The Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons

West Yorkshire

A Tribute to W. Bro Colin George Robins P.Prov.G.S.O

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Colin George Robins came to Freemasonry late in life following the death of his wife, Angie and after a long career in the entertainment Industry, primarily on stage. He originally was a Craft member of Connaught and Truth Lodge at Huddersfield No 521.He was introduced into Beaumont Mark Lodge No1523 on 3rd November 2005 at the age of 73 by W. Bro. Iain McWhorter-Morrison seconded by W. Bro. Alex Caldwell. The register shows his occupation as Retired Thespian. Right from the start he loved Mark Masonry, the theatre of the ceremony but above all the friendship of the Mark Degree. He became the Master of Beaumont Mark Lodge on 2nd April 2009 and occupied the chair for two years. He was promoted to Past Provincial Grand Senior Overseer three years ago and recently became a member of Peace Royal Ark Mariners No.681

An article appeared recently in a local Barnsley paper headed,’ Talented entertainer of a golden age dies aged 83’, referring to W. Bro. Colin. He was born in Birmingham and then went to work all over the world as a professional entertainer. He was an impressionist, singer, comedian and raconteur. He first worked as a soloist, then later alongside his wife, Angie Dean He got his peak in 1950 when he appeared on the radio version of the popular talent show , ‘Opportunity Knocks’, the X Factor of the day. Angie and Colin were married in 1961 and went on to work in cabaret, revues, cruise liners and pantomimes. In 1978 Angie was diagnosed with an aggressive form of rheumatoid arthritis which brought an end to their joint career in its prime. As her condition deteriorated Colin gave up his career to care for her until her death in 2001.

As those who knew him well would testify he was a cheerful, life and soul of the party who would entertain you at the drop of a hat. However, beneath the thespian façade was a very caring, committed Freemason, a lovely man who was well respected across the Province and brought charismatic good humour wherever he went, he will be sadly missed by us all.


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The first fruit of Mark meets the Ark at Claro RAM

 The Claro Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No. 525

The Meeting held at the Masonic Hall, Wetherby on Wednesday, 31st August, was significant. Not only because Worshipful Brother John Fred Clough, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master and Senior Warden was proclaimed Commander Elect but also because the Candidate. Brother David Anthony Preston was the first to join the fraternity having heard the new presentation, ‘The Mark meets the Ark’, delivered by our current Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother, Dr. Rod Taylor. Three other Mark Master Masons were present that evening and I have little doubt that they will follow the lead of Brother Preston.


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The Lodge was opened in due form by the Worshipful Commander, Worshipful Brother George Wise and the usual formalities despatched. As only one Brother had been nominated, W. Bro. Wise declared W. Bro John Fred Clough Commander Elect, the Installation to take place on Wednesday, 30th November. W. Bro. John invited all present to attend but with the caveat that they paid for themselves!! Tight-fisted he can be but It will be an occasion to remember and many at this meeting will be there again, put it in your diaries you will enjoy yourself.


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The Candidate, Brother Preston, was then elevated to the Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners in fine form by the Skipper W. Bro. Wise, his two First Lieutenants, W. Bro. John Fred Clough and Worshipful Brother Alan Crusher, and a very fine body of men , his crew. In this regard there were superb cameo performances by three aspiring young midshipman who could go far they being, Worshipful Brother Jim Garland who not only dealt with the Signs and Secrets in exemplary fashion but also then gave the same treatment to the Exposition, the latter after, a moment for Bro. David to cherish, the Admiral of the Fleet, the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles G.M.R.A.C., explained the working tools. He later presented Bro. Barry Smith with his Royal Ark Mariner Grand Lodge certificate, another moment to remember on a truly enjoyable meeting for all. Worshipful Brother Gerald Barker superbly explained the steps and Brother Barry Smith, another nice touch, he was the Proposer for Bro. David, presented the Warrant and Bye laws.


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The remaining formalities were then despatched and all adjourned to the Mess for the customary high standard of victuals on the good ship Claro. During his toast to the candidate, Bro. Barry advised us that not only his David a very good cyclist but that he also played Rugby League to a high standard and is a Past Master of the Rugby League Lodge in Huddersfield. He became a Mark Master Mason in 2009 so it had taken some time to persuade him take this final step. In his response, Bro. David said that when he came to the meeting earlier he was overwhelmed by the welcome. Hands were held out in greeting and he knew he had made the right decision. You have Bro. David and we all trust that you will have a most enjoyable and long association with the Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners.


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As ever Brethren, Smile, Be Happy and enjoy your Freemasonry.


W.Bro. Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.

The Claro Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No. 525 – The Mark meets The Ark

An Open Invitation had been extended to all Mark Master Masons and Royal Ark Mariners to attend, Wetherby Masonic Hall, Wednesday, 29th June, to receive a presentation entitled, ‘The Mark meets The Ark’. This had been prepared, and was presented, by our Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Dr. Rod Taylor.


