Wednesday, 09 January 2019 13:43

New Year Honours 2019

A number of Freemasons have been honoured in HM The Queen’s New Year Honours list 2019, which recognises the outstanding achievements of people across the United Kingdom

Charles Pearson

Charles Pearson was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to West Mercia Police.

Charles has been a special constable for 45 years, holding the rank of a Sergeant, serving his community in Shropshire with postings to Bridgnorth, Much Wenlock and presently, Church Stretton. In May 2014, he was awarded the Freedom of Much Wenlock for services to the local community, with 40 years police service in the town of Much Wenlock.

He was initiated into Caer Caradoc Lodge No. 6346 in Shropshire in 1997 and joined West Mercia Lodge No. 9719 three years later, where he is the current Master.

In 2012, Charles was named Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon for Shropshire and in 2017 was promoted to Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works.

Thomas Clive Johnson

Clive Johnson was awarded the Queen's Fire Service Medal (QFSM)  for Distinguished service to Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service.

Clive joined the Westmorland Fire Service as a Retained Firefighter in 1968 and was based at Staveley where he lives. In 1974, the Fire Services of the region amalgamated and then became the Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service.

Clive continued his service at Staveley until he retired on 31st May 2018, having achieved the high rank of Station Watch Manager. To mark his retirement having completed 50 years of exemplary service, he and his wife Julie were invited to attend a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, hosted by Her Majesty.

He was initiated into Eversley Lodge No. 4228 in 2001 in the Province of Cumberland & Westmorland. In 2016, he received Provincial Honours when he was appointed Provincial Senior Grand Deacon.

Bill Edward Bowen

Bill Bowen was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community of Oswestry in Shropshire.

This included actively serving in The Lions Club of Oswestry for 44 years and being honoured in the Lions Clubs International organisation as District Governor which necessitated training in Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii.

Bill also served as Churchwarden at the Parish Church of St. Oswald for 25 years, followed by 14 years as a licensed local minister in the Church of England. He also organised a Christian Men's Fellowship Breakfast for 22 years and served as Chaplain to the RJAH Orthopaedic Hospital for 15 years. In fact, he is still serving in all these different organisations.

Bill was initiated in 1986 into the Lodge of St Oswald No. 1124 in Oswestry in the Province of Shropshire and was made Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works in 2014.

Michael Goldthorpe

Michael Goldthorpe was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to Naval Personnel.

Michael served in the Royal Navy from 1978 until 2010, reaching the rank of Commander. His most recent activity has been as CEO of the Association of Royal Navy Officers and the Royal Navy Officers Charity.

He was initiated into Pinner Hill Lodge No. 6578 in Middlesex in 1989, although the lodge has since been erased. Michael is also a member of Fortitude Lodge No. 6503 in the Province, where he is their current Master, and was appointed Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works in 2018.

He is also a member of United Services Lodge No. 3183 in Gibraltar, Goffs Oak Lodge No. 7169 in Hertfordshire and Navy Lodge No. 2612 in London, alongside a number of side orders.

Francis Wakem QPM

Francis Wakem was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to victims of crime.

This involved working with the charity Victim Support, which provides emotional and practical support to victims of crime, since it was founded 30 years ago, originally as a serving police officer and later as a volunteer. 

Francis remains an active volunteer in Wiltshire and in London where he serves on committees dealing with governance of the charity.

Francis was initiated into Corsham Lodge No. 6616 in Wiltshire in 1976 and went on to serve as Provincial Grand Master in the county for over 10 years (March 2004 - October 2014).

Frank Handscombe

Frank Handscombe was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to Judo in the community in South Molton, North Devon.

Frank is a 4th black belt and has been involved with South Molton Judo Club for 38 years, where he has served as chief instructor and principal.

Frank was initiated into Temple Bar Lodge No. 5962 in Hertfordshire in 1961 and later joined Loyal Lodge of Industry No. 421 in Devonshire, where he gained Provincial honours including Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 2005 and Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden in 2006.

In 2009, he was given Grand Lodge honours when he was named Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies.

Trevor (Tex) Calton

Army Cadet Force Major Tex Calton has been awarded an MBE by Her Majesty the Queen in the annual New Year Honours list.

