On Friday 5th May 2023, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Michael Graham, was thrilled to present a 60 Years’ Service certificate to 94-year-old Alfred Charlton. Michael explained to the members and visitors that due to the lock down during Covid, some certificate presentations had been delayed. Alf has achieved 63 years continuous service in masonry, therefore Diamond Celebration (plus 3)!
In 1945 Alf left school and joined the Durham Police cadets. Two years later he carried out National service in the Army as a Bombardier serving at Brancepeth Castle then at seven other camps in the UK.
On completion of his National Service, he re-joined Durham Police as a Constable serving for 35 years until retiring in 1984. During his time, he was stationed at Aycliffe, Houghton, Shotton Colliery, Stockton, Darlington and Durham.
Alf progressed through the ranks finishing as Chief Superintendent and receiving a Magistrate’s Commendation, four Chief Constable Commendations and in 1955 a Queen’s Commendation for brave conduct. After being promoted to Chief Superintendent he moved to the Force Headquarters.
In 1955 Alf married Joan and they spent 64 happy years together until Joan sadly passed away four years ago. He lived at Whitesmocks, Durham City for 52 years, this was the first house he owned after having lived in nine Police houses in 16 years. Alf And Joan had two children, Geoff and Gillian, known as Gill.
His current main interests are first and foremost gardening, closely followed by his love of classic cars of which he had six during his membership of the Jaguar Owner’s Club for 50 years. His last was an E-Type. with the number plate ALF 999.
After retiring from the Force Alf and Joan started enjoying holidays, visiting Jamaica and China. He later returned to work and worked in South Korea, Jordan, Kuwait and Ghana.
It was Joan’s Father Norman Coulthard who proposed Alf into the Earl of Durham Lodge in 1958. Alf recalls on the night of his initiation he was on night shift so had to leave straight after the ceremony to go to work.
During the discussion in open lodge, Alf said because of work commitments, he had only managed to attend around half of his lodge meetings over the years. However, he said he was incredibly pleased, honored and privileged to have enjoyed the immense pleasure he has obtained from freemasonry. That was when he managed to escape to ‘the sanctuary of the lodge from, the hurly-burly world of police work’. Alf was presented with his 60-year certificate, decorated with his lapel badge, before receiving salutations from all in the lodge room, led by Michael Graham.
The lodge went on to pass Jack Levi Wyatt to his second degree before retiring to the festive board where ample provisions had been provided.