The Provincial team

RWBro Steven Varley Provincial Grand Master

Steven VarleySteven was educated at Denstone College, after which he went to the University of Liverpool, graduating as a Bachelor of Law with Honours. He practices as a Solicitor and was senior partner, now a consultant, in his firm. He was initiated into St Werburga Lodge № 4147 by his father, WBro Arthur Varley, in 1983 and became Master eleven years later. His first provincial appointment was Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 2001. He then served as the Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 2006 and was the Secretary of the Derbyshire Festival 2014. Ruth and Steven have been married for well over twenty years and they have two children – both sporty teenagers. Steven played rugby for Derby, New Brighton and Nottingham Rugby Football Clubs, going on to represent Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire in the County Championship.  He is a Vice President of Derby Rugby Football Club and was a senior rower with Derby Rowing Club. Time permitting he still regularly goes to the gym and, when possible, travels down to Twickenham (in particular) to watch rugby.  Steven’s other principal hobbies include military history and the theatre.

VWBro Brian Evangelista PGSwdB Deputy Provincial Grand Master

Brian EvangelistaBrian was educated in Dunfermline, Scotland, and is a Chartered Engineer. He worked in the Mining Industry, retiring as General Manager based at Bestwood in Nottinghamshire. He was initiated into Lodge St Margarets Hope No 1184 (SC) in 1977 and joined Morcar Lodge 8458 in 1980, becoming Worshipful Master in 1990. He received his first provincial appointment as Provincial Grand Registrar in 1997. Since then he has been appointed as the Provincial Grand Secretary (2002), Assistant Provincial Grand Master (2007) and Deputy Provincial Grand Master (2015). He was promoted to the rank of Past Grand Sword Bearer in United Grand Lodge in 2016. Brian is a member of a number of other Orders in Derbyshire, is a PZ of Alfreton Chapter 1028 and holds grand rank in both the Mark and Royal Ark Mariner Degrees. He is married to Pat and they have two sons and two daughters. One son is a member of Master Builders Lodge in Fareham. A lifelong and dedicated Dunfermline Athletic supporter, Brian is also a member of Forrester Park Golf Club in Dunfermline and Past Captain of Shirland Golf Club in Derbyshire. He is a Past President of Chesterfield Caledonian Society.

WBro Steve Jones PJGD Assistant Provincial Grand Master

Steve JonesSteve is the managing director of a house builder and construction company based in Barlborough and operating in the Derbyshire / Nottinghamshire area. He lives in Glapwell with his wife Nita, a retired teacher. They have two adult sons who both live in London, so spend many weekends travelling to visit them. Steve was initiated into Hardwick Lodge 2373 in 1989 and was Master in 1999. He has held active office as Provincial Grand Sword Bearer (2006), Provincial Junior Grand Warden (2010) and Provincial Grand Charity Steward (2013-14) before being appointed Assistant Provincial Grand Master in 2015. He was appointed Past Junior Grand Deacon in United Grand Lodge in 2016. He is President of the Derbyshire Masonic Golfers’ Association and the Derbyshire Masonic Bowlers’ Association. He has also been active in the management of Chesterfield Masonic Hall, being appointed Chairman in 2014. Nita and Steve enjoy holidays and travel, so Nita spends quite a bit of time ensuring that their year is regularly punctuated with time away.

WBro Ian Copestake Assistant Provincial Grand Master

Ian is originally from Nefyn on the Llyn peninsula in North Wales and lives in Buxton with his wife of 39 years, Susan. They have a daughter living in London and a son living in Manchester. He is director of a Dronfield based supplier of metallurgical products and processes based in Dronfield and operating across the UK and Europe. Ian was initiated into the Phoenix Lodge of St Ann 1235 in 1992 and was Installed Master in 2003 and again in 2016. He was the Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 2012 and was promoted Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden in 2013. He is a PZ of the Phoenix Chapter 1235 and is also a member of the St. Tudwals Lodge 4433, meeting in Pwllheli in the Province of North Wales.

