WBro Allen Clarke PProvJGW celebrated 60 years membership of Naphtali Lodge No.266 on 2nd January 2024, at the age of 95 years and not having the desire to celebrate the occasion formerly at the Lodge due to his mobility, he enjoyed a home visit so ably conducted by Deputy Provincial Grand Master VWBro John Griffin and Assistant Provincial Grand Master WBro John Curry. Everyone concerned enjoyed reminiscing about masonic experiences and concluded with presentations, photographs, Letters and Certificates signed by the RW Provincial Grand Master.
Naphtali Lodge transferred from the Victoria Hotel Heywood to Richard Street, Rochdale in 1965. WBro Clarke had been by this time Initiated, Passed and Raised in the same year, 1964. Membership was very strong in those days, and fifteen years had elapsed till WBro Clarke attained the Office of Worshipful Master in 1979, and again in 1998.
The highlight of his masonic career was the opportunity to install his son WBro R.Ian Clarke into the Chair in 1999, an occasion he holds so dearly, and quit rightly, so proudly. WBro Clarke worked hard learning masonic ritual, and enjoyed presenting a comprehensive range of ritual workings. He accepted the post of Treasurer and later Director of Ceremonies, and was always willing to stand In as Chaplain and other Offices for many years.
Provincial Honours followed in 1989 in the form of PProvAGDC, followed by PProvDepGSwdB, PProvGSwdB and finally PProvJGW in 2022. WBro Clarke was made an Honorary Member of the Lodge in November 2023.
Royal Arch Chapter was a favoured Degree for WBro Clarke, when Exhalted in November 1965 into Naphtali Chapter No.266 he soon embarked into the Office of Principal Sojourner for many years, before taking the 1st Principals Chair in 1982. After his year of Office as 1st Principal, the Office of Treasurer was his next position which he held for a duration of 33 Years.
1989 brought the start of Royal Arch Honours, PProvAGDC, PProvAGSoj in 1996, PProvDGReg in 2003 and PProvGSwdB in 2012. 50 Years in Royal Arch Chapter was celebrated in November 2015.
Other Degrees in freemasonry that WBro Clarke participated in, was the Mark Master Mason Degree joined in 1981, and Royal Ark Mariners Degree joined in 1983.
WBro Clarke is the last remaining living member of the Lodge, who has experienced the whole duration of the time the Naphtali has been active at Richard Street, Rochdale.
The Celebrant has enjoyed an illustrious career in freemasonry, unfortunately he is unlikely to continue his life with freemasonry, as Naphtali Lodge surrendered it’s Warrant on the 7th December 2023, a tinge of sadness within a very respectable Masonic Career.
A big thank you WBro Ian Clarke (Allen’s son) for providing the words.