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Kingston Brethren

 Chris Sharp: Senior Brother

The following report is from a visitor to the Kingston Lodge on the occasion of a presentation of a sixty year's service certificate to W Bro Sharp. The report is of such a high quality that the editor has included it in full on this Brethren Page.

 

Wednesday 7th February 2024:

 

Sixty Years a Mason

 by W Bro Stephen Prior

 Meeting of Kingston Lodge No 1010 - Lodge Meeting - 

Masonic Hall, Beverley Road, Kingston upon Hull.

Shortly after Christmas I received an invitation from W Bro John Christopher Phillip Sharp PGStdB to attend his Lodge, Kingston Lodge, in February, as his guest, when he would be celebrating the 60th anniversary of becoming a Mason and also a member of Kingston Lodge. I eagerly accepted his invitation, knowing the event would be both memorable and enjoyable and so it proved.

The Lodge was opened by the Worshipful Master W Bro Gary Crossland at 6.30 pm.

V W Bro William Henry Fisher PDepProvGM was received in due form.

The Worshipful Master announced W Bro John Bridger PgStdB had recently been called to service in the Grand Lodge above at the age of 97. Those present stood in silence in memory of W Bro Bridger, who was a long serving member of the Lodge and had a distinguished Craft and Royal Arch career. In recent years he had found regular attendance difficult because of infirmity. I have been informed that he was a recipient of the Grand Superintendent's Certificate for Service to Royal Arch Masonry and is noted for work in developing the Lodge consecration ceremony used by the Province.

The mood of sadness occasioned by W Bro Bridger’s death was happily lightened, when the Lodge Secretary, in accordance with Lodge tradition, read a section of Masonic text. The text chosen that evening concerned the strictures to be observed relating to “merriment and mirth”. The minutes of the last meeting were then confirmed and the following officers, who were absent at the Installation were invested: Chaplain - W Bro John Christopher Phillip Sharp PGStdB, Almoner and Mentor - W Bro William Hartley PPSGW, Chief Steward - Bro Roger Watkinson and Lecture Master - W Bro Simon Ramshaw PPJGW.

 

The Worshipful Master then announced the presentation to W Bro John Christopher Phillip Sharp of a 60th year membership certificate. During a brief interlude two seats were positioned in the centre of the temple which were then occupied by VW Bro Fisher (Bill) and W Bro Christopher Sharp (Chris). The Tyler was admitted and VW Bro Bill invited W Bro Chris to describe his origins, how he became a Mason and details of his lengthy Masonic career.

W Bro Chris commenced a most erudite and entertaining response which was skilfully enhanced by VW Bro Bill who ably questioned W Bro Chris with perfect timing to elucidate those extra details all present wanted to hear (VW Bro Bill had performed a similar duty when W Bro Chris received his certificate for 50 years of membership).

W Bro Chris noted that he was born in 1936, the son of W Bro E P Sharp (of Kingston Lodge and Founder Member of Old Hymerian Lodge). The family lived in Anlaby but the worry of bombing in Hull led to a move to Willerby and later to Kirkella. The family business was John C Mallory Ltd wholesale and retail housewares, ironmongers, dry salters and distributors, with forty retail outlets in Hull. His father had other business interests including Radio Wire, a service he developed, which for a small charge, distributed radio to homes using a wire (an advantage of the system was that it minimised reception difficulties of the type encountered with domestic aerials). He recalled a number of childhood wartime memories including seeing French tanks in Anlaby prior to the “D day” invasion and anti-aircraft guns. He also remembered that his father’s radio business which in wartime was a vital means of communication, necessitated his father staying all night at the business in Hessle, to ensure essential emergency information was transmitted. His father’s work in radio led to W Bro Chris’s lifetime interest in radio.

Chris left his first school in Willerby at age nine when he was sent to board at Woodleigh School Langton near Malton (a prep. school having origins in Hessle) and then from ages 13-19 to Haileybury and Imperial Service College in Hertfordshire. In 1956, having finished education, he was “called up” for National Service in the East Yorkshire Regiment which he joined at Victoria Barracks, Beverley. Having undertaken various courses at Imphal Barracks York and elsewhere, his final posting was to a former RAF base near Millom, where he joined an army unit specialising in search and rescue.

