The Start of the Fete
Notes by the late Bob Hooper,
Fete started shortly after the first formal cricket Match
at the Middlesex Provincial Retirement Home soon to become
the Princess Alexandra Nursing Home, when the afternoon commenced
with a contest and then a B-B-Q run by Ken Beecher, Earl Strafford
Lodge ably assisted by John Grummitt of the Enfield Lodge
who provided the Teas.
wicket was prepared on the long grass well before the matting
wicket was laid and opened by Brian Ivory in the lovely grounds
of the Home later called the Princess Alexandra Homes.
plans included a Challenge match in the Summer on the 10th
July 1988 between the Teams Captained by Leslie Wilson and
Ken Reed, with Stephen Moore, Oakwood Lodge as the Captain
and provider of the equipment and Bob Hooper Captain of the
other - see the Southgate Charity Functions Newsletter for
details. Leslie Wilson’s team were the victors in the
last over. The Toss-up between these two was made. You may
wish to know that this was made using a two pound coin which
has pride of place at the Southgate Masonic Centre. The Umpires
were Basil Mann and Roy Stephenson—two well recognised
a result the funds for the Princess Alexandra Nursing Home
were boosted by some £1000 (one thousand pounds) which
was well received by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master R
W Bro. Gordon Bourne. Mrs Bourne drew the winning ticket for
the Weekend in Paris (Courtesy of Intersun). This was won
by Bro. Alan Jacobs, Pari Passu Lodge. The Home was visited
by many, ably assisted by Mrs S Reed, and Bros. Harold Schurer
and Derek Evans.
following year this was expanded to encompass the other Centres
and hence was born the Fete and the Cricket competition. Later
the two were held on the Saturday and the Sunday as the crowds
attending were too large to be held on the same day.
I became involved with the fete in 1990. The fete committee
in conjunction with the League of Friends from the Home were
organising and running the fete and because of my involvement
with the catering industry I was asked to assist, by this
time Haste Hill Lodge was running the Beer Tent which also
provided the food. This was previously run by Roy Sheaf and
his wife Megan they also received help from Derek Coles who
with his connections to the local football club was able to
borrow portable coolers for the draught beer, which we were
able to get at reasonable rates from the brewery, Roy looked
after the Beer Tent soon to be called the “Café
du Paris”, and Megan did a great job providing the food.
We would arrive during the week and as a team, which was at
this time led by Mitch Michele, we would erect the stalls
and Beer tent, I believe the stalls were provided with folding
tables and chairs, each stall had a Red or Blue canopy. The
beer tent had to be up and running by Saturday morning to
host the Provincial Cricket Play as we were required to provide
refreshments for the teams and spectators.
received a lot of support from the staff at to home as we
were allowed to use their kitchen to make up the sandwiches
Saturday was a fantastic day, it allowed all the volunteers
the opportunity to relax once all the hard work setting up
was complete, Sunday was great we had lots of entertainment
for both kids and adults alike, kiddie round about, Punch
and Judy and the infamous kiddie fancy dress. The Birds of
Prey display was very popular, Morris Dancers, and Dog Show.
Because of its location we were regularly entertained by a
fly past of various aircraft, one year I remember we had the
D-Day fly past with “Spitfires, Hurricanes’, and
the famous Lancaster Bomber” very spectacular. The setting
at Stanmore was ideally suited, high on a hill which gave
a panoramic view of the country side around you “Breath
my chairman ship the home was sold and we moved to the Masonic
Centres at both Harrow and Twickenham, with varying degrees
of success we could never match the setting in Stanmore. Everyone
involved with the fete worked hard to make them successful
and I think that Harrow had the biggest successes until it
moved to the Girls school at Rickmansworth were it has grown
and developed into its current successful format.
In 2007 John Briggs took over as Chairman of the fete committee
(known as Harrow Fete). The fete expanded from the lawn at
the back of the Harrow Centre until it surrounded the whole
building. The fete continued to grow and outgrew the space
was very keen on making the fete something for the whole Province,
an opportunity to give back something to the members and their
families for the work during the year. By kind permission
of the head groundsman he moved the fete to the Royal Masonic
School for Girls. The new location was more central and accessible
to all the Masonic centres and created a greater area for
new stalls and events. Soon became known as the Middx Prov
through his role as charity coordinator managed through the
support of the APGMs to actively involve each Masonic centre,
bringing the fete from its more humble origins at Stanmore
and then Harrow to a truly Provincial event.
was instrumental in widening the scope of the stalls at the
fete to include charity stalls which could promote greater
awareness of Charitable organisations in the province. He
was also able to get more the various orders in Freemasonry
within the Province actively involved including stalls from
the Mark Degree, Royal Order of Scotland and the Royal Arch.
the fete was fresh and attractive each year was always a challenge.
John with the fete committee sought to create a theme each
year, for example from a Civil War Enactments with over 50
soldiers to a birds of prey display throughout the day.
success of the fete grew and grew with lodges talking stalls
representing every centre in the Province. The fete became
well supported by the Executive and in turn was widely published
at other Masonic events. John’s legacy is a professionally
organised fete as we know it today, it is for the benefit
of all freemasons in the Province which gives something back
for all the work during the year and a place that the whole
family can enjoy.
The ProProv.GM Roger Croome a couple of years ago was concerned
about the widows of members of closed Lodges. The Middlesex
Province Relief Fund ( MPRF ) with help from the Provincial
Grand Charity Steward, W.Bro. Adrian Howarth then researched
the archives and came up with details of Lodges who had closed
over the last few years and made enquiries as to the widows
of deceased members of those Lodges and their whereabouts.
Adrian made arrangements with existing Lodges to look after
these widows and arranged that the MPRF would make a payment
at Christmas ( currently £40.00 ) to each widow individually
via the contact Almoner. At Christmas 2012 just short of 120
cheques were sent out and it is anticipated that 2013 will
be nearer 150.
We have received some money from the Fete and also in a few
cases from Lodges Benevolent Funds/Relief Chest prior to the
final distribution of their Charitable Funds. We do hope that
more Lodges will support us and help Masonry to continue helping