Friendship Times was conceived as an idea as the Covid19 pandemic began to take hold in the spring of 2020. The Lodge met in February but by March meeting was not allowed. As our Zoom video meetings progressed into summer it was intended to aid keeping in touch with all brethren and provide a historical chronicle of our progress through the pandemic and (hopefully) our emergence
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The Covid19 pandemic had passed its spring peak though people were still isolating and some social restrictions on meeting remained. Our DC WBro Philip Titterton had sprouted an impressive amount of facial hair which was on display in our Zoom gatherings online. Due to pressure from the distaff side this growth was less luxurious at our Autumn gatherings.
The Autumn saw rising numbers of covid infections, hospitalisations and deaths after a drop across Spring and Summer. All Masonic meetings that we thought might be possible in the Autumn were cancelled. Severe restrictions were imposed on all sections of the population. It had been hoped to hold a restricted Installation in October but it was not possible to go ahead with this. We continued with our monthly Zoom Gatherings online which proved to be well attended and appreciated.
Christmas has passed and the number of Covid cases had reached record levels. This was probably not helped by family gatherings over Christmas. New vaccines had been developed and approved and a mass vaccination programme launched to innocculate the adult population. The group to be inoculated first were the most vulnerable with plans to roll out the programme to all adult members of the population by the Autumn. 15 million vaccinations were planned to be delivered by the middle of February. The numbers of daily infections began to fall and the NHS hospitals which had come close to being overwhelmed just managed to scrape through.
14 February 2021
7th April 2021
The vaccinations have been given to millions of people and the figures for infects, hospitalisations and deaths have reduced dramatically. As we approach the 12th April people are eagerly anticipating the reopening of pubs (outdoors), hairdressers and non essential shops. It is proposed to vaccinate all of the adult population by the end of July and all restrictions will be removed. It remains to be seen how members will feel about the resumption of Masonic meetings later in the year. Meanwhile our Zoom meetings online continue to be well attended and are much appreciated.
May 2021 saw the emergence of the Delta Covid varianr which was first identified on the Indian subcontinent which resulted in rising infection rates but fewer hospitalisations and deaths due to the extensive vaccination of older citizens. Hospitalaisations were mainly of younger and unvaccinated people.
16th June 2021
As we approached the 21st June the possible removal of all restrictions was postponed from 21st June until 19th July.
13th August 2021 and plans are being made to restart Masonic Meetings in September. Preparations are being made in all Masonic Halls to make them as Covid-proof as possible. 75% of the adult population has been vaccinated and levels of infections though still high are not resulting in as many hospitalizations or deaths.
Friday 3rd September 2021 saw the return to meeting and 18 brethren gathered in the Masonic Hall in Manchester to elect Bro George Makosso as Master for next year and vote for three new candidates who have patiently waited through the pandemic. This edition also saw contribution by our two new reporters (which made a change from the ramblings of the Editor Bro John Winstanley)
Friday 1st October 2021 was the Installation and was well attended by brethren and visitors. Despite the long break from meeting and the absence of the Director of Ceremonies the ceremony to install Bro Georges Makosso was well conducted and enjoyed by all those present.