The Masonic Temple, Kingsway Widnes was the venue for celebration of 50 years in Royal Arch for Ian Anthony Gillespie at Widnes Chapter No 2819. The first principal Ian Forsyth opened the chapter in due form and completed domestic business including the election of officers for the installation in April.
Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Ian Halsall announced John Murphy, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principles. The companions were upstanding to receive him with David Atkinson the Mersey Valley Group Chairman and other distinguished companions.
The three principles welcomed John into the chapter and John accepted the chair of first principle and asked the DC to place Ian Gillespie in a convenient seat before him. John then gave some history of Ian’s life. Some very famous people were born in the persons of Hilary Clinton the former first lady of America, Elton John the rock singer, Arnold Schwarzenegger the movie actor, David Bowie the rock singer, HM Queen Camilla, Johann Cruyff the footballer, Farrah Fawcett the movie actress and of course maybe the most famous of them all Ian Anthony Gillespie in May 1947 at Mill Road Hospital, Liverpool, to parents Thomas Anthony Gillespie a sugar refinery superintendent and Emily Marie Gillespie
Ian started his education by attending Broad Square Primary School in Norris Green, Liverpool in 1952, before moving to Roscoe Secondary School in 1958. Ian finished his education at John Hamilton Technical High. Ian’s first job was as an apprentice electrical engineer at Tate & Lyle Sugar Refinery in Liverpool, where he obtained his City & Guilds Electrical Certificate. In 1969, Ian moved to Plessey’s Telecommunications Limited as a Plant Maintenance Electrician. It was here that Ian met Bill Cooper, the person who eventually proposed him into Freemasonry.
In his private life, Ian did marry a young lady by the name of Brenda in 1970 but the marriage only lasted a few years. In 1977, Ian decided to become an independent electrical and plumbing contractor, he openly admits that working for himself had an impact on his attendance at the lodge, although he always tried his best to attend meetings.
In 1985, Ian took a job with A M Maintenance as a mobile service engineer repairing various machinery and catering equipment. Ian subsequently met Kevin Langshaw at Plessey’s who seconded him into Freemasonry. During his working life, Ian also had short spells running his own grocery store, working for Manpower Employment Agency and he eventually retired from work in 2012.
Ian spends much of his time since retiring enjoying his partners cottage at Kendal in the Lake District where he enjoys doing ‘Do It Yourself.’ Ian also enjoys driving holidays throughout Europe, especially France, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, and Spain. He and his partner have also started to enjoy the river cruises and have cruised many of the major river of Europe including the Rhine and the Danube.
John continued by saying: “Let us know turn to your career in Freemasonry, it was on 16 September 1972 that you were initiated into James T Callow Lodge No 3596, your proposer was Lord Colin Bertram Smith and your seconder was the father of Michael Home. You were passed to the degree of a fellow craft on 16 December 1972, and raised to the sublime degree of a master Mason on 17 February 1973. Following the usual pattern of fulfilling all the progressive offices in the lodge you became its WM on the 16 October 1982 for the first time and went back into the chair for a second time on 18 October 2008.
Over the years you have held many offices in the lodge including assistant secretary, assistant director of ceremonies, director of ceremonies and chaplain, which is the office you still hold. Ian is known as an excellent ritualist so often filled in various positions at short notice.
Ian has also joined Sant Beuno Lodge No 6733 in the Province of North Wales meeting at Connah’s Quay, Deeside and is currently chaplain of that lodge. This membership came from Michael Holme who was WM two years before Ian, who due to work moved away and became a member of Sant Beuno Lodge. The brethren of James T Callow Lodge and Sant Beuno Lodge have enjoyed visiting each other over the years.
Ian, you received your first appointment to Provincial grand rank in West Lancashire as Past Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies on 19 May 2003, you were then promoted to your current high rank of Past Provincial Deputy Grand Superintendent of Works on 1 April 2020.
Turning to your career in the Royal Arch, you were exalted in James T Callow Chapter No 3596 at Prescot on 18 December 1973, becoming its first principal on 21 October 1984. Sadly, James T Callow Chapter surrendered its charter and was erased on 26 April 2007. You did not wish to cease membership of the Royal Arch and as several of your colleagues were members of Widnes Masonic Hall, you joined Widnes Chapter on 19 September 2006 and are still a member today. I am informed that you continue to enjoy your Royal Arch Freemasonry and that you have served the chapter as a steward.
Ian, you received your first appointment to Provincial Grand Rank as a Past Provincial Grand Standard Bearer on 22 April 2004. I am sure I speak on behalf of everybody present that we are absolutely delighted to see you here this evening to celebrate your 50th anniversary as a Royal Arch Mason and, even more so, that you have allowed us to celebrate your special evening with you. Ian such is the importance of your own golden jubilee that our Grand Superintendent Mark Matthews has caused a certificate to be struck to mark this wonderful achievement and I now ask that the contents of the certificate to be read by David Atkinson.”
To read John’s full script, click here.