It was 10 years ago that Peter Connolly celebrated achieving 50 years in Freemasonry and in 2023 he celebrated achieving 60 years in Freemasonry in the presence of many grand officers and the Provincial Grand Master of the Isle of Man, Martin Blackburn. The temple was filled with music provided by Dr Colin Porter, Provincial Grand Organist of Cheshire.
Gordon Sandford, WM of Old Lerpoolian Lodge No 9270, opened the lodge with Gary Devlin acting as senior warden and Eric Binks acting as junior warden with Alan Ledger acting as inner guard. On opening the lodge Gordon welcome everyone and hoped that it was to be an enjoyable evening.
The Provincial Deputy Director of Ceremonies Mark Barton entered the lodge to inform Gordon that Assistant Provincial Grand Master Andrew Whittle stood outside and demanded admission. Andrew, accompanied by Martin Blackburn the Provincial Grand Master of the Isle of Man and other distinguished grand officers and acting Provincial grand officers entered the lodge in due form. Andrew was warmly welcomed by Gordon who offered the gavel to Andrew, which on this occasion, he readily accepted. Andrew was then greeted by all and closed the lodge to the first degree.
After greeting the assembled brethren, Andrew asked Mark Barton to place the celebrant before him and ensure that he was comfortable. Andrew then told the brethren present of the remarkable achievements that Peter had achieved. Peter was born in 1941 to mother Gladys, a housewife, and father William Joseph (Bill) who was Works Director of Leyland Motors.
Many famous people were born in that year, namely Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Linda McCartney, Alex Fergusson, Bobby Moore, Placido Domingo and Dame Vivienne Westwood. Peter was brought up at Seafield in a large, detached house which had been built for a sea captain and has now been converted into a 16-bed home for the elderly mental and infirmed. Unfortunately, Peter’s father died suddenly in 1952 whilst Peter was attending Merchant Taylor’s School. His father had just joined Fairfield Lodge No 2290
However, Dr Fred Wilson, who was then a medical officer for one of the shipping lines out of Liverpool proposed Peter for the RMBI School at Bushey and their Peter attended for two and a half years. The school was regrettably closed but those who were about to start their GCE course was moved to another school and Peter was accepted at Liverpool College as a boarding scholar. He left in 1959 having achieved his GCE O and A level certificates and equally importantly his athletic colours.
Peter had a variety of employment and eventually started his own business in 1985 and quickly became the second largest supplier of spiral staircases. He also designed and marketed and sold extruded plastic products for the newly introduced roof ventilation regulations for 22 years finally retiring in 2008. He married in 1964 and has three children and re-married in 1999 to Lynne and as a result acquired a further three grandchildren.
One of the great joys of his life is to play Willis organs made in Liverpool. This includes the Willis organ in our Craft headquarters at Great Queen Street, London.
Lynne looked after Peter for many years both domestically and Masonically and now it was her turn to be looked after by Peter as she undertook a course of study to qualify her as a vicar. Lynne was made a Deacon of the Church of England in 2020 and after further study she was ordained in 2021 by the Bishop of Liverpool.
Peter’s Masonic career has been extensive and full details can be read within Andrew Whittle’s speech. Notably Peter was a founder of Old Lerpoolian Lodge and was installed as WM in 2010. The lodge was formed to allow old boys of the school to meet and chat over their time spent at the school. To read the full speech, click here.
Andrew called upon Group Chairman David Atkinson to read the certificate to commemorate Peter’s diamond jubilee, after which Andrew presented it to Peter with rapturous applause from the brethren. Gordon Sandford then resumed his chair and the grand officers assembled to withdraw from the lodge accompanied by Andrew and the Provincial Grand Master of the Isle of Man Martin Blackburn.
At the festive board, Peter sang the school grace and the same when returning thanks. Giles Barclay had the pleasure of proposing the toast to Peter, regaling the brethren with some further insights as to Peter’s life where he has continued to faultlessly provide service to others.
Peter responded to the toast in a jocular manner and thanked everyone for supporting his evening with especial thanks to Dr Colin Porter for playing music both in the temple and at the festive board. In finishing, Peter reminded everyone of the importance of household insurance saying: “If someone beaks into your home and steals the duvet off your bed you do realise that you’re are not covered.” Moans all round! Peter looks forward to celebrating his 75 years in Freemasonry and hopes everyone will attend! A thoroughly enjoyable evening was had by all.
Article by Colin Roberts.