Will we ever see the likes of this again?

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Holderness Lodge No. 3563, from Hull, in the Province of Yorkshire, North and East Ridings, had, for them, a unique event on Monday 28th November 2016

The Worshipful Master, W Bro Stephen Cox, had asked for three members of the lodge, to be presented with certificates, celebrating their 50 years in Freemasonry, by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VW Bro William Henry Fisher. The Deputy Provincial Grand Master said that he wouldn’t miss an event like this and readily agreed.

Bro George Mackay Walter Ballantyne: Initiated into the Lodge of St James – Hawick – Scottish Constitution on 2nd April 1965.

W Bro John Raymond Proudley: Initiated into Holderness Lodge 3563 on 20th June 1966.

W Bro Geoffrey Harvey Taylor: Initiated into Lodge of St Michael 7833 on 23rd June 1966.

The lodge would love to know if any other lodges can match this feat, of having three 50 year certificates presented at one time and if so how many are out there.

You have all heard the expression, 'On land, at sea, in the air and under the sea', when remembering absent brethren at our Festive Boards. Well, they nearly had the full complement present. W Bro Geoffrey Taylor, 85, was a farmer, Bro George Mackay Walter (Greg) Ballantyne was a navigator at sea and W Bro John Proudley, 85, was an aircraft engineer.

It was only at the Festive Board, later that night, that it was established, that Greg Ballantyne’s son is a submarine Commander and a Freemason. So, indirectly, the lodge had the four.

On the night, VW Bro Fisher sat with the three brethren and reminisced about their early lives on the farm, in the aircraft industry and sailing around the world. The three brethren regaled the lodge, which had 80+ attendees, with stories of their early days in Freemasonry.

The photograph below shows the recipients and the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, from left to right:

Bro ‘Greg’ Ballantyne, W Bro John Proudley, W Bro Geoff Taylor and VW Bro Bill Fisher (DepPGM)

Geoff Taylor spoke of his having been brought up in the war years. He told V W Bro Fisher that he had, after the war, gone to his father to ask permission to try to "join up" for the Army, having been conscripted. His father had completed the paperwork, but forgot to mention that Geoff was working on the farm. Geoff went off to the recruiting sergeant, with the expectation that he would soon be doing his duty. He was very disappointed when the recruiting sergeant told him, that he would not be allowed to join up, because he was in a protected industry – farming. Geoff, although disappointed, took this in his stride and went back to do his bit for the country, by working as hard as he could on the farm, to deliver his share of the food for the nation.

John Proudley also helped the country, by working on aircraft design and construction at the Blackburn Aircraft establishment, at Brough, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. During his long career, he has worked for Blackburns, Hawker-Siddeley and British Aerospace, without ever moving from the same site.

Both Geoff Taylor and John Proudley spoke of their experiences, during the bombing of Kingston-upon-Hull, which caused serious damage to the City between 1940 and 1945, with 1,200 people losing their lives. Hull was the most severely damaged city or town during the Second World War, with 95% of the houses being damaged.

Geoff said, 'It wasn’t anything special being bombed, you just accepted it as part of your life.' It was so warming that both brethren underplayed their experiences in the war.

Greg Ballantyne took great pleasure in telling the gathering that he was only 72 and the youngest of the three. Greg was Initiated into a Scottish Lodge in 1966 and moved to Hull in the early 1970s. He told the Deputy Provincial Grand Master that he had come down from Scotland to play rugby league for Hull Kingston Rovers. This was greeted with loud moans from half of the audience – in this split city, where Hull Kingston Rovers are from the east side of the river and Hull FC are from the west side. Having played in a very successful team, Greg went back to his former occupation as an engineer at sea. He, however, spent most of his later working life, as a ship’s navigator, travelling all over the world, especially in the Far East.

All three brethren were presented with their 50 years’ certificates and they clung onto them for the rest of the night.

VW Bro Fisher was made to work hard on the night, as he also agreed to present a Grand Lodge Certificate to Bro James Ashby-Kelly. He commented on the coincidence, that as three brethren have had long and distinguished masonic careers, Bro Ashby-Kelly was essentially just starting out on his masonic career.

The photograph below shows, from left to right:

W Bro Danny Betts (SW), Bro Greg Ballantyne, W Bro John Proudley, Bro Chris Dearing (JW), W Bro Geoff Taylor, Bro James Ashby-Kelly, W Bro Steve Cox (WM) and the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VW Bro William Henry Fisher.

So, brethren, does anyone know whether this has ever happened before, three recipients of 50 year certificates, being presented at one time? If so, can you please let the Lodge Secretary, W Bro Malvin Sharpless know – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so that he can advise the lodge members

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