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
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
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
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.