W Bro Frank O’Keeffe (Media Team member) presents the first article in a mini-series about recipients of the Provincial Grand Master’s Award of Merit. He says they are a little bit like our heroes in the NHS – going about their duties diligently and unnoticed over many years, often taken for granted by those around them. But like those heroes in the NHS, these masonic heroes deserve some publicity in recognition of the work they have done to support and enhance our movement. So, while we may not be able to stand on our doorsteps and applaud them, we can at least recognise their contribution in another way.
W Bro FREDERICK JAMES CHANDLER PPrSGW –“Awarded for valuable and distinguished services rendered to the Province”.
It sounds a bit bland and nondescript, when you say it quickly, but let’s have a look at what Brother Fred has achieved in his time in Masonry, and the reasons why he received this award.
He was Initiated into Exeforde Lodge, No. 6391, now erased, on 9th March 1981, so almost forty years ago.
The reason Fred gives for joining is that 2 members of the church choir (of which Fred was the organist and choirmaster at the time) were Lewis masons.
He enjoyed the camaraderie, company and atmosphere at Ladies Nights, so applied to join.
In 1989 he became Worshipful Master and in 1995 promoted to PPrAGSuptWks.
It was the furthest he had ever had to go to a Masonic meeting, travelling from the depths of the Yorkshire Dales to Great Queen St, to receive his first appointment from HRH Prince Michael of Kent in person.
HRH was presiding that year, as it was the 125th Anniversary of the Masonic Province of Middlesex.
In 1998 W Bro Fred was a Founder Members of David Bonner Lodge, No. 9678, of which he is still a member.
He became Worshipful Master in 2003, after having served as Lodge Organist from 1998 to 2003 and again from 2004 to the present day.
During the years 1999/2000 he held the active rank of Provincial Grand Organist.
Promotions followed over a course of years and in 2017 he was promoted to PPrSGW.
The Holy Royal Arch –
W Bro Fred’s dedication and interest in freemasonry knew no bounds and 1982 he was exalted into Elliott Chapter, No. 1567.
The Companions must have known he was coming for he immediately became the Chapter Organist.
The Office of First Principal in 1997.
Duties extended to becoming Organist for Provincial Grand Chapter in 1995.
He currently holds the rank PPrGSN in Chapter.
In between times he became a founder member of Wyke Green Chapter, No. 8208 and occupied the First Principal’s Chair in 1994.
In 1999 he joined the Middlesex Masonic Choir (now Middlesex Provincial Choir) rising to Musical Director, a position which he still holds.
The choir perform at the annual Cathedral Remembrance services, and usually twice a year at Prince Michael of Kent Court Care Home, as well as at Festive Boards.
Putting It All Together –
There has certainly been an immense amount of persona engagement, loyalty and commitment together with an obvious good nature.
Therefore, it was no surprise that his major contributions to both Craft and Holy Royal Arch in the Province was recognised in 2017 when he received the Award from HRH Prince Michael of Kent, which was presented by the Pro Provincial Grand Master at that time the RW Alistair Mason.
Coincidentally, he was also invested as PPrSGW.
W Bro Fred was asked the question what gave him the most pleasure in freemasonry ?
His reply was the music, of course, and the companionship and friendship of the Brethren and Companions.
Outside of freemasonry W Bro Fred is keen on music, an obvious choice, but he has an interest in wildlife and also a special interest in railways.
Little wonder as he worked for what was then the Southern Region of British Railways in 1948.
It may come as no surprise that he takes part in an association of like-minded people with an interest in railways.
Last, but not least he is a member of the Spelthorne University of the Third Age (U3A) of which he is President and has also formed a Choir.
Fred is itching to get back to masonic life and misses the opportunity to meet as we all do.
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