Inception and the first seven years of the Association of Friends of Shannon Court.
The first meeting of the Friends of Shannon Court took place at the Godalming Masonic Centre, Godalming, Surrey on Monday 23 May 1994 at 4.30pm.
Present were V.W Bro. Philip Toler Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W.Bro. Terry Doyle, Assistant Provincial Grand Master (Surrey), W.Bro. Alan Tasker, (Surrey) W.Bro. David Trott, (Surrey) W.Bro. Derek Whelan, (Surrey) W.Bro. Mike Yalden (Surrey) and W.Bro. Charlie Kemp (Hampshire & Isle of Wight).
Apologies were received from W.Bro. Ray Hussey (Surrey) and W.Bro Gerry Garwood (Surrey).
Alan Tasker opened the meeting and requested that the formation of the Association of Friends of Shannon Court should be kept to the members present until the formal announcement by RT W.Bro. Lord Shannon, The Provincial Grand Master, at the Annual Provincial Grand Lodge Meeting in June 1994.
The Following appointments were made.
Chairman – Alan Tasker
Deputy Chairman – Mike Yalden
Secretary – Charlie Kemp
Treasurer – Gerry Garwood
Membership Secretary – Derek Whelan
Social events – David Trott
Fund raising – Ray Hussey
V.W Bro Philip Toler emphasised that although the Province of Surrey had invited the Brothers to form the Association of Friends of Shannon Court but the Province and the RMBI would not get involved in the running of the Association.
Charlie Kemp suggested that we should have a logo (motif) for the association in the form of a flower or like and agreed to look into this matter.
Mike Yalden distributed a report entitled ‘think tank ideas’ and agreed to formulate a plan of action.
Derek Whelan suggested and all agreed that the Annual Subscriptions for membership of the Association should be £5 per annum. This was increased at the next meeting to £10 per annum.
A draft Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution Association of Friends Constitutions and rules was circulated for consideration following this first meeting.
Constitution of rules were stated at the first inaugural meeting.
The RMBI role of Association of FOSC were discussed.
The logo for the institution was discussed.
The Charity Commissions were approached for Shannon Court to be considered for charity status.
The Surrey 97 Festival News incorporated a leaflet for Shannon Court in which it stated “Buy a brick today for Shannon Court” (Charlie Kemp has an original copy).
Charlie Kemp suggested that the logo be a Purslane flower as it was a flower found at Waggoner’s Wells, an area of natural beauty which is adjacent to Shannon Court.
Waggoner’s Wells provided inspiration to the poet Lord Tennyson who lived in the area.
This idea was suggested and approved.
There is a plaque at Waggoner’s Wells at a wishing well and reads,
At this wishing well , in 1863, Alfred Lord Tennyson composed the poem,
“Flower of the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
little flower – but I could understand
what you are, root and all, and all, in all,
I should know what God and man is”.
The Constitutions were approved on 2 August 1994 (Charlie Kemp has an original copy).
Job Descriptions of all committee members were finalised.
Arrangements were made for the editors of the 1997 festival newsletter to attend a meeting.
The logo flower pin badge was now ready for the production. Every friend that joined the association would receive a badge.
Membership forms were produced by Derek Whelan.
David Trott presented speakers notes which were agreed.
The piano was purchased for the residents.
The home was registered as a Charity in 1995.
The first golf day was agreed for Wednesday 20 September 1995.
First garden party was for arranged for 16 July 1995. (Charlie Kemp has original Programme)
It was agreed that we should send birthday cards to all residents of Shannon Court.
The Surrey Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge gave £500.00 to help buy garden furniture for the residents.
The Electronic bingo machine was purchased.
On 23 June 1995 Shannon Court was officially opened by the Countess of Shannon, wife of the then Provincial Grand Master of Surrey, The Right Worshipful, The Rt Hon The Earl of Shannon. (Charlie has original official programme of the event).
It was agreed that the Earl and Countess of Shannon be made honorary members of the association.
The first Garden party was held on 16 July 1995 (Charlie Kemp has the original programme).
Ray Hussey announced that the first golf day raised over £2000.00.
Derek Whelan reported that there were now 242 members of the Association of FOSC.
Mike Yalden, Charlie Kemp and Ray Hussey would attend the RMBI delegates meeting in London.
Alan Berman, a solicitor based in Hampshire, Grand Superintendent, kindly assisted with legal requirements regarding the Charity registration and Bar Licence.
The designated friends’ office within Shannon Court was first used.
The first newsletter known as “The Courtier” was produced by Gerry Garwood and Charlie Kemp (Charlie Kemp has the original copy)
A PA system and audio/ loop for the home was discussed and agreed.
The Woodland Walk quotation was agreed.
Len Poulton, a Hampshire Mason agreed to be liaison officer for the volunteer driver for the Shannon Court vehicle.
Construction at the Woodland Walk commenced in November 1997.
Newsletter Feb 1999
Mike Yalden requested the members of the committee stand for a period of silence in memory of Alan Tasker, Chairman of the Association of Friends), Mike Yalden paid tribute to his life and in particular his work for the Association of Friends of Shannon Court.
Charlie Kemp read letters received from Miss Jen Reynolds, Chief Executive RMBI, Kevin Harris, Homes Director, Hugh Parrott, Chairman Association of Friends Barford Court, whom all sent their condolences to the late Alan Tasker’s family and to the Association of Friends.
Mike Yalden became Chairman of the Association.
Three specialised beds were purchased for the home.
As an original agreement with the committee Charlie Kemp would be stepping down as Secretary of the Association of Friends.
The garden party was officially opened by the Provincial Grand Master of Hampshire and IOW R.W Bro Ernest Moss and the Provincial Grand Master of Surrey R.W Bro. Terry Doyle.