W. Bro Andrew Compton PPDepGReg
Immediate Past Master 2019/20
Andrew’s interest in Freemasonry and ambition to join the fraternity was realised when he was initiated as an Entered Apprentice in October 2003. He was delighted to know he was proposed by W.Bro Ian Garner and seconded by W.Bro Steve Pearce, both of whom are long standing and deeply respected members of the Lodge.
In 2004, Andrew had lengthy Masonic discussions with his best friend Andrew Laver, after which Andrew Laver was initiated that year. One of Andrew’s most cherished memorises within Masonry was to deliver the First Degree Ancient Charge to his name sake. The ceremony for his best friend being made that much more personal and memorable for both of them.
Andrew continued to study and prepare for masonic progression culminating in him being “raised” as a Master Mason in 2006, following which being asked to go straight into Junior Deacon.
Andrew continued to study and prepare for masonic progression culminating in him being “raised” as a Master Mason in 2006, following which being asked to go straight into Junior Deacon. Following a quick succession of promotions within the Lodge, Andrew as elected and installed into the Chair of King Solomon as the Lodge’s Worshipful Master in 2010. Due to unforeseen challenges at the time, Andrew agreed to remain in the Chair for a further year building on the successes of the pervious one.
In 2011, and whilst in the Chair as the Lodge’s Worshipful Master, Andrew held the torch of masonic charity high by running the Royal Parks Half Marathon partly in aid of McMillan but also in memory of his Mother.
He successfully completed the course in 2 hrs 8mins raising a highly commendable £1000 (obviously taking a tea break or two on the way around !).
Two years later, his best friend Andrew Laver and he completed the legendary “Tractor-thon”. This involved a significant amount of planning, liaison and coordination as involved driving slow moving tractors from London Bridge through the busy streets on London to Brighton. In doing, the Andrews raised a whopping £2,500 for good causes.
Since leaving the Chair in 2011, Andrew has enjoyed expanding his Masonic ritual taking on more varied and challenging set pieces. He has enjoyed rising to the challenge which he has found mentally stimulating trying to balance the skill of committing large volumes of ritual to memory whilst delivering it orally with heart, meaning and gravitas.
Following every meeting many brothers have come up to praise him for an incredible performance that added so much to the overall ceremony. W.Bro Andrew is the Lodges’ Royal Arch member and helps sign post those brethren who are eligible to take another masonic step in their career.
Commenting, Andrew said:
The tractor-thon was such an amazing experience, perhaps the one that has had the greatest impact on my life. Knowing every mile would bring in more money for McMillan was such a great and motivating feeling. What better cause than to raise money for cancer research knowing it will help prolong or saves lives now and in the future.
Andrew was installed Worshipful Master for a third time in October 2018 and is looking forward to the role hoping to encourage, support and bring on the younger members of the Lodge saying, “ “During my time I will bring a new candidate in to Freemasonry, pass a Brother from the First to the Second degree and raise a Brother to the sublime degree of Master Mason. A busy schedule and I am so lucky to do the full range og Masonic activity during my stewardship as Master”.
Gordon V Sidwell PPAGReg
Gordon currently holds the office of Assistant Director of Ceremonies within our Lodge. He joined Porchway Lodge at the young age of 39 in 1993. He was introduced by a friend who was already a mason.
Gordon quickly discovered that he had moved into a big family where a strong bond of friendship was formed. These new friends, now brothers, were all such caring and thoughtful people who raised money for people in times of need. Everyone supported each other.
At a personal level, Gordon felt he failed at school as at that time, where he did not want to learn, but coming into Freemasonry taught and motivated him how to learn, commit to study and to work hard towards goals.
To become ‘Master’ and go in the chair was such a massive personal achievement for him and one of which he is very proud of. He could never have done this without the genuine support of his fellow Porchway members freely giving him their time and encouragement. Gordon openly admits that through Freemasonry he has gained a new found confidence in life.
His most memorable times in his masonic career was first being initiated into freemasonry and the second, being installed for the first time as Master of Porchway Lodge.
One of the many charity contribution moments he will always remember was presenting a cheque to the Blind Association for a guide dog and meeting the staff and seeing what an amazing job they all do.
He has visited many other Lodges making new friends along the way, including brothers in America and France. This would never have happened if he were not a Freemason. Gordon has also enjoyed many social gatherings and occasions where Lodge families and their friends have been able to get together.
Further, Gordon has enjoyed the many masonic sports days including golf days, fishing events, shooting etc, happily sharing time a friendship with members of other Lodges.
I feel really proud to be part of a family that cares about helping others. So much of the charity work that is done is by unsung heroes. We have made a lot of difference to a lot of people's lives.