Tex enjoyed a successful military career of 26 years with the last eight serving as the Bandmaster of the famous Black Watch Regiment. He retired from teaching music in schools at the end of 2013 and now serves in the Army Cadet Force in the rank of Major, as National Music Advisor. 

Tex became a Freemason in 1988 when he joined Phoenix Lodge in Berlin. On being posted to Tern Hill, near Market Drayton, he joined St Mary’s Lodge No. 8373 in 1992. Tex was given Provincial honours in Shropshire when he was named Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon in 2014.

Steven Leigh

Cheshire Freemason Steven Leigh was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to local businesses and the economy in Yorkshire.

Steven has had an impressive business career, including the flotation of his company to a full listing on the London Stock Exchange in 1993, and running it as Chief Executive.

Steven will celebrate 50 years as a member of the Lodge of Harmony No. 4390 in November 2019, a month after taking the Chair of the Lodge as Master for the second time (previously in 1976). He was also Director of Ceremonies from 1978 – 1983, following in the footsteps of his father, George Leigh, who was Director of Ceremonies of the lodge for many years.

Reg Dunning

Reg Dunning was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to education and the community in Sandbach, Cheshire.

Reg has been a Governor of two local schools for over 40 years concurrently and has been the parade marshal for the Royal British Legion in Sandbach for over 60 years. 

92-year-old Reg is an honorary member of Penda Lodge No. 7360 and Sanbec Lodge No. 8787 in Sandbach. He joined Freemasonry in April 1955 when he was initiated into Kinderton Lodge No. 5759 in Middlewich.

Tony Brian Arthur Rowland

Tony Rowland has been awarded an MBE for services to undertaking and the community in Surrey.

Tony is a Funeral Director who has supported bereaved families through their grief for 65 years and has done voluntary work for many local charities and community projects. He became an apprentice at the age of 15 in 1953 and is now, at the age of 80, still working full-time.

Tony is a member of Croydon Sincerity Lodge No. 7575 in Surrey, where he was made a Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer in 2016.

Do you know other Freemasons who were honoured in the New Year Honours list? Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Published in More News
Thursday, 15 March 2012 00:00

pulling out all the stops

While organ music has become part of the rich fabric of masonic meetings around the country, Naunton Liles wonders whether lodges should seek to preserve these historic but expensive instruments

Look at any masonic music books in use today and you’ll find that the music you sing in your lodge would be familiar to your grandfather and those before him. Many lodges have a reluctant organist who has been persuaded to play a little and is unlikely to introduce fresh ideas while the senior grandees keep reminding everyone ‘that’s not how we used to do it’. So we sing music that is well known and well proven – we all enjoy singing familiar tunes.

Outside Freemasonry, the organ has been constrained in its development by cost. No church council or town hall likes spending money on organs when other priorities seem more worthy. It is the same within Freemasonry. If a masonic hall committee has to choose between a stairlift and a new organ, mandatory legislation and similar pressures push the organ aside.

So why do we continue to have music in masonic ceremonies? Most people agree music enhances the occasion and a private lodge meeting without music can be a bit dull. Our annual assemblies of Grand Lodge and of Provincial Grand Lodge and in all masonic orders need to be occasions of great dignity and splendour, and to give pleasure to those present.

Usually a venue is chosen with an organ suitable for playing processional music, fanfares for the high spots and background music to maintain a suitable atmosphere. For our big showcase events in London, the Grand Temples at Freemasons’ Hall and Mark Masons Hall are best. The history and costs of the instruments found in these buildings demonstrate two very different approaches to organ music.

In 1933, organ builder Henry Willis & Sons was commissioned to construct an instrument fitting for the new art deco building in Covent Garden. It was agreed the instrument would be heard but not seen, so it was placed behind grills. This concentrates the sound at one end and when accompanying 1,500 people, it can be a bit deafening for those occupying the tiered seats in the east of the temple. Another feature was to conceal the console so the organist was not higher than the Grand Master. There is many a non-conformist chapel where the organ occupies a prominent place and a flamboyant organist can outshine the preacher. Not so in Freemasonry.

