Members and guests of Monton Progress Lodge No 6361 turned out in force to enjoy the celebrations at Elm Bank Masonic Hall Eccles. They were there to pay tribute to David Walton for his 60 of years dedication he has given to Freemasonry. The principal guest on this special occasion was Assistant Provincial Grand Master John Hutton, accompanied by Eccles Group Chairman Dave Walmsley, group secretary Patrick Walsh, grand officers Tony Edden, Stuart Shae, Gordon Yates and acting officer Tom Fredrickson.
On this occasion David was seated in between John and Dave for his personal comfort. John began by saying: “The office of Assistant Provincial Grand Master carries a number of responsibilities and duties, but it also has a number of privileges and the prospect of being able to officiate at jubilee celebrations, is without doubt the best. Since I became a Freemason there has always been one meeting that I have never failed to enjoy, and it is of course a celebration of a Freemason’s long membership of the Craft or Royal Arch. Today that is sixty years and especially one who has been a friend for more than 40 years.”
John went on to say that he loves celebrations for many reasons but he thinks that the main one is that they reaffirm his faith in this wonderful organisation, where we respect age, the experience and wisdom that it brings. John said that David has reached a wonderful milestone on his Masonic journey and he can now add “Diamond Jubilee” into his portfolio. Gold is considered a precious metal and used to portray something special but diamond is better still.
Addressing the brethren John said that Freemasonry is an organisation that celebrates a long life and a long contribution to society. He endorsed that we are here to ensure that we continue to achieve these important aspects of our order. We live in a world where people seem ever more disrespectful of everything, so it’s a delight to attend Monton Progress Lodge to enjoy this celebration. He referred to 10 years ago when he attended the celebration of David’s 50th where the Provincial Grand Master Colin Penty Wright was in attendance.
John took David back in time to the year 1927. This was a year of great importance when the Germany economy collapsed, Trotsky was expelled from the Russian Communist Party, Charles Lindbergh made his first non-stop solo transatlantic flight, Duke Ellington had a hit with Creole Love Song, King George V was on the throne and most importantly, this was the year that Mrs Doris Walton gave birth to son called David.
David’s father, James A Walton PSGD Assistant Provincial Grand Master was responsible for the Eccles and District and the South Eastern Groups of lodges and chapters. David and his brother John had little choice but to follow in their father’s footsteps and they both took to Freemasonry like ducks to water.
At the age of 5 David went to school at North Manchester Preparatory School and following his evacuation during the war to his grandparents at Poulton-le-Fylde he went to Baines Grammar School at Poulton-le-Fylde. From there he went to The University of Manchester and gained a BSc in Technical Building and as a result of the war he graduated at the age of 19 being the youngest graduate in Manchester.
Following university David joined the family business David Walton & Co Ltd where together with his brother Tony were joint managing directors and their father was also a director.
In 1953 David married his lovely wife Suzanne at Eccles Wesley Church. David and Suzanne have two children, David Storry Walton and John Richard Walton. David is a solicitor and John a mechanical engineer. They also have three grandchildren.
David has a number of hobbies and interests including a long association with Monton Methodist Church where he was a member of the choir, Sunday school teacher and property steward. He was also a member of Eccles Studio Club and Manchester Art Club, a proficient artist who sold a number of paintings, one of which has been presented to ‘FRECKLES’ (Friends of Eccles Station) and now hangs in Smith’s Restaurant. He was also a member of Eccles Probus Club. His other hobbies are photography and cruise travelling to places like Russia, USA, Panama Canal as well as Europe and the Mediterranean. Theatre is another of his passions along with many concerts which he and Suzanne both enjoy to the full.
David was installed as master of Monton Lodge No 6361 in 1968 and received his first Provincial appointment in 1972 as PrJGW and was promoted to PPrJGW in 1974. Grand rank followed in 1976 when David travelled to London and was awarded PAGDC and 11 years later promoted to PJGD.
He has been a joining member of Lathom Lodge No 2229 since 1973 (which was known as the Grand Officers Lodge). He was master of Lathom Lodge in 2002, joining a group of masters which included most of the PrGM’s of this Province since 1887.
A year later he joined Setantia Lodge of Installed Masters No 7755 which meets at Preston and was in the chair of that lodge in 1994. Border Lodge of installed Masters No 9274 was consecrated in 1988 where he joined and continues today to be a member.
There are few who have served this Province as a warden of the Province, likewise very few have been Scribe Nehemiah of our Province. David has served in both important offices, which is an outstanding achievement.
In the Royal Arch, David has brought much credit to the Eccles Group when he was made Second Provincial Grand Principal of the Province of West Lancashire putting him into the club of exclusive companions like Trevor Evans, Rev Harrold Kirk Smith, Geoffrey Hirst, David Elliott, Rev Cannon Brian Oddy and William Dudley Aukland to name but a few. David has been a member of four chapters and has been through the chair of three of them. He is also a member of many other orders.
As a lifelong Methodist, David became the secretary of the Association of Methodist Freemasons in 1987 after the death of the founding secretary. The next nine years were spent in setting up and formulating an approach to the Methodist Conference for a review of the 1985 report with the assistance of the grand secretary. He was responsible for organising exhibitions and open days in various parts of the country.
At this point Dave Walmsley read the certificate which is an acknowledgement of the Province of West Lancashire’s great appreciation of David’s 60 years membership of the Craft and signed by the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and presented David with his certificate.
John concluded by saying: “Brother David you have had a very long and distinguished Masonic career. Thank you for allowing us all to share your evening and on behalf of our Provincial Grand Master James Anthony Harrison, our Group Chairman Dave Walmsley, myself and all the members of this your mother lodge and your many friends I would like to congratulate you and wish you continued good health and happiness.”
At the festive board David was joined by his many friends who had many accolades to share about his career in Freemasonry. Dave Walmsley in his toast to John Hutton thanked him for his contribution to such a memorable occasion and congratulated David on his outstanding achievement presenting him with his 60 year lapel badge on behalf of the group as a memento of his service to Freemasonry and memories of this happy occasion.
John Hutton responded by saying how pleased he was to be able to preside over such a special celebration and thanked the brethren for their support.
A lifelong friend of David’s Alan Brown proposed the toast to David having been members of the same
Tennis Club. David had supported Alan for many years proposing him into the craft and a number of other orders. Alan referred to a special meeting of the lodge many years ago when the then PrGM visited. The chair was occupied by David’s father James Walton and the warden’s chairs occupied by David and his brother Tony. Alan also spoke further of David’s dedicated service to the Methodist church and the various offices he had held.
At the conclusion David was presented with a suitably engraved silver salver from members of the lodge and a summons signed by all present.
David’s health did not permit him to respond so the response to toast was given by Geoff Sides, who was quite clear that every word he said was done so under the precise instructions of David. Geoff added that he was used to carrying out David’s instructions having been ADC when David was DC for a number of years. In the response he thanked John Hutton, Dave Walmsley, the officers and members of the lodge and in particular the secretary, Jeff Livesey and the visitors for making the occasion so memorable.