The Lebanese-American writer, poet and visual artist, Kahlil Gibran, wrote the poem “On Joy And Sorrow” during which he summarised that joy and sorrow are inseparable. They are two sides of the same thing and complement one another. That which brings joy also brings sorrow. The deeper one’s capacity to experience joy, the deeper the capacity to experience sorrow. One emotion is not greater than the other. Both are equally present in life, balanced like scales: one rising as the other falls. How apt this analogy was for the last ever meeting of Bon Accord Lodge No.8252 which, up until 18th November 2021, met at Bedlington Masonic Hall.
On the same evening when the sorrow for the sad demise of the Lodge was evident, there was deep joy and celebration for W.Bro. Ronald Lisle, who had completed fifty years of uninterrupted service in the Craft.
Ronald was initiated into Freemasonry in April 1970, into Bon Accord Lodge, and was Master in 1978. He has kept the books of the Lodge as Treasurer since 2010 and been Almoner since 2014. He was appointed in Provincial Grand Lodge, in 1987, to the rank of Past Provincial Deputy Grand Registrar, and subsequently promoted to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 1994.
He was Exalted into St Cuthbert Royal Arch Chapter No.1902, in June 1971, becoming Most Excellent in 1994. In 1999 he received recognition in Provincial Grand Chapter when he was appointed to the rank of Past Provincial Assistant Grand Sojourner, receiving further preferment when he was promoted to Past Provincial Grand Registrar in 2006. He subsequently proffered his resignation of the order in 2019.
Ronald was born and bred at South Newsham near Blyth, leaving senior school in Blyth and taking a local apprenticeship. In 1959, at the age of 21, he was conscripted for National Service, in Germany, with the army. He left the Army in 1961 and married his fiance, Edna, on 27th May of the same year. He moved to Cramlington in 1967 and has two children; Christine, who lives in Coventry with four grown up children, works in admin at primary school: and Phillip, who lives in Sydney Australia with three children, works as an IT consultant for a Bank
He progressed up the ladder in the construction industry to the position of Senior Site Manager, with local company Bowey Construction, finally retiring in 2001 aged 62, after 32 years with them. Since retiring Ronald and Edna have been tracing their family trees and volunteering in local history projects with Family History Societies and Local Authorities
Congratulations from all at Northumberland Freemasons, to Ronald, on his fantastic achievement in Bon Accord Lodge.
Bon Accord Lodge was consecrated on 30 October 1968, at Newcastle East Masonic Temple at Headlam Street by the Provincial Grand Master, J M S Coates and his team of Officers. At that meeting the Lodge Banner, designed by Bro. E. Fitzpatrick, was also unveiled and dedicated. There were also eleven Joining Members proposed, and six candidates for Initiation.
It was the ‘daughter’ Lodge of three other Lodges which met at the Bedlington Masonic Hall and most of the initial Founders came from Eadwine Lodge No. 4398. When the Petition for the new Lodge was submitted, the number of Founders was settled at eighteen.
A suggestion that the Lodge be named after the Earl of Scarborough, who was then the Grand Master of the Craft, was immediately rejected on the grounds that it was not the usual custom to name Lodges after living personages, and after some discussion the name ‘Bon Accord’ was agreed upon which means either ‘Good Agreement’ or ‘Happy to Meet’. The latter makes more sense, in a Masonic context, if one remembers that part of the Tyler’s Toast, which is sometimes rendered, is ‘Happy to Meet, Sorry to Part; Happy to Meet Again….’.
From its earliest days, the Lodge had very close links with the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institute Homes at Scarborough Court in Cramlington, indeed, one of the Founders, W.Bro, G Redpath was a resident there. The link with Scarborough Court was made more permanent with the Lodge agreeing to hold a meeting at least once a year by inviting Masonic residents to confer the Third Degree at one meeting each year. Some of those meeting consequently were held, by Dispensation, at the Court itself. One special feature of those meetings was that a distinguished Brother be invited to occupy the Master’s Chair for that special meeting; and these have included several Provincial Grand Masters and their Deputies and Assistants. This practice was later changed, due to the age and infirmity of some residents, to a normal meeting of the Lodge.
In October 1993, the Lodge celebrated its 25th Anniversary, and also its 50th Anniversary in November 2018, however, it[s now time to say goodbye old friend. Happy to Meet, Sorry to Part; Happy to Meet Again.
Many thanks to W.Bros Ian Brown, the Provincial Historian and Librarian, and Robert Lisle and Ronald Lisle, both of Bon Accord Lodge, for the submission of this article.
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