W.Bro Malcolm CB Robinson PPGSwdB
From an early age, Malcolm was inspired by very moving Masonic stories from his mother and his line manager, Malcolm’s ambition was to become a Freemason, but he did not know how.
Everyone he talked to spoke in almost hushed reverence and respect of the Freemasons. He was proposed by his neighbour and friend the late John Garland following a summer BBQ, and on Wednesday 27th November 1979, he was initiated into Cornhill Lodge 1803, a large lodge meeting in Clerkenwell.
From the outset of his masonic journey, his wife, Rosemary has been his staff and staunchest advocate supporting him in every step.
During 1982 the late W. Bro Frank Cosgrove invited Bro Malcolm to a Saturday meeting of the Porchway Lodge.
In October 1982 Malcolm was so taken by the members of Porchway, he became their very first joining member and was quickly co-opted as a Lodge Steward that year.
Malcolm now had the opportunity to reciprocate the honour and invited his friend, John Garland to the following Lodge meeting. Bro John then quickly became a permanently invited guest until he joined Porchway the following year.
Malcolm then moved through various Lodge offices to become its Worshipful Master in October 1988. During his year as Master, he was exalted into the Temple of Friendship, a Holy Royal Chapter. The following year, the Lodge celebrated its 50th anniversary during which time he, was the Immediate Past Master.
In 1990, he was appointed to the office of Charity Steward which he continued until 1997. During those seven years, he also covered the important role of Almoner for two of them. In 1998, came the honour again of being Master of Porchway for a second time. After completing his second term as Master, he took on the office of Director of Ceremonies, only its 4th in the Lodge’s history.
Following this, he went onto helping his longstanding friend and neighbour, John Garland as Assistant Secretary. The following year, he stepped up and became the Lodge’s Secretary which he still holds today. During Malcolm’s time in Porchway, he has taken on almost all office appointments, some at the last minute to cover a role where a Brother has been unable to attend due to pressing business or personal commitments.
Come October 2018, Malcolm will be starting his 37th year in our Lodge and when asked what his thoughts are on Freemasonry, said:
For me, it has been the wonderful people who belong to Porchway Lodge who have inspired me with their infectious kindness, generosity, humour and humanity. They have brought true sunshine and happiness to my life and it always a great joy to attend a meeting or Lodge of Instruction with them.
W.Bro Alun H Evans PPSSuptWks
Alun was introduced to freemasonry by attending several lodge social events as a guest of W.Bro David Armstrong.
It was through this social contact that Alun felt a deep personal connection and bond with the members of the Lodge. W.Bro. David Armstrong was delighted when Alun asked to join the lodge, and was subsequently initiated.
Alun joined Porchway in which both his father-in-law and brother in-law were members, making the Lodge feel more like family.
His big moment came in 2001 when he was installed as the Worshipful Master to rule the lodge for the masonic year, a role he thoroughly enjoyed and felt was a great privilege.
Freemasonry is incredibly special, what it does, stands for, and above all, the remarkable, yet unpretentious people in it. For me it has been life changing and so reassuring when you get things wrong in lodge, the brethren are supportive and quickly rally around you.
It means a great deal to me and is an important part of my life. It has given me so much in many ways, but I feel it has allowed me the unique opportunity to quietly give something back to my community.
It really is a privilege to be part of a group who knowingly want to make a difference and help in their own way to build a better place for us all to live.
Ever since joining, Alun feels he has gained a huge amount from freemasonry, in particular the deep social bond with likeminded people, the opportunity to reach out and help others in time of need. He also feels, as a person who left school with few qualifications, freemasonry has stretched and pushed him to learn in detail ritual and procedures as part of the office of master of the lodge. He feels it is through freemasonry, it has changed his life for the better.
W.Bro Jim Bull
Jim was intrigued and persuaded to join Freemasonry in 2008 by his Father-in-Law who, at that time, had been a Freemason for over 40 years. With such a strong family connection and recommendation making the first step he feels was an easy one, although, jumping into the unknown was daunting.
Jim’s Father-in-Law told him that he would make some great and long-term friends whilst at the same time, having a really a great time raising money for charity.
However, his Father-in-Law was quite vague about what goes on during a Lodge meeting, but said the ceremony was all about helping him to become a better person. Jim has not been disappointed!
During his masonic career, he has help all offices in his Lodge and in 2017, became Master of another Lodge he is a member of (Gatehouse Lodge No 5869) and is set to be in its Chair for two successive years. During February 2017, he then became a Royal Arch Mason.
Having joined and now being a very experienced Freemason, W.Bro Jim whole heartedly agrees with his Father-in-Law as he was right on all counts. Jim says, his circle of friends has increased and that he and his wife usually attend the various social events each year.
Jim further suggests the events are something he and his wife look forward to as they are always very enjoyable, varied in format, relaxed and held in a great location with excellent food.
