On Wednesday 19th September, The Provincial Grand Master who is also Worshipful Master of Cleddau Lodge no 6952 was delighted to present a 50 Year Certificate and badge to W Bro Ralph C John who was Initiated in the Duke of Connaught Lodge on 5th March 1968, but I am sure you would rather hear about Ralph's life and masonic career from him:
"As many of you may know I was born here in Haverfordwest and educated at the local grammar school. After being called up for
National Service where I served in the Royal Military Police, I joined the Metropolitan Police in Central London in 1956. I worked in the C.I.D in West End Central and often had to attend the Old
Bailey to give evidence, which was quite an eye opener as things were very different in those days.
After leaving the police 9 years later, I was in the hotel and pub trade for 23 years as a self employed tenant working for Watneys, initially in SoHo, Central London, before moving to the Blue Anchor Hotel in Staines and then The Harrow in Shepperton, Middlesex.
I was initiated into the Duke of Connaught Lodge at Freemasons Hall in High Holborn in my early thirties. It was the time of the swinging sixties and London was the place to be. Welsh rugby was in the ascendancy which gave me plenty of ammunition for my English colleagues! It took me 10 years to become Worshipful Master, a position I held 4 times in total, and in those days you were expected to conduct every ceremony during your year of office. The ritual was Universal and attendance at LOI was obligatory.
When I was running my pub/hotel in Staines, the Masonic Hall was literally round the corner and many local masons would utilise the benefits of hotel licensing hours! Very soon I was invited to become a member of the Staines St Mary’s Lodge, where I made many friends who I still keep in touch with to this day. I soon found that Provincial Masonry was quite different to London.
Having survived 12 years running my own driving school in Surrey and lived to tell the tale, negotiating traffic around Heathrow airport and the M25 with nervous learners, in 2001 Jenny and I moved back to the Principality, where I joined the Cleddau Lodge, and here I am!!
I won’t go into details of my Masonic career as that has already been covered, but I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve Freemasonry for so many memorable years. I must say that I have thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie that it offers. It has been a big part of my life and has given me lots of friendship and fellowship. Like most things in life, I have learnt by experience that you get out of freemasonry what you are prepared to put into it."