After National Service in 1958 he joined the family firm, initially learning the business from the bottom up, including stock control, warehousing and distribution. This experience proved valuable when a little later he controlled the business in conjunction with his father. In 1960 a general depression affected the retail industry and an approach was made by Wm Jackson & Sons of Hull, for Mallory Ltd to join them in a new retail concept: that of having food and non-food under one roof with the added attraction of cut-prices, trading as Grandways. From 1962-68 W Bro Chris was Buying Controller for non-food products at Grandways involving eighty retail stores across Yorkshire. A large number of volume grocery lines were later added to his responsibilities. Wm Jackson decided in 1988 to leave supermarket retailing and ended its involvement in Grandways, thereby ending the requirement for a specialist non-food business and W Bro Chris’ position in it.

W Bro Chris described how he was initiated in Kingston Lodge on the Wednesday 1st January 1964 in the Lodge’s Centenary Year. He observed that in 1964 the 1st of January was not a Bank Holiday and Masonic business (and business in general) continued as normal. He had been proposed by his father and seconded W Bro Gilbert Burton (his uncle). He was passed in March and raised in June. He recalled, with humour, that during his initiation whilst at the North-East Corner he had become aware of Uncle Gilbert tugging at his left hand to draw attention to the gold signet ring he was wearing. He had not been deprived of all metals and the ceremony might not have continued. The ring was quickly taken away, the ceremony continued and to his relief, returned later that evening.

 

Since that time W Bro Chris progressed through the offices in Kingston Lodge and Kingston Chapter to achieve high rank in the Province of Yorkshire (N&E Ridings) in both Craft and the Royal Arch. He became a Grand Lodge Officer. He became a member of Lodges in London including his Old School Lodge (details of his Lodge memberships and the principal offices he held or holds are summarised below).

During his review of his Masonic career he recounted a number of interesting Masonic experiences he had witnessed including:

  * Attending an initiation with the then Provincial Grand Master, Iian Ross Bryce, in Bermuda when the only means of transport available was a motor scooter, in full evening dress with masonic regalia case. There was only the most minor request for masonic identification on entry and the charge delivered to the Candidate was of such severity, both visitors from the UK, were left shivering and wondering how the Candidate felt. No meal was provided after the meeting and it proved necessary to purchase a sandwich at a beach bar.

 * Being Senior Warden of Old Haleyburians Lodge 3912 when the WM passed away, which necessitated taking his office - an unhappy experience. 

 * Witnessing a disciplinary appeal at Grand Lodge affecting several Freemasons. Those making the appeal were escorted from Grand Lodge whilst their appeals were considered. They were re-admitted and told the appeals had been rejected, following which they were escorted out of Grand Lodge as men but not Freemasons. The atmosphere in Grand Lodge afterwards was very unpleasant and the practice was never repeated. A confidential committee now considers such cases.

  * Attending the inauguration of the Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London in 2003, during which a Craft Installation had been organised for the morning and a Chapter Installation for the afternoon, only to discover that he had brought craft regalia only.

 * Acting as an usher at the Past Provincial Grand Master’s (The Marquis of Zetland) Memorial service at Ripon Cathedral. Despite the distinguished role the Marquis had in Masonry, no mention of it was made in the oration.

  * Attending in 1992 the 275th Anniversary of UGLE at Earls Court, including the ceremony and lunch. This coincided with the Queen’s 40th Anniversary of Accession and the Grand Master’s 27th year of service as Grand Master. A very impressive event.

  * Attending/officiating at the Consecrations of Myton, Bridlington Bay and Beverlonian Lodges.

  * Attending/officiating at Provincial Grand Lodge Meetings at Wallis’s Holiday Camp Theatre and at the Spa, Scarborough.

When VW Bro. Bill enquired as to how many Provincial Grand Masters he had served under, W. Bro Chris observed that he had been privileged to serve under 7 Provincial Grand Masters: The Marquis of Zetland, Iian Ross Bryce, John Malcolm Raylor, Gerald James Kay Coles, Richard John Anderson, Jeffrey Gillion and David Chambers. W Bro Chris affirmed with conviction that he had thoroughly enjoyed all the 60 years of his membership under their direction.

