The members of West Lancashire Century Lodge No 2349, together with friends, met at Cleveleys Masonic Hall to celebrate Raymond (Ray) Bird’s 50 years in Freemasonry. Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Randerson, was accompanied by a grand line-up of grand and acting Provincial grand officers, Harry Cox, North Fylde Group Chairman Peter Greathead , Stuart Thornber, Norman Thomas, Rev Canon Godfrey Hirst, Jason Dell, David Edwards, Jim Gregson, Alan Barnes, Stuart Alcock-Williams and Terry Murtagh.
The lodge was duly opened in all three degrees by Scott Coxey WM, the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies entered the lodge room to announce the presence of David and his supporting entourage. Once David was seated Scott offered him the gavel of the lodge which, on this special occasion, he retained.
After making sure Ray was seated comfortably, David began Ray’s story by saying the year was 1942, it was three years into the Second World War and all the tragedies and hardships that brought. Stephen Hawking, Paul McCartney and Billy Connolly were born and in that same year, so was Raymond Thomas Bird to Tom and Magarey.
From the age of 16 Ray started out in the building trade. He worked with his father for the next 28 years until 1984. From there Ray’s father bought the Skye Hotel and for the next 15 years Ray became an hotelier, running it for his father.
Ray was initiated into West Lancs Century Lodge No 2349 in November 1969. He was subsequently passed to the second degree in January 1970 by Roger Lee’s father and raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason in March 1970. To read a transcript of David’s fascinating personal, professional and Masonic Life click here.
Before David returned the gavel of the lodge to Scott, David made a surprise announcement. David said that the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison had authorised him to promote Ray to Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works in respect of his distinguished service and dedication to Freemasonry.
Once the business of the evening was complete and the lodge closed the brethren retired to the dining room for a superb festive board and many more interesting reflections of the life and times of Raymond Thomas Bird.