Almoners Report January Period 2020
Brethren, a copy of my Almoners Report is available at www.kingaelfred.com, or KAL Members WhatsApp group.
A personal thought from Bro Almoner
To those I have helped, I wish I had done more.
To those I neglected to help, I ask your understanding.
To those that helped me, a sincere and fraternal thank you
Coronavirus Epidemic – Never more appropriate than right now
Those who died yesterday - Had plans for the morning
Those that died this morning - had plans for tonight
Don’t take life for granted - In the blink of an eye, everything changes
So, forgive often and love with all your heart
You never know when you may not have the chance again
Rest Eternal Grant unto them, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
Grand Lodge have confirmed that they have heard of 261 Brethren who have been called to the Grand Lodge Above by this terrible Coronavirus disease. May their souls rest in peace.
——Brethren detailed Update for your Interest ——
W.Bro Bob (Fingers) Seago (R.I.P) - Died Christmas Day. Funeral service date 15th January 2021. Service Chapel — East — Southampton Crematorium, Basset Green Rd SO16 3NF. Funeral Directors: Nigel Guilder Ltd — Nathan House, 27 Hursley Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, Hants SO53 2FS. Bob’s daughters Contact details; Pauline Riley e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Mobile 07817 555504 and Jill Kenny e-mail email@example.com mobile 07980 093270. Donations may be made in memory of Bob, via the ‘Much loved tribute Page’. (Or Cheques may be sent to the funeral director made out to the R.N.L.I or the Macmillan Cancer Support charities)
W.Bro Bob (Fingers) Seago (R.I.P) - Aged 90 - 1930-2020 - Eulogy
Bob lived a long and successful life - and today is both a celebration of his life as well as a fond farewell to a good friend, brother, father and grandfather.
Bob was a Geordie - and he was always proud of his roots. He was brought up by his grandmother in Byker, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. They lived together at the back of his uncle Bob’s fruit and veg shop and, from a young age, Bob helped out with the deliveries on his uncle’s horse and cart. He loved his Uncle Bob’s horses. He also liked collecting free toffee from the outlet pipes of the nearby Watson’s Toffee works – when the machinery was given its weekly wash out.
Bob also spent a lot of time at Byker’s Parish Church. He was a choir boy there, a Sunday school teacher and, from around the age of 12 years onwards, he became their stand-in organist, covering when the main organist was called away on war work.
Bob never knew why his father decided to buy a piano - as nobody in the family could play a note of music. Nor did he know why his father decided that it should be Bob who was to be taught how to play it for them. Nevertheless, Bob took to his allotted task like a duck to water. His Sunday school teacher initially taught him to play the piano and then his choir master gave him free lessons on the church organ – after hearing an inquisitive Bob try it out for himself one day. The family never had enough money to pay for examinations, so Bob had no formal music certificates to his name. Playing the organ did, however, became a permanent feature of his long life - and it brought him much joy and many friendships along the way.
When Bob left Heaton High School, at the age of 15 years, he decided to train as a draughtsman in the Swan Hunter’s shipyard down the road, at Wallsend, on the Tyne. He served his apprenticeship there, in the drawing office, and his National Service was put back so he could qualify and work, in what was still, then, a shipbuilding industry of strategic national importance.
After qualifying, Bob was called up to do his National Service and he was enlisted into the RAF. He was told he was to become a RADAR technician. And so, in his early 20’s, Bob found himself with his own personal driver, being taken around the country to maintain and repair military RADAR instillations. He also volunteered to learn to play the bag pipes, as he discovered that military band members got an extra 3 days annual home leave allowance. They didn’t want an organist, but they did want bag pipe players – so he took on the new challenge. He learnt to play the bagpipes, but he found it impossible to march in sync - so he was never `put on parade`. He did, however, manage to keep hold of his extra home-leave days!
This was important, as Bob had, by now met and married the love of his life, Joan. They were married at Byker
Parish Church in July 1953 and spent 31 happy years together - and had 2 daughters, Pauline and Jill. Joan sadly died of cancer in 1984. The whole family was devastated by her loss and, in truth, Bob was never, quite, the same man after this sad event. Pauline and Jill have, however, many happy memories of their childhoods. It was a happy home, filled with much laughter. They were much loved by their parents and it was obvious for all to see, how much Joan and Bob loved one another.
