David Barham 1940-2019
Maidenhead Chapter No.613
When Margaret and the family asked me to say a few words about David and his association with Freemasonry, I did hesitate for a few moments before saying yes, because how do you sum up in a few minutes the tremendous contribution David has made over some 35 years of being a Freemason.
I was also concerned that I would not be able to pay a fitting tribute to a Freemason who also happened to be a great friend, but I did say yes and hopefully I can do justice to his memory.
W.Bro David John Barham was Initiated into Ashley Hill Lodge on the 14 September 1983 at the age of 43 years. He was proposed by W.Bro Chris Young a long-standing family friend and seconded by W.Bro Charles Handy, who David had previously worked with at J M Jones, the regional building contractor based in Maidenhead.
At the time David was Initiated into the Lodge in 1983, I was already a member although I first met David some 9 years earlier in 1974 when we both worked together at J M Jones. It is amazing in this modern world how quickly time fly’s past, but our friendship stood the test of time and lasted some 44 years.
David was extremely keen to progress in Freemasonry and on the 7 June 1994 he was Installed as the Worshipful Master of Ashley Hill Lodge, hence the title Worshipful Brother.
Because of his commitment to the Lodge and the high esteem that he was held in, David was elected by the Members to serve again as Worshipful Master and was Installed into the Master’s Chair for the second time on the 2 June 2009.
Throughout his 35 years of being a Freemason, David has been in continuous office which clearly demonstrates his commitment to Ashley Hill Lodge, and also he was one of the most regular attendees at our fortnightly Class of Instruction. This commitment did not stop at the formal meetings associated with Freemasonry.
Over many years he had been instrumental in organising the annual Ladies Festivals and the Christmas Supper Evenings to name but two of the social activities he took on, ably assisted by Margaret. David was a great motivator but sometimes lacked the skills in the paperwork department, which is where Margaret quietly nudged him along.
David was very open about being a Freemason, and he constantly supported Freemasonry in the community. For the last 10 years or so Berkshire Freemasons have provided a team of Marshalls at the Reading Half Marathon, and David was a regular member of that team, turning out in all weathers to encourage the runners.
In recognition of his considerable commitment to Ashley Hill Lodge he was honoured by the Provincial Grand Master of Berkshire in September 2000 and appointed to the rank of ProvAGStdB. In September 2002 he was further honoured by being promoted to PPSGD and again in September 2008 to PPGSwdB. In September 2015 he was further promoted to PPGReg.
Some of you may be wondering precisely what PPGReg and the other Masonic honorifics mean, well they are Masonic ranks like Corporal, Sargent, Captain etc in the army, and David was very near the top within the Province of Berkshire.
David was also a member of Maidenhead Chapter Rose Croix, which is the Masonic Christian Degree, which he joined on the 23 October 1987 and was enthroned as Most Wise Sovereign on the 26 June 2015.
So you can see that David had a very long and distinguished Masonic career.
He was the perfect example of a Freemason, always helping others, always prepared to show the newer members what the ceremonies were all about and working with them to fully understand the meaning of the Three Great Principles of Freemasonry, namely Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.
He will be greatly missed, and he leaves a void in our lives that will be impossible to fill.