Lochiel Masonic lodge celebrates 100 years in the community

left to right - David Stafford PMWJW Lochiel 1200, Leslie Gow RWM Lochiel 1200 Dave Crilly Provincial Grand Master of Inverness-Shire. John McIntyre WSW Lochiel 1200 Photograph: Anthony MacMillan Photography

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Masonic Lodge Lochiel 1200 celebrated a century in the Corpach and Banavie area on Saturday November 9 with a ceilidh and members attending Remembrance Services.

The lodge was set up in 1919 for returning servicemen in the area who could not get to the lodge in Fort William, which has been present since the 18th century.

Masonic lodges exist for the same reason now as they did hundreds of years ago, to offer men the chance to help out their communities and better themselves.

The Lodge’s Right Worshipable Master (RWM), Leslie Gow said: ‘Charity is the main thing for the lodge. Masons are the second biggest charity givers in Scotland, after the National Lottery.

‘We take a collection every week and if anyone ever approaches us for charity then it is looked upon favourably. We cannot offer a great amount of money like some of the older lodges, but we do what we can.

All members of the Masonic Lodge Locheil 1200 gathered on Saturday November 9, marking their 100 years after being formed. Photograph: Anthony MacMillan Photography

‘About 10 years ago we were struggling to get young people, but now we have quite a few youngsters who will keep the lodge going for another century.

Often thought of as a secret society, Mr Gow dispelled those rumours, saying that ‘secrets’ are protected building techniques that are based on the building of King Solomon’s Temple, and lodges are focused on constructing men of good character.

The Masons are changing with the first ‘commoner’ becoming the head of the Masons in Scotland, Ramsay McGhee, a retired police officer, in hopes of attracting a larger breadth of people into ‘the craft’.