The lodge members were pleased to welcome Assistant Provincial Grand Master Mark Dimelow, accompanied by the Chairman of the Liverpool Group Sam Robinson along with Neil MacSymons Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies.
It was a very enjoyable and pleasant evening for John Lewis, only installed as Worshipful Master of the lodge the previous month, to open his lodge for the first time at such a prestigious event. John then handed the gavel to on his entry into the lodge. Mark then informed all the brethren that they were present at a very special meeting, to honour and pay tribute to one who has served the Craft, in general, and Stanley Lodge No 1325, in particular, loyally and faithfully for 50 years.
This Brother was Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works of the Province of West Lancashire, presently the immediate past master, junior deacon, and for 17 years the charity steward of this very fine and distinguished lodge of such great antiquity.
Mark continued in saying that the word “celebrate” means to do something enjoyable, because of a feeling of pleasure at some event or achievement. Norman is today celebrating his golden anniversary as a Freemason which is most certainly an achievement well worth celebrating, and the presence this evening of so many indicates that view is shared.
A chair was then placed in the centre for Norman which he settled into quite comfortably, after which Mark addressed him personally, covering his life in general from birth, to the present day.
Norman Leslie Lloyd was born in Merton Road Maternity Hospital in Bootle on 25 August 1939 the only child of Alfred William and Jane Lloyd, one week before the outbreak of the Second World War. He shared his birthday with a Russian Tsar, Ivan the Terrible who was born in 1530, and the famous composer Leonard Bernstein, a little closer to Norman, with a birth year of 1918. It is also a very notable date as the star of the matchbox label Captain Mathew Webb, an Englishman, swam what we call, much to the annoyance of our French neighbours, the English Channel on 25 August1875.
Norman’s father, Alfred, a plumber by trade was born in 1911, and married Jane, who was a year younger, at Liverpool in 1936. In the May of 1940, in what later became known as the May Blitz tragedy struck near Normans home in Hahnemann Road, when a landmine came down close by doing severe damage to the neighbourhood and in particular blowing the roof off the house. Sadly for Norman his mother and father lost many friends in the incident which also resulted in the family having to seek alternative accommodation, which took them from Bootle across Liverpool to the south, Nebo Road, Wavertree.
Norman’s father had by this time volunteered to join the RAF in 1939 and was variously posted to the Middle East and in particular Iraq and also to work as an operating theatre orderly with the now famous Sir Archibald McIndoe and his team in Sussex. McIndoe is famous for having developed and carried out pioneering plastic surgery on the burned face and hands of the pilots and crew of the Royal Air Force. He also recognised the importance of the rehabilitation of the casualties and particularly of social reintegration back into normal life.
Meanwhile Mrs Lloyd had taken it upon herself to move young Norman to safety in North Wales showing a great deal of fortitude. Initially the two of them lived in a small cottage in Anglesey, which proved to be rather isolated and lonely so Norman’s mother decided to move again, this time to a house in Mold which she managed to find through friends and contacts of her husbands Welsh colleagues in the RAF. Mrs Loyd having been in Mold for some months started to get home sick, which was exacerbated by repeatedly seeing Birkenhead written on the front of the regular bus service. So, before too long, she returned to Liverpool and moved into rented accommodation in Wavertree, where, Norman lived until he married Joan in 1964.
In 1944 Norman went to Lawrence Road School near Sefton Park which he left in 1954 at the age of 15, taking a job as an apprentice electrician with MANWEB at Lister Drive in Tuebrook, serving a six year apprenticeship. Due to a strong family connection Norman joined the Special Boat Section of the Merseyside Royal Marine Volunteer Reserve in 1959 and still treasures a press cutting from the Liverpool Echo and Evening Express from October 3rd 1959 which shows him having his kit inspected prior to taking part parachute landing on an exercise with the 12/13 Battalion of the Parachute Regiment at Sealand. In the article Norman is described as one of ‘The new style Cockleshell Heroes’.
Shortly after completing his apprenticeship, Norman had joined the Merchant Navy, initially joining Alfred Holt and Company with the Blue Funnel Line, and then later moving to the Port Line which was part of the Cunard Company. Norman travelled extensively at sea coasting the United States and Australia and on refrigerated cargo ships going between the two. At the time when the Cuban Missile crisis was in full flow Norman was in the area his vessel calling in Kingston Jamaica to deliver some cargo before making a nervous voyage back to the American mainland.