After National Service, Bob put himself through night school to get his Higher National Certificates in Naval Architecture. He qualified as a Naval Architect and became a member of the Institution of Naval Architects in 1956 . He was later, in 1968, designated a Chartered Engineer also. He left the Wallsend drawing office and joined the Department of Transport, in 1958, as a Ship Surveyor – much to the surprise of his family. He worked initially at the Newcastle office and then, in 1965, Bob and Joan left the North East for good. Bob was posted to the Department’s Headquarters Office in London. He and Joan were the only members of their respective families to leave the North East. They settled in Erith, Kent, and Bob, of course, became the organist for the two local churches they attended as a family - St Paulinus, Crayford, and St Augustine’s, Slade Green. Bob served as church wardens in both parishes and he was always an active committee man in the affairs of the church – and served for a time on the General Synod.
At London headquarters, Bob became a Union representative and put in many additional hours on behalf of his fellow workers. On the professional front, Bob was responsible for drawing up the safety, testing and approval regulations for a series of newly designed lifeboats. He specialised in rescue craft that were attached to ships. He wrote the safety standards for these vessels and other `Life Saving Appliances Regulations` and he was responsible for getting international approval and recognition of these standard through the International Maritime Organisation, IMCO. It is a trait of Bob’s professionalism and thoroughness that he decided he had to learn to swim, so he could experience first-hand and appreciate the practical difficulties tired, wet people would face, trying to haul themselves into inflatable life-craft at sea. Pauline and Jill remember spending many hours at Woolwich Public Baths learning to swim alongside their father… and enjoying the crunchy cheese rolls they always had afterwards.
It was also in Kent that Bob first became a Free Mason. He joined the North Kent Lodge in 1972 and, naturally, he became their organist.
After Joan’s death, Bob decided to move away from Kent and he re- settled in Chandler’s Ford. He transferred to the Department of Transport’s Southampton office in 1986 and was appointed Chief Ship Surveyor there, responsible for surveying all Class 1 and Class 2 passenger ships. He became intimately acquainted with large passenger ships, including the QE2, and stated that he is probably the only person who has `been behind` every single door on the QE2. His job took him all over the world and he enjoyed it very much. He was much impressed with the scenery and the drama of carrying out safety and stopping checks on passenger ships in the Norwegian Fjords. He would never compromise on the safety standards he was there to enforce. He knew the ships safety regulations inside out – particularly as he wrote many of them himself - and he would happily, without compunction, removed Passenger Ship Regulation Certificates from the wheelhouse – thereby prohibiting ships from setting sail - until all faults were put right, to his satisfaction. On his watch, nothing got past him! When Bob retired from the Department of Transport in 1991, he had served as a Ship Surveyor for 33 years.
It was in 1991 that Bob joined the local King’s Court Lodge - and became their organist. In the years that followed, he played the organ for some 7 or so Lodges and Chapters in the Southampton area, both in formal and honorary capacities, and he continued to play for the Chapter of Humility up until the beginning of last year. Bob steadily rose through the masonic ranks to become Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden – which is almost as high as you can get in Provincial masonry. Masonry was an important part of Bob’s life, especially after Joan died. It brought him new friends and fellowship and, of course, it gave him many more opportunities to play the organ.
In Hampshire, Bob was blessed both with the continuation of some old friendships and in the making of new friendships. Tom Turner, a fellow ship surveyor, transferred from London HQ to the Southampton office with Bob, and their extremely long friendship, of more than 50 years, has provided great companionship to them both. Tom was with Bob the day he took ill and our thoughts are also with Tom, today. We know he will miss his good friend. Fittingly, after their retirements, Tom (and his wife, Louisa) and Bob enjoyed cruising together and they shared many holiday adventures together. Bob also forged a new and lasting friendship with a local couple – Sylvia and David – who live in Romsey. They have enjoyed almost 30 years of friendship together, many holidays together and much laughter and companionship along the way. Our thoughts are with Sylvia and David too, today.
While it is sad that Joan never got to meet her 4 future grandchildren, Bob did, and, as a result, Alice and Thomas and Frances and Richard have some happy memories of times spent with their Grandad. And, while it is the end of an era for Pauline and Jill – and they will miss their dad - they are comforted knowing he was able to enjoy a long and successful life. They know he would not have been afraid of dying, and that he would have been looking forward to being reunited with his wife, Joan, once again. Pauline and Jill worked hard to keep Bob independent, in his own home, right up to the end of his life, and they will miss their weekends spent doing jigsaws, watching Strictly Come Dancing and enjoying some good food, wine and laughter with their father in the latter years of his life. Bob was delighted to celebrate his 90th birthday recently with them. He did like a good balloon - though he never really mastered the new stair lift he was presented with on his 90th birthday. It seemed to spend a lot of time in the ` park` position!
