When I arrive, Tim is doing some minor running repairs on the Trailer, but we are soon underway to the London Mela, this year hosted in Southall Park, Southall.
Years ago this was a traditional South Indian festival, but in recent years it has become a colourful multi-cultural event, albeit with a strong Asian bias.
If you like Curry and Bhangra music, this is the place for you !
We were greeted by a Security Guard at the park gates, who was a Mason and wished us well for the day; always a good start.
Arriving at 9.15, we set out the ‘pitch’ allocated to us and make our display as attractive as we can.
A forecourt is created front of the trailer to provide us with enough space to talk to visitors.
Strategically placed 4 metre high flags and tables gives us a defined area of engagement and the TLC Bears on display attract children and families, often the first point of contact.
The day started officially at noon, a slow start, and crowds did not really materialise until about 2.30pm.
But from then on, there was a steady flow of people passing our stand and a large number of men and women stopped to look at our display and enquire about Freemasonry.
In many instances, we were asked about “being secret”, which shows that we still have much work to do in presenting ourselves to the public !
Our display of TLC bears always gets attention and, we have a game with a simple target and, bean bags for the children to throw and win a bear (they always do).
Whilst many people and children recognise the bears, very few realise that we organise and pay for them, something we are pleased to point out.
As the afternoon moved into early evening, we seemed to attract more attention and had a steady stream of conversations and enquiries.
I also noted that whilst I was in conversation with visitors, our literature was being taken by others with whom there was no opportunity to speak.
Visitors can be like buses (none for 30 minutes, then three at the same time!).
By 7.30pm it was time to put the TLC bears to bed and head for home after a satisfying day which included a number of membership enquiries.
On the 19th August, a pleasant sunny day, our next team of Ambassadors returned to the London Mela for the second day at 11am.
The trailer was left locked overnight with Ivan Chu, Roy Vollrath and Mike Emmett copying the “courtyard” arrangement, adopted by the previous day’s team Kevin Saunders and Richard.
Again our Ambassadors welcomed visitors into our ‘courtyard’ area where they answered questions and explained Freemasonry to a wide variety of people.
During the afternoon, Roy and Mike met a great number of those interested potential new members: there were a few characters with strange ideas about the Craft, we can guide them towards the truth.
Fortunately various stalls offering Indian food were in the same area to sustain us, and the huge sound stage was out of direct earshot! We closed up at 8 pm, and Tim Wright, our towing ambassador was thankfully allowed into the park to tow the trailer away about an hour later.
It was a long weekend but productive in terms of being seen “in the community” and fruitful in terms of membership enquiries.
In summary, what do the Ambassadors do ?
• Represent Freemasonry to a wide cross section of the public
• Attract, engage and inform men and women about our organisation
• Dispel myths and promote our values
• Encourage membership enquiries for both men & women’s Freemasonry
We have a short but busy season in mid-summer June – September
Are you comfortable talking to the public about Freemasonry ?
Could you help our team at one or two events across the season ?
Please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile no. 07774 988747
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