Following gentle prompting from VW Bro Bill, Chris concluded by giving details of his immediate family. He married Angie in 1961 and they live in Brough, having moved some three years ago from a larger home in North Ferriby to premises better suited to their age. They have three children, a son who is a Chartered Surveyor in West Yorkshire, a daughter who is a fashion consultant in London and a second daughter who is a teacher in London.

VW Bro Fisher then presented W Bro Sharp with a Certificate and a Masonic lapel badge in recognition of his sixty years of Masonic service. The presentation was greeted with expressions of acclamation from those present.

The main business of the evening having ended, the Worshipful Master proceeded very efficiently to consider the remaining items of business. Apologies for absence were reported and greetings were received from the following Lodges: Humber 57, Lodge of St Matthew 1447, Technical 5666, Old Hymerians 6885, Lodge of St Michael 7833, Ridings Tablers 9568 and Juno 10001. Twenty-seven Masons were present. The Lodge was closed at approximately 8.00pm and the Brethren retired to the Festive Board in very good heart.

A delightful evening continued at the Festive Board at which the fare provided proved excellent. A highlight was the response given by W Bro Sharp to his toast. With all the expertise of a seasoned raconteur he entertained the Brethren with further interesting and humorous stories from his many years' experience of Masonry. The evening drew to a close around 10pm and the Brethren departed in happy mood to a wet, cold February night.

Not for me however. I had the advantage of being delivered to my doorstep (or more properly my drive) in the heated seat of W Bro Shaun Rennison’s Mercedes, suitably fed and prudently lubricated. W Bro Terry Black was also with us. A perfect end to a perfect Masonic evening.

Thank you and congratulations to W Bro Christopher Sharp. Thank you and well done Kingston.


Stephen C. Prior PPJGD and PPGSwdB (Cheshire) - Lodge of St Michael no 7833

 

Summary of W Bro Sharp’s Masonic Career:

A Lewis (son of EP Sharp) initiated 01 Jan 1964 Kingston Lodge 1010, WM 1973

Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies (Yorks N&E Ridings)1983
Provincial Honours – Craft- (Yorks N&E Ridings) PPGReg 1982, PDPGDC 1983
Grand Lodge PGStdB 1987
Exalted in Kingston Chapter 1010 in 1966, First Principal 1980
Provincial Honours Chapter (Yorks N&E Ridings), PG Soj 1986, PPScrN 1991
Joined Humber Lodge of Installed Masters Lodge 2494, 1989, SW in 1999
Joined Old Hailleyburian and Imperial Service College 3912, London in 2002, WM 2006, Hon. Member 2019
Founder Member of the Metropolitan Grand Lodge, London
Founder Member of the Metropolitan Grand Lodges Council
Member of the Public Schools Lodge Council


Summary of W Bro Sharp’s other interests
Past member of Hull 36 and Hull and Humberside 650 Round Tables

Past Round Table Area 15 Secretary
Founder of Humberside Rotary Club 1969, Club President 1997
Member of Hull Golf Club
Member of Hull Literary and Philosophical Society
Member of the Radio Society of Great Britain from1953 and Radio Ham
Amateur Member of the Guild of Sommeliers and the Yorkshire Guild of Sommeliers.

 

 

 

Marcus Whereat - Immediate Past Master

 

Born in City of Bath, North East Somerset, in 1968, I was educated at Beechen Cliff School, formerly City of Bath Boys school. On leaving school in 1985 at the tender age of seventeen I joined the RAF as an Aerospace Systems Operator, which is radar operation.

I was stationed at RAF Buchan in Peterhead, Scotland, moving to RAF Staxton Wold, North Yorkshire in 1988, living in Driffield and then NATO in the 2nd Allied Tactical Air Force at Maastricht in the Netherlands. I was later with detachments with the RAF to The Falkland Islands in 1988/89. It was interesting: on Byron Heights, West Falkland a colleague took a picture: "Penguins fell out of the packet!" he said.

