Wednesday, 23 May 2012 01:00

One Mason and his hearing dogs

John Broster’s early life was to have a profound effect on his life: at the age of three he caught diphtheria and has been deaf ever since.

John managed to adjust to his disability and attended Hutton Grammar School and Liverpool University. He then trained as a chartered accountant and after qualifying worked for a firm of accountants in Preston. In 1968 he married Mary, who was a teacher, and they have lived in the same house in Preston ever since. Soon after they married, John started his own accountancy business.

John was initiated into Freemasonry in 1970 in the Lodge of Unanimity No.113 in the Province of West Lancashire.  He served as Worshipful Master in 1982 and Treasurer from 1987 to 1992, and received his first Provincial appointment of Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon in 1992.  In 2001 he was promoted to Past Provincial Deputy Grand Superintendent of Works and in November he will receive a further promotion to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden.

He is also a member of Uter Pendragon Lodge No.3481 in the Province of Cumberland and Westmoreland, which is close to their holiday home.

In the Royal Arch, he was exalted into Unanimity Chapter No.113 in 1983, becaming First Principal in 1992, and appointed Treasurer in 1994 - a post he still holds today. In 1996 he was appointed to Past Provincial Assistant Grand Sojourner, and was promoted to Past Provincial Grand Scribe N in 2003.

In 1996 whilst on holiday in Devon, Mary noticed a market stall which was selling goods for the charity, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, and exchanged addresses with Mrs Guymer who was running the stall.

A few months later their pet dog Robbie sadly died. Having taken some details about the charity John applied for a dog. Following an interview he was accepted and in January 1997 John spent a week with ‘Coppers’ at the charity's northern training centre.

Whilst John was training, Mary researched the charity and was surprised to discover that Hearing Dogs for Deaf People had benefited considerably from a grant from United Grand Lodge of England, which had provided funding to buy and build their first training centre plus a working balance for the first 18 months of being formed.

Coppers had already had intensive sound training and been ‘puppy socialised’ at weekends by Ian Frinthian Franks, who was coincidentally at that time preparing to go into the chair of Lodge of St Germain No.566 in the Province of Yorkshire North and East Riding.  Coppers had become increasingly familiar with masonic ritual during long walks with Ian!

The charity said they were delighted they were able to place Coppers with John, as Coppers was the first ‘Hearing dog’ to be placed with a Freemason. Having spoken to staff at Freemasons Hall in London the charity asked John “to go out and reach as many Freemasons as possible to thank them and show them how well the money donated by UGLE had been spent.” John and Mary were pleased to do this and they immediately started to tell people how they had been given Coppers who quickly carved out a Masonic role for himself!

Coppers quickly became John’s most valuable hearing aid and constant companion. Since he was already a Master Mason it was only natural that Coppers should accompany John to the Lodge of Unanimity, and the first time Coppers attended the lodge it was recorded in the minutes.  Coppers quickly became familiar with the ritual, enjoyed walking in procession, knew when to sit and stand and was known to give a prompt to others in the lodge! 

In February 1997 Coppers had his first studio photograph taken, which appeared in Freemasonry Today and is also displayed at Preston Masonic Hall.  His television debut came in December 1999 when John was interviewed about Freemasonry for the deaf by BBC2 ‘See hear’.

In July 2000 when John went to London to receive a certificate from another masonic order, Coppers also received his own certificate, proclaiming him ‘Illustrious Bro Coppers 30th Degree’. John later that day visited Freemasons Hall and was photographed with Coppers in Grand Lodge.

In August 2001, Coppers was featured by Grand Lodge on their website and he was awarded the 'rank' of 'Masonic Hearing Dog of United Grand Lodge'.

The idea of Coppers wearing a coat had been that of John Hamill (UGLE's Director of Special Projects). UGLE enlisted the help of Mary, who was sworn to secrecy and asked to obtain permission from the charity, supply the paper pattern and liaise with the Craft and Regalia Department at Freemasons Hall. John Hamill had the coat designed and arranged for it to be crafted to the template Mary had supplied. When it arrived by post it was a complete surprise for John and Coppers.

