Freemasonry unwrapped with Jeff Gillyon

Published: Tuesday 21st November 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Freemasonry is to be demystified by long-serving Freemason Jeff Gillyon tonight at the Britannia Royal Hotel.

We spoke to Jeff to delve a little deeper and find out what being a Freemason means to him.

Great to chat with you, Jeff. What can audiences expect from your talk at Britannia Royal Hotel?

Well, they can certainly expect to be entertained and I shall do my best not to disappoint. The talk will cover many aspects of Freemasonry, from its origins and subsequent development into the modern organisation that it is today.

This year is the tercentenary of the United Grand Lodge of England. In that 300 years, no less than five monarchs and 23 princes of the blood royal have been members.

In that time, society has of course changed greatly. As Freemasonry is made up of a varied cross-section of society, it has also needed to change, whilst retaining its core values.

The evening will also deal with the more local aspects of Freemasonry. For example, at least 15 Mayors or Lord Mayors and more than 20 Presidents of the Hull Literary and Philosophical Society have been Freemasons.

So for those who haven’t come across Freemasonry before, how would you describe it?

Freemasonry has always been about making good men better. Individuals aim to shape their lives around five core principles.

Integrity: we say what we mean and keep our promises. Kindness: although our families always come first, we believe in playing a key role in our communities and give time and money to charitable ventures. Honesty: we pride ourselves on openness about what Freemasonry means to us. Fairness: we treat everyone as an equal – we listen to others, explore any differences and look for common ground. Tolerance: we respect the opinions of others and behave with understanding towards them.

What does being a Freemason, and subsequently Provincial Grand Master of the Masonic Province, mean to you?

When I first became a Freemason some 44 years ago, I had no idea that the Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, would eventually make me responsible for an area stretching from the Humber to the Tees and from the East Coast to the Dales with 98 lodges and almost 4,000 members.

As a young man, I joined Freemasonry because a man I admired and respected was a Freemason. I have never regretted doing so.

Like many Freemasons, I do not regard it as a hobby, but more as a way of life. Indeed, if it were a merely a hobby, it would not have enjoyed the longevity it has and still be the choice of millions of men worldwide.

From being initiated as an Entered Apprentice, through all of my Masonic life, I have found Freemasonry to be a wonderful journey, teaching me many life skills along the way and being instrumental in forming lifelong bonds of friendship, which I treasure.

In popular culture, there seems to be a lot of mystery surrounding Freemasonry. Are you going to be debunking some of the misconceptions on the night?

I most certainly am! Trouser legs, handshakes and the like will all be discussed. In the past, as an organisation, we have been guilty of being inward looking. This has resulted in some of the media portraying us as something we are not.

We realise that the nature of modern society demands transparency in all things and my talk with the Hull Literary and Philosophical Society is just part of us adopting this.

I am hopeful that future media coverage will be more balanced. At the end of October, we paraded in full regalia with our families to our Annual Service in Hull Minster. Although that was probably the first time in over one hundred years that Freemasons have walked the streets of the city in full regalia, the media showed no interest whatsoever.

Lastly, if someone was interested, how do they become a Freemason?

The first thing I would say is, do not wait to be asked. If you know a Freemason, then speak with him and express an interest. If you don’t, then visit UGLE.org.uk or pgl.york.org.uk and someone will contact you for an informal chat.

Want to know more? Find out at Rolled Up Trouser Legs at Britannia Royal Hotel from 7:45pm this evening.

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Published: Tuesday 21st November 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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