I was on exercises with the Royal Navy on board HMS Gloucester and HMS Edinburgh, both Type 42 destroyers.

Detachment Greenham Common was a different experience entirely.

I advanced through my trade to be a fighter controller’s assistant and QRA assistant.

My tasks included controlling fighters, tankers and other support aircraft when Russian aircraft came into NATO and British airspace. I held a specialized wartime role in electronic warfare, Jamming and counter jamming air and surface radar platforms and communications.

I left the RAF after 12 yrs in 1997 and Joined Humberside police on the beat in North and West Hull, before becoming a neighborhood officer in Hessle and finally working in the Public Service Centre at Beverley before retiring in June 2014.

Two years were spent working in a supermarket before I took employment with a private ambulance company engaged in patient transports to and from various hospitals in the UK. I finally retired in 2019 due to health issues.

Nonetheless I was able to volunteer as a lifeboat crew member with Humber Rescue from 2002 to 2017 out on the River Humber, the second most dangerous river in the world, all hours of the day or night, 365 days a year.

In 2009 I became a Freemason joining the Kingston Lodge 1010 and later the Kingston Chapter and Myton Daylight  Lodge 9808, and was proud to receive the Active Provincial Office of Provincial Grand Steward, which affords the opportunity to visit elsewhere in the Province as DC to the Representatives of the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master.

Marcus Whereat

August 2023

 

 

 Mike Price -  Past Master

 

I was initiated into Halas Abbey Lodge 5407 in Worcestershire Province on 14 November 1974 by my father, Charles Arthur Price (always known as Arthur) in the first time he was WM there; passed on 9 January 1975 and raised on 13 February.

As a Lewis (1.e. the son of a Mason), I knew some of the Brethren already and my wife Laraine knew their ladies from Ladies’ Nights we’d attended – useful in the days before social media and Zoom – and there were a number of Halas Abbey Brethren of similar ages and at similar stages of their Masonic careers. The Preceptor of the Lodge of Instruction (held twice a month) at that time neither minced words nor took no for an answer. I was greeted with “Hello, tonight you’re Junior Warden” on one of my early attendances – not knowing what to do was no excuse, as you were there to learn, so we all progressed through the Lodge offices, learning our Craft and becoming experienced Master Masons as we did so. We were helped and guided, sometimes a little sharply, by the stalwart Past Masters of the Lodge.

I’ll move forward to 1982, when my father was WM a second time, with, me as his Junior Warden. I was Senior Warden in Halas Abbey’s Diamond Jubilee year in May 1983, and was installed into the Chair of King Solomon on 10 May 1984. In my year as WM, we had three raisings (one on a Past Masters Night) an initiation and a passing, and a LoI Festival. I had a year as Master I still fondly remember, not least for the support from many Lodge members, as I had by then moved from Wednesbury and was living in Emley, West Yorkshire, and working in Trafford in Manchester. I drove a lot of miles that year – from memory, something like 50,000 – for work, personal life and Freemasonry.

My Freemasonry continued on its way with enjoying Lodge meetings and social events; and I was appointed PPSGD in 1989. This enjoyment ceased abruptly for me and for many other Masons employed in the public sector when anti-Mason sentiment over allegations of impropriety (regrettably, a few of them were justified, stigmatising the blameless many) escalated into a kind of witch-hunt, forcing me in 1995 to choose between my professional career and my Freemasonry. Almost thirty years later this still rankles as it was so unnecessary. I am really glad to see the much more positive (and in my experience correct) opinions of Freemasons now prevalent.

Fast forward 22 years. In the interim, my father had moved to Hedon to be closer to me, but his state of health prevented resuming Masonic activity. My Masonry remained in abeyance – but not forgotten – until in 2017 a conversation with Malcolm Watkinson apropos Freemasons visiting St. Patrick’s Church, Patrington, led me into contact with Kingston Lodge. I became a joining member, acted as Inner Guard for most of 2018, became Senior Warden in 2018/19 and WM for three consecutive years (2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22) courtesy of the Covid lockdowns and restrictions, I installed my successor, W.Bro. Marcus Whereat, in December 2022 and am at the time of writing this article Junior Deacon. I am also a member of Kingston Chapter (currently Scribe E); and a Knight Templar of the Antient York Conclave of Redemption, in both cases proposed and seconded for membership by Brethren of Kingston Lodge.

