A Personal Tribute and Thank You to Freemasonry

By W. Bro. David Weaver PPrGSwdB – Secretary Russell Lodge 4413

Year 1982

A memorable year. Many events made history; The Falklands conflict, Laker Airways collapsing and, after a score draw at Wembley, Tottenham Hotspur overcame QPR 1-0 in the FA Cup final. I must however recall the most important event with that of meeting my future wife, Georgina Smith, alongside her father, Bro. Harold James Smith, my eventual proposer into Freemasonry and Russell 4413.

Bro Harold Smith and W. Bro David Weaver

 You must be of a certain generation to have known Harold. Members will hear his name spoken today. An inspiration to all, especially the new initiate who stood lonely in a room, wondering what had taken place that evening, to then see Harold heading towards them with an outstretched hand of friendship which never waned. Harold started his Masonic career later in life, aged 54 years. A ‘knife and fork’ mason, never progressing through to the chair, but holding the office of chaplain for nearly 15 years and then sadly passing to the Grand Lodge above 2004. I am convinced he knew all the ritual for all ceremonies!

So, 1982 continued with my introduction to a Masonic social event, attending the Ladies Night of W. Bro. Lionel Henman at the Addison Centre, Kempston. Others followed, remembering those of W. Bro’s Ivan Lawson, Terry McKeegan, Mike Izzard and last, but not least, W. Bro. Anthony Henderson who we all know of & admire today.      

Joining Russell Lodge

It could have been so much sooner than May 1992. Harold was to later admit to me that he awaited my request to join, the ‘traditional’ way of approach. If only I had asked sooner. That in one respect describes my character and a reason for my membership. Like the initiates alone in the room, (W. Bro. Appleton PrGMen wouldn’t allow that nowadays) I had a hope that masonry would bring lasting friendship, eliminate those nerves of speaking to others and removing any public hesitancy I may be holding onto. I believe now that has been successful. The moment you become a brother the bond of friendship begins. The nerves disappear with the regularity of public speaking; whether at a Festive Board or regular meeting. A tribute to all.

Of course, not every brother decides to take office and may similarly decide not to join other orders. It was at this stage I seem to have ignored Bro. Harold’s advice. ‘Listen to what is said (in Standing Committee) and learn boy,’ and ‘you don’t have to join everything.’ So, I immediately took office, reaching the chair of King Solomon 1997.  now seemingly a lifetime ago.

Ritual in those days came easy to me and the ritual book followed me for many years to come.


W.Bro David Weaver, Junior and Senior Wardens

For the want of ambition and an overwhelming wish to be involved in freemasonry, my first office as Almoner was in 1999. The silent office, but one of fulfilment. Others followed; ADC, DC and that of secretary 2014, the latter providing a sense of achievement after each meeting, but also continual learning.

Side Orders

Finally, I must mention my involvement with other Masonic orders. 

Another well respected brother, W. Bro. Rex Mead proposed me into Holy Royal Arch in the year 2000, joining Sir William Harpur 2343 and where I have found equal measures of enjoyment, presently enjoying Scribe E and more recently appointment as Provincial Assistant Grand Scribe E.

Other orders include Knights Templar 260 which I am the Preceptor for the second time, Lodge of installed master’s 7301 and most recently Rose Croix 251. 

Finally, I would like to thank the lodge for their support over the years and W. Bro. Fitz-Gerald, for providing this opportunity of writing my premature eulogy! but most of all, to freemasonry in general for what has been nearly thirty years of excitement, tinged with some sadness, but overwhelming friendship.  

Stuart Potts

Stuart Potts

Past Worshipful Master of Russell Lodge 4413 (2020)

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