Posted by: derwentlodge | January 10, 2019

50 Year Membership WBro Thomas William David Railson

On Wednesday 19th December a large number of members and guests were delighted to gather to celebrate the outstanding achievement of Thomas William David Railson in reaching 50 years of continuous membership of Freemasonry. Numerous distinguished Brethren from across the Province joined with the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Michael Graham, to mark the enormous contribution that David has made towards Freemasonry across the Craft as well as a range of other orders.

After the Worshipful Master, Bob Bennie, had opened proceedings, and prior to the presentation of David’s 50th Certificate, the first business of the evening was to Initiate Mark O’Neill. After a faultless First Degree Ceremony the mood was then set to fast forward 50 years as Michael asked David join him on the floor of the Lodge to reflect upon some of the milestones and highlights of David’s Masonic experiences to date.

WBro T.W.David Railson with His 50 Year Certificate and WBro Michael Graham AsstProvGM (Right) WBro Bob Bennie WM and Bro Mark O’Neill Initiate

David was initiated in to Derwent Lodge on 18th December 1968, Passed on the 23rd March 1969 and raised on June 25th 1969. He was Installed as W.M. on the 26th October 1983. He then went on to explain that when he was 13 his father sadly died, and Derwent Lodge Freemasons, who knew his family, stepped up to support David and his mother in their time of need. With David’s Grandparents coming from High Spen, David also had local family connections that strengthened his bond to the Chopwell area. David explained that he felt completely at ease in the family of Freemasonry that he joined 50 Years ago at Derwent Lodge. He regards the Brethren as true salt of the earth people, both then and now. David recalled that of particular support and inspiration to him had been WBro John Campbell (Uncle Jack) who was a Past Master of Derwent Lodge in 1949.

David went on to share his vivid memories of his Initiation especially the terrible weather outside and the nerves that he felt which, despite his vast Masonic experience, he said were also present on this special night. He also clearly recalled being led by the Deacon and seeing his reflection in the mirror over the organ, which still serves to remind him of that evening 50 years ago to this day.

Michael then began to review David’s enormous contribution to Freemasonry over so many years. David became Worshipful Master of Derwent Lodge in 1983, where David said that he had always felt a ‘groundswell of fraternal support from the membership’, and he was also a founder member of Beamish Temple Lodge in 2006, becoming Worshipful Master in 2007. David was Exalted in September 1972, becoming First Principal in both 1987 and 1990, and also becoming a founder of Elevation Chapter in 1985.

In 1992, David was honoured in both the Craft and the Chapter as Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer and Chapter Provincial Deputy Grand Sword Bearer. In 1998, David then became Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies in the Royal Arch, taking over as Provincial Director of Ceremonies in 2001, a role that he performed for 9 years. That same year David was recognised by Supreme Grand Chapter when appointed Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies and in 2003, David’s talents were further recognised when he was appointed Past Assistant Grand Standard Bearer.

Michael then congratulated David on his extremely successful and high ranking Masonic career across a host of Masonic orders and including becoming Provincial Grand Master in the Masonic Order of Athelstan and the Provincial Grand Master in the Royal Order of Scotland.

David then shared with those assembled, several humorous anecdotes from his 30 years of service in the Newcastle City Police Service where he had made ‘wonderful friends’. He then went on to express his deep love and gratitude for their support that he felt towards his wife of 44 years, Christine, as well as to his 3 daughters and 6 grandchildren.

Michael then took the opportunity to congratulate David once again on behalf of all those in attendance and asked his Provincial DC, Derek Wake, to read the citation from the Provincial Grand Master, prior to formally presenting the certificate. The attending Brethren then showed their great appreciation for the commitment that David has shown to Derwent Lodge in particular and to Freemasonry in general over the last fifty years. David then took the opportunity to present Mark O’Neill, the new initiate with his own cufflinks to mark the beginning of Mark’s own Masonic journey.

WBro Coliin Urwin Presented W.Bro David Railson with Decanter & Glasses

At a Festive Board downstairs, WBro Colin Urwin gave the toast to David outlining the valuable work he has done in the offices he has held and was presented with an engraved decanter and glasses together with a bottle of whisky as well as a bouquet of flowers for his wife Christine as a mark of the Lodge’s appreciation of his long service. David then took the opportunity thank those present for their attendance and expressed his desire to continuing to serve Freemasonry and the Lodge in the future. Following the completion of the formalities a very enjoyable evening was had by all with many brethren socialising with friends and Lodge members long into the evening.


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