WBro Chris Taylor Provincial Senior Grand Warden

Chris was born and educated in Long Eaton, where one of his teachers was WBro Ernest Tryner. After A levels, when he met his wife Lynn, he worked in the brewery industry and became Commercial Manager, while studying part-time with the Open University. He left to run his own training company and gained an MSc in Human Resource Development. Chris’s father-in-law introduced him into the Dale Abbey Lodge 5603 in 1977. He became its Master in 1987 and again in 2015. He is a founder and Past Master of the Erewash Lodge 9376, Past Z of Mundy Grove Chapter 506, founder and Past Z of Erewash Chapter 9376. He is also involved with Mark, RAM, Rose Croix, Red Cross of Constantine and Royal & Select Masters. Chris’s hobbies, apart from helping Lynn to look after 6 grandchildren (having had three daughters and a son themselves) and being the Vice-Chair of Governors at Borrow Wood Primary School, are hill walking and cycling. Every year he takes part in a hill walking marathon to assist Matlock Rotary Club to raise charitable funds. This year he will join other Masons in a cycle from Long Eaton to Skegness to raise funds for Masonic Charities.

WBro James Bentley Provincial Junior Grand Warden

James was educated at Lady Manners School, Bakewell, and afterwards studied at Otley Agricultural College / University of East Anglia. He is a Director of a natural stone wholesale company based in Sheffield. Initiated into Dorothy Vernon Lodge 2129 in 1992, at the age of 23, he was Worshipful Master in 2000, 2003 and 2012. His first appointment to Provincial rank was Provincial Senior Grand Deacon in 2006 and was further promoted to Past Provincial Grand Registrar in 2011. He is a Past Z of Dorothy Vernon Chapter (2007 2014) and is also in Rose Croix the Order of Athelstan. James has been married to Alison since 1999 and they have a son aged 11. His big passion outside Freemasonry is Rugby Union. He plays for Bakewell Mannerians RFC and Derbyshire RFU. When he is not playing rugby he enjoys spending time with Alison and their son at Leicester Tigers RFC, where they are all season ticket holders.

WBro Mick Knifton PAGDC PPJGW Provincial Grand Treasurer

Mick KniftonMick was educated at The Herbert Strutt Grammar School in Belper and graduated from the University of Sheffield with a degree in Economics and Accountancy & Financial Administration. Qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, he spent 37 years working for an accountancy practice in Derby, finishing as Senior Partner. He is currently Financial Director of a manufacturing company. Mick has been married for over forty years to Chris and they have four children and two grandchildren. He became a Freemason in 1993 and has been Master of both St Werburga Lodge 4147 and Lodge of St John 8070. He is a Past Z of Beaureper Chapter 787and the current Master of Woodiwiss Lodge MMM 503. His first provincial appointment was as an acting Provincial Senior Grand Deacon in 2008. He then became Director of Finance for the Derbyshire Festival 2014 and soon after Provincial Grand Treasurer. He was appointed Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in United Grand Lodge in 2016. Mick’s main hobbies are steam railways, middle distance running, hill walking and gardening. He says he also “enjoys the odd pint here and there”.

WBro Philip Ablott PPJGW Provincial Grand Registrar

Phil AblottPhilip had a long career in the construction industry. He worked as a quantity surveyor, contract manager and area manager before becoming a self-employed project manager. Having been initiated into Cantelupe Lodge 8247 in 1990, Philip was Master in 2000 and is also a member and Past Master of Aretas Lodge 4268 in London, holding London Grand Rank. His first provincial appointment was as Provincial Grand Sword Bearer and he became the Provincial Grand Registrar in 2011, followed by promotion to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 2014. Philip holds active office and grand rank in a number of other Orders, including being the Deputy Provincial Grand Master for the Mark Province of Derbyshire. He has been happily married to Jean for 50 years and has two children, three grandchildren and a dog called Rosie. When not spending time with his family he enjoys golf, clay pigeon shooting and walking.

WBro Eddie Foulds PAGDC PPSGW Provincial Grand Secretary

Eddie Foulds PGSecHaving studied engineering, Eddie spent most of his working life in various senior positions in the public sector. On his retirement he formed a consultancy company advising on Fleet Management, with a particular focus on low carbon emission vehicles. Eddie was initiated into Okeover Lodge 1324 in Ripley in 1983. Having held the office of Secretary he is currently the Charity Steward. He is also a member of Okeover Chapter 1324 (Treasurer), Joseph Cook Lodge MMM 917 (Secretary) and a number of other Masonic Orders and Lodges. In 2011 he joined the team working in the Provincial Office. Shortly afterwards he was appointed Assistant Provincial Grand Secretary and then in 2012 became Provincial Grand Secretary. Eddie says, “What I enjoy about this position is having the ability to interact with the membership, helping them enjoy their Freemasonry”. He was appointed Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in United Grand Lodge in 2016. He is married to Jane and they have one daughter and three granddaughters. Outside of Freemasonry Eddie enjoys gardening, model railways, cycling and spending time with his family.

