Four Decades a Mason

This is text of a presentation given to the Brethren of Mersey Lodge by Bro. Mike Martin on the 23rd November 2007 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Initiation of Geoffrey Stokell

WM, Brethren all, It is my great pleasure to share some information with you all
Tonight is the 40th anniversary (give or take a day) of the Initiation of Bro. Geoffrey Stokell into this Lodge.
A few months ago under the auspices of researching our Lodge’s history, I went to visit Bro Geoff (and his 2 rather large dogs Dotti and Willy although, surprisingly, the cat was nowhere to be seen), to chat about his Masonic history.
Worshipful Bro Maurice Geoffrey Stokell (Geoffrey to his friends) was born on the 2nd of June 1930, in Hull, and immediately had the effect of Freemasonry on his life as his Father and uncles were Freemasons and members of the De La Pole Loge No. 1606.
This may have possibly influenced his decision in 1967, whilst working for the East Africa Company, to become a Freemason. He was Initiated into Mersey Lodge on the 24th November 1967, Passed 25th October 1968 and Raised 28th February 1969, working his way through the Offices he became Master of the Lodge (for the first time) in 1976.
Since 1967 he has had what can only be described as a very interesting Masonic career, as he has not only visited Freemasonry in many parts of the World but he has also been a very active participant when he does.
1971 saw Geoffrey Exalted into the Three Pillars RAC No. 4923, he went on to take the Chair as Z in 1979.
In 1979 Bro. Geoffrey found himself overseas as result of work, so he set up shop in Winston-Salem in Northern Carolina, USA. Whilst there, he frequented several Lodges gaining a good reputation partly as a novelty act due to his accent and partly by delivering talks on the differences between Freemasonry in the US and England
He was initially disconcerted by attending meetings in a building with a large, blue neon Masonic sign on the front, something he wasn’ t used to in England. He was eventually encouraged to join the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction of the US, becoming a 32nd Degree member of the Valley of Winston-Salem in 1980
He returned to England in 1981, however, his stay was to be short-lived as he volunteered for Missionary work for the Moravian Church and arrived in the village of Tabora in Tanzania in 1983. Prior to flying off he had sought advice on Masonic Lodges he could visit in East Africa and was introduced to the District Grand Lodge of East Africa under the UGLE.
After due investigation, he eventually visited for the first time the Mwanza Lodge No. 7485 in Mwanza, a Lodge which it turned out he was destined to become a Joining member of in 1988. The Brethren of Mwanza were so taken with our Geoffrey that they put him forward for the distinction of Grand Rank
In 1991 he was Invested as the Past District Grand Standard Bearer, this turned out to be a very active rank as the DGM, R.W. Bro. Sir Jayantilal K. Chande, (aka Andy Chande) at that time had very strong ideas about the role of a District Grand Lodge. As well as ensuring that he visited every Lodge in his district at least once per year also instigated annual conferences. Geoffrey’s first official Masonic visit took him to the Seychelles.
During this time Geoffrey became aware of a Lodge in Dar es Salaam that was having membership problems this was Lodge Haven of Peace No. 385 and he thought he might be able to help if joined and so he did in 1992.
Geoffrey went on to join Dar es Salaam No. 5095 in 1993, that year he also gained the distinction of Past District Junior Grand Deacon. The following year he became a Founder Member of the Installed Masters’ Lodge of Tanzania No. 9354. These Lodges are all based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
In 1995 Geoffrey was perfected in Namirembe Chapter of the Rose Croix
Sadly for these Units Geoffrey returned to England permanently in 1996 and got back into active membership of Mersey Lodge and so in 2000 he re-occupied Chair of King Solomon, followed by a second stint in 2001, I assume because he and the Brethren enjoyed it so much he had to have an encore
In 2005 he was honoured with Senior London Grand Rank for his service to the Craft (and I think for personal involvement in cementing some international Masonic relations). Illness prevented 2006 being a particularly happy year for Geoffrey. However, he still managed to get to Lodge meetings and as he puts it the fellowship of Mersey combined has helped him cope (although I think it’s more likely to be his indomitable spirit) and he is well on the road to recovery now
However, even after 40 years of active Freemasonry and some interesting times Geoffrey has not slowed his pace and has thrown himself into his Freemasonry. At the present time, he is the Director of Ceremonies of Mersey Lodge and he recently joined the Old Kent Lodge of Mark Master Masons TI, recently being the 2nd February 2007.
So just to finish off before I pass Bro Geoffrey over to the ministrations of the WM, I would just like to add That I have received fraternal salutations and congratulations from the brethren of: Winston Salem Valley US, Namirembe Chapter, Mwanza Lodge, Haven of Peace Lodge, Dar es Salaam Lodge And not least from Andy Chande the Past District Grand Master of East Africa

6 thoughts on “Four Decades a Mason

    1. Mike Martin

      Hi there and thank you for your question.

      It doesn’t look as if we can help you as you’re not actually in London or even the UK. You seem to be in Iceland so you would need to make contact with Freemasonry in your own country so you should visit the website of the Grand Lodge of Iceland which should be able to help you. The url is: http://www.frmr.is/

      Reply
  1. Charles Gaines

    Fraternal greetings. I hail from Joseph I Staton Lodge #71 Washington Jurisdiction, Prince Hall Affiliated, where I serve as Master. I’m visiting the Seychelles and inquiring about Lodges and Brethren in the area.

    Reply
    1. Mike Martin

      Hello Charles and thank you for your message.

      We can’t help you specifically being based in London England but if you are already on the Seychelles you can make contact with the District Grand Lodge of East Africa through its website here http://www.dgleastafrica.org/

      Reply

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