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Jim Allen celebrates his Century
Exactly a century after he was born on 7th April 1917, James (Jim) Allen, in some style, was able to celebrate the wonderful occasion of his 100th Birthday with his dear wife Pauline and family at their home in Higher Ansford, Castle Cary, Somerset. Along with 3 other Masonic friends, WBros Tony Wilcox, Steve McCarthy and John Allan, I was very pleased to attend a morning reception at their home in the company of a small group of friends and relations, for nibbles, birthday cake and a glass of “bubbly”.
Unbeknown to us they had received another similar sized group earlier that morning and, indeed, had other groups coming after lunch and, for those at work during the week, a final gathering the next day on Saturday 8th.
Jim Allen centre holds his certificate from the Grand Master, in the photo from the left, Mike Waterman, Tony Wilcox, Jim, John Allan and Steve McCarthy.
I was privileged and delighted to hand over a scroll certificate from Mark Grand Lodge signed by the Most Worshipful Grand Master, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, and by the Grand Secretary, celebrating Jim’s very special birthday, and his long service to the Mark Degree. In addition, we presented a certificate in similar vein from Right Worshipful Brother John Graham Morgan the Mark Provincial Grand Master for Somerset, where Jim is a very popular and much respected elder statesman in both the Mark Degree, as a Past Provincial Grand Senior Warden and a Past Master, and Honorary Member of Science Mark Lodge no.128 at Wincanton, as well as being a holder of Provincial Royal Ark Mariner Grand Rank as a Past Commander of Herbert Fuller RAM Lodge no.128 also in Wincanton.
Commencing his working life as a Civilian Officer in the Navy Department of the Ministry of Defence in the Chatham Dockyard, in Kent, Jim went on to serve in several areas including Gibraltar, Malta, and at the Naval Law Department in London, during which time he achieved several promotions. On his retirement, after almost 40 years’ service, in 1977, he was the Civilian Administration Officer at RNAS Yeovilton, in Somerset with the additional appointment as the Adviser on Civilian Matters to the Flag Officer Naval Air Command.
As a Freemason, at the time of writing, Jim has enjoyed a long and distinguished career extending almost 70 years. He was initiated in Brownrigg Lodge of Unity no.1424 in East Kent on 16th October 1947, where he remained a member until 30th September 1998 - some 50 years. He joined Union of Malta Lodge no. 407, in Malta, on 1st January 1958, and, in what must be a record, was installed as Worshipful Master two months later! Jim was made an Honorary Member of that Lodge in 2014.
On moving to Somerset, Jim joined Royal Clarence Lodge no.976 at Bruton in 1975, where he was a member for 17 years. Subsequently, he joined Somerset Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge no.9189 on 19th May 1990 and was installed as its Master in October 2000. Made a Provincial Grand Steward in East Kent in 1955, he was later appointed Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in Somerset in 1991.
Exalted into the Holy Royal Arch Chapter in Brownrigg Chapter no.1424 in October 1948, he was its Most Excellent Zerubbabel some 19 years later; he joined the William Kingston Chapter no. 407 in October 1981. At Provincial level, in Hants and Isle of Wight, he was appointed Past Provincial Grand Standard Bearer in 1975, and promoted Provincial Grand Registrar in 2003.
At his birthday party, we presented Jim with signed cards from the Science Mark and Herbert Fuller RAM Lodges, from the Mark PGM and the 2016/2017 Provincial Mark team, as well as Royal Naval Lodge no.2761 in Yeovil. Amongst the multitude of those others he had received was the a very special one from Her Majesty the Queen, one from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and also cards from Somerset Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge and from Union of Malta Lodge.
Jim's scroll, signed by the Grand Master, Price Michael of Kent.
Jim and Pauline were certainly delighted to receive the two special Masonic Certificates and clearly appreciated all the warm greetings extended to them by their Masonic friends on this very special day. Although these days Jim is a bit limited in his personal mobility, this is not so when he climbs aboard his ‘all-weather’ scooter and is a sight well known locally as he scoots around the town. Indeed, throughout our visit – standing all the time – it was amazing to see how well he looked for a sprightly 100-year-old.