In September 2001, Coppers was photographed in full regalia with John in the George Bath Suite at Preston Masonic Hall. The photographs were displayed in Preston Masonic Hall, Freemasons Hall and the Hearing Dogs Centre in Buckinghamshire. Coppers was also featured in the first issue of ‘The West Lancashire Freemason’.

Coppers accompanied John to Provincial Grand Lodge in 2001 when he was promoted to the rank of Past Provincial Deputy Grand Superintendent of Works and again in April 2003 when John was promoted to the rank of Past Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah in Provincial Grand Chapter.

Coppers continued to work hard in the home, with his sound work. He was also an ambassador of the Hearing Dogs charity and accompanied John and Mary when she gave many talks about Coppers and the charitable side of Freemasonry. Their talks and PR work have reached a wide cross section of the public in an area of a 100 miles or so radius of Preston and considerably large sums of money have been sent to Hearing Dogs as a result of their work.

In 2004 Coppers was given an award for working over and above the call of duty. He alerted John when Mary needed help one night as she had collapsed and thus saved her life. He gradually worked for both John and Mary when Mary developed mobility and health problems.

The extraordinary and unique Masonic life of Coppers came to an end in July 2008. The end was quick and unexpected. At 13 years old Coppers had refused to retire. John said he was a perfectionist and most professional in all his work. In partnership with John he achieved a great deal for Freemasonry in the wide community portraying the charitable aspect.

In November 2009 a new hearing dog ‘Hayden’ was placed with John. Hayden was a beautiful six years old black Labrador who is very lovable, friendly and always wags his tail when spoken to and praised.

John says Hayden has had a difficult act to follow. As it was impossible to replace Coppers, a dog with a completely different disposition was requested, bearing in mind the role he would be expected to follow.

Hayden like Coppers before him alerts John to the door bell, telephone and wakes him up in the morning when the alarm goes off. Mary say’s the most valuable job he does is to find John wherever he is in the house and tell him Mary wants him!

John says Hayden has different strengths and so he is being allowed to carve out his own role and not emulate Coppers.

In order to mark the Bi-centenary of the Lodge of Unanimity a new Masonic coat was made for Hayden by Denise Croasdale at DMC Regalia in Preston who crafted it personally for him. Hayden is proud to wear it and grows in stature when on parade in the lodge.

The significant influence exerted on Freemasonry in Warrington by the Lodge of Rectitude was highlighted by Provincial Grand Master Peter Hosker when he headed the centenary celebrations of the Lodge of Great Endeavour No.3597 and urged members to build on its legacy while planning for the future.

For this “very special landmark” Peter opened Provincial Grand Lodge in Warrington Masonic Hall. He had the help and support in the Provincial team of Assistant Provincial Grand Master Ian Boswell (who acted as Deputy Provincial Grand Master), Provincial Grand Secretary Geoffrey Lee, Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Keith Kemp, Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Barrie Crossley, Provincial Grand Wardens Paul Renton and Ian Sanderson and Provincial Grand Chaplain Rev Graham Halsall. There were two Provincial Junior Grand Deacons, Jim Cartledge and Eddie Wilkinson, Assistant Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works Dennis Tierney, Provincial Grand Charity Steward Barry Jameson, Provincial Grand Stewards Arthur McArdle and Ian Rowan.

More than 100 brethren attended the special celebration including Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Dennis Rudd and Grand Officers Jack Forsyth, Frank Starkey, Gordon Amos, Stan Churm and Derek Hunt.

When presenting the Centenary Warrant to Worshipful Master John Tyrer, Peter said it was a “very special moment” and he urged members of the lodge to study the “very special document” when it is on display at future meetings. John said the lodge would take great care of the warrant and that it would be handed on “pure and unsullied” by masters from generation to generation.

Provincial Grand Chaplain Rev Graham Halsall gave an oration and also said a prayer of rededication of the lodge. Peter praised Graham for “his input and particularly for his inspirational oration.”

Peter presented John Tyrer with a Centenary Jewel and then gave all other members of the lodge permission to immediately wear their new jewels.

As Provincial Grand Master, Peter said it was within his power to make certain special appointments. He asked for John Tyrer to be placed before him and promoted him to the rank of Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works. John said he was “totally surprised” and did not know how it had been kept such a secret. He said that even with 31 years as a detective he had not heard anything in advance of being promoted in Provincial Grand Lodge on the night of the centenary celebration.

