Members of Wavertree Gateacre Queensway Lodge No 2294 have celebrated the 60 years service to Freemasonry achieved by Paul Neville Goff. The event was held within the Adams Suite at Liverpool Masonic Hall, in the presence of fellow brethren from his lodge, together with visiting friends. For the celebration, the brethren were honoured by the presence of Assistant Provincial Grand Master Derek Parkinson, who was accompanied on this special occasion by Liverpool Group Chairman Mark Matthews, vice chairman David Johnson and ensuring the smooth running of the festivities, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Ian Halsall.
The lodge was opened by WM Jorge Perez and after completing the usual opening business of the lodge, Ian Halsall was admitted to announce that the APrGM Derek Parkinson was without and demanded admission. Jorge warmly welcomed Derek to the lodge on behalf of the brethren and offered him the gavel, which he graciously accepted. Upon occupying the master’s chair, Derek began his address by stating: “When joining Freemasonry, it is expected of us that we maintain the highest standards, give aid and succour to those less fortunate than ourselves and strive to achieve the highest morality in all our actions. To have lived by and practiced those principals for 60 years is a remarkable achievement and it is only right and proper that this evening we are gathered here to celebrate and congratulate Paul Goff on the very auspicious occasion of his diamond jubilee.”
Derek then requested of Ian Halsall to place the celebrant before him and to make sure he was sitting comfortably. Derek began his address by saying that one of the most enjoyable parts of his position is the opportunity to celebrate with brethren as they reach various milestones within their Masonic journey. As well as finding out more about the man himself it is an excuse to spend some time looking at what was going on 50 or 60 years ago. Derek revealed that as a boy he never became interested or very good at history at school but now found looking at more modern history a lot more fascinating.
Looking back over the years to 1932, the year Paul was born, there were several events that caught Derek’s eye. 1932 was the first time a car had travelled at more than 250 mph and it was driven by a man who went on to attempt and hold many speed records, both on land and water, eventually costing him his life; Malcolm Campbell. In 1936, an event happened that has impacted on our own lives, when King Edward VIII abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson which allowed our current Queen’s father to ascend to the throne.
In the 1950’s things seemed to get a lot better and there were many reasons for celebration, petrol rationing ended, followed by the end of sugar rationing in 1953 and it seems that presently the government is trying to introduce it again by forcing the food companies to put less in their products. Eventually all rationing ended and around the same time Queen Elizabeth II had her coronation, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Everest, Roger Bannister ran the first sub four-minute mile and possibly the most important discovery for medicine and diseases was when Watson and Crick announced the discovery of the structure of DNA.
Paul was born to William and Elsie. His father was employed as a superintendent engineer at Richard Hughes the ship owners. Richard Hughes was born in Flintshire and moved to Liverpool to work as a clerk in a shipping office. He was a very bright lad and soon picked up the business and by borrowing from a few friends and his parents he set up his own company and ordered his first ship. They all had the word ‘Rose’ in their name and his first ship was the ‘Primrose’. He went on to own almost 30 ships, often referred to as ‘The Welsh Navy’. They transported coal, iron ore and china clay.
Paul attended Granby Street Junior School and then Tiber Street Secondary School and left at 15 to go to Toxteth Technical College, becoming an apprentice at an engineering company, but always wanted to be a marine engineer. Sadly, Paul’s father died when he was only 13, otherwise he may have followed him at Richard Hughes, but getting into one of the ship works wasn’t easy. Paul went along to Cammell Laird in Birkenhead one day, but was turned away as he didn’t have a letter inviting him for an interview. He got around this, when one of the workers suggested coming in with him at 07:30, when 100s of men were going through the gates. Paul had to keep a low profile until the boss came in at 08:30 and because he had used his initiative and had been prepared to wait for him, he gave Paul a job, thus allowing him to transfer his apprenticeship. The job in Birkenhead meant a very early start and a train trip every day to get there before the gates closed at 07:30 on the dot. If you didn’t get there on time you got no pay that day. Paul’s audacity paid off in the end, for on completing his apprenticeship he got a job with T J Harrison as a second-class engineer.
