Affectionately known to all as ‘Bram’, he earned our love and respect during his relatively short five year tenure of office and we mourn his passing on 21 July 2015. He was Master of Halifax 706 in 1967 and his first Provincial appointment five years later was Provincial GSW, our present PGM has often referred to him as “the father of our Province”.
He was appointed Assistant PGM in November 1988 and, a mere 9 months later, following the decision of the then PGM to retire and subsequent to the sudden death of the Deputy, was invited to accept appointment as head of our Province. It was a demanding situation and Bram rose to the challenge and, in retrospect, it is no exaggeration to say that by his decisions and appointments whilst PGM he laid the foundations for this Province for the following 25 years or more.
Just a couple of weeks prior to his retirement from office, he consecrated St.Hiev Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners at Bingley and the constitution of Ainsty and Aireferry Mark Lodges over the following eighteen months were all planned during his term whist the origin of our very strong D.C. and Secretarial teams can all be traced back to the plans laid at that time.
He introduced many initiatives which reflected his own open, friendly and caring personality, notably an increased emphasis on the role of the Lodge Almoner. He was a great champion of our four IMA’s and President of the Huddersfield, Halifax & Districts in 1972 and of the importance of encouraging our social, as well as Masonic, interaction and introduced our Provincial Golf Competitions and our Annual Carol Service.
He was a very active member of Grand Stewards Lodge and Master in 2005 and, as a result of his work as Charity Steward of that Lodge, was appointed Provincial GSW of the Mark Province of London in 1999.
In addition to his important achievements as a leader in Mark and RAM, Bram celebrated 60 years of Freemasonry shortly before his death and was very active. He was accorded Grand Rank in Craft, Royal Arch Chapter and Knights Templar.
Throughout all his Freemasonry, Bram, in his own inimitable quiet manner, exhibited tremendous vitality, dedication and commitment and was an outstanding leader. This was acknowledged six years ago when the decision was taken to perpetuate his name when the Morley Mark and RAM Lodges were consecrated. They enable the Province to benefit from Lodges meeting during a weekday morning, prior to enjoying a luncheon full of the good fellowship of brethren hailing from all parts of West Yorkshire.
Yes, Bram will be greatly missed by us all and especially by Peggy, his beloved wife of almost 73 years, his 2 daughters and their respective families – but never forgotten and always remembered with very great affection. A totally committed Freemason, a brilliant ritualist, a master craftsman who could do anything with his hands – and a man who led by precept and example.
He is one of whom it can truly be said that “he lived respected and died regretted”. A gentleman – and a gentle man – always elegant, always courteous and thoughtful and always interested in others. Just a lovely, lovely man.
Brian M Batty, Proincial.Grand Master 1999 – 2007