It is with sadness that I report that my brother Alastair Shackleton was called to the Grand Lodge Above last Friday morning 28th September 2007.
It was only at our last meeting in June that I reported that he had be taken ill after suffering a series of strokes but at that time it was felt that with care and time he would recover. I regret to say that was not to be and last week he went down-hill very quickly suffering a series of stokes dying suddenly on Friday morning. He died a dignified death in the arms of his wife Victoria.
My “Big Brother” was well known to many in the Craft. He was born in 1951 brought up in the family home in Moone Co Kildare in Ireland, the eldest son. He started his education at Aravon coming to Wellington College, in the summer of 1965, he was followed 2 years later by his brother Ian both joining the Lyndoch.
He enjoyed his sports, however he was a late developer on the academic side completing his MSc in 1987. He took his GAP year in Mexico where our father was Defence Attaché in 1970 working on a ranch in Monterrey. This Alastair thoroughly enjoyed and became an accomplished cowboy. I recall he at one time got lost and after many futile hours of trying to find his way home threw down the reins and let the horse take him home. After spending hours in the saddle he had a very interesting gait to his walk.
This lifestyle quickly came to an end as Alastair followed in our father’s footsteps going to Sandhurst and joining the Royal Tank Regiment in 1971. He didn’t particularly get on with his tanks and for the most part found his vehicles were constantly off the road so he soon transferred to the RAOC.
My father died in 1977 and Alastair had the responsibility of being head of the family thrust upon him and for me he became very much a father figure. In the early 80’s he met and married Victoria but came out of the Army in 1991 to set up a computer consultancy company before joining EDS where he remained until his death on Friday 28 th September 2007.
He greatly enjoyed his Masonic life. According to the declarations book he was initiated into the lodge on 8 th Feb 1996, proposed by Nigel Birch and seconded by Alan Mulliner, witnessed by Arthur Crosswell. He was initiated, passed and raised all in the same year and as Junior Deacon initiated me into the lodge. He was Worshipful Master between 2002 and 2003 and represented the lodge well, visiting many other lodges during his year in the chair where he was well known by their officers. He was also a member of Rose Croix and Public Schools Chapter. I know he greatly enjoyed his time the chair and always took a very active part in the lodge becoming Secretary last year when I went into the chair.
Good humoured, easy going and conscientious. He was always willing to help even if it was inconvenient. He always enjoyed the company of his brethren and particularly was proud to be a member of the Old Wellingtonian Lodge. He took an active part in his local parish church in Semington, Wiltshire where he was Church Warden and as such he was well known in the village.
He leaves his wife Victoria and children Henrietta, Tom and Emily. Victoria, I know was greatly appreciative of all the kind letters and calls of support over the last few months. We will miss Alastair, and he won’t be forgotten.
W.Bro. Rory Shackleton
3rd October 2007