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Ray Celebrates 50 Years In Freemasonry
Monday 26th February saw the Assistant Provincial Grand Master; John David Watts make the journey into South Shields to the home of W Bro Raymond Harrison on his achieving 50 years continuous service in the Craft. Ray a sprightly looking 88 year old member of Heabrym Lodge 7201, having been unwell for some considerable time and awaiting a Heart Bypass operation soon, was unable to make the journey to the lodge regular meeting later that evening.
John accompanied by Phil Johnston, Immediate Past Master of the lodge were warmly welcomed by Ray who went on to explain that he had been Initiated into Burden Lodge No 3188 on the 15th February 1968 in the Province of Northumberland, Passed on the 11th April 1968 and Raised on the 15th of September of the same year.
As Worshipful Master in 1981 he recalled that the standards of ritual within the lodge were quite exceptional; noting that this was in no small part a result of the personnel dedication of his proposer Bob Noble. They met as colleagues at North Tyneside College of Further Education, (Formerly SENTEC) where Ray was a Lecturer in Physical Education Studies.
Along with John he reminisced on his early years within freemasonry and the tremendous respect he held for his proposer and long-time Mentor Bob who often would travel to his home to go through his ritual. On the 23rd March 2000 he joined Monkchester lodge No 5762 remaining a member for some fourteen years, however living in South Shields he became a regular face on the circuit in Hebburn and Jarrow, forging an affinity with Heabrym. When he began to restrict his driving in the evening he reluctantly decided that it was no longer feasibly to make the journey to Monkchester and became a joining member on the 26th January 2015 coinciding with their Annual Burns Night.
Ray now a widower has four daughters whom he takes great pride, all gone on to qualify in their Teaching and Nursing professions, whilst his son Keith after traveling throughout the world now resides in Thailand, returning to the UK recently to the delight of Ray allowing him to meet his granddaughter for the first time.
Ray a former exponent of the Marshall Arts, having competed in Judo at National Level and County Level Volley Ball, now contents himself with walks along the seafront and his daily outing to his favourite local hostelry for lunch at Cleadon.
Presenting Ray with his certificate John thanked him for his service to freemasonry, congratulated him on the achievement, finally wishing him many more healthy and happy years to enjoy it.
TLC Teddy Initiative……
“thank you Freemasons for the thousands of teddies donated to children’s casualty departments”
Community Support Grants…..
“The grant from Durham Freemasons has made an enormous difference to our service users”
Provincial Annual Meeting….
“The Provincial annual meeting is one of the highlights of my year, it’s great to meet everyone and support all those being rewarded for merit”….
“My husband would be so proud that you still contact me so many years after his death, thank you for remembering me”
“The Provincial annual meeting is one of the highlights of my year, it’s great to meet everyone and support all those being rewarded for merit”
The Royal Arch…..
“I feel that I have a much better understanding of the whole Masonic story after joining the Royal Arch”
What have you gained?
“I’ve made wonderful friendships with people from all walks of life who I wouldn’t otherwise have even met”
In respect to the TLC Teddy initiative
“A child patient copes with medical treatment so much better when they’ve been given a TLC teddy”
What Freemasonry has done for you?
“The teachings of the masonic ceremonies helped me to be a better father, better husband, better son and better neighbour”What Freemasonry has done for you
One of the best things I have ever done…
“Along with getting married, the birth of my children and Sunderland winning the FA Cup, becoming a Freemason is one of the best things I’ve ever done”