Mark Anthony Croft was born on the 20th January 1967. He passed away on the 28th December 2020. Mark, was a person you could not forget. After being considered a nuisance as a teenager, Mark joined the Army Cadets. He fitted in like a glove. He later signed up with the Royal Signals, at the Manor Top in the TA in Sheffield. Mark took to the Army with enthusiasm, was well respected and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major but after he decided that a career in the Army was not for him he joined his Fathers company MSM Punchpro. Mark was trained in all aspects of the business, but eventually settled in a sales and marketing role, in which, like all the other areas he committed himself to, he excelled. Like all family businesses there were up and downs, however with Mark’s charm and easy-going attitude combined with his parent’s Martin and Jean’s steadying influence in both domestic and business challenges the show was kept on the road.
I first met Mark in the late eighties when he followed his Father and brothers Simon and Nick in joining my Karate Club, and in his own words he was “useless”. Mark’s determination and character meant that I had no qualms in proposing him into Phoenix Lodge No. 904. Mark was seconded by WBro John Wistow and was initiated on 18th June 1999, progressing through the offices until he was first installed as Worshipful Master in 2004. Mark remained in the chair through 2005 and was reinstalled again in 2017. Mark was a well-liked and enthusiastic member of Phoenix Lodge, and a good ritualist. He held the office of Director of Ceremonies in Lodge for a number of years, and such was his attention to detail that it was no surprise when Mark was appointed as a Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies. Nor was it a surprise when he continued to wear his identifiable, highly polished Doc Martin boots when ‘on duty’. Of course, Mark excelled again, and during his many years of active Provincial service was appointed to Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, being promoted to the rank of PPJGW. Not long before the suspension of meetings Mark had accepted the role of Liaison Officer with Hall Cross Lodge in Doncaster and was looking forward to getting to know the brethren better and supporting their progression.
Mark joined Hallamshire Royal Arch Chapter 2268 in April 2000. He was proposed by Excellent Companion Philip James Haynes and his second was Excellent Companion George Mosel. Mark was Principal Sojourner in June 2003 and was Zerubbabel in 2008. He was Director of Ceremonies from 2018. He was appointed to the Provincial Grand Rank of PPGStBr in 2014 and promoted to PPGReg in 2019. Mark had joined a number of other orders but unfortunately had difficulty balancing the time commitments necessary with his professional and family responsibilities.
Mark did however manage to find time for a number of other interests, motorbiking, playing the electric keyboard (to such a level that he was considering playing for the Lodge), fishing and shooting and latterly, boating on the Norfolk Broads. He and his childhood sweetheart wife Debra had bought a boat as a wreck and Mark restored it to its former glory so that they could spend every weekend they could in Norfolk where the two of them made many new friends.
Those who spent time with Mark are aware that his family was his pride and joy and Mark is survived by his parents, his loving wife Debra, their three children: Lauren, Luke and Ellie and their families, including four grandchildren.
Mark left his shadow wherever he was activated. While masonry will feel his loss, we are all the better for having known him.
Rest in peace, l can still hear your laugh. Worshipful Brother Philip J Haynes A Friend and Brother.
It is with great sadness that we report the sudden passing of the Chairman of West Riding Masonic Charities Ltd, a colleague and friend, James Stuart Cadman.
Born on 3 December 1947, Stuart, following a short illness, died in hospital on 16 February 2021. Stuart was a self employed Management Consultant until he retired.
He was Initiated into St Modwen's Lodge No 4850, Burton-on-Trent (Staffs) on 24 April 1979 and became a joining member of Lodge of FriendshipNo 750, Cleckheaton on 13 January 1982.
Since that day, he has worked tirelessly for his Lodge, this Province and Freemasonry in general.
He became Master of Lodge of Friendship in 2002 and then held the office of Secretary for five years and Treasurer for six years.
He was Exalted into Lightcliffe Chapter No 3332, Hipperholme in October 2000, becoming First Principal in February 2009 and then Treasurer in 2011, an office he held until last year.
Stuart was a joining member of the West Riding Acting Officers Lodge No 9645, holding office in both 2011 and 2013.
Always active, always involved, he was a man of boundless energy and enthusiasm.
He found his true vocation when he joined the board of West Riding Masonic Charities Ltd in 2012. Holding a variety of roles on both the Finance Committee and Liaison Committee and ensuring that the Provincial Beneficiaries were being properly supported, he also did an enormous amount of the planning and groundwork to get the CHOICES scheme up and running successfully. His leadership over this last twelve months has been an invaluable benefit to the Charity and those we have endeavoured to help.
In recognition of his work for the Province and its Charity, Stuart was appointed acting Provincial Senior Grand Warden in 2016 and served on the PGM’s Installation Panel for a further 3 years.
In 2018 he was appointed Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in United Grand Lodge.
He was a long time director of Yorkshire WR Masonic Activities Ltd and former marketing and advertising Chairman which involved time consuming work in securing much needed revenue to support the White Rose Masonic News.
In 2019 Stuart was re-elected to the Board of WRMCL for a second term and in the same year was appointed Chairman, taking the Charity forward, positively and successfully. He planned to step down in 2023, when his present term expired.
