John Graham Harrison
John Graham Harrison was born in Leeds, Yorkshire in May, 1946 where he spent his formative years. He attended Featherbank Primary School, Horsforth and afterwards Aireborough Grammar School, Yeadon. After ‘A’ levels he studied at Reading University where he graduated with an Honours degree in Chemical Physics. On leaving Reading he went onto complete Graduate Teacher Training at Southampton University where he met his future wife on the same course. After Southampton, Joan and he were married and this year they celebrate 47 years of marriage; they have two daughters and three grandsons. Throughout his career he taught physics to all levels including ‘A’ level and scholarship in various grammar and comprehensive schools. They moved to Gnosall, Staffordshire in January 1979 for John to take up the post of Head of Science at King Edward VI School, Stafford and over the years both were promoted to Assistant Headteacher in their respective schools. Both are now retired and spend a lot of time with their family. John also has a great interest in DIY, which he has used to good effect on their eighteenth century house in France, which serves as a base for holidays and European travel.
John was initiated into Eccleshall Lodge 5389 in 1983 and joined Manor of Stockwell Lodge 4746 in London in 1989. He holds the rank of Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works in the Province of Staffordshire and Senior London Grand Rank in Metropolitan Grand Lodge, where he is also a Visiting Officer and Almoner Liaison Officer. John is a joining member of Royal Chartley Chapter of Fortitude 726.
In the Mark Degree he is secretary of Jubilee Lodge 1485, Joseph Whittall Lodge 1392 and Senior Overseer in Hantune Lodge 1085. In the Royal Ark Mariner Degree he is scribe of Peace Lodge 541 and a member of Kenneth Shenton Lodge of Installed Commanders 1392. John has been an active Provincial Officer in the Mark for the last 6 years, having served as Assistant Director of Ceremonies, Grand Senior Overseer and Assistant Grand Almoner before taking up his appointment as Grand Senior Warden. He also holds Provincial Grand Rank in the Royal Ark Mariner Degree.
Other Masonic orders to which he belongs include Rose Croix, being Assistant Director of Ceremonies in Castra Nova Chapter 1023; Order of the Secret Monitor, Stafford Conclave 66; The Operatives, being Clerk in Wrekin Quarries Assemblage and Royal Order of Scotland. In addition, when relations between French and English masonry were good, he went through the chair of Richard Coeur de Lion Loge 841, Grand Loge Nationale Française in 2000 and Richard Coeur de Lion Loge Maîtres Maçons de Marque 841, Grande Loge des Maîtres Maçons de Marque Française in 2001, of which he was a founder member.
Tom was born north of the border in what was then Lanarkshire and where his formative years were spent. He ended up with offers to study BSc’s in Engineering at Strathclyde University, however, decided to accept instead an offer to serve in the Far East as a member of the Overseas Civil Service and the Royal Hong Kong (HK) Police Force. After a 27 hours flight with 5 stopovers, he arrived in the Pearl of the Orient in the midst of a very hot and humid summer, and states that acclimatisation at 22 degrees north consisted of running and exercise which left him at the optimum weight of 155 Lbs. He only climbed over that weight, he says, when he got married and joined Freemasonry there.
His Father had been a Freemason in Scotland, however, Tom did not know much about it as his father had died when he was young and being old-school had not discussed it. Thus when he was asked by an English Mason in HK if he was interested, and thinking that it was all the same, he was initiated into the United Service Lodge 1341 in 1992. He quickly found out that the three constitutions of the English, Irish and Scottish all met at the same building. He was soon approached by the Scots who, in a somewhat animated fashion, asked why in he had not joined the Scottish Constitution. Being a steadfast type, he chose to continue with the English Constitution. He was advanced in the United Mark Lodge 419 and exalted into the United Chapter 1341. He was elevated into the Ararat Lodge 264 of Royal Ark Mariners also in HK. Tom also became active in the Masonic Chivalric degrees. Prior to the return of the territory to China, the Scots, whom he visited quite often, decided that they would put him through the degrees of the Scottish Constitution in case he returned to Scotland. This they did in the Scottish Research Lodge Cosmopolitan 428. They did not issue, to his knowledge, a certificate, though charged for the occasion and the Scottish apron which he still has.
Tom has continued his Masonry in the UK and his Mark Masonry in the Severn Lodge of Mark Master Masons 1617, where he was Master in 2009, having joined there from Shropshire 444. He remains active in other and Masonic Chivalric degrees. He is a P.Pr.GMO of Staffordshire and Shropshire MMM’s and holds Provincial RAM Grand Rank. He is P.Pr.SGD in the Province of Shropshire. He is presently an active officer in Provincial Grand Chapter of Shropshire, an active Grand College Officer in Knight Templar Priests, and a Past Substitute Provincial Grand Master of the Royal Order of Scotland of Staffordshire and Shropshire.Tom and his wife have three daughters and now live in Shrewsbury.