The downside at the Grand Temple in Freemasons’ Hall is that the organist has no line of sight. Forty years later, CCTV was installed, with one camera and one screen. The organists could then see the assembled brethren, but not much of the west door where processions enter, so you will always see a second organist alongside advising the player what is going on. The 1970s equipment has been replaced by a flatscreen colour monitor, but still there is only one camera. By contrast, cathedrals have a split-screen system whereby the organist can see four views as the ceremony unfolds – but this costs money.

In 1933, organ builders were much exercised by the demands of the cinema, theatre and town hall clients. The thinking of the time was that you could produce a huge sound with fewer pipes by doubling up their use in an ingenious manner. The proposal for Freemasons’ Hall included this kind of scheme and the organ has a lot of sound in a compact space.

digital alternative

We live in a time when many people think any object worthy of its period – Willis’s design is an excellent example of mid-1930s workmanship – should not be altered or improved. Indeed, grant funds usually insist this is so. But few would disagree that a change that enabled the pipework to speak out more clearly, and enabled some additional resources, would be sensible if we are to serve the next generations well.

The Grand Temple is quite different at Mark Masons Hall. A long auditorium that seats four hundred, it has a relatively low ceiling, lots of carpet and a propensity to attract men in heavy suits. The acoustic is dead by comparison with any church. As a Grade II-listed building of great beauty, we are not permitted to alter the appearance by installing a pipe organ. An electronic organ was in use for around twenty-five years and in February this year it was replaced by the very latest digital organ.

Good digital technology has now been with us for a decade or more and a market has emerged far removed from the disco and home organ. It is said you can blindfold the experts in the back of a church, play them a pipe organ and a new digital organ, and they’d be hard-pressed to pick the imposter.

The process of acquiring a new organ for Mark Masons Hall was lengthy. Many orders, Provinces, lodges and individual brethren gave generously to raise the necessary funds. Three leading makers then submitted proposals for a digital organ and the contract was awarded to Wyvern, which builds its organs in the UK using mainly British components.

Digital organs now use a sampling technique. For this they record each individual note from the pipework of an organ of merit. During installation and commissioning much time was spent at night, when the surroundings were quiet, to voice each stop. It is this that makes the organ so much better than a standard one. Care was also taken to position the speakers to best effect.

Not every masonic temple can afford a custom-built organ and the story so far has described those used for important Grand Lodge ceremonies. Back at home, you may find a more modest instrument, but even these can be entirely suitable for our purposes. So, should we preserve and repair the old pipe organ or buy an electronic one? My guess is there are but a dozen pipe organs in masonic premises that are worth the cost of rebuilding, especially now that such good results can be achieved with digital equipment.

Within Freemasonry there is a shortage of funds, so it is prudent to go for the best sound per pound, and there is a compelling argument in favour of digital instruments for masonic purposes.

Independent advice is available at no cost from Naunton Liles at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

blow by blow: HISTORY OF THE PIPES

The origins of the organ can be traced back to the third century BC, when an octave of pipes was first strung together and attached to some fireside bellows. However, it took until the twelfth century AD to refine the organ into something workable that would become the ‘must-have’ accessory for every monastery. By the seventeenth century complex instruments were in use that would be broadly familiar to us today. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, a religious revival and increased wealth led to the building of new churches. At the same time, Freemasonry expanded rapidly and organs were installed in every temple that was built.

By the end of the century there were many lodges and plenty of organists. Many people had a piano at home and a generation of Freemasons was born who were not bashful about singing. Small pipe organs appeared everywhere and survived because of their relative simplicity, and several masonic temples continue to use them a hundred years later.

Letters to the Editor - FreemasonryToday No.18 - SUMMER 2012


I was interested to read Naunton Liles’ article on the Grand Temple organ and the new one in Mark Masons’ Hall. I am an organist based in the London area and play at both these venues and others. Most of the readers of Freemasonry Today will not know the history of the Grand Temple organ, but Henry Willis was probably the builder of the organ equivalent of a Rolls-Royce. It is of historical significance, as the author says, but would be extremely expensive to restore.


To the great majority of brethren, the difference in the tone of a pipe organ and the modern digital ones would certainly be unnoticeable, and for myself I look forward to being able to use the new one at Mark Masons’ Hall.


Anthony Perch
Fortitude Lodge No. 6503
Kenton, Middlesex


Published in Features

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