Before anyone had heard of MacDonald’s in this country Norman crewed the ships which carried the beef from Australia back to the USA, from which the now famous beef burgers were made. It was during these pioneering days for such things as beef burgers that Norman’s concern for the welfare of others first came to the fore. Norman and his small group of colleagues decided that it would be in the public good to sample it first, and using Norman’s trade skills they rigged up an electric grill and as the duty electrical Engineer on the night shift Norman cooked up a nightly feast of the aforementioned beef steak for the motley crew.
Leaving the merchant navy in 1963 to get married to his dear wife Joan, Norman returned to Manweb for a short while, it was then on to the Dock Board at the North End Docks, and then on to English Electric, in Gillmoss. On hearing of an opportunity at BICC Norman secured a post as a sales clerk a position he loved, retiring 25 years later in 1994. Joan had, during this time, worked at the Co-op in the warehouses until she took a well deserved retirement in 1989. Norman and Joan had met at Christ the King church club on Queens Drive in 1958, and having courted for six years married on 27 June 1964 in St David’s Church in Sheil Road, where the vicar Mr. Levick told them in no uncertain terms that if they were to marry you would only be able to do it once and there would never ever be any question of divorce in the future. After the wedding they moved straight into the house in which they still live, so that is almost 50 very, very happy years, with the golden wedding Anniversary next year.
Norman and Joan will celebrate this at their favourite holiday destination, Malgrat in Northern Spain. Another significant love of their life is Liverpool Football Club, so much so they have both held season tickets for many years, although Joan has relinquished her’s to another family member. One of Norman’s highlights was having been to a supporters club Annual Meeting in the 1960s and meeting Ian Callaghan. As Norman started the long walk home Ian stopped and gave him a lift all the way to the front door. Ian always had a reputation as being a gentleman and on that evening he proved it. As a regular at Anfield Norman had the pleasure of seeing Liverpool promoted back into the old First Division in 1963, and got his first season ticket in 1963-64 in the newly completed Kemlyn Road stand.
The weekend prior to Norman joining Freemasonry John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, and on 25 November 1963 the members of Stanley Lodge welcomed Bro Lloyd.
Norman had been proposed by his uncle William Owen and seconded by Ron Gurken, subsequently passed on 25 March 1964 and raised on 22 March 1965. At this time there were around 200 members in the lodge which meant that progress was slower than members are used to today and Norman did not reach the WM’s chair until October 1994. One of the highlights, possibly the highlight of his year in the chair was Joan’s Ladies Night which Norman and Joan were delighted to hold at Anfield, and the club very kindly opened up the Trophy room for their guests to have a look around.
Norman is and has been a great example that being a good Mason is not only about being good at the ritual, he has spent so much of his time helping his fellow Masons, stewarding the lodge, raising money for charity and turning up early to help set out the lodge in the absence of a tyler. He has held the office of charity steward since 1996 prior to which he was the almoner, discharging the duties with integrity and zeal.
Known for being a modest and self effacing man but one whom, when he does a job never gives less than 100%. He first Provincial rank, which was the well deserved, high rank of PPrSGD in 2003 being promoted to PPrGSuptWks in 2010.
In Royal Arch Masonry Norman joined Walton Chapter No 1086, which now meets at Woolton Golf Club and has historical connections to Stanley Lodge, on 10 October 1983. Having served as third and then second principal He was installed into the First Principal’s Chair on 13 November 2001. He has held the office of Almoner in the Chapter since 2002 and having served further terms in the second and third principals’ chairs received his first appointment to Provincial rank in the Royal Arch in April 2009. He was appointed to the very high rank of Past Provincial Principal Grand Sojourner, a well deserved appointment reflecting the service that he has given to Royal Arch Freemasonry in general and Walton Chapter in particular.
Mark concluded his address by saying to those present: “Brethren, throughout the 50 years of his membership of this fine lodge, Norman Lloyd has proved himself to be a man of great integrity, dignity and commitment and this evening he celebrates his golden jubilee in Freemasonry. The phrase always gives 100%” applies to everything that he does. I am sure that we all wish him, and his dear wife Joan, the very best of good health and happiness for many years to come and I now call upon your Group Chairman, Sam Robinson to read the certificate which comes from the Provincial Grand Master Peter Hosker.
Norman, may I conclude the proceedings here in the Lodge Room this evening by offering you my warmest personal congratulations on achieving this wonderful milestone in your Masonic career. You should know that I consider it both a privilege and a pleasure to be here this evening and to have been able to take part in such a happy and rewarding evening. Thank you.”
After long and hearty applause Norman left the lodge with Mark in procession following which a sumptuous festive board consisting of roast duck as a main course was partaken of with gusto.