Attending another Lodge without being a Halas Abbey Brother felt strange, so I asked to rejoin the Mother Lodge which had played such a large part in my Masonic development and of which I had so many fond memories, and became a rejoining member in May 2018. Subsequently I have been ADC, DC, Senior Warden and am at the time of writing WM there for the second time, installed on 11 May 2023, thirty-nine years and one day since my first installation, with the same Installing Master officiating!.

Freemasonry is large part of my life and this brief resume can only cover part of it – there are many anecdotes I could recall!

Mike Price

 August 2023

 

Gary Crossland - Worshipful Master

 

Born in East Hull, I went to David Lister High School. I worked as a lifeguard at Beverley Road Baths and went onto work on a pig farm. Having taken the Queen's shilling in 1985, I enlisted into the British Army. Serving twelve years, during which time I undertook tours of duty in Northern Ireland, Germany, America and Yugoslavia as well being based in camps in the UK. 

I served in a rifle platoon, then moved onto a 'Milan' anti-tank platoon and finally the Regimental Provost (Military Police) being attached to the Army Dog Unit for two years working with my dog Dale, a German Shepherd. My mother is still convinced I only joined up so I got a dog!

Being attached to the 3rd Battalion REME (Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers) was a big culture shock. They didn't march around the  camp or wear stable belts, but were a bunch of lads and lasses to serve with. 

My partner and I have five children and I'm known for my quirky sense of humour and terrible dad jokes. My hobbies are photography and rugby.

For the past twenty-two years I have worked in the NHS, I started as a theatre porter then became an Auxillary Nurse  on both the wards and outpatient department. Currently I am based in the Plastics and Reconstructive Truma Clinic. During the recent Covid crisis I had to wear a facemask, the other staff said it was a great improvement!

Initiated into Kingston Lodge in 2016, I first held office as Dining Steward, progressing through the ranks of Junior and Senior Deacon both offices of which I thoroughly enjoyed. I currently occupy the position of Junior Warden of the Lodge and have continued my Masonic journey by becoming a Royal Arch Mason in the Kingston Chapter.

 

 

Gary Crossland

2nd November 2023

 

 

 Neil Armstrong - Lodge Secretary 

 

My childhood memories are precious. I grew up with a dog, who taught me so much about living, being patient, honest and above all loyal. I think in my early years Venus the dog meant more to me than the rest of the family.

My parents encouraged reading, books were and still are wonderful to me, though Venus was never interested. Music was always playing in the home, and I developed my passion for classical music in those early years, although today my tastes are more eclectic. I have so many cherished childhood memories and experiences prior to becoming a teenager.

Unfortunately, when I was thirteen years old my mother was diagnosed with leukemia, so I missed out on my teenage years, going from child to adult in one swift move as I helped my father look after her. Then in 1971, my older brother was posted with the army to Northern Ireland. Tragically he was ambushed and killed in an IRA attack. My mother died six weeks later. This later nurtured a desire for a career that helped people when at their most vulnerable.

I joined the NHS and worked in the Operating Theatres for over thirty-six years in all the hospitals in the City, including ones no longer in existence such as the Women & Townend Maternity Unit, Kingston General Hospital, Hedon Road Maternity and Sutton Annexe (later renamed Princess Royal.)

My passion for Ludwig van Beethoven came about during the time of the loss of my mother and brother. I read a biography about the composer and learnt about his tragic life. It stirred a deep empathy within me, and I thought if he could overcome his deafness and still compose such wonderful music, then I could overcome my abject grief.

I voraciously devoured  every book and piece of his music I could lay my hands on. It was an immense source of comfort to me, and I vowed that one day I would lay flowers on his grave. Twenty-five years later I stood in the Central Cemetery of Vienna Austria in front of his final resting place. Here I laid my flowers in gratitude for saving me when I was at my lowest ebb.

