Brethren and anyone who might chance upon reading this,BenAllen

I have had the distinct honour and pleasure of being the 18th Worshipful Master of this, the Internet Lodge. It has been for me a year of much change, hardship and joy; personally, professionally and masonically. In that sense my year has been held in a state of flux.

I am, however, delighted with how my year has gone, even without considering the above, that we managed to lay the foundations that will ensure the success of the lodge for many years to come, I have no doubt that future masters will reap the benefits of this year. I do claim little personal credit for this, it is largely down to having such an experienced and dedicated team to see the lodge move forward.

The year presented the events team, aka Rob Allen (also known to myself as Dad), with a number of challenges. Halls not being open, entertainers and locations cancelling on us, and a Rugby World cup taking all of the hotel rooms; despite all of that though I think we can look back on a successful year. I think it would be fair to say that few of the Friday nights went to plan, but the Saturday’s made up for that.

It began, as always with an installation in Manchester, on the 21st of March WBro Roy Morris installed me into the Masters chair with consummate skill, ably assisted by the lodge members in a ceremony that will live long in my memory. It was followed by a festive board at which I had the pleasure of seeing my father sing the masters song.
Afterwards a small group of us went to see Anna Karenina at the Royal Exchange theatre. I found the theatre to be a wonderful place to be, and thoroughly enjoyed the very artistic interpretation of the text. It was not to everyone’s tastes, which while disappointing is wholly understandable.

In July a group of us went to Maastricht, to bear witness to a now former member of Internet Lodge take his first chair, at General John J Pershing Lodge. It was a remarkable occasion for various reasons. I won’t talk about my drive there as that was the only unpleasant thing that happened to me. The sun shone for the whole weekend, the ritual was exceptional especially when you consider they had never worked that ritual before(!), we were all afforded a special greeting, and it left me with a sense that whilst languages and customs may be different Masonry really is a Universal phenomenon.

After this visit we went to see Andre Rieu perform in the centre of Maastricht. It was a particularly special occasion, and a meaningful one for myself and my partner. Having just lost her father, she was able to see, and hear, one of his favourite musicians play one of his favourite pieces of music in the flesh. It moved both of us deeply, and is something that I hope never to forget.

The lodge then returned to Great Queen Street London for another time, at my behest as it is where I have spent most of my Masonic life. There we met and had a presentation from Mitchell Merrick-Thirlway on the work to promote and encourage Mason for young men. Whilst the presentation was not the most polished, it was detailed and informative on a subject that will ensure the life of our institution is on a solid footing for many years to come.
Following this we had a cruise up and down the Thames, and saw London from the river, with all the sights of London that can be seen from there. It is probably the most picturesque way to view London and I think that everyone aboard had a great time.

We then travelled to Newcastle upon Tyne, well technically we stayed in Tynemouth, but that is another story. I have to say the welcome we received at the Byker Masonic hall was one of the warmest that I can recall. There we saw an excellent demonstration of a nineteenth century raising by the Northumberland Masonic Demonstration team, which from a dramatic perspective was beautifully done, with the correct gravitas, wit and timing. Indeed it was, so far, the best thing I have ever seen in a Lodge room. I would highly recommend if you get the chance to see this team in action that you grab that opportunity with both hands.

This was followed by the Ladies evening. We enjoyed a great meal, good entertainment and wonderful service. I hope that the ladies who attended feel suitably rewarded for their efforts in supporting us this year.

Lastly in January I was able to visit a Bristol lodge, The Canynges Lodge No 1388 to witness a Bristol raising. I was giving the honour as an Installed Master of sitting in the east to the right of the Worshipful Master, along with another brother, which gave us an excellent view. Whilst we were there my father and I managed to discover from an old photograph taken at an installation what lodge one of my great grandfather was a member. It was a thoroughly special day.

I would like to thank all of those who have so able assisted me in my year, and helped make it the success it was. I look forward to my last duty as master, that of installing my highly talented successor, Alan Turton who I am sure will take this lodge to new heights.

Benedict Allen
Worshipful Master Internet Lodge 9659