Pauline and Jill are grateful to everyone who enriched their father’s life and to those who helped them to support Bob in the latter stages of his life – both informally, as friends, and in professional capacities, as carers. In particular they would like to thank Bob’s neighbours, Claire and David, who helped to keep a friendly eye on Bob and who would always step in, in a crisis. Pauline and Jill would also like to thank all the carers at` One Community` and to thank, in particular, Kelly, for her sensitive care and for the friendship she forged with Bob over the last few years.
And so, in saying goodbye to Bob Seago we are also celebrating a long life, lived well. As Bob might have said “Not bad for a young Geordie lad from Byker.”
If anyone would like to make a donation, their gift will go to 2 charities which were always close to Bob’s heart - Macmillan Cancer Support (whose nursed helped him and Joan) and the RNLI –(Royal National Lifeboat Institution). Details can be found on the order of service and an on-line link has been set up at www.robertseago.muchloved.com - where some photos from Bob’s life may also be viewed. Alternatively, cheques made payable to one of the charities and forwarded to the funeral Update for your continued interest
There are many organisations and charities across the country that are dedicated to providing emotional and practical support including the M.C.F. - The Masonic Charitable Foundation (The Freemasons Charity)
During 2019/20 the MCF awarded £19 m in grants to support services to Freemasons and their families (with over 15,000 enquires) and with 4.036 members or their families receiving financial support (which Brethren is virtually instant financial support). M.C.F has also awarded grants to over 400 local and National Charities as well as donating to 20 other Disaster relief appeals at home and abroad.
Dear Brethren All, on a very personal level may I please ask you all once more not to be a stranger to your fellow Brothers in the lodge, especially in these most difficult times, and as some of you are at home, which gives you an opportunity to lift up your phone and say hello, most importantly to anyone living on their own, I am sure your call would be very much appreciated.
Once again may I remind you that some Brethren and Widows suffer ongoing problems and those that I know to be suffering I try and help by contacting them on a regularly basis, mostly all that is ever needed is a friendly telephone call for Pastoral support.
Regrettably we are all getting older and aches and pains linger on, some ongoing conditions serve as a reminder to us all as to how vulnerable we can all be.
Most Important – ‘Almoners Best Practice’
Brethren All, confidentially will always be my priority and as your Almoner and it would be most inappropriate for me ever to discuss personal conversations or actions with anyone but the individual concerned and should you request of me, not to include any details, or Personal details of yours or your family that you have shared with me, would you please always confirm this request in your correspondence with me! (so that it can be recorded in my file and acted accordingly upon.
—— January Update ——
Brethren, I can now report to you all that all the Widows and Brethren of the Lodge have all been Recently contacted by me personally. Everyone that I have been in contact with have asked me to thank you all for thinking of them and send their regards to you and your families for the New Year requesting that you all keep safe and keep well.
Edited correspondence with some of our Lodge widows.
Mary Drury (Arthur R.I.P)
Dear Aubrey, thank you for your New year wishes and I will pass them on to Ian. Glad to hear that your family are well. At last the vaccine is now rolling out and I have had my two injections, so that’s now out of the way. But it seems we are all having to isolate for a few months yet, so it’s very nice to have a friendly message from you. Best Wishes Mary.
Shirley Morrissey (Brian R.I.P).
Thank you Aubrey, and the same to you and yours. I am fine and have already had both vaccinations, lucky girl! Shirley.
Moira Skinner (David R.I.P)
HI folks, keep warm and keep safe. It was a funny old year last year and I think we were all hoping 2021 would be better. The starting of the year was good, but if everyone does the correct procedure and keep safe, life will hopefully get to a new normal with less restrictions. Keep safe, Moira
Eve Kirkham (Bill R.I.P)
Brethren I continue to speak on the telephone with Eve, always cheerful and most amiable and a delightful woman to converse with, she tells me that she and her family are all keeping well and sends her regards to all her late husband (Bill) old friends. Happy New year to you all. Kindest regards Eve.
