Charities benefit from Lodge closure

Carole Carnochan, Wullie Martin, Carley Grey and Margaret Lawrie are presented with cheques by Robert McKie, his last official duty as Right Worshipful Master of  Whithorn's Masonic Lodge,
Carole Carnochan, Wullie Martin, Carley Grey and Margaret Lawrie are presented with cheques by Robert McKie, his last official duty as Right Worshipful Master of Whithorn's Masonic Lodge,

Five local charities have benefited to the tune of £2100, due to the imminent closure of Whithorn’s Masonic Lodge, which has met in the town since 1877.

Lodge Leucophibia 602 last met in Whithorn in June 2010, when the decision to move to Lodge Galloway 951 in Wigtown was taken, due to the sale of the Old Town Hall, which housed the Masonic Temple.

That move was to lead to the eventual demise of Leucophibia 602. Membership of the lodge dwindled as several older members passed away, with the ages of the few surviving office bearers ranging from 70 to 90, the youngest at 40.

Late last year, the members of the lodge took the decision to apply to the Grand Lodge of Scotland, through the Provincial Grand Lodge of Galloway, for ‘Dormancy.’

The application is currently under consideration, and is likely to be rubber stamped within a few weeks.

This means the lodge will no longer meet, but it could be revived under certain circumstances.

The Brethren of Leucophibia held their final official meeting, to discuss what was to happen to the money in their bank account.

As it had been donated over the years mainly by Freemasons from Whithorn and the surrounding area, it was agreed to give the bulk of the cash back to charitable organisations within the town.

The groups were the Bravehearts Amateur Boxing Club; the Whithorn Mother and Toddler Group; the Old Folks Summer Outing Group; the Rosebuds and Brownies; the Boys Brigade and a sixth organisation.

Each received a cheque for £350, with the remainder of the lodge’s money going to Grand Lodge of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Last week four representatives of the charities attended an informal gathering at the home of Past Master Archie M. T. Taylor, Lodge Secretary and Treasurer, to receive their cheques.

Right Worshipful Master Robert McKie thanked them for coming, and explained why the donations were being made.

He then presented cheques to Carole Carnochan from the Mother and Toddlers, Wullie Martin from Bravehearts ABC, Carley Grey from the Brownies and Margaret Lawrie from the ‘Old Folks’.

The Reverend Alex Currie accepted his cheque on behalf of the Boys Brigade the following day as he was on fire duty at Whithorn Fire Station on the night of the presentation.

There was a bonus of an extra £70 for each of the five charities when the cheque which was delivered to the sixth organisation, who were not represented at the presentation, was returned with a note saying they would not accept it.

RWM McKie said: “It is a sad occasion for Freemasonry when any lodge closes, but it is particularly sad when it is your own. This is the second lodge to become dormant in Whithorn in more than 220 years. First was Lodge St Thomas 248 which was chartered in 1793 and was successful for 44 years. Forty years later, in 1877, Lodge Leucophibia was Chartered, and since that time, 641 men have been admitted in to the lodge, which means around five Masons made every single year since the lodge opened.

“Who knows? Maybe in another 40 years or so, another new lodge may start in Whithorn. I hope so.”