WBro Ravi Sahnan PPGReg Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies


WBro George Frost PPGReg Provincial Grand Almoner

George FrostGeorge was brought up in Newhall, Swadlincote, and was educated locally before spending three years at a technical college. At the age of eighteen he became a Police cadet and, despite now having retired as a Police Officer, continues working for the same constabulary as a civilian. Along the way he met and married Linda and they had two children, who in turn have made George and Linda proud grandparents. George is a Past Master of Bretby Lodge 9063 and Tutbury Castle Lodge 2630, and a member of Tutbury Priory Chapter 4873. He also represents the Province as one of its members of the Masonic Samaritan Fund. George’s other interests include golf, poetry and canasta. He is an active member of the National Association of Retired Police Officers (NARPO) and a Friend of Bretby Rotary Club. He works in support of the latter’s Aqua Box project, which collates and forwards large boxes of clothing and tools to disaster areas.

WBro Mick Hitchcock Provincial Grand Charity Steward

Mick HitchcockMichael, or Mick as he known to his friends, lives in Lea Bridge, Matlock, and has been married to Teresa for over 30 years. He is the Chief Executive Officer of a construction company as well as being a weekend farmer! He was initiated into Vulcan Lodge 4382 in October 1996 and currently holds the office of Treasurer. Mick is also a member of Engineers Lodge 9493, holding the office of Charity Steward. Mick was an area director for the 2014 Festival, supporting Lodges in the Ripley, Alfreton and Belper areas of the Province. He also has a great interest in Mark Masonry and is an active member and officer of a Holy Royal Arch Chapter and a Past Sovereign of a Rose Croix Chapter. Mick has many interests; top of the list being his addiction to skiing and cycling. Walking and gardening also feature strongly. Essentially anything outdoors is an attraction. He is a very keen motor sport fan and enjoys travel of any kind. The other love of his life is Harriet, his Jack Russell Terrier.

WBro Bromley Kniveton PProvSGW Provincial Grand Orator

Bromley KnivetonBromley obtained his first degree from Queen’s University, Belfast, and, in 1969, a PhD from Nottingham University. That same year he was initiated into Unity Lodge 4841. Bromley’s professional career, first as a Clinical Psychologist and then as a Researcher and Senior Lecturer, has taken him around the world. He has devised many training courses for industry and, based on his own research, written two books on negotiating. He has published around 70 articles in academic and professional journals. Bromley belongs to nine Masonic Orders and has occupied the chair of 10 Lodges / Chapters. During his Masonic career he has been Secretary of five Lodges in different Orders and Director of Ceremonies of one. Over the years he has researched and written a number of Masonic histories for Orders and Lodges in Derbyshire. He has also researched and written a history of his family going back to 1110, which has sold over 250 copies through Amazon. In 1991 he married Jenny and thus acquired a stepson and grandson. They travelled a great deal and had a common interest in horse riding, the theatre and ballroom dancing.

WBro Steve Williams PAGDC PProvSGW Provincial Communication Officer (PR & Media)

Steve WilliamsSteve was educated at King Edward VII School, in Sheffield, and went on to study law. He now practices as a Solicitor. Steve has a young family and is a big fan of sport. He was Master of Round Table Lodge of Derbyshire 8725 in 1990 and the Provincial Senior Grand Warden in 2002. He was appointed Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in United Grand Lodge in 2007.

WBro Stuart Riley ProvSGD Provincial Communication Officer (Internal)

Stuart is the Managing Director of an importer and supplier of construction products operating throughout the UK and Ireland. He was born in Sheffield but now lives in Baslow, Derbyshire with his wife Lorraine. They have two adult daughters living nearby. They enjoy boating at Weymouth in Dorset, and holidays in Florida. Stuart was initiated into the Round Table Lodge of Derbyshire 8725 in December 2003, became Master in 2009 and subsequently Director of Ceremonies in 2015. He is currently acting Provincial Senior Grand Deacon, Z in Round Table Chapter 8725, a member of the KT Provincial Bodyguard and is also active in a number of other side orders including Mark, OSM, Rose Croix and KTP. He is passionate about Freemasonry and takes any opportunity to discuss it openly with anyone who is interested.

