Graham Smith, of the Adam’s Lodge No 158 in Sheerness, celebrated fifty years in Freemasonry on 7th February 2017 when he was presented with a long service certificate to mark the occasion. The certificate was presented by the Head of East Kent Freemasons, Provincial Grand Master Geoffrey Dearing, at a regular meeting of the Adam’s Lodge exactly fifty years after Graham’s initiation.
Born in 1944 in Minster-in-Sheppey, Kent, Graham was educated at Borden Grammar School, Sittingbourne. On leaving school in 1960 he joined the Bibby Line and went to sea as a deck apprentice. Soon realising his future lay elsewhere, he joined an estate agency firm and later, while with the Valuation Office of the Inland Revenue, qualified as a Chartered Auctioneer and Estate Agent.
He became a Partner in the firm of Ward & Partners in 1971 and shortly after became a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. By 1986 the firm had 33 offices and was bought by the Prudential Insurance Company following which Graham was appointed Joint Managing Director of Prudential Property Services, South East Region. At the time of his retirement in 1989 Graham managed 167 offices with 1700 staff members.
Graham was initiated into Adam’s Lodge No.158 on 7th February 1967 and became its Master in 1984. He has since been Master of Shakespear Lodge No.99, East Kent Masters’ Lodge No.3931 and Kent Provincial Grand Stewards’ Lodge No.5866. In the Province of East Kent he was appointed a Provincial Grand Steward in 1989, Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 1992 and Assistant Provincial Grand Master in 2000. In Grand Lodge he was appointed Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 1996, Past Senior Grand Deacon in 2001 and became a Grand Steward in 2005. He was exalted into United Service Royal Arch Chapter No.3124 in 1973 and was its First Principal in 1988. He currently holds the rank of Past Grand Standard Bearer in Supreme Grand Chapter. Graham is also a member of the Grand Stewards’ Lodge, Cayman Lodge No. 8153 and Cayman Royal Arch Chapter No. 8153.
He was admitted into the Order of Royal and Select Masters in 1974, became Master of Invicta Council No.14 in 1981 and Master of White Horse of Kent Council No.93 in 1986. He was the District Grand Master for Kent from 2000 until 2005 and in 2012 he was installed as the Grand Inspector for Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
Graham has been active in many other Masonic Degrees and Orders and holds Grand Rank or its equivalent in all of which he is a member. He was Provincial Grand Master of the Royal Order of Scotland for Kent from 1992-2007, and held senior offices in the Knights Templar and the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests.
Graham is married to Patricia, has two children, Richard (who is married to Dominique) and Emily (who is married to Mike) and they have four grandchildren. He took up scuba diving and underwater photography in 1998 and discovered Grand Cayman the same year. He and Patricia bought their home in Grand Cayman in 2002 and were granted residency in 2006. Each year they split their time between the UK and Grand Cayman. In addition to Freemasonry Graham currently enjoys travel, golf, photography and his family who regularly visit him in Grand Cayman.
On receiving his certificate, Graham recounted some of his Masonic memories. He was one of two candidates initiated on 7th February 1967, after which a Second Degree was worked. It was past 9pm before they sat down for their meal which, in 1967, cost 8/6d (45p in decimal currency).
Witnessing the presentation were several of Graham’s long-standing colleagues, including Past Provincial Grand Master John Bonomy, Deputy Provincial Grand Master Peter Williams, Provincial Grand Secretary David Alexander, Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Neil Johnstone, Third Provincial Grand Principal Clive Manuel and Past Assistant Provincial Grand Masters John Grumbridge and Nick Waller. Also present was Harry Barnes, a Past Provincial Grand Master for Dorset, who was born in Sheppey and grew up there before relocating to Dorset. He was a boyhood friend of Graham and was made an Honorary Member of Adam’s Lodge when, in 1998, he attended their 200th anniversary celebrations. The photo also includes Noel Grout and Roger O’Brien, two more of Graham’s contemporaries.
Report courtesy of Peter Pordage, photos courtesy of Brian Yates.