At a very convivial meeting of Sphere Lodge 5051 W Bro Thomas Flint, PProvSGW (pictured), was presented with a 50 year Certificate of Service to Freemasonry by VW Bro Alan Wellan, Deputy Provincial Grand Master.
Tom was born in Southern Australia and brought up there with his younger brother and sister on their father's farm. His early school days saw him going to the wooden shed which was his school every day on a bareback horse, which would find its own way home, with Tom walking the two miles back after school. He completed his studies at St Peter's college in Adelaide, and with the onset of the second World War served as an apprentice tool maker, producing parts for torpedoes.
As his grandfather and great great grandfather had been freemasons, Tom came into possession of their Certificates, leading him to enquire about joining the Craft. This did not transpire as he was chosen at the age of 21 to go to England to explore production methods for making bicycles. He met his wife Rita and they returned to Australia to set up the factory. Unfortunately, during this process there was an explosion which caused Tom to be blinded at the age of 23.
Returning to England with Rita, who taught him to touch type, Tom qualified as a Physiotherapist, having passed exams using a typewriter, and worked for Tube Investments in this capacity from three surgeries which served 10,000 employees. He was kept very busy , lecturing industrial nurses and other young employees describing how he came to be blinded, and how he had learned to cope with the condition. With the formation of the Open University, Tom assisted in proving that courses could be offered to the blind by completing and receiving a degree in Social Sciences and Humanities.
In conversation with one of his private clients, Tom mentioned his earlier interest in freemasonry, and this led to his initiation into Sphere Lodge, where at first he was very nervous about learning Masonic ritual. This changed however when after his raising he was presented with a ritual book in Braille, and during his years as Steward he presented the second degree Tracing Board in both usual and extended form. He went on to serve all the main offices, becoming Master in 1976. During his time as Immediate Past Master the Lodge suffered the death of its Chaplain, with Tom stepping into the breach, continuing as Chaplain ever since.
During his Masonic career Tom has performed several 3rd degree ceremonies and is regarded as one of the most adept ritualists in Warwickshire, always conducting the ceremonies with the utmost dignity, with the aim of giving candidates an insight into the meaning of the ritual.
Tom has two sons, and despite his blindness has been a keen gardener, helping Rita with chores around the house, always regarding every learning task as a challenge. His achievements serve as object lessons to all who have been blessed enough to come in close touch with him.
Provincial Grand Installed Master
On a day when temperatures were more akin to the Mediterranean in the middle of August, rather than the UK at the end of September, Warwickshire freemasons flocked to the Provincial Headquarters in Edgbaston for a very special occasion.
This was the Installation of RW Bro David Macey, Provincial Grand Master, as Master of the Warwickshire Installed Masters' Lodge 4538.
It was an action (and brethren) packed meeting which included a variety of delightful elements and surprises.
Following the preliminary routines the retiring Master, W Bro Roger Mac, gave a hearty welcome to eleven new members, after which he thanked his Officers for their support. He then installed the PGM as Master of the Lodge in a particularly sincere and dignified manner, for which he was thanked by VW Bro Alan Wellan, Deputy PGM
After the investiture of the new Lodge Officers, and the presentation of an IPM Jewel to retiring Master Roger, the new Master presented the brethren with an inspiring and thought provoking address titled Communicating our love of Freemasonry in which he stressed the importance of doing such with non-masons in a clear and concise manner. He referred to the initiatives and progress being made by Grand Lodge, hoping this will help us all become more articulate ambassadors for the Craft.
The WM also gave guidance outlining best practise as followed by the most successful Lodges in our Province, and strongly advised finding time for using the Masonic Lectures, which the Provincial Support team would be able to offer. He also referred to the initiative being led by the Duputy PGM to support small Lodges, and concluded by reminding us that our future is dependant upon attracting and retaining good quality candidates, our aim always being to make sure we enjoy our Freemasonry.
A transcript of the address can be seen here. Communicating our love of Freemasonry.pdf
The Deputy PGM thanked the WM for his passion, enthusiasm and encouragement.
W Bro Trevor Sturt, 2012 Festival Director, implored brethren to sponsor the transatlantic crossing being made by Bro Stuart Reed of Trinity Lodge 254 in November, proceeds going to the Festival, and to attend the 2012 Spring Harmony Concert being held next 25th March in the acoustically superb surroundings of Bedworth Civic Hall (where the CBSO make their recordings), again, all proceeds going to the Festival. He then proceeded to present sixteen mauls to Lodges having reached their Festival target, which with two further Lodges receiving theirs shortly brought the total number having so far done so to a splendid 101.
Before the meeting closed, the WM attended upon W Bro Harry Owen, thanked him for his greatly appreciated ongoing efforts in promoting and selling Provincial merhandise, which had recently enabled the purchase of two new organs, and presented him with the Brass Plaques which would be attached to the instruments recording this ahievement.
A magnificent portrait of RW Bro David Macey was then unveiled, and received with acclamation by the brethren of the Lodge, which had commisioned the work. The portrait will hang above the Warwick Suite.
Senior Warden W Bro David Butcher (l) and Junior Warden W Bro John Hayward with the portrait.
The Provincial Grand Charity Steward W Bro Tony Newby attended the Presentation of Awards ceremony of the St John Ambulance, West Midlands County, Solihull & South Birmingham Sector at Shirley, where he presented a Bicycle on behalf of Warwickshire Freemasons.
The Bicycle was obtained with the donation made by the WMCA to Warwickshire St John Ambulance earlier this year. It is fitted with extensive emergency equipment and will be used to quickly reach those in need of help in situations such as pedestrian only areas, marathon runs, large events, etc.
Tony Newby (l) presenting the specially equipped, high visibility bike
Service of Remembrance
Over 150 freemasons, their families and friends, together with several past and present members of the armed forces and youth groups gathered for the annual Service of Remembrance held at The Clarendon Suites, Edgbaston. Members of the Royal Arch Lodge Representatives' group, as well as enthusiasts from the Jewels of the Craft Study and Collectors Circle, all of whom were meeting in the building that morning, also attended.
The congregation was greeted by the Provincial Grand Master RW Bro David Macey, who observed that he was the first PGM who had not experienced active service since the Second World War. He had throughout his teaching career always been determined to ensure that younger generations were made fully aware of the unselfish sacrifices made by those who were being remembered, and trusted that this would long continue.
This moving Service, which commenced with messages from five different faiths, was conducted by the Provincial Grand Chaplain W Bro John Cowan and Provincial Assistant Grand Chaplain W Bro Paul Wheeler. The Bugle player was W Bro Norman Blackburn.
Wreaths and tributes were placed by the PGM and other senior members of the Province, as well as leaders of different orders and several other groups from the congregation, spanning several generations, including former and present servicemen who are members of Lodges in Warwickshire.
(l-r) W Bro Ian McCloskey, W Bro Ken Wilkinson, W Bro Paul Wheeler, Bro Senior Aircraftsman Adam Wills, W Bro Stuart Cappell, Bro Major Steven Reynolds, W Bro Lynn Harris, W Bro Raiff Burton, W Bro Harry Hunjan, W Bro John Cowan, W Bro Sailesh Panchmatia together with members of the Cubs.
Severn Street Sponsors for London 2012 Olympic Hopeful
The Directors of Athol Masonic Buildings Ltd