ISSUE 16, January 2006
Editorial
Historic: Sherlock Holmes incarnate
Travel: In the Footsteps of the Incas
Sport: Batting for England
Grand Lodge: Pro Grand Master's speech and Quarterly Communication
Supreme Grand Chapter: First Grand Principal's speech and Committee of General Purposes
Royal Masonic Girls' School: Stories in windows
Specialist Lodges: Brotherhood of the Angle
    Napoleonic Wars: A Mason's Word
International: Macedonia: New Grand Lodge consecrated and Enthusiasm unbound
Grand Lodge: Development of Freemasons' Hall
Masonic Rebels: Rise and fall
Bristol Museum: A Phoenix from the Ashes
Freemasonry and Religion: United in diversity
Library and Museum: Most glorious of them all
First Aid: Masons learn to shock
Education: The Third Degree and Forthcoming events
Masonic Charities, Letters, Book Reviews, Gardening

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Above
The Flyfishers’ Lodge logo

Below
Bob Furu (left), Master of Gallatin Lodge No. 6 of Montana, USA, being made an Honorary Member of the Flyfishers’ Lodge by Master John Blakesley
    The founders of Flyfishers’ Lodge No. 9347 were surely inspired by the writings of Izaak Walton when they decided to combine their two passions – flyfishing and Freemasonry – 17 years ago, for there is undeniably a common thread to the two subjects.
    Indeed, it is interesting to ponder whether Izaak himself might have been involved in the earliest stirrings of speculative Freemasonry in the late 1600s.
    Those founding members realised that by adding a further qualification for membership of their new Lodge, that of having: “…an active and participatory interest in flyfishing and a recognition that there exists among flyfishers a feeling of fraternity peculiarly compatible with Freemasonry”, they might create a Lodge unique in its appeal.
    With the passage of time, their vision has been realised. Meeting only three times a year, in March, June and September, members keenly look forward to each joyous occasion and combine them with opportunities to fish the glorious streams of Derbyshire.
    A further inspiration was the founders’ decision to base the Lodge at Ashbourne in the Derbyshire Dales, close to the banks of the river Dove where Walton fished with his good friend Charles Cotton.
    As an unashamedly social Lodge, Flyfishers’ has had to endure some ribbing from those who do not regard it as a “proper” working Lodge, despite our policy to provide a very high standard of lecture. However, by the time this goes to print we shall have conducted our first initiation.
    Three years ago one of our members read of the great work being done by a group of Freemasons in Hertfordshire. They styled themselves the Masonic Trout & Salmon Flyfishing Club, and in addition to getting together to enjoy a day’s fishing now and again, they had the inspired idea to introduce disabled and disadvantaged children to the joys of flyfishing.
    Despite the problems which beset the organisation of these events, they struck a chord and soon several fishing days were being held in the Southeast. We invited their chairman to a meeting of Flyfishers Lodge to talk about these events and soon we were forming our own little committee to organise the first Disabled Childrens’ Day in Derbyshire. We have now held two such days and it is difficult to judge who had more out of them – the children or the Masons who gave so freely of their time.
    As an added bonus, one of the non-Masonic helpers, a well-known angling instructor, was so impressed with the work being done by the Lodge that he asked about joining Flyfishers!
    Meeting so infrequently, it is understandable that we might want to get together by the riverside, so we have appointed a “Master of Fishing” whose task it is to organise regular fishing trips, culminating in the annual competition for the Cornwallis Cup, presented by the Past Pro Grand Master, MW Bro the Lord Cornwallis, who was Master in 1995.
    Our fishing forays have taken us the length and breadth of the country and all over the world, and wherever possible we try to make contact with a local Lodge and arrange to meet them.
    This is how we came to be guests of Gallatin Lodge No. 6 in Bozeman, Montana, USA. Our party made quite a stir locally, including as it did the Past Pro Grand Master, and visitors came hundreds of miles to the Lodge meeting, where we rather stuck out in our dark suits and white shirts amongst the blue jeans and cowboy boots!
    The members took us fishing, sightseeing in the Yellowstone National Park and generally kept us entertained throughout our stay with them. In return, we introduced them to the pleasures of a festive board organised at our hotel (something which is not practiced in Montana, the standard fare being a biscuit and a cup of coffee).
    We made many firm friends as a result of this trip and the Master of Bozeman Lodge at the time, Bob Furu, is now an Honorary Member of Flyfishers’ Lodge.
    Several members have subsequently returned to Montana for a holiday with their families and we have reciprocated when our American friends have visited the UK. This year our destination is Cuba, where we will be flyfishing on the flats for bonefish, tarpon and permit.
    We like to think that we have created something rather special in Derbyshire, a Lodge where brethren are bound together not only by the bonds of Freemasonry, but also a common interest in the gentle art of angling, described in the Compleat Angler as “…a rest to the mind, a cheerer of spirits, a diverter of sadness, a calmer of unquiet thoughts, a moderator of passions and a procurer of contentedness”.

David Marriott is secretary of the Flyfishers’ Lodge


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