The members of the City of Lancaster Lodge No 281, together with their guests, were delighted to mark the diamond jubilee of Roy Domville, who has been a resolute contributor of both his time and skill to the lodge. For the celebration, held in Lancaster Masonic Hall, the brethren were honoured by the presence of Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Grainger, who was accompanied on this special occasion by Lancaster and District Group Vice Chairman Neil McGill, group secretary Scott Devine, grand officers Christopher Butterfield, Philip Gardner and John Beadle, together with acting Provincial grand officers; Fred Dickinson, Steve Plevey, David Cole, Philip Burrow and Keith Halligan. Ensuring the smooth running of the festivities was Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Ian Halsall.
Prior to the main celebratory event of the evening, a lodge business meeting was held and then ‘called off’ whilst the guests arrived and took their seats. Once everyone was seated, the WM Michael Cole greeted the brethren and upon the meeting being reopened, the PrDGDC was admitted into the lodge room to announce that the APrGM was without and demanded admission. Michael warmly welcomed David to the lodge and offered him the gavel, which he accepted but not before commenting: ”Normally I cannot wait to give the gavel back, but this evening it will be a pleasure to retain it for a short while.”
Upon occupying the master’s chair, David began his address by stating, that in our organisation we ask the highest standards of our members in terms of respect for others, in helping those less fortunate than ourselves and a strict morality in all our dealings and behaviour. To have lived by and practiced those principals for 60 years is a remarkable achievement and it is only right and proper that this evening we are gathered here to help Roy celebrate 60 years in Freemasonry and to congratulate him on the very auspicious occasion of his diamond jubilee.
David then asked Ian to place the celebrant before him and having first made sure he was sitting comfortably, David continued his address by recalling the memorable events of 1932, the year of Roy’s birth. George V was on the throne, Ramsey MacDonald was prime minister and the world was in the middle of what would become known as the ‘Great Depression’. In this country 20% of the workforce were unemployed and in the north of England that rose to 30%. In the UK the average house cost £509, whilst a new car would set you back £295. However, the average annual salary was only £128. In the UK, the atom was split for the first time which led to the discovery of the neutron. Other inventions from 1932 include the radio telescope, angelpoise lamps, staple removers, Zippo lighters and parking meters. It was also the year that Al Capone went to prison for tax evasion and Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened.
Roy was born in Litherland, Liverpool, to very proud parents Stanley and Irene Domville. Roy’s father ran the family grocery shop whilst his mother worked in the offices of Bryant and May Match Works.
Roy attended school at the local junior school from the age of five and was still at the same school when the Second World War began. In 1941 Roy and his brother were evacuated to Preston to escape the bombing, in fact the house next door to Roy’s parents in Litherland was bombed and completely destroyed. In Preston, Roy attended St Andrew’s School on Blackpool Road, but after 12 months in Preston his parents considered it safe for them to return to Liverpool where Roy gained a scholarship to Waterloo Grammar School and obtained the Oxford School Certificate in seven subjects.
On leaving school at the age of 16, Roy began work with the Post Office Telephones in Liverpool, as an apprentice electrical engineer. When Roy reached 18 years of age, National Service called and he began training as a cipher machine technician in the Royal Signals, following which he was posted to Germany. On completion of his National Service, Roy returned to work at the Post Office, but was not however completely finished with the Royal Signals as he joined the Territorial Army and served until he was 45 years old, rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant Foreman of Signals.
As a Post Office engineer, Roy steadily gained promotion to be the technical officer responsible for telephone exchanges in the Waterloo, Crosby and North Liverpool districts. It was whilst working at Waterloo that Roy met his future wife Audrey and was married in 1956. They have ben blessed with three children and five grandchildren.
When Roy was 29, he was offered a post in London at the main line planning department in Stanmore. Upon accepting the post, the family moved house to St Albans. This job took Roy all over the country visiting radar sites, transmitting stations and navigational sites. Further promotions came along, until in 1977 Roy was promoted to senior executive engineer for the whole of North Lancashire and Cumbria and moved to Carlisle to take up this post. In 1984 Roy moved to Lancaster as the area manager, however in 1985, BT as the company had become, offered Roy a favourable early retirement package he could not refuse.
Sadly, in 1988 and just 10 days after moving to a new house in Galgate, near Lancaster, Audrey passed away suddenly. Later that year, Roy met Helen, a volunteer driver for the ambulance service. Roy decided to join Helen in this service and they have driven many 1,000s of miles helping patients who have trouble getting to hospital. They married in 1989 and between them have seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Roy’s Masonic journey began in 1957 when he was installed into Linacre Lodge No 4823, in Bootle, Liverpool, by his father. At this juncture, it is normal for the secretary to read the minutes from that initiation meeting, but because Linacre Lodge handed back its warrant in 2014, the secretary has been unable to get a copy.
On moving to St Albans, Roy had to resign from Linacre Lodge and joined Cheiron Lodge No 7775, becoming its organist and then master in 1975. Following promotion in 1977, Roy moved to Carlisle and joined St Michael’s Lodge No 8454, again taking the office of organist and becoming its master in 2005. In 2013 Roy was elected an honorary member of St Michaels Lodge. In the Cumberland and Westmorland Province, Roy holds the high rank of PPrJGW and in fact Roy had visitors from that Province present at this celebratory meeting to support him.
Upon moving back to Lancaster, Roy re-joined Linacre Lodge and was their master in 2009 and 2011. Just before the lodge handed in its warrant, Roy had the pleasant duty of initiating his son into Linacre Lodge, thus maintaining a link of four familial generations within the lodge. In 1988, Roy joined Lodge of Fortitude No 281(following amalgamation it is now the City of Lancaster Lodge) and has been its organist ever since, becoming master in 2004 and 2005. In West Lancashire Province, Roy holds the rank of PPrDGSuptWks.
In the Royal Arch, Roy was exalted into the Chapter of Kindness No 5696 in London in 1976 and on moving to Carlisle joined Union Chapter No 310, finally joining the Chapter of Fortitude No 281, Lancaster in 2007, becoming its first principal in 2009. In West Lancashire Province, Roy holds the rank of PPrGSoj.
David completed his address by formally conveying the heartiest congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison before asking Neil McGill to read the commemorative certificate that the PrGM had caused to be issued.
It was David’s pleasant duty to actually present the certificate to Roy, following which he thanked Roy for all he had done over the last 60 years, wished him good health and happiness and hoped to see him celebrate his 70th anniversary in Freemasonry.
The brethren then retired to the festive board, where the celebrations continued. The toast to Roy’s health was proposed by his good friend John Beadle.
One other event of special note was the presentation of the ‘Fortitude Cup’ by Roy. The cup was presented to the Lodge of Fortitude in 1949 and was originally used as a loving cup at the annual past master’s evening These traditions ended in the mid-1990s and since then the cup has remained locked away. Recently, it was decided that the cup be re-purposed and used as a travelling loving cup on the occasion of visits between the Lancaster and District Group and the Furness Group. As such, it was Roy’s distinct pleasure to present the Fortitude Cup to the APrGM for use on such occasions.
Article and photographs by Paul Thompson.