Heysham Chapter No 4108 started their current Masonic season with a most charming event, a celebration of a golden jubilee for one of their own. The charter to form the chapter was issued some 76 years ago in 1943 and during that period the chapter has seen many great moments take place within its meetings. The 50th celebration held for Tom Holroyd will now rank amongst those cherished memories of the chapter.
In attendance at Morecambe Masonic Hall on this auspicious occasion where Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Barrie Crossley, Past Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals David Grainger, grand officers Philip Gardner, Keith Kemp, Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Dave Thomas, Lancaster and District Group Chairman Neil McGill and acting officers Peter Pemberton and Chris Larder.
Tom is of course a Past Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals and a Past Lancaster and District Group Chairman, so the grand and Provincial grand officers were in good company.
The meeting was opened in due form by Ken Needham, ably assisted by co-principals Keith Dorrington and Raymond Griffiths, all under the careful directorship of Paul Craddock. With the conclusion of the business agenda, first principal Ken Needham welcomed Barrie into the chapter room. Ken wished Barrie a pleasurable evening and then offered him the first principal’s chair, which he gracefully accepted.
On assuming the chair, Barrie asked Dave Thomas to place the celebrant before him and once Tom was comfortably seated, Barrie embarked on an absorbing account of Tom’s personal, professional and Masonic life.
On the conclusion of his address, Barrie asked the group chairman Neil McGill to read the commemorative certificate which the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison had caused to be issued, after which Barrie presented the certificate to Tom and wished him the health to enjoy many more years in Freemasonry.
With the principle order of business concluded, the remaining chapter business was duly executed most efficiently before everyone retired to the adjoining banquet room to continue the celebration.
The toast to Barrie was proffered by Neil McGill who informed the companions that this 50th celebration was actually the first that Barrie had executed – and didn’t he do well. Barrie’s succinct reply congratulated not only those who had contributed to making it a great evening for Tom, but also two members of the chapter who were receiving promotions at the forthcoming meeting of Provincial Grand Chapter, Richard Routledge and Ian Stevenson.
The main toast of the evening was given by Phil Gardner to the celebrant. Phil admitted during the course of his address that he was quite envious of Barrie for being able to lead the celebration of such a distinguished Mason such as Tom, adding that many men over the years had benefited from Tom’s wisdom and kindness – Tom always looked for the best in people and never had a bad word for anyone.
In Tom’s reply he mused upon his early days in Heysham Chapter, during the course of which he highlighted some of his proudest moments. He concluded by thanking both Phil for his generous comments and the companions for their support.
Article and photographs by Paul Thompson.