After giving a brief history of the lodge John presented Peter with cheque’s for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and Warrington Masonic Hall. He praised the selection of these two recipients, as he said the charity had suffered during the 2010 Festival and that Masonic halls were now being given the priority they deserve.

In response to the toast to grand officers at the festive banquet Ian Boswell said it had been “a privilege and a delight” to share in the lodge’s very special occasion. He then went on to propose the toast to the health of the Provincial Grand Master.

In proposing the toast to the Lodge of Great Endeavour No 3597 Peter said: “Today's story begins in 1912, when Freemasonry was flourishing in Warrington, with five lodges.  However, with the ever increasing number of Masonic candidates not even five lodges were sufficient to provide opportunities to those who sought either membership or advancement in Masonry. Accordingly, to supply that need, Lodge of Rectitude was formed and consecrated on 13 May 1912,

Unfortunately, the then Provincial Grand Master, the Hon Sir Arthur Stanley, was unable to attend to consecrate the lodge in 1912. Whenever I think of Sir Arthur Stanley, I am reminded that one of his lasting legacies to the Province was the creation of the group system, and that group system is still in place today. In his absence, the ubiquitous and evergreen W Bro W Goodacre stepped in. His office was that of the Provincial Grand Secretary of the Province of West Lancashire, and he held that office from 1884 to 1918 a total of 34 years. He was in education, being the headmaster of Talbot House School Old Trafford. There are, in fact, similarities between Bro Goodacre and our current Provincial Grand Secretary - Geoffrey Lee was also in education, being an English teacher and the House Master of Spread Eagle House Rossall School on the Fylde Coast, and although Geoffrey has only served as Provincial Grand Secretary for 16 years, he tells me that it feels more like 34 years!

I am certain that in 1912, Bro Goodacre, as the honored guest, would have been entirely at home with the professional and local businessmen from various walks of life, including members of the Indian Civil Service. who came together on that consecration day.

The lodge has much to proud of, and over many years it has had a significant influence on the development of Freemasonry in Warrington. That influence is evidenced over the years, and this evening I have chosen three examples.

In 1944, the substantial expansion of Rectitude led members to promote the formation of a daughter lodge, which was consecrated on 10 May 1944 and that lodge was named Great Sankey Lodge No.5939.

In 1947, as Rectitude continued to prosper and enlarge its membership, the members sought permission to sponsor a new lodge, the result was the formation of Warrington Temple Lodge No.6420 - a lodge that continues in existence today.

And in 1968 Rectitude had expanded its membership to become once again one of the largest lodges in the Warrington Group, prompting members to seek permission to sponsor a further daughter lodge. The Warrant is dated 13 November 1968 and the lodge was named the Lodge of Good Fellowship No.8258.

I appreciate and understand that when numbers increase, additional lodges are consecrated, and when numbers decrease, changes need to be made. Lodge of Rectitude properly recognized the need for change, and what better way forward than for mother to invite two daughters to return to the family and amalgamate together. Thus the amalgamation of Lodge of Rectitude No.3597, Great Sankey Lodge No.5939 and Lodge of Good Endeavour No.8258 took place on 13 June 2007, with the No 3597 being retained and the name being changed to Lodge of Great Endeavour.”

Peter concluded: “Give thanks for your history and all those who have made Lodge of Great Endeavour what it is today; build on the legacy that you have inherited; in building on that legacy of the past 100 years, enjoy the present; but at the same time plan for the future.”

Replying to the toast on behalf of the lodge, John said that when the amalgamation took place it was “the coming together of the family”. He said the lodge is looking forward to the future and aims to “grow and grow”.

Monday, 07 May 2012 01:00

Excelsior celebrates 100 years

The members of Excelsior Lodge No.3580 celebrated their centenary with a special meeting held at Hope Street Masonic Hall in Liverpool.

Excelsior Lodge was consecrated in Hope Street in 1912 and continued to meet there for their first 56 years. Following the ‘Great Fire’ in Hope Street in 1968, they moved to the Masonic Hall in Garston, but due to the large numbers wishing to attend the celebrations, they were given permission to hold the centenary meeting in Hope Street.   