WBro Colin Clayton PPJGW Provincial Librarian

Colin ClaytonAfter school Colin began an engineering apprenticeship at the British Rail Locomotive Works, Derby. He was awarded a Travelling Scholarship to study design within production based industries. After a spell as a Design Engineer he studied Art & Design at Westminster College and then taught Design Studies for over 30 years. Following retirement, he retrained for museum work and taught in all three Derby Museums. Around this time a former pupil introduced Colin to Freemasonry. He joined Ecclesburne Lodge 2425 in 1995 and Ecclesburne Chapter a year later, becoming curator of both Lodge and Chapter. He was Master of Ecclesburne Lodge in 2001 and his first provincial appointment, in 2007, was as acting Provincial Grand Standard Bearer. In 2004 Colin joined the Provincial Library Team as Archivist, and in 2013 was appointed Provincial Librarian. He represents the Province as a member of the Masonic Libraries & Museum Group, a body which organises discussion meetings & lectures and promotes the safeguarding of Provincial Masonic collections. Colin is married to Margaret and they have a daughter, son and 2 grandsons. He is a member of two Craft Lodges, a Chapter and a Mark Lodge.

WBro Mike Lake PProvSGD Foundation Stone Co-ordinator

Mike LakeBorn in Scotland but educated at Bushey Grammar School, Mike trained as a teacher in Lancashire. He then spent twenty years in schools before moving to the Education Faculty at Nottingham Trent University. He spent over thirty years as a school governor and chairman. Mike is married to Eleanor and they have two children and two grandchildren. He was initiated into Hardwick Lodge 2373 in 1998 and was Master in 2004 and 2009. His first appointment to provincial rank was as Provincial Senior Grand Deacon in 2011. Mike set up the Chesterfield Masonic Library and is an Area Mentoring Coordinator. For some years he organised the Chesterfield Masonic Golf Day. He helped to raise the money to move his 300 year old bowling club to new premises, since which the club has become one of the fastest growing and most dynamic (!) in the country. He has also served as chairman of a political organisation and President of the Caledonian Society. In the time he has left he is a keen photographer and a frustrated artist. Mike’s big regret is that he did not become a Freemason earlier as membership has been a life enriching experience.

WBro Philip Bowler PProvSGW Special Events Co-ordinator

Philip BowlerPhilip was educated at West Bridgford High School, Nottinghamshire, where he represented the school at Football, Cricket, Rugby and Chess. At 14 he took up cycle racing and gained a number of honours, winning titles and many races on both the road and the track. His career was spent in the motor the trade from which he retired after 30 years as proprietor of his own business. He was initiated into Fairfield Lodge 2224 in 1994 and became Master in 2002. In 2003 he was installed as Master of Bestwood Lodge, Nottinghamshire, and was appointed a Notts Provincial Grand Steward in 2008. The same year he became Events & Promotions Director of the Derbyshire 2014 Festival. 2009 saw his first appointment in Derbyshire as a Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies. In 2014 he was promoted to be the Provincial Senior Grand Warden. He was First Principal of Fairfield Chapter in 2006 & 07 and currently holds the office of Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies in the Provincial Grand Chapter of Derbyshire. Philip is active in a number of other Orders for many of which he holds office as a Director of Ceremonies or equivalent.

WBro Richard Johnson PProvDGDC Provincial Membership Officer

Richard is a former senior police officer who now runs his own consultancy assisting companies to reduce their energy consumption and carbon emissions. He is also a director and vice-chair of the East Midlands Education Trust and a business mentor with The Prince’s Trust. Richard celebrates 25 years in Freemasonry in 2016 having been initiated into Okeover Lodge 1324 in 1991. He became Master of the Lodge in 2003 and has more recently been in the First Principals’ chair of Okeover Chapter. His first Provincial appointment was two years as a Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies from 2010, followed by two years as a Deputy Director of Ceremonies from 2014. In his new role as Provincial Membership Officer, Richard will work towards the objective of increasing the membership of the Province to 3000 by the year 2020 and will co-ordinate the Province’s implementation of the Members’ Pathway.

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