Blackwater and Pyefleet Lodges Combine for Peter Bidmead’s 70 Years

On the evening of Monday 9th January 2023, to celebrate the outstanding record of Peter Bidmead passing the milestone of 70 years in Freemasonry

On the evening of Monday 9th January 2023, a very special event took place to not only have our annual celebration of Burns Night and pass Mick Watkins to the degree of a Fellowcraft, but also to celebrate the outstanding record of Peter Bidmead passing the milestone of 70 years in Freemasonry alongside his 100th Birthday!

Doing the honours for the Province was Rob Eels our Assistant Provincial Grand Master. We were doubly fortunate that the Provincial Grand Master, Paul Tarrant, was also in attendance enjoying a rare private visit (requiring no work or speeches).

Peter was Initiated into Blackwater Lodge No. 1977 on Monday 12th January 1953, Passed to the degree of a Fellowcraft on Monday 9th March 1953 and raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason on Monday 11th May 1953.

Peter was born on the 25th January 1923 in Finchley, North London, and attended the Haberdashers Askes School in North London and left in 1939 aged 16.  He joined the Royal Marines around that time. During part of his Royal Marine career Peter served in Deal, Kent, where he met his wife Bronwen, who was stationed in the same camp as he was. She was a senior Wren, an innocent young lady away from home serving her country, but Peter wooed Bronwen sufficiently to marry her in 1948 in Colchester.

Peter eventually left the Royal Marines around 1946, although he had wanted to remain in service. He still holds the Royal Marines in the highest regard and will always tell you that they are the best Military Service on the parade ground, even better than the Guards Regiment – in his opinion, and he still remains a member of the Royal Marines Association.

During his 70 years in Freemasonry, Peter has been very active in Essex and organised the annual church service for a number of years at Chelmsford Cathedral. Peter was also a founder of Pyfleet Lodge No. 8913 which was well represented, at the meeting. Peter also holds very high rank in the order of Knights Templar with the equivalent honour of Provincial Junior Grand Warden and he is the Longest Serving member of that order in the English constitution.

A splendid meeting for those in attendance to witness this celebration of an amazing length of service achievement combined with an equally amazing 100th birthday.


Top: Paul Skiffington (WM Pyfleet Lodge), Rob Eels, Peter Bidmead, Paul Tarrant, Bob McKenzie (WM Blackwater Lodge)

Left: Rob Eels, Peter Bidmead, Paul Tarrant

Right: A rather tasty birthday cake with some memorabilia