W Bro Sid Clench, 60 Years in Freemasonry

Extracts from the presentation speech by RW Bro Stephen Hookey:

 

"W Bro Sid Clench, I feel very, very honoured to be here tonight making this presentation to you. I only hope that my words will do justice to the occasion.

 

You became a Freemason on 26th September 1956, approaching 61 years ago. A sobering thought is that, on that day when you were being admitted, I was nearly 18 months old!  But here we are today, brothers on the square. To achieve 60 years’ membership of our institution is marvellous in itself, but that fact does not reflect the outstanding manner in which you have done it.

 

You were initiated into the Mythe lodge in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire. After completion of National Service as a commissioned officer in the Royal Tank Regiment you studied at the Royal College of Agriculture in Cirencester, and afterwards departed to what was then Nyasaland, now Malawi, to manage a tobacco estate.  Whilst there you joined the Angoni Lodge under the Scottish Constitution and were advanced as a Mark Mason.

 

Returning to the UK in 1964 you worked for the Ministry of Agriculture in Trawscoed. From then on, your masonic career really took off and your history shows much diversity. Not only did you join the Holy Royal Arch, Royal Ark Mariners, Rose Croix, Knights Templar, Knights Templar Priests, Red Cross of Constantine, St Thomas of Acon, Order of the Secret Monitor, Scarlet Cord, Royal and Select Masters and the Knights Beneficent of the Holy City, but you have achieved very high rank in them all – an indication of the man and mason that you are.

 

Returning to the Craft, you joined St Padarn Lodge in 1981 and became Master in 1987. After occupying the Chair you served as Lodge Director of Ceremonies for 10 years.  Your dedication to Masonry was recognised by the Province, and following various Provincial appointments you served as Provincial Senior Grand Warden in 2002.  It was at that time when, as a relatively junior mason and newly appointed Provincial Assistant Grand Secretary, I first met you. Over the following years I got to know you on the circuit, and I recall the support and encouragement that you gave to me as I progressed in my career. I thank you for all of that - it was and still is important to me.

 

I know you to be a consummate Mason, faithful and dedicated not only to the Lodge and to the Craft, but also to the Holy Royal Arch and to all of the other Orders where, as I have said, you hold very senior rank.

 

What I did not know is just how famous you really are. Last week I attended the Winter Gardens in Blackpool for annual meeting of the Province of West Lancashire. In the robing room, I was in discussion with fellow Provincial Grand Masters. On being asked about the Province of West Wales, and stating that its northernmost point was Aberystwyth, the Provincial Grand Master of Northumberland immediately asked, “do you know Sid Clench?”. I was a little dumbfounded I must admit, but it transpired that there is actually a family connection. RW Bro Ian Craigs would have liked to have been here this evening, but was unable to make it. He does however send his very best wishes and congratulations on your achievement.

 

W Bro Sid Clench, I have nothing but the deepest respect for you not only as a Mason, but also as a man. You are a fine example to the brethren, young and old alike. If every member of the Province gave only 50% of the dedication and support that you have given over many years then Masonry in West Wales would be thriving."

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