Chapter Gold For Robert

14th February 2022

Congratulations, from everyone at Northumberland Freemasons, to E.COmp Robert Warren on reaching another Masonic milestone with fifty years of uninteruted service in the Royal Arch Chapter.

After leaving school Robert had an urge to travel and went to Rhodesia where he spent a short time prior to returning home. Originally he considered joining the Merchant Navy and so sat the exams to join P&O, passing with flying colours. A friend of his was serving with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and suggested that he would see more of the world with the RFA, which delivers worldwide logistic and operational support to Royal Navy military operations. Robert subsequently satisfied the entry requirements and within two weeks was bound for Malta, on a ship built in Britain for the Australian Navy, staffed by Royal Naval personnel. He was based in the Mediterranean for a year or so and then transferred to the Artic at the time of the ‘cod wars’, where the weather was terrible and it was not a pleasant time. After this posting he then spent a year in the Far East.

Robert met his wife Cleo, who was working for the Admiralty at the time, in Malta, and in due time he resigned from the RFA and he and Cleo were married. He subsequently joined Gulf Oil and after a short time he joined a Yorkshire based company as a director, which was well ahead of its time operating in the reclamation business. After the business was sold he and Cleo opened a print business in Newcastle which they operated for 14 years. With the print world becoming more digital and requiring considerable investment, they finally sold the business and retired.

Robert’s father and grandfather were both Freemsons and thus Masonry was all around him and, on many occasions, being discussed in his presence. At that time ‘one was invited to join the Lodge, one didn’t ask to join’, however, Robert approached one of his father’s friends who agreed to propose him for membership with his father seconding him. Thus at the age of 26 Robert was initiated into Rockcliff Lodge No 5265 on 3rd February 1967, subsequnetly becoming a joining member ofJohn Stephenson Lecture Lodge No. 9571, and Whitley Lodge No.2821. Sadly all three of these Lodges were subsequently erased over time and Robert finally joined Hotspur Lodge No.1626 in 2012., of which he is still a member At the time of his initiation membership of Rockliffe Lodge stood at around 100.

Robert was installed as the Master of Rockliffe Lodge in 1978 and by 1985, as Director of Ceremonies of the Lodge, he was appointed, in Provincial Grand Lodge, to the rank of Provincial Senior Grand Warden. The then Provincial Grand Master, R.W.Bro John Stephenson, appointed him as Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies saying Robert was the only Provincial Officer he had ever demoted. He served the Province under four Provincial Grand Masters for over 20 years and was appointed to Grand Rank as Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 1990, with subsequent promotion to Past Junior Grand Deacon in 1999.

Robert was exalted in Ridley Royal Arch Chapter on 6th December 1971 and was installed as 1st Principal of the Chapter in 1982. He was appointed, in Provincial Grand Chapter to the rank of Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies in 1987, being promoted to Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies in 1996. He was acknowledged in Supreme Grand Chapter when he was appointed to the rank of Past Grand Standard Bearer in 1991 and then promoted to Past Assistant Grand Sojourner in 2001.

Robert joined the Knights Templar and in due time took office as Provincial Marshal, an office he held for some 17 years. In later life Robert joined the Rose Croix after he retired.

Above all, what Robert cherishes most about his masonic activities are the friendships he has made, meeting so many people, many of whom became dear friends. He has had a wonderful time.

Robert is enjoying his retirement with his wife Cleo. They have two sons, one living in London with three of their grandchildren whom they haven’t seen anywhere near as much as they would have liked due to the covid pandemic.

Many thanks go to E.Comps Paul Ryder and Phillippe Pages for the submission of this article.

Congratulations to Robert on reaching another magnificent Masonic milestone and we wish you well for many years to come.

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