110 Years of Freemasonry
21st May 2019
The Lord Warden Lodge No 1096
Walmer, Deal, Kent
WBro Peter Norris
W Bro Peter was born in London in February 1935 and was one of eight children in the family. Like many of the children of his age in strategic or industrial areas he and the family were evacuated initially to Northampton, which was probably a little too close to the midlands industrial bases and from there to Nelson & Colne, a rural part of North East Lancashire in the shadow of Pendle Hill, famed for its dark tales of witches and ghouls. After a brief interlude when the worst of the danger was perceived to be past, the family returned to London and on the completion of his primary education Peter won a scholarship to the London City Grammar School. Like all young men of his age he was eligible for national service and was conscripted into the Army in the Royal Army Pay Corps. Subsequently he honed his entrepreneurial skills in sales, was engaged in the employment consultancy business, placing Legal, Secretarial and Hospitality staff, initially in London but subsequently expanding into France and America. He has also been involved in in his own right in the Pub and Hotel trade.
Socially Peter has held an interest in Horses and admitted that at one time he owned a share in a horse, how much of it and how successful the venture you can find out from him. As a result of this connection, Peter joined the Farriers Association Livery Company applying himself to charitable work. Through his membership of Rotary he was also involved with the Greater London Disabled Association. He is a member of the Fleet Street Press Club and a Past president of the Licensed Victuallers of London and Deal. Just to round off the story, following, but not directly in his father’s footsteps, W Bro Peter became a Freemason in 1959 in the White Eagle Lodge serving as its Master in 1968 and Secretary for 25 years thereafter. He was honoured by the appointment to Grand Rank in 1985 and has for the past 12 years has enjoyed the privilege of membership of the Lord Warden Lodge.
WBro John “Ricky” Barlow
W Bro Rick Barlow who has the distinction of loyally serving this the Lord Warden Lodge for 50 continuous years. Rick’s family had their origins in the Lancashire Mining community from which his father was recruited in 1936 to assist in the development of the Kent Coalfields. And so from his Lancastrian background, all but briefly young Rick adopted the style of a “Man of Kent”. I say briefly because like Peter, he was evacuated from Deal, then part of the aptly named “Hellfire Corner” where his mother ran a guest house, back to Bolton and his Lancastrian roots.
It seems that 50 years ago we were better equipped to make important decisions in our life and at the tender age of a little over 13, young Rick made enquiries about joining the training ship Arethusa, then a facility for boys interested in a naval career, be it Royal or Merchant Navy.
Fortunately he was not tied to his Mothers Apron strings and gave her approval for him to join. Having successfully navigated his way around the system (and survived), Rick joined the Royal Navy making a career as a Gunnery Rating. It was during his time in the Royal Navy that he met and swept the delightful Valerie off her feet. They were married in 1957. As a couple they quickly realised that long range relations and the difficulties of service life was not for them and as a result he left the Navy in 1959. Subsequently Rick was employed with Fords at Slough before returning to Kent and the Coalfield. As a family Rick and Val were able to embark on a business venture of running a Post Office and Newsagency. As a result of this change in career and being a natural organiser, Rick became a National Council Member for Sub Postmasters. Rick has always been a great sporting contributor, an avid football fan, a keen swimmer and successful golf to list but a few of his attributes. In fact Rick and Val share a great interest in Golf and are members of the Princes Club.
In 1969 Rick made another momentous decision and that was to become a Freemason and as I have already mention he has loyally served his Lodge in a variety of offices, was Master in 1979 and acted as a highly respected Director of Ceremonies. Only stepping down from that office in April this year. He was honoured by a first appointment to Provincial Grand Rank in 1987 and has been further honoured on two occasions. It was also inevitable that as a natural organiser and committee man, Rick should be co-opted onto the Deal Masonic Hall Committee.
Rick has also served his community with distinction through his love of sport and his ability to enthuse the local young people. He is a trusted swimming instructor but I believe the achievement of which he is most proud is his involvement with the mini marine’s football team over 14 seasons in which the final competition matches were played at Wembley and his team were Champions once and runners up on 5 occasions. How is that for a demonstration of inspirational and technical skills? He was helped in this venture by a former Royal Marine and well known Mason Bernie Grivell.
One last interesting relates to the time when in 1977, Rick was attending a National Council meeting in London and being keen to find a late night drink he was directed by a helpful member of the hotel staff to the “Shakespeare” which had a late licence for a wedding. Having assured the party that he would pay his own way, he was admitted and met a character “bashing away on the old Joanna”. After chance introductions, it transpired that the pianist was none other than Peter and they have remained good friends ever since.
The Lodge would like to thank, WBro David Alexander for his time and excellent speech, to WBro Andy Stevens, the Provincial Director of Ceremonies. We welcome him back home to his late fathers Lodge.
And to the escourting team for their time and attendance.