EComp Paul Rose PGSwdB
30 July 1948 – 25 February 2019
by lifelong friend
EComp Stephen M Blank MEGS (Cheshire)
When Column Lodge was re-dedicated 28 years ago who would have thought that we’d be writing a eulogy about our very dear departed friend Paul Rose. He was of course one of the five originals of Column Lodge, one of the five who with the support and backing of Geoffrey Ross, the APGM at the time, set about re-dedicating this lodge together with 14 joining members making it one of the leading lodges in the Province. Researching background for this eulogy we discovered much more of Paul Rose than we originally knew.
The thing about Paul was he was sardonic, could be sarcastic and did not suffer fools gladly. If you did not take the trouble to get to know him, you might feel that he did not really care very much about anything – and certainly he could always find the funny side of most things.
All of us here are involved in the voluntary sector and I dare say many have significant achievements in one or two areas. It seems that Paul achieved something significant in every area in which he was involved.
He was Recorder of the Old Mancunians dinner committee for many years and instrumental in making a huge success of the 500th anniversary dinner back in 2015 where nearly a thousand Old Mancunians attended and dined at The Point, Old Trafford cricket ground. He was instrumental in gaining an award for Halliwell Landau for its pro bono work and himself was awarded a LawWorks fellowship and an honorary lectureship from the University of Manchester at the School of Law.
For twenty-four consecutive years he held a senior position in Manchester and East Lancashire Freemasonry including eight years as APGM and Hall Chairman followed by six years as chairman of the ELMC. During that time, he turned Old Mancunians lodge 3140 into the first Universities Scheme lodge in East Lancs and had the foresight to start the project which led to the redevelopment of Manchester Hall – and in both those activities he faced opposition at the start from other Freemasons. He had nothing but outstanding support from the present PGM and his Deputies.
Let us not forget that while achieving all of the above he was also a hard-working professional lawyer and a totally committed family man. All of the above will have accounted for at least thirty hours each day – on top of which he supported Manchester City and played golf. He was one of the very few City fans with whom a United fan could actually have a sensible discussion about football.
Back in October Paul had received the first diagnosis. Many of us knew from that moment that it was only going to end one way; the only question being how long it would take.
We saw him regularly during his illness both at the Christie and at home. He was mentally alert the whole time, concentrating on making sure that everything he was involved in – which as you have heard is quite a lot – would be left in the best possible shape including of course the Royal Arch where he had been an inspirational leader for just over three years.
The Wednesday before he died, he phoned Martin Roche, who is to be his successor as DGS, and told him he was going into an End-of-life Centre. This left Martin in tears while Paul calmly went on talking about the future of the Royal Arch, something he continued to do on the Saturday before he died when Martin visited him at the Belong Morris Feinmann centre.
Here are a few ‘Paul-isms’ from his last months.
On one of the first visits after he was diagnosed, he said “statistically I guess this was pretty likely to happen to one of us around now; unfortunately, now it has turned out to be me, that is not much comfort”.
Paul had never been very keen on celebrating his personal fiftieth and not surprisingly became even less keen when he was taken ill. He was persuaded to carry on with it pointing out that, frankly, it was not for him, it was for everybody else. The occasion as it turned out was a marvellous one at his house with a necessarily small number of invited guests and an afternoon tea catered by Helen. Sir David spoke brilliantly and Paul’s response, spoken from a sitting position, was as carefully crafted and well delivered as ever. Paul was of course particularly proud to have his son Jon, the third generation of Grand Officers in the Rose family, present with him as well as his three fellow DGSs from C&W, W Lancs and Cheshire.
There was the day when, having been told that he would always have to be fed intravenously, he decided he had to start resigning from his many Masonic lodges in a variety of orders. He said in some cases that was easy but in others rather difficult. The Lodge of Fortitude No 64 – is the Provincial Grand Master’s own lodge, – membership is by his invitation only, – and where members attain the chair in strict order of joining – unless you happen to be the Provincial Grand Master. Paul was Master Elect due to be installed in May.
Apart from Old Mancs with Mount Sinai, he said the most difficult one would be Column which he loved and, as mentioned earlier, where he had been a driving force. When he received the summons with the proposal for his Honorary Membership, he told us how grateful he was.
When it was commented about the number of cards he had had with good wishes, he told of the number of emails, texts, WhatsApp messages he and Helen had received. “People have been very kind” he said, “which is funny because I never set out to be popular”.
Paul, wherever you are, that’s exactly why we loved you.
© 2019, all text and images contained in this post are the property of the author and photographer respectively.