Lively lot at Lilford

There being no lodge business Phil Hallinan, Worshipful Master of Lilford Lodge No 3022, invited Leigh Group Chairman Malcolm Parr to give a lecture on the history of the Victoria Cross and the George Cross Medals.

Phil Hallinan and Malcolm Parr with a replica Victoria Cross.

Phil Hallinan and Malcolm Parr with a replica Victoria Cross.

The Victoria Cross was created on 29 January 1856 and is handmade, traditionally using bronze taken from a gun captured during the Crimean War, it is the highest award for gallantry that a British and Commonwealth serviceman can achieve and since 1856 1,354 people have been awarded the Victoria Cross (although awarded 1,358 times). It is forever linked with acts of extreme bravery and the original document associated with the medal stated that it could only be awarded for “gallantry of the highest order”.

This is just a small sample of the informative and exhaustive information communicated to the brethren by Malcolm over the course of 40 or so minutes. The depth of research undertaken for the lecture was laudable and included such treasures as how Samuel Harvey, of the York and Lancaster Regiment, came to lose his Victoria Cross “swapped for beer in a pub or lost in a wood near Ipswich whilst returning home from a pub”.

Malcolm also gave many individual examples of the heroic actions performed by this extraordinary group of men on our behalf.

It would be churlish to transcribe too much of the lecture material, as you really should go and visit a lodge to hear it for yourself, it’s thoroughly recommended. Suffice it to say that by the end of the lecture the lively lot over at Lilford were clamoring for more, particularly Malcolm’s lecture on Jack the Ripper!

The night, however, was still young and onto the festive board where the joviality, friendly banter “I will never forget my gloves again, honest” and good humor continued.

Lilford lodge even has its own song, “Floreat Lilford” to the tune of John Peel with verses valiantly performed on a solo basis, even if an accompaniment would have been kinder to the ears, by the Master and his Wardens and the rousing chorus belted out with gusto by all the brethren:

So sing in North, in the South, East and West;

Swell out the chorus, one of the best;

Thirty Twenty Two! A loyal lodge and true!

That’s the name and the fame of the Lilford!

Go out of your way to visit the Lilford Lodge No 3022, you will be assured of a warm welcome, a lively and jovial atmosphere with a stirring and enthusiastic sing song performed with enough verve to rival the last night of the proms.