The members of Townley Parker Lodge No 1032 and the friends of David Hooley gathered together to celebrate David’s 50 years in Freemasonry. The celebrations were led by Assistant Provincial Grand Master Stewart Seddon. Stewart was accompanied by grand officer Ken Shaw, Chorley group chairman Peter Lockett, group vice chairman and acting Provincial Junior Grand Warden Peter Allen, group secretary Don Hesketh and acting Provincial grand officers; Ian Smith, Derek Robinson, Andy Sumner and Ian Halsall.
Master of the lodge John Turner opened the proceedings and conducted the business of the lodge. John offered the gavel of the lodge to Stewart who on this occasion gratefully accepted it. Stewart said that on that special occasion, all who were present were there to honour and pay tribute to David Hooley, Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden of the Province of West Lancashire, on the special occasion of his 50 years in Freemasonry.
In his narrative, Stewart looked back in time to the year 1945, a very important year in history for a number of reasons. King George VI was on the throne, Winston Churchill was prime minister of a coalition government, the war was slowly coming to its conclusion, in January of that year Montgomery held a press conference, describing his contribution to the ‘Battle of the Bulge, the month of February saw bomber command blitz Dresden and in March the last V1 and V2 rocket attacks on the UK. On the 30 April 1945 Hitler committed suicide in his Berlin bunker, on 8 May, VE day was celebrated throughout the UK and Churchill appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with the King and Queen. On the following day, the German forces occupying the Channel Islands surrendered. 5 July 1945 heralded the first general election since 1935 but the results were not announced for a further three weeks to enable the votes of service personnel overseas to be included. Labour won with a majority of 146 seats and Clement Atlee became Prime Minister of the first ruling Labour government with a majority. The new MP for Ormskirk was a 29-year-old Harold Wilson. In July the BBC Light Programme was launched and in August the Giles cartoon first appeared in the Sunday Express. September saw the end of press censorship and October heralded Piccadilly tube station becoming the first to be lit by fluorescent lighting.
However, the breaking news in Chorley on the 7 November 1945 at the Maternity Unit of Chorley Hospital was that Mrs Alice Hooley (nee Holmes) gave birth to a son to be named David Frank.
David ‘s contemporaries include; from the world of television, Jennifer Moss and Julie Goodyear from ‘Coronation Street’, newsreader Martin Lewis and football commentator John Motson. Pop stars Rod Stewart, Elkie Brooks, Bob Marley and Eric Clapton shared the same birthday. From the sporting world; Barry John, Brian Barnes, Virginia Wade, Derek Underwood, Pat Jennings and Tommy Smith. From stage and cinema; Martin Shaw, Charlotte Rampling, Tom Selleck and Ilyena Lydia Vasilievna Mironov (or Helen Mirren as she is better known). In addition, there is historian Simon Schama and his royal connection, Princess Michael of Kent
David’s father, Frank was an industrial nurse at Leyland motors. His mother was a shop assistant and has reached the wonderful age of 94, although unfortunately she doesn’t enjoy the best of health these days.
As a boy, David attended the Duke Street School from the age of five to 11 and then it was on to Chorley Grammar School to age 17, coming away with five GCE’s. On leaving school David went to Leyland Motors for about nine months before joining the Civil Service in 1963, being posted to the Ministry for Housing and Local Government. David developed a liking for computing but at the time there was no scope for him to develop in that field so in 1967 he joined the District Bank, eventually becoming the clerk in charge of the Lostock Hall branch. The District Bank was taken over by the Nat West and David once again found himself stymied in his ambitions so in 1969 it was onward again, this time to Chester City Council as a computer programmer and analyst.
While at Chester he attended Flintshire College where he gained a HND in computer studies. In 1973 he joined Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council as senior analyst and in 1977 he joined the Co-Op Bank as the principal system analyst, retiring in 2005 as Visa Centre Manager.
David and Janice had met at school, their relationship blossomed and they were married at All Saints Church, Chorley on the 21st October 1967. They were to go to London for the honeymoon, but the day before the wedding, a rail strike was announced and a hurried second venue was arranged at the Midland Hotel, Morecambe. David and Janice have been blessed with two children; son Ian and daughter Claire, both of whom are teachers at St Michael’s School in Chorley. They have a granddaughter Olivia and a second grandchild due in April.
David is a season ticket holder at Chorley FC, a team he has supported since 1957. David’s other passion is model railways, particularly building and repairing engines and he is a member of Chorley & District Model Railway Club. He serves as a parent governor at Albany High School and a church warden at All Saints Church where he is treasurer of the PCC. David also enjoys gardening – in good weather – especially when he can finish off with a BBQ. David has also enjoyed membership of the Round Table and thereafter the 41 club.
At this stage in the celebrations the lodge secretary Eddie Webster read the minutes of the meeting when David first entered Freemasonry. David was proposed into Townley Parker Lodge by his father Frank and seconded by Vincent Rogerson and was initiated on 7 December 1967, exactly 50 years to the day of his celebration meeting.
Having progressed through all the floor offices he was installed as master on 5 November 1981. He was honoured by the Province in 1992 when he was appointed Past Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies and was promoted to the very high rank of Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 2000.
David was exalted into Earl of Lathom Chapter No 730 on 26 April 1976, becoming first principal in 1993 and receiving Provincial honours in 1991 when he was appointed Past Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies. In 2007 he was promoted to Past Provincial Deputy Grand Sword Bearer and this year he was further promoted to Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer.
David is also a member of other Masonic Orders, holding grand rank in two of them and high rank in others. There is no doubt at all that his entire life has also been an example of what makes a good Freemason, as well as a good citizen, a good husband, a good parent, and in every way, a contributor to society as a whole. There is also no doubt that during the last 50 years anyone who happened to learn that David is a Freemason, could not fail to see him as anything other than a good ambassador for our Order,
Peter Lockett Chairman of the Chorley and District Masonic Group then read the certificate, which is an acknowledgement of the Province of West Lancashire’s great appreciation of David’s half a century of membership of the Craft.
The brethren then retired to the festive board to further celebrate David’s achievement of reaching his golden jubilee.