Today we assist the Brethren of St Cuthbert Lodge No.1902, which meets at Bedlington Masonic Hall, to celebrate the magnificent achievement of their longest serving member, Eric Allison, on reaching a magnificent seventy years of uninterrupted service to the Craft
Eric, like his brother Arthur, decided he would follow other family members and join Freemasonry, being Initiated into St Cuthbert Lodge in April 1952. With the huge number of members they had back then, Eric made the slow climb up the Officers ladder, with his Brother Arthur leading the way, until he was Installed into the Masters Chair, by his brother Arthur, at September meeting in 1961. Eric was honoured in Provincial Grand Lodge in 1971 when he was appointed to the rank of Past Provincial Assistant Grand Registrar, and continues to enjoy his time with friends, both in the Lodge and in the Festive Board, especially after his brother Arthur’s grandson, John Wilkinson, joined the Lodge to continue the family history.
Eric was born in January 1926 at Belle View Terrace, East Sleekburn; the second son of Arthur and Sadie Allison and also older brother of Arthur. He attended the council school at Bedlington Station and has fond memories of his time there, leaving around Easter 1940. Like many young men in the area, Eric commenced work immediately at the coal mine, serving his time as an apprentice electrician at Bedlington E colliery at East Sleekburn, prior to transferring to Bedlington A pit at Bedlington Station. Eric went on to work at various collieries throughout his career.
Eric has a passion for cycling and belonged to the Ashington Clarion Cycling Club and, through his hobby in 1946, met his future wife, Olive, who was also a very keen cyclist and a member of Newcastle & Gateshead Clarion cycling club. This meeting in 1946 was the start of some great adventures together with tours stretching from the top of Scotland down the East coast, the West coast and to the very tip of the south coast of England at Lands End. One adventure Eric had was to climb Ben Nevis with cycling shoes on and, finding he had forgotten something on his return, had to climb the mountain again to reclaim it. These adventures lead to romance and Eric married Olive and they made a home in Lynemouth for many years as Eric worked in the collieries around that area. They had one son Ivan who was born in 1952 but after an illness he unfortunately died in 1980.
In 2008 Eric and Olive decided to take up residence in Scarbrough Court moving in in February 2009. They really loved their accommodation and the friendships that developed with others in the home, however, sadly Olive passed away in September 2014.
Finally some may recall recently seeing Eric on Facebook when he, with other residents, was given the job of sitting on the front patio at Scarbrough Court with small cards showing the money that had been raised by Northumberland Freemasons for the Charity Festival. Eric, in full regalia, held the 2 million card, but was then struck with horror when Kevin Stannard, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, took it from him, only to replace it with a 3 card for the three million plus raised, which brought a smile to everyone’s face.