Primus Master of Spirit of Rugby Lodge WBros Roger Waltham was joined by fellow members of the lodge: Keith Bennett, Mark Lawson, and Clive Lang to present the #GiftOfBeer to Tracey Bullock at Medway Rugby Club where he has been a member of since he was a teenager. Reflecting on more than 50 years in rugby Roger talks about the history and evolution of the club and his enjoyment of rugby as a Freemason…
“I joined Medway RFC in my mid-teens 53 years ago in 1968 (it was called Rochester RFC at that time) so it was really good to be at the Past Players lunch during the club’s ninetieth year, to celebrate the past, present, and future of the club. During the afternoon I talked to lots of people – older members (including an old friend who is now 91 years old and still enjoying his beer and rugby!), current players and supporters, and up-and-coming members of the club – and those widely varying conversations encouraged me to reflect on the history and evolution of this much-loved club…
THE PAST… It’s always good, of course, to enjoy the company of so many fellow players from the past, and re-live those happy days, on and off the pitch, well remembered.
THE PRESENT… It is also wonderful to be a part of how the club embraces modern thinking and attitudes, reflecting positive changes to the mindsets and attitudes of previous times (especially regarding race, gender, sexuality, and the inclusion of those with physical and mental challenges). Some very pleasing examples of those positive mindset changes are the massive expansion of women’s rugby, the very welcome and positive leadership of Tracy Bullock as the club’s first ever female Chair, the great expansion of youth and minis rugby, and the creation of an absolutely amazing mixed abilities team.
THE FUTURE… The evolution of the club to embrace what is new and positive continues and, at the same time, ensures full compliance with safeguarding and all the other regulatory requirements of a modern organisation. It is immensely exciting to witness that evolution and the positive way in which that success is being managed by brilliant teams of people, right across all aspects of the club’s operation. On the playing side of things, the men’s 1st XV play at a higher level than ever before and are currently positioned only behind London Welsh in the London 1 South league, Medway Ladies hold their own in the highly competitive South East 2 table of the Women’s Championship, and the Youth and Minis continue to compete effectively, consistently bringing enjoyment and life-long passion of the game to hundreds of young players. All of this, not to mention the buoyant and enthusiastic social side of the club’s operations, effectively seals its future in all the right ways, for all the right reasons.
With all of that in my mind, I found it immensely satisfying that afternoon to be part of the Spirit of Rugby Lodge team (including Keith Bennett, Mark Lawson, and Clive Lang) that presented bottles of the Spirit of Rugby Ale to Club Chair, Tracy Bullock, to underline the Lodge’s support of the future of rugby throughout the area. It is hugely gratifying to be a cog in that positive and enthusiastic wheel of support. The Lodge is founded on a shared commitment to the combined ethos of rugby and freemasonry, which includes respect, integrity, and benevolence. At the risk of repeating myself, the Lodge shares the determination of our local rugby clubs to seal the future for those who follow us, in all the right ways, for all the right reasons.
Founding Chairman of the Vice Presidents Association at Medway RFC
Founding Master of the Spirit of Rugby Lodge No.9922
Spirit of Rugby Lodge is gifting Spirit of Rugby IPA beer brewed in partnership with Nelson Brewery to all rugby clubs in the Province of East Kent. To find out more about the Spirit of Rugby Lodge, membership and Freemasonry in general email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about Medway RFC visit: www.mrfc.net