Brethren and guests of Monton Progress Lodge No 6361 attended Elm Bank Masonic Hall to celebrate 50 years in Freemasonry of John William Twemlow affectionally known as Jack. To honour the occasion Assistant Provincial Grand Master John Hutton was accompanied by grand officers Frank Wilkinson, Gordon Yates and Brian Everall along with the Eccles Group Chairman Dave Walmsley and group secretary Patrick Walsh.
The lodge being opened by John Brailsford (WM), John Hutton took his place seated next to Jack to give the brethren a résumé of Jack’s life. John began by saying that he had speaking to the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and telling him how pleased he was to be able to assist in this particular celebration and he asked John to convey his best wishes to Jack and to thank him for his loyal service to Freemasonry.
Jack was born to Louisa and John William Twemlow on 15 December 1927 in Salford, he has a younger sister Mary who is seven years his junior. It could be said that Jack comes from Royal stock. The name Twemlow is Anglo Norman and first reference came from Cheshire, where they held a family seat from very ancient times as Lords of the Manor of Hatherton. They are descendants of William Malbank, who was holder of the village of Hatherton at the time of the Doomsday Book in 1086, a census initiated by William the Conqueror after he conquered England in 1066. In fact the family has its own coat of arms.
In 1931 Jack started school at Godfrey Erman Church of England Junior School and went on to Winton Senior School leaving in 1941 to start work as an apprentice plumber. After five years as a plumber he was called up in 1946 to serve two years in the Royal Marines. After initial training he was awarded a medal for best recruit and went on to serve six months in Malta before being demobbed in 1948.
After he started boxing in 1942 at Trinity Lads Club in Eccles, Jack became a renowned boxer. He had his first fight in 1943 and in March 1944 he won the Northern Counties Championship. He turned professional and made his debut at Liverpool Stadium in July 1945. He continued boxing in the Marines and won the Royal Marines Welterweight Championship. In 1944 Joe Louis, the World Heavyweight Champion, was a guest at a tournament in Eccles in which Jack was on the same bill. Despite a promising career, after he was demobbed he decided that marriage and work were the better option.
Jack married Ethel in 1949 and has one son also called John born in 1951 and one daughter Anne born in 1953. They have four grandchildren John, William, Katie and Helen and have three great grandchildren, Evie, Henry, James and Isla Rose. Soon after marriage he left plumbing and formed a security company and worked in security until just a few years ago.
In 1959 Jack founded the 32nd Eccles Scout Group assisted by his wife Ethel, who looked after the cubs; together they made the 32nd the most successful group in Eccles. After retiring from scouting (compulsorily) at the age of 65 they were both were awarded the Silver Acorn for services to scouting. Sadly his wife, Ethel died in 2005 and since then Freemasonry has continued to play an important role in his life.
At the age of 38 Jack joined Freemasonry; he was initiated into Progress Lodge No 4016 on 14 April 1965. He attained the WM’s chair of that lodge in 1977, occupying the chair again in 1996 and in 2001. There have not been many years that Jack has not been in office and has always done something to contribute by explaining tracing boards, lectures, charges and is presently the lodge mentor, which he takes very seriously and is an office that he brings his Masonic knowledge and experience to support the brethren. In the craft he was awarded his first rank of PPrAGDC in October 1988, promoted in October 1997 to PPrSGD and then again in 2011 to PPrDGSuptWks.
Concluding his address John said: “Jack, you have extensive Masonic knowledge and have contributed enormously to Progress Lodges and Monton Progress Lodge, Eccles and District Group, this building, Elm Bank Masonic Hall, to the Province and to Masonry in general for which, we your friends here tonight and many others not present this evening, thank you most sincerely.” John then asked David Walmsley to read the 50 year certificate signed by the Provincial Grand Master to Jack, after which John presented it to him. John wished Jack continued good health and happiness on his Masonic journey.
John then thanked Jeff Livesey secretary of Monton Progress Lodge and Dave Walmsley, for their help in researching the records and to all of John’s many friends, especially Jack’s close friend Alec Donaldson who sadly was unable to attend, who have contributed to the wonderful celebration of a true Mason.
The brethren retired to continue with the celebrations at the festive board where there was much laughter and comradeship shared with this very popular and well respected Mason. Dave Walmsley proposed the toast to the grand officers and thanked them for their attendance on this prestigious occasion. He paid complements to John Hutton for his work in the lodge and congratulated him on his forthcoming promotion to PSGD.
John responded to the toast and said how much he had enjoyed the evening in the company of his colleagues from grand lodge and more especially in the company Jack and his many friends. He reciprocated by congratulating Dave Walmsley on his forthcoming appointment to PAGDC.
Dave then presented Jack with his 50 year lapel badge to which Jack said that he would wear with pride. Arthur Riley addressed Jack by reciting a wonderful and emotional poem that he had written on Jack’s behalf which received much accolade from the brethren. Jeff Livesey addressed Jack with thanks for his service to the lodge and recalled many happy times that he has shared with him. He then presented Jack with a silver salve on behalf of the lodge members in memory of this wonderful evening.
Jack responded by saying that his father was a great inspiration to him and had always instilled on him to be honest, trustworthy and maintain strict morals throughout his life. He said that he had never failed to heed those important tenets which had kept him in good stead and guided him in his life. He referred to his involvement in scouting and how this was an important part of his life which then led onto his Masonic career. He said that he had met many true and trusted friends in his Masonic career and continues to enjoy his Masonry to the full. Jack concluded by thanking everyone for sharing this celebration with him and for all the work that had been done in the preparation. He also thanked his friends from the Province of East Lancashire for coming to support him and especially to John Hutton for his presentation in the lodge.