Fifty Year Celebration For Barry Speker

23rd May 2022

Congratulations, from everyone at Northumberland Freemasons, to W.Bro Barry Speker of Oriental Lodge No. 9371, which meets at Byker Masonic Hall, on completing fifty years service to the Craft.

Barry was initiated into Sanctuary Lodge No.7135 in April 1972, which was sadly erased in 2005. Whilst a member he joined Northumberland Masters Lodge No.3477, which meets at Fern Avenue Masonic Hall, in 1991, and on the erasure of Sanctuary Lodge, joined Oriental Lodge. He was Master of Oriental Lodge in 2012 and is currently the Lodge Mentor, an office he has held since 2018. He was acknowledged in Provincial Grand Lodge when he was appointed to the rank of Past Provincial Assistant Grand Registrar in 1992 and received a subsequent promotion to Provincial Senior Grand Warden in 2005. He was then appointed to Grand Rank when he received the accolade of Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 2011.

He was Exalted into Temperance Royal Arch Chapter No.2557 in April 1987 and became a founder member of Oriental Royal Arch Chapter No.9371 in 2005. He occupied the chair of Most Excellent, in Temperance Royal Arch Chapter, in 1996 and again in 2008 and has served as the Director of Ceremonies in both Chapter since 2011. His service was acknowledged in Provincial Grand Chapter when he was appointed to the acting rank of Provincial First Assistant Grand Sojourner in 2002, receiving subsequent promotions to Third Provincial Grand Principal in 2008 and then Second Provincial Grand Principal in 2009. He was then subsequently acknowledged in Supreme Grand Chapter when he was appointed to the grand rank of Past Grand Standard Bearer.

Away from Freemasonry Barry still sits as a Judge, something he has done for 31 years. I retired as a solicitor after 50 years in practice and now concentrates his time as am Trustee of various charities including The Tyne Theatre, The Children’s Foundation and Adoption Matters, as well as the President of the North East Council on Addictions. He was the President of the Newcastle Law Society in 2000, and continues to act as an interviewer and assessor for the National Law Society.

He was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Tyne and Wear in 2002, and was awarded the Freedom of the City of London in 2018. In 2008 he was awarded the OBE for ‘services to business and the community in Newcastle upon Tyne’.

Barry’s connection to the Chinese community commenced during his early days in practice from 1971, when his office in Pilgrim Street was directly opposite the Blue Sky Chinese Restaurant, then one of only four Chinese Restaurants in the city. He became solicitor and friend of many Chinese people setting up restaurants and takeaways, as well as advising and assisting with immigration and citizenship problems. He had many clients setting up restaurants in the then new Chinatown in Stowell Street and in the 1990’s he was a Director on the Board of the Graingertown Partnership, and able to direct focus on acquiring the Imperial Chinese Arch, helping raise the funds which brought it into existence. For his dedication to this cause his name is on the Arch in both English and Chinese. He also assisted the community in recovering compensation from the Government when there were incorrect accusations regarding the foot and mouth outbreak.

Additionally Barry has been an Honorary Chair of the North East Chinese Association for many years and supports many initiatives to promote and benefit the Chinese Community, as well as Honorary Chair of the South Mountain Association for Chinese Older People.

Congratulations once again to Barry for all of his achievements both within, and without, Freemasonry.

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