A small socially distanced meeting was held at the home of W. Bro. Paul Hewson the VGO for the Newton Lodge No. 6129 on Tuesday 6th October, in order to present a Certificate of Service to Freemasonry to their retiring Almoner, Bro R.B.L. Smith PPrAGStdB (Dick)who would also be celebrating his 89th Birthday a few days later.
Dick was initiated in December 1988 having been proposed as a candidate For the Newton Lodge by W. Bro. Nick Tapper and seconded by W. Bro. Nick Woolfenden and it was only 6 years after joining that Dick took on the role of Almoner, a position he has held for twenty six years, he was Exalted into HRA Devon Chapter 296 in 2005.
Those present were W.Bro. R.A.R. Brooks-Daw PPrJGW, senior P.M. of the Lodge. W. Bro. M.P.Spooner PPrGSupWks, Director of Ceremonies, W.Bro.P.W.R.Hewson PJGD. W.Bro.C.R.Eden PAGDC. Provincial Press Officer, and of course Dick himself.
In presenting the Certificate, Wor.Bro.Brooks-Daw referred to the outstanding commitment of Bro. Smith to the Lodge for 26 years as Almoner, and thanked him on behalf of the brethren for a job well done.
On behalf of the Provincial Grand Master, Rt.W.Bro. Ian Kingsbury and as his representative on the occasion, W.Bro.Hewson passed on the PGM’s congratulations and best wishes for a happy retirement, which might not happen for a little while yet due to the ramifications of Covid-19, adding that the Certificate, which would normally have been presented at the annual meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge, was given but sparingly and only to the most deserving candidates.
A letter of thanks and appreciation from the W.M. W. Bro. Robert Ashby very adequately conveyed the sentiments of the members of the lodge. He said:-
As Worshipful Master of the Newton Lodge, it is my privilege to convey to you on behalf of the Brethren, our warm congratulations on your retirement as Almoner; an office that you have served tirelessly for twenty six years with utmost dedication and empathy, but always enlightened with an appropriate measure of good humour.
Those Brethren within the Lodge, both past and present, who, having experienced sickness or adversity received from you a welcome telephone call or personal visit, found calm assurance and support in your characteristic benevolent manner. We therefore thank you for promoting in our Lodge two of the principal tenets of the Craft “brotherly love” and “relief”.
In speaking for the widows of the Lodge I am certain they would wish me to thank you for the consideration you have shown them by your regular ministrations and visits at Christmas time.
Brother Dick, it has been a privilege for me to receive your support during my period in office as Master, and we shall all miss your concise yet meaningful reports to the Lodge. Fortunately we will continue to enjoy your familiar presence in the Lodge, seated close to the Tracing Board and of course your excellent company at our Festive Board.
Bro. Smith made a suitable reply, at the conclusion of which a toast was proposed to his health and taken in sherry wine.