Former Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro. Brian Denton celebrated 50 years in Freemasonry with a unique presentation at Purcell Lodge No. 4236 in Blyth, on Saturday 20th January.
Brian, who for many years led the Provincial Support Team and the Northumberland Demonstration Team, received his certificate from his friend WBro. Peter Younger PPJGW at the Masonic Hall in Beaconsfield Street, Blyth. While leading the demonstration team, he performed ritual all over England, Scotland and Wales. In doing so, the team raised £7,102 towards Northumberland’s Festival 2021.
Born in 1951, he was initiated on 19th June 1973 in Lodge of Concord No. 6723. Brian served as Worshipful Master in Perfect Ashlar No. 7966 in 1999 and John Stephenson Lecture No. 9571 in 2001, then Purcell Lodge in 2003 and 2015, Percy Lodge No. 1427 in 2009 and Northumbrian Masters No. 3477 in 2011. He has also served those lodges in many roles.
His first Provincial Craft rank came in 1993 as Past Provincial Assistant Grand Standard Bearer, being promoted in 1999 to Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works, then Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 2008, gaining a first Grand Rank in 2010 as Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies. He was appointed Assistant Provincial Grand Master in 2014 and awarded a Grand Rank promotion to Senior Grand Deacon in 2015. Brian became Senior Visiting Officer for Northumberland in 2018 and the Learning and Development Lead for the Craft and Royal Arch from 2019 to 2020.
He is currently a member of Northumberland’s only daylight lodge, Purcell Lodge No 4236, and Carville Chapter No 2497.
The presentation of his certificate was in three parts. Firstly, the Northumberland Demonstration Team paid their own tribute to Brian. Its Master, WBro. John O’Dowd detailed Brian’s “utmost dignity” in leading with the team. Secondly, WBro. John McNeil PAGDC, explained Brian’s involvement with the Provincial Support Team, which was formed to help struggling lodges.
Finally, WBro. Younger told of his friendship with Brian since meeting in 1996 and from 1999 their shared involvement in the support team. “When Brian was appointed to lead the support team, the use of action plans became a central tool for supporting lodges in our province to prolonged prosperity,” he said.
Turning to Brian’s appointment as APGM, Peter stated: “It is fair to say that Brian was the first of the ‘New Breed’ on our executive team and considered a bit of a masonic maverick, but rather than remaining muted he pushed an agenda that he strongly believed would enhance our Province and Freemasonry in general.”
Peter added: “Mind you, Brian isn’t brilliant at everything. Brian adopted the Eric Morecambe masonic book of ritual in which he would say all the right words, but not necessarily in the right order, which is why Purcell Lodge were much relieved when he took the role of Secretary.”
In conclusion, before presenting the 50-year certificate, Peter added: “In summary Brian, this Province owes you a huge debt of gratitude for the selfless dedication you have provided to Freemasonry, and the Province of Northumberland is in a much stronger position due to your commitment.”
In thanking everyone for the certificate, which he described as a milestone in his Masonic life, WBro. Denton, in a typically generous fashion, chose to dwell on the help he received from others, among them WBros. Younger and McNeil, who he described as his “Masonic rocks.” The past year has been a difficult one for Brian, who has been seriously ill and, unfortunately, his wife Patricia passed away on 4th September 2023.
At the festive board, the brethren of Purcell Lodge presented Brian with an engraved decanter to mark the occasion.