It was with great sadness that the Lodge learned of the Passing to the GL Above of Bro. Colin Smith, PPrGChStwd in April. Below is a eulogy to Colin from W.Bro. Peter R Champion, PPrGSuptWks.
I will remember Colin as a work colleague, Brother in Freemasonry and above all as a trusted and loyal friend for over 50 years.
Colin – or “Col”, “Smudger”, “The Big Man” or just plain “Smithy” – and I joined the construction company of R J Barwick & Sons Ltd within a couple of years of each other in the mid 1960s and retired on the same day – 30th June 2007 – both having completed over 40 years service. Colin started as a carpenter, quickly rose to the position of Site Manager then progressing to Contract Planner and eventually to Contracts Manager. He was justly proud of his achievements in his working life and was associated with many fine buildings throughout the Kent area. We shared many trips on site visits and meetings and unfortunately acquired a reputation for getting lost – no sat navs or mobile phones in the early days! Nothing amused him more than to see me on site on a cold, wet or snowy day – far away from my usual comfortable surroundings – and he would delight in recalling my distress in later life!
Being a true country lad he had a great understanding of people and was an excellent communicator with everyone around him. Never one to suffer fools gladly but always willing to share his vast knowledge of the construction process to those eager to learn. There were many young Architects and Surveyors across the county who benefited from a quiet word of advice or one of his famous sketches to overcome the obvious gaps in their building knowledge.
We enjoyed many years of good hearted banter and Colin was always pointing out that “he carried me for forty years” to which I always replied “bearing in mind our relative sizes it was a good job it was not the other way round!”
Colin was initiated in to the Corinthian Lodge No 1208 in Dover in March 1993 – proposed by W.Bro Tony Nixon and seconded by his brother-in-law, Bro John Lee. He used his communication and management skills to great effect and was the Lodge Dining Steward for over 20 years – meticulously organising the Festive Boards, Ladies Festivals and other special events. He was instrumental in organising the Lodge Fun Days at Langdon Cricket Club. Over the last few years these events raised several thousands of pounds for local charities which gave Colin great comfort and satisfaction. His efforts for the Lodge and Masonry in general were recognized when he was appointed PPAGDC in 2008 and promoted to PPGChStwd in 2015 - a very high rank for a Mason who is not a Past Master.
He developed his wood turning skills in his retirement and generously donated many of his beautifully turned bowls, clocks and barometers as raffle prizes. His lasting memorial to Freemasonry will be wonderful gavels he produced to celebrate the 150 year anniversary of the consecration of Corinthian Lodge – 60 miniature gavels for Lodge members and the set of 3 Principal Officer's gavels. Equally memorable were the guest appearances of Father Christmas at various functions – funny that you never saw Colin and Father Christmas in the same room!
Colin was a loyal and devoted family man and a strong defender of the country way of life. He fought hard to maintain the village school at East Langdon and assisted on many projects – one of the most recent the manufacture of a Mud Kitchen which was a great asset for the school. His life-long passion was cricket and he was renowned in the Kent area as a spin bowler. Many of you will have heard him relate the story of him bowling out the West Indian cricketer John Shepherd in an exhibition match – third ball for a duck! He was also a stylish batsman but he was well in to his forties before he scored 100 runs in an innings. He played cricket for East Langdon Cricket Club for over 50 years and was active in the management of the Club premises and grounds up until last summer.
In his retirement, Grove End became a resting place for many “poor and distressed Masons”. The hospitality extended by both Colin and April was always in the true Masonic spirit although the renewed friendship with W.Bro. Eric Gee led to a very competitive approach to both carpentry and gardening skills. The discussion on the rightful owner of the titles "Wood Wizard 1" and "Wood Wizard 2" respectively was ongoing!
Above all I will remember Colin as a great friend – together with April – and earlier with Mavis – we had many fun times. On our break in Somerset last September Colin was keen to pick accommodation which had a hot tub so that he could try it out. I was enjoying a relaxing session until Colin decided to join me when I found myself almost submerged as the water level rose dramatically!
Although we seldom seemed to agree on many subjects – he could be quite stubborn as some of you may be aware! – I respected Colin as a genuine and sincere person of great integrity. Many of you, like me, will have experienced his generosity and valuable support in dealing with desperate periods in our lives. We thank him for being so important to us all – he will be with us forever.
A big man with an even bigger heart!
W.Bro. Peter Richard Champion, PPrGSuptWks, April 2018.
Lodge Celebrates 150th Year Anniversary
On 19th March 2018 we were honoured by the presence of the Provincial Grand Master, the RW Brother Geoffrey Gordon Dearing, who joined us to celebrate our Sesquicentenary (150th Anniversary) at a unique meeting.
Brethren of the Lodge with the PGM, GL Officers and Guests
The PGM with the WM
Each Brother of the Lodge received a miniature gavel crafted by the late Bro. Colin Smith.