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Women Freemasons select new grand master at secret ceremony in Swiss Cottage

PUBLISHED: 11:34 31 January 2014 | UPDATED: 16:40 31 January 2014

Enthronement of the Grand Master ceremony. Seated left, outgoing Grandmaster Bernice Abram and right Grandmaster Elect Christine Chapman, with other Lady Freemasons, before the secret ceremony took place

Enthronement of the Grand Master ceremony. Seated left, outgoing Grandmaster Bernice Abram and right Grandmaster Elect Christine Chapman, with other Lady Freemasons, before the secret ceremony took place

Archant

A group of women Freemasons ushered in a new era with a secret "enthronement" ceremony to appoint their new leader.

Members of the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons (HFAF) donned their Masonic regalia for the behind-closed-doors ceremony at the Marriott Hotel in King Henry’s Road, Swiss Cottage, yesterday.

Christine Chapman was duly installed as the new grand master and will serve a four-year term as head of the organisation, which is based in Finchley Road, Childs Hill.

Grand steward Orli Zucker, 57, could not reveal too much of the secret event, but said it was “terribly exciting”.

She said the HFAF’s activities are largely focused on raising money for charity, adding: “We have our rituals, we have a bond of friendship and spirituality.

“People join who want to do something for other people, who want to join a club with a purpose.”

The HFAF, which is based in Finchley Road, Childs Hill, celebrated its centenary last year and has about 1,000 members scattered across the globe.

Ms Zucker, who works for architecture practice Sacks Maguire in Regent’s Park Road, Chalk Farm, said: “There are a lot of women Freemasons and we are being more recognised and accepted by the males now.

“They don’t officially acknowledge that we are Masons, but they know. In some ways, we take it more seriously.”

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