The brethren of Peace Lodge No 2269 along with the friends and family of Sid Whalley gathered to celebrate his 100th birthday.
Sid had fallen and broken his hip the week before the meeting so there was some doubt if he would arrive at all. It is reported that during his admission to hospital he told the nursing staff that he had a meeting to go to next week and they need to make the necessary arrangements!
Brian Sharples WM opened the lodge and welcomed Assistant Provincial Grand Master Ray Martland. Ray said Sid Whalley is a one off, with integrity running all the way through him. He has been a mentor to many including himself for which he thanked Sid. Sid was born in 1915 when hostilities of the First World War were underway.
Sid went to Scot Lane Council School near the Saddle in Wigan and worked with his father on leaving school.
1937 took him into the police force over at Rochdale becoming a Sergeant in 1941. When he joined the army he became an instructor on Churchill tanks. On leaving the army it was back to police duties, he met and married Olwen, marrying at a Methodist Church and started married life living in a police house.
Then Sid left the force to go into business with his uncle, following his father’s death. Potatoes were his game and he appeared on BBC North West TV explaining the function of the Appleton Thorne Potato Exchange.
Sid retired from gainful employment at 65.
This did not stop him working in Freemasonry though, having gone through the chair for the first time in 1964 he took on the office of almoner and then charity steward. The Wigan and District Group appointed him as charity delegate.
Sid has held the offices of assistant director of ceremonies and chaplain. Acting rank came in the form of Provincial Junior Grand Deacon in 1973, Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 1980 and Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden in 2011.
Freemasonry, for many of its members, is not only a worthwhile leisure pursuit, but can have a very significant influence on their view of life presenting them with values that are worth aiming for. For most brethren, the relationships which underpin all else, are our families. This is certainly true of Sid.
There is no doubt that his entire life has been an example of what makes a good Freemason, as well as a good citizen, a good husband, a good parent, and, in every way, a contributor to society as a whole.
And there is also no doubt, that, the during the last 63 years, anyone who happened to learn that he is a Freemason, could not fail to see him as anything other than a good ambassador for our order.
Ray concluded by saying: “Sid has completed 100 years of life he is a centenarian and a special man.” A spontaneous standing ovation followed.
Brian then resumed the chair of the lodge and announced that Stephen Ward had been awarded honorary membership of the lodge. Graham Hope WM of Coronation Lodge No 7258 stood to claim the gavel that travel. Brian Sharples with some reluctance handed it over.
Ray said that he had been reliably informed that Sid was now in the building – having been collected from hospital so that he could be present at his birthday party.
At the festive board over 150 of Sid’s family and friends joined together to celebrate this outstanding milestone.
This happy party atmosphere made this a very enjoyable occasion.
Following the toast to his health Sid responded as only Sid can. This was a man justifiably enjoying this very special occasion.