MORE than 8,000 Freemasons have paid a final record-breaking show of respect to 'grand master' Rodney Bass in what is claimed to be the "biggest ever Zoom tribute".

Thousands of Masons took to the internet on Wednesday night in tribute to Mr Bass, who died on July 14 after a long battle with cancer.

They raised a glass in a solemn toast to the Conservative politician, who Masons say transformed the image of Freemasonry in Essex.

Essex Masons say the online meetings app was the only way for so many people to pay their respects during lockdown.

They said provincial grand master Mr Bass had actively campaigned to back community projects and charities all over the county, at the same time as promoting Freemasonry as a force for good.

Deputy provincial master Paul Reeves said: "Freemasons in Essex were asked to attend dozens of different Zoom calls so that at 9pm we could all raise a glass to toast the memory of Rodney Bass.

Brentwood Live:

  • Zoom tribute to Rodney Bass

“It was the only way that we could show our final respects as we were unable to attend his funeral because of the current restrictions.

"We chose 9pm for the final toast as this is a special time for Freemasons worldwide when we traditionally toast absent brethren.”

“We believe this could be the biggest ever online toast in the history of Freemasonry and it is a fitting tribute to a man who was very much loved and respected by Masons in Essex and in every other part of the country.”

Mr Bass was also a former chairman of Maldon District Council and County Hall highways boss.

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