Tony Hales

Sir David Amess MP RIP

He lived respected and died regretted

The Provincial Grand Master (PGM) of Essex Freemasons, Paul Tarrant, expressed his shock and horror at the stabbing and killing of Sir David Amess MP. Speaking on behalf of the 9,000 plus Freemasons who meet in 300 Lodges across the county he said “We send our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to David’s family. Their grief and distress will remain foremost in our thoughts at this tragic time.”

Paul added “The whole Province is devastated. As an organisation which believes in peace and harmony, we stand alongside the two orders of women Freemasons in sharing our abhorrence at such an attack. Sir David was admired by us as a man with high standards of integrity, friendship, respect and charity which are our core values.”

To celebrate NHS, Social Care and Frontline Workers Day on 5th July 2021, along with Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Sir David visited Saxon Hall, the Southend Masonic Centre and home to over 2,000 local Freemasons in 45 Lodges. Sir David described it as “a splendid and successful occasion and thought the people gathered together made it a fitting tribute to our frontline workers.”

Paul Tarrant, who was born and lived in Southend nearly all his life was one of the first to pay tribute to the MP for Southend West since 1997. He has also received many messages of sadness and disbelief from Essex Freemasons. Paul said that there will be many more tributes to come over the next few days as the nation mourns its loss.

The PGM continued saying “We have one member who started on the same day as David at St Bonaventure’s Grammar School in Forest Gate in 1962. They were classmates for five years and shared their interest in Scouting together. He told me that Sir David would have been very appreciative of all the good work the Freemasons have done to support the Scouts, often helping as volunteers and in raising money to provide equipment and improve facilities.”

The Brother who now lives in Colchester also said that David would have felt very proud that the charity ‘Teddies for Loving Care’ (TLC), was founded in Southend by two local Masons in 2001 and after 20 years over three million teddies have been cuddled by children in hospitals.

Paul added that in Freemasonry there is a phrase used on the death of a Brother held in high esteem. Without doubt, with his love for the community he served and the encouragement he gave us in our volunteering for good causes, especially during the pandemic, it equally applies to the late Sir David Anthony Andrew Amess MP, it is: ‘He lived respected and died regretted’.

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Jeff Cripps PPSGW 50 Years in Freemasonry

In the only Cinque Port north of the River Thames, Essex Masonic history was made on 23rd September 2021 at Brightlingsea Masonic Hall where the Installation Meeting of the Lodge of Faith No 6830 was held.  On behalf of the Provincial Grand Master (PGM), Paul Tarrant, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master (DepProvGM) Nick Franklin was delighted to present Jeff Cripps with a Certificate to commemorate his 50 years as a Freemason.

Also in attendance was Tony White, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master (APGM) for the Lodge of Faith; Clive Rees, also an APGM and a member of the Lodge; and Geoff Turpin the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies (ProvGDC) and 30 Brethren, all of whom watched Jeff, as the Worshipful Master of the Lodge for the last two years, install his successor, Tony Linton, a Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer (PPGSwdB), with sincerity and to a high standard of ritual which was reflected throughout the whole meeting despite the added pressure of hosting such high ranking senior Provincial Grand Officers.

The evening was made extra special when, on behalf of the PGM, who had sent his congratulations and best wishes, Jeff was given a field promotion to Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden (PPSGW) by Nick Franklin. This was well received and greeted with rapturous applause by all the Brethren who know only too well how dedicated a Freemason, the newly promoted Jeff Cripps PPSGW is.

Paul Firmin, a Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden (PPJGW) and the Lodge Secretary, explained on behalf of all the Lodge members, “One of the most impressive things about Jeff is that he is very keen to participate in everything the Lodge does. He gives himself and goes above and beyond all that could be expected of him”.  Paul continued “Promotion to PPSGW is special as there are so few of them and it is so well deserved by Jeff. We are all immeasurably proud and lucky that he chose the Lodge of Faith No 6830 nearly six years ago when looking for another Lodge to join”. Jeff is also a member of North Essex Master’s Lodge No 9831.

In Royal Arch Masonry, Jeff is a Past Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah (PPGSN) and a Companion of Grey Friars Chapter No 5169 where he is the Director of Ceremonies. “He definitely puts in the hours” said Paul “as he also works at the Essex Mason shop in Colchester. It’s all unpaid and admirable what he does to help all of us enjoy our Freemasonry in Essex”.

Jeff Cripps PPSGW, on behalf of the PGM and all Essex Freemasons, we wish you well and congratulate you on your 50 years in Freemasonry followed by promotion in the field.

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British Red Cross supported by Braintree Masonic Centre

The Home Office reported that over 8,000 Afghans, who had worked with UK forces, and their families arrived in the UK during the evacuation from Kabul. Demonstrating their own state of readiness, Essex Freemasons jumped into action and assisted the British Red Cross (BRC) Afghan Crisis Appeal by providing basic essentials such as warm clothing, baby items and toothbrushes.

Feeling strongly about the plight of the Afghan refugees, Daniel Broyd, an Essex Provincial Grand Steward, and his wife Kristi encouraged local Freemasons to donate clothes, toiletries, toys and essential supplies for the refugees as they arrived in the UK.  They also arranged for Braintree Masonic Hall to open its doors on Sunday 5th September 2021 to receive the donations.

Daniel said “The support that the Brethren, families and friends and even passing public bestowed on our venture was breath-taking, with several thousand pounds worth of new or nearly new clothes, toiletries, baby essentials, toys, art and crafts material and bedding donated.”  With enough to fill a large Luton van, delivery to the BRC was arranged.

Charles Elliott, an Assistant Provincial Grand Master, with his wife Sue supported the appeal and gave their own donations. The Centre Chairman, Andrew McLeod, who is an Assistant Principal to the Grand Principals in Essex Royal Arch Masonry, said, “A simple heartfelt request by Daniel and Kristi clearly resonated with fellow Masons and their families resulting in a fantastic response. I am very proud of the Braintree Masonic Centre and its members.”

The supplies were desperately needed by BRC staff at airports around the country as they welcomed Afghan families to the UK. One volunteer described the plight more graphically saying that the people turning up had nothing, children were so dirty you could see track marks down their faces where they had been crying and their clothing wasn’t suitable. Daniel Broyd added “I would like to thank everyone who donated and took time out of their Sunday to provide such kindness”.

 

Pictured from left to right: Sue and Charles Elliott, Mrs Wash, Richard Wash, Paul Duchar-Clark, David Giles, Andrew McLeod, Barry Broyd, Daniel and Kristi Broyd and John Adlam.

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