3rd May saw over 100 Freemasons and guests come together to celebrate 50 years of Freemasonry for Eric Kirkbride at The Lodge of Harmony 298.

Once the lodge was opened, a sizeable Provincial Delegation with no less than 6 Grand Lodge Officers, 2 Assistant Provincial Grand Masters and members of the District Team entered the lodge, supported by two Provincial Directors of Ceremony.

Accepting the gavel from Worshipful Master WBro Michael Boden, WBro Peter Rhodes APGM introduced the delegation to the acclaim of the brethren in attendance.

The lodge was then called off, allowing Erik’s family and personal guests to join in the celebrations. Erik was placed in the centre of the lodge alongside his wife Barbara – a touching tribute to her long-running support of Erik and Freemasonry.

Rodney Schofield led the tributes, commenting on Erik’s excellent ritual work and his skills on the organ. He spoke about Erik’s numerous Provincial honours, his work as District Chairman from 2005-2010 and his Grand Lodge honours in 2008.

He said, “The Brethren and ladies of Harmony have enjoyed the company of Erik and Barbara over the many years of service to both the lodge and freemasonry”, commenting that Erik had put his all into the craft, missing only a handful of meetings in his 50 years. “A worthy Brother, held in high regard – reflected by the number of people here tonight”.

WBro Peter Rhodes added his tribute, describing Erik as “an exceptional District Chair” and noting his numerous Provincial and Grand honours in both Craft masonry and Chapter.

Peter and Doug Smith, District Chair, presented Erik with a letter from Provincial Grand Master RWbro Robert Frankl and an illuminated certificate. Doug then gave Erik his 50th Pin Badge, adding his own words of thanks for his continued personal support.

At the packed Festive Board, friends and Freemasons enjoyed a fabulous meal, entertaining toasts and an excellent raffle – the proceeds of which went directly to the 2026 Festival.