Garston Masonic Hall was the venue to celebrate Roy James Smith’s Achievement of 50 years in Freemasonry in South Liverpool Lodge No 2681. The WM Peter Williams opened the lodge in due form and completed the domestic business of the lodge and proceeded to open the lodge in the second and third degrees.
Assistant to the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies David Boyes announced that Assistant Provincial Grand Master Andrew Whittle and Mersey Valley Group Chairman John Murphy and other distinguished Masons were outside the door of the lodge and Andrew demanded admission. Peter welcomed Andrew to the lodge and offered him the gavel which he accepted and asked David to be place Roy comfortably in the seat before him.
Roy Smith born in May 1947, in Smithdown Road Hospital to his father James Smith a Marine Engineer and his mother Glennys Smith who was a shop assistant. A year later in 1940 Roy’s parents had a daughter Barbara who would compete the family unit. The family lived in Wavertree, Liverpool. Roy’s early schooling took place at Lawrence Road Infant School followed by Sefton Park Junior School. Roy showed early potential at school and in his final year at Sefton Park he sat and passed the 11 Plus, which allowed him to attend Hillfoot Hey High School in Woolton. Roy left school in 1963 and took up a position with Alan Dale & Sons Fish Merchants as a junior salesman with a view to learning the fish trade so that he could open his own shop at a future date.
At the same time, some friends at the scout troop decided to form a beat group, one wonders if growing up during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s in Liverpool with the explosion of music talent had a part to play in Roy’s decision to join the band. Roy went out and purchased a set of drums and became the bands drummer. The band was named ‘The Runaways’ and soon began to play at various clubs and music venues in the Merseyside area such as The Cavern, Mardi Gras, Down Beat and Orrell Park Ballroom amongst them. The band was supporting many groups who were hit parade artists starting out on their careers, such as, Rod Stewart, The Bee Gees and The Moody Blues.
The band were introduced to a young actor called Bill Kenwright by a mutual friend and eventually made a record with him, the A side was a cover of the song written by Berry Gordy Jnr and first released in 1967 by Chris Clark called ‘I want to go back there again’. The B side was a song called ‘A walk Through Dreams” written by Daniels. It was released in 1967 but never made the top 10. (The song can be played on apple music) The band also managed to make a few TV appearances. Sadly, the group disbanded after five years in 1968. Roy returned to his original plan and opened his own fish mongers shop also in Lawrence Road.
Whilst in The Runaways, Roy met a young lady named Kathleen and following as was the case in those days a suitable courtship period, they were engaged in 1968. Roy and Kathleen married at St Clare’s Church on the junction of Arundel Ave and York Avenue in Sefton Park on the 1 September 1971 and have been happily married ever since.
Roy then became a Sea Scout Leader for the 58th Southport Sea Scouts where the young people called him ‘Skip’. He was literally thrown in at the deep end with not having any experience of water activities. Eventually after several years and a great deal of training Roy became a kayak coach, sailing instructor, power boat and safety boat driver, bell boat instructor and a dragon boat coach.
Southport Scouts had their headquarters burnt down by some young lads who had broken into the building and set it on fire. The new scout headquarters was built in 1999 and funded by the National Lottery at a coast on around £1,500,000. Roy was integral to the building of the centre as he and his wife Kathleen were on the committee in charge of its construction. The buildings are now a Water Activity Centre on the Marine Lake open seven days a week and used by schools and many community organisations as well as the scouts.
Roy managed through raising local donations to purchase two dragon boats and set up the Southport Scouts Dragon Boat Team called ‘The Southport Serpents’. They entered serval regional and national competitions in the early years, eventually becoming National Scout Champions in 2005.The team were helped by a Masonic Grant which bought the buoyancy aids and T-shirts in their team colours of yellow and black.
Roy was instrumental just before the pandemic in raising donations totalling £20,000 to purchase three new dragon boats for the scouts and others to use. The boats were built in China and shipped over to the Water Activity Centre at Southport. Roy is often seen down at the scout headquarters and Water Activity Centre at the helm of one of the dragon boats, driving the safety powerboat or just doing some of the vast array of jobs required to keep such a large centre going.
On 28 November 1972 roy was initiated into Uranus Lodge No.6485 at the Carlton Masonic Hall in Liverpool, his proposer was Steve Phillips and his seconder was his son Keith Phillips. After having passed through the usual progressive ranks he was installed as WM of the lodge in September 1988. By this time the lodge was meeting at Garston Masonic Hall having met at Bootle Masonic Hall for 11 years between 1977 and 1986. During his year as WM, Roy had the pleasure of initiating the current treasurer of South Liverpool Lodge, Ron Ibbs.
Following his year in the chair, Roy served the lodge in several positions including assistant director of ceremonies and charity steward. Uranus Lodge, Queens Lodge No.2681 and Temperance Lodge No.2714, all suffering from a reduction in membership, amalgamated in November 2009 to become the South Liverpool Lodge No.2681. Roy was WM of the lodge in 2016. To read Andrew’s full script,
Andrew asked John Murphy to read the certificate from Provincial Grand Master Mark Matthews to mark this wonderful achievement. On receiving the certificate Roy handed a personal cheque to Andrew for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. The WM then closed the lodge and the brethren retired to a well-attended festive board were Roy thanked everyone for attending.