The Lodge was honoured by the presence of the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles G.M.R.A.C. and other distinguished guests notably, Past Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother George Henry Philip Birch and Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Brian Emmett. The Worshipful Commander, Worshipful Brother George Wise, opened the Lodge when the first item was a Eulogy, delivered by Worshipful Brother Robert Winterflood, in respect of Worshipful Brother Keith Robson, now sadly in the Grand Lodge above. W. Bro. Keith had been a very keen and committed Mark Master and Ark Mariner and was, not only sorely missed by all the Brethren of the Lodges he was a member, but also by many who had met him and his wife Christine. A number recalled trips to London for Grand Lodge when much hilarity was experienced both down and back, W. Bro. Keith is now in Christine’s arms again, God Bless. The essential business was then despatched and the Lodge closed. At this time, the Brethren retained their Regalia and four Mark Master Masons were admitted to witness the presentation.


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Bro. Dr. Rod began with the immortal words, ‘Are you sitting comfortably, then I will begin, welcome to the World Premier of The Mark meets The Ark’. The Lecture is an insight into the Royal Ark Mariner Fraternity, therein lies the first point of note, it is not a degree or order but a Fraternity where all wear essentially the same regalia. One of the earliest records refers to a Brother William Boyce in Bath in 1790 but the working of the Fraternity then faded. Eventually it came under the protection of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons where it remains, there is neither a Grand nor a Provincial Grand Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners; these are covered by their Mark counterparts.


Much is spoken, quite correctly, about the ambience, brotherly feeling and general mood of friendliness that characterises Mark Master Masons Lodges, in Royal Ark Mariners perhaps it goes up a notch. At this juncture it is not appropriate that I say any more about the detail other than it was superbly prepared and delivered by one the most competent public speakers I have ever witnessed, W. Bro. Dr. Rod Taylor, our Assistant Provincial Grand Master. It is now in the hands of the Royal Ark Mariner Lodges to pull together interested Mark Master Masons and then request W. Bro. Dr. Rod to attend; I can assure you they will not be disappointed.


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For the record the four Mark Master Masons were Brothers Rex Sunders, Howard Marshall, David Preston and Jim Brown, having spoken to them afterwards I am confident that some will take the opportunity to enjoy the Elevation ceremony in the near future. In fact, after writing this, but before submission, I have now heard that Bro. David Preston is to be elevated in Claro R. A. M. No 525 on Wednesday 31st August, a date for your diaries!


The festive board in a buffet style, another triumph for Chef, Worshipful Brother Robert Snowden, was eagerly consumed and the usual bustle of laughter and chatter abounded. Toasts were kept to a minimum with the Provincial Grand Master thanking Claro Lodge of Royal Ark Mariner No. 525 for hosting the event, W. Bro. Rod for preparing and delivering a superb insight into the Royal Ark Mariner Fraternity and all for attending, particularly the four potential candidates. He finished by asking them where could you go to enjoy a meeting more than the Mark? Well now you know!!

As always Smile , be happy, and enjoy the Summer, if it comes!!

W.Bro. Duncan Smith P.G.S.D.

Another successful outcome for the Crimps at Pontefract Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No. 878

A candidate for elevation, Brother Michael Hamilton Stephen, not a surprise to this Lodge as this was the third this year and another was proposed later in the meeting, great news for the Worshipful Commander, Worshipful Brother Rod Williams, and a testimony to the work of the Lodge Crimps. They have worked assiduously over the years, mainly around the docks at Legioleum Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 457 Castleford, where they have shanghaied a number of recruits, 2 earlier this year, but many in the past. They have now expanded their area of activity to cover Selby, particularly Abbott Hugh of Selby Lodge No. 1640 from whence the night’s candidate hailed.

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The Crew of 21 assembled, and joined by 26 fellow matelots from other vessels at anchorage, including Worshipful Brother Richard Boswell Puttrell, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, the Lodge was opened in due form by the Worshipful Commander, Worshipful Brother Rodney Williams. He then welcomed Worshipful Brother Paul Cook, the Worshipful Commander of The Bram Morley Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No. 1905 who, accompanied by an escort of his Brethren, presented the travelling Porphyry Stone to W.Bro. Rod. He explained the history which in summary is to encourage, as also applies to the travelling maul in the Mark, visiting in the Royal Ark Mariner Fraternity and efforts should be made to pass on to another Lodge within 2 months or so.

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The Worshipful Commander then skilfully navigated his Officers and Crew through the turbulent waters of the Elevation ceremony which, whilst not only much enjoyed by Brother Stephen, also surprised and intrigued him in places. Particular praise to the 1st and 2nd. Lieutenants, Bro. Paul Levy, Senior Warden and Bro. John Derwanz, Junior Warden for their presentations and Worshipful Brother James Garland for an excellent rendition of the Working  Tools and traditional History. There then followed the Declaration of Bro. Paul Levy as Commander Elect for the ensuing year, he looking forward to guiding the Crew on a successful voyage , in calm waters, over the ensuing year.

