Provincial NewsRoyal Arch Chapter News

Excellent Companion Barry K Woodside

It is with great sadness that we report the death of our Grand Superintendent Barry K Woodside.

E.Comp Barry Woodside, Grand Superintendent in and over the Province of Somerset

On Friday 6th August, Excellent Companion Barry Keith Woodside, Most Excellent Grand Superintendent of the Royal Arch Province of Somerset, died peacefully in Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton with his wife and daughter beside him.

Barry came from Truro, having been born in the Redruth maternity unit in 1948 and he was always proud of his Cornish roots, although much of his boyhood was spent in Kenya and Tanzania.  He returned to the UK in 1961 for a brief spell in Nautical school in Hampshire before starting a lifelong involvement with the construction industry, rising from scaffolder to divisional director with a major company.

Barry’s Masonic career also has its roots in Cornwall, in St Agnes where he was initiated into Breanick Lodge in 1972 and exalted into Trevaunance Chapter in 1978.  His involvement with Somerset Freemasonry began with his joining Vivary Lodge in Taunton in 1992, becoming its Master in 2013.  He joined Taunton Deane Chapter in 1993 and was First Principal in 2000 and 2003.  He was First Principal of Somerset First Principals’ Chapter in 2007 and a founding member of The Calderley Chapter of Union in 2011.  He also held high office in Royal Order of Scotland and had a long-standing involvement in Rose Croix both locally and nationally.

Barry accepted appointment as Grand Superintendent of the Royal Arch in Somerset in 2018 after serving as 3rd Provincial Grand Principal, 2nd Provincial Grand Principal, and Deputy Grand Superintendent.  He saw his brief as being to build on the work of his predecessors, to harness the wealth of senior experience within the Province, but above all to enthuse the Order and to develop a new generation of young leaders.  He had already, in conjunction with the Provincial Grand Master, brought a fresh sense of co-operation to the relationship between the two Provincial organisations.

On a personal level, I first worked with Barry when we were Marshal and Deputy Marshal of the Knights Templar Preceptory in Taunton some 15 years ago.  Since then, we have worked together closely in many situations, particularly, of course, in the Royal Arch where we shared senior office for many years.  

Barry was, both in his public and private life, unfailingly and uncompromisingly a man of principle and integrity.  As a Freemason he set an example none of us should be slow to follow.  With his death, Freemasonry in general, and the Somerset Province in particular, has lost a dedicated and well-respected brother, and many of us have lost a well-loved friend.

As Masons, and especially as Royal Arch Masons, we believe that in this mortal frame there ‘resides a vital and immortal principle’ and that therefore this mortal life is not the end of existence; that life on earth is the prelude to something else which we cannot comprehend.  Barry now knows the truth of this since his mortal pilgrimage is over.  Our thoughts and prayers must now be with his wife Peggy and all his family and friends who mourn his passing.  We pray that God, by whatever name we know him, will be with them to comfort and support them.

R H Moore,

Somerset Provincial Grand Chaplain

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