Tony Stedman Receives his 50-year Long Service Certificate

Tony is congratulated by Geoffrey

Worshipful Brother Wallace Anthony Stedman, known as Tony, recently celebrated his 50th anniversary as a Freemason and, on Wednesday 25th February, he was presented with a Long Service Certificate by the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother Geoffrey Dearing.

Tony was initiated in Chantry Lodge No 6454, in Gravesend, on 25th November 1964 and Geoffrey set the scene by reminiscing on some of the historic events that took place in that year and then went on to give a Masonic and Personal history of the man that had achieved this wonderful milestone.

Tony’s father was a Freemason and, after sadly passing away when Tony was just nine years old, Tony enrolled in the Royal Masonic School in Hertfordshire, where he remained a pupil from 1939 to 1945. On leaving school Tony trained as an Electrician and, after national service in the Royal Army Service Corps, he pursued a career in the electrical industry. He progressed through the Drawing Office and achieved the IEE Diploma in Electrical Engineering (equivalent to a BSc) in 1963. He continued to gain more seniority as he moved from one employer to another, finishing up with the Erith Oil Works where he worked in a management role until his retirement in 1989. Tony is the complete engineer and his cars were always equipped with enough tools to carry out all major repairs on the spot. He is also a keen photographer and kept a photographic record of the many engineering projects he worked on.

In his home life, Tony married Barbara in 1952 and they have two children: Graham, born in 1956, and Janet, born in 1959.

It was while he worked with Bowater’s that he met his proposer into Freemasonry, the late Worshipful Brother Jack Curtis, also a pupil at the Masonic school, who introduced Tony to the Chantry Lodge. After progressing through the offices, Tony was installed as Worshipful Master in 1972 and, not long after, was elected to become one of the lodge Preceptors, a position he held for ten years. For his services to Freemasonry he was appointed Past Provincial Assistant Grand Registrar in 1981 and promoted to Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon in 1993.

The Brethren were then invited to stand while the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, Worshipful Brother John Burgess, read the Long Service Certificate, which Geoffrey then presented to Tony.

Tony thanked the Provincial Grand Master for the way he presented the certificate and for finding the time to make this a unique experience for him. He confirmed that the details of his life were accurate, which left him with very little to say other than to thank his wife, Barbara, for supporting him over these fifty years. He went on to advise the Brethren present “to keep their lady on-side” then thanked everyone for coming and making the evening one to be remembered.

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