Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Ian Cuerden was delighted to attend Chapter of Faith No 484 at Bryn Masonic Hall to celebrate with Jeff Morgan his achievement of 50 years service in Royal Arch Masonry. Ian was accompanied at this very special event by Wigan Group Chairman Geoffrey Porter with vice-chairman David Ogden. Visiting from Yorkshire West Riding was Frank Taylor, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals in that Province and former member of the chapter. John Selley was conducting the business of the chapter, ably assisted by Evan Walsh and Michael Gray.
The initial business of the chapter concluded, first principal John Selley was delighted to receive the Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals, and even more delighted when Ian replaced him to conduct the celebration, which he did with style and sincerity. Ian has a gentle manner, and a voice that instantly commands the attention and respect that such a special event demands.
Ian commenced his tribute with the general observation that it is a considerable achievement for a society or even a business to survive for 50 years, but this was undoubtedly an uncommon milestone, as by the very nature of Royal Arch, one would not normally join in the first flush of youth. It was, he said: “An honour and a pleasure for everyone to assemble to honour a dear companion,” and for him a privilege to be able even to play a small part in facilitating these proceedings. Ian went on to give a precise history of Jeff’s life and Masonic development, interspersed with recollections from world and British historical events and at the appropriate point requesting Frank Cooke, Scribe E to read an extract from the minutes from the meeting 50 years, ago.
Jeff was born in April 1939 at Prescot and was the second son of Elsie and James Ernest Morgan. After being educated at Prescot Primary School and Prescot Grammar School he commenced his working life as a finance trainee at Lea Green Group Office of the National Coal Board in 1955. In 1958, National Service called and Jeff spent the next few years in the Royal Army Pay Corps at the Devizes, London and Leicester pay offices. Returning to the NCB, he studied Economics and Business Studies achieving Higher National Qualifications, leaving in 1970 to be appointed Company Secretary to a local transport company in Ashton in Makerfield. From 1985 to his retirement in 2004 he purchased and ran his own business, The Little Bookshop, in Manchester city centre. On retirement Jeff became a governor at Rose Bridge High School in Wigan, a role he took very seriously and was immensely proud of. The highlight of his service was being Chair of Governors. The school was awarded an outstanding rating by OFSTED.
Jeff married his wife Patricia at St Thomas’ Church Ashton in March 1963 and they have three sons and five grandchildren. Not long after his marriage in 1963 he took what was an important decision, leading to today’s celebration. In May, 1964 he was initiated into Vigilance Lodge No 6236, now Vigilance and Douglas Lodge, being proposed by his father who was WM at that time.
In March, 1979 he became master following which he gave distinguished service to the lodge as ADC and DC between 1981 and 1992, which was recognised when he was appointed as PPrSGD, being promoted to the high rank of PPrJGW in 1995.The lodge also utilised his undoubted professional skills as treasurer. Jeff took the most important step 50 years ago in January 1967 that of being exalted into Chapter of Faith No 484, and in March 1983, after proceeding through all the offices, was installed as MEZ. In recognition of his services, Jeff was appointed to the acting rank of PrGStdB, in 1988 and was duly promoted to PPrPGSoj in 1990.
Ian then called on group chairman Geoffrey Porter who read the citation which had been prepared with the authority of the Grand Superintendent to mark this occasion, which he then formally presented to the celebrant. In concluding, Ian paid tribute to Jeff, saying: “Jeffrey, thank you for being such a loyal and committed Freemason, for taking your Masonic ideals into the wider community and for being an example to which we should all seek to aspire. Above all keep enjoying the companionship to be found in Chapter of Faith No.484 in which you are undoubtedly held in such high esteem.”
Following the ceremony, celebrations moved downstairs where all the assembled companions enjoyed a fine festive board and fitting tributes to a very worthy, and well respected, Royal Arch Mason.
Article written by Barry Dickinson.