Lesley Allan -Terry (Desmond R.I.P)
Dear Aubrey, thank you for your e-mail and Happy and Healthy New year to you and your family, I continue well and manage to keep myself occupied. I go for a walk easy day, but apart from that I am at home. It is such a lovely afternoon here today that it made me hopefully of getting out in the garden soon, they forecast snow! Hopefully not happening! Very best wishes to you and your family for 2021, Lesley.
Brethren, the following Widows have also been lately contacted by telephone by myself — Barbara Robinson (Tom R.I.P) - (Mick Chaplain’s Mum), Marion Flemming (Davids Mum), and am pleased to report all are keeping well.
Edited correspondence from Brethren/Honorary and friends of King Aelfred Lodge
W.Bro Matt Wood (K/A Worshipful Master)
HI Aubrey, lovely to hear from you as always. We all wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year too. Thank you for the Stirling work you have done over the last year, it’s hugely appreciated and I’m not sure anyone could do it better. Thank you for your kind wishes and make sure to take care of yourself too! 2nd follow up e-mail. Thank you also for Aubrey for keeping us all updated during these dreadful times. Such sad news, the death of our old organist Bob Seago. He and his family will be in our thoughts. Many thanks Laura and Matt.
Bro Tim Hadfield (I.P.M)
HI Aubrey, Happy New Year to you, Barbara and family. and I do hope everything is well. Best Wishes Tim and Fiona.
Bro Andi Parker (lodge D.C)
HI Aubrey, just read the very interesting and extensive Almoners Report. Interesting to read as I am away from home so much now and thank you for all that you are doing. My best regards to you both. Andi.
Bro Stuart Mawson (A.D.C)
Good morning Aubrey, thank you for your e-mail and the details regarding the M.C.F. I pray that you and Barbara and your family will not suffer with this virus and we can all meet up again in good health sometime in 2021, stay safe my friend and don’t overdo it. With kindest regards Stuart.
Bro Mick Whitfield (Lodge Preceptor)
Thank you for your greetings and may I send you and Barbara the very best for 2021. These are difficult times, but at least there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel with respect to this awful virus. I would like to express my personal admiration and appreciation for the immense dedication and effort that you have put into your role as Almoner to our Lodge during 2020. I look forward to a happier year ahead and long for the time that we can all again enjoy each other’s company. Fondest regards Mick.
Bro Alan Smith (Area Secretary)
Dear Aubrey, many thanks for your e-mail along with your good wishes for the New year. I too wish you and Barbara my very best wishes for the New year, when we hope to return to some normality and return to our normal lives, stay safe and stay well. Alan and Donna.
Bro Derek Saunders (Lodge Mentor)
Brethren, Derek informs me that he and his family continue to keep well and I am pleased to inform you all that we speak every week since the Coronavirus Epidemic started, with general conversations and he continues to help me in my Almoners duties by keeping in touch with brethren by regularly telephoning calls.
Which I must say is very much appreciated.
Bro Phillip Chapman
Dear Aubrey, may I wish you and your family a Happy New year. I was sad to hear about the death of Bob Seago, and I know you have been a support to him and his daughters. I Have also spoken with Ron Rainbird and Peter Kent Mason recently, they both seemed in good form. Best wishes Phil.
Bro David McLean. (Lodge Membership Officer)
Dear Aubrey, thanks again and have a great New Year, stay safe and we will meet again soon! Kind regards David. Ps. Brethren, David does occasionally ring me for a Friendly Chat. (much appreciated).
Bro Brian Saunders (Lodge Organist)
Ditto, back to your family, we are both fine. Sad news regarding Bob Seago, he was a gentleman and a fine musician. Regards Myra and Brian.
Update for your interest - Bro Peter Kent Mason
Brethren, Peter and Jackie are telephoned by me quite regularly! (Peter does not use e-mail) and in order to keep him updated I often send him my Almoners reports in the post and I always ask his son Phillip to print of a copy for his father! I always refer to it as some ‘Bedtime light reading’.
Bro Noel Grimmet
Good morning Bro Aubrey, wishing you and your family a Happy New year. As you say the present news is not good and I am back shielding like many others. Let’s hope that the vaccine appears very soon and then life will hopefully improve. Kindest regards Noel
Bro Andy Rudge
Hi Aubrey, likewise a Happy New year to you and your family. Still lucky to have a job as many are feeling the Pinch. Sincerely and Fraternally Andy and Haley.
