Staines Lodge 858 – Travelling Ark & W Bro Edwin “Ted” Smith

In the resplendent Norman Moore Temple of Cole Court, Twickenham, members & guests of Staines Lodge No 858 congregated with a rare and heartwarming gathering of Mark Master Masons and Royal Ark Mariners, celebrating the extraordinary lifetime achievements of one among them – W. Bro Edwin “Ted” Smith. The venue was abuzz with the animated exchange of greetings and brotherly warmth, echoing the essence of the fraternity.

The Lodge was particularly honoured by the presence of V. W. Bro Steve Vanhinsburg, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, who was escorted by the Provincial Executive and numerous Provincial Officers. They came together to present two coveted 60-year certificates to W. Bro Edwin Smith, an honour that bore testament to his stellar contributions to the fraternity. The escort was comprised of Provincial Grand Officers W. Bro Peter Hyde Assistant PGM and V. W. Bro John Billett. Assistant PGM along with W. Bro Marcus, W. Bro’s Williams, Steven Williams, Steve Haynes, Keith Giles, Mervyn Setchell, John Avery, Reg Austin, Victor Burton and Trayton Mitchell.

Adding to the evening’s charm was the delivery of the travelling Ark by the Middlesex Installed Commanders Lodge, a gesture that perfectly complemented the aura of Staines Royal Ark Mariners Lodge.

The Travelling Ark with Members of Staines Royal Ark Mariners Lodge 858 with V. W. Bro Steve Vanhinsburg & Provincial Escort

The evening was filled with shared stories and recollections from Ted’s life and his Masonic journey, fondly known as Edwin or Ted, names he carried with equal comfort. His story was not just a Masonic tale, but also a personal one – filled with elements of bravery, sacrifice, and love.

Born on October 9, 1924, the year of the second Paris Olympics – remembered through the lens of the iconic film ‘Chariots of Fire’, Ted’s life story has run parallel with remarkable global events. As he inches closer to his 100th birthday, the world is once again readying itself to celebrate the Olympics in Paris in 2024.

The narrative of Ted’s life was enlivened with anecdotes from his past, including his education at West Kensington Central School, his service in the Fleet Air Arm during World War II, and his initiation into the Freemasonry fraternity on 11th November 1959.

Ted’s personal life was as enriched as his professional one. He wed Brenda Bennett in 1958 and the couple was blessed with two daughters, Ruth and Judith. Their bond remained unbroken until Brenda’s unfortunate passing in 2020.

His Masonic journey was as impressive as his life. Starting from his initiation into Hampton Lodge, his progress into Mark Master Masonry, and his position as a Founder of Middlesex Installed Commanders, Ted’s path has been stellar. Beyond his impressive tenure within the fraternity, Ted has held a deep connection with the church, reflecting his belief and respect for the spiritual realm.

The evening concluded on a warm note with everyone present in the room extending their heartfelt wishes to Ted as he approaches his 100th birthday. The final highlight of the evening was the presentation of the 60th-year certificates to Ted by V. W. Bro Steve Vanhinsburg, a moment that imprinted itself onto the annals of Staines Lodge.

W Bro Edwin Ted Smith with his Daughter (left) and Provincial Executive holding both 60 Years Certificates

For the Mark Master Masons and the Royal Ark Mariners, it was more than just a meeting; it was a celebration of a life well-lived and a path well-travelled by W. Bro Edwin ‘Ted’ Smith. A tale of perseverance, courage, and commitment that will continue to inspire the fraternity for generations to come.

As the evening was drawing to a close, the rich camaraderie of the Masonic fraternity illuminated the air. It was time for one last huddle as members of Staines Lodge 858, the Provincial Escort, esteemed guests, and the ever-supportive wives and partners of the attendees gathered for a group photograph. The picturesque setting of the Norman Moore temple lent an exquisite backdrop, immortalizing a moment that encapsulated the profound spirit of brotherhood.

Member of Staines Lodge, Provincial Officers, Guests and Wife’s\Partners of those attending.

Following the commemorative photo, the evening further unfurled into a convivial white table dining event. Underneath the soft glow of the fairy lights of the main dining room, tales were exchanged, laughter echoed, and toasts were raised in honour of Brother Edwin ‘Ted’ Smith’s remarkable journey.

As the cutlery clinked and smiles were shared, the evening’s festivities served as a reminder of the deep-rooted bonds that held the fraternity together. It was indeed a fitting end to a night dedicated to celebrating a life that has mirrored the very principles the Mark Master Masons and Royal Ark Mariners hold dear. An evening to remember, celebrating unity, camaraderie, and the enduring spirit of Freemasonry.