Recalling Brother Marc Wilkinson of Greenhill Lodge, No. 6981 –
One such special person was Brother Marc Wilkinson who was taken to the Grand Lodge above prematurely in May 2017 aged 39.
Marc’s father is W Bro Roy Wilkinson LGR whose Mother Lodge is Cornish Lodge, No. 2369 in London.
He is now a member of Greenhill Lodge, No. 6981, meeting at Harrow.
His son Marc has left a reminiscence of his brief life, which recalls his Army days and his football team – Wimbledon AFC, the team of choice of his grandfather and father.
This is published under the title “Crazy Gang – A Dons Fan in Service of Queen and Country”.
Marc was born in Middlesex at Hillingdon Hospital in 1979.
Just a teenager he joined the Royal Green Jackets.
Subsequently the Regiment amalgamated with other infantry regiments to form a single five battalion regiment called The Rifles.
Marc became part of the 4th Battalion.
He loved the Army and it was only as a result of severe injuries whilst in Afghanistan that shortened his career.
Whilst in a firefight with the Taliban he received injuries to his leg.
On being recovered and taken to a medical facility the vehicle he was travelling in struck an improvised explosive device.
This was not Brother Marc’s day.
Marc was now a wounded serviceman and suffered not only with his devastating injury but also with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD.
No longer a soldier Marc worked as a courier and drove a specially adapted vehicle due to his injury.
Later he worked for the Cooperative Undertakers.
By this time Marc knew that the injury to his leg which was a constant concern would necessitate an amputation above the knee.
A Masonic Subterfuge –
Marc had approached his father about becoming a Mason.
He was told that maybe he should wait a while.
Even so, Marc whilst attending a Remembrance Sunday event at Ruislip met W Bro Gary Earley of Greenhill Lodge, who would process his interest into a subsequent application to join the Lodge.
Marc mentioned to his Dad that he was ready to become a Freemason and that he had already had discussions.
W Bro Roy, Marc’s Dad had a plan.
He became a joining member of Greenhill Lodge, so when Marc was to be Initiated, he would be there.
But this was all strictly “hush hush”.
Even better it had been agreed that W Bro Roy would take the Chair for the Initiation, but the subterfuge was that Marc was not to be aware of anything.
Roy parked his car a few streets away so that it might not be recognised in the Harrow Centre car park and he was “smuggled” into the Temple to avoid any possible contact with Marc.
Come the day, the 5th September 2013, Marc became a Freemason.
However, during the course of the Ceremony, he was blissfully unaware that it was his father who had Obligated and Entrusted him.
Only when the Hood Wink was removed did he realise what was happening.
What a tremendous moment for both father and son.
W Bro Roy became Worshipful Master in his own right and he was proud to Appoint and invest his son as Junior Deacon.
The Book –W Bro Roy had served for 30 years in the Metropolitan Police Service and on retirement he thought it would be good to write a memoir.
Marc was also part of a project to relate their experiences both as Police Officer and Soldier.
The book was to be entitled “War and Police”.
Roy recalls, “When I retired from The Met in 2003, I decided to write a book about my experiences over the previous 30 years and told Marc what I was going to do.
He suggested that we do a book together – his Army stories and my Police stories.
We began putting it together every Wednesday evening at his place before we went to LOI and during our away trips to watch The Dons on a Saturday.
He found it increasingly difficult when it came to talking about his PTSD and his Afghan tour.
We stopped doing it for about a year because of that.
I carried on with my ‘half’ of the book”.
More Suffering –
Marc’s injury was still problematic, and he had more shrapnel removed from his leg.
This was to be a prelude to a subsequent amputation.
A grim prospect for both son and father.
Shortly after this procedure Marc who had just visited his father felt unwell and went home.
He died at home alone from an undetected heart complaint.
Brother Marc was taken from us at such an early age of 39 on the 17th May 2017.
His funeral wake was held at Harrow Masonic Centre where a very large contingent of the members of Greenhill Lodge attended.
The Memory Lingers On –Although Marc had died, the book project still continued and it was through the auspices of the Football Programme sponsor for AFC Wimbledon football club that the manuscript was sent to various publishers.
Regrettably, this initiative was not met with success as it was thought not to have a specific readership.
However, undeterred by this a publisher in the USA was interested in the bits about Brother Marc and his military exploits.
The former Premiership footballer and subsequent manager of AFC Wimbledon has given a fitting tribute to Marc in the book,
“Marc was a real inspiration and after meeting him and his comrades at Combat Stress, it quickly hit home how much pain and suffering service to their country had left on these men……….He was a wonderful inspiring man who left his mark on my life forever.” – combatstress.org.uk
The Book Crazy Gang is published in the USA by Lemur Press and can be found on the Amazon USA web site – Amazon.com : crazy gang
Royalties from book sales will go to Combat Stress.
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