The Worshipful Master of Excelsior Lodge, Gary Jones, opened the meeting and after confirming the minutes he opened the lodge in the second and third degrees. At this point, the Inner Guard announced that the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Keith Kemp sought admission to the lodge.

Gary, said he would be pleased to admit him into the lodge, upon his entry Keith announced the arrival of the Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker. Peter was escorted into the lodge room by Neil MacSymons (PrDCDC) at the head of the Provincial team in full splendour with the Provincial Grand Sword Bearer, Brian Blanchfield, holding the sword upright and the Provincial Grand Standard Bearers, John Stansfield and Martin Lynton (deputising), with their standards making the procession even more majestic and colourful.

Peter was accompanied by two of his Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, Roy Skidmore and Philip Gunning, the Provincial Senior Grand Warden, Paul Renton, the Provincial Junior Grand Marden, Ian Sanderson, and the rest of the Provincial team, along with Howard Griffiths (Garston Group Chairman) and 13 other Grand Officers. With over 125 brethren attending the celebration, there was not a spare seat in the temple.

Keith introduced Peter to Gary, who gave him a very warm welcome and invited him to take the gavel and occupy the chair of King Solomon, which Peter said on this occasion he would be pleased to do. Peter then appointed his Provincial officers to their respective positions and proceeded to open Provincial Grand Lodge.

In his opening address to the lodge, Peter said he was delighted to be able to celebrate the 100 years of continuous meetings that the lodge had achieved. Peter then requested Geoffrey Lee (Provincial Grand Secretary), to read out the details on the centenary warrant, which he did in his usual articulate style. The warrant was then delivered into the hands of Peter who took great pleasure in presenting it to Gary Jones.

Peter then requested Rev Graham Halsall (Provincial Grand Chaplain) to deliver an oration. Graham started his  oration by taking the assembled brethren back to the mid 1800’s to a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow That was first published in the book ‘Ballads and Other Poems’ in 1841. Graham read the first verse: “The shades of night were falling fast, As through an Alpine village passed a youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice, A banner with the strange device, Excelsior!

Graham continued his oration with a translation of ‘Excelsior’ – ‘Onwards and Upwards’ he referred to the founding of New York City and the way ‘Excelsior’ defines the city ‘How far - How high’. During the final part of the oration Graham spoke of the way ‘Excelsior’ defines Freemasons, particularly the distinguished members of the lodge. He also congratulated the lodge on its support of the charities over the years, as he noted the lodge was a Gold Patron of the Samaritan Fund and the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys. He also congratulated the lodge on the number of younger Masons who were filling all the progressive offices, which he said was a great indication of the lodges future.  

The oration was followed by a dedication prayer after which Peter closed Provincial Grand Lodge and invited Gary to resume his chair, with the lodge officers then resuming their positions.

Gary then asked David Atkinson to give a short talk on the history of the lodge.

David started by saying that the consecration of the lodge was carried out by the then Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Robert Wylie and other officers of the Provincial team on 18 April 1912.  The lodge consisted of many brethren from all walks of life, from the Liverpool and surrounding areas, many of whom were either business men, traders, labourers and service personnel, including sea fairing brethren. It was agreed that the lodge would meet on the third Saturday in the month and that all brethren must wear bow ties, unless they held Grand or Provincial Grand rank.

The first regular meeting of the lodge was held on 20 April 1912 with 13 members and five visitors present to witness a double initiation, which was not unusual for the lodge in its early years.

Throughout the periods of the First and Second World Wars, the members of Excelsior were undaunted and continued with their meetings, and at the meeting in May 1919 a motion to amend the bye laws in relation to the meeting of the lodge from the third to the first Saturday of the month was unanimously carried.

Unfortunately due to the great fire in 1968 much of the lodge history was destroyed, however, as a result of the remaining books of declaration it can be seen that the lodge continued to thrive between 1923 and 1968 with many initiations taking place with subsequent second and third degree ceremonies.

The first installation meeting to be held at Garston took place on 19 April 1969 and the lodge continues to meet at the Masonic hall at Island Road South, Garston on the first Saturday of the month, October to May. 

