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This is an extract from the above magazine of December 1972


It is not often that one is privileged to meet and shake the hand of a centenarian but it was my pleasure to do so when I recently visited the above member. Bro Charles Matthews has been a member of the Star of Mottingham Lodge of the St Mary Cray and Dartford district for the past 71 years and has been known to me all my life. His family and my own parents were neighbours and friends for many years and in latter years he became a close friend of my own family.

He was born at Barton St Mary in the County of Gloucester on 17 November 1872 and he is in proud possession of his birth certificate issued by the Registrar of the sub-district of South Hamlet in the City and County of Gloucester on the 28 December 1872, and which he proudly exhibits and treasures as proof that he really is 100 years old.

All his life he has been a disciplinarian and a man of strict routine, tidy in mind and habits, immaculate in dress and appearance and even today does not depart from the daily routine which he has pursued for so long. He is active in both mind and body and although a little hard of hearing it is a pleasure to converse with him. He still takes short walks on his own and, of course with limitations, leads a normal life.


All his life he has been a devoted member of the Church of England and he recalls with pleasure a recent visit he received from the Bishop of Woolwich, the Rt Reverend David Sheppard, the former England and Sussex cricketer.

He recalls that he was a choir boy at Christ church Gloucester, and when he move to the village of Mottingham in Kent, he joined the choir of St Andrew's church in which he sang for over 50 years.

Bro Charles hails from a family of Odd Fellows and in fact claims that his father died in the service of the Order at the young age of 72, for he remembers his father attending an open air meeting in drenching rain, catching a chill which later developed into pneumonia from which he did not recover. Other members of his family were also members and one of his brothers was an assistant secretary of a lodge.

He has a prodigious memory and relates incidents of past years in great detail and with clarity, and to talk with him is like turning back the pages of history

AMC OF 1888
He recalls attending the Gloucester AMC in 1888 when as a boy he was a member of the drum and life band which led the procession to the Sunday morning service held in Gloucester Cathedral, This he claims was the start of his service to the Manchester Unity.

He looks back on those years of service with much pleasure and brings to mind many important and interesting incidents, particularly when he was Prov GM in the year1947 at the age of 75, a position which he gained against keen competition and which I can truly vouch he filled with distinction, particularly the chairmanship of the district meetings.

He attended the 1948 Margate AMC as a deputy and 0n that occasion joined in the debate on the burning question of the day, the amalgamation of districts and lodges.

He Has been a keen ritualist and ardent believer in the ethical teachings of ritual and all that it means in everday life.

His services to his district and lodge have won him many friends and has endeared him to all who have had the pleasure to work with him.

when asked to what he owed his long and interesting life he said that it was because he has always had three cardinal principles in life, namely intense faith, a thankful heart and a keen sense of humour.

He also claims that he has had a charmed life and some miraculous escapes. As a boy he recalls he fell into the canal and was nearly drowned, another time he was run over by a heavy railway dray, and on another occasion was knocked down by a pig driven by the local squire, a Capt Pallerate, whose name he remembers because that gentleman showed much kindness in visiting him whilst he was recovering from his injuries.

He has never been in hospital for any length of time or suffered any really serious illness, for which he is most sincerely thankful; however, he does relate the time when he was in hospital for a short time at the age of 80 to undergo treatment for an exceptionally large carbuncle on his neck, which had to be lanced. After he had recovered from this painful ordeal, his doctor told him that the success of the operation had put another ten years on his life. Bro Charles jocularly claims that it must have been an exceptionally large for he has enjoyed a bonus issue of another ten years.

Bro Matthews commenced his working life as a painter and decorator, but later became the maintenance manager of the Civil Service Stores in the Strand. Even after retirement he did not relax; at the age of 85 he was "proof reading" for the Kentish Times.

For many years he resided with his youngest daughter and son-in-law,Bro and Sister E W Emery, to whom he expresses his most sincere gratitude for the comfort and consideration they have given to him in the evening of his life, and I do not think a greater tribute could be paid to Bro Charles when Sister emery, replying to my enquiry as to how he managed replied 'my father is areal gentleman and I am proud of him'

During the month of October, Bro Charles has move to a new locality. When on his recent retirement Bro Emery and his family decided to move to Bluneston in Suffolk, Bro Charles expressed his delight in being allowed to accompany them to their new place of abode, and when I asked him what he thought about his change of residence at his advanced years, he replied that he was looking forward to it with great pleasure as it would give him a new interest in life and the opportunity of making new friends.

I am sure that all members will wish to be associated with Our congratulations which we now extend to Bro Charles on attaining his one hundredth birthday and we do so in the true spirit of Old Fellowship, in Friendship, Love and Truth.

Bro Charles received a telegram from Her Majesty the Queen, and one from the Grand Master and Board od Directors.

A fitting tribute to my Great Grandad

C T W Matthews