Jim feels his masonic circle of friends is more like an extended family and adds a new and important dimension to his life.
Jim suggests as well as making him more confident, Freemasonry has helped him to learn a lot about himself, to see the good, and not just the bad in others.
Above all, making those steps to become a better person based what he considers to be important, traditional but highly relevant social values. He feels he gained insight though these lessons in life which are missing in the work place and not taught at school.
Jim now feels he will be a Freemason for the rest of his life enjoying the comradeship of the brethren, the challenge of performing the ritual and giving as well as receiving the support and respect from every brother, something that perhaps is no longer present in society as a whole.
When asked what does he feel he has gained from being a Freemason, he says:
I feel through Freemasonry, I have grown in confidence being comfortable mixing and engaging with people I have never met before. I now enjoy going out and visiting other lodges and meeting new brothers. What I really enjoy and appreciate is the feeling I get of always being welcomed with open arms and that others go out of their way to ensure I have a great time with brethren I've never met before. I also get great pleasure seeing how masonic ritual is performed elsewhere in the Province which can be very different to Porchway ritual.
Jim has said he very many great memories of his time in Freemasonry, however, the one that stands most was his visit to the Canute Lodge who meet in Southend. A friend of his was Master there and the meeting was called Viking night. Everything started as expected with the work in the temple being a second degree. However … the festive board was very different, it took it's theme from the Master's employment as a Signal Engineer, and consisted of a series of comedy sketches performed by the brethren of the Lodge. Between these sketches, the meal was served and the wine flowed. After the meal, instead of the normal toasts, we all sang very humorous songs written by some of the brethren. I still have the songbook that was handed out. I had a great time laughing and singing with a group of people who I consider were incredible company.
Bro Lt Col Ian G Harper
Ian only joined Porchway Lodge in October 2017 having been proposed and seconded by his cousins, Gordon Sidwell and Steve Poole.
He joined Freemasonry whilst serving in Germany with the Army and has been in the fraternity since 1993.
He joined initially due to being motivated by the opportunity to be part of an organisation that has genuinely strong moral and social values and sought to make a difference to the community.
Since joining he has realised there is more to Freemasonry than he first realised, the real sense of belonging, people who care deeply about their community, about making a positive difference with compassion.
His most memorable moment was being able to present a small number of stethoscopes and GP surgical instruments to a chronically short civilian Afghan medical facility in Helmand having been enthusiastically donated by the masonic Brethren of Staffordshire whom he approached.
The masonic donation whilst small, has had significant impact saving countless lives of many Afghan people in Lashka Gha. Ian is also a member of the Royal Arch Chapter and Knights Templar which he joined in 1993.
It is deeply rewarding and humbling to know you have made a profound difference to people’s lives, in this case life saving. I will never meet them nor will they ever know my name. That does not matter to me, it is knowing I have done something unique, to help others less well off than me.
Bro John Mabey
John grew up in the 80’s in Croydon where there was a lot of conspiracy theories about the Masonic movement and their motives and influence, often negative. His initial views were slightly jaded by the prevailing negative voices at the time.
John subsequently moved away from his roots to Coleman‘s Hatch with a new family and quickly amerced himself in the local community as Treasurer of the Flower Show for seven years, and then on to bigger things as Treasurer of East Grinstead Hockey Club for a similar period. Both were charities, but at the time, and more importantly they allowed his two children to forge long lasting friendships within the community and outside of school.
Now they are grown up John was looking for a path to journey and was invited by a close friend to consider joining the Freemasons.
Initially surprised, but at the same time, feeling it was a great compliment to be asked to join an illustrious organisation. John, being an avid reader, spent much time researching what Freemasonry was about. Now with an informed view, John continued to get a better picture of what Masonry was about and spent time discussing it with his proposer.
John was initiated into Freemasonry in April 2018 and is currently an Entered Apprentice working towards the ceremony of the second degree. His feelings of his initiation was one of being overwhelmed by the depth and complexity of the ceremony.
John quickly saw that Freemasonry as a force for good in society, he felt it a good fit with his personal values and motivations, allowing him to put something back again into society. Johns has indicated, that through Porchway Lodge, it has brought him back to his roots in Croydon after 25 years of being away.
He was delighted that he had a very senior guest from the Provincial Grand Lodge who personally welcomed him into the fraternity. Further he was taken by his friend breaking with tradition to make his initiation personal and memorable by presenting him a Tercentenary breast jewel in open Lodge.
Likewise, he was made to feel very special after the ceremony and the Lodge supper by being seated between the Worshipful Master and the VIP visitor. He suggests, the day was one he will remember for many years to come and now, several months down line, he feels proud to be part of such great organisation.