A large contingent of companions and their guests attended the meeting of Atherton Chapter No 4488 at Leigh Masonic Hall in order to join in a very special celebration. The event in question was the anniversary marking David Scattergood’s achievement of 50 years as a Royal Arch Mason.
Leading the celebration, was Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Ian Cuerden whose request for entry into the chapter was announced by Neil MacSymons PrDGDC. On his entry, Ian was accompanied by the Leigh Group Chairman Len Hart, grand officer Malcolm Parr and acting Provincial grand officers Jonathon Heaton (group secretary) and Peter Ledder.
After being given a warm welcome by the three principals, Ian began his resumé of the celebrant’s achievements by saying: “Companions, the celebration of a 50th anniversary in Craft Freemasonry is an achievement which, although significant, is by no means rare. Considering the age profile of many of our members, to celebrate one’s golden jubilee in the Royal Arch takes the level of commitment onto an entirely different plane, bearing in mind that the recipient will have passed the first flush of youth (present company excepted) when exalted into the Order at a rather more advanced age than 21 years.”
He continued,” The companion whom we seek to honour, is a dedicated and committed Mason in every sense of the word. He is a worker, the like of which our Order depends upon, a deep thinker who always seeks to get it right and expects us all to aspire to his high standards. He is not merely here for the ride, full participation in whatever he does is his modus operandi. To find such a companion we need look no further than the scribe Ezra’s table in Atherton Chapter and perhaps, despite his protestations of unworthiness, I now request that David Harris Scattergood, this evening’s celebrant, should be placed in a suitable position on the floor of the chapter.”
A very detailed and humorous discourse was then given by Ian with reference to David’s early life, schooling and career. He started with David’s birth near Doncaster in 1937, to his parents Bill and Marie. His father was an industrial chemist working at the local colliery and this paternal profession had an influence on David later in his life as he graduated with honours from Leeds University with a BSc in fuel engineering.
His early appointment as an assistant manager at the Consett Steelworks in County Durham, saw him embark upon a professional career that would bring both professional success and pride. He was appointed Consett Works Fuel Engineer, a post he held until the plant eventually closed.
Ian suggested that at this juncture in his life, David had an ‘epiphany’ and travelled to the ‘right side of the Pennines’ to take up employment at the National Coal Board in Lowton as a fuel technologist. Sadly, the coal industry befell the same fate as the steel industry and David took redundancy and early retirement in 1992.
Touching on his domestic life, Ian noted that David had six children in total, two sons with his first wife, Edna and a further three sons and a daughter with his second wife, Jill.
Moving on to David’s Masonic career, Ian painted a picture which fully spanned the wide extent of David’s interest and commitment to the fraternity. Starting with his initiation in 1966 into Vulcan Lodge No 5757 in County Durham, becoming its WM in 1986 and noting his first Provincial appointment by that Province to PPrGPurs in due course. On moving to West Lancashire, David joined Atherton Lodge No 4488 and Mersey Valley Lodge of Installed Masters No 9057 and has been successively promoted for his sterling work and now holds the high Craft rank of PPrJGW.
His journey in the Royal Arch began in St Aidan Chapter No 4080 (Durham) in 1967, with him taking the first principal’s chair in 1992. On joining Atherton Chapter, following his relocation, David’s commitment had been amply demonstrated by the number of offices he has held to date. Not least his role as secretary for the past 15 years! His constant and reliable service has been recognised by the Province and he presently hold the very high rank of PPrGSN.
Ian continued by highlighting David’s commendable achievements in other Masonic Orders and also enumerated many other excellencies of character before closing his address by saying: “Thank you David Harris Scattergood for 50 years unstinting service and for being the great character you undoubtedly are. I now request that the Leigh Group Chairman Len Hart should read the citation honouring your achievement, that has been issued by the Grand Superintendent.”
Once this duty had been carried out, there was a surprise for David as a visiting companion David Barlow, himself a ‘Durhamite’ had a certificate and message of congratulations from the Grand Superintendent of the Province of Durham Norman Heaviside, which he then read out to the assembly.
Later at the festive board David, received another very pleasant surprise when David Barlow presented him with a print of a painting of the Consett Steelworks where he had spent so much of his early working life.