At the regular February Meeting of Integrity Lodge of MMM No.110 a unique event occurred in the long history of this old Mark Lodge. One of the Province’s eldest members celebrated 50 years in Mark Masonry. There to present a 50 year certificate to W.Bro. Sam Littlewood P.Prov.G.S.W. was the Provincial Grand Master, R.W. Bro. James Bennett Truswell, accompanied by R.W. Bro. George Henry Philip Birch P.P.G.M, W.Bro. Robert Corfield P.G.J.D., P.A.P.G.M., and W.Bro. Alan Oldfield G.Stwd., Prov.D.G.Sec.. As the PGM observed during the presentation it was exactly 50 years ago to the very day, on Thursday 25 February 1960, that Bro. Samuel Ronald Littlewood of Hardwick Lodge No 2373 in Chesterfield was advanced into Integrity Lodge of MMM No. 110 in Wakefield.
In keeping with the informal nature of the meeting the R.W.Bro. Truswell took a seat next to W.Bro. Littlewood and spoke directly to him. He recalled that W.Bro. Sam was born 94 years ago and was the youngest, and smallest, of seven children, had served for six years in the Second World War raising through the ranks to become an officer, then in “the late 1950s he found Masonry”. In 1956 Sam was initiated into Hardwick Lodge No 2373 by his elder brother, Bill and received his 50th Year Certificate on 13 Sept 2006 from W.Bro. William Barnard P.S.G.D., A.P.G.M. for the Province of Derbyshire. On this occasion W.Bro. Sam was accompanied to Chesterfield by several Craft members of Integrity Lodge. (Secretary’s note: On the same night Sam’s nephew Graham Littlewood proposed his son Graham Steward Littlewood for membership of Hardwick Lodge. Both Grahams were present this evening.)
Bro Sam moved to Wakefield in 1958. “Why was that Sam?” enquired the PGM, “Better weather!” quickly retorted Sam. 1960 saw him advanced into Integrity Lodge of MMM, attaining the Chair in 1971. “It took time in those days, ….. no one ever dropped out.” In 1973 he was elevated into Pontefract RAM and was Commander in 1979. Promotions followed, 1976 Provincial Grand Steward, 1987 P.Prov.G.J.W., 1991 Provincial R.A.M.G.R., 1995 P.P.G.S.W., 1997 R.A.M. Grand Rank and one of very few who hold the Provincial Grand Masters Award.
In 2000 Sam’s wife and golf partner Rene was taken ill and for six years, until her passing, he devoted himself to nursing her supported by his family.
W.Bro Sam admitted that this evening had been a total but lovely surprise. His presentation had been ‘omitted’ from the agenda. He had looked at the Summons and if it had not been arranged for him to be picked up by car he would have stayed at home. Even when told by the DC not to sit with his nephew W.Bro. Graham Littlewood and his great nephew but ‘go to my place’ because we have to ‘look right’ for our important visitors the penny had not dropped.
At the PGM’s invitation W.Bro. Alan Oldfield, G.Stwd, Provincial Deputy Grand Secretary read the 50 years Certificate dedication from Grand Lodge and a personal letter from the Grand Secretary. After which R.W. Bro. James Bennett Truswell, Provincial Grand Master of West Yorkshire, formally presented the Certificate to W.Bro. Sam.
The PGM inviting W.Bro. Graham Littlewood to present his uncle with a similar certificate from this province and offer his congratulations to W.Bro. Sam on his jubilee. W.Bro. Sam approached his nephew’s wheel chair and received the Certificate to the cheers and applause of the brethren. Again W.Bro. Sam was heard to say that he had been undecided as to whether to come tonight, “I didn’t realise I was involved”, “Neither did I!” replied W.Bro. Graham to more laughter and applause. The PGM paid final tribute by referring to W.Bro. Sam as “a stalwart of the Lodge and of this Province.”
W.Bro. Sam with heartfelt emotion concluded, “This is the biggest surprise I’ve ever had. You cannot appreciate how much I feel.” The D.of.C, W.Bro. Richard Puttrell A.G.D.C. then led the assembled brethren in a salute of three to W.Bro. Samuel Ronald Littlewood.
The WM of Integrity Lodge, W.Bro. Ian Howarth, then presented an engraved sherry decanter to W.Bro. Sam from the brethren of the Lodge as a token of esteem in which they hold ‘Uncle Sam’.