Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies

W Bro Chris Parfitt-Taylor Warrant Officer Class 2 – 1st Battalion Irish Guards

Firstly, many congratulations to W Bro Chris Parfitt-Taylor ProvDepGDC on his forthcoming appointment to Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies from the members of the Media Team.

For those who may have served in the Armed Forces the Masonic command to “step off with the left foot” does not have quite the same resonance as the following order from a Sergeant Major, “when I give the order quick march, I want to see the left foot shoot forward a full pace of eighteen inches bringing the right arm shoulder high.” Subtle difference ?

W Bro Daniel Graham ProvGStwd posed a series of questions to W Bro Chris for the Mercury and his responses highlight an interesting life, both Military and Masonic.

How did you become a mason ?

For as long as I can remember I always had an interest in Freemasonry which, I think, for me was the secrecy and the not truly knowing anything about it I found most intriguing at the time.

When I was about 24 I approached my boss at work who I knew was a London Mason and asked if he would Propose me into Freemasonry, to which he very quickly declined saying that he didn’t think I’d be very good at it.

Fast forward 4-5 years and I had a new boss, who is also a very close friend.

Knowing I had a keen interest in Freemasonry he approached me about joining The Richmond Lodge, No.2032.

So, I jumped at the chance and haven’t looked back since.

Has freemasonry given you anything ?

Some people might not believe this but I am a relatively shy person.

Becoming a Freemason has certainly helped me to come out of my shell a bit more and given me more confidence, especially when “public speaking”.

Besides that, Freemasonry has enabled me to meet some great people who I now would call dear friends, but also it has given me a sense of achievement knowing that I belong to an organisation that does so much good for charity and that I can contribute even if only in a small way.

How do you hope you can contribute in your new role ?

The Province of Middlesex is renowned for its ritual and ceremonial and having served almost 25 years in the Household Division as a Guardsman I have some experience with Ceremonial requirements, so I would like to hope that I can bring some of that experience with me and incorporate it, even if only in a small way into what we already do extremely well.

But, I would also like to expand on what has already been established by my predecessors and that is to promote an element of fun in Freemasonry, because after all, what we do should be fun and enjoyable to all.

What do you do for a living ?

I am a serving Warrant Officer Class 2 in the 1st Battalion Irish Guards and I am currently based in Central London as a Master Tailor for the Household Division, although I am due to retire from service later this year and intend to start my own business.

Any hobbies or interests ?

Actually, I have quite a few and like to keep myself busy.

Besides Freemasonry which keeps me pretty busy, I enjoy cycling, skiing, baking, design and a spot of DIY.

I am a keen motorcyclist and own a Harley Electra Glide and a Bandit 1200.

I am a collector of cigars and can often be found in a cigar lounge around London, or even just sat in my garage enjoying a nice Cuban or one of the New World Cigars.

I have recently taken up leathercraft too which I find very enjoyable.

What would be your most memorable/proudest moment ?

I would be in big trouble if I didn’t use this question to say that two of my proudest moments were marrying my wife Martina and becoming a dad to my son Jayden.

But I have been blessed with having quite a few memorable or proud moments, like, fitting the Duke of Cambridge for his Tunic for his wedding, being promoted to Warrant Officer in the Army and to date being selected as the new Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies for Middlesex.

Do you have a party trick ?

I don’t actually have one unless you can count being able to do a relatively good impression of Lloyd Grossman, or a pretty mean Charge after Initiation.

Have you had any embarrassing moments ?

Being a soldier I have quite a few but none that should probably be repeated in this forum.

I wouldn’t say it’s my most embarrassing but it’s definitely up there.

I recall that I did a charity cycle ride from Edinburgh to Andover a couple of years ago where we cycled 550 miles in 5 days.

I had managed to cycle the whole way without a glitch, not even a puncture.

But as we approached the finish line in Andover where loads of family, friends, local media and even the Mayor were there to meet us, I somehow managed to catch the back wheel of one of the other riders and as I was clipped into my pedals sent myself tumbling over the handlebars of my bike with it landing on top of me.

Needless to say, it made for great entertainment for everyone, but a bit of a red face moment for me.

Members of the Province will, no doubt, ensure polished toe capped shoes will reflect light and lustre and that W Bro Chris will remember to be gentle as the processing Officers and escorts are “marched” into the Temple.

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