At the masonic Hall, Kirkby Lonsdale, on Friday, 13th December, 2019, Underley Lodge No. 1074 was delighted to host the celebrations of two of its members who had reached their 75th and 50th Anniversary in Freemasonry. The occasion was honoured by the presence of the RWPGM Bro. William John Bewley and his Provincial Team. W. Bro. George Henry Harrison PPrSGW, was the 75 year celebrant at the grand young age of 96 years. He was initiated into Underley Lodge at an emergency meeting in December, 1944 whilst on home leave during WWII. His father W.Bro Percival Harrison was also a member of the Lodge, whereas his grandfather W.Bro Plato Harrison was a member of Hindpool Lodge in Barrow in Furness.
Due to health and mobility issues W.Bro. Harrison was accompanied by his son Charles, a non-mason. He was invited into the lodge room by the Worshipful Master W. Bro. Malcolm Dewhurst having “called the Lodge off”, in order for the RWPGM to give his oration and presentation in their presence. This was gratefully appreciated by all those present. During the address by the RWPGM we learnt that when George was fourteen years old, he attended Conway Naval College where he gained the necessary qualifications to go to sea. During his career the Merchant Navy, George saw active service in the Atlantic Ocean whilst serving as a Navigation Officer, sailing the perilous crossings with Atlantic Convoys seeing action with troop movements and encountering U-Boats. As a former student of the college, he is a member of the Conway Club, and he holds the revered title of “Senior Hand”, being the oldest member of the club.
He was a champion amateur boxer in the merchant navy, a talented calligrapher, a Town Guide in Kirkby Lonsdale, President and Chairman of Kirkby Lonsdale Golf Club, a Parish Councillor and Chairman, a Commissioner for Tax and was also the proprietor of a family wine merchants business “Plato’s” in Kirkby Lonsdale. In 1958 W. Bro. Harrison was installed as Master of Underley Lodge No 1074 after having been appointed to every office in the Lodge. He then served for 27 years as Charity Steward, Chairman of the Trustees for 39 years and Vice-Chairman of the South Westmorland Group of Lodges. In 2014 W. Bro. Harrison celebrated his 70th Anniversary in Freemasonry and to mark the occasion, was promoted to the high office of PPrSGW.
The Secretary of the Lodge W. Bro. Philip Howden then read the minutes of the Lodge meeting held in December 1944 at the time of his initiation. The South Westmorland Group Chairman W. Bro. Robin Pearson then read the certificate recording W. Bro. Harrison’s 75 years in Freemasonry. The RWPGM then addressed the celebrant saying “W. Bro. Harrison you have been a freemason for 75 years. You joined a year before I was born, so it is an honour and with great pleasure that I am here tonight to present this 75 year certificate of membership to you. You epitomise all that is best in a man and are an example to us all as to how to live a good life .
You have served your country in wartime, your community as a councillor, a friend and mentor to many in this town and for many years the backbone of this lodge and freemasonry in the province. W. Bro. Harrison on behalf of the members of your lodge, myself, the members of Provincial Grand Lodge here this evening and UGLE, I present you with this certificate on their behalf. Thank you for coming here tonight to receive your certificate it is something we will all remember for a long time.” The brethren showed their approbation in the usual way after which W. Bro. Harrison thanked everyone present for their attendance and support to mark this wonderful occasion. With that he took his leave and retired with his son Charles.
That same evening W. Bro. Thomas William (Bill) Eglin PPrJGW, was celebrating his 50th year anniversary in Freemasonry at Underley Lodge No 1074, where he was initiated which he later recalled being a very frosty night in December, 1969. In the oration given by the RWPGM Bro. William John Bewley, he said “After leaving Milnthorpe Secondary School you trained and became a joiner and a number of years later a property developer and your skill as a craftsman became well known and admired. You were also a keen sportsman and played football for Holme Athletic and Milnthorpe Corinthians. You were also chairman of Burton Thistle A.F.C. You obviously enjoyed your time as a player, because you put your time back into it as a club chairman, to ensure there were places for other youngsters to train and enjoy our national game. Looking at your CV it suggests that you were steeped in masonic tradition, as was your father Frederick Eglin and brother-in-law John Gill. Other masons in the family as well as Brian, Tony, Edward and Stephen Duckett were Uncles Bill, Ernie, Harold and Ted. You were the Worshipful Master of Underley Lodge in 1985. You were appointed as an acting Provincial Grand Standard Bearer in 1992 and now hold the high rank of PPrJGW. You were a member of the Holy Royal Arch for 21 years, a Mark Mason for 47 years, a Royal Ark Mariner for 29 years and also Kentdale Mariner for 24 years. A member of the Rose Croix for22 years and founder of Appleby Rose Croix. A member of St Leonards Conclave for 20 years and a founder member for 21 years of Bentinck Lodge. If you add all those years together, you have served the family of freemasonry for some 250 years which is quite an achievement for anyone.” The Secretary of the Lodge W. Bro. Philip Howden then read the minutes of the Lodge meeting held on that frosty evening in December 1969 when W. Bro Eglin was initiated. The South Westmorland Group Chairman W. Bro. Robin Pearson then read the certificate recording W. Bro. Eglin’s 50 years in Freemasonry. The RWPGM then said “W. Bro. Eglin, you are the exemplar of all that a mason should be besides your selfless assistance to Freemasonry and its family of orders that you have been a member of. You have served this community in many other ways including organising children’s parties, conjuring, old folks parties and even talent competitions. You have set the standard for us all to follow and I am privileged to be here to present you with your certificate this evening. W. Bro Eglin your name is associated with all that is best in a Freemason and you have never let us down. Everyone I ask, speaks highly of you and that includes myself, so on behalf of UGLE ,the Province, the many orders you are associated with and the brethren of your lodge” R. W. Bro. Bewley then presented W. Bro. Eglin with a certificate celebrating his 50 years membership of the craft with the recognition and respect of all that he had done during those years. W. Bro. Eglin commented how much he had enjoyed everything about freemasonry and thanked the RWPGM for his kind words, and the brethren for their support and friendship throughout his many years in masonry. The celebrant was then escorted around the Lodge for the approbation of the brethren.