I’ve been a freemason for almost 22 years – in fact I’m coming up to the anniversary next month. I’m retired now but I was an accountant by trade; accountant to lodge almoner isn’t the most natural step, but there you go!
About seven years ago our old almoner was going through some family issues. I looked after things on his behalf for a while but eventually he decided it was time to retire and I took over properly.
Ultimately, my job is all about looking after people’s welfare. I’m a point of contact between members and the MCF, but I also look out for the widowed partners of our brethren. I organise lunches and transport and make sure that they get Christmas presents and birthday cards. Really, I just try to make life as pleasant as possible.
There are quite a few elderly members so I think my main challenge is that there are lots of people who might be vulnerable to ill health or loneliness. When you’re dealing with serious situations like illness or bereavement, you’ve got to coach yourself to be able to deal with it without getting too upset, or it can really take its toll. I think my favourite thing about my role is helping someone who’s going through a tough time to smile again. When that happens, it lifts you up and helps you to keep going.