Worshipful Bro. Neil Hamilton Johnstone PJGD PProvSGW
Born in Barnehust, Neil was educated at Dartford Grammar School following which he joined Kent County Constabulary (now Kent Police) serving for a total of 33 years at various places and specialist units. He retired from the Police service in 2000 as a Chief Inspector, his last post heading a Unit at New Scotland Yard with national and international responsibility for co-ordinating police aspects of disasters and civil emergency response and investigation.
He was then for eleven years employed by Kent County Council in the field of emergency planning and crisis management, developing plans and strategies to respond to a wide range of potential emergencies within the county.
His Masonic life began with his initiation into the Renham Lodge No 8211 in 1981, in which he was Master in 1992 and 1993, and has twice been his Lodge Director of Ceremonies for a total of 12 years.
His first Craft Provincial appointment was as a Steward in 1995 and then Provincial Senior Warden in 1999, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies from 2002 until 2006. In 2007 he was invested by the MW Grand Master as Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies. He was appointed Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies in April 2014.
He is a member of other Craft Lodges within the Province and elsewhere and is a Past Master of the Kent Provincial Grand Stewards’ Lodge. He is also a member of, and holds Office in, several other Orders.
He was Exalted into the Norman Chapter No. 3502, in 1982 and reached the 1st Principals Chair in April 1997, only to find that he was unable to perform his first Ceremony as MEZ due to being seconded for a time to the Royal Montserrat Police in the Caribbean to assist in the response to a volcanic emergency. He was subsequently appointed as a Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 2002, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies in 2009 and was invested by the MW First Grand Principal as Past Grand Standard Bearer in Supreme Grand Chapter in the same year. He has been Scribe E of the Norman Chapter and is a Past Principal of the East Kent 1st Principals’ Chapter. He was Grand Director of Ceremonies for the Provincial Grand Chapter of East Kent between 2010 and 2013 when he was installed as 3rd Provincial Grand Principal. In May 2014 he will be promoted to 2nd Provincial Grand Principal.
Neil has been married to his wife Margaret since 1970 and both enjoy the opportunities, satisfaction and, on occasions, challenges that occur within Freemasonry. They also enjoy a close family relationship with their two children and four grand-children and both pursue various non-Masonic hobbies and interests which include music, books, model-making, photography, travel and assisting in the support and management of retirement organisations, local associations and charities.