ONE of the biggest Masonic lodges in the Borders has now been created with the merger of two separate groups in Kelso, writes Mark Entwistle.
Rechristened The Lodge Kelso & Tweed No 58, the new group comprises around 60 members from the former lodges Kelso 58 and Tweed 261.
There is plenty of history involved, with Kelso 58 being founded in 1701, and Tweed 261 created in 1816. The amalgamation was celebrated with a ceremony at Kelso Abbey on Saturday.
This was followed by a procession to the town’s Tait Hall where the first installation of office bearers for the new lodge was conducted.
The Right Worshipful Master for the new lodge is Graeme White, who occupied a similar position with the old Kelso 58. The lodge will continue to meet in the Masonic premises in Shedden Park Road, which both former lodges also used.
Mr White said the decision to merge was taken simply because it felt the right time for such a move. “Both lodges have helped each other out on numerous occasions and it was just felt that, rather than having two small lodges struggling along during tough economic times, it would make a lot of sense to amalgamate,” he told TheSouthern this week.
“The result is a lodge that will be one of the biggest and strongest in the Borders with about 60 members.”
Mr White says one good sign for the future is the number of applications coming in from younger prospective candidates wishing to join the order.
He revealed: “There is a definite growth in the number of younger men expressing an interest in joining and it is really good to have new young blood coming in.
“We have a good supply of candidates that will keep us going for some time, which is excellent as it follows a couple of lean years.”
Mr White described the Masons as a fraternal society and charitable organisation.
He added: “We do not just support members, widows and orphans, but also support things like the Borders youth support scheme which has been going for about 10 years now and has seen £40,000 given out to help youngsters in the six-to-16 age group.”
And he says the future is definitely bright.
He explained: “We kept the number 58 from the name of the former Kelso lodge as it was the older of the two lodges. And with the merger we now have a full set of office-bearers which also bodes well for the future.”