Body Guard

Members of the Provincial Prior’s Body Guard are chosen on merit by the Provincial Prior as a yearly appointment. The purpose of the Body Guard is to accompany the senior Provincial Officers on their formal visits, to perform duties during these visits (arch of steel and, possibly, junior offices) and to participate at Provincial meetings and our biennial Church Service. It is the equivalent, in other Masonic degrees, of a Provincial Steward but perhaps even more rewarding.
Notable members
From a book of certificates issued to members of the Body Guard, the first was issued on 24/9/59 to Kt W O Rydings of Ascalon Preceptory, when Warwickshire made up the Province.
Geoffrey C Haynes of Wulfruna Preceptory was appointed in 1964, and F J Skidmore (again from Wulfruna Preceptory) in March 1966 alongside a Past Provincial Prior, Walter R Dean of Sir John Kent.
From Godefroi de Bouillon Preceptory, Gordon Hewitt was appointed in April 1966 and Kevin Chawner in April 1977.
From Roger de Clinton Preceptory, John Robbins was appointed in May 1973 and Stanley C Loweth in June 1979.


    St Alkmund Preceptory No 404

    On a very warm evening, 9 members of the Body Guard plus an incumbent member of the team, were able to attend the Malta Meeting for the Preceptory of St Alkmund No 404 to provide assistance during the KT part of their muster, and more particularly to assist with the Banner Guard and Malta Address for their Candidate, Bro Kt Mike Lawrence who was installed as a Knight of Malta.

    The team performed well and were congratulated by the E Prior, E Kt A J Hughes for "..having brought a scale of professionalism to the muster which is seen throughout the Province and for which St Alkmund were particularly grateful following the previous recent visit.."

    A convivial meal followed the Muster upstairs at the Preceptory.

    The Commander particularly thanked Bro Kt Mike Vozza of John O'Gaunt Preceptory No 546 for assisting the team in both incoming and outgoing Arch of Steel.



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    Enjoying the exceptionally warm weather, members of the Provincial Prior’s Body Guard held their annual lunch with wives and partners at The Chase Golf & Country Club on Sunday 20th May.

    Guest of honour was the R E Provincial Prior, E Kt D Gary Read KCT. Close to 60 were in attendance with the added benefits of inviting past members of the Body Guard and members of the current Provincial team.

    R E Kt D Gary Read said, “I am particularly proud of my Body Guard for all the work they have done this year – especially completing the Challenge in just two days and raising considerable sums of money in the process” He went on to thank those retiring members of the team, E Kt Howard Jenkins, PPr1st Her, the retiring Deputy Commander; E Kt Jonathan Bryan on recently being installed to Eminent Preceptor of Sir John Kent Preceptory No 369; and Bro Kt Andrew Tomblin who will become Eminent Preceptor of Robert de Stafford No 411 later this year. He then turned his attention to the retiring Commander, E Kt Ralph Ritchey PPr1st Her, thanking him for all the work he has put into the Body Guard in the past two years and looking forward to him becoming the new Provincial Deputy Marshal in June.

    E Kt Ritchey thanked everyone for attending the Lunch. He paid tribute to E Kt Kevin Davis who sadly lost his fight with cancer only a couple of weeks before the Lunch, an event that both he and Penny, his wife, both thoroughly enjoyed.

    After presenting gifts to the Provincial Prior and the ladies present, E Kt Ritchey introduced his successor as Commander, Bro Kt John Derry, GMBB.

    Bro Kt Derry, delighted to be appointed to Commander then introduced the two new members to the team, Bro Kt Paul Lindop (42) and Bro Kt Tony McLaughlin (398). They were presented with their new mantle badges, and Body Guard kit.

    In closing, Bro Kt Derry thanked E Kt Ritchey and presented him with a gift from all the members of the Body Guard, along with a bouquet to his wife Sara in recognition of all the work he has put into the team in the past two years.

