In front of a gathering of largely master Masons in Bootle Pilgrim Lodge No 1473, Assistant Provincial Grand Master Robert Wright, in his last official acting visit prior to his retirement, officiated over the celebration of Robert Hurley’s 70 years in Freemasonry. As might be expected on such a special occasion there was a plethora of distinguished Masons on hand to share the celebrations.
Joining Robert Wright were the Chairman of Ormskirk and Bootle Group Frank Umbers, group vice chairman Graham Chambers, grand officers Ian Gee, Freddy Wright, Roy Pyne, Ron Elliott, Malcolm Alexander and accompanied by Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Mark Barton along with acting Provincial grand officers Tom Bradfield-kay, David Scott, Fred Dickinson, John Walters, Russell Skidmore, Carl Mathews and Dave Rigby.
No sooner had the acting WM Allan Hore opened the lodge and dispensed with the general business, then the procession of dignitaries entered and the gavel of the lodge was transferred to Robert Wright who then thanked all the brethren attending the celebration, especially Mark Dean of Coronation Lodge No 2923, the grandson of the celebrant. Robert Wright then proceeded to give an entertaining and informative resume of the celebrant’s life and Masonic career.
Robert Hurley was born in Bootle Cum Linacre as it was then known, in 1920 and he attended Salisbury Road Infant and Junior School and then moved to Gray Street Secondary School, which he recalled as a happy time for him. As most young men did then, he left school and started work, at Ashcrofts / Jones Timber Merchants in Seaforth, delivering timber.
At the outbreak of war Robert joined the RAF and became ‘Aircraftsman 1024154’ originally at Liverpool Docks but then underwent training at RAF Middleton at Morecambe to become a member of a maintenance unit based a Hawarden. In 1943, on the day after Robert married Jeane, he was posted to Gibraltar for 3 years with their only method of contact being by wartime censored mail.
After ‘demob’, Robert first returned to work in his father-in-law’s timber yard, then he moved to the Dunlop Rubber Company in Speke and eventually to Lockheed in Speke until his retirement in 1982. Robert married his wife Jeane at Balliol Road Methodist Church in 1943. In 1947 Jeane gave birth to their daughter, but sadly Jeane passed away in 1949 from a ruptured appendix. Robert married Marjorie in 1953, who had a daughter Margaret and they had a long and happy marriage until she passed away some years ago. Robert has 5 grandchildren including Mark Dean who was there on the evening and also 10 great grandchildren.
Robert was a keen cyclist, a member of a cycling club and used to both compete and take part in the Sunday cycling runs down into Wales. Robert still is a keen member of the ‘red half’ of Liverpool and was for some years a steward at Anfield.
Robert was initiated into Prince of Wales Lodge No 1035 at Skelmersdale Masonic Hall on 14 May 1948 and became WM in 1967 and again in 1997. Robert also served as secretary for a number of years. The lodge surrendered its warrant in 2007 and Robert joined Old Grammarian Lodge of Waterloo No 6776 which also surrendered its warrant in 2012. Robert then joined Bootle Pilgrim Lodge.
The Province rewarded his support for Freemasonry by his appointment in 1981 to the rank of Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon and further promotion in 1989 to the rank of Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden.
Robert was exalted into Prince of Wales Chapter No 1035 in 1949 and became its first principal in 1975. He also served the chapter as secretary and almoner for a number of years. Sadly, the chapter surrendered its warrant in 2007 and in 2010 Robert joined Bootle Chapter No 1473 which he has recently resigned from.
Robert’s support and dedication for the Royal Arch Province of West Lancashire was recognised in 1983 with his appointment to acting rank of Provincial First Assistant Sojourner and promotion in 1988 to the rank of Past Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah.
Robert celebrated his 50th year in Freemasonry in 1998, his 60th in 2008 and Robert said: “Now we are here at Bootle Pilgrim celebrating his 70th”. Before asking group vice chairman Graham Chambers to read out Robert’s jubilee certificate, Robert Wright then presented Robert with his certificate saying: “Robert Hurley, Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden of the Province of West Lancashire. You have had a life full of hard work and dedication, commitment to family, success in your career and service to Freemasonry. It gives me great pleasure to present to you this certificate recording your achievement of 70 years in the Craft and to wish you on behalf of all the brethren here the best of health to enjoy many more years in Freemasonry and in our company. Brethren, once again, please join me in extending your warmest congratulations.”
With the presentation being over Robert handed the gavel back to Allan, who closed the lodge and the brethren made their way to the dining hall for an excellent festive board, where the celebrations continued.