Middlesex Mark Matters – July 2020

Middlesex Mark Matters – July 2020

Dear Brethren,

This is now the third edition of our Newsletter for the Mark Degree in Middlesex.

The idea of our Newsletter is primarily as a focal point to run alongside our new website, which was launched recently.

The Executive are working very hard to keep our wonderful Order together and informed at this very difficult time for us all, so please visit the site to keep updated on what is happening.

As Provincial Grand Master, I have taken this time during the 15 weeks of lockdown to try and talk, on the telephone, to as many of our Members as possible. I have not yet managed to talk to everyone as, although many of our members are retired men, many are not, and are still working hard, which I admire and sympathise within these very challenging times.

This has been especially pleasing for me as it has given me a rare opportunity to talk to far more of you than I would normally.

Since the outset of our Masonic shutdown, I have participated in many Zoom meetings at Provincial, National and at International level, which have proved greatly beneficial and informative.

These meetings are not only a way of gathering ideas and to discuss issues that may arise, but are social get-togethers and are designed to bring us together to have social/masonic conversation in a light and informative way.

They have attracted Members from around the world and I have greatly enjoyed their company and involvement.

On the 1st and 6th of June we received further communications from the Grand Secretary at Mark Masons Hall, which has been circulated by our Provincial Grand Secretary to all Mark Lodge Secretaries and Scribes of Royal Ark Mariner Lodges.

As you will have seen, it is intended that Meetings can resume fourteen days after the lifting of the UGLE suspension, but only when Government guidance allows, however further guidance will be issued before Meetings resume.

I know many are looking forward to resuming our Masonic activities, but we must keep at the forefront of our minds, that the safety of all is paramount and that anyone who is concerned, or has doubts about returning to meetings whilst the virus is still in circulation, should stay away until they feel confident that the time is right to return.

A further update has been issued to all Lodge Secretaries and Scribes regarding the use of virtual business meetings by Lodges, this is to enable them to deal with items such as; the approval of minutes and accounts; the elections of Worshipful Master (or equivalent), Treasurer and Tyler; Changes to the amounts of subscriptions, dispersal of funds for charitable purposes, exclusions and resignation, elections to Honorary Membership (subject to prior Notice of Motion), Proposition of Candidate/Joining Members/re-Joining Members, amendments to By-laws.

I would like to congratulate all those Brethren who, I will hopefully have the great honour appointing and promoting at our Annual General Meeting in October later this year.

I am delighted to inform you all that with VWBro David White, DProvGM standing down after 6 years of outstanding service to Middlesex Mark, 2 as APGM and 4 as Deputy Provincial Grand Master, I have appointed VWBro Steve Vanhinsburgh to replace him, WBro John Billet has been promoted to APGM to fill the vacancy left by VWBro Steve and WBro Rhagu Sharma is to replace John as ProvGDC

We are working hard to have this Meeting in the usual format, but as you can understand, that may not be possible.

Please keep you eye on our new website Middlesexmark.org for further details and updates.

What is most important at this time is that you keep yourselves, your families and loved ones safe and well. Freemasonry has been around for over 300 years and will be here for many more, so there is no need to rush back until you are completely comfortable and happy to return.

Kindest Fraternal regards

Edward R. Garty (Eddy)

Middlesex Mark Masons
continue to help Care Home staff.

Click to watch the brief presentation by R.W.Bro Eddy Garty and W.Bro Peter Hyde.

Peter George Halls-Dickerson

Prov Grand Master of the Mark Province of Middx. 2001 – 2012

Peter George Halls-Dickerson

Peter was born on the 29th March 1937 at Purbrook, near Portsmouth.

Anticipating war and bombing, they moved to Plymouth in 1939.

The house there was destroyed by a bomb in 1942 !

Peter moved to Cornwall, to live at grandfather’s house and finally settled in Newquay in 1943.

He attended Newquay Boys Grammar school between 1947-1956 where his hobbies included butterfly collecting, cycling and body board surfing.

His part time jobs as a teenager included petrol pump attendant, postman, butcher’s roundsman, hotel porter, deckchair and beach office attendant and finally head barman.

