Anglo Foreign Lodges Association (AFLA) – Thames Cruise with Lunch
By W Bro Gerry Amsden SLGR, AFLA Assistant Secretary Reports
Having been restricted by the pandemic over the past 18 months, lunch onboard a boat on the River Thames was the ideal way to meet and relax with family and friends.
The weather also helped and, after a poor summer, we were blessed with sunshine and warm temperatures as we glided along, taking in the various landmarks from the London Eye and Houses of Parliament, under Tower Bridge, right up to Greenwich and the Thames Barrier.
This was the third attempt at organising the river tour – as I had originally booked the trip for June 2020 and, hoping all would be over by September re-booked, but COVID-19 ensured that this would not happen at all last year!
Ever hopeful that we would be able to travel more freely, it was again booked for September this year, and I am pleased to say that, eventually, it all came to fruition on Saturday 11th.
AFLA has 14 member Lodges in its group and, as the name suggests, there are members from overseas, in particular, America, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Switzerland, France, and several other countries.
Every two years, we organise a visit from an overseas Lodge hosted by one of our Member Lodges. The meeting takes place in the Grand Temple at Freemasons’ Hall, followed by a White Table dinner with wives and partners, regularly attracting around 350 people to the event.
Our last event in 2019 was a visit from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Lodge, which was undertaken in full dress uniform. A spectacular sight!
Our illustrious Committee suggested that we should try to organise an event in between the biannual events in the Grand Temple and thus the River Thames Cruise was launched, even though it has now taken two years to materialise.
Support for this trip was tremendous. We entertained 86 people on board the chartered vessel, Erasmus, run professionally by City Cruises. Having boarded, we were given a welcome drink on the middle deck (which had a good bar facility!) before being called for lunch in plush surroundings on the lower deck. Even viewing from the lower deck was tremendous, and there was the top deck for viewing after lunch. During all this time, the City Cruises staff made us very welcome in a most relaxed atmosphere.
Seven of the 14 Lodges took part and included families (some with babies and children) and friends. An excellent day out was had by all, which will probably be repeated again at some point in the near future.
For more information on AFLA, visit the website Anglo Foreign Lodges Association (http://www.afla.org.uk/)
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 47 January 2022 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 47 here.