After 10 years with Harrison’s, he took a job ashore with Harland and Wolff Shipbuilders, who had premises in Liverpool, Bootle and Belfast. It was whilst working at Harland and Wolff that Paul met the girl who was to become his wife. There’s a bit of a marital discrepancy about where they met but it’s agreed it was at a dance, either at the Vale House Ballroom Dancing Club in Lark Lane or the Rialto. Paul used to go there regularly and it was during one of the dances, called the ‘Paul Jones’, a very popular dance in those days, that when the signal to change partners was given, Vera happened to be standing right opposite and he was smitten immediately.
They married in 1963 and set up home together in Liverpool and when the bungalow being built in Smithy Lane in Cronton was finished they moved in, and are still living there today. They have two children, both now married and two grandchildren.
Paul regularly attends St Luke’s Church in Widnes and in his spare time makes and sails radio-controlled model boats. He can often be found with other members of the Runcorn and District Club at Neath Park Lake in Runcorn and the club have also displayed their boats at the Liverpool Museum. Derek added that Bill Culshaw, Chairman of Gladstone Group, is a great model boat enthusiast and travels all over the country sailing his boats.
In referring to Paul’s Masonic journey, Derek reminded everyone that the reason for why all were present this evening was to celebrate that road from the beginning and it began when Paul was initiated into Wavertree Lodge No 2294 on 23 January 1958.
Paul’s introduction to Freemasonry was similar to that of so many men, beginning through their social circle. It was whilst he was working at sea, that during shore leave he still attended the dancing classes and it was at one of those dancing schools that he met a brother and sister, John and Jenny Rawlinson who had been invited to go to a ladies evening being held by Acacia Lodge No 4512 in Eberle Street, as the lodge wanted some good dancers to start the dancing off. This invite was then extended to Paul and his dance partner Ann and afterwards Paul thought it might be something he could be interested in joining and found out that his elder brother’s wife had a relative in Masonry, a certain Ray Mattinson. Ray agreed to propose Paul and to his surprise the person he found to be his seconder was his coal merchant, Albert Wright, both members of Wavertree Lodge. Paul proceeded through the offices and was installed as WM in 1980 and received his first Provincial rank 10 years later. In 2001 Paul received a promotion in Provincial Grand Lodge to his current rank of Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works.
Paul is also a member of other Orders in Freemasonry and five years ago was exalted into Everton Chapter No 823 and for the last three years has been a member of other Masonic Orders.
Derek at this stage invited group chairman Mark Matthews to read the 60th jubilee certificate, which when completed was met with acclaim by all the brethren present. Derek then continued by saying: “Paul, you have had a long and interesting life and have contributed much to Freemasonry in this lodge over very many years. I know you have certainly derived a great deal of pleasure and enjoyment from it and so it is a great honour and a privilege to say to thank you for all that you have done for Freemasonry in this lodge and congratulations on achieving 60 years as a Mason. We all look forward to seeing you enjoy many more years as a member of this great Order.”
The certificate was then presented by Derek to the celebrant. After the WM resumed his chair, Derek rose and announced to the lodge that he had another very pleasant task to perform and surprised everyone by announcing the promotion of Paul to the rank of Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer and presented him with the collar and jewel of his office. This delighted the brethren of the lodge and brought immediate applause from all those present. Paul thanked Derek for the surprise promotion and the brethren of the lodge for their congratulations.
A very lively festive board ensued to ensure that Paul enjoyed a very special night which he will remember for many years to come. During the festive board, the brethren toasted the health of the celebrant, to which he responded in a very quiet, unassuming and dignified manner, which is indicative of the manner in which Paul has conducted himself throughout his 60-year Masonic career. Paul once again thanked Derek for the honour conferred in the lodge room. His response was received by all with a standing ovation and warm and sincere congratulations.