The brethren of Lodge of Harmony No 220 along with their guests met at their regular meeting to celebrate 50 years membership in Freemasonry of David George Gale at Garston Masonic Hall. On this very special occasion they were honoured by the presence of Assistant Provincial Grand Master Derek Parkinson who was accompanied by Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Sam Robinson. They were joined by group chairman John Murphy, group vice chairman David Atkinson, Provincial Grand Steward Phil Brown and on his final Craft duty, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Mark Barton.
Lodge master Gary Mason (who is also Garston Group Secretary) welcomed Derek and was pleased to offer him the gavel of the lodge which was accepted by Derek who then took the master’s chair. Derek explained that the main purpose of the evening was to honour David’s 50 years in Freemasonry and asked that David be seated in front of the master’s chair.
Derek began by thanking the WM and the brethren for inviting him to join with them in this very special Masonic milestone. In addressing David, he said: “I’ve taken the chair at over 40 celebrations of a brother’s golden or diamond jubilee and for the majority of them when I’ve been preparing I’ve usually included information about things that happened in the 1920’s and 1930’s, from the time that they were born right up to the time that they were initiated into Freemasonry. But in your case, you were initiated into the lodge at the young age of 23 years and so I begin your story tonight in 1944, just before the end of the Second World War and take it through to the year of your initiation.”
He continued by saying David was born on Tuesday 3 October 1944 the same year that had seen the allied invasion of France, the D Day landings and the first V2 rocket attacks on London. Derek also said it was in that same year that the PAYE tax system was introduced. As you would expect, that brought an appropriate response from all those present!
When talking to David in advance of the evening, Derek said he had been able to tell him about his mother and father, Phyllis Houghton and Frank Gale. It had taken Derek some time to find out much about them, particularly David’s mum because she was christened Gertrude Phyllis Houghton. Her dad Enoch was a boatman at Garston Docks working with the docking and undocking teams. David’s grandparents, Alice and George Gale originally came from Nottinghamshire. They had three sons, Cyril, Gerald and Frank and they lived at 27 Lugard Road in Aigburth but moved just before the war to 11 Enfield Park, not far from Liverpool Cricket Club.
He continued by stating that David’s father had worked for the dock board as an auditor checking the books, not just locally at Garston, but he travelled to many of the fishing ports such as Fleetwood and Grimsby to do their audits.
Derek said: “David, your mum and dad married in Liverpool in 1942 and two years later you were born, along with your twin sister Dorcas, who was born about two hours after you. As a retired obstetrician I was surprised to hear that you were born at home as it was usual for mums to have the first pregnancy delivered in hospital. Some of the brethren may know Dorcas as she worked here at the hall up until about five years ago. As you were growing up you went to Gilmour Primary School in Southbank Road Garston and then to Duncombe Road and finally for your secondary education you were at Heath Road Garston. You left school at 15 years old and took a job working in the book-keeping department of Arthur Maiden.”
When David was 19 years old he joined the Special Constabulary and was promoted to Sergeant. He was a member of ‘A’ Division working in the town centre out of Hatton Garden Police station until it moved to St Anne’s Street.
It was a busy time for David in the mid 1960’s but one day he went to a Spinners Concert in Liverpool and met a lovely lady outside. That was the first time he had set eyes on Jean Peace, who worked for Roadcraft, the crane hire company. David asked her out again and in the first week of April 1969 they were married and went to live in New Street, St Helens. After moving two more times they moved to their bungalow in Llandyrnog where they now live.
But as Derek said: “We’re here to celebrate your 50 years in Freemasonry and so I should turn back to 1968 when on the 24 April 1968, you were initiated into Lodge of Harmony at Garston Masonic Hall. This being the 33 venue that the lodge had met at since it’s consecration in 1796, with the majority of them being inns and taverns.”
Derek stated that David’s interest in Freemasonry had come from his father and he was proposed by his grandfather Enoch Houghton with his father, Frank seconding the proposition. When David was initiated, his father Frank was in the chair and Enoch passed him to the second degree. David’s other grandfather was a freemason but sadly he died when David was two years old.
David progressed through the lodge offices and reached the chair and was installed as WM on 28 October 1987. Continuing Derek said: “David, you have served the lodge since then for 10 years as tyler and you are also a trustee of the lodge. You received your first Provincial appointment in 2000 to Past Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, and further promotion in 2010 to Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon, the rank you wear tonight. In the Royal Arch you were exalted into Chapter of Harmony No 220 in 1979.”
Derek then called on Garston Group Chairman John Murphy to read the jubilee certificate. In conclusion Derek addressed David saying: “You have served your local community as a member of Her Majesty’s Special Constabulary and contributed to Freemasonry in this city and I know you have certainly got a great deal of pleasure and enjoyment from all that you have done, and so it is a great honour and a privilege to say to you, David, thank you for all that you have done both for Freemasonry and the wider community and congratulations to you on achieving 50 years as a Mason and we all look forward to seeing you enjoy many more years as a member of this great Order.”
With the remaining business of the evening concluded a very happy festive board was enjoyed by everyone present a ‘Chorley’ auction was conducted where over £150 was raised in support of the charities.