In what was a moving and emotional Especial meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Surrey on 6th April 2019, fellow Freemasons honoured the life and work of Derek W. Barr MBE, a Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master, by renaming a temple at the Nutfield Masonic Centre in Redhill, Surrey, in his name
The meeting was to honour a well-respected Surrey Freemason who died on 8th September 2018. Derek served on the Provincial Executive for 16 years, initially as an Assistant Provincial Grand Master and more recently as the Deputy Provincial Grand Master. He was also active in many of the alternative and progressive orders including: The Holy Royal Arch, Mark Masons, Royal Ark Mariners, Knights Templar, Knights of Malta, Royal & Select Masters and the Allied Masonic Degrees achieving distinguished ranks in all.
Of Derek’s many masonic achievements, the one he was most proud of was being the instigator for introducing Teddies For Loving Care (TLC) into the Province of Surrey. It was his passion to raise funds in the Province for this worthwhile charity benefiting young anxious children as they were admitted to hospital A&E. He took great pride in knowing that the anxiety of parents and their child across Surrey were greatly eased by the gift of a teddy bear.
As a young man, Derek was employed by Fairfield Halls, Croydon, where he rose from the role of theatre management trainee to the rank of CEO. Along with organising innumerable theatre productions, concerts, and exhibitions, he was honoured to meet an enviable list of celebrities during his 40-year career.
When asked who were amongst his favorite personalities, he would always reply: 'Bette Davis, a truly lovely and inspirational woman'. More recently, he would amuse friends with a tale of fearing for his safety when the theatre was invaded by a stampede of young girls eager to see the boyband JLS.
In 2010, Derek was flabbergasted to be awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to Music and the Arts.
At the Especial meeting, the Provincial Grand Master of Surrey Ian Chandler spoke about all the charitable work done in the county by Derek. He noted that those who had attended the last night of the Croydon Proms at the Fairfield Halls may know that Derek, as Chairman, was the driving force behind the yearly concert in aid of local charities and deserving causes.
In a moving ceremony attended by Derek’s family, friends and fellow Surrey Freemasons, a portrait and plaque were unveiled and a commemorative scroll was present to his wife Sandra. Lodge members also donated a cheque to further advance TLC in Surrey in Derek’s name, in recognition of a man greatly respected by all.