Monday 23rd October saw 50 friends of WBro Jeffrey Huddart, PAGDC., gather at Robert Burns Lodge, No. 999, at Salford Masonic Hall, to celebrate his 50th Anniversary in the Craft. The lodge was opened in due form by Bro Huddart, Worshipful Master. The Provincial Deputy Director of Ceremonies, WBro David Cowan, introduced a Deputation of Grand and Provincial Grand Officers, including the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro Chad Northcott, PSGD, the District Chairman WBro Peter Hegarty, and the District Team.
Jeff was delighted to see so many friends and guests, and after welcoming WBro Northcott, offered him the gavel of the lodge, which he was delighted to accept and took the Chair of King Solomon. WBro Northcott introduced the members of the Deputation, which included WBro’s Chris Welton, APGM, Alex McLaren, PAPGM (and PGM of the Mark Degree), David Basger AProvGP and Malcolm Roberts, PAGSwdB, and past District Chairman for Salford.
WBro Northcott began: “Bro Huddart was born on Monday 18th October 1943, the same year that the Dambusters raid took place, and the Mk 1 colossus computer was built – the world’s first totally electronic programmable device. Jeff shares his birth year with Terry Venables, Tony Blackburn, John Major and Mick Jagger.
Jumping forward in time. Many of you (except perhaps the Provincial DepGDC and myself) will be able to cast your minds back to 1967, Elizabeth II had been on the throne for 15 years and Harold Wilson was Prime Minister. Alf Ramsay received his Knighthood, Donald Campbell died on Coniston Water, the U.K. began the process of joining the EEC, Puppet on a String won the Eurovision song contest, the Q.E.II was launched and Concorde was unveiled! On Tuesday 11th April 1967, 3 months after my birth, a young Mr. Huddart was initiated into Avon Lodge No. 1633.”
The minutes of the meeting at which Jeff was initiated had been found in the dark cellars of Freemasons Hall in Bridge Street and were read by WBro. Bill Anderson. acting Secretary. Interestingly, the lodge was opened at 5.30pm, by the Master WBro. EV Huddart. After the preliminaries the lodge was called off at 5.45pm and called back on at 6.45pm. WBro Huddart then Initiated his Son, in what must have been a very moving and memorable ceremony. Even after 50 years, Jeff still has vivid memories of the evening and the brethren who took part.
WBro Hegarty was called upon to read the letter of congratulations from our RWPGM, Sir David Trippier, then WBro Northcott presented Jeffrey with an illuminated certificate. Finally, WBro Hegarty presented a 50 years service lapel pin; a present from the District.
WBro Huddart receives his illuminated certificate of achievement from WBro Chad Northcott
There followed an excellent social board which was made all the more enjoyable by the attendance of so many of Jeff’s friends from around the Province. As we have come to expect at Salford, the catering was of the finest quality with wines generously provided by our celebrant! After the usual masonic toasts, the DC, WBro Cowan called upon WBro Mike Green, a long-standing friend of Jeff’s, to propose the toast to his health. Mike was honoured to be asked and did so with much humour and just a few tongue in cheek remarks.
Jeff’s response was equally humorous, then he went on to express his grateful thanks to all concerned, for organising such a splendid occasion for him, especially WBro Bill Anderson who stepped in as Secretary after the untimely death of WBro John Astbury.
All in all a great celebration of a prestigious milestone in any masonic career, and one which WBro Jeff Huddart, PAGDC, will remember for a very long time.
Written and submitted by WBro Peter Hegarty.