Rick Purnell receives 50 years certificateThe following text is my presentation to W. Bro Rick Purnell.

W. Bro Frederick Arthur Purnell PAGDC, better known to all of us as Rick, the Worshipful Master and brethren of Benevolent Lodge No 303 have given me the very great honour privilege and indeed pleasure in presenting to you our Provincial Grand Master’s certificate marking your having served 50 years as a Freemason, firstly in the Province of East Lancashire and now in this wonderful Province of Devonshire.

For you were initiated into Libra Lodge No 5333 who met at Smallman’s restaurant, Dickenson Road, Didsbury, Manchester in the Province of East Lancashire on 10th March 1970 by the then Worshipful Master Worshipful Brother Jim Nelson. You were proposed by brother Paul Lyons and seconded by brother Brian Brotherton. You were passed to the 2nd degree or that of a fellow craft on 12th May 1970 and raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason on 8th September 1970.

You were born on 8th September 1939 to parents Frederick and Ursula Purnell at Chestnut House Wyre Piddle Pershore which was your Grannies country house. The house is now known as the Old Chestnut Tree Inn a local eatery of repute. You were born five days after the outbreak of the Second World War, you have two brothers Michael and John. You grew up in Sutton Road, Erdington, Birmingham but during the war years you travelled by horse and trap the 40 mile or so trip to Chestnut House away from the bombings of Fort Dunlop and Castle Bromwich.

Your education was at Green Lane primary school, Josiah Masons orphanage Junior school and Boldmere High School and then on to Aston technical College which is now the University. You say you’re only educational distinction was being head boy at Boldmere, you also gained knowledge of woodworking and metalworking. Your school careers adviser suggested an interview with Royal insurance company, which blossomed into a Life time work experience. You held many important offices with Royal life, becoming President of the Bolton insurance Institute in 1978. Due to your being on educational Exemption you missed out on your National Service by one week.

You married Angela Jowett on 8th September 1962 at Warmley Parish church in Sutton Coldfield. You had known Angela at Junior school and she had chosen the date of your wedding which was your Birthday and this coming September you will celebrate your Diamond wedding, interesting to note you were born on 8th September 1939 married on 8th September 1962 and raised to the sublime degree of a master mason on 8th September 1970.

You have three Children Mark Jonathan and Suzanne and six Grandchildren Antonio Jonathan Amber Holly AJ and Will. You have had many activities apart from your masonry making a very interesting life, I will mention a few. Scouting, Archery, Round Table, lacrosse, Probus, Bowling indoor and out, Teignbridge Wine Society, Youth club leader, Football referee, Swimming, Boating, DIY, and motorcycling. Returning to your masonic life you Progressed through the offices of Libra Lodge number 5333 and were installed as Worshipful Master in 1979, returning to the Masters chair of Libra Lodge on 2 future occasions.

You became a founder member of Debdale Lodge No 9400 to mark the 400th Lodge in the Province of East Lancashire. Over the years you held many important offices in the Province of East Lancashire PPrSGD Provincial JGW receiving from Grand Lodge Grand rank of PAGDC, you also represented the Provincial Grand Master by Presiding at three or four installations each year.

You became a member of this Province by joining Benevolent Lodge number 303 here in Teignmouth in October 1999, becoming a member of our Provincial Grand Masters Working Party on the future roles of Grand Officers in this Province, you yourself became a visiting Grand Officer for Harmony Lodge number 156, Jordan Lodge number 1402, Noontide Lodge number 9720 and The Teign Lodge No 7018. You were exalted into the Holy Royal Arch and now hold Supreme Grand Chapter Rank of PAGDC.

You are now a member of Benevolent chapter number 303 and hold the office of Treasurer. You were advanced into the Mark Degree and now hold Mark Grand Rank of PAGDC. You are also a member of the Royal Ark Mariners holding the office of Treasurer and hold Provincial Royal Ark Mariner Grand rank. You are also a member of Rose Croix, Royal order of Scotland, Knights Templer Malta, Widows Sons Southwest, Widows Sons Devon Pilgrim.

Brother Rick 50 years is a long time and you will have seen many changes in the world in this country and indeed the West Country over that long period, you were born at the start of the Second World War lived under two Monarchs ,19 prime ministers and three Provincial Grand Masters in this Province. Freemasonry is changing and must continue to change in order to attract and retain new members, but the basic Principles of Brotherly love, relief, and truth remain Principles you have upheld throughout your life.

Just 22 days short of 52 years ago you laid your foundation at the North-East part of Libra Lodge number 5333 at Smallman’s restaurant, Dickenson Road, Didsbury, Manchester in the Province of East Lancashire and you have raised a superstructure perfect in its parts and honourable to you the builder.

Brother Rick I congratulate you and I wish you many more happy years in this wonderful order, to enjoy your masonry and pass on your knowledge help and kindness to younger brethren also that we may continue to enjoy your company.

Now on behalf of our Provincial Grand Master R. W. Brother Ian Kingsbury who sends to you his best wishes and warmest congratulations, I have much pleasure in presenting his certificate to you but I would first like to read the citation. And I offer you my own personal congratulations, well done.

W.Brother Rick thanked me for making the presentation, the Worshipful Master then presented him with a bottle on behalf of the lodge.

The brethren then retired to an excellent festive board ending yet again another very happy Masonic evening.

11th February 2022.

Derek G Webber PSGD
Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master.