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Freemason Geoff O’Neill, currently Secretary of Haslar Lodge in Gosport and already an honorary alderman, has been rewarded with the title of Honorary Freeman of the Borough by the Mayor of Gosport for his tireless work for the local community. For decades Geoff has worked as a councillor including Mayor for a year, and been a leading light in the Gosport Community Association. He has also been an active member of Holy Trinity Church and helped organise many charity events over the years.
After the ceremony in the Mayor’s parlour, Geoff said; “It was with extreme gratitude that I accepted the honour. I am really delighted and it was a special day for me. I came to Gosport from London 50 years ago and I got involved in the area from the very beginning.”
One of his first jobs was at the Ultra Radio and Television Company factory in Gosport where he acted as company social secretary. There he organised a number of events for the employees which raised a large amount of money for local good causes. Also, shortly after moving to Gosport he joined the Gosport Community Association and is still active.
Elected onto the council in 1976 as the member for the Leesland ward, he served as a councillor for 12 years. Of this time Geoff commented; “I immensely enjoyed my time as a councillor and as Mayor in 1986. It has been a real privilege for me to be involved in so many organisations in Gosport. None of that would have been possible without the tremendous amount of support I have received from my family and friends.”
His proposer, Councillor John Beavis, referred to his sterling work over the past 30 years supporting the people of Gosport, and praised his excellent work fund-raising for the Mayor’s charities and other local organisations.
A past Master of Haslar Lodge, Geoff has also excelled on the square as a long serving member of the Tom Langton fund committee and as Group Almoner for the Gosport group of lodges.
[Insight is grateful to the Portsmouth News for their cooperation in the production of this article]
Royal Sussex Lodge Bicentenary
Royal Sussex Lodge recently celebrated 200 years of freemasonry in style in the presence of the United Grand Lodge of England Assistant Grand Master, Sir David Wootton and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Provincial Grand Master, Michael Wilks, who were accompanied by numerous other dignitaries. The lodge, which meets at Purbrook near Portsmouth, was consecrated on 24th August 1814 when George III was on the throne.
During the meeting the minutes of the centenary meeting, held on 25th August 1914, were read after which Sir David formally presented the lodge with its Bicentenary Warrant. This was followed by an oration from the Assistant Grand Secretary, and the presentation of centenary jewels and bars to the members of the lodge to commemorate the bicentenary. After the meeting more than a hundred of those present sat down to a sumptuous meal and everyone received a specially designed Royal Sussex Lodge pen as a memento.
As part of its bi-centennial celebrations, the lodge
had a new banner dedicated by the Provincial Grand
Master. He was accompanied by a strong team of active provincial officers, and supported by members of the provincial cabinet and executive, and many guests in addition to a large turnout of lodge members. This historic, splendid and colourful occasion demanded much ceremonial all of which was carried out with customary precision under the watchful eye of the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Ian Preece. During the ceremony Provincial Grand Chaplain, the Reverend Robin Nash, recited the Prayer of Dedication and the PGM dedicated the banner with the words; ”We do dedicate and set apart this banner, that it may be a sign of our duty to God and a symbol of our service to one another”. The banner was then formally entrusted into the care of the Worshipful Master of Royal Sussex Lodge, Trevor Cawte, who paraded the new banner and set it in its rightful place. On completion the Dedicating Chaplain addressed the assembled brethren with an interesting rendition of how and why banners took their rise, and then a more detailed explanation of the design of the new banner.
Royal Sussex Lodge Number 342 on the register of the United Grand Lodge of England was consecrated on 25th August 1814. It took it’s name from Prince Augustus Frederick the Duke of Sussex, the 6th son of King George III, who was at that time the first Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England. The main feature on the banner is the Duke of Sussex Royal Coat of Arms, which is very similar to that of the King, but does have minor differences which make it unique to him. There is a white bar on the crest, and on the two lions and unicorn. Hanging from these white bars are 3 white rectangles, the one in the centre showing 2 red hearts and the other 2 having a red cross.
Nicholas Broadway
Insight • Issue 9 8
Useful Twitter Accounts to follow :
@HantsMason @UGLE_GrandLodge @TheGrandCharity @MS_Fund @TheRMBI @Freemasonry2Day

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