On the evening of Thursday 1st July 2023, the brethren of St Helen’s Lodge met at the Masonic Hall Regent Street, Hartlepool. This was a regular meeting and an upbeat night with special importance with so many things to celebrate, to celebrate 65 years (Blue Sapphire Anniversary) in Craft and 60 Years (Diamond Anniversary) in Royal Arch for Ron Walker and with 65+ brethren in attendance including John Thompson, Provincial Grand Master accompanied by Deputation of Provincial officers
Once the lodge was opened and the deputation was welcomed into the room, John then asked Ron to join him in the east to talk about his life and masonic experiences.
Ron was initiated into St Helens on 1st May 1958 at the age of 27 and worked his way through all the various offices before Ron became Master of St Helens in 1969.
When John asked Ron about his masonic career, He talked about the time he received a call from the Provincial Secretary when at work, stating he had been put forward by Lord Barnard to become Treasurer for the United Grand Lodge of England (1-year role) and was given till the end of the call to decide to accept the role.
Ron was exulted into the Royal Arch in 1963 and Z in 1978 – later appointed to PProvGSN.in 1995
Ron has also been a member of the Mark for 60 years too. John then discussed Ron was an Accountant setting up his own company.
John then asked for Tom Gittins to read out the 65years Certificate before presenting it to Ron, thanking Ron for his continuous commitment to Freemasonry and then Ron replied with a small speech thanking everyone who attended.
John also said that Ron was a great example of a Freemason, always willing to help others, with previous roles in the lodge included Director of Ceremonies in Craft, Chapter, and the Mark Degrees, with 65 years of continuous service with St Helen’s lodge and 60 years with the Royal Arch. A true gentleman and an Elder statesman, -respected person in Hartlepool, Province of Durham, and England.
Tom Gittins then read out the 65years Certificate for the craft and then the 60-year Certificate from the Royal Arch before presenting it to Ron, thanking Ron for his continuous commitment to Freemasonry, and then Ron replied with a small speech thanking everyone who attended and how much he had enjoyed his time in Freemasonry.
The evening was finished off at the festive board with Broccoli and Stilton Soup, Quiche Salad with coleslaw and Strawberries and Cream followed by Cheese and Crackers.
John responded to his toast and told the brethren how great it was to attend at St Helen’s how it was a pleasure to be here tonight and how he had enjoyed the whole evening. John talked about the Great work Durham Benevolence and the MCF were doing. Visitors response was given by Nigel Fallow of Rowland Burdon Lodge.
Ron stood and thanked everyone and was overcome by tonight. He said he had had a wonderful life inside and outside freemasonry and support from a wonderful woman his wife and had worn every collar with honour.
Ron was given a standing Ovation from everyone for this.
Other toasts were given by Paul Swansbury and Tony Raine.
A great evening enjoyed by all – St Helen’s Lodge is well worth another visit.