W Bro. Eric D. Sayliss - 60 Years in Freemasonry
Eric Daniel Sayliss has just achieved two amazing milestones in the space of three months. Firstly, on 29
February, he celebrated the 60th anniversary of being initiated into Hadassah Lodge No 4871. Secondly, on 2
May, he became a nonagenarian (90) years old.
Eric’s father Hyman had been a member of Hadassah, but sadly died before Eric was initiated in 1960 closely
following his elder brother, David, who had been initiated the year before. As luck would have it, Eric had
married Ruth, the daughter of W.Bro. Jack Newman, whose brother W.Bro. Maurice Newman just happened to
be in the Chair that year so, as they say - Eric had no choice! Both brothers have now achieved 60 years in
Freemasonry, which must be some kind of record.
The ladder in Hadassah was a long one in those days and Eric was able to occupy all the Officers roles until he
became Master in 1976 and helped the Lodge to celebrate its Golden Jubilee that year. He was appointed to
Provincial Grand Lodge as PPDepGSuptWks in 1985 and promoted to PPJGW in 1994, working hard on the
Lodge’s behalf as Charity Steward for several years. Eric has and still is considered to be an excellent ritualist,
with his party piece being the Ecclesiastes from the Third-Degree ceremony. He last performed this difficult and
moving piece of ritual, with no notes or prompter on hand, at Stannington Church at a packed funeral of a young
member of Hadassah, who tragically died from cancer on the very day of Eric’s 60TH Masonic anniversary, on 29
February this year.
Again ‘encouraged’ by the Newman brothers, Eric joined the Royal Arch in 1964 and became First Principal in
1981, following which he became Treasurer and Almoner. He returned as Almoner a few years ago, and still holds
this Office today. For his contribution to the Royal Arch, Eric was appointed as a Provincial Grand Steward in
1987, promoted to PPGSoj the following year and to PPGScN in 1995.
During all this time Eric was carving out a successful business career for himself, having served in the Merchant
Navy and the Royal Signals. He had the ‘gift of the gab’ and worked in sales before going on his own and building
a highly successful chain of retail shops, retiring in 1994.
It was on his retirement, that Eric was able to focus on his main sporting passion, cycling, which as a member of
the Sheffield Phoenix Cycling Club, he has been doing competitively since his early teens. He progressed from
just doing time trials and cycling Derbyshire’s many hills, to riding internationally sponsored rides for Norwood
Ravenswood, a charity caring for people with learning difficulties. He has been all over the world, from North
and South America to the Middle East, South Africa and Europe.
It was on one of these trips, as he was cycling between Cairo and Eilat, literally in the middle of the Sinai desert,
he discovered that six out of his co-riders were Masons. They decided the following day to all join the Lodge,
called Endeavour, whose name was eventually changed to Endeavour for Norwood Ravenswood No 5506, so it
could be directly associated with the Charity. He later joined Maida Vale No 2743 and Burning Bush No 9608
Chapters, where he spent many happy times whilst he and Ruth were living in Radlett during the early 2000’s.
Back in Sheffield, his enthusiasm for cycling has never waned and he still rides today when he can. He took part
in the Provincial Perimeter Pedal in 2014 riding the last uphill stage from Bawtry to Sheffield as the oldest rider
Eric’s business acumen was also helpful to the Craft as he was for many years a Director of Sheffield Masonic Hall
at Tapton, where he was responsible for that most important of Masonic facilities, the bar! In 2012/13, Eric
became President of the Sheffield Past Masters Association and organised a hugely successful Annual Masonic
Service, held for the first time at the Synagogue, where he helped to devise a service of prayer and thanksgiving
suitable for the many faiths that attended.
R.W. Bro. James H Newman
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