Masons head to Sindlesham to welcome new Grand Master

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.”

the leaders of Berkshire Masons, from left: Peter Sands, Anthony Howlett- Bolton (also pictured left), Julian Pacey and Robin Kent

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.”

The ceremony


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.”

Phil Creighton

Editor of The Wokingham Paper, and has worked in local journalism for more than 20 years including the Wokingham Times, Bracknell Standard and Reading Evening Post. He's also written for computer magazines, The Baptist Times and, to his delight and probably not yours, interviewed several Doctor Whos.

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One Comment

  1. Regarding transparency. It’s funny how none of our borough or parish councillors are registered as being affiliated.

    Meanwhile, get yourself into a discussion with anyone tendering for government contracts and they profess and open link, with non explanatory higher bids winning and no indication of why where know Freemasons are in charge, but can’t talk about it openly because they don’t want to have a black mark against their name.

    It’s nice that there is this sense of giving back at the bottom, but in helping each other out because they are clearly well meaning deep down inside, you have an effective extended family operating a kind of undetectable or ignored nepotism.

    I think people get into it with all the right intentions but those same secret society processes they protect to allow infiltration into the government, police and judiciary not only creates an inescapable conflict of interest but allows for the darker elements that have us culling brown children for oil and arms sales.

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