On June 24th 1717 four London Lodges of Freemasons met at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern near St Paul's Cathedral and formed the first Grand Lodge of England.
300 years later, on July 2nd 2017, Freemasons from the Provinces of Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire, along with their friends, families, kids and grandkids joined together, at Royal Windsor Racecourse, for a celebration of this momentous date in the history of Freemasonry.
The Event was open to everyone, whether a Freemason or not, and was attended by in excess of 10,000 people.
There was a full race card, a free funfair for the kids, and with gourmet food, beer, wine and champagne all on offer, no one could fail but to have a splendid day out ... apart from those of us who backed the wrong horse ... But those moments were quickly forgotten as everyone joined in the fun on what turned out to be a beautiful day in Windsor.
The icing on the cake was a finale concert with Tony Hadley, who played a great set of numbers, finishing with the classic 'Gold' from his days as ex-lead singer with Spandau Ballet. Tony was chatting with the event organiser, Bill Smithson, and said: "I had an amazing afternoon with my family at the funfair and races. We all absolutely loved it and I would like to say thank you so much to the Freemasons for a great day."
Sponsored by the United Grand Lodge of England and hosted under the banners of Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire Freemasons, the celebration was attended by Peter Lowndes, Pro Grand Master, and the Provincial Grand Masters from each of the three Provinces, as well as many hundreds of Freemasons from throughout the country.
RW Gordon Robertson, ProvGM Buckinghamshire said: "This event has been in the planning for many years, not quite since 1717, although I'm sure that the team who organised it feel as though it has been that long. It was wonderful to see so many people enjoying themselves in this very special year for Freemasons throughout the world. There are many people who contributed to the success of the day but I must pay particular tribute to my AsstProvGM, John Clark, to Bill Smithson, Webster Springer and Phil Witney who steered this whole event over the last few years and overcame many obstacles and no small amount of organisational headaches to see it to fruition. Also, my sincere thanks to Anthony Howlett-Bolton, Paul Buck, Robin Kent, John Holsman, Brian Wilson, Hugh Douglas-Smith and Stephen Knapp who were tireless in their efforts to ensure the day went smoothly.
There are many fun days still to come during the next few months, culminating with our Tercentenary Celebratory Event at the Royal Albert Hall on the 31st October. I wish you all a most enjoyable summer."