Byker Masonic Hall recently played host to the first meeting, in three years, of the District of Northumberland Rose Croix, also known as the Ancient and Accepted Rite.
The assembled members were honoured by the presence of the Supreme Council Grand Treasurer General – Holy Empire, M.Ill.Bro John Boyington 33° CBE, who had attended to present a, rarely awarded, Meritorious Service Jewel, to E&P. Bro James Fox Brown, to reflect the high regard with which he is held by the members of his Chapter, the Inspector General of the District, V.Ill.Bro Stephen Read 33°, and the Supreme Council 33°.
James was initiated into Freemasonry, into Cramlington Lodge No.4196, which meets at Cramlington Masonic Hall, in March 1975, subsequently resigning in 1985 and joining Belvedere Lodge No.6558, which meets at Whitley Bay Masonic Hall, in the same year. He has never taken the Chair of Master, however, over the years has held the offices of Charity Steward since 1995 and Tyler since 2010.
He was Exalted into Cramlington Royal Arch Chapter No.4196, joined Chantry Chapter No.6669 in 1983, which was subsequently Erased, and then joined Napier Clavering Chapter No2821 in 2013. He has held the office of Janitor, in the Chapter, firstly on Chantry Chapter from 2010 and then in Napier Clavering Royal Arch Chapter since 2013.
His relationship with the Ancient and Accepted Rite began when he was Perfected in St Oswald Chapter No 300 in 2005. His devotion to the Chapter has ensured that it has overcome many challenges, especially when Bro Arthur Ramsay, the Outer Guard’s, health failed in 2011 and James immediately stood in and then succeeded him when he died. He continues to hold this important office and due to the time, effort and care he puts into setting up and serving the Chapter meetings in Whitley Bay, successive Sovereigns and members have continued to entrust these duties to him.
He was a member of the original ‘gang of four’ which pioneered the Teddies for Loving Care scheme into Northumberland and, for a number of years, has submitted designs for greetings cards to the manufacturer Hallmark which, when accepted, he has then donated the significant proceeds to charity in the name of the Lodge. In 1997 he was appointed a director of the Whitley Bay Masonic Hall Company, being elected Vice Chairman in 2000 and then Chairman from 2002 until retiring as a director in 2009.
Unfortunately, due to ill health, James was unable to attend the meeting so M.Ill.Bro John delayed his return journey, for the purpose of making the presentation at the James’ home.
By a twist of fate, M.Ill.Bro John Boyington is also V.W.Bro John Boyington, Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Yorkshire West Ridings and the Chairman of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institition. At our Festival Celebration Ball last October V.W.Bro. John, in his capacity as Chairman of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institute, was scheduled to attend in order to announce the Festival Total. Unfortunately, two days prior to the event he caught Covid and was unable to attend. Had he been able to attend he would have been presented with a painting of Lindisfarne Castle by Michael Scott, a member of Halystane Chapter Rose Croix No 366 and Lord Warkworth Lodge No 1879. R.W.Bro Ian Craigs, who was a guest of the District at the luncheon after the meeting to receive a cheque in favour of the Northumberland Masonic Charitable Association, took the opportunity to present the painting to a very surprised, but equally delighted John.
Are you a member of the Craft and interested in joining the Rose Croix? Make contact with the District Recorder, Ill.Bro Barry Whitaker, at email@example.com, who can assist you with your enquiry.
Many thanks go to V.Ill.Bro Stephen Read and W.Bros. Stuart Cairns and Colin Lonie for the submission of this article.
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