A Tribute – W. Bro. Peter John Hibbins

It is somewhat cliché to state that someone was “One of the nicest people in Freemasonry” but in Peter’s case, I think we can safely say he was definitely one of the good guys. An accomplished ritualist and a regular attender with his funny asides and a sunny or mischievous smile, he was much loved and liked member of the Lodge.

It is fair to say that we will miss him terribly as he was such a regular at the Lodge and Lodge of Instruction and cheered the place up when he attended and the whole room seemed to light up.

Here is a tribute to Peter taken from various sources.

The Front of the Order of Service for Peter

W. Bro. Peter John Hibbins,

Past Provincial Grand Registrar

Peter was born on 28th October 1939 and grew up in Dulwich. He attended Alleyns school, very local to his home, and after school, immediately started work for Molins, the cigarette machine manufacturer, based in Deptford, where he was a copywriter for them for over 50 years. There he met Bert Rumble, Peter Allison, (who was a very close friend) Bob Myers, Clive Brown and George Stevenson.

During that time he met Anne, got married, and they had one daughter, Clare. Some years later Anne & Peter divorced and lived on his own in Hayes for the rest of his life. He was immensely proud of Clare, especially when she married Rob, and they had three children – his grandchildren, Polly (now 17), Fred (15) and Jessica (11). He adored them and there are many great pictures of him spending time with them.

He enjoyed golf, at which he admitted he was pretty lousy, and played regularly with his friend, David Pope, on municipal courses like (the Royal) Magpie Hall Lane, (as Pete called it) High Elms and also at Selsdon Park Hotel. He lost golf balls, threw tantrums, including club throwing and silent sulks that seemed to last for hours. They would tee off early on Fridays and then he would drive to High Wycombe for work afterwards.

They joined West Kent Golf Club, hoping a lower handicap could be achieved, but that proved a fallacy. Peter was quite accident prone. In one competition he rolled over on his ankle, damaging his ligaments and hobbled off injured. Another occasion, he hit a good drive, but the ball drifted into some young silver birches. On his second shot the ball rebounded and hit his forehead and he was taken to hospital to be given the all clear, but he did lose his sense of smell permanently. Another time, his silver VW Golf rolled out of the car park and into some trees which stopped it from advancing to the first tee. The green-keeper was unamused but dragged it out with a tractor.

However, he was an accomplished Bridge Player and met a lady called Christine, with whom he’d partner, and she introduced him to the pleasures of dining out and going to the theatre, which he loved in later life.

He also worked in the Property Management business for some years after retirement from Molins, for Leaders and I believe another Agent for a while.
He was fit and chose to work part-time into his 70’s – because he enjoyed it.

He was a very funny man, a wicked dry sense of humour, and was always excellent company. A little shy perhaps – didn’t particularly like a fuss – or being in the limelight.

W. Bro. Geoff and W. Bro Peter Celebrating Peter’s 50th Year In Freemasonry

Masonically, he was Initiated on Saturday 11th March 1972 at the old Masonic Hall, Cromwell Avenue (off Masons Hill, Bromley) by W. Bro. Harry Yelland – who died during his year as Master. He served as a Steward for several years, then progressed through all the Offices until he was Installed on Saturday 14th January 1984, by his good friend, Peter Allison.

The Provincial Grand Master, W Bro. Paul Newman and W. Bro Peter Hibbins. The PGM presented Paul with his 60 Years in Freemasonry Citation. Peter was Master of the Lodge.

A fortnight later Peter presided as Master for our Jubilee celebration on Saturday 28th January 1984, with R. W. Bro. The Revd. Canon Peter Churton Collins, PGM, in attendance. A cheque for £1,000 was presented to the PGM by W. Bro. Ken Shaw (probably for the 1990 Festival), and a Master’s Collar was presented to Peter, as Worshipful Master, by W. Bro. Jimmy Brown (a Past Master). David Ferdinando recollects that when the PGM mentioned how good the meeting had been and the person who had contributed to a large part of the ceremony. Peter made a loud aside ”It was Hibbins, Sir” which caused a chuckle

After spells as Assistant Secretary & ADC, he agreed to take the Office of SD
in 2011, through to Master in 2014. After his year as IPM he took on the Office of Chaplain in 2016, and continued in that Office until his death.

In Craft, he was appointed first as PPrAGDC in 1992, promoted to PPrSGD
in 1999, and promoted again to PPrGReg in 2015

He was Exalted into Petts Wood Chapter on 24th February 1978, serving again in all the Offices until became 3rd Principal in 1991, 2nd Principal in 1992 & 1st Principal in 1993 and again in 2011 (he also held other Offices particularly PS for a number of years).

In the Holy Royal Arch he was appointed as PPrGStB in 2011, and promoted
to PPrGAlm in 2016.

A lovely man, who everyone loved for his kindliness, sense of fun and service to Petts Wood Lodge & Petts Wood Chapter. He is already being missed greatly by Clare and her family, but he has left a void in our lives too. They played the Monty Python song at the Funeral “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. Peter always did look on the bright side.

More than for most people, the words from the Inner Working at Installation are hugely appropriate:-

“That rising to eminence by merit, you will live respected and die regretted”.

And that was so true for our Brother, Peter.

Grateful thanks to Geoff Whale for this tribute