Garston Masonic Hall was the venue for the celebration of Louis Jacob Colins 50 years in Royal Arch at the Royal George Chapter No 4119. The First Principal David Cairns opened the chapter in due form and the companions stood in silence for departed merit, Colin Wood. Barry Elman made a short speech about Colin.
Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Ian Halsall announced the admittance of John Murphy Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals and David Atkinson Mersey Valley Chairman and other distinguished companions. David Cairns welcomed John into the chapter and Ian placed Louis on a convenient seat in front of John who then went onto explain the life and times of Louis Collins.
John began by saying: “Some very famous people were born in the persons of Muhammed Ali the world heavyweight boxing champion, Stephen Hawking the theoretical physicist, Bob Ross the painter, Harrison Ford the actor, Jimi Hendrix the musician, Aretha Franklin the singer, Paul McCartney the Beatles musician, Barbara Streisand the singer and actress, Carole King the composer, John Thaw the actor of the Sweeney fame and of course maybe the most famous of them all in Dublin’s fair city, Louis Collins in January 1942. Louis you were born and raised in Dublin, your father Norman was a company director and your mother Rachel a housewife. You enjoyed your time growing up in Dublin and enjoyed school and excelled at sports.
You finished secondary school and went to St Andrews College Dublin to study dentistry. Whilst at university you continued to enjoy sport especially sailing dinghies and fencing, specialising in the foil. You graduated in 1964 and sought a practice in Dublin, however it was suggested that you seek your fortune in England due to employment opportunities in the National Health Service.
You subsequently travelled to Liverpool where your grandmother had been born and where you had several extended family members. You took lodgings in Barndale Road, Allerton and secured a position with a dental practice in Long Lane owned by a Mr Meredith who had several other practices in Liverpool, including Woolton and Walton at which you worked for two days a week at each. You stayed there for six months and cleared the patient backlog for Mr Meredith who then decided that there was no further work for you. You then obtained a position in a practice in Belfast, Northern Ireland as that also had a National Health Service. You enjoyed your time there, however the sectarian differences between the Protestant and Roman Catholic communities were such that they seemed to enjoy throwing bricks at each other on a regular basis. This was taking place well before the advent of what is now known as the Troubles.
Being a young man who enjoyed a lively social life it was disappointing to work all week and then find that every weekend in Belfast at that time was somewhat subdued, to such an extent that the local authority locked up even the swings in the local park on a Sunday. As a result, you travelled every Friday night to Dublin seeking entertainment and a good night out until on one occasion when returning at about two in the morning in your old car, you were forced to stop on a lonely dark road by a soldier stepping into the road. The soldier approached your car and as you wound down the window you were confronted by the soldier placing his rifle on the windowsill pointing the weapon at you and demanding where you had been to and where you were going. This event coupled with the rising tensions in Belfast caused you to reconsider your position at the dental practice and you resigned the following day.
After serving your period of notice you returned to Liverpool. On your return to Liverpool, you again obtained lodgings and through some friends you were invited to join a bridge club in Upper Duke Street, Liverpool. You enjoyed the social aspect of learning and playing bridge, an activity you continue a couple of times a week. Whilst at the bridge club, learning the game, there were two young ladies who caught your eye. You eventually asked one of them out on a date which happily resulted in your marriage to your wife Jillian on 10 September 1967.
Your father-in-law, Lester Davidson, was a very generous man and as a wedding present he gave you funds to allow you to buy a house and a dental practice. You secured a dental practice in Salisbury Road, Wavertree where you practiced for 36 years prior to your retirement at the age of 60.
An interesting fact during your practice was that when you took over the patient list when moving into Salisbury Road you discovered the file of patient who was none other than the comedian Ken Dodd. The file recorded that the dentist at the time refused to remove Ken Dodd’s two front teeth when as a child he wanted them taken out because they were so prominent. What a fortuitous decision that proved to be for Doddy’s career!
Your connection to Freemasonry started when your father was a Mason in Dublin. However, your journey commenced when your father-in-law Lester Davidson suggested that you join the Craft, you agreed and subsequently you were proposed, at the age of 26 years, as a candidate for Lodge of Israel No 1502 by Lester Davidson and seconded by the immediate past master T M Elsworthy and you were initiated on 13 May 1968. You were passed to the second degree on 10 February 1969 and raised to the sublime degree of a master Mason on 14 April 1969.
At that point in time, Lodge of Israel had over 200 members and as such it was not uncommon to wait many years to progress through the various offices. You became a steward, one of about 20, who used to meet and learn the various degrees to such a proficiency that they were able to perform ceremonies with ease. You progressed to take the chair as WM on 9 November 1981.You subsequently served the lodge as treasurer for 12 years and as chaplain for 10 years.
Turning to your Royal Arch career, you realised during your time as a steward in your lodge that you wished to expand your Masonic knowledge and as such explored the prospect of joining the Royal Arch. You were proposed and seconded as a candidate for exaltation into Menorah Chapter No 4513. You were exalted into the chapter on 18 January 1973. You enjoyed the new ritual and camaraderie of the companions and progressed through the various offices until you were installed as the first principal in September 1987.
You served as the chapter charity steward from June 1996 until November 2016, when unfortunately, the chapter was forced to surrender its charter due to falling membership. You decided to have a break from Royal Arch Masonry when the chapter closed, however when approached by your good friend Barry Ellman you realised that you missed the enjoyment and companionship of Royal Arch and decided to seek membership of Royal George Chapter. You joined Royal George Chapter on 16 March 2022 and your experience and skill as a charity steward was utilised by appointing you as the chapter charity steward, an office you now hold.
Your service to your mother chapter and the Royal Arch was recognised by Provincial Grand Chapter of West Lancashire and have now achieved the high rank of Past Provincial Grand Scribe Nemiah on 7 April 2010. Louis such is the importance of your own golden jubilee that the Grand Superintendent Mark Matthews has caused a certificate to be struck to mark this wonderful achievement the Mersey Valley Chairman David Thomas Atkinson will now read the contents of the certificate.” To read John’s full script, click here.
John then congratulated Louis on his achievement and Louis presented a personnel cheque for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. At the festive board, John expressed that Louis was the main man tonight and how he enjoyed explaining Louis’s interesting history. Louis thanked all who attended his celebration and that after 50 years in Royal Arch he is still enjoying the lectures and meetings and the way the companions of the chapter had made in welcome.