Today we turn our attentions to W.Bro Charles Mennim of Lord Warkworth Lodge No.1879, which meets at Amble Mosonic Hall, on reaching fifty years uninterupted service in Freemasonry.
Charles was initiated in May 1970, into All Saints Lodge No.4253, which was subsequently erased in March 1997. He is a current member of Northumbrian Masters Lodge No.3477, which meets at Fern Avenue Masonic Hall, and was a member of Heber Lodge No.6241. He has occupied the Masters chair in all of the Lodges that he has been a member of apart from All Saints Lodge, attaining the office of Senior Warden prior to its sad demise. In Provincial Grand Lodge he was appointed to the rank of Past Provincial Assistant Grand Registrar in 1998, being promoted in 2006 to the rank of Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer.
Charles was exalted into Seymour Bell Royal Arch Chapter No.3625 in September 1985, prior to resigning in 1992, and joining Lord Warkworth Chapter in 2012.
Charles was born in Byker in 1946, growing up with his brother Raymond. He is sadly a widower, after 49 years of marriage, and is the father to two sons and the grandfather to six grandchildren. He started work, serving his time as a tool maker, at Pearson Machine Tools, and joined the Royal Navy Reserve as a Stoker. He completed his Naval Trade Test at HMS Sultan,. and his leadership course at Royal Arthur, prior to sitting his Navy Fleet Board at Rosyth, passing it to become a Chief Engineer and Artificer. During his civilian working life Charles also worked at Kimberley Clark Paper Mill, on heavy plant and as a relief boiler man, and later at Zytronic, completing general maintenance and fabrication.
Charles remembers one memorable occasion during his 25 year service when he nearly drowned. He was the Gemini Driver, transporting squaddies and dogs to the ships being stopped and searcged, whilst on Northern Ireland patrol. Having finished a fire fighting exercise on board, action stations were sounded, and he went to his station aboard the Gemini. Readied to be lowered into the sea the after strops sheered and he was catapulted into the sea where he sank like a stone. He managed to remove the heavy knee length leather firefighting boots and came to the surface where he fully inflated his life jacket and waited to be picked up. When back on board the Coxon asked how he was to which he stated that he was OK but had lost his boots. The Coxon then about turned returning with a 126-charge sheet for loss of ships equipment. The Captain subsequently arrived and upon hearing this tore the sheet up and thanked Charles for not drowning as he had saved him a lot of paperwork.
Charles is also a qualified scuba diver with the British Sub Aqua Club, and earnt his pilots licence to fly a two seater light aircraft. He now enjoys his retirement and helping others.
Congratulations to Charles, from everyone at Northumberland Freemasons, on reaching the wonderful milestone of fifty years service and we wish him many more happy years to come.
Many thanks to W.Bros Charles Mennim and Paul McKay for the submission of this article.
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