George Taylor celebrates 50 years

Brethren and guests of Banks Lodge No 7213 witnessed the golden jubilee of one of their favourite members George Taylor and spent a wonderful evening in his company. The WM Michael Rimmer opened the lodge and after conducting the general business proceeded to then open it in the second degree and then the third degree, after all those below the degree of an entered apprentice and fellowcraft had retired.

Robert (left) presents George with his certificate.

Robert (left) presents George with his certificate.

Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Mark Barton was then admitted and announced the presence of Assistant Provincial Grand Master Robert Wright who demanded admission. Robert was admitted in procession, accompanied by grand lodge officers Joe Brine, Michael Cox and Southport Group Chairman Colin Jenkins, together with other distinguished acting and Provincial Grand Lodge officers.  Michael Rudd and Robert Taylor acted as Provincial Grand Deacons.

Robert was given a warm welcome by the WM and when invited, took the master`s chair. He was then given salutations five times, to which he gave suitable response. The lodge was then closed down by virtue to the first degree by Robert for the next part of the proceedings, which was to celebrate the 50th anniversary in Freemasonry of George Taylor.  Robert then requested that the tyler be admitted to share the enjoyment of the occasion.

The celebrant was escorted by Mark Barton to a chair in front of the master`s pedestal and made comfortable. Robert then congratulated George on his 50 years in Freemasonry and proceeded to give a delightful talk on his varied and remarkably interesting life and Masonic career.

George was born on the 27 February 1928 in Kirkdale, Liverpool. His father, George Taylor senior, was a printer in the tobacco industry and his mother Amy, nee Lightfoot, a housewife. He attended Westminster County Primary School in Kirkdale, which he left at the age of 14 and started his life of work at the Liverpool Education Department as a clerk. The previous holder of this position was the famous comedian and entertainer Arthur Askey. After 18 months, George got a little restless and seeking a better paid job, moved to Imperial Tobacco in Liverpool as a cardboard box maker and designer, during which time he made many one-off designs for special presentations.

Pictured left: George in school uniform and pictured right, in the Royal Marines.

Pictured left: George in school uniform and pictured right, in the Royal Marines.

There he stayed until, at 18 years of age, he was called up for National Service. Not settling for any old outfit, George went for the best and joined the Royal Marines, 45 Commando. Following his basic training at Lympston, Devon, he was shipped out to serve in Malta for the next nine months. During his time there, he was privileged to be part of a formal guard of honour to Lord Louis Mountbatten and Lady Mountbatten, who were passing through on their way back from Hong Kong.

It was a fairly comfortable posting in Malta and George thoroughly enjoyed the experience. He was wounded in his service to his country, when a fellow Marine accidentally dropped a rifle, butt first, onto George`s toe and he had to spend a short spell in hospital. George recovered and after his tour of duty was up, set sail back to England. After a further two months at the depot in Lympston, he was discharged and returned to civilian life. His old job had been kept open for him, and he returned to Imperial Tobacco, Liverpool, where he remained until 1951, when he was again looking for a change of career.

Thus at the ripe old age of 23 years, George decided to join the Police Force, but despite having passed the initial interview, was told by the sergeant that he was half an inch too short and to come back again in six months. He then decided to try and join the Fire Service and went for his interview, during which the interviewer asked him: “You see that man over there, can you carry him around the yard?” George said that he could and promptly went out and proved it. During his interview, George explained the problem he had had trying to join the police and the interviewer replied: “Don`t worry about that, we need some little fellas to get through little openings.” He was accepted and George started his life in the Fire Service in Liverpool. He served well and rose through the ranks until many years later; he reached the high rank of what is today called Station Officer.

Meanwhile in 1952 George and Doris, who he had known since 1944, decided to get married and the happy event took place at St Lawrence`s Church, Kirkdale. They have been devoted to each other ever since and in 2012 received a letter from the Queen to commemorate their diamond wedding anniversary.

George responds at the festive board.

George responds at the festive board.