Sadly, that was not to be. A Mason through and through, he will be missed by all who knew him.
VW Bro. Parkinson receiving his 50yr certificate in 2019 from the Provincial Grand Master
Nevil was born on 18th November 1938 in Allerton Bywater. He was the youngest of 7 children and the son of a miner. He attended Allerton Bywater Primary School and then Whitwood Mining and Technical College where, in 1959, he passed his City and Guilds in plumbing. He went on to teach plumbing at York College to students studying at night school.
Nevil met his wife Ann in Swillington, Leeds and they married in the parish church where Ann's dad was the vicar in April 1960. They had 3 children, Ruth in 1962, Simon in 1965 and Matthew in 1975 and now have 3 grandchildren, Connie, Eve and Ruby. Simon followed his father’s footsteps and became an Environmental Health Officer himself.
He started work at Tadcaster Rural District Council as a student and then went on to qualify in 1962 as a Public Health Inspector. On the 5th April 1968 Nevil was proposed as a Candidate for Freemasonry by W.Bro Stanley Oldfield and seconded by W.Bro Leonard Firth. This resulted in him being initiated into Calcaria Lodge No. 2677 on the 11th April 1969 and quickly progressing to become a Master Mason.
In 1974, under local government reorganisation, Nevil’s work moved him to Selby District Council and he became Chief Environmental Health & Housing Officer and then Director of Environmental Services. He was closely involved with the building of Europe's largest coal-fired power station at Drax, the establishment of 24 hour warden care service for elderly and vulnerable residents and the introduction of wheelie bins for refuse collection but the provision of two permanent caravan sites for travellers, providing them with a permanent home and piped sanitation for the first time in their lives, gave him the greatest satisfaction!
November 1974 saw Bro. Parkinson take his first office in Calcaria Lodge. Freemasonry had become an important part of Nevil’s life and in November 1980 he became Master of Calcaria Lodge, having a very successful year as a much loved and respected member of the Lodge. He was recognised in the Province in 1989, being appointed Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon and subsequently Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer. He went on to join Ainsty Royal Arch Chapter in February 1993, becoming First Principal in October 2000.
In November 1990 W.Bro Parkinson was appointed ‘Charity Representative’ of Calcaria Lodge, a role which he relished and performed with his usual quiet efficiency. In 1993 he became a member of the Charity Executive of the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding. Nevil retired in August 1995 after 37 years in local government giving him more time to devote to home, Freemasonry and his charity work. During this time he maintained a tremendous effort to enhance the work of the Charity Executive. This resulted in his progression to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 1996 and elevation to Grand Lodge as Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 1998. Further promotion followed at the Installation ceremony of Calcaria Lodge in 1999 to Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden.
In 1999 he was appointed by the Grand President to a place on the Council of the Grand Charity and a member of the Petitions Committee. His election as Chairman of the Charity Committee saw high recognition in 2001 by appointment to the rank of Deputy Provincial Grand Master. A role which he continued with zeal until 12 January 2007 when the then PGM did take the gavel for the first part of the meeting and celebrated Nevil’s retirement in a ‘unique’ manner, which involved a hidden Pork Pie!
Unfortunately ill health caught up with Ann more recently and Nevil has dedicated his time to her care with Freemasonry being forced to take a bit more of a ‘back seat’. Both Nevil and Ann however, have continued to support and be involved in the Lodge social activities where they were received with love and affection. Sadly Ann died in 2019 after 59 years of marriage and Nevil departed, suddenly and unexpectedly, to the Grand Lodge Above on 2nd February 2021.
The brethren of Calcaria Lodge as well as Nevil’s family are all extremely proud of the contribution he made to Freemasonry and society in general. He lived respected and died regretted.
It is with great sadness that I must inform you of the death, peacefully, of W Bro Stanley Raymond (Ray) Johnson PPJGW on 7 February aged 92yrs. Ray’s health had deteriorated in recent months.
Ray was a Past Master of Adel Lodge No 6250, having been initiated on 5 June 1962. He served Adel Lodge as Almoner and Charity Steward. Ray was appointed PPJGD in 1989 and subsequently promoted to PPGReg in 1996 and PPJGW in 2001. He was made an Honorary Member of Adel Lodge in November 2014.
Ray joined Leeds & District Lodge of installed Masters No 7918 in March 1994, serving as Charity Steward from 2003 - 2005 before resigning in 2011.
Ray was a Founder Member of the Rugby Football Lodge No 9811 on its Consecration in September 2005. Ray was very proud to be a Founder member of the Rugby Football Lodge. He enjoyed the ceremonies, the Festive Board and the brethren – both with and without the benefit of his hearing aids! Ray had a twinkle in his eye and a fund of rugby stories that will be sadly missed by all. He was elected an Honorary Member in March 2018 when the combination of his health and a move to Haverfordwest to live with his daughter Liz and her husband Martin meant that he would no longer be able to enjoy the company of the brethren.
Ray had a long association with Yarnbury RUFC both as a player, coach and administrator; serving as President for over 50 years. I have no doubt that the club will rightly regard him as ‘a legend’.
Ray can truly be said to have lived respected and died regretted.