On Monday 16 March V.W. Bro. Alfred E Rackliff passed to the Grand Lodge Above. He had, for some time, been rather unwell, but about three months ago was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Ever the optimist, he maintained his sense of humour all the way and when I spoke to him the day before he was taken into Charing Cross Hospital for the final time, he was quite upbeat and thankful for, as he put it, having a wonderful family, of whom he was incredibly proud and a lot of friends within his Masonic family.
I am sure many of you will remember Alf as he made the journey to Freemasons’ Hall on the second year of welcoming the nonagenarians into the AGM.
He was Initiated into Beaconsfield Lodge No 2849 well in excess of 60 years ago and became a member of the Beaconsfield Chapter No 2849 and also Emblematic Chapter. He was Advanced into the Mark degree in 1966. This was into Henniker 315 Mark & RAM where he was probably one of its most approachable and well-loved members. He went on to join Beaconsfield Mark Lodge where he was a great supporter also. He became an Honorary Member just a few months after receiving his 50th Certificate of Service, at Henniker 315, by which time he wasn’t very mobile and had got himself a mobility scooter to help him get around.
He still retained an immense knowledge of our ceremonies and was an excellent friend and someone you could have a great conversation with.
As could only happen to Alf, his funeral, to be held at Mortlake Crematorium on 1 April, will only be attended by his immediate family due to the current restrictions. He would have had a chuckle over this and in particular to anyone else wishing to view the ceremony would have to do it some 48 hours later on a webcast.
Alf desired no floral tributes but asked if anybody wanted to make a contribution to Richard House Hospice in his memory, that would be wonderful.
A quiet man, but a great Mark Master Mason.