For many years there has been an ever increasing interest within Freemasonry of members who are interested in motorbike riding. That image of powerful motorbikes, riders wearing leather clad jackets proudly displaying badges of association and their enthusiasm for common friendship, beer and rock music was a sight to behold.
Throughout the UK and abroad, Freemasons from many Provinces have formed themselves into “Widow Sons” Masonic Bikers Associations or Chapters. To become a member, you must first be a Master Mason, hold a current driving licence and own a motorcycle. Members meet regularly to enjoy the social aspects of their association, including organized ‘Rides’ and events. However, the more serious side of their activities include the raising of monies for charity and raising the profile of Freemasonry in the community. In fact, many family members and friends, who are not freemasons are always welcome which swells their numbers.
The popularity of the ‘Widows Sons’, is such that its membership is estimated to be over a thousand nationally. The first “Widows Sons Lodge No. 10011” was consecrated on the 9 th April 2022, in Hull. Since then they have held Lodge meetings in Beverley and Wylam in Northumberland.
The “WS Rally 2022” was the first national gathering of members and the holding of a lodge meeting in the Province of Durham at Bishop Auckland RFC on the last weekend in July.
The front cover of the ‘Event Program’ had a strapline that read ” A weekend of Beer Brotherhood Bikes & Bands”. Each element was amply satisfied.
From Friday to Sunday almost 400 members and friends gathered on the grounds of Bishop Auckland Rugby Club. Its playing fields were covered by a huge marquee, camping tents, camper vans, caravans and a mass of gleaming, powerful motorbikes each being the pride and joy of their owner.
Welfare facilities included a fully stocked bar serviced by the Rugby Club. These catering facilities provided several options for burgers, hot, dogs, pizza and even a food delivery service via three different providers.
Harmony was provided by a total of six local bands who took to the stage in the marquee and rocked the whole weekend. Sounds that would grace any Rock Concert!
Andrew Foster, AsstProvGM representing the Province of Durham, attended the venue on the Friday evening of the event. He accepted an invitation to meet the organisers and their members for the formal welcome and commencement of proceedings.
Andrew congratulated all who had been involved in arranging and organising the “Widows Sons” weekend Rally which included; Andy Reed – President, Graham Dockrill – Rally Secretary, John Stevenson – Past President and current Secretary plus Gary Elgie – Treasurer, they were assisted by Andy Bridger and Mike Arnot. When touring the site, Andrew also took the opportunity to sample their hospitality and straddle a bike or two.
On Saturday 30 th July, following a 70 mile “Ride Out” touring Middleton in Teesdale, Stanhope and St. John’s Chapel they returned to Bishop Auckland to attend the “Widows Sons” Lodge meeting. This was held under a dispensation granted by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham and held within the marquee. Attendance included 40 Lodge Members and 140 visitors.
At the conclusion of this somewhat different but historic, memorable and most importantly enjoyable weekend for so many freemasons, friends and families, the cause of Charity was not forgotten.
The event raised £1,500 donated to Northumbria Blood Bikes and Lifelites Children’s Hospice Fund and received £4,000.00 towards their national target of £20,000.
If you are interested or require any further information on the “Widow Sons” Association in the Province of Durham contact; John Stevenson – firstname.lastname@example.org