George bids farewell to Harthill, or so he thought….

George Samuel Hudson attended what he thought was to be his last meeting at Harthill Lodge No 8443 after some 42 years, however, the brethren of Harthill had other ideas. Due to the failing health of his wife Eileen and George’s need for help in her care, they have taken the decision to move to Rutland to be closer to their daughter.

George Samuel Hudson.

George Samuel Hudson.

It was therefore expected to be a rather sad last meeting for all, but after some discussion and a little subterfuge plans were hatched to make it a happy and memorable evening and to ensure his continued membership within the lodge.

After opening the meeting and dealing with the official business of the evening WM Ken Jones called for George to be placed before him, the look of surprise on George’s face was a joy to behold.

Ken then delivered a eulogy of George’s 42 years of service to the lodge saying: “George was initiated into our mother lodge Princess Park in April 1969, a year in which Everton won the league for the seventh time! Concord took its first flight and, as no doubt, golf loving George already knows, the 33rd Masters was won by George Archer.

But he had the good sense to become our first joining member on 15 March 1973. In this year amongst other events was the Summerland fire disaster, Ryan Giggs was born and Liverpool won both the league and EUFA cups. Since then and for some 42 years he has been an integral part of Harthill Lodge.

George was joining a lodge in its infancy, indeed Harthill was but a year old. But he was joining many friends as well as relatives in Harry McCombe and Tom Burt both of whom were founding members of the lodge, and in March of 1974 by Reg Dunscombe.

At the installation meeting of the following year George received his first office within the lodge when he was appointed, along with founder members Ken Klosser and Alan Hackwood, as one of five stewards In fact George has held an office within the lodge for 40 of those 42 years.

George progressed over the next eight years through the various offices before being installed as WM for the first time in 1982. George’s team for that year included as SW Don Redman and JW Jim Walker, it also included a young Mike Pugh as SD and an even younger Ken Bullen as JD. During the year he initiated and passed Wally Baker and Ian McKay and raised Tom Bordessa and Tony Brown.

Ken Bullen tells a story of that year of him being a very proud JD and missing a second degree ceremony as he had managed to confuse himself with the dates. The day after the meeting, a very concerned WM rang Ken to enquire after his health and, on being told by Ken of his stupidity, George just laughed and said don’t worry, we all make mistakes, so typical of the man.

It is also due to George’s tenacity and commitment that Jim Gwyther rejoined the lodge in September 1992 and no doubt Jim would be only too willing to endorse the role George has played in his Masonic career. Les Brooks would be the first to extol the virtues of George’s golfing ability whilst at the same time questioning his handicap, the term “bandit” being well applied!

Following his year in the chair he served as IPM to Don Redman, then for seven years George was secretary of the lodge. In 1994 Bob Poynton asked George to take on the office of DC an office he served for both Alan Perris and Rob Garner in the following two years.

George is pictured with Ken.

George is pictured with Ken.

Then in 1997 George became group representative and for over 19 years has remained so, until giving up the role in March of this year. If George is in any doubt as to the esteem in which he is held within the Garston Group, then he need only consider why group chairman Howard Griffiths, vice chairman Ken Bradley and secretary John Murphy attended the meeting to show their respect for George.

In 1999 George took the office of assistant secretary and in 2000 due to an emergency, stepped in as SW. Then in 2001 for the second time, George took the chair of the lodge, when he proved he had lost none of his expertise in delivering an excellent ceremony and managing the lodge with his usual steady hand, including the initiation of Peter Sinclair.

Since 2001 George has served as IPM, Tyler, ADC, JD, SD and for the past four years, as DC.

In May 1990 George was rightly honoured by the then Provincial Grand Master when he was appointed PPrSGD and eight years later was promoted to his current office of PPrJGW an honour richly deserved.”

Ken concluded by saying: “George, we all hope that you take forever to sell your home in Ormskirk and so delay your move down to Rutland. But for now at least, we would like you to accept a small token of our thanks for your friendship, help and wise council. On an accompanying the certificate you will find the names of the brethren who have contributed to this gift and, you will see that the names of the ladies of the lodge at their insistence, have also been included”.

Prior to retaking his seat George then thanked everyone concerned and expressed how humbled he felt by such a eulogy. No doubt he felt the evening complete. However, unknown to him, due to the fact that he had somehow failed to receive a copy of the summons, the next business of the evening was a ballot to elect him as an honorary member and so ensure his continued membership of a lodge he has served with dedication and distinction for so many years.

Howard was delighted to express the view that the evenings events were a fitting tribute to George and he added his own thanks to him for the many years of service not just as the lodge but also the group bowls representative.

The festive board was a joyous occasion and one that will be long remembered, not just by George, but all those fortunate to have attended.

Pictured from left to right, are: John Murphy, Ken Bradley, George and Howard Griffiths.

Pictured from left to right, are: John Murphy, Ken Bradley, George and Howard Griffiths.