Two brethren from Lodge Palatine No.5345, which meets at Bedlington Masonic Hall, had cause for celebration recently on being awarded certificates, from the Provincial Grand Master, for 50 years uninterrupted service in the Craft.
W.Bro Joe Grant, who was actually celebrating 51 years in the Craft, was initiated into Freemasonry in October 1970. He has served as Master on three separate occasions and is currently the Lodges Chaplain, a position he has held since 2014. He was first promoted to the rank of Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies, in 1989, in Provincial Grand Lodge, receiving the subsequent promotions of Past Provincial Grand Registrar in 2001 and finally Past Provincial Grand Junior Warden in 2012. Jim explained that one of the highlights of his masonic career occurred in June 1979, during his year as Master, when the Lodge received a Provincial visit led by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, however, the main highlight must have been in March 2012 when he installed his son James into the Chair of King Solomon.
Jim was born in Nedderton in 1940 and left school at the age of 14 to become an apprentice joiner at Nedderton Colliery, later moving to Bedlington A Pit then back to Nedderton, for a year, before temporarily leaving the mining industry. For four years he worked as a process operator at Glaxo before starting at Bates Pit, working there until it closed, when he moved to Ellington as General Foreman. He played football at school however his real love was playing the cornet, playing in many bands including Nedderton Colliery, Brentford Nylons and Greggs. Joe was almost recruited to the Coldstream Guards, but the thought of lifts in his shoes and an extra tall busby they offered in order that he could reach the height requirement didn’t tempt him! He married Ann in 1961, who sadly passed away recently, and has 3 children, Joe, James and Carolyn, 6 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.
W.Bro Jim Prail was initiated into Freemasonry in April 1971. He has served as Master on four separate occasions and is currently the Lodges Director of Ceremonies, an office he has occupied, on and off, since 2012. He is also a member of Bon Accord Lodge No.8252, which also meets at Bedlington Masonic Hall. In 2012 he was appointed to the rank of Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon, Provincial Grand Lodge, subsequently being promoted to the rank of Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works in 2016. Jim was exalted into St Cuthbert Royal Arch Chapter No.1902 in June 2001 and is still currently a member.
Jim was born in June 1945, leaving school at 15 when he was employed by the Co-op in Blyth and Bedlington. He joined Northumberland Constabulary in 1965, posted to Wallsend, North Shields and later Byker. He was promoted to Uniform Sergeant in 1978 and posted to Newcastle City Centre prior to being appointed to the C.I.D in Newcastle and the Serious Crime Squad. In 1991 he was attached to the Regional Crime Squad doing undercover and surveillance duties until he retired in 1994.
Jim has a great interest in sport particularly Rugby, playing for Percy Park Rugby Football Club and also captained Northumberland Police RFC, playing first team rugby for many years.
Congratulations to both Joe and Jim on their fantastic achievement of over 50 years’ service to the Craft and we wish you many more happy years to come.
Many thanks to W.Bro Gordon Craigs for the submission of this article.
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