Finn Arnesen – Tribute

Finn William Arnesen was born on 5th January 1932 and passed away on 15th January 2021.

Finn was a regular at Petts Wood Lodge. He had the remarkable distinction of having seen every one of the current members either initiated or become joining members and he had been a Freemason for over 60 years. That in itself is a wonderful achievement. This short tribute to a much-loved friend and Brother has been compiled from many sources including his good friend Wiktor and other members of our Lodges and Chapters.

He was initiated into Freemasonry on 23rd March 1959 into the Lodge St Olai Til Den Wite Leopard (Oslo, Norway) No:- 1.

Finn was a proud Norwegian and he often kept us entertained in his own charming way about Norwegian customs. Occasionally, one of our meetings would coincide with Constitution Day, a public holiday observed on the 17th of May, and we would be “entertained” with a Norwegian song or toast, or if you were unlucky, both!

Finn decided one year, after discussing the matter of Cheese, to bring some “Old Cheese” or Gamalost to one of our meals. Assuring me that this cheese was wrapped in old socks and buried in the ground for a year and then dug up, we proceeded to try it at our after-meeting dinner. It is not often exported and so it was a bit of a treat to try it. I am afraid that the jury is still out on whether it was just a crumbly smelly old cheese or whether it was rather interesting. No matter, these are the precious fun moments we used to have when Finn was around.

Always cheery and good company, he was our Charity Steward for a number of years and he made that rather tricky job, to raise charitable funds from the members, an altogether enjoyable experience.

Finn W Arnesen was in this younger days a prominent member of the Norwegian ex-pat community in London. He worked for many years for Hambros Bank mainly with shipping finance and helped to finance many of the supertankers owned by Norwegian shipowners, especially the Bergen-based shipowner Hilmar Reksten.

Finn was for a number of years Chairman of the Norwegian Club London, Den Norske Klub London. He was also chairman of the Norwegian Chamber of Commerce London for a while.

Den Norske Klub London

Finn was a prominent member of the oldest dining club in the world, the b-v society or in Scandinavian Beserks og Vikinger. the b-v society was established in 1880 by some Norwegian students in London. At the break up of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905 the b-v society was taken over by the Swedes, it has now mainly Swedish members but there are a few Norwegians as well. the b-v society has 6 dinners a year following the old Viking festivals and practices the old Viking rituals!

the B V – Logo
Beserks og Vikinger

Finn was a very welcome visitor to Hayes Kent Lodge and joined them in some of their trips abroad including 2 trips to visit Lodge Concord in Rotterdam and a visit to a Grand Lodge in San Marino.

On a Visit to the Grand Lodge of San Marino. Finn third from the left. Thanks to Wiktor (far left) for contributing the article and the picture.

Finn had a Villa in Menorca which he used to spend time at with his family and being a keen Freemason he joined a Lodge there and we know he really enjoyed his time holidaying and practising his Freemasonry on that idyllic Island.

Finn was Exalted into Royal Arch (Chapter) in October 1993 and rose through the Offices to become Z in 2006. Finn was Advanced into Orpington Lodge of Mark Master Masons on 2nd July 2003 and Elevated on 1st February 2006 into the Orpington Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners.

Finn received Craft West Kent Provincial Honours and was Appointed to Past Provincial Assistant Grand Sword Bearer in 2008 and promoted to Past Provincial Grand Charity Steward in 2015.

In the Royal Arch he was Appointed to Past Provincial Assistant Grand Sojourner in 2011 and promoted to Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer in 2016.

Not many members get to celebrate their 50 years in Freemasonry let alone their 60th but this wonderful achievement was celebrated on the 9th March 2019. The Provincial Grand Master of West Kent presented Finn with his Citation and his very good friend Wiktor, a fellow Norwegian, presented him with the equivalent 60-year citation from the Grand Lodge of Norway. The Lodge members and their partners were treated to listening to the citation in both Norwegian and English. It was a memorable and special occasion.

The Provincial Grand Master of West Kent handing Finn his Norwegian and English 60 Year Citations
March 2019
Good friends and fellow countrymen Wiktor and Finn with the Grand Lodge of Norway 60 years in Freemasonry Citation – March 2019

Finn was fun to be together with, he was a true friend and a Brother, he will be sorely missed, may he rest in peace, his work here is done.