WBRo Rick Barlow receiving his certificate from WBRo David Alexander APGM East Kent

WBRo Rick Barlow receiving his certificate from WBRo David Alexander APGM East Kent

W Bro Rick Barlow who has the distinction of loyally serving this the Lord Warden Lodge for 50 continuous years. Rick’s family had their origins in the Lancashire Mining community from which his father was recruited in 1936 to assist in the development of the Kent Coalfields.  And so from his Lancastrian background, all but briefly young Rick adopted the style of a “Man of Kent”. I say briefly because like Peter, he was evacuated from Deal, then part of the aptly named “Hellfire Corner” where his mother ran a guest house, back to Bolton and his Lancastrian roots.

It seems that 50 years ago we were better equipped to make important decisions in our life and at the tender age of a little over 13, young Rick made enquiries about joining the training ship Arethusa, then a facility for boys interested in a naval career, be it Royal or Merchant Navy.

Fortunately he was not tied to his Mothers Apron strings and gave her approval for him to join. Having successfully navigated his way around the system (and survived), Rick joined the Royal Navy making a career as a Gunnery Rating. It was during his time in the Royal Navy that he met and swept the delightful Valerie off her feet. They were married in 1957. As a couple they quickly realised that long range relations and the difficulties of service life was not for them and as a result he left the Navy in 1959. Subsequently Rick was employed with Fords at Slough before returning to Kent and the Coalfield.  As a family Rick and Val were able to embark on a business venture of running a Post Office and Newsagency. As a result of this change in career and being a natural organiser, Rick became a National Council Member for Sub Postmasters. Rick has always been a great sporting contributor, an avid football fan, a keen swimmer and successful golf to list but a few of his attributes. In fact Rick and Val share a great interest in Golf and are members of the Princes Club.

In 1969 Rick made another momentous decision and that was to become a Freemason and as I have already mention he has loyally served his Lodge in a variety of offices, was Master in 1979 and acted as a highly respected Director of Ceremonies. Only stepping down from that office in April this year. He was honoured by a first appointment to Provincial Grand Rank in 1987 and has been further honoured on two occasions. It was also inevitable that as a natural organiser and committee man, Rick should be co-opted onto the Deal Masonic Hall Committee.

Rick has also served his community with distinction through his love of sport and his ability to enthuse the local young people. He is a trusted swimming instructor but I believe the achievement of which he is most proud is his involvement with the mini marine’s football team over 14 seasons in which the final competition matches were played at Wembley and his team were Champions once and runners up on 5 occasions.  How is that for a demonstration of inspirational and technical skills? He was helped in this venture by a former Royal Marine and well known Mason Bernie Grivell.