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Stanhope Celebrates 50 Years with Malcolm


December 2018

On Wednesday December the 12 Stanhope Lodge 3520 opened its doors to welcome members and visitors as it has done since 19911. On this occasion it was also to celebrate the Golden celebration of Malcolm Maddison’s 50 anniversary as a member of Stanhope Lodge. The event was also attended by George Clark, Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master accompanied by his Director of Ceremonies, Nigel Farrell along with 60 guests and members.


The Lodge was opened in due form and George then proceeded to summarise Malcolm’s life and Masonic career, the words “This is your life “sprang to mind, which was as follows:


Malcolm was born on 14th December 1941 at Britton, Westgate.  When he was two years old his mother Esther. Father Ernest and older brothers, Lawrence and Roland, moved into Crowberry Farm, Westgate.  He went to school at Westgate. He was always popular at school because he was the only one who ever had sweets!   His early years were filled with fun and playing pranks with his school friends.  The vicar once caught him up the vicarage apple tree – his friends all having fled and left Malcolm to his fate.  No gardens in Westgate were safe.  Apples, plums, peas, gooseberries, strawberries, were all ripe for the picking.  They didn’t think that they were leaving a trail of pea-pods!   At school, the cane was always well used so Malcolm Nattress and Malcolm Maddison decided to push all canes they found, down a knot-hole in the floor boards.  The canes will still be there to this day. The school must have had a stock-pile because it wasn’t long before a new cane appeared.


He left school when he was 15 years old and went to Corbett Bros.  Wearhead as an apprentice mechanic. He travelled to work by bus or a scary ride on the back of a friend’s motor bike.  It was there that he met Wendy whom he married on 24th October 1964.


Malcolm was proposed into Stanhope Lodge by Oliver Humble and seconded by Wendy’s father, Robert Emerson, who unfortunately died in April 1969, the same year that Malcolm’s daughter, Ashleigh, was born.  Malcolm also worked on his father’s farm, as all farmers’ families did. Originally he worked with horses but eventually tractors came on the scene.  Being a mechanic made him invaluable on the farm.


Malcolm left Corbett Bros. in October 1964 to work for Weardale District Council, as a JCB driver.  He was involved when they built the estate in Stanhope, Bond Isle Way, His next job in March 1965 was at A.P.C.M. at Eastgate, as a wagon driver.   By then both Malcolm and Wendy had 2 jobs each and eventually bought Middle Burnt Hills Farm and the adjoining Low Burnt Hills Farm.  At this point, Malcolm left A.P.C.M to farm and carry out plumbing work, being an agent for ESSE cookers.


In 1987, Malcolm and his family moved to Sunderland Cleugh, Eastgate, where they still live today.


Malcolm’s life was always full of energy and enthusiasm though that has also brought some pit-falls.  He seemed a bit accident prone suffering various accidents – a tractor experience resulted in splitting his eyelid in two, scaring his work-mates into thinking he had lost an eye:   he broke an ankle really badly from a motor-bike accident where he turned a corner and ended up in the back of a cattle trailer :    He climbed a ladder that slipped and he fell on a horse, the horse being a concrete garden ornament where one ear punched through his cheek and the other up through the bottom of his jaw.  The jaw of course, was broken as well:   Working in a pit, on a car, the electric grinder jammed and spun round, splitting his forehead and eyebrow, another hospital job!


Malcolm has always had a wicked sense of humour that, his wife says, will one day, end up with him being punched.  He’s forever pulling people’s legs.


Yes, Malcolm’s life has been colourful but at 77 years old, he is still as enthusiastic as ever in his home life and as a Freemason which he joined at Stanhope in 1968. His Masonic career is truly extensive and is as follows:


After progressing through the various offices he became Master 12/10/1988 and progressed to ASS. Director of Ceremonies and in 2009 became Treasurer, a position which he still holds. After joining Hudson Lodge 2791 he quickly progressed through the offices and became Master in 2012.


In recognition of his service Malcolm was awarded Past Provincial Grand Deacon in 1996 and in 2011 was again promoted to the rank of Past Provincial Grand 1997 Malcolm was exalted into Hudson Chapter and progressed to being Most Excellent Zerubbabel in 1996.


Again, in recognition of his work and commitment in 2001 Malcolm was awarded the rank of Past Provincial Grand Sojourner and in 2008 he was further promoted to Past Provincial Grand Scribe N.


Over the years he has joined several Lodges and has shown integrity, had high principles and proved to be a valued and loyal member in all of them. Stanhope Mark Master Masons, Stanhope Elevation, Stanhope Royal Arch Mariners and Weardale Rose Croix.


A truly remarkable Masonic career.


At Stanhope, he was handed the DIY jobs that Geoff Wilkinson and Alec Anderson had done previously.  Between the three of them, Stanhope Lodge had no need of a tradesman other than to carry out major structural work.  He was even called on by a lady chef/caretaker to go down to set a mouse trap!    Malcolm has always been proud to be a member of the Freemasons and members have said that Malcolm, with his many talents and being so versatile, carried out jobs varying from electrician, plumber, fixing leaks, broken tiles, rotting windows and the like and being resourceful, could improvise like a pro.  He was never stuck in solving a problem at no expense to the Lodge – like his predecessor.


Following the presentation of the citation the Lodge was closed and all retired to a welcome festive board provided by Malcolm. The Lodge then presented him with a celebration gift and in summing up Malcolm remembered that hid dog knew more ritual than he did and how he had been told that he would be riding, the goat”. George, in conclusion, said,” Masonry has been good for you and you have been good for Masonry”.


Many brethren remained after the closure of the Festive board to chat and reminisce over friendships and past times.


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