    Grateful thanks are expressed to Bro Kt Ralph Howarth and his wife Julie for the table centre flower decorations which were then presented to one of the ladies on each table, and the bouquet for the Commander’s wife; to all those who were present to make this a splendid afternoon; and, to the team at The Chase for making this such a very pleasant occasion.

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    One of the smaller Preceptories within the Province, John O’Gaunt Preceptory No 546 have always worked hard on their ceremonies and none less than the recent Malta Ceremony for Bro Kts B Turner-Farmer and R Hulme where they were warmly installed into the Order by their Eminent Prior, E Kt A J Yearsley, PProvCoG.

    This had been called for a full turnout by the Provincial Prior. He was accompanied by a number of visitors attending the Preceptory including the Provincial Sub Prior, V E Kt A T Howls; the Provincial Chancellor, E Kt B Townson; the Provincial First Constable, E Kt D Wall; the Provincial Second Constable, E Kt D R Truman; the Provincial Deputy Marshal, E Kt R J Haynes; The Provincial Banner Bearer, E Kt B Clarke; the Provincial Aide-de-Camp, E Kt D Crump; the Provincial Captain of Guards (1), Bro Kt K Spencer; the Provincial Captain of Guards(2), Bro Kt P K Morris and the Provincial Guard, E Kt J Hilton, accompanied by other Eminent and Brother Knights from around the Province.

    To assist with the Malta Ceremony, the members of the Provincial Prior’s Body Guard were requested to perform the Banner Guard and present the Malta Address which they did with the assistance of the Provincial Second Constable.

    At the end of the evening, the Priory retired to the dining room for an excellent meal and terrific camaraderie.


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    Bro Kt Irving Barker was installed into the Order as a Knight of Malta on 12th March 2018 for which the Body Guard were pleased to be in attendance.

    The Preceptory opened in Knights Templar, conducted the necessary business and was closed.

    Having all changed in Malta Regalia, the Priory was opened and the Ceremony ably conducted by their Eminent Prior, E Kt Mark Roberts, PPr Capt of Grds, who also gave the Malta Address.

    Members of the Body Guard were present to witness the Ceremony and offered their assistance manning the Banner Guard and providing an Arch of Steel for the members of the Priory as they left in Knights Templar order.

    Joining the Body Guard on this occasion were Bro Kt Paul Lindop (42) and Bro Kt Tony McLaughlin (398) as Observers awaiting their appointment to the Body Guard by the Provincial Prior in June. Both Knights did exceptionally well for their first time out with the team.

    During the meal that followed, the Priory presented the Body Guard with the proceeds of the raffle, which was won by Bro Kt McLaughlin, which amounted to £120.00 towards the upcoming Body Guard Challenge to complete a 100 mile walk in just two days.



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    As part of the fund raising to send two members of the St John Ambulance to the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital, the Provincial Prior, R E Kt D Gary Read KCT, set the Challenge to his Body Guard to find a novel way of raising those funds.

    The Challenge 2018 was set, and the members of the Body Guard decided that close to 100 miles of walking in just 48 hours was a Challenge worth setting and one that they hoped would capture the imagination of the Province and other Orders in supporting.

    Training would be key to the process of executing the Challenge. The initial training walks were light hearted across parts of Cannock Chase during the late summer of 2017. Since then, the training has ramped up considerably and members of the team have on a regular basis been out testing the selected route which will link the Shropshire Way, Silken Way, Staffordshire Way and the Millennium Way to take the Body Guard on their journey from Ironbridge to Burton-on-Trent on the 14th and 15th April 2018.

    Not even the snow could prevent them training as the photograph forms testimony, when this weekend the team covered over 13 miles at an average pace of 3.5mph overall across open countryside and through snow drifts!

    Details will shortly be published from the Body Guard how members of the Province can join them on various sections of the walk along with details of the home-coming party to be held at Burton-on-Trent Masonic Centre on Sunday 15th April.

    To add your financial support, visit and you can donate online.



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