Members Vigilance and Douglas Lodge No 6236 were proud to host the celebration to commemorate the outstanding contribution to Masonry of one of their elder statesman, Malcolm Cook, who was initiated 50 years ago.
Assistant Provincial Grand Master Tony Bent was delighted to attend the meeting at Bryn Masonic Hall to celebrate with Malcolm his achievement of 50 years service in Masonry. Tony was accompanied at this very special event by fellow grand officer and Wigan Group Chairman Malcolm Taylor together with David Ogden, and supported by Malcolm Bell Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies and acting Provincial officers Tony Simms, Eric Bailey and Ken Wilson. Group officers Geoffrey Porter, John Parrott and John Lomax were also present to join in the celebration.
At this special occasion, Tony Bent had no hesitation in receiving the gavel offered to him and conducting the proceedings. Tony stated that it was an honour to be in Vigilance and Douglas Lodge to celebrate a very special occasion, the 50th jubilee of a very well respected Mason. 50 years of service in any capacity and in any walk of life is a living testament to a man’s commitment and is deserving of our recognition. He added that there have been doubtless many changes in the last 50 years, in the world in general and in Freemasonry in particular; but throughout that long period of time, William Malcolm Cook, to give him his full title, has remained a true Mason, holding on to those ideals of service and consideration for others which were inculcated into him 50 years ago and which still today form the abiding characteristics of our wonderful order.
Malcolm was born in September 1934, to William and Doris Cook and has a sister Sandra 12 years younger. Educated locally in Ashton, he attended Evans Primary School, (now the Ashton View nursing home), from the age of four. During the war, his father served five years in the Signals all over Europe and his mother took over the role of provider, working as a manager of the Meadow Dairy grocery store in Golborne. Malcolm spent a lot of time in his formative years with his grandparents.
After the war his father returned to his old job as manager at Meadow Dairy in Wigan and Malcolm continued his education in Ashton, excelling, amongst other things, at sport. Representing Wigan schoolboys, he played against some notable young internationals, including original ‘Busby babes’ Cliff Birkett and Denis Violett and at 15 went on to play for Haydock C & B team, one of the best around at the time and could possibly have gone on to a higher level. He was told by the coach that he was being watched by Everton, but was too attracted to girls by this time, particularly to his future wife Margaret Foster. Malcolm has been a lifelong supporter of Bolton Wanderers and is still a season ticket holder and now has the pleasure of going to the matches with his daughter and grandsons.
A keen musician, Malcolm played soprano cornet with the North Ashton Prize Band and this has carried on to the present day with his granddaughter Emma. After serving his apprenticeship and studying in St Helens, Malcolm became a painter and decorator and followed that profession all his working life, initially working for local firms before setting up his own business which he operated until his retirement at the age of 69, with a gap for two years when he did his national service with the Signals regiment. Posted to Germany as a radio operator, his talents were soon identified and he became the battery sign writer, a position he retained for the rest of his service.
It was during his service that he was re-united with his love of football, playing for the regimental team all over Germany, playing alongside a lad named Stan Butterworth who played for Wolves and also a lad named Morrison who played for Glasgow Rangers. A very bad knee injury put an end to his playing career in the army. Malcolm was also a keen golfer, being a member of Dean Wood for 38 years and at his peak had a handicap of 12.
After he was demobbed, he renewed his relationship with Margaret and finally got married in July 1957 at Holy Trinity Church, Downall Green. They had two children, Susan and Christine and now have five grandchildren. They have lived in Ashton all their married life and have been happily married for 57 years.
In Freemasonry, Malcolm was initiated into Vigilance Lodge in February 1965 and subsequently became WM after progressing through all the offices. He served as assistant director of ceremonies for eight years and then as director of ceremonies for five years. In Provincial Grand Lodge, Malcolm was appointed to the rank of PPrJGW in 1990 and was promoted to PPrJGW in 2001. In Royal Arch he holds the rank of PPrAGSoj and was a founder member of Ashton Trinity Chapter No 8821.
Tony then congratulated Malcolm and addressed him as follows: “As I said at the outset, 50 years of service in any aspect of our lives is a commendable achievement. Your membership of the Craft has seen the greatest changes in the way our order presents itself to the world and in the way in which we, as Masons, conduct ourselves in making the world at large much more aware of what we stand for and believe in. You may look back on those years of service with pride and no little satisfaction that the foundation stone placed in the north east part of Vigilance Lodge all those years ago, was well and truly laid”.
Following his address, Tony invited Malcolm Taylor to read out the certificate from the Provincial Grand Master and Tony presented the same to Malcolm. Tony invited Malcolm to retire with him after the first rising and they joined together in saluting the WM as they retired.