Just imagine turning up for a regular Lodge Meeting and being asked to step in as Inner Guard. 'Back to normal' you think because at the previous Lodge meeting Colin Felton, the Provincial Senior Grand Warden, had made a formal presentation to you for being an Essex Freemason for 70 years. Just before the scheduled Initiation ceremony begins there is a ‘Report’ and you see the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Geoff Turpin, standing ready to announce the arrival of Nicholas Franklin, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master
When Nick Franklin learned about the presentation to Malcolm Robinson at the last meeting and had read the news story One of the Most Unheard-of Inspirational Stories in Essex Freemasonry (essexfreemasons.org.uk) it was his own idea to make the very kind gesture of an unofficial visit to the next meeting on 10th February 2022 of East Saxon Lodge No. 7053 to personally thank Malcolm Robinson.
Geoff Turpin readily agreed to join Nick. The arrangements were kept a closely guarded secret and only known to three in the Lodge. Nick also conveyed the best wishes of Paul Tarrant, the Provincial Grand Master, who gave Nick the pleasurable duty to confer on Malcom the honour of a surprise field promotion to Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden.
Nick emphasised that 70 years of continuous active service in Freemasonry is not achieved by many but in Malcolm’s case in particular:
-Malcolm and he share the same birthday of the 3rd June, which coincidentally this year is a Bank Holiday to commemorate the 70 year-long reign of HM The Queen,
-Malcolm was born in 1929, the same year as Nick’s late father and both had served in the Royal Navy, and
-Both Malcolm and he are married to a nurse.
Having been invested with the Jewel of a Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden by Nick, Geoff Turpin proclaimed 'Thoroughly deserved, Sir' as he shook Malcolm’s hand and led the applause of the Brethren. Malcolm Robinson was totally taken aback saying 'I am totally impressed with it all. I don’t know what to say. This could not have been a bigger surprise; it was almost a shock. I am overwhelmed and can’t put a speech together'. Similar sentiments were shared among all the Brethren who will not forget the kind personal touch of Nick Franklin and the moment when the Deputy Provincial Grand Master arrived with a personal surprise!