Left to right, James Ross, Stuart Watts, Mike Harries
Worshipful Master and Brethren,
It is a great pleasure to be here with you this evening to pay tribute to a living legend of West Wales Freemasonry, Worshipful Brother Stuart Harvey Watts.
W Bro Stuart, you were Initiated into Cleddau Lodge no 6952 on 16th December 1970. I had just celebrated my 5th birthday and started going to school.
You served Cleddau Lodge as Worshipful Master in 1984 and went on to serve the lodge in many other offices. Most recently you served Cleddau Lodge as Secretary, taking over from me in 2013 and holding the office until Cleddau and Cambrian Lodge were amalgamated in February 2019. Six years as secretary having signed up for only one!
In the Province you were appointed to the rank of Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon in 1992, promoted to the rank of Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works in 2011 and further promoted to the rank of Past Provincial Grand Registrar in 2018.
In the Holy Royal Arch, you were Exalted in to the Hwlffordd Chapter no 464 in 1985 and served the Chapter as Most Excellent Zerubbabel in 1991 a mere 6 years later. You must have been much more highly thought of than me because it took me 13 years to make the same journey in the same Chapter.
In the Royal Arch Province, you were appointed to the Rank of Provincial Grand Registrar in 1993, a very high rank indeed.
W Bro Stuart, you have had a distinguished career in the Craft and the Royal Arch. You have been a faithful stalwart of Haverfordwest Freemasonry for over 50 years, which is a very long time. You have regularly taken part in ceremonies, stood in at short notice when brethren and companions have been absent. You have been generous with your time and your experience, and you were mentoring newer brethren, including myself, long before mentoring became a thing. I consider it a privilege that you were acting as Senior Deacon when I was Raised to the 3rd Degree in March 2002.
Brethren, we are here to celebrate W Bro Stuart completing 50 years as a Craft Freemason, but in a complete break with normal protocol I wanted to say just a few words about W Bro Stuart’s passion for the Ancient and Accepted Right, or Rose Croix where he is one of the most senior members in West Wales. He went through the Chair in 1985 and spent nearly 30 years as Director of Ceremonies in St Bride’s Chapter, which meets in Milford Haven. He is currently Director of Ceremonies in Cornelius Chapter of Past Sovereigns, and he is one of only 4 - 32nd degree masons in our District. I am led to believe you are affectionately known as OGL, or Our Great Leader by one and all.
W Bro Stuart, you have combined a great deal of freemasonry with a successful career as a dentist and for many people that would have been all that they could manage, but you have found time to take part in many other activities. You were an active member of the local motor club and first met W Bro John Everett the Inspector General of Rose Croix at Silverstone before he even became a freemason. John tells me that yours was the first face he saw when they removed the blindfold at his Initiation.
You were a keen and successful cricketer and I have heard many a tale of your exploits on the cricket field. You are a keen golfer, playing regularly at Haverfordwest Golf Club and you have been a very keen member of the Rotary Club for many years.
You have been a loyal member of all the groups you have been involved with. All have benefitted from your hard work, commitment, reliability, and organisational skills. The recurring theme of the last 50 years has been your desire to help others, especially those less fortunate than yourself. You have helped raise a great deal of money for charity over the years and you are to be commended for your ongoing dedication to good causes.
On a personal note, I thank you for all the help and support you have given me personally over the last 20 years. It is a great honour to have you as a friend and brother.
W Bro Stuart, a certificate and badge for 50 years’ service in the Craft seems a little inadequate after all your many achievements in freemasonry coupled with your commendable service to your community. You have been and continue to be a fine example to us all and it is with great pleasure that I present you with this certificate to mark 50 years continuous service to The Craft and pin on this lapel badge which I trust you will wear with pride for the next 10 years, until we can present you with your 60-year certificate and badge.