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Jewel in the crown


May 2017

The regular meeting for Hugh De Pudsey lodge, who meet in Darlington, which was held on the 15th of May was a celebration of a milestone achievement for Gordon Toft.  A full Team visit was led by the Provincial Grand Master, Norman Eric Heaviside, which meant that he was accompanied by a goodly number of Grand officers and the acting officers within the province who paraded into the meeting shortly after opening.  After a warm welcome into the lodge Eric invited Gordon to join him in the East.  Eric addressed Gordon and the brethren in attendance and with no hesitation made remark to Gordon’s wonderful achievement in maintaining continuous membership into craft freemasonry for the last 60 years.

Eric conversed with Gordon at the front of the lodge about his experiences inside and outside of freemasonry. Gordon was initiated into Hugh De Pudsey on 20/05/1957, passed on 02/10/1957 and raised in the January of 1958.  Gordon became the worshipful master of the lodge in 1957.  Gordon advised everybody that he has thoroughly enjoyed his freemasonry over the years and recalls membership of the lodge being particularly stronger with over 80 members back when he joined.  Gordon was appointed PPAGDC in 1986, promoted to PPGSwdB in 2004 and then further promoted to PPJGW in 2016.  Gordon is also a member of Saint Cecilia lodge which he joined in 1999.  Eric informed the brethren that Gordon has made great contributions to the musical world.  Gordon advised that has been very fortunate to have been blessed with a voice which he has enjoyed using to entertain people around the province.

Gordon completed his national service where he then went on to teach engineering, working in and around Darlington, where he eventually took a regional manager role in the same field until he retired. Gordon was a boy soprano a the age of ten and took up singing seriously after his national service where he was taught as a tenor by another tenor, Robert Naylor.  Gordon auditioned at the Spa in Harrogate where he went on to sing at various concerts and festival gardens around the Harrogate district.  Gordon confirmed he met his wife, Barbara, through singing and they both used to very much enjoy singing together at ladies evenings.  Gordon also joined an operatic society in County Durham and has also sang at the Cathedral where he was the tenor lead.  Not only has Gordon sang regularly at lodges and masonic evenings around the province, he has also sang at working men’s clubs too over the years.  Gordon recalled where he was once in a working men’s club, singing to the ladies in the audience, where he eventually addressed everyone to say how much he enjoyed being there singing for the first time.  A man in the audience who was sat near the front swiftly spoke out and said “it’ll be your last”!  Eric summarised that Gordon has entertained thousands of people across the years with his love of music and that it has been a privilege to have known him and to be able to present the certificate.  Eric wasn’t going to give away Gordon’s age but Gordon was happy to inform the brethren he is 88 years young.  Eric wished Gordon many more happy years to enjoy freemasonry and Gordon thanked Eric and the brethren confirming it was an honour to receive it.  Before the meeting concluded upstairs the worshipful master, Charles Lymer, presented Eric with a cheque for £100 towards the 2021 festival on behalf of the lodge.

The brethren celebrated Gordon’s achievement and enjoyed a delicious meal and each others company at the festive board. Eric responded to his toast and thanked the lodge for the cheque towards the festival and confirmed the lodge is over 50% of their target.  He also reminded the brethren and encourage attendance to the Tercentenary dedication at Durham Cathedral which is coming up and also the September quarterly communication at Grand Lodge.  Before sitting down Eric emphasised to the brethren that it was an absolute pleasure and a privilege to be there.

The Senior Warden proposed a toast to Gordon and made a sincere statement advising that the brethren consider him to be the “jewel in the crown” for Hugh De Pudsey lodge, looked up to by many, and held in such high regard. The brethren are proud that his is a member of the lodge and wished him continued success.  Gordon was also presented with his own certificate on behalf of Hugh De Pudsey lodge to commemorate the occasion.  Before the evening concluded Gordon had arranged mass of harmony which included songs which were sang by Dennis Robinson, Tom Whitfield and also the Durham Masonic Choir, which brought an end to a very enjoyable evening had by all.

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