lodge by WBro Paul Lincoln, escorted by the Worshipful Master, WBro Joe Oremi Cole. The Brethren sang the hymn "O God Our Help in Ages Past". The banner was then presented to the PGM, who unveiled it and called upon the Provincial Grand Chaplain, WBro John Sylvester, for the benefit of prayer. WBro John also delivered a captivating oration.

The Lord Harris Lodge was consecrated on 21 January 1978 but had never commissioned the making of a Lodge Banner. Some two years ago, the idea of commissioning the creation of a Banner was raised by WBro Archie Torrance. A round of activity, driven and coordinated by the Secretary, WBro Derrick Lincoln, followed.

The Banner Committee worked on designing the banner and agreeing the proposed final outcome with the Lodge.Once this had been completed, attention focused on the practicalities of obtaining (and financing) a banner. Anyone, who has researched the matter, will be aware of the cost of a Banner. The Lodge was, however, fortunate that it has connections with WBro David Stiff, ProvDepGSwdB and subsequently appointed to the active rank of Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies. WBro David's wife, Mrs Janet Stiff, was approached and she agreed to make a Banner for the Lodge. The Banner was completely hand made by Janet. As can be seen, it is striking in its beauty. It was impossible to watch the Banner being paraded around the Lodge without feeling the emotion brought about by the culmination of two years' intensive planning and work.

Two striking features of the coat of arms on the Banner are a castle, representing achievements from the military career of the first Lord Harris and three hedgehogs. The French word for hedgehog is "hérisson", hence the connection with "Harris".

During the meeting, the Lodge presented the PGM with a cheque for £250 for the Kent Mark Benevolent Fund. At the festive board, where 73 sat down to dinner, the Charity Steward, WBro Ian Gallehawk, presented WBro David Stiff with a cheque for £150 in favour of the Orchid Trust, a charity devoted to fighting male cancer. This was Janet Stiff's chosen charity, Janet having declined any personal reward from the Lodge!

To round the evening off, the WM, WBroJoe Oremi Cole, gave the Lodge a brief history lesson. WBro Joe is a native of The Gambia. On 18 February 1965, The Gambia gained independence from Great Britain. Exactly 46 years later, a son of The Gambia was able to stand proudly as the ruling Master of a Mark Lodge in England as its Banner was dedicated. A copy of the summons and order of ceremony can be seen by clicking on the image to the right.

A gallery of pictures from the evening can be viewed through the links to the left or by clicking here.