Colchesters Amazing Impact on Health and Wellbeing of Former Police Officer

The life of Mark Ball, changed forever. In the space of one year, he suffered acute kidney failure and lost most of his sight as well as being diabetic.

In November 2010 the life of Mark Ball, changed forever. Mark was a serving Metropolitan Police Officer of 18 years when, in the space of one year, he suffered acute kidney failure and lost most of his sight as well as being diabetic.  Mark said “I woke up one morning and couldn’t see.  It was that quick.”

Mark underwent a kidney and pancreas transplant and with losing his sight at the same time was in a very dark place. When it became apparent that his Police career was over, he decided to move from south London to Colchester to be near his parents. His marriage had also suffered, and he suddenly found himself in a new area with no friends that he could socialise with locally. “I felt in that year that I had lost everything. I had lost my career, and very nearly my life,” Mark said “but, I contacted a friend in the Met police who I knew was a Freemason and he told me a bit about it.”

What Mark discovered was enough for him to make that first move and contact the Provincial Office of Essex Freemasons in Wickford. Through the Freemasons’ Membership Pathway structure Mark was introduced to Pyefleet Lodge No. 8913 which meets at St Giles Masonic Centre in Colchester on five Thursday evenings a year.

The introductory meetings went well, and Mark liked what he discovered for himself about Freemasonry and that it really is based on integrity, friendship, respect and charity. He knew he was making the right decision to join Pyefleet Lodge. From when he was initiated in September 2018, he felt his life began to change for the better. Mark suddenly felt part of something again and enthusiastically learned the words of the degree ceremonies. He has now progressed to the office of Junior Deacon, one of the steps on his journey to become the Worshipful Master of Pyefleet Lodge.

Mark has nothing but praise for his new masonic brothers “The guys in Lodge helped me tremendously, having extra practice meetings, helping me to perambulate around the Lodge, counting out the paces I needed to take during the ceremony. A small white tip was added to the tip of my wand as Junior Deacon and an elastic band placed where I needed to hold it.  It gave me great confidence in what I was doing.”

In 2019 Pyefleet Lodge approached Nick Clarke, the then Provincial Grand Almoner of Essex Freemasons, for a grant towards buying a large monitor for Mark’s computer, as he was having serious difficulty seeing anything on his screen.  The Lodge contributed as well and on the advice of Essex Blind Charity, a sight charity in Colchester, purchased a large monitor to assist Mark with using his PC. “This was an enormous help,” said Mark. “I was so grateful to the Provincial Grand Almoner and Pyefleet Lodge for helping me.”

Mark has also formed a breakfast club within Pyefleet Lodge, which meets up once a month, usually on a Saturday, in a local café for breakfast and a chat which is also becoming increasingly popular among the Lodge members.



Top: Paul Skiffington, The Worshipful Master of Pyefleet Lodge with Junior Deacon, Mark Ball

Right: The Pyefleet Lodge Breakfast Club at their meeting in December2022