It is said that the greatest happiness a man can have is to know that he is loved and the very fact that there were so many brethren present, several who had made the journey to take part in the evening’s celebration from afar, only served to reinforce that statement.
It was an honour and privilege for the brethren and guests of Olympic Lodge No 4461 to bear witness to Frank Dodd’s celebration.
The WM Stephen Cornwell opened the lodge and the minutes of the last meeting were confirmed and signed. The Provincial Deputy Director of Ceremonies Jason Dell was admitted, to inform the lodge that the Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton stood outside and demanded admission.
Kevin, accompanied by grand officers David Hawkes and Woolton Group Chairman Andrew Whittle, together with acting Provincial grand officers processed into the lodge, were they were warmly welcomed by Stephen, who offered Kevin the gavel and, on this occasion, he asked to retain it for the next part of the evening.
Occupying the chair, Kevin warmly welcomed guests of Frank who had travelled from Sussex with him, two of them holding London senior grand rank, namely Michael Buckley and Douglas Frost, along with Roy Harris and John Prince.
Kevin then asked that the celebrant to be placed before him and proceeded to offer a short history of Frank Dodd’s personal and Masonic history.
Frank was born on 16 June 1939 at the Royal Infirmary, Liverpool, to parents Wilf and Emma Dodd and the family lived at 26 Gurnall Street, Anfield, Liverpool 4. Frank’s father had a job with Liverpool Corporation, where he was part of the team that installed and maintained the tram lines across Liverpool.
Frank was the youngest of 3 children, the eldest being his sister Dorothy and the middle one his brother Wilf. Sadly, both siblings have passed away. In Frank’s earlier years, his sister’s husband Stan Miller, was one of the staff playing for Everton Football Club and had a big influence on his upbringing, not least ensuring Frank became a big Everton fan and later in life a season ticket holder and then a shareholder. Frank admitted that he had seen the famous Dixie Dean play on two occasions and met him both times.
Frank attended Anfield Road School. In 1950, aged 11, he passed the 11 plus exam to Walton Technical School to study for GCSE’s in engineering. On leaving school, his first job was with the firm Dan Wuille, a firm of fruit importers and held the position of clerk in the accounts department. But after two or three years he became restless and wanted to move into selling, so he applied to a company called Glover Hill and was successful in being taken on as a salesman in the wholesale fruit market. A few years later he was head hunted by the firm Mash and Murrell, to become a buyer for them, supplying ships with fruit and vegetables. After a couple of years, the company sales representative left and Frank offered to do both the buying and the representation. Sometime later, he was again head hunted to work for Export Bottlers as a salesman selling beers and spirits to the shipping companies and being successful, became sales director.
During his busy life he found time to go to the local church youth club and this was where he started to court the girl who was to be his wife. They were married on 4 March 1961 at St Cuthbert’s Church in Everton and set up their first home in Baltic Street, Anfield.
Shortly after, Frank got his first taste of Freemasonry, when he met Ron Sarsfield, a member of Olympic Lodge. The friendship grew stronger and together with his wife Anne, they were invited to attend a lodge ladies’ night. Frank asked Ron what Freemasonry was all about and decided that he would like to join, the rest is history.
1972 saw the birth of their first child Janette and 1975 brought along the birth of their second child Scott. Janette has provided them with two grandchildren, both of whom are very much adored. Jake who is 9 years old has already visited Goodison Park on a number of occasions and has become a true-blue.
On the 27 February 1969, Frank was initiated by Charles Reilly and passed to the degree of a fellowcraft on March 27 1969, being raised to the degree of a master Mason on September 29 1969.
In an unfortunate way, Frank’s role at Export Bottlers expanded into covering most of the U.K. and it soon became obvious that attending regular meetings was going to be pretty difficult and for this reason Frank was unable to climb the ladder. However, he did his utmost to attend whenever possible and very much enjoyed the company of the brethren.
In 1980 Frank decided it was time to become his own boss and started up a new company with a chap that he had had worked with for a number of years. His ‘patch’ was mainly in the southern counties, but the travelling was taking its toll.
Reluctantly, Frank decided to move down south, nearer his office, which was located in Dorking. He and Anne found a nice house in the village of Brockham, which lies between Dorking and Reigate and have been settled there for some time. The business is still trading and in the expert hands of his daughter Janette.
On moving south, Frank felt that he needed another hobby and quite soon he and Anne were introduced to the Old Coulsden Flat Green Bowling Club. As his father had already taught him the basics of bowling, he was ready to play and after joining the club on the Thursday night, his name went onto the team sheet and he was out playing for them on the Saturday, eventually becoming club captain and going on to play for Surrey, both as a competitor and then in time to become the president of the association.
Frank has two further celebrations to look forward too, namely, on June 16 Frank will celebrate his 80 birthday and in just a tad over two years in March 2021, Frank and Anne will celebrate 60 years of marriage.
Although Frank for various reasons has been unable to attend, he has never lost contact with Olympic Lodge.
Addressing Frank, Kevin said, ”you know Frank I think everybody present this evening would be in agreement with me that it is a credit to you, that through all the concerns and employments of your working life there is one constant you have maintained without fail and that was to retain your membership of this wonderful organisation in general and this lodge in particular”.
Kevin asked Group Chairman Andrew Whittle to read the commemorative certificate and then had great pleasure in presenting it to Frank, to the acclaim of the brethren.
The WM was asked to reoccupy the chair and had great pleasure in presenting a cheque for the WLFC to Kevin for £100, which Kevin gratefully accepted, saying that the recipient’s lives would be enhanced.
Jason Dell then formed the procession to retire, after which a further two risings were taken and the lodge closed in due form, so that the brethren could retire to the festive board to continue the celebrations.
Andrew Whittle proposed the toast to Kevin, who in responding said, it had been an immense pleasure to attend the evening and celebrate Frank’s golden jubilee and also to welcome those who had travelled with Frank from ‘down south’. Kevin sincerely thanked the three acting Provincial grand officers for attending, along with the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Jason Dell. The Woolton Group Publicity Officer Colin Roberts, was praised by Kevin for the work he does along with the other 22 publicity officers in the Province.
Fred Hulse proposed the toast to Frank and, in his response, thanked everyone for making it such a memorable evening. During the meal a raffle was held for charity which raised £116.
The final toast was given by the tyler John Hibbert and one and all made their way home.
Article and photographs by Colin Roberts