Members and guests of Woolton Lodge of Unity No 1086, assembled at their lodge meeting to celebrate 60 years of Masonic service that Thomas Arthur Makin has given to Freemasonry. Attending the meeting as principle guest and to lead the celebration was Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton.
The WM Robert Martin warmly welcomed everyone to the evening’s celebration before opening the lodge. Once the business of the lodge had been completed and had been opened in the second and third degrees, the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Ian Halsall was admitted into the lodge to announce that the APrGM stood without and demanded admission. Kevin was accompanied by Woolton Group Chairman Andrew Whittle along with other grand and Provincial grand officers. Kevin received a very warm welcome from WM Robert Martin and retained the gavel offered to him so that he could officiate over the celebration.
Kevin thanked the lodge members for his invitation to this special meeting and proceeded to give an introduction to the evening, explaining what it really meant to have the dedication to achieve 60 years in Freemasonry. After asking the PrDGDC to seat Tom on a chair on the floor of the lodge and to ensure that he was comfortable, Kevin proceeded to give a résumé of Tom’s personal and Masonic life history.
Tom was born at 44 Aber Street Liverpool, on 1 June 1928 and was the eldest of eight children born to his parents Catherine and Thomas. His remaining brothers and sisters are scattered far and near, the furthest away being Vera who lives in Los Angeles, California.
Tom’s father worked on the docks as a lorry driver for the railway and it goes without saying that his mum worked just as hard keeping them all in line. Tom started school aged 5 and went to Steers Street School, West Derby. This school, like several others, would a few years later become strategically important sites, for during the Second World War the building was used as a base for the administration of the ambulance and air raid precaution stations.
Tom was just 11 years old at the outbreak of war in 1939 and in September of that year both he and his younger brother were evacuated to Caernarvon, Wales. Like most parents, finding that the devil wasn’t quite knocking on the door just yet, they were allowed to return to Liverpool, thereafter Tom continued his schooling at Queens Road School, West Derby.
In 1942 aged 14, Tom left school and started work for the railway at Huskisson Dock, carrying out labouring duties and making the tea and generally being a dogsbody, or as we call them in the trade ‘the lad’. During this period the docks were an exciting place, with troop ships and cargo constantly sailing in and out 24 hours a day and of course that year there was also the arrival of American soldiers along with their tanks and heavy artillery, as well as American pilots on their way to Burtonwood, Warrington. Tom’s sister eventually married an American airman and after the war they went to live in Los Angeles, California.
The war ended in 1945 and a year later Tom was called to do his National Service and invited to become one of His Majesty’s Royal Marines. In due course Tom was posted to Lympstone, Devon to start initial training to become a commando. Tom served for 2 years and on completion returned home to Liverpool and his job on the docks, but couldn’t really settle, so in 1949 he left the docks and made the decision to start a new career. Tom applied for and joined the Liverpool City Police Force and was sent for a 12-week intensive police training course at Bruche in Warrington, which interestingly was an old RAF training centre. From there Tom went to Mather Avenue in Liverpool for local police training, following which Tom has served in many divisions around the city.
In November 1950, Tom met Audrey at the Locarno Dance Hall in West Derby Road. Audrey was an assistant in an engineer’s drawing office at the General Post Office in Old Hall Street. During his courting, Tom worked in ‘A’ division, which was in the city centre of Liverpool and when he was working the afternoon shift, Audrey, now his fiancé, would on occasions go to the Pier Head and keep him company for a short time whilst on the beat in that area.
Tom married Audrey on 11 August 1951, at Emmanuel Church West Derby Road. Following their marriage, they rented a flat in Wallasey, eventually moving to Maldon Road West Derby and then to Gateacre where they now live.
Tom and Audrey have three children, Debbie who lives in Bootle, Joanne who lives in Kettering and Alex who lives in Calderstones, as well as four grandchildren, Stephanie, Catherine, Nathanial and Niall. When Alex was five, Audrey trained as a teacher and has worked at Childwall Church of England Primary School for 23 years.
In 1960, Tom was transferred to the CID ‘F’ division in Allerton and promoted to the rank of detective sergeant. Tom retired from the police force in 1980 after 30 years of service and went on to work for Littlewoods Football Pools Company in the Investigation bureau, were he and 11 other ex-policemen worked as fraud investigators.
Both Tom and Audrey have led very busy lives holiday wise, enjoying trips to the Far East, America and Europe. Latterly, due to the prolonged wait at airports, they prefer to enjoy the experience of cruising which has taken them around the world. With his family and his love of gardening Tom is still enjoying a full and busy life.
When it comes to Masonry, Tom’s interest was ignited when he was working in ‘A’ Division with Don Fisher and he used to talk to him about Walton Lodge No 1086. Tom was proposed into Masonry by Don Fisher and seconded by Horace Bradley and was initiated into Walton Lodge in January1958 and Tom has had continued membership in the lodge for 60 years. Due to work commitments he did not become master until 2003. In 2005 Walton Lodge amalgamated with three other lodges to become Woolton Lodge of Unity No 1086. Tom also joined Sovereign’s Peace Lodge No 8911 and became its master in 1996.
In 2005, Tom was appointed to the rank of Past Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies at Blackpool. The Provincial Grand Master presiding at that time was Colin Penty Wright, the middle ranking Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies on duty that day was a certain Kevin Poynton.
Following the detailed account of Tom’s life and Masonic career so far, Kevin asked Woolton Group Chairman Andrew Whittle to read out the jubilee certificate. Kevin then presented the certificate to Tom, saying: “You have set an example to us all in your life, a life full of hard work, commitment to your family and dedication to Freemasonry. It gives me great pleasure to present to you this certificate recording your achievement of 60 years in Freemasonry and to wish you on behalf of all the brethren here, good health to enjoy many more years in our company.”
The brethren then retired to the festive board where the celebrations continued, the toast to Tom’s health was proposed by his good friend Peter Roughly.
Article and photographs by Doug Lace.