Congratulations to E.Comp Joseph Ian Forster of Albert Edward Royal Arch Chapter No. 1557, on attaining a very impressive sixty years of uninterrupted service to the Royal Arch Chapter.
Ian was exalted into Belted Will Royal Arch Chapter No.3189, in the Province of Cumberland & Westmorland, in February 1960, resigning in 1986 and subsequently joining Albert Edward Royal Arch Chapter also in 1986. During his time in the Chapter he has occupied the offices of First Assistant Sojourner, Principle Sojourner and Third Principle.
He was initiated into Freemasonry in May 1956, an impressive 66 years ago, into Haltwhistle Lodge No.5090, and has occupied the Chair of Master on a magnificent five separate occasions. He currently holds the office of Assistant Director of Ceremonies, which he has held since 2017 and was honoured for his dedication to the Craft, when he was appointed to the rank of Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon, in Provincial Grand Lodge, in 1981, being subsequently promoted to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 1989 and finally to the rarely seen rank of Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden in 2005.
Upon leaving school Ian served an apprenticeship as a coach builder in Carlisle and, on turning twenty one, he was conscripted to undertake National Service, serving two years with the Royal Air Force. After the two years he returned to coach building and, after about a year and a half, applied for a job, with Rolls Royce as a joiner cabinet maker, at a new rocket testing site that was being built near to the village where he lived on the Northumberland/Cumbria border.
After fourteen and a half years, funding was stopped and everyone was made redundant, however, the government stepped in and decided to move a military testing base on to the site. Ian was fortunate to get a job with a property services agency who looked after all government sites and buildings, and after a couple of promotions, moving about the district, he arrived back to where he had started as Clerk of Works looking after site, which was now a Royal Air Force base, finally retiring in 1994.
On retirement, having been a hobby for many years, Ian decided to spend more time turning wood and, having been a member of a couple of clubs, he started demonstrating his skills to assist others who were just starting out. This provided him with a wonderful retirement as he met with, and made, many friends, but alas, as the years roll on, he is now in his second, and final, retirement.
Many thanks go to E.Comp Barrie Mellars and Comp Ian Forster for the submission of this article.
Congratulations to Ian, from Northumberland Freemasons on his magnificent, and rarely seen, achievement. We all wish you well for the future.
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