2015 has been a very memorable year for Britannia Lodge No 3005. It is very rare for a Lodge to get the opportunity to celebrate a 50th birthday so to be able to celebrate two in a year is extra special.
On the 19th March 1965, WBro Reginald Graham Inskip PProvSGW was initiated into Britannia Lodge No. 3005 and exactly 8 months later on 19th November 1965, WBro Ronald Sydney Proctor PProvSGW had his initiation ceremony.
As is customary at personal 50th’s, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master for Manchester WBro Chris Welton PJGD entered the Lodge room on both occasions accompanied by his District Officers. He brought personal greetings from the Provincial Grand Master Sir David Trippier and VWBro Derek Nelson Thornhill.
Below you can read extracts from the tributes given to both celebrants.
Reginald Graham Inskip was born on 28th July 1931 at Dennison House, a nursing home in Victoria Park (now the headquarters of a Chinese trade mission). His primary school was Alma Park. At the outbreak of the war all schools were evacuated but Graham and two friends were not and Mrs Inskip undertook the task of their education, which was conducted in the large shed of the garden of 91 Milford Drive. At the end of the evacuation Graham returned to Alma Park and from there went to the Manchester Grammar School in 1942, gaining his school certificate in 1948.
Graham and his parents were involved in the social life of St Andrew’s Church, Levenshulme, where he joined the choir, later becoming senior chorister, and the amateur dramatic society, where he did a good line in vicars. In 1948 he became an administrative assistant in Manchester College of Technology (now UMIST). Graham was called up for National Service in the RAF in October 1949, initially for 18 months and. 6 months extra were added later. After Padgate for assessment and Bridgnorth for square bashing he was posted to Kirkham, where he remained. It was very handy for weekend passes and he ended his service as Corporal Clerk Personnel, returning to civilian life in November 1951 at the College of Technology.
Since Graham had not been posted abroad by the RAF he and his cousin Ron decided to celebrate Graham’s 21st birthday with their first trip abroad to Interlaken. On 28th July 1952 (Graham’s birthday) they travelled up the Jungfrau Railway to the highest station in Europe to be met by a blizzard. This was the beginning of Graham’s love of travel and in the next years he skied in Austria, Switzerland, Italy and France.
Graham joined the Lodge of Reverence No 4956 on the 19th March 1965. He was Secretary from 1971 to 1977, Worshipful Master 1981, 1995 and 1996. Provincial honours and promotions were given regularly. In 1988 he was made PProvAGDC, 1998 promoted to PProvGSwdB and in 2008 promoted to the high office of PProvSGW. Graham is also a very senior Royal Arch Mason being a PGStdB.
Subsequently, he joined the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE), whose headquarters were in Manchester. He was much involved with the local group of which he was Chair for a few years. Through this membership in 1977 he met Andrew Brunt who has been his life partner ever since (now for nearly 38 years). They became civil partners in January 2006.
In 1991 redundancy reared its head for Graham as it has for so many and he took a post in the legal department of T and N in Trafford Park. They were involved in a major case brought against them by Chase Manhattan Bank, New York. Graham’s part in this case meant he had to visit New York to appear before the judge. To the surprise of Chase Manhattan they lost the case, which cost them millions. After attaining the retirement age of 65 Graham continued part time until he was 70.
In 1997 Graham and Andrew set up their own business of art history lectures and travel under the name ‘Apelles’. Amongst the places to which they conducted tours were: Amsterdam, Vienna, Madrid, Berlin, Prague, St Petersburg, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Munich, Salzburg and Malta. The business lasted for 15 years until a halt had to be called because of Andrew’s asthma.
As well as travelling widely, music, particularly opera, is another shared interest, which has taken them regularly to Covent Garden and Glyndbourne, as well as to the Kirov (now Mariinski) in St Petersburg, Drottningholme in Stockholm, the Semper Opera House in Dresden and open air opera in Verona. Going to Clonter Opera in Cheshire in July with a party of friends has become their usual way of celebrating Graham’s birthday.
Graham had heart bypass surgery in 1981 and 1992 (6 bypasses in all) but is in good health and Andrew’s health is also improving; so much so that later this year they are off again via Eurostar to Lille for some more culture.
ORIGINAL MINUTES 1
ORIGINAL MINUTES 2
WBro Ron Proctor was born on 2nd March 1930. As is customary, WBro Welton informed the Brethren of other events that year. King George V was the reigning monarch, Ramsey McDonald was Prime Minister and the average house price was £590, apparently only 3 times the average annual wage. There were several notable events that occurred in 1930— Amy Johnson recorded the first solo flight by a woman from England to Australia that year. The Times published its first crossword and the BBC Symphony Orchestra was formed and performed its first Concert. Sliced bread went on sale in England for the first time and Sir Frank Whittle applied for a patent for his Turbo-jet engine. The Youth Hostel Association opened its first hostel. Internationally Mahatma Ghandi led his famous 250 mile march to the sea to collect salt as a protest against the British introduction of a tax on salt in India. Haile Selassie became Emperor of Ethiopia and the planet Pluto was first discovered.
When Ron was demobbed after the forces, he went back to British Rail and after a great deal of writing etc he was appointed a railway controller and happened to be the youngest railway controller. In 1951 he left the railways following a breakdown of health owing to terrible long hours of work (about 90-100 hours per week).
Whilst cost accountant at a gas meter factory in 1966, he criticised the shop floor personnel for not being up to the job, whereupon the managing director told him to show us how to do it and made Ron “works superintendent”. Ron insisted he be given a free hand and allowed to spend what was necessary to do the job. He increased production from 60 – 2000 meters per week during 8-9 months operation. However, one cold morning he noticed that the girls who did the meter testing were not working and asked why. They said it was too cold so he replied and said well get some work done and you’ll be warm. The head girl explained that the problem was that in cold weather they couldn’t test meters for leaks as the temperature in the testing gear and the air were too divergent. Ron then suggested a means of curing this by the use of a heater in the water tank and a thermostat to switch off when the air and water temperatures were the same. Nobody thanked Ron for this and within 3 months all the competitors had taken the idea.
Owing to his later success in selling computers, Ron decided to start his own business in partnership. Unfortunately it didn’t work out and some 2-3 years later and about £40,000 short he left it to his business partner and went into consultancy. He was head hunted by Halpern & Sabage, a firm of accountants in Manchester and started in 1984 where he stayed until retiring at 75.
Ron was initiated into Freemasonry on 19th November 1965 (as we have heard) Provincial Honours in the Craft came along and his special talents were recognised by virtue of the fact that in 1983 he was made an Acting Steward of the Province, promotions to PProvSGD and PProvGSuptWks followed and then in 2004 he was promoted to the very high Rank of PProvSGW. His efforts in Chapter have also been recognised where he holds the Rank of PProvGSoj.
At the end of both ceremonies, WBro Chris Welton presented WBros Inskip and Proctor with their Illuminated Certificates and letters from the Provincial Grand Master.
The Chairman for City Derby District WBro David Hudson presented both Brethren with a 50 year in Masonry lapel badge on behalf of both Manchester Districts.
The Lodge closed, the Brethren retired to a pleasant Social Board.
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