Assistant Provincial Grand Master Derek Parkinson expressed his delighted in being able to join with the brethren of Trinity Lodge 3257 and their guests in celebrating Sam Gill’s 50 years in Freemasonry at Garston Masonic Hall.
The lodge was opened by WM Phillip Hudson and the regular business of the lodge was conducted before Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Robert Wright announced that the Assistant Provincial Master was without and demanded admission. Derek was duly admitted into the lodge in due form and was accompanied by Garston Group Chairman Howard Griffiths.
On welcoming Derek into the lodge Phillip was pleased to offer him the gavel of the lodge, which on this happy occasion Derek accepted with pleasure and occupied the WM’s chair. In his introduction Derek said that the brethren should sit back and be prepared to learn much of Sam’s life, domestically, professionally and Masonically. Derek continued by saying: “One of the benefits of holding a senior position in the Province is the opportunity to celebrate with the brethren as they reach milestones in their Masonic career. It also gives me a wonderful opportunity to find out not only about the person but about how things were 50, 60, or 70 years ago, which is always very interesting. Tonight is no exception as we are here to celebrate with Sam his 50 years in Freemasonry.” Derek then asked Robert to place Sam before him.
Derek began his story of Sam’s life, beginning in 1941 when bombs were raining down on Garston and in particular on York Street, where a heavily pregnant Doris Gill lived. Doris worked as a furrier and her husband Samuel was a Post Master by occupation. Samuel had been called up for active service in the army and was not at home when nearby Saunby Street was hit by German bombs on the nights of 15 and 16 April with the loss of 11 lives. Many families were evacuated and fortunately Doris’s sister had a farm just outside Oswestry and so Doris moved there and that’s the story of how Samuel Michael Gill came to be born in Oswestry.
The lodge summons refers to Sam as Michael Samuel Gill but he was actually christened Samuel Michael Gill and has always been known as Sam.
At the end of the war the family returned to Garston and Sam was educated at Banks Road Primary School and then went on to Heath Road Secondary School. One interesting fact that Sam isn’t aware of, and probably no-one else here tonight is, is that our Deputy Provincial Grand Master Howard Jones attended Booker Avenue at the same time that Sam was at Banks Road. Sam couldn’t quite remember if he played football for the school but if he had he would have played against Howard.
Sam left Heath Road school aged 12 and went to Skerry’s College at No 2 Rodney Street, as his dad thought he’d get a better education there, he remained there until he was 16. After he passed his Northern Board ‘O’ level exams he won a position as an apprentice engineer at Widnes ICI. Initially Sam was apprenticed as an electrician to work with instrumentation and then proceeded to specialise as an instrumentation engineer. Sam didn’t know it at the time, but his boss at ICI, Wynn Williams was a Mason.
He went on to work for Dunlop’s at Speke and Wirral Automation where his job was involved in closing down gas plants. His work took him to Matthew Hall at Southampton and then on to many of the world’s leading oil and petroleum companies, Burma Oil, Mobil, Shell, BP and Texaco. He had to travel a lot and worked in Norway, Japan, Syria, Nigeria, Germany, Oman, and Beirut, some of those places that not many people would wish to work in with all the troubles of today.
When he was in Germany his work brought him into contact with one of the German scientists who had been involved with Hitler’s programme to provide heavy water for the nuclear weapons and after the war their designs were discovered to be more sophisticated than the bombs used against the Japanese at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Sam eventually retired in 2001.
In his younger days, Sam attended St Michael’s Church in Garston where he met Pauline at the Youth Club. Sam and Pauline were married in 1967 and have three children; Ian, Matthew and Susan, all of whom have had children so Sam has six grandchildren.
Sam’s hobbies tend to be based around collecting things, possibly from all the travels he has done in his working life, he has collections of stamps, antiques, porcelain, coins and notes. Not long after he had retired he suffered a stroke but has made a good recovery and now attends the gym as part of his continuing health programme four mornings a week.
Sam’s Masonic career began when he was initiated into Royal George Lodge No 4119 on the 2 February 1965. His work commitments kept him away from the lodge for long periods of time and shortly after he had retired in 2001, when he was in a position to return to lodge his father Samuel, a past master of Royal George Lodge, sadly died and soon after that Sam suffered a stroke and the lodge again took a back seat.
Royal George Lodge amalgamated with Empire Lodge No 3257 and Mossley Hill Lodge No 7963 to form Trinity Lodge No 3257 on 9 March 2005. Sam also has a family connection to the lodge as his cousin John Dunn is the lodge treasurer.
Derek then asked Howard Griffiths to please read to Sam the greeting from the Provincial Grand Master as stated on the jubilee certificate. Howard having done this, Derek then presented the certificate to Sam.
In closing his presentation of Sam’s 50 years in Freemasonry Derek said: “Michael Samuel Gill, I have the greatest pleasure in congratulating you on achieving 50 years as a Freemason in this Province and hope you will be able to enjoy many more happy years as a member of this lodge”.
In concluding the business of the evening Sam stood to propose his son as a candidate for Freemasonry, something that would have no doubt brought him as much enjoyment as the celebration of his 50 years.