David has produced a history of the lodge which contains a dialogue of the distinguished members of the lodge throughout its100 years, which was presented to all the brethren present at the festive board.

Gary then thanked Peter and the Provincial team for a magnificent ceremony and he presented him with three cheques for £3,580 made out to West Lancashire Freemasons' Charity, The Friends of Tithebarn, The South Liverpool Foodbank and one for £800 made out to KIND. Peter said that he was delighted he had been able to attend with his team and he was pleased on behalf of the recipients to accept the magnificent sum of £11,540, which he was sure that the cheques would be gratefully received and faithfully applied.

With the centenary celebration complete, Peter retired from the lodge accompanied by Grand Officers and escorted by the Provincial team. The final lodge business was transacted by Gary, before he closed the lodge and all retired to a splendid meal at the festive board.

Roy Skidmore replied to the toast to the Grand Officers saying: “it is a great pleasure to be here and be part of this wonderful celebration.” He then proposed a toast to the Provincial Grand Master in which he gave a comprehensive summary of Peter’s career, his work in Freemasonry and his work in the community which Roy said he had drawn from the CV on the West Lancashire Provincial website entitled ‘Peter John Hosker OBE - The Man and the Mason’, which he recommended the brethren to read.

In his reply Peter said: “It was a pleasure to lead such a celebration, a centenary is a very special landmark and I enjoyed going back into the chair.” He thanked Roy for his proposition of the toast and the brethren for the way they had receivecd it. He then conveyed his warmest congratulations to the lodge members and said it was a privilege to come along and share the celebration. He then said he had found the history of the lodge very interesting and he named a few of the brethren that stood out, these included;  Brian Jackson, PJGD, William Roberts (Longest subscribing member) and Sam Robinson, PAGDC, a long serving Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, and now Deputy Chairman of the Liverpool Group of Lodges and Chapters.   

Peter then presented Gary with a past masters jewel that was returned to the lodge in 2005 by family members of Edward Dewar who had been installed as WM in 1928. Peter said the members of Excelsior had decided that the oldest known past masters jewel should be presented to the Worshipful Master of the day at the time of the lodge centenary.   

Proposing the toast to Excelsior Lodge, Peter said that he hoped the lodge would continue to prosper for very many more years to come.

Gary responded to this toast saying: “It is a privilege to respond to this toast, the lodge has a really good relationship and has lots of light blues coming up through the ranks. He thanked the brethren for their tireless work over a number of years in the planning of the centenary celebration. He then presented Peter with a set of cufflinks and a tie pin that had been commissioned to celebrate the centenary. He also presented Peter and Roy with flowers for them to take home to their wives.

Three prizes, a three litres of Jack Daniels, a £50 Tesco voucher and a bottle of whisky were up for grabs in the raffle; first prize went to Stephen Lyon from Royal Victoria Lodge No.1013. The sum of £585 was raised from the raffle and this will be donated to the Hope Street Masonic Hall Appeal Fund, in thanks for allowing the lodge to hold its centenary meeting in Hope Street.

 

The centenary meeting of Tower of Sir Francis Drake Lodge No.3583 was held in the magnificent Corinthian Suite at Liverpool in the presence of the Provincial Grand Master Peter Hosker, who opened a meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge for the purposes of the ceremony.

The lodge was formed in January 2004 following the amalgamation of Tower Lodge No.3583, which had been consecrated on 26 April 1912, with Sir Francis Drake Lodge No.8109, and there were 71 members and guests present to celebrate this special centenary meeting.

The Master of the lodge, Eric Wilson, had the pleasure of welcoming the Provincial Grand Master, who entered the lodge room accompanied by his full entourage of officers in a magnificent and colourful procession.

Eric ceded the gavel to Peter who took the Chair and nominated his Provincial officers for this special opening of Provincial Grand Lodge. These included Howard Jones, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Stanley Oldfield, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Paul Renton, Senior Warden, Ian Sanderson, Junior Warden, Rev Graham Halsall, Chaplain, Geoffrey Lee, Provincial Grand Secretary, Keith Kemp, DC, Neil McSymond, Deputy DC, Paul Rattigan, Sword Bearer, Eric Hart and James Cartledge, Deacons, John Stanfield and John Breakwell, Standard Bearers, Frank Kennedy, Pursuivant, and Alan Locke, Tyler. They were preceded by Stewards Geoff Cuthill and Robb Fitzsimmons and accompanied by other Grand officers.

