A number of Freemasons have been honoured in HM The Queen's New Year's Honours list 2014
David Mark Spofforth, OBE
After graduating from Durham University and training in the City, Mark joined the family practice in Sussex where he has worked for 30 years, including two periods as Managing Partner.
He is the immediate Past President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants having served on Council for 18 years and chairing various committees, and served on the Takeover Panel. Mark spent 6 years making weekly broadcasts on local BBC Radio on financial matters, wrote a monthly column for Accountancy Age on practice management, and has lectured internationally on accountancy topics, including at the 2010 World Congress of Accountants.
His international experience includes a 6 year period on the International Accounting Education Standards Board, a standard setting body of IFAC, and visits to regulators and other professional bodies on every continent. He is now a Technical Advisor to the IFAC Board.
Away from professional life Mark has a partner, Veronica, and a son and a daughter. Mark’s daughter Gemma has recently retired as an elite swimmer, having competed in the Beijing and London Olympics; in August 2009 she became World Champion and continues to hold the World Record for the 100m backstroke event. His son, Peter works for a Corporate Finance company in the City.
Mark is currently Junior Warden of the Chartered Accountants Livery Company, and has also been Master of the Horners, another City Livery Company. He is a governor of Sion School in Worthing, and is Trustee of the Thalidomide Trust.
Peter Clive Crawford Pitt, MBE
Peter travelled the world accompanying widows of fallen soldiers on pilgrimages to military memorials close to where their husbands had been killed. He said the trips were a 'frightening experience' for the women but offered some form of comfort.
He was thrilled but surprised to have been honoured. 'I thought I was far too old for it,' he said.
'I'm 80 now and thought when you get to my age you don't get these things.'
In church the organist congratulated Dr Pitt on his MBE saying, 'I have never heard of anyone getting the OBE and the MBE at the same time.'
'How come?' I said. 'Over Bloody Eighty and the MBE!'
Dr Robert David Taylor Sillett, MBE
'It has been a great honour for me to have been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours. The citation is for services to the community and helping others.
'All my many friends in Freemasonry both Provincially, Nationally and Internationally have been very supportive of one aspect of my work since retirement in 2001. It was very clear to me at the time that there was a void in my life that needed filling. Raising money for Down Syndrome Education International has been one area and I thank all those Freemasons who have helped me raise a lot of money through my presentations in several degrees.
'Serving the needs of others was constantly in my mind during my professional career at Christ’s Hospital. My challenge on retirement was to continue this ambition in as many areas as possible. I shall continue to focus my mind on helping those in need bearing in mind those prophetic words of Abraham Lincoln ‘No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child’.'
Richard Brian Sutherland, MBE
Richard, honorary chairman of the board of trustees at Birtenshaw School, has been awarded an MBE for services to education and the community in Bolton.
He is a Past Master of Anchor and Hope Lodge No. 37 and Supera Moras Lodge No. 3326. He is also a Member of Antiquity Lodge No. 146.
The Birtenshaw school moved to its new multi-million pound site, in Bromley Cross, in September 2012 and Mr Sutherland was instrumental in bringing the building of the new school from dream to reality. At that time, after 21 years serving Birtenshaw as trustee and six years as chairman, he stepped down from the role and a plaque was unveiled to reveal the school hall would be known as Richard Sutherland Hall as a mark of his commitment.
Richard, who retired as Chief Executive of Bolton Health Authority in 1994, said 'I would like to thank everyone for the opportunity of working at Birtenshaw. The MBE belongs to Birtenshaw and the other charities who have put up with me for so many years.'
Maj (retired) David Malcolm Davies, BEM, TD*
David lives in Porthcawl and has been branch secretary of SSAFA Mid Glamorgan for 12 years, and a caseworker in the Bridgend division. He was previously a teacher and also worked in the accounts department of a law firm until retirement last year.
He has 5 very busy grandchildren and his hobbies include reading, gardening, walking and charity work.
Graham Phillip Ellis, BEM
Father-of-three Graham, of Puffers Green, Harlow, has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds after more than 30 years of fundraising for a number of different charities.
His first challenge was the London Marathon in 1981 and just last month he completed a 100 km trek in one of the toughest terrains in the world, the Sahara Desert. The chartered surveyor was in the desert when the letter informing him of the honour arrived at his home.
He said: 'I have been fundraising for so long that I thought I had missed out on something like this so I’m chuffed. I’m half expecting for there to be some mistake!
