Members of Emblem Lodge No 6727 and friends of George Holden filled the lodge room at Blackpool Masonic Hall to celebrate George having attained 50 years in Freemasonry. George was initiated into Emblem Lodge on Friday 6 March 1970.
Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Randerson was pleased to give the presentation on George’s life with assistance from Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Jason Dell. The Blackpool Group Chairman John Turpin, grand officers Ian Robertson, Geoff Pritchard, Ted Rhodes and acting Provincial grand lodge officers Jim Gregson, Alan Barnes and Roy James also attended the celebration meeting.
The meeting was opened by the WM Richard Olley, who conducted the general business of the lodge. On a report, Jason Dell announced that David Randerson demanded admission. Richard welcomed David to Emblem Lodge, offering him the gavel which he graciously accepted.
Thanking the brethren for attending, David explained that the purpose of the meeting was to celebrate the life and career of George as a Freemason over the past 50 years. David thanked the brethren for their support and attendance on such an auspicious occasion, saying that it was a truly remarkable achievement and a testament to George’s popularity that the lodge room was filled with his Masonic friends and colleagues and adding that George was evidently delighted that all were there to help him celebrate. Having set the scene for his early life, David requested Jason to place George in front of him so that he may continue the presentation.
After ensuring that George was sitting comfortably, David began an entertaining presentation on George’s personal life, work career and Masonic achievements.
George was born in 1944, his parents owning a hotel in the resort where his mother played the piano to entertain the guests. When he was old enough, George took music lessons and enjoyed playing the piano with his mother. Completing his education in Blackpool he eventually moved away to become a teacher.
After getting married, George returned to Blackpool, gaining employment as a youth worker. During his time as a youth worker he became involved with the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and was invited to St James’ Palace to present some awards on behalf of HRH Prince Philip. After eventually retiring, George became involved with voluntary work in Blackpool.
George’s love of music is well known and a few years ago he was introduced to the Fylde Ukulele Network or ‘FUN’ for short. He immediately fell in love with it and started to learn the ukulele and he enjoys playing it with the other group members whenever he is able.
Sadly, George’s first marriage did not survive, but being the optimist that he is, he married again in 1990 and remains happily married to this day.
George joined Freemasonry in 1970, working through the various offices of the lodge and becoming WM of Emblem Lodge in 1984. After his year as immediate past master, George was looking for a role in the lodge and with the retirement of the resident organist he was asked to play the organ at meetings. Being trained as a pianist he had to buy an organ to practise on. The rest as they say is history. The organist’s chair was firmly his and it is the one that George has made his very own.
George’s hard work at the keyboard around the group was recognised with an appointment to Provincial Grand Lodge and further promotion followed, eventually being honoured with the very high rank of Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden. George once said that he never had any great desire for rank but just to enjoy his Masonry, which he certainly has.
At the conclusion of the presentation, David asked the group chairman John Turpin to read the commemorative certificate signed by the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. David then presented George with his certificate, thanking him for all the work he has done for Freemasonry and the community; wishing him good health and happiness for the future.
After being escorted back to his place in the lodge, group secretary Steve Jelly had the pleasant duty of presenting George with a lapel badge commemorating his 50 years in Freemasonry.
Following the meeting the brethren retired to the festive board, at which George responded to the toast to his health regaling the guests about the events and loves of his life that David Randerson dared not to mention.
The evening ended with the final toast of the evening given by the tyler.
Article and photographs by Gordon Ivett.