The Liverpool Group was represented by chairman David Hawkes, deputy chairman Sam Robinson, vice chairman Roy Ashley and secretary Roy Cowley.

Peter said: “I am delighted to be here with my Provincial team. Lodge 3583 has prospered and it's members can be justly proud of what has been achieved.”  He then called upon the Provincial Grand Secretary to read the Centenary Warrant issued by the Grand Master. This warrant also gives lodge members permission to wear a special Centenary jewel. Peter then presented the Warrant to Eric who promised that it would be preserved, unsullied as he now received it.

Peter then called upon the Rev Graham Halsall to deliver an oration to the lodge. What followed was truly an oration of such quality, eloquence and erudition which held the assembled brethren spellbound. Graham commenced with a condensed history and origins of the lodge gleaned from the few lodge records which had survived the wartime blitz and other ravages of time. He went on to compare the physical properties of a tower being the image of strength, durability, security and fortitude; these being qualities to which Freemasons should aspire and to demonstrate. At the conclusion, Graham was congratulated by Peter for his well-researched and well-rehearsed oration. The assembled brethren concurred with extended applause.

The ceremony then took an unexpected turn when the Provincial Grand Master announced that he had decided to take advantage of this special Provincial Grand Lodge to confer a promotion on 85 years old member of the lodge, Bill Gallagher, to the high rank of Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden. This surprise promotion is well deserved as Bill has been WM of the lodge on four occasions in 1996, 1999, 2009 and 2010. Previously a member of the now defunct Skelmersdale Lodge No 1380, Bill was WM on no less than seven occasions and was also that lodge’s almoner. He was appointed to the rank of PPrSGD in 2003. A strong Royal Arch Mason, Bill has also been the first principal of Skelmersdale Waterloo Chapter No.1380 five times and has been appointed to the rank of PPrGSoj. Peter directed Geoffrey Lee to read the patent before investing him with the collar and jewel of his office. Peter said: “I congratulate you on 25 years of outstanding Masonic service made more remarkable by virtue of your advanced years.” A surprised Bill replied that he was grateful to accept the honour on behalf of the lodge and thanked Peter accordingly.

Next followed a prayer of rededication, led by Rev Graham Halsall and the closure of Provincial Grand Lodge.  Peter returned the gavel to Eric who resumed the WM’s chair. It was remarked that Eric had conducted the proceedings in a most efficient and dignified manner despite medical problems.

Eric then rose and thanked the Provincial Grand Master for the wonderful and enjoyable ceremony. He then presented Peter with two cheques both for substantial donations to the West Lancashire Freemasons' Charity and to the Liverpool Masonic Hall Fund. Peter thanked the lodge members for their generous contributions to these most worthwhile causes.

The Provincial party then retired in an equally magnificent and colourful procession to a sumptuous festive board.

Nobody present could fail to be impressed by the dignified and stately manner in which this important and historic landmark had been celebrated by the Provincial Grand Master and his officers and by the officers and brethren of Tower of Sir Francis Lodge No 3583.

Monday, 23 April 2012 20:44

Historic milestone for Thomas Bell Cain

The companions of Temple Chapter No.1094 has good reason to believe it has just completed an historic milestone in exalting Thomas Bell Cain as a Companion. They think that this exaltation was unique on two counts, the age of the exaltee being 89 and his long service of 53 years as a Mason since being initiated in 1958. He certainly met the requirement of having been a Master Mason of four weeks and above!

The ceremony of exaltation was carried out to a very high standard by the companions, led by first principal Dave Southward, ably assisted by Mark Youdan, and Rob Fitzsimmons, as second and third principals, Rob having stood in at moments notice. Thankfully, Tom is still in robust health and retains all his faculties, so completed his ceremony without any allowance having to be made.

