Welcome to the Connaught Club
The Connaught Club has been founded to give young Freemasons in London a means to meet and socialise, with like-minded people of similar ages, who might otherwise be dispersed over London’s many Lodges and large geographic area.
Membership of the Club is open to any Freemason under 35 years of age, whose Lodge/Chapter is under Metropolitan Grand Lodge or who lives/works within London.
On Saturday, 12th March 2016, around fifty Club members, plus friends and family, came together on an uncharacteristically sunny afternoon at Fulham Reach Boat Club to cumulatively row the length of the Thames, on rowing machines, in aid of Rethink Mental Illness.
Rethink Mental Illness, in partnership with Mind, is behind the biggest campaign to end the stigma and discrimination that people with mental health problems still face in England.
The event was organised for two very important reasons:
Firstly, to raise funds for Rethink Mental Illness to help them continue their fantastic work in reducing the very damaging and spiteful stigma surrounding mental illness. So far, the Club has raised over £5,000 via donations from Lodges, Club members, friends and family members and from the sale of specially designed lapel pins. Over 300 of the Thames to Change lapel pins have been sold in numerous Lodges across London and also over the Internet to Brethren all around the world (Click here to purchase your Thames to Change lapel pin).
Secondly, to give Club members an excuse to stand in their Mother Lodges, explain what the Clubs’ aims are and to bring the subject of mental illness into the temple. With one in four people suffering with a mental illness at some point in their life, we all do, or will, know someone who is unwell and in need of our help. They may be your partner; your mother; your father; your sibling; your friend; or you may have personal experience. No matter who’s suffering, one thing is guaranteed, at some point in your life, you will have to deal with the issue of mental illness – if you haven’t already.
The Club believes the more we discuss our experiences of mental illness, the sooner the metaphorical elephant in the room will be eliminated.
Not only were Club members out in force to take on the challenge, but we were also joined by Daniel and Kate, of Rethink Mental Illness, who helped knock off a very respectable amount of kilometers from our target distance!
With so many incredible people participating, it didn’t take long for us to reach our target in just under six hours – well done all!
Once the target distance was reached (and the participants had showered), everyone gathered on the river’s edge at The Rutland Pub for a celebratory drink and well-deserved pub lunch whilst watching the Six Nations Rugby Championship.
The Club would like to thank Rethink Mental Illness for its amazing support throughout the past year and Fulham Reach Boat Club for their generosity in letting us use their wonderful facility.
The Club will continue to receive donations (http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/thames-to-change) and sell the Thames to Change lapel pin until June, when it will present a cheque to Rethink Mental Illness at its Lodge, Burgoyne Lodge No.902, on Saturday 11th June. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org , if you’d like to attend.
You’ve heard about the event, you’ve seen the lapel pin, you’ve bought the lapel pin and you said you’d like to row. Well, the time has come!
In just a few days, on Saturday, 12th March, 2016, the Club will attempt to row (inside, on rowing machines!) the length of the Thames!
Please invite your friends and family along to help us achieve this great feat and raise funds for Rethink Mental Illness, who run services and support groups that change people’s lives and challenge attitudes about mental illness.
If you think you can row for just 10 minutes, then we’d love for you to come along and help knock a few kms off of our target. Of course, if you’re feeling strong, you can row for another 10 minutes after you’ve rested!
Before the lodge meeting, we were given an excellent and informative tour of Freemasons’ Hall. All of the brethren were impressed by the architecture displayed throughout the building, and in particular of the Egyptian influenced Chapter room complete with its own trap door designed to lower individuals down into another room beneath the floor during ceremonies!
The first degree working took place the Prince Masons (Rose Croix) room which was decorated with the coats of arms and banners of Masons past. It should be noted that GML is one of the oldest lodges in the Irish Constitution; the lodge celebrated its 250th anniversary in 1999. As a result, the lodge has many of its own unique traditions, rights and privileges which were displayed thought the evening.
A volunteer from the Connaught Club was the evening’s candidate, and the ceremony was performed to a very high standard indeed, particularly so in light of the sartorial display of our very own candidate…! The ritual provided an informative insight into the differences between English Freemasonry and that practised in Ireland. An excellent Festive Board was enjoyed by all the brethren, where our Chairman delivered an address on behalf of the Connaught Club, thanking the officers and brethren of GML for an excellent ceremony. Following the FB, festivities continued late into the evening.
The following day, a packed schedule involved seeing the Book of Kells and the Old Library of Trinity College, as well as the requisite visits to the Jameson Distillery and Guinness Storehouse, along with the equally requisite tastings of the products offered by those establishments. Our time was rounded off with a fun night out in Dublin, taking in several traditional Irish bars.
An excellent weekend was had by all and locations for the next club trip are currently being considered – Scandinavia, anyone?
On Saturday, 24th October 2015, at Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street, The Connaught Club hosted the inaugural New and Young Masons’ Clubs Conference (NYMCC).
London’s young Masons club, The Connaught Club, was founded in 2007 by Past Metropolitan Grand Master R.W. Bro. Russell Race, DL, to give young Freemasons in London a means to meet and socialise, with like-minded people of similar ages, who might otherwise be dispersed over London’s many Lodges and large geographic area. In the eight years since the Club was formed, it has grown to over 300 subscribing members (membership is £25 per annum) and arranges around 20 Club events per year. Past events have included seminars on Side Orders; trips to witness other types of Workings (most recently to Dublin); its monthly Friday Social – held on the first Friday of each month at the Freemasons’ Arms, Long Acre – Summer Picnics and its Christmas Dinner.
Following in the footsteps of The Connaught Club’s great success, many other young Mason and ‘light blue’ clubs have been formed throughout the UK and many other parts of the world – South Africa boasts three Connaught Clubs!
The Conference, which was attended by over 120 Brethren from across the country – representing 32 Provinces – was organised to bring together the many young and ‘light blue’ clubs to explain which events have worked well for their respective clubs, present best practices they’ve discovered and impart any event organising tips they possess.
Six clubs – The Connaught Club, Southampton Light Blues Club, Holywell Club (Sussex), Colonnade Club (South Wales), Buckinghamshire Northeast Corner Club and the Adair Club (Somerset) – each delivered 20 minute presentations on their respective clubs. Details included how their clubs were formed, their admin processes, financial planning, event organisation, issues they’ve encountered and the plans they have for the future of their clubs. With so many great tips and ideas being shared, there was no doubt that the Conference was a huge success by bringing together so many clubs, assisting each other and inspiring the Brethren representing Provinces which currently don’t possess such a club to form one.