East Kent Provincial News 2014

John Bonomy’s 50th

 Presentation of a 50-year Long Service Certificate to Right Worshipful Brother John Bonomy

John Bonomy and Geoffrey Dearing with Temple's Master, Donald McLaren, behind

Right Worshipful Brother John Bonomy, of Temple Lodge No 558, recently joined the select group of Brethren that have enjoyed 50 years of continuous membership of the Craft. John needs no introduction as he is a Past Provincial Grand Master, who became very well-known and well-respected throughout the Province during his time in office. His 50th anniversary as a Freemason was celebrated in Temple Lodge at their regular meeting on Tuesday 4th November, which was attended by 53 members, guests and visitors.

Members of Temple Lodge in company with guests and visitors

Guest of Honour at this special meeting was the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Geoffrey Dearing, who was accompanied by three Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, the Provincial Grand Secretary, the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, the Provincial Grand Charity Steward, the Deputy Grand Superintendent and the Third Provincial Grand Principal. Other notable guests attending privately included: RW Bro Russell Race JP DL, Metropolitan Grand Master, VW Bro Peter Brooshooft, Past Deputy PGM, WBro John Grumbridge, Past Assistant PGM, and WBro Martin Ransom, Provincial Grand Almoner.

John Bonomy was initiated in the Temple Lodge No 558 in Folkestone on 3rd November 1964 and exalted in Temple Chapter on 13th September 1966. He was installed as Grand Superintendent in East Kent in 1990, Provincial Grand Master in 1992 and completed his term in both offices in 2004. He has been married to Marion for over sixty years and they have three children and are the proud grandparents of four granddaughters.

John was awarded an OBE in recognition of his services to the community and was Chairman of Folkestone Magistrates, now retired. His hobbies include supporting Arsenal football club and, as a former cornet player in the Salvation Army, he enjoys music.

Geoffrey set the scene by referring back to the major historical events of 1964, including the start of the Vietnam War and the abolition of hanging in the UK. Geoffrey described John’s Masonic career as “stellar”.

He transformed the PGM’s role from a largely honorary position, to one of active involvement in the running of the Province. Some of his achievements included recognising the importance of communications and the introduction of the Provincial Newsletter.

He also reversed Lord Cornwallis’s decision to separate Craft and Chapter. As a Past Master of two other Kent lodges as well as the Kent Provincial Grand Stewards’ Lodge and the Grand Stewards’ Lodge, he had a tremendous record and Geoffrey was proud to have been John’s first Senior Warden.

He further stated that John was held in very high affection not only in Kent but across the country having been a member of the Board of General Purposes. He was highly regarded and a fine example of what a PGM should be.

All stood while the Provincial Grand Secretary read the Long Service Certificate and Geoffrey then presented it to John, saying it was a pleasure and privilege to do so.

In his response, John thanked the Provincial Grand Master and joked that he had seen a great many certificates presented during his time, but gave no thought to being the recipient himself one day. He thanked all those present saying he was grateful to everyone for attending and supporting him. He reminisced on some of the characters he had known over the years, including his Director of Ceremonies, Peter Brooshooft and his Deputy PGM, Russell Race, who was a great loss to the Province when he was approached to become Metropolitan Deputy Grand Master and now, of course, Metropolitan Grand Master.

John thanked his brother Doug and his brother-in-law Neville for their invaluable support over the years and his son Stuart whom he had been privileged to initiate into Freemasonry and, in 2012, install as Master of Temple Lodge.


Presentation of a Grand Lodge Certificate

Geoffrey Dearing presents Frank Witts with his Certificate

In complete contrast to the presentation of the Long Service Certificate, the Provincial Grand Master also agreed to present a Grand Lodge Certificate to Bro Frank Witts, a member of the lodge since 2012. This was carried out in a most entertaining manner, much to the enjoyment of everyone present and something that will, no doubt, stand out in Frank’s Masonic career.

This memorable occasion was concluded with a very happy and convivial Festive Board which was thoroughly enjoyed by all those present.