John Durling – Celebration of 50 years in the Royal Arch

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Dear Companions,

John has lived through some interesting times, so the vicissitudes of 2020 were not going to get in his way. The 27th February was the anniversary of his Exaltation and the first chance to present the certificate was at the golf match with Northampton on 2nd September. On 8th October a happy zoom meeting took place to share some of John’s reminiscences. This format meant that The Grand Superintendent, his Deputy as well as the Provincial H were all present. Not only that, but because it wasn’t a chapter meeting as such, John’s daughter Anita and his lady friend Gill, were both able to watch, and witness the affection in which he is held.

Some 35 attendees heard John talking about his life. From his early days in Ruislip, collecting shrapnel in the garden, starting a career in scouting which lasted for 25 years and his time in the Chelsea academy, playing with the other greats such as Jimmy Greaves, Terry Venables and Peter Bonetti. His Father’s assessment of John’s potential football career eventually prevailed, leading to his qualifying as a toolmaker. The skills and presence we all know led eventually to his making a successful career in sales, and finally finishing up in Warwickshire.

John met Heather in 1957 and they married in 1961. Sadly, Heather passed away several years ago. They have 2 daughters Anita and Louise. It was Heather’s Father who provided John’s link into Freemasonry, and he was initiated into the Lodge of Perseverance No. 1743 in 1964, a lodge with strong connections to the livery companies of London. Exaltation followed in 1970.

John’s masonic involvement is too long to list here. Suffice it to say he has always been a “doer”, and active in whatever he joined. A founder of 2 chapters and one lodge, an active provincial DC and Steward, and very well known around the Province. A lesson for us all, proposer of 11 initiates and 14 exaltees. His enthusiasm for the order is infectious. Meritorious service indeed!

John concluded the meeting by saying how proud he is to be a Mason and how he will treasure his certificate to put alongside his Craft one.


John K Starley

PGStdB, Second Provincial Grand Principal