Diamond Celebrations For Don

29th December 2022

Congratulations, from everyone at Northumberland Freemasons, to W.Bro Donald Charlton on completing 60 years of uninterrupted service to the Craft.

Don joined Freemasonry in December 1962, when he was initiated into St Thomas Lodge No.5420, which meets at Maple Terrace Masonic Hall. He subsequently joined Lindis Lodge No.4690, in the Provincial Grand Lodge of Lincolnshire, in 1969, resigning in 1980 and then re-joining Northumberland Freemasons in 1980 when he became a member of Venture Lodge No.8198, which meets at Whitely Bay Masonic Hall.

He was acknowledged in Provincial Grand Lodge, in 1999, when he was appointed to the rank of Past Provincial Assistant Grand Registrar.

Away from Freemasonry Don commenced his working life as an office boy, on Newcastle Quayside, in 1951, progressing to the role of import and export clerk. In 1954 he served a two year period of National Service with the Royal Artillery where he attained the rank of Acting Sergeant and on demob Don continued in administration, within the shipping world, prior to moving to the National Coal Board where he worked in their Secretarial & Marketing Departments.

In the early 1960’s he joined the Trebor Group of companies where he rapidly progressed from a salesman to branch manager, requiring him to move to Boston in Lincolnshire. A further promotion in 1969 took him to Northampton, where he held a number of senior posts, finally as Southern Regional Sales Manager, covering an area between Northampton and Plymouth, including the Isle of Wight where he managed a team of ten sales managers and 200 sales personnel.

He returned to his native North East in 1979 where he once again progressed his business career with stints within both the public and private sectors, with his final years, prior to retirement as Managing Director of Star & Stobbs, who were leaders in their field as manufactures and wholesalers of confectionery and tobacco products.

During his years of employment Don always found time to volunteer in a number of different fields. He joined the Scouting movement in 1943 when he joined the Wolf Cubs at the age of 7, subsequently joining the Scouts in 1946, where he remained until his call-up to National Service. On demob he returned to Scouting, commencing his adult Scout career as an Assistant Scout Leader, subsequently becoming a Scout Leader and then a Group Scout Leader. He gained his Wood Badge and served at District and County level on a number of events and activities, including being on stage as a member of the Newcastle Gang Show.

On returning to the North East from his sojourn throughout the South of the country, he was persuaded to become an Executive Member of the 19th Tynemouth Sea Scouts, following which he was asked to take on the new appointment of Assistant District Commissioner for Scout Fellowship before becoming involved in the Public Relations Team for Northumberland’s International Camps. This subsequently led to his appointment as Assistant County Commissioner, Public Relations, and in 1987 Don was appointed as District Commissioner for Tynemouth, a position he held for almost a decade before taking on the appointment of Chairman of Northumberland County Scout Council.

Upon relinquishing this role in 2003 he was invited, and accepted, to become a Vice President of the County of Northumberland, however, It was not long before he was asked if he would return and take on the role of Chairman of his former District, Tynemouth, a position he held until standing down in June 2009.

Don has been involved with the Scout movement for over 50 years and, in recognition of his specially distinguished service, he was awarded the Silver Acorn in 1992 and, in recognition of further specially distinguished service to Scouting, the bar to the Silver-Acorn in 2002. In 2006 the Chief Scout awarded Don with the Silver Wolf, which is the highest Adult Award in the Scout Movement.

In addition to his magnificent service to Scouting, Don found time to serve as a committee member and acting chairman of the South Northampton Youth, Community & Adult Education Forum between 1976 and 1979.

These acts of Community Service being truly recognised in 2010 when Don was awarded an MBE by the then Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.

If you have a story, event or news item you would like to have published on the Provincial website, or social media, please get in touch with our Communications Team at news@northumberlandmasons.org.uk.