Roy Morris of Longridge Lodge No 8077 has achieved the wonderful milestone of 60 years in Freemasonry, an event which was marked by a celebration held at Wyrebank, Garstang, led by Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Grainger. David was accompanied by the Lancaster Group Chairman Jim Wilson, group secretary Scott Devine, acting Provincial grand officers Steve Plevey, David Cole, John Eccles, Keith Halligan, Stewart Aimson and Philip Burrow. Fitting for the occasion, this grand array of officers was superbly directed by the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Barry Fitzgerald.
After accepting the gavel of the lodge, David called the attention of the brethren to a retrospect of Roy’s early life and career. He began his address by inviting the audience to consider how different the world is today compared to the year of Roy’s birth in 1935. The world was in turmoil, Germany had repudiated the Treaty of Versailles and had started a massive rearmament programme, whilst Benito Mussolini had invaded Abyssinia, as Ethiopia was then called. Even though many people refused to realise it, war clouds were gathering.
In that year King George V was on the throne and Stanley Baldwin was about to form a coalition government. Malcolm Campbell set a world land speed record of 301mph and Fred Perry won Wimbledon. Nylon was invented and the first black and white picture was transmitted over a telephone line. Famous people born in 1935 include Jack Charlton, Julie Andrews, Michael Parkinson and HRH the Duke of Kent.
The truly important birth was on Monday 7 January 1935 however when a certain Roy Morris was born to Helen and Frank Morris. Roy was educated at Liverpool Institute Primary School and Broadgreen Secondary School, Liverpool, before winning a scholarship to the Liverpool Institute High School; a grammar school for boys aged 11-18 with an excellent academic reputation.
On leaving school, Roy worked as a bank clerk in the Liverpool Savings Bank, until National Service called when he was 18 years old. He was drafted into the Royal Air Force and trained as a teleprinter operator/ mechanic, serving in Ireland and the south west of England. After National Service he returned to the bank to continue his career as a bank clerk.
In 1959 Roy had a career change and went to work as a representative for Heinz and Co, which required a move to Carlisle, where he met his future wife Carol. They were married on 16 May 1963 in Warrington. Carol and Roy are blessed with two sons and two grandchildren.
In 1971 another career change beckoned when they became landlords of the Weary Sportsman Public House in Brampton, near Carlisle. Following a further move in 1978 to the Ribchester Arms, they eventually in 1992 invested in their own public house, the Kings Head at Guilsford in Powys, Wales, before eventually retiring in 1998. In 2011 Roy and Carol moved back to Longridge, both for family and health reasons.
Roy’s Masonic journey started in 1956 when he was proposed by his uncle Earnest and was initiated into Lombardian Lodge No 4887, meeting in Ormskirk. David observed that this obviously means we are celebrating Roy’s 61 years as a Freemason, but quipped that as there is no formal name for that particular event, the celebration will still be referred to as a ‘diamond jubilee’. As Lombardian Lodge handed its warrant back in 2014 and no records of Roy’s initiation could be found, the usual custom of the lodge secretary reading extracts from the minutes was dispensed with. After moving to the Ribchester Arms in 1978, Roy became a joining member of Longridge Lodge in 1979.
On completion of his address, David conveyed the congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison in recognition of achieving this outstanding milestone. He then asked the group chairman Jim Wilson to read the commemorative scroll that had been created to mark the occasion. In conclusion, David presented Roy with his 60-year commemorative certificate, thanking him for all that he has done and wishing him good health, continued happiness and the heartiest congratulation from all the brethren present.
Article and photographs by Paul Thompson