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.