A former Lochgilphead man's, 60 years of dedicated service to freemasonry was recently recognised in New Zealand. James "Hamish" Craig, originally from Carrick Farm, near Port Ann, was presented with a Diamond Certificate from the Grand Lodge of Scotland on Saturday 25th March. The certificate was presented by Bro. Angus Graham, RWDGM of New Zealand North, SC, who passed on the greetings and congratulations from RWM Neil John MacLean, office bearers and brethren of Lodge Loch Fyne, the Grand Master Mason, the Grand Lodge of Scotland and in addition also received a 60 year service Bar to add to his 50 year badge, presented by the IPDGM of the NZ Constitution. His son Jamie, who is also a freemason and has visited us here in Lodge Loch Fyne only a few years ago and his wife, his two daughters and their husbands who live nearby were all invited into the lodge room to witness the ceremony and enjoy the day with him.

He is the first member of Lodge Orewa, No. 370, to receive a 60 years certificate, still participates actively in meetings and is very proud of his Scottish roots. Has Lodge Loch Fyne had any member receive such an award?

Hamish was 23 when he joined Lodge Lochfyne on the 21st. February, 1946, the Master at that time being David Bruce and there were 23 members and 2 visitors that evening. At a later meeting in March of that year the Lodge made a donation to the "Welcome Home Fund" of £18 and 8 shillings, which was raised by James Smith from Whist Drives.

He went on to become a Life member of the Lodge in November 1948 and then moved to South Devon in 1951, before moving to New Zealand six years later, where he has remained active in freemasonry till the present day. In fact he participated in a meeting only five days before his presentation, blissfully unaware of the plans which had been made for his presentation. He was a member of Milford Trinity Lodge, No. 372, NZ Constitution and in 1970 he was installed as Master of Lodge St Thomas Kilwinning, No.83, NZC and then as Master of Lodge Clutha, No.14.

In 1988 he visited his family remaining in Lochgilphead and also paid a visit back to his Lodge where he made a presentation of a beautifully decorated plate marking the centenary of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand, which is now sits proudly on display in the lodge Social Club. And just to show the pulling power of "the Squeek," Hamish wrote a letter to the lodge to offer his support when a very successful open day was held in June 2000, when members of the public were able to come into the lodge and view the lodge rooms, regalia, artefacts and learn more about the organisation in general.

Hamish tells us he still enjoys good health and now lives in a retirement village on the North Island. Congratulations to Hamish and all at Lodge Orewa, No. 370 NZC.