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Bro Maurice Knight ROH

I was possibly one of the last few that had to be over 21 years of age to join the Buffs, they later changed the rule to permit 18 year olds, I suppose in the forlorn hope of encouraging the younger members to join. 

My first encounter with the order was on the 31st May 1953, when I was initiated into the United Lodge 6973, at the tender age of 22, and a newly married man, which was no mean achievement, to be let out with the boys on a Sunday night. Mind you I also had my father-in-law with me, who was one of my sponsors. 

By an orderly course of events I passed Examining Council and obtained my Second Degree in the United Lodge on 18th July 1954, as I was the current Secretary and the Lodge insisted that their Secretaries were PGL Delegates. In those days you spoke when you were spoken to and in a gathering of about 50 members, there were so many that we called ‘Brass Hats’, who had been there and done that, you almost grovelled when you met them.

What may surprise some people, is that being Secretary, I felt it was my duty to point out certain matters, and when I knew that a Brother ‘supposedly on the sick’, was claiming weekly benefit from the Lodge, and promptly cashing the cheque over the Bar and treating all his friends, I had to say something. 

A few weeks later the voting for the Third Degree arrived for three others and me. They all got through, but I received 38 black balls out of 44 members present, so had to wait another six months. One thing I have always remembered, an elderly Brother said to me afterwards, you win some and lose some, but if you leave the Lodge they have won. I am still there 47 years later, mind you most of them dropped out many years ago, and of course a lot have passed on. 

It could be said that I had the last laugh, because after my Third was passed, before it could be carried out, I moved back to Croydon, and it was the Croydon Lodge 3839 that carried out the ceremony on 7th July 1958, on behalf of the United Lodge. After that nothing much happened, I attended PGL and Knights Chapter, I also became Book Examiner and PGL Auditor, and when an elder Brother retired from the position of Knight Servitor, I was elected to that position about 1960. 

I was exalted to the Fourth Degree on 13th April 1964, and I eventually became Knight President in 1970. They were some of the most wonderful years, when Denise and I attended about 14-16 Dinner/Dances each year. Like many Provinces, we had our problems, from closing Lodges to one Secretary defrauding his Lodge, but the police caught up with him, and he had to pay every penny back. 

After serving my time as Immediate Past President, I was asked to take a PGL collar, and became PGP in January 1979. Unfortunately, our PG Secretary went into hospital in March for a heart operation, and succumbed two days later. As I had possession of PGL books, doing the Audit, I was elected PG Secretary. So I now had two hats to wear and the year was, to say the least, rather hectic, and in the November, I was admitted to hospital for a cataract operation, after various visits to the Royal Marsden and Atkinson Morley Hospitals for various tests. They say things don’t come singly. 

Having regularly attended Examining Council, and served as Secretary, I was elected Council President in 1980. During this time I had attended Grand Lodge meetings and Conventions, and in 1983, after having been made redundant 3 times, we decided to move back to Hereford, and its not many Brothers who can go back to their Mother Lodge after 25 years and find it still operating. 

Naturally, I transferred my standings and became GL Delegate for Hereford in 1984 until retiring with effect from 31st December 2000. I was also asked to take the position of PG Secretary, which I did from 1986 to 1997, but still keep my hand in as Book Examiner, and I was appointed PGL Trustee after relinquishing the position of PG Secretary.

I was honoured to be elected as Knight President in 1989, PGP in 1994 and ROH Assembly President in 1997, all in my mother Province. The final honour from my Mother Lodge was to nominate me for Honorary Membership, which was awarded in 1993.

Unfortunately, I find it difficult to attend all the Ceremonies and PGL functions, partly because I feel that I should spend more time with my lady wife Denise, who is someone special, having put up with my various trips over the last 47 years, I’m sure all the members of the Hereford Province agree.

- Bro Maurice WJ Knight ROH