"The PGM telephoned W Bro. David Child on the 16th June to congratulate him on attaining 60 years of membership of the Craft. History may have been made as the PGM promoted W Bro. Child to the rank of PPJGW on the 'phone, during the call."
During the 1950s, I attended several social functions at the Lodge of Friendship with my father, so after National Service, I spoke to him about joining the Lodge. I was initiated in June 1960.
In 1961 I was married and subsequently have had four children, two girls and two boys. I now have twelve Grandchildren and two Great Grandsons.
In March 1963, I was exalted in the Chapter of Faith and 11 June 1970, I was installed as a Knight by my Father into St. Laurence Preceptory.
In the 1960s the Lodge, which was strong with over 70 members, had a full-time stewardess with the Lodge. Meals being brought in and having to be carried up from the cellar by the stewards. It was two plates at a time until we obtained the stands which carried 5 plates. The steps were very uneven, so it was a miracle that there were no accidents!
In the early 60s, we had a visitor to the Lodge who was in the Black Watch regiment, and he gave a talk on Masonry in Cyprus. He was there at the same time as myself, and I wished I had been a mason at that time.
In those days we did not have very many Social Functions, just a Children's party and a Ladies evening. The Children's party was always a huge success for upwards of 70 children. The ladies of the Lodge provided the tea while the children were entertained by a Professional Entertainer. After tea, there was a film show followed by Games and further Entertainment from the Entertainer. Carols were then sung, and Father Christmas came in on a sledge pushed by the Junior brethren. After the children, grandchildren, etc. had gone home, then there was a social for the remaining brethren.
During the year there was a Ladies night where visitors came and a good night was had by all. Dependant on the WM there may be a ladies night for Brethren and their Lady only in November. It was on such an occasion when as Chief Steward I had to inform the WM Herman Jarvis of the assassination of the American President John F Kennedy.
In due time our stewardess retired and as no one was available to be appointed their quarters were incorporated into the Lodge. The Dining Room became bigger, The meals were provided by an outside caterer but prepared at ground level, and the stewards did not distribute the meal!! In recent years the bar lounge has been altered and extended so a member of the 60/70s would not recognise it now.
December 1973 was a little different for at the Installation the WM. The SW and I as JW were appointed but we three were all Lewises whose fathers were active in the Lodge.
In November 1976 we celebrated W.Bro Clifford Haigh's 50 years in Freemasonry. It was for me worse than an Installation for we had not only the Dep.PGM but the ASSISTANT PGMS. David Welch was only a Grand Lodge officer then. I felt sorry for the Prov. Charity Rep. who had to give a talk on Provincial Charities!!
Tragically during my time in the Lodge, I have seen two W Brethren Pass away, one while I was WM.
In 1977 I was IPM when the Treasurer W. Bro Priestley Carbutt fell ill, and I was asked to take over as Treasurer.
We three Lewises decided that all surpluses from Social Functions would go into a special reserve account so that there was money available to maintain our Lodge Premises, rather than reduce Lodge Subs. This I am pleased to say has continued with the current brethren, so the Lodge is in a reasonably healthy position.
Besides being Treasurer I have also been assistant Secretary, Secretary, Auditor & Organist. The Lodge was fortunate to have 2 Organists so W Bro. Alan Clough and I were appointed and played when the other wasn't available. I have been the full-time organist for the last 20 years.
In 1985 I received a promotion to PPDepDofC and in 2000 to PPGR.
In 2010 I was delighted to have W Bro. Stuart G. Carley, to present me with my 50 years Certificate. This was a most enjoyable occasion.
In 2017 I was admitted to the hospital with a second dose of Bowel Cancer. I decided that travelling to Cleckheaton from Bingley was too far for me as well as the brethren to me. I played for the Installation in the December and then wrote my letter of resignation from the Lodge. It was a wonderful surprise to receive a reply asking if I would accept Honorary Membership; wonderful as I know that the Lodge does not give out Honorary membership lightly. I have played for their Installations and special ceremonies and accepted this wonderful gift.
I looked at the Lodges in Bingley and decided to join Shirley Lodge no 4978 This was approved in April 2019 and I was admitted in Sept. 2019 and am now the Almoner.
I was looking forward to the PGM presenting me with my 60 years certificate so my mother Lodge could enjoy the ceremony along with my new Lodge. Perhaps this may happen next year.