100-year-old Reg Sheppard celebrates 50 years in the Royal Arch

Centenary Master, Reg Sheppard demonstrating that age really is just a number

On Wednesday 13th September 2023, the Chingford Masonic Centre was the setting for the regular convocation of the Danehurst Chapter No. 4541. In attendance was John Hubbard, Third Provincial Grand Principal together with Ralph Ankers, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, to present a 50-year certificate to Reginald (Reg) Sheppard. 

Reg was justly proud to receive the certificate especially as he had recently celebrated his 100th birthday!

If this wasn’t impressive enough the Danehurst Lodge No. 4541 – Reg’s mother lodge – will be celebrating their 100th year on Saturday, 14th October and he was the unanimous choice to become the Centenary Master of the Lodge during 2023. Danehurst Lodge is probably unique therefore, in being a Centenary Lodge with a Centenary Master.

The Chapter Scribe Ezra, John Mansfield wrote an impressive history of Reg’s life which was read by John Hubbard, parts of which are included below.

Reg was born on Friday 13th April 1923 although he always considered that date to be lucky. He was one of two children to William and Florence Sheppard, his sibling being an older brother Ron. Initially the family lived in Lea Bridge Road at Leyton. He left school at 14 taking a job as an office junior but eventually went on to qualify as a draftsman which formed the basis of a highly successful business career.

In September 1940, he was attending a wedding near the Surrey Docks when he noted hundreds of dots in the sky coming towards the party. He was thus bombed on day one of the Blitz. By way of revenge in 1942 the King cordially invited him to join the army serving with the Royal Signals. His initial training involved sending and deciphering signals in Japanese, so he was not too surprised to find himself on a troopship to Burma where he served until his discharge in 1946.

His time in the Army can perhaps be best summed up when he was told that he was now his platoons dedicated mortar operator. When he pointed out that he had not been trained to fire a mortar he was told that that was OK because the platoon did not actually have one!

After war service he returned to work as a draftsman but subsequently qualified as a mechanical engineering designer. He would eventually become a Director of a company which is now part of the Canon Group of Japan but left the company in 1983 to form his own very successful business which manufactured casting machines mainly for use with photocopiers and other office equipment.

In 1951 he met Eve, and they married in 1953. They have one son, Barry born in 1957. Eve was awarded the MBE in 1987 and his visit to the Palace with her was apparently the one day he was able to park for free in Central London. They continue to live in Epping.

Until about 5 years ago he was still playing golf weekly and was also an active member of Loughton Bowls Club although unfortunately age has now taken its toll and his sporting activities are rather curtailed. He is also an accomplished amateur artist.

He joined Danehurst Lodge in 1969. He became Master in 1983, a 14-year run up to the Chair being fairly typical, at that time. He held active rank as Provincial Junior Grand Deacon in 1991 with several other honours cumulating to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 2004. He joined the Danehurst Chapter in 1973 and has been honoured with Past Provincial Grand Scribe Neamiah.


Top: Reg receiving his 50 year certificate from John Hubbard, Third Provincial Grand Principal