Thirty-Seven Brethren, including WBro Alan H Kirwilliam, PSGD, The Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Northern Area of the Province of East Lancashire, accompanied by Grand Officers, Provincial Officers of the year and a District Delegation, signed the Tylers attendance register of The Three Chalices Lodge No. 8249 on Monday 18th October 2021, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary in Freemasonry of WBro Gordon Spencer PProvGSuptWks.

The Lodge was duly opened by the Worshipful Master, WBro Derek Booth, PProvDepGSwdB, and after concluding the preliminary business of the Lodge, a report was received. The ProvDepGDC, WBro Harold Cooper, was admitted and announced that WBro Alan H Kirwilliam, PSGD, Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Northern area of the Province of East Lancashire, accompanied by a District delegation was without and that he demanded admission.

The Worshipful Master welcomed WBro Kirwilliam to the Lodge and offered him the Gavel. WBro Kirwilliam said that he on this very special occasion, he would be pleased to accept.

WBro Kirwilliam then announced that the next item of business was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the initiation onto Freemasonry of WBro Gordon Spencer PProvGSuptWks.. Addressing WBro Spencer, WBro Kirwilliam said that 50 years in Freemasonry is a great achievement that is testified by the numbers present this evening and be assured they are all here to support you.

WBro Kirwilliam first explained that this was indeed exactly the 50th anniversary, WBro Spencer having been Initiated on the 18th of October 1971. He then extended his personal congratulations and those of the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master of the Province of East Lancashire, Sir David Trippier TD JP. The Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VWBro John R Farrington and, of course, all present this evening.

WBro Kirwilliam then introduced the Grand Officers, acting officers of the year, the members of the Burnley and District team, explaining that the District Chairman, WBro Bob Allan, was unable to be present due to illness. However the Chairman of the East Ribble District, WBro David McGurty, PAGDC, ProvJGW, was in attendance.

The Lodge Secretary, WBro Colin Barton, read the minutes of WBro Spencer’s Initiation which brought back many happy memories for WBro Spencer who said he could have been the first Initiate of the Lodge but his circumstances at the tie prevented it.

WBro Barton then red a tribute to WBro Spencer.

Gordon recently celebrated his 81st birthday. He was born in Padiham and was educated at schools which were on the same street as he lived so he didn’t have far to go and probably went home for his dinner

On leaving school he accepted an apprenticeship at Howard and Bulloughs in Accrington. A firm who made machinery for the textile industry He left there and began a career in sales which saw him working for various companies all over the country until his retirement

He is married to Janet and they have one daughter Loraine who is an optician in Leeds and a Grandson who he blames for taking up his other hobby apart from Masonry

He was Master of the Lodge in 1980 some 9 years after his initiation he took all the officers leading up the Masters chair closely followed by John Harris the year after in fact they were passed to the Second Degree in a joint ceremony.

He was the Assistant and Secretary for many years and worked together with Ged Coyle who was treasurer for a time and between them they organised many Ladies Nights here at Nelson House

He joined the Royal Arch and went as far as 3rd Principal but as they met on a Wednesday he had to resign as he was always away with work on that day. He is a member of several side degrees and he remains Secretary of Scarlet with Gawthorpe Mark and is a Grand Officer in Secret Monitor

His main hobbies are caravanning and model railways. He and Janet started caravanning in 1972 and have travelled all over Europe predominantly to Countries who are renowned for their wine regions. They only stopped travelling a couple of years ago and now have a static in France from where he recently returned not best pleased as Brexit has restricted the amount of wine he can bring home

If you ever have cause to phone him in the afternoon and Janet answers she will tell you he’s not in but playing with his trains. He is a member of Lancashire and Yorkshire Model Railway Society who meet in the top floor of a mill in Haslingden. They have a replica of part of the Manchester to Peak District line at a place called “Allandale” named after a member of the society

Intrigued I asked him how became involved in model railways and he blamed the arrival of a Grandson for resurrecting his interest from his boyhood days

In my time in the Lodge he has been the guiding light and took the role of Senior Master seriously and was always willing to offer his advice even if sometimes other senior members disagreed. He showed his commitment to the Lodge by taking the Chair following the sudden death of Jim Whittaker who was WM at the time and also when the Lodge celebrated 50years

On examining his personal record it doesn’t show a great deal for 50years in the Lodge but he has always been there for us and acted as the 12th man , spare man and substitute many, many times and has a consequence is to receive a promotion at Provincial Grand Lodge next month to PProvJGW and will also be made a Honorary Member of Three Chalices at our next meeting in November

As the Lodge looks to fold we must thank Gordon for all he has done for Masonry in General and this Lodge in Particular 

Following the tribute, WBro Kirwilliam described life, culture and music in the 1970’s

WBro Kirwilliam then read the personal letter and certificate from the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master and presented the illuminated Certificate and personal letter to WBro Spencer who was then escorted around the Lodge by the ProvDepGDC, to the acclaim of the Brethren.

To conclude the formal proceedings a 50 years’ lapel badge, to be worn with pride, was presented by the District Mentor, WBro Mark Barlow.

WBro Spencer, WBro Kirwilliam and the Lodge members.

Following the Alms collection, the ProvDepGDC, asked WBro Kirwilliam if he wished to retire, accompanied by the District Delegation and on the special occasion, WBro Gordon Spencer. WBro Kirwilliam having given his assent, a retiral precession was formed and these esteemed Brethren retired from the Lodge to the acclaim of all present.

WBro Spencer with WBro Kirwilliam and the Worshipful Master, WBro Derek Booth

WBro Spencer with WBro Kirwilliam

Article and Pictures: John Wilkinson.