A “Special” Special

Hampton Fete 1990

Over a period of months Middlesex Media has published news about the superb efforts of Provincial Brethren and Companions giving service to the Community during this period of pandemic.

But this service is not an isolated phenomenon and Freemasonry has a long history of individual members making a positive contribution to society.

One such contribution has been made in a singular way by Bro John Murray PPrAGStdB, Treasurer and Charity Steward of Sunbury Lodge, No. 1733.

Pandas and Noddy Bikes –

More years ago than Bro John may care to remember, he joined the Special Constabulary, which is the part-time volunteer section of statutory police forces in the United Kingdom.

He signed on as a “Special” in 1971.

Most of his duty was spent in and around the Teddington and Twickenham areas and a photo shows John posing in 1990 beside a “Panda” car – the more weather-friendly successor to the “Noddy bikes”, which some older brethren may well remember.

This particular car was from the Metropolitan Police Historic Fleet, which John became involved with while still active as a Special and the particular event was the Hampton Fete in 1990.

Diligent Service –

Bro John Murray centre with the then Sir John Stevens, Commissioner of Police of the Metropolitan Police on his right

Bro John gave diligent service to the “Specials” and during his time received long service awards for 8, 19, and 29 years.

Essentially the fullest set of medals and two bars plus a certificate, not forgetting the Jubilee medal as well.
He is seen in the photo in 2001 with the former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police (on the left looking at the photo), Sir John Stevens who later became Baron Stevens of Kirkwhelpington.

When asked about his most memorable occasion as a Special, John replied that it was being sent out to help search for a little girl who had been abducted. John found her, dumped but safe and well, and was able to return her to her grateful parents.

He also is very pleased to have made so many friends in the Police service.

In the meantime John found the extra time from his busy schedule of a business life in Financial Services to become a Freemason.

In 1989 he was Initiated into Crescent Lodge, No. 5054 at the Surbiton Masonic Centre in the Province of Surrey.

In 2021 he will be celebrating 32 years as a Freemason, and 50 years working with the Metropolitan Police Service as a Special and then as a volunteer with a special interest in organising the local Neighbourhood Watch.

He sits on a number of committees which since the Covid outbreak have focussed on giving advice, especially in relation to fake NHS texts and scam emails relating to Covid testing and much more.

Prior to that as a volunteer he looked after the Police Historic Fleet, hence the Morris Minor at the Hampton Fete.

In His Grandfather’s Footsteps –

Bro John also has the distinction of being an honorary member of his grandfather’s lodge, a Military Lodge – Royal Rose Lodge, No. 2565, which was warranted in 1895.

His grandfather, Company Sergeant Major Charles Arthur Murray in the London Regiment Royal Fusiliers, had been Initiated in 1898 but was killed at Ypres on May 9th 1915 during World War 1 aged 36. He had been awarded the Distinguished Combat Medal.

His name is in the Book of Remembrance in Great Queen Street. He rests in peace at the Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner.

On his visit to the Royal Rose Lodge, when he was made an honorary member, John was accompanied by seven members of Sunbury Lodge.

These are special moments in Freemasonry when the past has a living resonance in the present.

A grateful thanks to Media Team member W. Bro Frank O’Keeffe for his contribution.

Also read:-

Sunbury Lodge, No.1733 presentation to Shooting Star Chase

Sunbury Lodge, No. 1733 – 50 year Anniversary Certificate Presentation

Middlesex Masonic Charity Supports Citizens Advice

The Legacy Lingers on

PMK Demonstration Team present Third Degree Ceremony – Report

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