The members of the Crosby Lodge No 3714 and their many visitors recently gathered for the very special occasion to celebrate 50 years in Masonry for Herbert Alan Bate. The evenings proceedings where presided by Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Mark Dimelow.
After the initial opening of the lodge, Alan was piped into the lodge room accompanied by Tom Croll playing Rowan Tree on the bagpipes. The worshipful master, Joseph Williams, gave Alan a warm and friendly welcome.
A knock on the door signalled that the Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Malcolm Bell sought admission into the lodge. Malcolm announced that Mark stood outside the door of the lodge and demanded admission. Joe said he would be pleased to receive him and with Mark along with 13 grand officers entered the temple,
Joe welcomed Mark to the lodge and thanked him for his attendance on this very special occasion. On accepting the gavel Mark invited Alan to take a seat on the floor of the lodge asking him to relax and enjoy the evening to the full. The brethren were then treated to a splendid account of Alan’s life.
Mark began by recounting some of the historical events of the year in which Alan was born; there were some notable events that happened that year. King George V died in January, with his son Edward VIII, the Prince of Wales becoming King, which was followed by his abdication in December, due to him wanting to marry Wallis Simpson, who was a divorcee. The BBC began the first television service in the world starting in the November; this was for only three hours a day!
After the account of the events of that year, Mark continued with the recount of Alan’s life. Alan was born at Southern General Hospital in Toxteth, Liverpool on 19 July 1936 and is the son of Walter and Beatrice Maud Bate who lived in Beresford Road, Toxteth. Where he lived until 1941, when the house took a direct hit from a German bomb. Lucky for Alan and his family they were in the Anderson Shelter in the garden and when they came out after the all clear, their house was a ruin.
The family had to move from here and to live with his granddad in Garston. Joining Garston Primary School and playing football for the school team, before being re-housed a few years later by the council. Moving to Damwood Road in Speke and which meant a change of school. Joining Speke Junior School and then progressing to Speke County Secondary School. Alan continued to play football and rugby for the school teams, playing rugby as a fly half but the teacher felt he was likely to get injured and so stopped him playing.
After leaving school Alan enrolled into a building trade’s course at Toxteth Technical Institute, learning plumbing, plastering, and bricklaying. The each of the trades was taught at various locations around Liverpool. Studying hard Alan was awarded in his final year the top student prize. After college managing to got a job as apprentice joiner with company Holland,Hannen and Cubbits Ltd, who were responsible for building the Royal Festival Hall as one of their many projects.
Whilst working for this company Alan received an award for the top apprentice of the year, which included a three day visit to London, being shown the various offices and apprenticeship departments associated with the company, as well as some of the building’s they were involved with building. Alan continued with part time studying at Liverpool College of Building whilst he was working, completing the various qualifications in building, carpentry and joinery and quantity surveying, in 1963 passing the necessary exams, to become a associate of the Institute of Building.
Alan changed companies and later found work in the Building Surveyors Department of Liverpool City Council, dealing with the local regulations and then with the common law section and court claims dealing with tenant complaints concerning drainage, flooding and disrepair problems.
On a night out with friends Alan meet Barbara, a teacher at the Harlequin Dance Club in Liverpool and where later married in April 1964. Alan and Barbara set up home in Formby where they have lived their entire married life . They have one son Richard.
Alan was initiated into Duke of Devonshire Lodge No 6735 on 8 October 1965, becoming worshipful master in 1975. In 1978 Alan joined Alexandra Lodge No 7245 in and became WM in 1986 staying with the lodge until it closed in and along with many of its members, he then joined Crosby Lodge No 3714 in 2014.
Alan was also a Past first Principal of Thornton Chapter No 8008 and was a founder member of Silver Jubilee Chapter No 8818 taking the first principals chair in 2012.
Alan has been involved with the Bootle Group and was the Vice Chairman of Bootle Masonic Hall for four years, later becoming the chairman of the hall in 1999, until retiring from the role in 2006. During this time Bootle Masonic Hall in Balliol Road was the subject of a compulsory purchase order from Sefton Council and needed to find new premises. A steering committee was established, responsible for sourcing and moving to another location, Alan became a very valued and hard working member of this committee. Looking at the many potential buildings and assessing these properties. Eventually finding a suitable property in Sefton Road, Litherland, where the Bootle Group now meet. With the redevelopment and refurbishment required on the property Alan’s skill and knowledge from his profession, helped play a great part in getting the building ready for the lodges and chapters to move in.
After the rendition of Alan’s life and Masonic career so far Mark handed over to the Bootle Group Vice Chairman, John Marsden to read out the jubilee certificate, before Mark presented the certificate to Alan and a gift of a set Masonic cuff links and tie pin from the brethren of Crosby Lodge.
The WM presented Mark with a cheque for £500 towards Bootle Masonic Hall, which he greatly thanked the brethren of Crosby Lodge for.
Later in the evening, Peter Levick had the pleasure of proposing the toast to Alan’s health, recalling a few of the tales about Alan from over the years they have known each other and again praising the hard work and help that Alan has given towards the group.
In response, Alan thanked Peter for the generous toast to his health, Mark for presiding over the evening and the brethren and guests of Crosby Lodge for making it such a memorable evening.