Earlier this year, it was announced that Barrie Hewitt would stand down as APGM for the South East Area and that Chris Bayliss would be appointed to that role at the Provincial AGM on 5th July.
Not knowing Chris at all, I thought it may be a good idea to let him take me out for a couple of cups of coffee and give me a precis of his life to date. On a beautiful sunny May Saturday in Chichester, that is precisely what we did.
Chris is 49 years old and an only child. Both of his parents are still alive. His father was a career soldier spending much of his working life in Germany. As a result of this, the family moved many times and Chris was educated during his early life at several different English-speaking schools. The later part of his education was as a boarding pupil at Peter Symonds College in Winchester. After studying at university Chris began working in the financial services sector and has continued to do so.
Chris and his wife Beverley have been together for 25 years, having met when he was 24. They have a son named Edward who is 14, and a daughter Polly who is 12. Chris is clearly very proud of them both and is active in supporting their various interests.
Chris was 28 years old when he was proposed, by a good friend, as a candidate for initiation into Fareham Lodge No 8582. Initiated in November of 2002, he progressed to the rank of Master Mason within 12 months. There then followed a Masonic break of a couple of years, during which time Chris and Beverley toured Asia and Australia. In Australia, they bought a campervan which enabled them to travel throughout the country. On returning to the UK, he continued with his masonry, progressing through the various offices until becoming Worshipful Master of Fareham Lodge in 2009.
- 2011 – Promotion to Provincial Grand Steward. This began his involvement in the organisation of the then-fledgling “under 40’s” and “light blues” groups. Both are precursors to the now SEBOB-type groups.
- 2013 – Promotion to active Provincial Senior Grand Deacon. In September Chris was appointed as V/O to St Vincent Lodge 5295.
- 2014 – Promotion to active Provincial Deputy Grand Registrar and appointed Area Vice Chairman of the Fareham Masonic Centre. Chris was AVC of the Fareham Centre for a seven-year period which included the covid lockdown.
- 2017 – Promotion to active Provincial Senior Grand Warden. Chris was heavily involved in organising the dining and ticketing for the 2016 festival gala which was held at the Bournemouth International Centre on Oct 22nd 2016. The Gala was the spectacular conclusion to the festival and over 700 people were seated.
- 2021 – Appointed Area Chairman for the Solent area under Adrian Nigel Cleightonhills.
Chris’s continual rise through the masonic ranks indicates that something marks him out to his peers. However, unless you know him, it does not give an indication of his character or appeal. Talking to Chris casually over a two-hour period, I found him to be very down-to-earth and willing to be open about himself. His enthusiasm and dedication for Freemasonry are clear to see, but he makes it refreshingly clear that this will not come at a detriment to his family. Working from home allows him to achieve a good work /life balance and more easily manage time for his masonic commitments.
For my part, and I am sure you will join with me in this, I wish Chris every success during his tenure as APGM for the Southeast area and look forward to meeting him again.