A Foot Soldier and Stalwart for Freemasonry

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In a new record time, Brian Heasman became a freestyle swimming Champion of Suffolk. He also played rugby union for the Newmarket ‘All Blacks’. On joining the team, his training comprised being told, “If our player has the ball, stay behind him. If one of theirs, has it, stop him.”  Standing firm and supporting each other has stood Brian in good stead throughout life making him an excellent role model for all Freemasons and an inspiration to the founders and new Companions of the proposed Chapter of XV.

Born in 1935, after foot-soldiering through National Service, Brian joined the General Post Office in 1956 to erect telegraph poles using the implements of labour familiar to Royal Arch Masons, “There were no augers then!”  Before long he became a ‘scribe’ and then a surveying principal when the GPO Eastern Office was located in Colchester. In 1960 Brian married Joy and they made their home in Wivenhoe. Soon they became a marshal and a comms officer, respectively, at Snetterton Race Track. This was the commencement of a life-long togetherness engaging with the community, especially with the Wivenhoe Meals on Wheels service.

Initiated in 1964 in Etheldreda Lodge No. 2107, Newmarket, Province of Cambridgeshire, Brian was Exalted in Colne Chapter No. 2477 in 1970 and in 1979 became a founder member of St Etheldreda Chapter. At that time in the Cambridgeshire Province, joining Royal Arch, Mark or other Orders was not encouraged until through the Chair of Craft: it would be interesting to know why this was then the case.

Speaking of cases, Brian Heasman is a member of 14 Masonic Orders and has a room containing a separate case for the regalia of each Order, in each of which, he was appointed to Grand Rank.  Wherever and whenever, there is action, he has always been found on the front-line, from delivering ritual to cleaning the Masonic hall - a true foot soldier for Freemasonry.     

For many reasons, Brian particularly enjoys the Royal Arch; especially the ritual itself as, “It is a story, a narrative, which flows and is easy to follow”. Official pronouncements notwithstanding, for him it makes sense as an essential part of the bigger Masonic story.  As is well known, Colne Chapter had a ‘Passing the Veils’ Team which toured demonstrating this fascinating vestige of historical ritual. A most pleasing recognition of this work was being invited to give demonstrations at Great Queen Street for the London’s First Principals Chapter and to the First Principals Chapter in The Netherlands.    

Brian’s 50 years in Royal Arch Masonry came in the midst of the contagion in 2020. Much to his great satisfaction, the 50 Year Certificate had been signed before the passing of our late Most Excellent Grand Superintendent (MEGS) Rodney Bass. Given the then unlikelihood of a presentation any time soon, Deputy Grand Superintendent In Charge, Nick Franklin, spoke with Brian and the Certificate soon occupied pride of place with him at home.

The new MEGS Designate, Paul Tarrant, holds Brian in high esteem saying “He is such a wonderful person, very quiet but a stalwart of the Royal Arch as well as the Craft and other Orders and someone whom everyone takes great delight in being seated with” We look forward to a formal presentation and perhaps the opportunity to be seated with him, as and when this is possible. Meanwhile on behalf of all Essex Royal Arch Masons – ‘Congratulations and thank-you Brian for everything you have done for Essex Royal Arch Masonry and we all wish you well.

Images: Top - The PGM of Essex Mark Master Masons in 2017 with Brian Heasman (to his left) on the 50th Anniversary of Wyven Mark Lodge. Bottom - Brian Heasman (far right) in 2007, left to Right: Brian Wright, John Print, David Mathews, Ken Powell, David White and Brian Heasman