'It’s lovely and my family are very proud. The letter arrived while I was in the Sahara so I got home and saw the letter was there from the Cabinet Office. It has been more than 30 years of fundraising and I am pleased to be recognised. It’s really nice.'
Graham, who has five grandchildren, added: 'I have been well supported throughout the years; it has been great. The Sahara was fantastic, an amazing experience and very tough. It’s kind of hard to put into words really.'
The British Empire Medal was reintroduced in 2012 to reward sustained, local contribution and innovative, high-impact work.
Joseph John Gildea, BEM
Landlord Joseph has been awarded the British Empire Medal for his tireless charity work.
For over 10 years Joe has raised in excess of £107,000 in memory of his daughter Angela, who died from breast cancer when she was just 32 years old.
Since 2002 Joe and his regulars have been raising funds for the Countess of Chester Breast Care Unit, with regulars jumping out of planes, climbing mountains and even racing around Chester Racecourse dressed as turkeys in the annual Turkey Trot.
In September 2012 Joe's pub, nicknamed ‘the little pub with a big heart’, was voted the most charitable pub in the UK by trade paper The Morning Advertiser. He recently retired, but hopes to continue with charity work.
Andrew Harold Osborne, BEM
'I am deeply honoured to be awarded this decoration.'
'I was appointed a trustee of the Faversham United Municipal Charities by the Faversham Borough Council in 1970 and subsequently a co-opted trustee by my fellow trustees.
'In 1970 the Charity was in a sorry state with little and often misused funds, and trustees who had closed the almshouse chapel, demolished the spires and whose main aspiration seemed to be to demolish the remainder of the building or hand it over to the Council and close the charity.
'I am proud to have been a member of a revitalised board of trustees who under the guidance of Harry Woodman, their new clerk, succeeded in turning around the finances of the charity and saving the building and its endowments for the benefit of Faversham. In 1987, 16 new modern almshouses were added to the estate.
'Last year the final step in this transformation was achieved with the agreement of the Charity Commissions to a new trust scheme which swept away the previous outdated and obsolete trusts and amalgamating the 32 separate charities under one modern scheme called Faversham Municipal Charity 2010.
'This new scheme is still bedding down and I hope to remain a trustee to see this work completed. The next major task is to remodel the old building to provide all units with separate bedrooms, improve disabled access, thermal and sound insulation and generally bring the flats up to a high standard to last for the next 150 years.'
Other brethren to receive honours included Sir Roger Gifford (Knight Bachelor), Lt Col Victor Joseph Garth Matthews (OBE), Paul Victor Dedman (MBE) and David Malcolm Davies (BEM).
Shropshire’s Freemasons gave over £40,000 to 49 local and regional charities at a special presentation on Monday, 10th June
Awards included £5,000 to the Midlands Air Ambulance, £1,000 each to Shrewsbury MENCAP, SSAFA Forces Help (Shropshire Branch), Macmillan Cancer Support and the Midlands Centre for Spinal Injuries. Hope House Children’s Hospice received £1,500 and Combat Stress £1,000. The Severn Hospice at Shrewsbury and Telford, which both received major grants last year, were each given £1,500.
Many smaller grants were also made to local charities which struggle to match the profile of larger national organisations. The Shrewsbury Ark, which cares for homeless people, Shropshire MIND, local Scouts and Guides and the Movement Centre each received £500. Donations were also made to Shrewsbury Street Pastors, the Friends of Whitchurch Community Hospital and the Shrewsbury Children’s Bookfest. In most cases the cheques were received by representatives of the charities, who spoke – occasionally very movingly – of the difference these grants would make to their work.
Provincial Grand Master Peter Taylor explained the importance of these grants to Freemasons.
'All of the money distributed today has been raised from within our own membership – the majority by the 1,300 Freemasons in Shropshire. Over the years we have developed strong links with many of charities – both great and small – which benefit our community. Some of our members have very compelling personal reasons to support these good causes, and we believe that these donations show Freemasonry to be a real power for good both in Shropshire and in the wider world.'
The continuing work of Shropshire’s Freemasons can be seen on twitter by following @ShropshireMason
When Folkestone mason Mike Lawrence’s wife joined the Shorncliffe Military Wives Choir, Mike set out to raise £1,250 for a PA system to enhance their performances, arranging 14 lectures in both the East and West Kent Provinces to achieve the target.
Choir members at the Masonic Centre, Grace Hill, packed 113 boxes of presents for the Royal Gurkha Rifles – normally based at Shorncliffe Camp, but currently on active duty in Afghanistan.