BERKSHIRE’S Masonic community welcomed a new grand master at a special ceremony held in Sindlesham.
The Provincial Grand Lodge Of Berkshire on Mole Road was the venue to welcome Anthony Howlett-Bolton OBE for the role. And he has pledged to visit every one of the 98 lodges across Berkshire over the next two-and-a-half years.
Speaking to The Wokingham Paper, the former chair of Langley House Trust said that it was a huge honour to be installed at the ceremony on Monday, February 26.
“I never anticipated it,” he said. “You don’t become a freemason for this, you do it to be part of a community.
“The post means I run the organisation across the county of Berkshire. I’m responsible for ensuring that freemasonry thrives.
“It’s all about making a contribution to the society.”
While Mr Howlett-Bolton acknowledges that the organisation has its rituals and traditions, he wanted to ensure transparency where possible.
“It is really important we open our doors and welcome people in and be open and transparent,” he said, adding that local groups, called lodges, will be active at fayres and events across the year.
“We’re looking for new members, we’re looking for people with integrity and wanting to make a difference in their own lives and in the community. Anyone who wants to get involved is more than welcome.
“It has really enhanced my life.”
Mr Howlett-Bolton, 65, has recently retired from his role with Langley House for which he was awarded an OBE.
But he said that his new role will be a bit like a full-time job.
“I’m just retired from work,” he explained. “This role is about being visible and in the community. Every day I’ll do something. I’ll do about three or four days a week. You need to put in the time.
“I’ll go an visit the lodges, it will take two-and-a-half years to visit them all, it’s effectively a full-time job.”
And Mr Howlett-Bolton is particularly proud of the organisation’s support for others, saying that through its charitable foundation, nationally more than £30 million is given away each year, funding services such as hospices and air ambulances and regular contributions to worldwide appeals for disaster relief.
The group uses interest on investments as well as money it raises from members to make a range of grants.
“It’s not all about charity,” he said, “But it’s something we do because of who we are.”