Radcliffe Lodge Burns Night Supper & 60 Years in Freemasonry


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For those of us attending the Radcliffe Lodge Burn’s Supper event on Friday 19th January, what promised to be a good evening turned out to be an excellent one. It has become a tradition that the Lodge is joined in its celebration of brother Robbie Burns by our friends and brothers from across Adrian’s Wall, members of Trades House of Glasgow Lodge No. 1241; this year was no exception with the Worshipful Master, W. Brother Robert Henderson and several other members of the Trades House Lodge in attendance.

The Burns Night Supper lived up to expectations with the Haggis being piped into the room, the address to the Haggis being delivered by the incomparable W. Brother Andy Logan and the supper being rounded off with a ‘wee dram’ courtesy of our Brethren from north of the border.

An exceptional Burns Night all round, but it was in the Temple where the evening was made special, with a cheque presentation from the ‘South Notts Freemasons for Charity’ by Brother Paul Vale to the Mayor of Rushcliffe (W. Brother Barrie Cooper) for his charity the Friary which is based in West Bridgford. But the undoubted highlight of the evening was the presentation of a Certificate celebrating 60 years of continuous service to Freemasonry to W. Brother John Davies by the Provincial Grand Master R.W. Brother Philip Graham Marshall. Here is what the PGM had to say on the occasion:

“Brethren, it is always a pleasure to be part of a celebration and tonight it is a Burns celebration with that little bit extra as the masonic track record of 60 years continuous membership of the Craft by W Bro Arthur John Davies is properly marked.

Arthur John Davies came into this world on Friday 6 February 1931 and shared that birthday with Fred Trueman. The weather that day across the country was either heavy rain or snow depending on where you lived, however, all John’s family saw was a little ray of sunshine. Clearly, John has lived a more wholesome life than Fred as he stands at 86 and nearly 87 not out whilst our Yorkshireman only scored 75.

Being born in early February makes John an Aquarian which is an Air Sign. Air Signs are said to be thinkers, intellectual, communicative and analytical who enjoy social gatherings – good traits for a Freemason I would say.

John began his working life with the National Coal Board and followed the professional discipline of engineering whilst with the NCB and is a fully qualified mining engineer. In 1985 having left the Coal Board, John joined local government only to face the problem in 1988 of my arrival at the Authority. Clearly, this was a traumatic position for him as he left the Council shortly afterward.

The next step along his career path was to join the teaching profession and John began lecturing on engineering at various universities and colleges across the Midlands. It could be said that at 86 he is still in gainful employment as the Lead Education Examiner for a professional institute of which he is also a Director. Brethren I believe that shows both a tremendous commitment to the work ethic and John’s desire to share his knowledge and experience.

John’s academic achievements are very impressive – he holds two Masters level Degrees as well as two other Degrees. He has also had a number of professional papers published by renowned technical journals which have worldwide circulation.

In the mid-1960s John married Margaret and they had a very happy life together. I am sure he will not mind me saying that he still misses Margaret greatly following her death just 3 years ago.

John is very close to his daughter, his only child, who perhaps not surprisingly is a teacher in Leicestershire. He also has the joy of watching 2 granddaughters grow up.

Brethren, that was a little about John the man and I will now turn to John the Freemason.

Mr. Arthur John Davies was Initiated into Felicity Lodge No 4166 in Erdington in the Province of Warwickshire on Wednesday 4 December 1957 at the age of 26. It was a bit of a family affair as he was proposed by his uncle and seconded by his cousin. At the time of his entry into Freemasonry, the weather across the UK was cold, calm and foggy. However, the miserable weather was not affecting the spirits of the British public as researchers from the University of Warwick have shown that the levels of happiness in the population peaked in 1957 and apparently we have never been anywhere near as happy since.

The number 1 record in the first week of February was Mary’s Boy Child by Harry Belafonte and Wolves were top of the First Division and went on to win the League that season.

John joined Radcliffe Lodge on the 18 January 1980 and in February 1983 resigned from Felicity Lodge. Sadly, that Lodge has subsequently surrendered its Warrant. Brethren I am sure the 2 things are not connected.

John settled into life in the Lodge and 11 years after becoming a member, he was Installed into the Chair of King Solomon on 18 October 1991.

He served as Assistant Secretary for a year in 2006 and then became the Lodge Secretary in 2007, an office he held until 2013. In terms of Provincial Rank, W Bro John was appointed to the rank of Past Provincial Grand Standard Bearer in April 1998 by R W Bro Stewart Hill and was subsequently promoted to Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works by R W Bro Robin Wilson. 

John was Exalted into Radcliffe Chapter No 5313 in November 1981 and was the Chapter’s Most Excellent Zerubbabel in 1995. He received Provincial recognition in 2002 when he was appointed to the rank of Past Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies and in 2013, Excellent Companion John was promoted to the rank of Past Provincial Grand Sojourner.

John broadened his Masonic experience by being Advanced into the St Alkmunds Lodge of Mark Master Masons No 595 and he is a Past Master of that Lodge. John was Elevated into the Tilchestune Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners and is a Past Commander. Both of those lodges are in Derbyshire, however, he recently joined the Woodthorpe Mark Lodge No 1144 in this Province and found himself rocketed to the Junior Warden’s chair at the Installation meeting last October.

The achievement of 60 years continuous membership of the Craft represents a tremendous milestone and on behalf of the Radcliffe Lodge and the Province of Nottinghamshire, I am delighted to present this Certificate which formally marks that impressive record."

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