I really enjoy my Freemasonry and have been very fortunate over the years. I was Initiated into Kingston Lodge in 2007, became Worshipful Master in 2012. Taking the Office of Secretary in 2013, I have continued in that role to the present. As a Past Master, I joined the Humber Installed Masters Lodge 2494, and am currently serving as Senior Warden.

I had the immense honour to serve on the Active Craft Provincial Team as ProvGStwd in 2014. I unexpectedly received a Tercentary Honour as ProvJGD in 2018. My First Appointment as ProvGSwdB in 2019 saw me back on the Active Team and wandering round the Province again.

Exalted into Kingston Chapter in 2009, I held various office and am currently MEZ.

I enjoy undertaking historical research, I spent three years researching Kingston Lodge's history and co-produced a commemorative book for the Sesquicentennial celebrations.

During the Covid pandemic as a member of the Daggards, my research also assisted W. Bro Eddie Wildman in the production of a number of Zoom presentations which hopefully helped ease the sense of isolation felt by many Brethren during that period.

Another passion of mine is Railways, both real and model. I’m currently building my ‘retirement’ miniature layout based on the Yorkshire Dales. Talking of railways, for sixteen years I volunteered on the North York Moors Railway at Pickering as Station Foreman.

The Thomas the Tank Engine Gala being very popular with young children. Quite often on the platform, I would have a smiling little face looking up at me asking if I was the Fat Controller!

Those Masonic pies have a lot to answer for.

Neil Armstrong

August 2023

 

 Malcolm Watkinson - Treasurer

 


I was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, and christened Malcolm Harold Watkinson before my family, emigrated to South Africa in 1952 and to Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) the following year. I didn’t return to England until 1966, a teenager struggling to accommodate to the climate.

 

Those early days abroad proved useful, however. After gaining professional qualifications at Sheffield Hallam University, I worked in the construction and railway industries, in the UK, South Africa, Hungary and Montenegro. Having eventually decided to retire, I settled down in Patrington, Holderness, home to one of the most beautiful churches in England and a lovely place to live; I am blessed with a daughter, a son and four grandchildren.

 

My father became a Mason in Malawi. On his return to England he became a member of Bretton Priory Lodge 5774 in Barnsley, Yorkshire West Riding, and I became a Lewis (son of a Mason) in that Lodge in1982.

 

I joined Kingston Lodge in 2005, and after serving as Junior and Senior Warden, became Worshipful Master in 2009. I have held the Office of Treasurer since 2018. I’m a member of the Humber Installed Masters Lodge 2494 and of Kingston Chapter (MEZ in 2016.)

 

I still keep busy as the Chairman of the Holderness RNLI Fundraising Branch (which includes the Humber and Withernsea Lifeboats) and am pleased to be part of this worthy enterprise, saving lives on a regular basis. I’m also Treasurer for St Patrick’s Church, Patrington, which W Bro Mike Price also attends.

 

I’m a regular at the local gym and keep fit by jogging (very slowly) which the Brethren may find difficult to believe.

 Malcolm Watkinson

September 2023

 

 Eddie Wildman - Lodge Organist

 

Born in the fifties in the Asbestos Triangle in Leeds, Eddie enjoyed a grammar school education. As one of the smallest in the class he several he decided playing the piano was less dangerous than playing rugby and studied music, beginning his Bachelor of Music degree when he was seventeen at the University of Hull.

Thereafter he went into teaching because he liked showing off and bossing people about.

He taught in several Hull schools but decided to retire when the job required more paperwork than musicianship.

In the meantime he joined the Craft: initiated in 1985 he took the Master’s Chair in 1993 and became guest organist thereafter to a plethora of local Lodges and Chapters.

Amongst other offices, he was Provincial Organist for both Chapter and Craft and in other orders. He is now Past Grand Organist on the roll of UGLE.

Eddie enjoys writing (four novels published) and doesn’t have a television. When not out at Lodge meetings, he enjoys cooking and reading.

His hair began to recede when he was in his twenties so he cultivates a beard and curly moustache which are rapidly turning white.

 

 Eddie Wildman

August 2023