At the May meeting of The Lodge of Amity and Rossendale Forest No. 283 the main item of business was an Initiation ceremony. Not normally a newsworthy item in itself, but on this occasion Bro Stephen Holden had an interesting link to the Grand Master HRH The Duke of Kent. The official secrets act does not allow for a full history of Stephen’s connection with the Royal Family but in his own words he reports the following…

“My initial interest in the Freemasons, was from reading books about the organisation and also from my late uncles, Kenneth and Fermie Sutcliffe who both played an active role within the Masons.

In 1978 I commenced my employment has a Steward at Buckingham Palace, where I worked and also travelled around the UK and World with the Queen over the next 25 years, until 2003.

My very first Royal trip, was in 1979 when we flew out to the Persian Gulf on Concorde, where we met the Royal Yacht Britannia and then visited the Arabian States over the next few weeks.

In 1993 I married my wife Jane and we moved into a Grace and Favour accommodation at Kensington Palace. One of our close neighbours at KP., was the Duchess of Kent, Katherine Windsor. My wife Jane, myself and eldest daughter Imogen became friends with Katherine and we attended many of her private parties and soiree’s At that period in time, I was unaware her husband, the Duke of Kent, was the Grand Master.”

A fascinating snippet from a very interesting career in Royal Service. We wish him well in his future Masonic career, and as a Brother within the Lodge of Amity and Rossendale Forest No. 283

The photo shows WBro Lightbown PAGDC District Chariman Presenting Bro Holden with his certificte presented after each degree in The Lodge of Amity and Rossendale Forest No. 283. The group shows Bro Will Atkinson, WBro Derek Smith, Bro Stephen Holden, WBro Dennis Heskett and Bro Peter Moore.