Photo: David Peabody
John Hamill (left)
receives his certificate
from Alan Englefield,
Master for Oxfordshire
On 2 August, Grand Lodge’s Director of
Communications, John Hamill, completed
35 years as a member of the Grand
Secretary’s staff. To his very apparent
surprise, the Board of General Purposes
and his colleagues organised a celebratory
buffet to mark the occasion.
Before congratulating and thanking
John for his service, the President of the
Board invited the Assistant Grand Secretary,
Graham Redman, to make a presentation.
This was in the form of a unique
document: a “Certificate of
Congratulations” issued “By Command
of the Grand Secretary’s Staff” which, after
reciting John’s Masonic career, did “Give
and Grant to all and each of the members
of the Grand Secretary’s Staff our full
permission to congratulate the said John
MacKenzie Hamill in such manner as may
be appropriate for the said occasion so
far as may be consistent with sobriety
Speaking after the party, John said “I little
thought 35 years ago when I joined the Staff
as the Junior Assistant in the Grand Lodge
Library what an amazing life I would have
at Freemasons’ Hall.
“I thought I was going to have a quiet
academic life doing my own and helping
others in their research into Masonic history.
That all changed in 1984 when the Craft was
swamped by bad publicity and I was asked
to be the alternate to the Grand Secretary
as spokesman for Grand Lodge.
“If anyone had forecast in 1971 that I
would appear on radio and television, appear
before a Parliamentary Select Committee
(twice!) and the Welsh Assembly’s
Committee on Standards as well as travel
the world as a Masonic speaker, I would
have thought they were barking mad!
“I have been very lucky, not least in
my colleagues over the last 35 years. I have
worked with some amazing characters.
The Staff are like a family, we have our ups
and downs, but we all pull together when
things have to be done.
“There is an incredible sense of loyalty
to the Craft and Grand Lodge, even
amongst the non-Masons on the Staff.
I am deeply touched by today’s “surprise”
and the warmth of the good wishes from
The Royal Masonic Variety Show promises
to be another major event in the world of
entertainment. This will be the fourth year
that top entertainers have come together
donating their services in aid of charity
The Show is being held on Remembrance
Sunday, 12 November at Prince Edward
Theatre, Old Compton Street, London,
commencing at 7.30pm.
Artistes invited to appear include Bradley
Walsh, Lionel Blair, Emma Bunton,
Martine McCutcheon, Italia Conti, Robert
Meadmore, Liberty X, Paul Zerdin, Roger
D’Courcey, Zack Laurence, Keith Skues and
Fatman and the Tenor – subject to availability.
To date the Variety Show has raised
well over £100,000 for numerous charitable
causes and this year’s show aims to carry
on the excellent record.
Held in the presence of the Grand Master,
HRH The Duke of Kent, and the Pro Grand
Master, the Marquess of Northampton, the
proceeds of this year’s show will go to the
Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution,
the Entertainment Artistes Benevolent Fund
and the Abandoned & Destitute Children’s
Founder of the Royal Masonic Variety
Show, Lord Northampton says:
“Freemasonry is founded on the principles
of good fellowship, charity and integrity.
These qualities form the cornerstone of
everyday life for Freemasons and help
them to become better citizens and be
of more service to their fellow beings.
Over £100 million of charitable help
can be directly attributed to the generosity
of English Freemasons.”
The Royal Masonic Variety Show
is arranged and promoted by Masonic
Promotions Limited consisting of chairman
David Calderhead, Charles Firth and Greg
Lunnon. This year’s show will be produced
by Peter Elliott and Ray Donn, both
members of Chelsea Lodge, and directed
by Bonnie Lythgoe with production coordinator