As we all know, W.Bro. John Finlay recently took over as APGM from V.W.Bro. Anthony B.M. Latham. A member of the media team (Steve Bannington) recently caught up with him and had a chat with him about his time as a Mason and as an APGM, we are indebted to Steve and Tony for their time and here is their conversation.
SPB: Good evening Sir, and on behalf of the media & communications team and our entire Province, let me thank you for
agreeing to be interviewed this evening. Perhaps we can start by recalling your time in the Mark Degree?
ABML: Thank you Steve. It all started when I was advanced into the Tuscan Pillar Lodge of Mark Master Masons, No. 1142
in March 1980, so I'm coming up for 40 years next year. I am currently in eight Mark and six RAM lodges in
both Essex & Kent and will shortly be Installed as WM and WC in the North Kent Mark & Royal Ark Mariner
Although I am DC in two Lodges (Tudor and Oakleaf, both in Essex), my principle roles have generally been
associated with administration. I have been Secretary and Treasurer in a number of Mark Lodges. Prior to becoming
an APGM in Essex, my major role was as Prov. Grand Treasurer of Kent Mark from 2010 to 2017, which was very
demanding as the Province was in Festival from 2012.
I have also had the honour of being active Senior Warden in Essex Mark and Worshipful Commander of both Essex
Enthroned Commanders' Lodge as well as the Kent Installed Commanders' Lodge.
SPB: Sir, you are to be congratulated on such a distinguished career in the Mark, may I ask how you view this Degree in
relation Craft and other Orders?
ABML: I joined Mark the same year as I was WM in Craft and before I joined Chapter. My only regret is that I didn’t join the
Mark even earlier as it is, without doubt, my favourite. Because I have always been so involved in several Mark
Lodges, I have not joined many other Orders, only Rose Croix (30th Degree) and the Royal & Select Masters.
SPB: You are a senior and well respected and experienced Mason, how did you feel when you were approached to
become an APGM?
ABML: Well, I was at my daughter’s house in Oxfordshire in November 2016 when I received a call from the PGM
Sheern asking me to accept the appointment. I have to admit to being utterly amazed and honoured to be asked.
Of course I had to ask my wife Sheila if it would be okay because I had already told her that I would be retiring as
Treasurer in Kent so that we could spend more time together! She has, however, always supported my busy
Masonic life and was pleased for me to accept the Office.
SPB: Now that you are about to retire as APGM, I’m sure you must have moments that you will always remember?
ABML: I think the best aspects of my role were visiting the various Lodges across Essex; meeting the brethren and receiving
such a warm welcome wherever I went. I also especially remember the warmth of the welcome I received when
visiting other Mark Provinces throughout England & Wales. I do regret that two years was too short for me to visit
everyone of our Lodges and all of the Provinces.
I also recall with pride having received Grand Rank in 2004 from the Most Worshipful Grand Master himself.
SPB: Looking back on your time as APGM, and I appreciate this may be a difficult question, what do you see as your
biggest achievements whilst in Office?
ABML: Ooh, that is a difficult question! Behind the scenes, I have been please to achieve most of the tasks the PGM
asked me to do, but I hope my biggest achievement has been to convey to all the brethren I met in my travels
around the Province how delightful the Mark Degree and the Royal Ark Mariner are and that they are to be enjoyed!
SPB: From our conversation, it’s clear that you are a very busy Freemason, but what are your biggest passions
outside of Ffreemasonry?
ABML: Other than my family, I am a keen golfer and am a member at Upminster Golf Club; a member of Westwood Masonic
Golf Society in Kent and am also secretary of the Guild of Freemen of London Golf Society. I also enjoyed being
Treasurer of the Parochial Church Council of the St Laurence Church, Upminster from 2007 to 2017.
SPB: Do you have any plans for the future once you step down from your office as APGM?
ABML: I will continue to be heavily involved in Freemasonry in the various offices that I hold – I do expect to be kept busy !!
SPB: Well, they do say if you want a job done, give it to a busy man and it seems that you do epitomise that saying!