Allan was born a mere 67 years ago, and brought up in Bedlington (Northumberland), where his parents ran a butcher’s business on the high street. His father was a Freemason in Bedlington, but, sadly in 1979, he died very suddenly at the age of 54 in Bedlington Masonic Hall at a Lodge meeting. Allan is married to Sarah, and they have 2 sons, Stephen and Michael.
At the age of 11, Allan went to Barnard Castle School as a ‘boarder’. There, he received an excellent education, and passed ‘A’ levels in French, Latin, and German. Whilst there, sport played a large part in his life. His main passion was squash, in which he reached the final of what was then the British Under 16’s Championship. He captained the School team for 3 years, during which, they won the National Schools’ Championship in his last year. He also captained the school at Cricket, represented Northumberland Schoolboys for 2 years, and played Rugby for the school team.
In 1970, Allan went to Durham University, where he again played squash and cricket for the University teams. He also represented English Universities at squash. In 1973, he graduated with a B.A. in French & Latin.
He then began his first career – as a teacher. In total, Allan spent almost 16 years as a teacher of French in such places as Hull, Manor Park (London), Walthamstow (London), Barnard Castle, and finally, Sunderland. At all these schools, he was heavily involved with coaching sport as well as teaching French. During this time he represented Durham County at squash, played in the Durham, Yorkshire, and Essex Leagues, and played cricket in the Essex League, East Yorkshire Cup League, and North Yorkshire & South Durham League.
His second career began in May 1990, when he left the teaching profession to become a Financial Adviser. He worked for Save & Prosper until 1994, before moving to Allied Dunbar for 3 years. Finally, in 1997, Allan set up his own company as an Independent Financial Adviser, which he ran until the end of March this year, when he retired.
Nowadays, Allan no longer plays squash and cricket, having given both of them up in his 40’s. He now contents himself with hitting a golf ball around Houghton-le-Spring, and then having a good walk through the trees looking for it.
From a Masonic point of view, Allan was a late starter – as he only joined in 1996. He has always been a member of Fawcett Lodge in Seaham, and later joined Old Barnardian Lodge at Barnard Castle. He is also in Unity Chapter, and Unity Mark Lodge – both in Seaham. Additionally, he is a member of Bernard Gilpin Royal Ark Mariners in Hetton, the St. Cuthbert’s Council of Royal & Select Masters in Chester-le-Street, and the Royal Order of Scotland in Durham. He has been through the Chair (in some cases more than once!) in all of them except the Royal Order of Scotland, where he is SW. He has also held various other offices in all of these degrees since leaving the Chair, and is in addition Treasurer of Seaham Masonic Temple. Allan has just received the rank of Provincial 1st Assistant Grand Sojourner in the Chapter, and is currently Past Provincial Grand Registrar in the Craft. In Mark Masonry, he was appointed ProvGSO in 2014, promoted to ProvGSW in 2016, and in 2017 appointed ProvGReg. In June, he will be honoured to receive the rank of Grand Steward in Mark Grand Lodge.
Allan is very much looking forward to his new role as the Provincial Grand Secretary for the Mark Masons of Durham – although also with a degree of trepidation when he looks at the excellent work done by his predecessors. However, he is proud to be able to serve the Province, and is looking forward to meeting more of the members in the future.