Tom was born at the small fishing port of Hoylake, on the Wirral peninsular on 11 February 1922, moving across the River Mersey to Liverpool four years later, not by himself it should be said, the family moved also. He attended school at Fonthill Road, before moving to St Margaret’s Anfield and whilst a pupil there was selected to play soccer for Liverpool Schoolboys. He was later selected to play for the Liverpool County Football Association and would go on to star for the nearby Formby Football Club for 11 years. Tom also honed his skills on the fairway and has been a member of the Deanwood Golf Club for over 40 years with the achievement of having his name appearing on the ‘Role of Honour’ in the clubhouse, for winning the annual competition. Tom now reflects on his sporting prowess with much personal satisfaction now his active playing days are over.   

Tom, who like many of the period, left school aged 15½ in 1937 and immediately started work as an office junior for the Mersey Bedding Company. This fledgling career was however short lived, as at the outbreak of war in 1939, he joined the Royal Air Force. Being trained as a Fitter/Armourer he was quickly posted to 206 Squadron Coastal Command, working on various aircraft including the North American built Lockheed Hudson and the B17 Flying Fortress. He continued his service with 235 Fighter Squadron, serving in Iceland, France and the UK until the end of hostilities, eventually being demobilised in December 1945 and returning to his previous employer.

It was during the war that Tom started to seriously ‘court’ his wife Edna in 1942, who he had met several years previous, her being a cousin to one of Tom’s best pals. His courting eventually paid off for he married Edna in November 1945 and they were blessed with one son, Ian.

On 24 April 1958 Tom was initiated into Wavertree Lodge No.2294 and became a joining member of Mayflower Lodge No.7812 on 2 October 1962. Tom had expressed a desire to become a founder of Mayflower Lodge, but at the time was told that because he had completed less than 4 years as a Master Mason, this was not possible. This was a great disappointment, but undeterred, he attended the consecration ceremony and became a joining member of the newly consecrated Mayflower Lodge on the night, going on to become the Worshipful Master in 1969. Sadly, Mayflower Lodge closed in April 2007 and together with the majority of the brethren, Tom became a joining member of West Derby Castle Lodge No.5821, of which he is still a member.

His dedication to Freemasonry was recognized by the Province of West Lancashire in 1981 when he was promoted to the rank of Past Provincial Assistant Director of Ceremonies, with further promotions in later years to Past Provincial Grand Superintendant of Works, and then Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden. Still a very active member within his lodge, Tom has finally decided to ignore the advice given to him at the beginning of his Masonic career, which was to concentrate on his Craft lodge and don’t worry about chapter, and to complete his Masonic journey by joining Royal Arch Masonry in Temple Chapter No 1094.

On completion of the meeting all those present retired to the adjacent banqueting room where the usual hospitality of Temple Chapter was shown in abundance, and thoroughly appreciated by all present.

On 24 March 2012, seventy years after joining the former Royal Masonic Junior School, Tony Elliott was installed as the 2012/13 President of the Old Masonians Association at their Annual Dinner held at the Durham Masonic Hall, Old Elvet.

The Association comprises former pupils of the former Royal Masonic School for Boys and organises social gatherings for former pupils to enable them to maintain the friendships which were formed at the Masonic schools. Tony succeeds Les Hutchinson, the Chief Executive of the RMTGB – the successor charity which was formed following the closure of the school in the 1970s.

Tony’s links to the Association began in 1942 when, as a ten-year old boy, he joined the Royal Masonic Junior School following the death of his father. With his family remaining in Lancashire, he progressed into the senior school, where he remained until 1948.

Tony’s Masonic career began in 1954, when he was initiated into New Sanctuary Lodge No.6604 in the Province of West Lancashire; having now moved to Durham, he remains active in both the Craft and other Orders

To find out more about the OMA, please visit: http://www.oldmasonians.org

Published in RMTGB
Wednesday, 01 December 2010 16:04

Charity Offices Are Opened

The new West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity offices have been opened by Provincial Grand Master Peter Hosker, accompanied by Grahame Elliott, President of the Freemasons’ Grand Charity.    In April 2008, the Province’s seven charitable trusts were amalgamated into one organisation, the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. However, the space occupied by the new charity was insufficient for its complex working needs and the trustees decided to purchase the new building.
     The building had been financed as part of the Charity’s investment portfolio and it already looks like an excellent investment.

