Presentation of a 50 Year Long Service Certificate to Worshipful Brother Terry Richards
Worshipful Brother Terry Richards recently completed 50 years in Freemasonry and, since he relied on his wife and family to enable him to give this commitment, he wanted them present when he received his long service certificate.
Thus it was that on 23rd April, just after the regular meeting of Peace and Unity Lodge No 4101, Terry’s wife, children and grandchildren, together with a number of other member’s wives, guests and visitors, joined the Brethren in the lodge room to witness the presentation.
Terry and his wife Marion sat together while Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Roger Waltham, captivated everyone with an interesting account of the historic events of 1965 and a resume of Terry’s life and Masonic career.
Terry is a local boy who, on leaving Napier Road School aged 16 years, started an apprenticeship at Chatham Dockyard which led him to a career in electrical engineering and weaponry with the Ministry of Defence. On completion of his apprenticeship, while still working in Chatham Dockyard, Terry was initiated into his late father’s lodge, Peace and Unity No 4101 in Gillingham. The occasion stands out in the lodge’s annals as Terry’s father - Dick Richards - who presented Terry with the Working Tools, dropped one on the floor and let out a mild expletive. Freemasonry was very formal in those days and Dick’s outburst lingers long in the lodge’s memory.
Terry was posted to Singapore from 1966 to 1969 and his wife Marion and two daughters accompanied him and their third daughter was born in Singapore during their stay. While there Terry joined the Lodge Johore Royal, which is where he took his second and third steps in Freemasonry, something he remembers with great fondness.
On his return to Chatham Dockyard, Terry worked as a Technical Officer on nuclear submarines until the dockyard closure when his work transferred to London initially, then Woolwich, where he worked on the first military digital communications system.
Terry has always loved the water and has spent a good deal of his life bobbing up and down on one type of boat or another, from dinghies to canoes and from windsurfing boards to power boats. His daughters learned to water ski behind his boat fairly quickly, but it is believed that Marion took a little longer to get the hang of it!
Terry was Master of this Lodge in 1978 and subsequently served the Lodge as Tyler, Almoner and Library & Museum Representative. He is also a Past Master of Mid-Kent Masters’ Lodge and has also enjoyed the Royal Arch and was First Principal of Brownrigg Chapter in 1987. He gained his first Provincial appointment in 1987, since when he has earned three promotions, including the high office of Active Provincial Grand Sword Bearer in 2001 and culminating in the high rank of Past Provincial Grand Registrar since 2007. In the Royal Arch, he has been similarly honoured and currently holds the rank of Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer.
Having retired in 1998, Terry and Marion now delight in spending as much time as they can with their family, which now extends to five precious grandchildren, the youngest of whom is just eighteen months old and lives in Australia. Terry is now at a somewhat calmer period of his life, where towing water skiers has given way to towing a caravan which he and Marion enjoy greatly, particularly when relaxing at quiet country sites.
Everyone stood while the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Worshipful Brother Neil Johnstone, read the citation, after which Roger Waltham handed Terry his long service certificate signed by the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother Geoffrey Dearing. On receiving the certificate Terry spoke warmly of the support Marion and his family had given him over the years.
The photographs having been taken, everyone retired to the Festive Board where Terry and Marion were presented with a gift from the lodge – a bouquet of flowers and a decanter and pair of whisky glasses engraved with the lodge crest.