The lesson of the day was presented courtesy of Ray Martland, Assistant Provincial Grand Master of the Province of West Lancashire. Ray had turned up at Hutton Grammar School in order to lead the 50 year celebration of Michael Greenwood in Freemasonry and he was more than pleased to be representing Tony Harrison, Provincial Grand Master on this special occasion.
David Johnson, WM of Old Huttonian Lodge No 7614, opened the school lodge in traditional fashion. He very quickly executed the business of the lodge before welcoming Ray Martland into the old school hall, which is converted into a lodge room when required. Ray commented on how he was pleased to be back at school on this very momentous occasion and gave warm and hearty greetings to all. David offered Ray the gavel of the lodge which he took and kept, saying that he was ready to teach. Once in the master’s chair, Ray kindly asked if everyone was sitting comfortably, including Michael who had been placed in the centre of the lodge room, before he began his lesson; the biography of Michael Greenwood.
Ray had been to visit Michael earlier in the year to have a chat about his memoirs and in preparation for his jubilee celebration. On the day he was met by Michael who had prepared coffee and biscuits, so they had a very enjoyable time chatting about Michael and the fact that he had served Old Huttonian Lodge for 42 of his 50 years in Freemasonry.
Preston, 1938, was the town and year it all began. In fact this year was notable for other reasons: George VI was on the throne; gas masks were issued; Neville Chamberlain was Prime Minister and the Beano comic went on sale. It was 10 September when Mrs Janet Greenwood gave birth to Michael at Mount Street Hospital. Michael’s father, Robert, was a partner in the Greenwood Brother’s family business and Michael often went along in one of the company lorries with his father. One trip took them to Liverpool Docks to collect rubber, only to discover that an unexploded bomb was in the middle of it all.
Michael went to school at Walmer Bridge and attended there until 1949. He passed his scholarship and gained admission to Hutton Grammar School where he excelled at maths, physics and chemistry, playing the odd game of rugby too and becoming deputy head boy. Manchester University was the next stop where he gained a BSc Honours in Mathematics in 1960; going on to teach at Audenshaw Grammar School and eventually on to Rainford County Secondary School to be head of the maths department. Michael retired in 1994; however he continued to mark A-level exam papers from his home. He still marks papers for the American market, from Alaska to the Caribbean.
Another important year was 1963, when Michael met Jean and marrying the following year at Ormskirk Parish Church. Ray noted that the wedding took place between the World Cup semi-final and when England took on and beat Portugal. They have three children; Carol a teacher, Barry a HMRC inspector and Susan a GP in Blackburn with a total of five grandchildren.
Other roles undertaken by Michael have been: a governor at Hutton Grammar for 12 years; vice chairman of the governors for two years; lodge representative for the Federation of School Lodges; secretary of the Old Huttonian Association for 43 years plus four years previously as assistant secretary. For eight years Michael has also been a member of Coeliac UK (Blackpool, Fylde and Preston Group); responsible for setting up the new Preston Group for the organisation and was recently appointed its treasurer.
Michael was initiated into Emulation Lodge No 1505 at Eberley Street, Liverpool in 1965. He joined Old Huttonian Lodge in 1971 and became WM in 1980 and again in 2004 and 2008. He was lodge almoner for a while; DC for 18 years and then secretary for 11 years. Michael was rewarded for his work in the lodge in 1987 with his first Provincial appointment as Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon, with promotion to his current very high rank of Past Provincial Junior Warden in 1995.
He joined the Royal Arch and was exalted into Winckley Chapter No 5438 in 1988 before joining Penwortham Chapter No 5874 and becoming first principal in 1995. Michael’s first Provincial appointment was to PPrPGSoj with promotion to PPrGSN in 2010.
Ray rounded off his celebratory oration by asking Stewart Seddon, Chairman of the Leyland Group to read the celebration certificate which is an acknowledgement of the Provincial Grand Master’s great appreciation of the half century membership of the craft. Ray then had the great pleasure of presenting the certificate to Michael accompanied with his personal congratulations.
Following the lodge closure, all members and visitors retired to the school dining room to continue the celebration at a festive board which was second to none. Ray again congratulated Michael on his jubilee anniversary and commented on seeing him again for his 60th celebration.