Emergency services: right place, right time

Serving the community: two Masons win major rescue awards

Lightning, they say, never strikes twice in the same place. Be that as it may, a unique event has hit home twice to Eureka Lodge No. 3763, which meets at Bootle on Merseyside in the Province of West Lancashire. 

Each year the Ambulance Service Institute (ASI) presents awards for outstanding achievements, and Eureka Lodge members Dave Seel, a paramedic, and Dave Anderson, an emergency medical technician, have together achieved an amazing double akin to lightning striking twice in the same place. 

In each case, they were in the right place at the right time at an emergency situation, and were able to play a major role in saving life and limb in what were extremely serious incidents. 

Last year, Dave Anderson was awarded the ASI Private Ambulance of the Year Award, presented at the House of Commons, following action he took when he was first on the scene involving two motorway pile-ups. 

Previously, in 2005, Dave Seel won exactly the same award following a road traffic collision on Manchester’s A57. And to complete the unique double event, Dave Seel had proposed Dave Anderson into Masonry a year earlier. 

Both Masons work for the medical and rescue services division of Safety Provider Ltd, which provides cover for medical rescue occurrences for organisations such as the Highways Agency, the Rockingham race circuit at Corby – where they manage the £100,000 medical centre provision – as well as being an emergency nuclear response team in the event of a national emergency at a power station for British Energy. 

Dave Anderson was the first on the scene at two motorway pile-ups as he drove home. As he approached Junction 25 on the M62, near Brighouse in West Yorkshire, he saw three cars collide, throwing debris across the motorway. 

He explains: “I was driving a marked response vehicle, and as a consequence, I was able to slow the traffic down to make it safe to approach the damaged vehicles and check on the injured drivers. I then helped the police get the victims to the safety of a lay-by as an ambulance arrived. But just moments later, three more cars crashed in an almost identical manner.” 

Dave sprang into action again and helped get three more injured people to safety, but was working, with the support of the police, very much on his own. Luckily, he knew that an ambulance crew was on the way.

Dave Seel was travelling on the A57 Manchester to see a customer when he noticed a collection of vehicles beside a canal on a bridge. There were a few people standing looking over the bridge and they seemed concerned. 

He says: “I was noticed by one bystander who signalled to me to get assistance. I got out of my vehicle and looked at what was causing the interest. To my horror, I observed a small vehicle that looked as though it had travelled approximately 20 feet down an embankment, through two fences and then a further 15 feet into a canal. 

“The vehicle was upside down with only the four wheels and 1/10th of the underbody showing. It is alleged that the vehicle was hit from the rear by a HGV, which caused the incident.” 

Dave Seel shouted down to a bystander, who was in the canal, as to whether there was anyone in the vehicle, and was shocked to discover that there was. Donning his high visibility jacket and helmet, he proceeded down the route the vehicle had taken into the canal. 

He continues: “I was wearing a suit at the time. By the time I got into the canal a further bystander had ventured into the water to assist and they had managed to get one occupant out of the vehicle – a female passenger. I managed to get the driver’s door open and pulled her husband out of the vehicle. 

“He was unconscious and submerged. I realised that he could have been in that state prior to my arrival, some 10 to 15 minutes. 

With the assistance of the bystanders, we got the husband and wife to the edge of the canal, where there was a small stone and sand-filled embankment for my assessment of their injuries.” 

An ambulance arrived along with the fire service, which was a welcoming sight. The fire service checked the vehicle in case there were any further occupants, as well as the surrounding area, and fortunately, there was none. 

A primary and secondary survey Dave carried out on the couple found only cuts and bruises. He then trudged back out of the canal, up the 15ft ladder, up a 1 in 4 muddy embankment of 20 feet and back to his vehicle. 

He sums up the experience thus: “I have been a member of the Red Cross for over 25 years and was a paramedic for Mersey Regional Ambulance Service for over 12 years. I can honestly say I have never dealt with an incident quite like this before. 

“The bystanders who were on scene prior to my arrival were the real heroes. None of them had any formal training to deal with an incident like this, and yet set up a ladder for the rescue and even made attempts to get into the water.” 

Dave puts his actions on that day down to the level of training and exposure to similar incidents over the years he had received from the Red Cross and the ambulance service.

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