Brother T. J Gunn aka Ben Gunn
Ben Gunn was born Thomas J. Gunn in the Gorbals Glasgow,
Ben Gunn's full life is that he was one of very few people who was born a Catholic, went to St Joseph's in Dumfries, then a training ground for many of Scotland's priests, but obviously the priesthood was not for him and then became a fervent Rangers supporter and eventually Right Worshipful Master of Lodge Dramatic, the Masonic lodge for people involved in the entertainment business, in which he became interested because of its charitable work and because of Robert Burns. Sectarianism, however, played no part in his life and his charitable work and his humour embraced all religions.
Brother Ben Gunn was a member of Cambuslang Royal Arch Lodge No.114, He affiliated to Lodge Dramatic No.571 on 14th June 1979
The Regular meeting on December 3rd, 1987, sees the Installation of Bro Thomas J Gunn (Ben) as Master of the Lodge, this was attended by a very large turnout of brethren and the deputations were as follows.
Brother William C Shepherdson Provincial Grand Master of Glasgow, Bro Henry Jeffrey PGL Depute Grand Master, accompaning them was Bro Angus McInnes PGM of Dumbartonshire, Bro John Dorricott PGM of the Middle Ward of Lanarkshire, Bro John McL Sneddon Substitute PGM of Stirlingshire, and a Deputation from Grand Lodge headed by Bro Brian G Brown MBE Past Substitute Grand Master, also from Grand Lodge were Bros Malcolm Dow, William Blackwood and William Fleming.
I am sure this fine turn-out was in recognition of Ben's charity work both inside and outwith Freemasonary, and was thoroughly deserved.
On Saturday 14th October 1989, A new lodge was Erected in the Province of Lanarkshire Middle Ward of named Lodge Meridian No.1779.
At this Installation Meeting Bro Thomas J Gunn was installed as the Founder Master, many of Dramatic's members also joined this new daylight Lodge.
It was also reported that Lodge Dramatic were runners-up in the Provincial Grand Lodge of Glasgow Tri-Am Golf competition along with Brother Tom Huxtable, Brother Ben Gunn and Brother Iain Urquhart.
Brother Ben also joined Provincial Grand Lodge as a Steward and enjoyed entertaining the brethren at Installations, Harmonys and Charity fundraisers. Ben went on to do a fantastic amount of work for charity, Lodge Dramatic, The Provincial Grand Lodge of Glasgow, and Grand Lodge are indebted to him for his hard work!
As i said previously Ben's charity work was second to none, He was a man that couldnt say NO. One of the Charities was S.O.S, Stars Organisation For Spastics which Ben worked tirelessly for.
Above is a picture of a two and a half foot world cup cake that Mr Abie, Ben and Tony Duncan presented Glasgow Taxi-drivers children outing. The presentation took place at the Ballochmyle Bar in Duke street. Also in the picture James Mortimer and Archie McPherson of BBC Sportscene. Ben also performed on the Scotland song Viva Scotland.
One of Bens other Passions was the works of Robert Burns, upon whose life and poetry he was a self-taught expert, and the show that he devised and performed on the Bard was a huge success, particularly in Canada and the US, His last tour being in 1996 accompanied by Lorraine Summers on this occassion. He had planned to go back in 1998 but it was not to be.
Ben was also a founding member of the private members section of Rangers Football club which he was very passionate about.
Ben Passed to the Grand Lodge Above on Wednesday 22nd October 1997 in Hairmyres hospital, East Kilbride suddenly after a suspected heart attack while waiting on results of a check up.
Fellow comedians and entertainers paid tribute to him at the time of his passing.
Mr Abie said " We had been friends for more than 30years. I'm devastated. Ben was well known and well loved . you could not say enough nice things about him."
Andy Cameron said: ''He couldn't say no. He would attend any charity event - he must have done thousands - at the drop of a hat. It's really, really sad.''
Sydney Devine, with whom he had worked for the past 20 years, said: ''I've never understood why he wasn't hugely famous. He was one of the funniest men I've ever met and I'm going to miss him a lot. It's difficult to take in the fact that I'll never see him again.''
Glasgow Rangers Secretary at the time Campbell Ogilvie Said " Ben was a favourite of everyone at the club, He had a nice word to say about everyone. He will be sadly missed."
My Thanks to Lodge Dramatic No.571 and Kenny Paton PM 571. for information that was very hard to come by as there is not a lot about Ben on the web which is a shame. I only met Ben once when i was taken to a Lodge Dramatic Installation by Sam Dunn. He sat me down beside Ben and he made such an impression on me as a very young Freemason at the time. That i still remember that day 25yrs later.