The Paras create a first in the history of the Provincial Grand Chapter of Essex

A Pegasean passion receives rapturous applause at Freemasons’ Hall as Col (retired) Andrew Jackson addresses Companions

With a Pegasean passion from serving for 30 years in the Parachute Regiment and now as the CEO of ‘Support Our Paras’, the Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces Charity, Colonel (Retired) Andrew Jackson delivered an impressive presentation at the Annual Convocation of the Provincial Grand Chapter of Essex on 21st September 2023 at Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street in London.

Known throughout the Airborne Community as ‘Jacko’, Colonel Jackson was welcomed by Paul Tarrant, the Grand Superintendent of Essex Royal Arch Masons, on behalf of his Executive and Provincial Officers and representatives from most of the 100 plus Chapters which meet in Essex. Approximately 40% of all Freemasons are Royal Arch Masons and they wear a red apron at their meetings as opposed to the light or dark blue ones which are more familiar.

The Second Grand Principal, Russell Race DL, who is second only to the First Grand Principal, HRH The Duke of Kent, was also in attendance as well as a number of senior Officers from London and other Provinces.   This was the first time in the history of the Provincial Grand Chapter of Essex that a non-masonic speaker has given a presentation at an Annual Convocation. This demonstrates the high regard the Essex Freemasons have for all of HM Armed Forces and, in particular, all those based at Colchester Garrison.

Well aware of the privilege given to him and that he was representing all the Paras, Colonel Jackson was given rapturous applause after fervently describing many of the operational demands placed on the soldiers of the Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces. Founded by a Freemason, Sir Winston Churchill in World War 2, they are on standby to deploy to any trouble spot in the world and spearhead our Nation’s armed response and, if necessary, to protect and evacuate British citizens or provide humanitarian aid or disaster relief.

Being the only charity to solely support the Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces, ‘Jacko’ and his small team at ‘Support Our Paras’, which is based at the Regimental Headquarters in Colchester Garrison, are themselves on constant standby to provide emergency help and support to veterans, serving soldiers and their families.

At the formal reception afterwards, many of the distinguished guests and members to talked with Colonel Jackson directly to find out more about life as a Para, including the high standard of physical training and selection and also how living in a state of constant preparedness and the effects of high intensity combat can take their toll. The Colonel also gave a few anecdotes about the exploits of some of the more notable heroes and personalities who have worn the famous red beret which were well received by the Royal Arch Masons who wear the red apron.


Top: Col Jackson delivering his presentation

Middle-Left: Col Jackson welcomed by Paul Tarrant, the Grand Superintendent of Essex Royal Arch Masons

Bottom-Right: Support Our Paras logo

For more information visit: SUPPORT OUR PARAS