Brethren of Lodge of Charity No 2651, Derby Lodge No 724 (Woolton), their guests and friends of David Spear gathered to celebrate his 50 years in Freemasonry at Warrington Masonic Hall. The principal guest was Kevin Poynton, who was accompanied by Chris Eyres, John Lees, Andy Whittle and Ian Milligan.
76 Masons (including nine masters of other lodges in Warrington group) assembled to witness WM Quentin Newhall open the lodge in his usual, exuberant style, then offer the gavel to Kevin, who accepted on this occasion. He commented how good it was to see the lodge room so full and added to this number by asking for the tyler to be admitted for the occasion. David was seated comfortably while Kevin gave his story.
Born in Liverpool as part of a large family, David was youngest and because of the age differences with his siblings, became an uncle at the age of five months.
School gave David the opportunity to discover one of his great passions, debating. Afterwards, this love continued through college and he is sure, gave him confidence enough to overcome his natural shyness. So, by the time of his working at the Inland Revenue, he could confidently launch into first theatre (too ‘lovey-dovey’ for him), tennis, and another of his passions – ballroom dancing and now David had found a true calling, progressing through the highest medal examinations and into the serious business of competition dancing. The best result however, was that his dancing partner, Eileen, became his partner for life. They must have made a stunning sight: David in white tie with tails and Eileen in one of those big ballroom dresses. The high point of this time came in 1966 when they achieved a very creditable third in the North West’s Dancing Stars of Tomorrow and qualified for the National Final at Royal Albert Hall. Engagement, marriage and moving to Warrington ended these aspirations other than for dancing socially.
The Revenue expected David to leave and work in London, so when one of his taxpaying contacts offered him a position in their Liverpool Brewery’s accounting department, it was an easy move to make. Computers were the latest, most expensive innovation in those days, so when his company installed one, it was an honour for David to be selected to train as a systems analyst. This choice of career lasted 30 years and as testament to his ability, he rose to the lofty rank of Fellow of the British Computer Society. Circumstances made him move from the brewery and he went to work for the Mersey and Weaver River Authority, being promoted to system development manager, in charge of over 100 analysts and programmers.
In 1989, the Authority was privatised and as a consequence David took retirement in 1992. He found this much less interesting than work, so when the chance for a couple of contracts came, he took them on with gusto.
What of Eileen during this time? After two children (Karen and Andrew), she carried on with her part-time job as school secretary and lecturer in higher adult education colleges. In 1998, there was a need for her to tutor an additional class, but she just didn’t have the time, so she mentioned that David might be available. This began his seven years of teaching.
Masonically, David joined Rodney Lodge No 4625 in April 1967 and became WM in 1982. 1987 saw him as DC of the lodge, but a lodge that adhered to various versions of the Bottomley Ritual. He regards his work to rationalise the ‘Rodney’ ritual as some of his finest Masonic work. A second term as WM in 1996 was followed by a Provincial rank of PPrJGW in 2001.
Rodney Lodge amalgamated into Derby Lodge in 2001, taking David with it. In 2012, through his friend Alan Bristow, David joined Warrington’s Lodge of Charity. Additional degrees that he has joined are, De Grey and Ripon Chapter No 1356, Loyalty Chapter No 897 and two other Masonic Orders.
Having delivered David’s story, Kevin relinquished the gavel back to Quentin, who closed the lodge. 75 of the brethren gathered at the festive board for a lovely four course banquet of mushroom soup, cod mornay, roast beef and sticky toffee pudding served with wine and tea or coffee to finish.
Alan Bristow gave a toast to David, firstly thanking the 12 members of Derby Lodge (led by David Lee), a member of De Grey Ribbon Chapter and three brethren from other lodges in Liverpool who had made the journey to celebrate this auspicious occasion. Alan recounted the tale of when he, David, Vic Charlesworth and Mal Myers were visiting the Grand Lodge in Dublin, where David (who thought he didn’t like Guinness), discovered that he did like the black stuff, and liked it so much that he spent a whole night liking it until the next morning when he could remember very little of the previous night except that he liked Guinness. Thankfully, there was no lasting damage to his memory, as David has made a speciality of delivering long pieces in lodge, including the initiate’s charge and the third degree traditional history. Alan concluded that he was proud, not only to call David a brother, but to call him a friend.
David Lee gave a toast to David on behalf of Derby Lodge, recounting that he and Ron Everard (of Derby Lodge) were both present at David’s Initiation. As the lodge at that time was rather large, he joked that, although it took a while for David to progress to a speaking part in lodge, once he started speaking he hasn’t stopped since. David is also renowned for not missing meetings, or committee meetings or even rehearsals.
To conclude the evening, David’s evening was commemorated as he was presented with a vase from Derby Lodge and Rodney Lodge and a pocket watch from Lodge of Charity.
Article and pictures by Eric Miller.Article1. John (left) being congratulated by Nicholas.