Bro Brian Hall
Thank you Aubrey, a Happy New year to you and all the Brethren for 2021. Marion and I are locked in and have excellent support for our family. Let’s hope for the best in the future. Sincerely and Fraternally Brian and Marion.
Bro. Simon Stone (Lodge Chef and Caterer). Update takeaway information
Companions for your general information Simon our caterer at the Winchester Centre has since the Covid 19 started a limited take away service from the centre. It is excellent and at a very modest cost, and I include his telephone number for those that might be interested 02380- 265914. He also tells me that he does a limited delivery service within the Winchester area, but companions this is something that you must discuss with Simon personally.
Bro Ken Foulkes.
Brethren, Ken and I speak on the phone regularly (he has been a neighbour of mine for the over 40 years) and I his children and mine grew up together. He continues to keep quite well and sends his regards to all the members of King Aelfred for the New year. Ps. Ken is also looking forward to shortly having the first of his Coronavirus injections.
Bro Crawford White
Hello Aubrey, hope all’s well with you and yours. Pleased to report all is well in the White family. Keep well and keep safe. Crawford.
Bro. Peter Knight
Good morning Aubrey, thank you for your kind wishes, all is currently good in the Knight household. As a key worker work carries on, which is good under the circumstances. Regards Bro Peter.
Bro Terry Bruty
Dear Aubrey, all’s well at the moment, please pass on my best wishes to Barbara and thank you for your kind concern. Yours Ever Terry.
W.Bro Nigel Barber ( Provincial Visiting Officer )
Hi Aubrey, Happy New Year to you and your family and I hope you have managed to have a lovely Christmas.
We are hunkered down trying to stay clear of this new version of the coronavirus and hope that the vaccine will be rolled out soon to all our families. Thank you so much for your communications and it’s really thoughtful and very much appreciated. Take care and stay safe and hopefully we can meet again soon. Regards Nigel.
W.Bro Noel Voice (P.Asst.Provincial G.Master)
I wish you and your family a very Happy and Healthy New year and let’s hope that we will be able to meet in the not too distant future. however, it seems that we are some off getting on top of this virus, but no doubt the vaccine will help to keep us well in the coming months. I would like once again to thank you for your support of the M.C.T and also for the excellent and professional way in which you perform your Almoners duties. Take care and thanks for all that you do its very much appreciated. Kind regards and beast wishes Jean and Noel.
W.Bro Roy Quinn (P.Assit.Provincial G.Master)
Thanks Aubrey, may I wish you and all your family a safe and Happy 2021. Your work as Almoner is very much appreciated by us all. Kindest regards to you and your family. Roy and Lin.
Brethren for your INTEREST – ‘Solomon’ - https://Solomon.ugle.org.uk
Brethren All, this is worth exploring while you are at home. It contains a vast amount of Masonic information that is equally beneficial to newer members and more experienced members alike. On the subject of on-line communications, for those of you that use Social media, King Aelfred Lodge has a WhatsApp group. Please speak to Bro Secretary for more information, if you are more interested.
Finally, Brethren should you know of any Brother or Widow that might need my help our assistance, particularly in these sad and distressing times, please let me know and I will contact them and help if I can.
M.C.F update for your interest - a Professional prepared WILL at no cost
For those of you that are thinking about writing a will, but uncertain about where to start, the M.C.F has put together a detailed yet easy to understand guide with everything you need to know about writing a will from understanding the terminology to useful tips and areas to consider and to make it possible for everyone to have a will the M.C.F works with the ‘Goodwill partnership’.
Preparing for the future may seem daunting for most people, but with the help of fully Qualified solicitors who offer you impartial advice, you can be assured that your wishes will be carried out after your bereavement. Masonic FREEPHONE no 0800 035 6090 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Once again Brethren, my thanks to those that have been helping me though these difficult times. God Bless you all and your families, keep safe and do take great care.
Please remember to help me, to help you.
Now that we are Hopefully returning to ‘SOME NORMALITY’, would you please remember to read my ‘Brother to Brother‘ letter, which is always attached to my Monthly Almoners report for your interest.
Ps. Brethren please note that I have also decided to keep in touch with you all on the King Aelfred Members Forum —WhatsAPP—. (Should those of you not connected, please contact W. Bro Andi Parker or W.Bro Sam our Secretary for any assistance that you may require).
'' Please remember to help me, to help you ''
Yours Sincerely and Fraternally
D A Monahan. (King Aelfred Lodge No. 7487 Almoner)