Thursday 6th April was forecast to be cloudy with sunny spells. Thankfully for the cyclists it turned out to be sunny with cloudy spells. Yet again they were heading North, this time to Beccles. This time to visit Apollo Lodge No305 and they followed a route they did last year.
A beautiful day and once again shorts and T-shirts were worn. The route took them through yet more beautiful Suffolk countryside; this time on some lanes so narrow there was barely room to squeeze past oncoming cars without stopping, on roads more suited to mountain bikes, than road bikes with narrow their tyres. The route was also pretty much devoid of any pubs for the cyclists to take a refreshment break. Brother Andy however did receive some nourishment in the form a winged insect, which caused him to spend around half a mile spitting out wings and legs…
The only pub that did present an opportunity was at Mendham but the cyclists remembered that from this point on until Beccles it was pretty undulating and decided to press on. No games of dodge the crop sprayer today but there was a period where every farmer within a 5-mile radius had broken out the muck spreader for spring. The cyclists set a few personal records trying to outrun the smell…
After what seemed a longer journey than it was the cyclists arrived at the Kings Head in Beccles for a well-earned pint.
Then a short cycle down the road to the Conservative club where they met Bro Stephen Martin-Halls and the support van, together with WBro Paul Vella, Master of Priory Lodge.
The members of Apollo Lodge and other visitors warmly welcomed them all. It was a busy meeting with over 100 in attendance, The RW Provincial Grand master WBro Ian Yeldham accompanied by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master WBro John Rice, both officially visiting Apollo Lodge.
The work this evening was to initiate Bro Stuart Scarlett, which the WM WBro Nigel Bailey and the officers of the Lodge did in an excellent and efficient manner. The Lodge Charity Steward WBro Mike Ashford then asked the cyclists and their support crew to stand and Brother Andy was given the opportunity to explain a little more about the cycling challenge and their progress to date. The Charity steward then announced that the proceeds of the raffle would be put towards the cyclist’s cause and the Festival 2019.
The festive board at Apollo Lodge is quite famous within Suffolk Free Masonry; it has not changed in over 200 years… A meal of salt beef, new potatoes, beetroot, pickles, a bottle of Ale and cheese and biscuits. For those that have never been it is highly recommended.
It was enjoyed by all and with 100 Brethren dining it led to a lively and convivial atmosphere and again the cyclists met new brethren and caught up with others they had already met, now becoming familiar faces in the area!
The Festive board almost complete the members of Apollo Lodge then drew their monthly draw, five prizes of £50 were to be handed out. To the cyclists astonishment each member who won a prize promptly donated it to them and the Festival, £250 before the raffle was even announced!
The raffle then saw the excellent sum of £440, which was also donated to the cyclists in support of the Festival, £690! But it was not over yet with the RWPGM winning a bottle of wine, which he then auctioned off and being well supported it realised a further £50. The sum of £740 was further boosted by three personal donations received (£32.30) making Apollo Lodge’s contribution to the cyclists and the Festival a record breaking £772.30!!
So thank you to Apollo Lodge for the very warm welcome, the astoundingly generous donation and for your support. Also for the excellent Festive board members of the Lodge treated to the cyclists and their support crew to.
Once again to Bro Stephen Martin-Halls for his continued commitment and help in driving the support van to get the cyclists gear to the meeting and them home safely.
Miles to date: 1455
Lodges visited: 45
Lodges to go: 23
The next visit to Gt Yarmouth will be the longest ride of the challenge!