When Harry met Derek

Brethren of Compass Lodge No 7052 who meet at the Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool, held a very special meeting to celebrate the golden jubilee of Harry Binks. The meeting was honoured by the attendance of Assistant Provincial Grand Master Derek Parkinson, who met Harry at his home prior to the regular meeting. Although Harry never progressed through to the master’s chair, he has attended almost every meeting since becoming a member of Compass Lodge in February 1968.

Derek (right) congratulates Harry.

Derek (right) congratulates Harry.

The lodge was opened by Jim Hawkins, who was standing in as WM, as the installed master Roy Williams, was unavailable due to work commitments. A number of other officers were also absent due to illness or work commitments. Accordingly, Ken Jones acted as senior warden, Mike Hilton later to be chosen as master elect, stood in as senior deacon and Mike Melling of Freshfield Lodge No 8165, acted as junior deacon.

Following confirmation of the minutes of the previous meeting, elections took place for master elect, treasurer and tyler for the ensuing year. The Provincial deacons then retired from the lodge and Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Mark Barton was admitted. Mark announced that APrGM was without and demanded admission. The brethren stood to receive Derek, who was accompanied by Gladstone Group Chairman Bill Culshaw and the group vice chairman John James, together with other grand and Provincial grand officers, including acting Provincial grand officers Daniel Senneck and Paul Dooley.

Mike Hilton proposes the toast to Harry.

Mike Hilton proposes the toast to Harry.

Jim welcomed Derek and offered him the gavel, which Derek gladly accepted. Mark Barton then called the brethren to order and instructed them to salute Derek as Masons, five times. Derek thanked the brethren and greeted them well. He then requested his DC to place the celebrant, Harry Binks, in front of the pedestal and proceeded to expertly deliver a narration. Starting with a number of interesting facts which took place in the 1930’s, the decade Harry was born, right up to recent times when Harry was appointed into Provincial Grand Lodge.

Although Harry served an apprentership as a mechanical engineer, he spent most of his career in the motor trade and finished his working life with the Jardine Motor Company at the age of 70. Always a fit man, Harry qualified as a fitness instructor during his National Service and by completion had been promoted to the rank of sergeant. However, 20 years ago he found himself undergoing surgery when he was diagnosed suffering from angina. Sadly, Harry has spent many years as a widower, tragically losing his wife Jill, shortly after the birth of his third child.

Thanks to full time help from his sister Dorothy, Harry was able to continue working to support his family. Freemasonary also helped Harry in a big way as all three children were eventually educated at Masonic schools thanks to the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys. Harry now enjoys full health and has the added joy of being a grandparent to nine grandchildren.

Harry responds to his toast.

Harry responds to his toast.

Derek’s final duty was to call upon John James to read and then present Harry with the jubilee certificate, which had been signed by the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. Harry thanked John, opting to save his response for the festive board and the brethren applauded loudly as Harry was escorted back to his seat, following which Derek then handed back the gavel to Jim.

After the first rising, Derek and the other grand lodge officers retired, escorted by the acting Provincial grand officers and Provincial deacons. The lodge was closed and 30 members and guests retired to the Crosby Suite to enjoy a pre-dinner drink.

At the festive board, the brethren enjoyed an excellent meal with copious amounts of wine, a glass of port and plenty of wine taking. The highlight of the evening was the toast to the celebrant given in an eloquent and sincere manner by Mike Hilton. Mike spoke of Harry’s dedication and loyalty to Compass Lodge, his quiet unassuming manner together with his natural skill as lodge mentor.

Harry responded with an obvious love of the Craft in general and Compass Lodge in particular. It is well known that in Freemasonry you only get out of it what you put in and Harry has certainly put in a lot, 50 years in fact. The last toast of the evening was in the hands of the acting tyler Paul Havord, who had travelled from Whitchurch to act as tyler for the evening. Harry then spent some time chatting and thanking members and guests, it was obvious that he had enjoyed a very memorable evening.

Article and photographs by Phil Marshall.

Pictured from left to right, are: Paul Dooley, Daniel Senneck, Bill Culshaw, Harry Binks, Derek Parkinson, David Potts and John James.

Pictured from left to right, are: Paul Dooley, Daniel Senneck, Bill Culshaw, Harry Binks, Derek Parkinson, David Potts and John James.