A memorable meeting of Legiolium Mark Lodge No. 457 at The Masonic Hall, Castleford on Friday, 3rd November to witness Worshipful Brother Robert Ronald Elliott Lewis, Worshipful Master o the Lodge, receive Certificates to commemorate 60 years of Mark Masonry.
Unsurprisingly the Temple was virtually full, not surprising as these celebrations do not come around very often. After the Lodge was opened and the minutes dealt with, upon a report, the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother James Steggles G.M.R.A.C. was admitted. He was accompanied by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Alan Oldfield, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Trevor Bolton and the Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Very Worshipful Brother Robert Corfield together with an escort of Provincial Officers of the year, 30 in total. I have to add that, once again very few, in fact only one, visiting Master, Worshipful Brother Reverend Michael Taylor of the James Bramley Morley Lodge No.1905 attended: I do hope that we will see more Masters in the Chair visiting other Lodges, particularly in their own I.M.A’s, it is after all something they committed to when taking the role.
Salutations taken, W.Bro.Ron read out item 4 on the Agenda, ‘to present a 60th Anniversary certificate to W.Bro.R.R.E.Lewis, P.G.J.D.’ followed by, ’oh that’s me’ whereupon the P.G.M took the floor. W.Bro.Jim then provided some history of is Masonic career, initiated into the Legioleum Craft Lodge in 1956 by his Father who, when he subsequently raised him said, ‘Rise my Son and my Brother’. He was then installed into the Chair by his father in 1971 and later, in 1992 he initiated his son, Worshipful Brother Ian Lewis, thereby creating two Lewis Lewis in the same Lodge. W.Bro.Ron has now attained the Craft Rank of P.Prov.G.S.W. and P.G.J.D in the Mark where he was advanced on the 1st November 1957. This was when the Cold war was at its peak, a sputnik had been sent into space, the average wage was six pounds, petrol five shillings for a gallon, we did not talk in litres in those days, and the average three bedroom semi, two thousand two hundred pounds.
Whilst being exposed to Freemasonry from an early age and meeting many of his Fathers fellow Brethren, no mention was made to W.Bro.Ron. Eventually, in his late twenties, the subject was raised when his father advised him that it was up to those who were interested to ask to join, not be asked. One of the quaint customs he recalls was the taking of snuff in the Lodge and, if you refused, a fine of one shilling was levied. I too remember my father taking snuff, being offered myself and that was both the first and the last time, it was awful, I could not have been a member. The presentation of the Certificates were then made, both being read out by the Acting Provincial Grand Secretary, Worshipful Brother Fraser McPherson , that from Grand Lodge by R.W.Bro.James Steggles and that from Provincial Grand Lodge by the other ‘Lewis Lewis’, W.Bro.Ian Lewis.
A delightful Festive Board consumed and tables cleared, the Toasts were dealt with, that to the P.G.M by W.Bro.Ron which R.W.Bro.Jim suitably acknowledged emphasising that it had been a most enjoyable evening and congratulating W.Bro.Ron upon achieving this milestone, onwards to the next ten years and his 91st birthday on the 3rd December. The Toast to the Star of the evening was left to W.Bro. Ian, very proud of his Father, a Lewis by name and a Lewis by Masonic nature; he remembered, with affection, installing his Father in the Chair, for the second time earlier in the year. Whilst, sadly, his Wife, Jean, died this year, W.Bro. Ron fortunately has the company of six Grandchildren and six great Grandchildren; I doubt that he is ever lonely.
In response, W.Bro.Ron’s first words were “Thank you W.Bro.Son’ but, as time was pressing, added that the Presentations were superb, much better than anything he had ever received in the Coal Board, he thanked all for coming for what had been a wonderful evening.
Nothing else to say but Hear, Hear and all left with large Masonic smiles on their faces, be Happy and enjoy your Mark Masonry.