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widows sons memorial

Widow's Sons with wreathOn Saturday 7th October members of the South West Chapter of the Widow’s Sons Masonic Motorcycling Association gathered together to take part in the annual Ride to the Wall at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Members from Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Bristol all took part. An early start was called for, so the Cornish contingent, and the Plymouth riders left home at 05:00 for the ride to Tamworth. After a couple of stops to take on coffee and fuel we arrived at the Masonic centre in Tamworth where we met up with many more Widow’s Sons Chapters. We then rode, banners flying, to the Arboretum to take part in the commemorations.

We all gathered at the Masonic memorial garden, approximately 200 Masonic bikers from all over the country. A short ceremony was conducted and a wreath was laid by our President, Richard Hallett to remember fallen masons. We particularly remembered W. Bro Ian Wyle who died in a tragic incident in May. We aim to have a memorial tree and plaque placed in the garden in his honour and many people made contributions towards the cost. We then formed a circle of friendship and welcomed the W. Midlands newest member to the group. Everyone then attended the main memorial ceremonies which were conducted at 13:00 and 15:00, and were a moving tribute.

The RTTW has raised over £700k which helps to maintain the free entrance to the arboretum. There were over 7000 bikers in attendance, many of whom are former military.

The WS then retired to a hotel for a well deserved shandy and a curry which some regretted later on!

The sun shone on Sunday and we had a leisurely ride back to the South West, having had an excellent weekend, meeting old friends and making new ones.

If you have never been to the National Arboretum it is well worth the visit, there are many beautiful memorials, including the Masonic Memorial Garden.

Many thanks to all who took part, and special thanks to Jill, Sue and Luanne, partners of Martin, Richard and Gary who joined us for the trip. 

W. Bro Keith Rigby PPAGDC
Per Mare Per Terram Lodge No.9355