St Dunstans 7973 hosted a piece of masonic History on Tuesday November 2nd 2021 when the PGM David Medlock, accompanied by the Deputy PGM Ben Batley, presented Masonic Veterans Certificates to no less than four brethren with a total of over 220 years in masonry. W. Bro’s John Morey and James Gorham received 60 year Certificates and Kenneth Parsons and Stephen Defries 50 years.
John Morey was initiated by his Father into East Medina Lodge 175 (Province of Hampshire & Isle of Wight) on October 7th 1961. He was Passed and Raised by the Montague Guest Lodge 1900 meeting at Freemasons Hall in London, before joining St Dunstans in 1970 and becoming its Master in in 1985 and again in 2005. He joined Sir Thomas de Cheddre Lodge 9188 in 2007 and became Master in 2009. He is also a member of the Mark Degree meeting at Glastonbury and was Master of the Mendip Lodge 781 in 1981 and 1982. He holds the rank of PGJO.
John came to Street as a shoe designer working for Clarkes Shoes Ltd and spent a period with the Company in Hong Kong as a quality controller. He is a regular supporter of the Lodge of Instruction and has assisted many a Master on their journey through the Chair.
Jim Gorham was initiated into West Watford Lodge 6492 (Province of Hertfordshire) on the 25th February 1961 and was made an Honorary Member in 1998. He joined West Watford Chapter in 1976 and obtained the Provincial Rank of PPGPW in 1992. He joined St Dunstans in 2002 and became Master in 2006, rising to the Provincial Rank of PPrJGW. Jim is also a member of the Mark Degree, joining in in 1987 and rising to the rank of PPrSGW in 2009. Jim is a retired Senior Management Consultant and some of his favourite memories are of setting up computers for British Rail and advising the Australian Government on computers for education
Ken Parsons was initiated into St Dunstans on May 5th 1970 becoming Master in 1983. He was promoted to the Provincial Rank of PPrGReg in 2002. He served as a Magistrate in the Wells Court between 1972 and 2000 and was a local Mendip Councillor for 2 terms. He is a keen pilot having attained his pilot’s licence in 1974. If at any time the Lodge is short of an officer – Ken is your man – able to step into any office should the need arise!
Steve Defries was initiated into St Dunstans in 1970 following encouragement from his God Father, Bill Smith, becoming Master in 1984. He was Master of Forest of Selwood 8912 of which he was a founding member in 1985, and Lodge of Brotherly Love 329 in 2009.
Steve was appointed PPrSGW in 2017 and became a Grand Officer in April 2021 with the rank of PAGDC. Steve enjoys golfing and table tennis and before his retirement had a number of careers including retail manager with W.H. Smith, Insurance Agent, Mortgage Broker and ran his own shop in Shepton Mallet with his wife Liz. One of his passions was working with ‘Teddies for Loving Care’. He excelled in raising funds and delivering Teddies to local hospitals to calm young children in their time of distress. His work as Assistant Provincial Grand Almoner is legendary and he has afforded assistance and comfort to many Brethren and their families across the Province.
John Pinder, Secretary of Brotherly Love thanked Steve on behalf his Lodge for all the help and guidance he had given to its members over the past 10 years as lodge Almoner.
Ben Batley added that he had recently completed his 5 year ambition to visit all 89 Lodges in the Province and that Steve had been his driver to most of them. He was unofficially known as the Provincial Grand Chauffer (PGChF)!
The Provincial Grand Master said he was delighted to be part of this special moment and to be able to present the Certificates personally. He chatted with the recipients and their wives about their time in masonry and what it had meant to them. He pointed out that three of the recipients had followed each other through the Chair of St Dunstans – Ken Parsons 1983: Steve Defries 1984 and John Morey 1985 – What a very special evening!