The Provincial Grand Lodge of Essex signed the Armed Forces Covenant during an event at Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden on 24 March
A senior officer from Colchester Garrison attended the event and signed for the MOD.
On 24th March 2022 the Provincial Grand Master of Essex, Paul Tarrant, signed the Armed Forces Covenant with Major Kevin Fitchett, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Colchester Garrison who was given a warm welcome at the Annual Meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge at Freemasons’ Hall in London, the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England.
The Covenant is a Government policy to help the Armed Forces Community, which includes veterans, bereaved families and service personnel with adaptive needs, in areas such as healthcare, education, accommodation and employment. It is an obligation on the whole of society including voluntary and charitable bodies, private organisations and individuals, all of whom are asked to recognise our Armed Forces and offer respect, support and fair treatment.
Nick Franklin, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, explained 'Members of HM Armed Forces sacrifice some of their civilian freedoms and put themselves in harm’s way in the defence of our realm so it is important that they should receive our support and we have an obligation to ensure that they get fair treatment which is the primary purpose of this Covenant.'
Major Fitchett said: 'Essex Freemasons have a long and positive relationship with the Armed Forces in Essex, particularly by supporting military charities both through funding and their members’ direct involvement. It is a privilege to have been invited to celebrate the Freemasons signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant and we look forward to working together to benefit the Armed Forces Communities in Essex.'
One Freemason who did more than any other person to change the unwanted way people used to regard the Services in peacetime was Rudyard Kipling. Never a soldier himself, his Barrack Room Ballads and other poems conveyed the foibles of soldiers to the hearts and minds of a population which began to appreciate far more the dangers and hardships of military life. This change helped foster numerous military charities and welfare organisations, many of which still survive.
Government policy today encourages public appreciation with the Armed Forces Covenant which the 8,000 plus Essex Freemasons will support through their four important guiding principles of Integrity, Friendship, Respect and Charity.