On Saturday 26 August 2023, at the premises of Lodge Tarbolton (Kilwinning) St James No. 135, the 5 Ayrshire Lodges held an extraordinary charity 2nd Degree charity meeting, to raise funds for Whiteleys Retreat, a children's charity based in Ayrshire.
The meeting was attended by Bro William Ramsay McGhee, Grand Master Mason, along with Bro. William H. Gauld, Depute Grand Master Mason, Bro. John McKenzie, Senior Grand Warden, Bro. Sam Peden, Junior Grand Warden, and Bro. Ronnald W.A. Forbes, Grand Director of Ceremonies.
Also in attendance were Depute Provincial Grand Master, Bro Stephen R. McConnachie (PGL Ayrshire) and a large PGLA deputation, Bro. Tom Woods, Provincial Grand Master (PGL Kilwinning), Bro. Gordon Heggie (Substitute PGM Glasgow), numerous RWM's from within and outwith the province, and a large number of brethren.
The Erskine Hall filled to capacity whilst the 5 Masters and brethren of the of the 1771 - 1773 Lodges degree team conferred FC on Bro. Robert Cotton.
After the meeting there was a celebratory sell out dinner with toasts, musical entertainment, raffles, and various auctions to raise funds. The keynote speaker was Bro. Archibald Chalmers, Past Provincial Grand Master, who proposed a toast to the 5 lodges in which he detailed the origin of the lodges, provided an insight into life in the 1700's and gave a history of Ayrshire Freemasonry from then to the current day. His toast, as well as the others, were greatly appreciated by the brethren.
At the end of the evening, the brethren raised the magnificent sum of £7,100 for Whiteleys Retreat.
The atmosphere at this unique and historic meeting was quite exceptional, and as a result new bonds between the Lodges shall ensure this will not be the last meeting of its kind.