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The Menu at the following festive board merely put a superb finishing gloss on the proceedings with a Black pudding starter, W.Bro. Rod does have good taste, this being followed by a cold meat salad and sweet, appropriate to the time of year, we had some sun on the day! The final gloss was applied by W.Bro. Tony, ‘The Purser’, Parker who supplied the Port in accordance with the Carl Whitehead Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No. 110 tradition; well received by all, and some receiving a lot more than others! In response to his toast, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master congratulated Bro. Stephen on becoming a Member of the Fraternity, the Lodge on an excellent ceremony and Bro. Paul on being Commander Elect. He also made particular reference to the requirement of all Masters of Lodges to represent their Lodges around the Province, this being particularly appropriate as there were 5 visiting Commanders in attendance, the most that I have witnessed in the last year, things are improving.

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For the record, and well done to all, they were;
W.Bro. Paul Cook, W.C. of the Bram Morley Lodge of R.A.M. No.1905.
W.Bro. Tony Parker, W.C. of the Carl Whitehead Lodge of R.A.M. No. 110.
W.Bro. Charles Lindsay, W.C. of the Portal Lodge of R.A.M. No. 127.
W.Bro. Ian Smith, W.C. of the St Swithuns Lodge of R.A.M. No. 43.
W.Bro. Richard Stone W.C. of the Abbey Lodge of R.A.M. No. 768.

Smile, be happy and enjoy your Mark Masonry. I was going to say enjoy the summer but we may have just had it, perhaps.

W. Bro. Duncan Smith, P.S.G.D.

A change of hands at the Helm of Portal Royal Ark Mariners No. 127

With the Portal Dreadnought safely berthed at Eastgate Masonic Hall, it was time to welcome, and Install, the new Skipper who had agreed to take on this motley crew and navigate them through the next 12 months. Who was willing to take on this arduous task, none other than the much travelled Provincial Grand Master Overseer for 2015/2016 in the Province of Mark Master Masons West Yorkshire, Brother Charles David Lindsay, not a happy soul after he had to hand in his Acting Officers Jewel.

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An excellent attendance of 47 that included 22 visitors, of which 3 were Commanders in the Chair, was perhaps a reflection on the visiting that the Commander Elect has undertaken in his Masonic career. They were joined by Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Robert Corfield, the Personal Representative of the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles G.M.R.A.C.; Past Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother George Henry Philip Birch and Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Brian Emmett. The Worshipful Commander, Worshipful Brother Russel Jones opened the Lodge in due form and events progressed smoothly to the Installation. This was very capably and sincerely despatched by W.Bro. Jones, a smooth transition with Worshipful Brother Lindsay secure on the poop deck, the Captain of all he surveyed.

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The Appointment and Investiture of his Officers then followed; sadly a number had not yet returned from leave and will be invested on a future voyage. Unfortunately, therefore, they could not witness two of the highlights of the evening, the first being the Address to the Worshipful Commander given by R.W.Bro. Birch, in superb fashion. He had given me the ritual to prompt him if necessary, no need. The Exposition was then in the hands of Worshipful Brother Peter Brindley, another excellent performance, no requirement for any outside assistance and that was in addition to the explanation of the Keystone Collaret that W.Bro. Peter had dealt with in perfect fashion earlier in the Ceremony.

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The Captain and crew then adjourned to the Mess where victuals were provided, notably a delicious Steak Pie, followed by Treacle Sponge with Ice cream, yes you read it correctly, the Skipper prefers Ice Cream to Custard. The Toast to the Province was very capably delivered by Worshipful Brother Rodney Tolson, the response in the hands of W.Bro. Robert Corfield, the Personal Representative of the Provincial Grand Master. He stressed that we must continue to support our Craft Lodges to ensure a steady stream of potential candidates to the Mark, and thereafter, the Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners. He further reminded Brethren that as the West Riding Craft Festival comes to its conclusion later this year, efforts must the turn to our own Festival, the West Yorkshire Mark Benevolent Fund Festival 2023, and to this end he had been pleased to have received a donation from the Portal Lodge.


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The atmosphere throughout had been convivial, one Brother describing it as entertaining, undoubtedly it reflected the nature of the Fraternity, also our Skipper, Worshipful Commander, W.Bro. Charles Lindsay will, see photo below now a very happy bunny, I have no doubt, be seen regularly at Royal Ark Mariner Lodges throughout his year representing the good ship, Portal Lodge.  The Crew saluted and were dismissed.

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Smile, be happy and enjoy your Royal Ark Mariner Masonry.
W.Bro. Duncan Smith, P.G.J.D.