04 Aug A Freemason’s story – Why I joined. B. Stern
Fifty Three years of masonic experience up to this year and my main regret is that I delayed until I was 38 years old, waiting until I finished my tool making apprenticeship, served in the RAF as a Lancaster bomber instrument engineer and obtained my professional engineering qualifications before I applied to join the Craft.
My father was a keen Freemason but he died suddenly in 1944 at the age of 44, when I was only 16.
His Lodge, of which I am now a long serving member assisted with our living standards in the aftermath and it was this extreme kindness which ultimately led me to seek membership.
My engineering management career took me to Blantyre, Malawi for three years, arriving in the month after I had taken my third degree in London.
Here there were five active Scottish Lodges and one English, St Georges, which I regularly attended as a complete rookie, receiving a warm welcome.
I later moved to Nairobi Kenya where Freemasonry was (and I believe still is) very active.
I became a Joining Member of Progress EC3727 and also regularly visited the several Scottish Lodges there. I addition I visited the Irish Lodge which was a real revelation concerning how they interpreted the ritual.
I was Exalted in Royal Arch Freemasonry in Nairobi Chapter in 1971 and have been a long serving Scribe E of my my London Chapter.
Returning to the UK after seven years in Africa I quite rapidly rose through the ranks of my Mother Lodge and became Master in 1975.
I was also elected Millenium Master in 2000.
I have held most Offices in the Lodge, working a Centenary Secretary in 2012, the Lodge having a very successful and enjoyable year. I have also been Almoner for over twenty years.
Alongside all of this I have had a total devotion to the Scout Movement, since I was a Cub in 1937.
I have held leader Warrants continuously for over 71 years, having been County Commissioner in Greater London and currently County President since 1991.
I hold the “Silver Wolf”, the highest award for exceptional service to Scouting, awarded in 2003.
I have been an Associate Member of the Kindred Lodges Association (KLA) for many years and have regularly lectured to Lodges and other interested bodies on “Scouting and Freemasonry”.
This is in conjunction with the splendid work being done in this respect by Bro Tony Harvey who was awarded the Prestonion Lecture for the same subject matter.