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An historic occasion at Newstead Lodge

newstead47On 1 March 2016, the members of Newstead Lodge No. 47 were privileged to witness a most unusual occurrence when two Lodge members, who admit to having known each other since they were in short trousers, were each presented, by the Provincial Grand Master, with a certificate to mark 60 years in Freemasonry.

The fathers of both W. Brothers Bev Wright and Michael Marwood were members of Newstead Lodge and brought their sons into masonry within 2 months of each other; and they have built on that association and remained friends as well as Brothers ever since.

W. Brother Beverley Vine Wright was born on the 18th Sept 1934 in Nottingham and, with the exception of National Service, has spent his life here. He is one of very few males who can claim to have been educated at Nottingham Girls High School! No, it’s not what you think but he attended Daybrook House Kindergarten which was a subsidiary of that school; his subsequent education took a somewhat more usual course via Southwell Grammar School to Arundel Public School.

In 1953 Bev was called for National Service and, after initially being with the Sherwood Foresters, he was transferred to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. During his military service he served in Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and Egypt and achieved the rank of substantive full Corporal, without having fired a shot in anger!

Thereafter, W. Brother Bev moved into the family menswear clothing business which had as many as 10 retail outlets, but in the 1980s the business closed and Bev, having worked in various other retail roles for some time, found his true vocation in garden planning at which he was very successful. He retired from that at the age of 65.

Bev’s wife Lene (pronounced Lena) is Danish and was sent by her parents to the UK to improve her English. Her parents were Rotarians and in fact her mother became World President of the Inner Wheel so they arranged for her to be hosted by Rotarians in the UK and, having heard that potential hosts included a gin distiller and a whisky distiller, Bev’s mother (District Chairman of the Inner Wheel) intervened and Lene arrived in the Wright household, where they met.

Bev and Lene were married on the 1st of April 1965 in Copenhagen – it would have been the 2nd of April but the Minister was busy that day and couldn’t understand their reluctance towards April the First! So not only did Bev get a certificate for 60 years in Masonry but he and Lene achieved 50 years of marriage. They have two sons and 4 grandchildren.

Bev and Lene are regular visitors to Denmark and spend their summers at their cottage on the Kattegat peninsula in northern Denmark. Bev includes history and archaeology among his interests and has actually written a book (in Danish!) about the history of the Zeeland area of Denmark. He is also a Director of the Norwood Park Golf Club Ltd.

Bev was initiated into Newstead Lodge No 47 two months after his 21st birthday – his father was his proposer and the Master at the time was W. Brother Edgar Spencer who worked as Company Accountant for Bev’s father. Bev was Master of Newstead Lodge in 1966 and has had a number of Provincial appointments leading to PPrSGW and culminating with his being presented with the Certificate of Merit in 2001.

W. Brother Michael Harold Marwood was born on the 18th December 1931 in Nottingham and was educated at Nottingham Boys High School. After school he studied in the evenings and at weekends, at home, and qualified as a Chartered Accountant; quite a feat and one virtually impossible now. When he started work he received for his first weeks pay – absolutely nothing! Things improved thereafter with weekly pay of 5s. (25p today). Michael spent most of his working life within the same company, Clayton & Brewer, although through various takeovers and amalgamations the company name changed a number of times.

He was not eligible for National Service because his was a reserved occupation and he was rather short-sighted (no doubt from all of that studying).

Michael was twice married and sadly has lost both wives. Interestingly, both wives attended the Royal Masonic School for Girls in Rickmansworth and, it was through their continued friendship after school, that after his first wife died, Michael came to marry his second wife. His sister-in-law was also a student at the same school and his brother-in-law attended the Royal Masonic School for Boys at Bushey.

Michael never met either of his wives' fathers as both, who were solicitors, died in the 1940s and hence the involvement of the Royal Masonic Schools - a real testimony to the importance of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys as it now is.

Michael’s father was a Past Master of Newstead Lodge and, although Michael never met him, his first wife’s father had also been a member of the same Lodge. That Brother, a solicitor, had been a member of the Army Legal Department at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunals and had died shortly afterwards.

Michael has three daughters, Emma, Kate and Lucy.

Michael was initiated into Newstead Lodge on 3rd January 1956 and served as Master in both 1967 and 1997. He was the Provincial Grand Treasurer from 1984 to 1987, was appointed PPrSGW in 1988 and received the Certificate of Merit in 1996.

In presenting the Certificates the Provincial Grand Master commented that W. Brothers Bev and Michael were role models to all and that both had made a major contribution to the Craft without neglecting either business or family.

At the Festive Board,W. Brother Michael said that he and W. Brother Bev looked forward to receiving their 70 year certificate in 10 years time!