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Master Butcher


December 2018

1968 saw momentous occasions such as the debut of the Ford Escort at the Brussels motor show, Nissan started to import the Datsun Cherry, and whilst Manchester City winning Division One seems hardly noteworthy these days, 1968 was of particular note in the life of Ron Noble as this is the year that he became a freemason, being initiated in Queens Terrace, Gateshead.


Ronnie was proposed by George Bradshaw, a butcher wholesaler, although circumstances meant that George was unable to attend this or future meetings.  Thus Ronnie’s experience, when looking around after the blindfold was removed, is therefore somewhat unusual in that he did not actually recognise anyone in the room although one of the strengths of freemasonry is highlighted in how quickly that was put right and now, 50 years later, Ronnie knows everyone in that and so many other lodge rooms in Gateshead and beyond.


Ronnie attained the Chair of Saint Edmund’s Lodge in 1977, a memorable occasion with the overriding emotion being that of astounding himself at that achievement, matching so many illustrious brethren preceding his year at the helm.


He was not content to sit on his laurels though and became a joining member of Derwent Lodge, in his hometown of Chopwell, thus cementing his place in the community that his shop was based.  Ronnie became a stalwart of the lodge, steward and until recently Tyler, never missing a meeting in either of his lodges whilst lending a hand wherever he could, even helping to build the bar.


Ronnie remembers the ladies’ nights with some affection, his wife and him making particular efforts to attend, even in 6’ of snow.


He met Lily when only 16 and has enjoyed over 70 years of lovely memories with her and their daughter Linda and growing family of grandchildren following on, supporting Ronnie and Lily in the socials and other aspects of his freemasonry.


A butcher by trade, he moved up to Chopwell to open his own shop after learning his trade in the slaughterhouse at Consett, rising to the elevated and prominent station of Master Butcher and even being voted in as President of the Guild of Master Butchers thus managing to rise to the top of his trade as well as his lodge.


Ronnie managed his time between family, work and masonry well enough to fit in a few hobbies, including rally driving, hand-gliding and horse riding.


A good and keen handyman, Ronnie enjoys nothing better than taking something apart and putting it back together, sometimes even doing this to repair broken things!


Ronnie Noble has left a massive impression on hearts and minds of many masons in Gateshead and beyond, showing the true nature of dedication and giving whilst maintaining that healthy balance with family, work and play.


Ronnie concluded the presentation by the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Michael Graham, by thanking everyone for turning out in such numbers on this night of such pride to him.


The presentation over, the Worshipful Master gave a fine explanation of the 1stDegree tracing board.  This was a piece of work that he had not delivered for many a year but after a bit of swotting up demonstrated that time had not diminished the memory or skill necessary to put together and present such a volume of text.


Finally, Ronnie begged the indulgence of the brethren in order to present a cheque for the lodge to dispose of as it saw fit.  A truly generous donation from a true gentleman and freemason.



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