To mark his retirement as an Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Chris James caught up with WBro Henry Hobson.
“After serving the Province for 5 pretty packed years, with something like 90 Official Visits under your belt to various Lodges and supported by a Delegation on most occasions, you have certainly become very much respected by all who know you. Thank you for taking the time to answer just a few questions for the readers of the London Mallet.”
CJ: Do you remember the day of your Investiture as an APGM, and the thoughts which went through your mind at the time?
HH: Yes, I remember it well. My first thought was don’t trip on the steps and end up on the floor! I felt immensely proud when I was invested as an APGM for London Mark; the ceremony, especially the oath-taking, is very moving.
CJ: What is the best thing about being an APGM?
HH: Getting to know many of the lovely, clever, hard-working and dedicated people in all the Lodges under my aegis, the same with many Provincial Grand Officers I have got to know well and meeting with, and having a laugh with their families at Provincial events. Being able to recognize and praise someone who has worked hard at the great piece of ceremony he has just performed in the Lodge.
CJ: Conversely, what would be the worst?
HH: Losing friends well before their time. Everyone seems to know my name and I should know theirs; there have been many times when someone has said “Hello Henry” I have replied with their wrong name. Oh, the joys of getting older. Apologies to all those I have called by the wrong name and thank you for forgiving me.
CJ: Being the ardent golfer we know you are, does your retirement as APGM indicate a possible lowering of your handicap in the near future?
HH: I have been trying for years to get my handicap down. Despite having lots of lessons it doesn’t seem to move much, so I am resigned to always belonging to that happy group of high handicappers who can laugh at a rubbish shot but still very occasionally pull one out of the bag.
CJ: Having had the support from the lovely Harriet throughout your tenure as APGM, what has she got lined up for you to stop you feeling bored?
HH: Harriet says “Gourmet dinners and early nights”
CJ: One of the least known facets of WBro Hugh Edwin Henry Hobson is that you are an enthusiastic motorcyclist owning a Harley Davidson. Will you now be able to take more trips out and about?
HH: Yes definitely. Nothing better than posing on a Harley on a nice summer’s day riding down the King’s Road admiring the mini-skirts and high heels… then having to slam on the brakes to avoid crashing into the car in front that has suddenly stopped!
CJ: What would you give as words of encouragement to the two new APGMs, Wes Hollands and John Ellis, as they get ready to receive their Warrants of Appointment on 11th July?
HH: Try to avoid tripping on the steps. Speak very loudly, slowly and clearly when taking your oaths, as we all want to hear you. Give the biggest smile you can when you face the auditorium after being invested; we will all be smiling at you wishing you the best.
CJ: When you first joined the Mark Degree, could you ever envisage yourself becoming an Assistant Provincial Grand Master and earning the respect and deep affection you most certainly have?
HH: No, when I joined Onslow Lodge all I thought about, like many others, was trying to get my words right in the ceremonies and enjoy the meeting and festive board afterwards. This attitude has not changed throughout the various roles I have played from Lodge Secretary to Provincial Photographer and now APGM. Give it my best shot, try to add a bit of humour but most of all enjoy myself and smile a lot. You could have knocked me down with a feather when the PGM rang me up five years ago inviting me to be an APGM. The respect and deep affection mentioned is very much a two way thing.
It has been a delight and a massive privilege for me to serve as an APGM for the Mark Province of London. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the PGM, the DPGMs, the APGMs, all my Escorting Officers and those who have been on my delegations, all those on the Executive, those on the Communications Committee, the photographers, the hard-working Lodge Secretaries, Treasurers and Directors of Ceremonies; you have all been brilliant and very supportive. I could not have asked for a better team.
Thanks a million and look forward to seeing you on the circuit (whatever your name is!)