2021 Update

Widows Sons Masonic Bikers Association, Sussex Chapter

The 15th July 2021 the date The Sussex Chapter of Widows Sons Masonic Bikers Association
eventually came into being but the process started many months before. Earlier in the year the
South East Chapter started the processes to enable the PGB to vote for granting charters for
Gibraltar, Portugal and Sussex taking us to 29 WSMBA Chapters associated to UGLE and its Districts

It was important to us to seek and obtain the blessing and support of the PGM of Sussex before we
embarked on our formation if we were to become a recognised masonic organisation with the
Province. The Sussex Chapter of Widows Sons Masonic Bikers Association held their inaugural meeting on 15th July 2021 at the Selsey Arms at Coolham, near Horsham. This was planned to be attended by the Founder Members and Officers, namely;

Karl Hopper-Young – President
Lee Norman – Vice President
Paul Sorrell – Secretary
Robert Daniels – Treasurer and Road Captain
Dylan Swart – Almoner
Dan McLusky – Charity Steward


Unfortunately on the way to the meeting, Karl’s brand new Harley Davidson bike broke down near Brighton. Luckily he had some fellow bikers with him to keep his spirits up and to provide company whilst waiting for the repair vehicle. Half of the officers therefore had their meeting, and signed the

Charter in a lay-by, the other half in the pub. As the meeting coincided with National Gummi Worm Day (a soft chewy sweet made by the German company Trolli), these were handed to all those present and carried on every subsequent ride.

The goals of the Chapter were set:

• Introduce the wonderful world of motorcycling to our Masonic Brothers

• Raise masonic awareness in the world of motorcycling

• Supporting our own Masonic lodges with regular attendance and assisting with or attending

lodge events.

The Sussex Chapter continues to grow organically and now boasts a membership of 23 from across the Province; 13 Widows Sons and 10 Cornerstones many introduced at our events held during the year. On Sunday 18th July 2021, a number of us caught the ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourne on the Isle of Wight for a ride around the island. We were blessed with wonderful weather, smooth crossings, great company and good food. Unfortunately once again Karl’s bike broke down temporarily, but due to the good company and the fun we were having, it really didn’t seem to matter.

On Thursday 12th August 2021, Widows Sons, Cornerstones and guests attended a dinner at the Skyline restaurant at the Brighton & Hove Greyhound Racing Track to celebrate the new Sussex Chapter. A race was named after the Widows Sons Masonic Bikers Association Sussex Chapter, and we were invited to go track side to meet with the winning dog and owner, which was an ideal photo opportunity. Great amusement was created when it was noticed that one of the greyhounds in our race was called Dylan, the same name as our Almoner! Unfortunately Dylan the dog was not successful on the night!

A visit to Brooklands, led by Paul Sorrell, was arranged for 18th September with a look round the museum and an interesting guided tour of the aviation & Barnes Wallis centres.
On Sunday 21st November we teamed up with the Holywell Club to put on our second Clay Shoot of the year. To start the day off properly, we all meet at the Custom Café on Barnhorn Road, Bexhill for a big breakfast before going across the road to shoot. This was great fun with prizes awarded to the best shot and very generous donations towards the Widows Sons and Holywell Club charities.

November also saw the start of our Christmas Toy Collections to provide some seasonal cheers for children in local hospitals, hospices and homes. In preparation large collection bins were placed in several Masonic Centres, café’s, shops and offices.
As a result of the Toy Appeal, Karl was invited to BBC Sussex to be interviewed by Danny Pike. Later, together with Bob Daniels, our Treasurer and Road Captain, Karl was invited along to Hailsham FM to record a piece on Widows Sons. They were first shown around the building and studio, which is only a few hundred yards from Karl’s offices in Hailsham. Afterwards Karl and Bob were interviewed by Neil Povey and explained to him the work that Widows Sons and Freemasonry in general carry out.
As we progressed through November into December the donations began to accumulate. Particular thanks to Eastbourne Masonic Centre for their two and a half bin full of toys. We have also been extremely fortunate to be handed as a donation a cheque to the value of £400.00 from the Worshipful Master of the Greenstede Lodge 8035 and a personal donation from the Provincial Grand Master, for both we were incredibly grateful. In addition we were given a beautiful rocking horse by a client of Karl’s which was gratefully received by the Children’s Respite Trust at Uckfield.

The Toy Run took place on Sunday 19th December. It must have been a strange sight that greeted early morning risers in Hailsham that morning. Through the low lying mist emerged members of the Widows Sons Masonic Bikers Association, Sussex Chapter all dressed as Santa. Of course, no ride out

would be complete without the customary bacon sarnie washed down with copious amounts of tea before we set off. Loaded with the toys, gifts and £3050 of Amazon gift cards, we began a 4 hour, 140 mile ride to distribute them, starting at the Hastings Conquest Hospital Children’s Ward at and finishing at the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead. En-route dropping presents at Demelza Hospice, Children’s Respite Trust, Chailey Heritage Foundation and the Queen Alexandra Children’s Hospital, Brighton.
Our aim was to bring a smile to those who would otherwise have nothing but whole event also brought a huge smile to our faces.

Throughout the year the members have met at regular Natter Nights, organised many impromptu ride-out (mainly involving a breakfast) and supported members by visiting their lodges. Three topics seemed to dominate the WhatsApp group discussions; 1 – what is the correct order and position for the patches to be sewn on to jackets and cuts, 2 – how many times was Karl’s new bike going to break down (4 and counting) and the menu (Turkeygate) for the Christmas Meal held on the 8th December at the Fox & Hounds, Haywards Heath. It is hard to believe that we have only been in existence for 5 months!

Plans for 2022 are under way with a focus on raising money for children’s charities in the province of Sussex, supporting Sussex SERV and the Matthew 25 Mission. Our aim for 2022 is to promote the Chapter within the 160 Sussex Lodges and to the wider community, to encourage a healthy membership of Cornerstones who are non-Masons.

• Monthly Natter Nights at the Fox & Hounds, Haywards Heath (19th Jan 6.30pm)• Easter Egg Run
• June – France Trip 2nd-7th June 2022
• Online Raffle to support SERV Sussex and Matthew 25 Mission