Aged 19 Peter went up to Wadham college, Oxford and after graduating went to Leeds University to take his teaching qualification.

Peter’s professional life started in 1960 as a teacher in Wakefield.

He was promoted to Head of English at a brand-new school in Bradford in 1963, became Deputy Headmaster at the Weald School, in West Sussex in 1966.

He was appointed Headmaster of Townfield Boys School Hayes Middx in 1970, amalgamated with the next-door girl’s school in 1972.

Finally, he became Head of Collingwood School in 1974, where after introducing local financial management and securing Grant Maintained Status for the school, he was delighted that the school became one of the first Technology Colleges in the country.

Having taken over the school with 1,450 on roll, 21 years later he retired leaving a highly successful school with 2,100 students and about 200 staff.

After his appointment to Townfield, and before taking up his post he qualified as a PSV driver !

On arriving at the school, he organized various fundraising schemes, which enabled the school to purchase a 42-seater coach.

This was used for visits to many places of interest in and around London.

In April 1971 fully loaded with pupils and camping gear, it headed off to the hoverport en route to France, Spain and Portugal !

Many amusing incidents as can be imagined !

Pupils paid £ 25.00 each for the 20-day trip and received £ 5.25 at the end having covered all expenses for fuel, food, camping and channel crossing ! 

Two years later, using the good services of Ian Allan Travel, he chartered a Boeing 707, which took 172 pupils and staff from secondary schools from the London borough of Hillingdon to Montreal.

After a week’s exploration by buses, coaches, and cars the party moved to Niagara on the Lake, where they camped for a further two weeks.

After everyone had had three days camping by a lake in the Algonquin National Park, the whole party went over night to New York by coach, had a tour of the city and flew back from Kennedy airport.

Peter met his lovely wife Ruth in 1954, a real Cornish girl !  

He proposed to her in 1959 and was married in July 1961.

His first daughter, Deborah, was born in Bradford in 1964, and second daughter Clare in Horsham in 1966.

Peter now has three grandsons and one granddaughter to complete his family.

Peter Joined the Craft in the Temple of Uxbridge Lodge in 1972 and the Mark degree the following year and the Royal Arch in 1975.

Peter became Provincial Grand Master for the Mark degree in 2001, where he presided for 11 years, until 2012, when his final year as ProvGM ended by hosting the highly successful 2012 Mark Benevolent Fund Festival at Twickenham Rugby Ground.

Peter has gone on to very senior Offices in many of the other orders in Freemasonry.

He is a very humble man and greatly respected by everyone one who knows him.

He says throughout his professional and masonic career he has been blessed with the unfailing support of Ruth, the young Cornish lass who amazingly accepted his proposal of marriage 61 years ago. How brave was she !

Interview by Peter Hyde

A Poem by Jackie White

The Newsletter needs your input’
But he gave me no clue as to what
No subject, nor number of words
I’ll put pen to paper and jot

‘You must stay in isolation’
In March, that was what we were told
‘Stay out of the way, don’t go out’
They think we’re all frail, cos we’re old

On normal days, you’d hear me say
‘So much to do, so little time’
But Covid days are something else
My brain is now thinking in rhyme

No longer travelling for miles
To attend Masonic meetings
I just sit down at the laptop
And Zoom my fraternal greetings

We used to meet four times a year
It appears more’s needed than that
Glasses on, I peer at the screen
With the keyboard draped in a cat

Don’t recognise most of these chaps
A lot have ancient-hippy trends
Each sporting longer hair and beard
They do look vaguely like my friends

We chat about our lockdown lives
(That awful word is stifling me)
We have been lucky with shopping
So there’s always something for tea

No-one has been on holiday
And I’m not one to make a fuss
But we’re almost out of ouzo
Which could be a problem for us

Can’t argue, our weather’s been nice
But I do miss Greek sun and sea
We’re booked for 2021
And look forward to that with glee

I hear the pubs will open soon
Though not sure when we’ll meet again
Meantime, I’ll carry on Zooming
And writing away in my den

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