During his time in the Fire Service, George was involved in many incidents, including rescue operations during the ‘Empress of Canada’ fire on 22 August 1971 in Liverpool docks, where so much water was used in extinguishing the fire, it caused the ship to go over on to its side. Another major incident was the infamous blaze at Henderson`s Department Store, on Liverpool`s Church Street in 1960, where George, who was the first fire officer to arrive at the scene, was heavily involved in saving people from the effects of the fire. His bravery included scaling a 100 foot ladder to rescue survivors trapped on ledges on the fourth floor. It was only later when having returned to the station it was noticed that he had not had time to put on his safety helmet. His reward was a mild reprimand from his chief.

George was also part of the contingent of fire officers to represent Liverpool Fire Brigade at the cenotaph during a remembrance parade. He was also involved as driver and back-up team for the Brigade`s Three Peak Challenge to climb Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis and Snowdon in 1956.

George served in the Fire Service for 42 years and in 2010, George was proud to be made a Citizen of Honour by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool Councillor Hazel Williams during a ceremony at the Town Hall. George, who had lived through the blitz in Liverpool during the Second World War, said it was one of the worst fires he had seen. The fire was featured on BBC Television`s ‘Inside Out North West’, in March 2010, when previously unseen footage of the incident had been discovered. George was interviewed on television and gave his version of events.

George retired from the fire service in 1982, when he joined the British Rail Fire Inspectorate, covering a wide area between the Scottish Borders down to Aberystwyth. He eventually retired from employment in 1992.

George has enjoyed many hobbies, particularly motor rallying and was a member of the Maghull Motor Maintenance Club for many years. He was also a keen sportsman and enjoyed playing badminton for pleasure at the local church hall, and playing tennis for Walton Hall Park in the local league. He is also a keen and skilled home woodworker and has made many fine objects.

As a very keen photographer, this came in use during his other great love of travelling, either by cruise, camping, flying and extensive rail travel. He has visited many places in the world, including: 32 states of the USA., the Grand Canyon, NASA, many of the United States National Parks, the White House and Las Vegas. He also travelled across Canada by train from Toronto to Vancouver, followed by a cruise to Alaska. He has witnessed the famous Calgary stampede, but thought it not a patch on the Huntsville Prison Rodeo in Texas.

George is also a lover of brass band and military music, country and folk music, although at a loss with so-called modern music, which he is certainly not keen on. Robert said that George is a modest and cheerful character and extremely interesting to talk to and is very well thought of by all who come into contact with him.

Robert then highlighted George’s Masonic career. He was initiated into Lancastrian Lodge No 3631 on 26 May 1965 and having worked his way through the offices, became WM in 1980. He also went into the chair in 1995 and again in 2003. On 23 May 1989 he was preferred to Provincial Grand Lodge with the high rank of PPrSGD. George was promoted to PPrJGW on 8 October 1998. He was also secretary of the lodge for eight years and eventually resigned in February 2007. George became a founder member of Sure and Stedfast Lodge No 9326 on 29 November 1989. This was a lodge primarily made up of ex-members of the Boys Brigade. George became a joining member of Banks Lodge on 24 October 2007 and became WM on 22 September 2010. This was followed by three years as chaplain of the lodge.

George (centre) surrounded by grand, acting Provincial grand and Provincial grand officers.

George (centre) surrounded by grand, acting Provincial grand and Provincial grand officers.

George was exalted into Lancastrian Chapter No 3631 on 5 April 1974 and progressed through the offices to first principal; and resigned from the chapter in 1997. George is also a member of other Masonic orders.

This presentation of his history was very much appreciated by George and the brethren present. On conclusion, Robert called upon Colin Jenkins to read out the contents of the certificate before presenting the 50th celebration certificate to George.

George was then escorted to his seat in the lodge and Michael Rimmer resumed his rightful place. Michael then gave grateful thanks and congratulations to Robert on his marvellous presentation. Michael then closed the lodge and all retired to the festive board.

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