Penwortham Chapter No 5874 recently held a celebratory convocation at Wellington Park, Leyland. There were a good number of companions at the Royal Arch meeting in order to celebrate the golden jubilee of Peter Robinson. Peter had joined Penwortham Chapter in April 1967 and is still an avid member today.
The chapter was opened by its first principal, Mike Pinckard with composure and ease. His first task however was to announce the passing of a dear friend in Rod Quirck to which all present stood in merit for a moment’s silence. Mike followed this up by reciting an opening address to the companions as he stated: “this was something which Rod had wanted Mike to do on previous occasions but hadn’t got around to learning.”
Mike gave a warm welcome to Tony Hall, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals, who thanked the chapter for the warm reception and stated that he was more than pleased to be present on this auspicious occasion. As is the protocol for such a celebration, Tony was offered the first principals chair and he accepted it gratefully.
Tony commented that there was a lot to get through and turned to the red book that he was carrying saying: “Peter Robinson, This Is Your Life!” and after enquiring whether all were comfortable Tony proceeded to read from the notes he had made.
The year was 1937 and what an eventful year in world history it turned out to be; The Duke of Windsor married Wallis Simpson; the Spanish Civil War was in its second year; Amelia Earhart disappeared over the Pacific Ocean; the future US President Ronald Reagan made his film debut in ‘Love is in the Air’ and Walt Disney released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. There were plenty of famous people born this year too; Shirley Bassey, Bobby Charlton, Anthony Hopkins and Jane Fonda to name a few. Obviously, the most important birthday of that year took place in Bradford, Yorkshire on the 24 June, when Vera and Frank Robinson became proud parents of a bouncing baby boy whom they named Peter Allan.
Peter’s father was a Tackler in a mill, supervising 43 women who operated weaving looms; an occupation that he loved. He also loved his tobacco and his food but had little interest in money or advancing himself up the organisational ladder. Peter described his mother as a ‘grafter’ and there is no doubt it is she whom Peter aspired to emulate.
Following a move to Blackpool, where Peter’s parents became the proud owners of a boarding house, at the tender age of seven years old he remembers attending a school adjacent to the Pleasure Beach and always listening to the Grand National Rollercoaster and the screaming voices that signalled its arrival. The family moved to Preston in 1948 and it was the same day that the National Health Service came into being. Peter was 11 years old when they moved to Stanley Avenue in Penwortham. He had passed to go to the Grammar School but a combination of the school leaving age being raised from 14 to 15 years and the recent move from Blackpool resulted in a shortage of grammar school places. Peter attended St. Stephen’s at Broadgate where he met worshipful brother Sid Hunt although back then, it was as ‘Headmaster’.
Leaving school Peter became an apprentice at Mr Wilkinson’s Gramophone and Radio retail shop in Fishergate, Preston being paid 22 shillings and six old pence for a five and a half day working week. In 1956 Mr Wilkinson retired and the business was purchased by Mr Carwin, a very successful Preston TV electrical retailer. Mr Carwin’s business was much bigger than Mr Wilkinson’s having several premises in the Preston area. This was when Peter was given a pay rise to 24 shillings and 6 old pence for a 44-hour working week and became the manager of the radio side.
Peter became manager at the Reeco Radio Electrical supplier and rental sales on New Hall Lane, Preston and it is here he met his future wife, Linda. They were married at Penwortham Parish Church in 1969 and have a son David and a daughter Sarah; there are six grandchildren.
Moving on to Freemasonry, Peter was initiated into the Forest of Fulwood Lodge No 6388 in February 1964. A memorable night as Peter turned up in a brown suit together with brown shoes!
Having progressed through all the regular offices within the lodge, Peter became worshipful master in 1980. Upon installing his successor and completing his year as immediate past master, Peter became lodge treasurer, a position he held until 1990. He became Festival Representative in 1988 and continued in that role through to the Festival’s conclusion in 1998. Peter became the lodge chaplain from 1990 to 2004 and also the lodge auditor from 1998 to 2004. When the lodge amalgamated with Preston Guild Lodge, he continued as an auditor within the new lodge. Peter was a member of Setantia Lodge of Installed Masters from 1982 to 2005. His service and commitment to the Craft was recognised in May 1990 when he was appointed to the Provincial rank of PPrJGD and in 1999 he was subsequently promoted to the rank of PPrGSuptWks.
On to the Royal Arch and Peter was exalted into Penwortham Chapter on 5 April 1967. He was involved in the Lecture Team from 1981 to 1986 and had been an auditor since 1985. He was a founder of Salwick Chapter No 9115 in 1985. From 1991 to 2005 Peter was a member of Setantia Chapter of First Principals No 7755, where he held the offices of steward and first assistant sojourner.
Peter’s service in the Royal Arch was recognised in 1991 by his appointment to the acting rank of PrGStwd and is a member of the prestigious and highly-respected Provincial Grand Stewards’ Chapter No 8516. In 1995, he was promoted to PPrGSwdB.
Tony went on to say that the Grand Superintendent, Tony Harrison, was aware that Peter was celebrating 50 years as a Royal Arch Mason and had asked him to convey his very warmest congratulations and good wishes.
Tony went on to invite Chris Blackwell, the Chairman of the Leyland and District Masonic Group of Lodges and Chapters, to complete the ceremony by reading out a certificate to the celebrant. The certificate is an acknowledgement of the Province of West Lancashire’s great appreciation of 50 years membership of the Royal Arch.
Upon asking whether he could say a few words at the end of the ceremony, Peter quipped that everyone was invited to his 75th anniversary celebrations.
Everyone present retired to the dining room to enjoy each other’s company but more importantly to join with Peter in celebrating his 50 years in the Royal Arch.