Northumberland Freemasons today join together to congratulate E.Kt Stan Ashman on completing a fantastic fifty years of service to the Great Priory of the United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta
of England and Wales and its Provinces Overseas, otherwise known as the Knights Templar.
Friday 24th November saw a packed Fern Avenue Masonic Hall host the oldest Preceptory in the Province, Royal Kent No.20, and a special visit from V.H & R.E.Kt Andrew C Rainbow G.C.Y, Great Seneschal, who made the trek North to lead the celebrations.
Stan joined Freemasonry in December 1959, when he was initiated into Newcastle upon Tyne Royal Grammar School Lodge No.7463.He has occupied the Masters chair on three separate occasions in 1968, 1996 and 2005. He was acknowledged in Provincial Grand Lodge when he was appointed to the rank of Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 1979, receiving appointment in the United Grand Lodge of England, in 2006, to Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies.
His first foray into Orders beyond the Craft was when he joined Tristram Lodge of Mark Master Masons No 346 in December 1963. He opted not to take the Master’s Chair of his Mark Lodge, in part because the meetings of Tristram Mark were held the night after his Craft Lodge meeting and his wife did not enthusiastically embrace the idea of meetings on consecutive evenings. He remains committed to the Lodge and is now its longest serving member. Ten years ago he was presented with a Certificate marking 50 years of service to the Order and was given a field promotion to the rank of Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon by the then Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, Gordon Craigs. Next month he is due to be presented with another Certificate to mark 60 years of service to the Mark
He was Exalted into the Royal Arch Chapter in January 1964, when he joined Gosforth Royal Arch Chapter No.1664, occupying the First Principals chair in 2004 however, sadly, the Chapter was erased in 2012.
In Knights Templar, he was installed in Royal Kent Preceptory No.20 in November 1973 and served as Eminent Preceptor in 1985, receiving first appointed to Provincial Aide-de-Camp in 1986 and subsequent promotion to Provincial Herald in 1990.
He is also a longstanding member of the Ancient & Accepted Rite 33o, having been perfected in a Chapter down in London with his friend, the late WBro Alan Hodgson Smith. Subsequently joining the St Alban’s at Earsdon Chapter Rose Croix No 861, Stan acted as Most Wise Sovereign in 2009, and holds the 32o in the Order.
Stan was born on 26th December 1932, meaning he has now embarked on his tenth decade of life and, as a young lad, attended the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle upon Tyne, then exclusively a male school, between 1941 and 1952, still maintaining very close links with his “alma mater” as one of the longest serving “old boys”.
He subsequently went to medical school in Newcastle and, having qualified as a doctor in 1959, spent his professional life as a General Practitioner in what was considered to be the “Harley Street” of Newcastle, Heaton Road Surgery. After 56 years of working for the NHS, he eventually relinquished his stethoscope, and his registration with the General Medical Council, in 2015.
He currently lives in Darras Hall with his wife of over 60 years, Dorothy, and have two children, Angus, a solicitor in Newcastle, and Cheryl, who lives and works in London.
Everyone in Northumberland Freemasons sends their best wishes to Stan for his many years of service and that he has many more happy years in the organisation.