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A twin 60th celebration at Victory

Liverpool Hall has hosted yet another memorable occasion in its long distinguished history when the members of Victory Lodge No 6238 held a joint diamond jubilee celebration for two of its most distinguished members. The lodge was opened in the correct and usual manner by the WM Michael Edwards and all the guests were warmly welcomed.

Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Neil MacSymons entered to announce Assistant Provincial Grand Master Mark Dimelow, who was admitted in due form. Michael offered the gavel of the lodge to Mark, which on this occasion was accepted. Mark took the chair of King Solomon and requested Neil to please be kind enough to admit the tyler.

Gordon Lees.

Gordon Lees.

When the brethren were comfortable and settled Mark addressed them by saying: “Brethren, this evening we are summoned to a very special meeting, to honour and pay tribute to not one, but two eminent Liverpool Masons who have served the Craft in general, but more importantly their lodge, Victory Lodge in particular. They have served the institution and their lodges loyally and conscientiously for 60 years; I refer of course, to our celebrants this evening, Gordon and Eddie Lees, both Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden of the Province of West Lancashire.

Mark continued by asking the Lees brothers to be seated at the centre of the lodge room and continued by saying: “The word ‘celebrate’ means to do something enjoyable, because of a feeling of pleasure at some event or achievement. Gordon and Eddie are today celebrating their diamond jubilee anniversary as Freemasons which, it seems to me, is most certainly an achievement well worth celebrating and your presence here this evening brethren, would appear to indicate that you share that view.”

Gordon Lees was born in July 1934 in Liverpool, being the slightly elder brother, by some 12 minutes or so, of his twin Eddie. They have two sisters, Audrey who is the eldest sibling and Madeleine the youngest. Their parents, Robert Gordon Lees and Hilda Ellen Lees, were also born in Liverpool in the early part of the 20th century. That particular day in July was a busier than usual day through history so Mark gave a historical perspective to the time and highlight some notable occurrences on that day in previous years.

1848 saw the birth of William Gilbert commonly known as W G Grace, who was in one entry was described as an English amateur cricketer who was important in the development of the sport and is widely considered one of its greatest ever players. He was also incidentally a member of the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Physicians.

In 1870 the first Vatican Council, presided over by Pope Pious IX decreed the dogma of papal infallibility. Nelson Mandela, South African politician, President and Nobel Prize laureate was born on that day in 1918. And in Liverpool that day the second most important event occurred with the visit of King George V accompanied by Queen Mary, attended by 200,000 people, not in fact to visit you on the day of your birth but to officially open the Queensway Tunnel.

Eddie Lees.

Eddie Lees.

They were brought up in Childwall and both went to Rudston Road Primary School, which is still in existence, after which they both went to the Liverpool Institute High School, leaving there in 1949 both in possession of the School Certificate. It is at this point that they chose different professional paths. Gordon, you being the elder twin, as I understand you enjoy reminding Eddie from time to time, I will talk about you first.

Gordon chose not to join the family firm and in 1950 became articled to F B Jones, Building and Quantity Surveyor to train as a Chartered Surveyor from 1950 to 1954. He gained the National Certificate in Building in 1953 and Higher National Certificate in 1955 from the Liverpool College of Building. He continued studying for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) examinations, gaining Associate Membership (Quantity Surveying) of the RICS in 1957. It was in 1972 that Gordon was elected a Fellow of the Institution.

In 1957 in 1957 Gordon was called up to do National Service, joining the RAF and was stationed at RAF Middleton St George (Fighter Command) in County Durham as a servicing recorder. His duties involved recording and analysing time spent servicing, modifying and repairing fighter aircraft and reporting results weekly to Fighter Command HQ; reporting aircraft availability daily to the Station Commander and reporting pilot availability daily to Command HQ.

Having met his dear wife to be Shirley at dancing lessons when they were both in your late teens, Gordon married her at Childwall Parish Church in October 1959, immediately after the completion of his National Service. They subsequently had two children, a daughter Corinne who is married to Peter and a son Andrew.

The following year Gordon joined John Dansken & Purdie (est. 1858), Chartered Quantity Surveyors as a senior assistant in 1960. He was appointed team leader in 1963, as a partner in 1967, becoming a senior partner in the Liverpool office in 1988. In 1972 he was appointed to the committee of the Merseyside Branch of the Quantity Surveyors Division of the RICS and was secretary from 1973-1977 and chairman in 1978.

Gordon was an Assessor for the Test of Professional Competence for the RICS from 1981-1986. Branch Liaison Officer for the Test of Professional Competence from 1984-1986. Presented a 2 day lecture on ‘Cost Planning of Buildings’ at the University of Liverpool School of Architecture from 1972 – 1980. Gordon chose to retire 1993.

Gordon has enjoyed many hobbies over the years, notably dinghy sailing and racing during 1960s and early 70s, badminton and squash. He trained at Woodvale Aviation and gained a Private Pilot’s Licence in 1992. He has flown ever since and has enjoyed flying holidays in Australia and around national parks in the USA. He was secretary of the Flying Club at RAF Woodvale 1999-2006 and is a member of a group who own a French built Robin aircraft, and was secretary of the group 1993-2014.

Before we moving on to the Masonic matters Mark said that he would address Gordon’s younger brother Eddie first.

Pictured from left to right, are: Gordon Lees, Mark Dimelow and Eddie Lees.

Pictured from left to right, are: Gordon Lees, Mark Dimelow and Eddie Lees.

Eddie decided that he would join the family firm, J G Lees Ltd, as his father had before him, his grandfather having founded the company some years earlier. It was in 1950 that Eddie started to serve his time as a joiner; he completed his apprenticeship in 1955. Eddie had also continued to study part time whilst working and this resulted in him gaining the National Certificate in Building in 1954 and Higher National Certificate in 1956 from the Liverpool College of Building. Eddie subsequently gained Licentiate Membership of the Institute of Builders in1959.

But it was shortly after the completion of his apprenticeship and gaining his HNC, in 1956, that Eddie was called up to do his National Service. He joined the RAF and after completing his basic training he was stationed at RAF Seletar in Singapore. Eddie served as a Junior Technician in the General Engineering Squadron. Soon after completing his National Service and returning to the work Eddie was appointed as a director of the company in 1958, becoming the Managing Director in 1971. By 1993 Eddie decided that he had had enough and he closed the company and retired.

Eddie met his wife to be Geraldine in the 1950s and they married her on 2 June 1961 at Childwall Parish Church. They had two daughters, Karen and Heidi. Karen is married to Justin have two daughters: Natalie and Eleanor. Heidi is married to Roger have three sons: Jack, Thomas and George. Eddie’s wife Geraldine sadly passed away in June 1997.

It was in 1956 whilst Eddie was in Singapore that he learned to sail. He took part in the Far East Championships in 1957 and was 2nd in the individual and captain of the winning team in the Team Racing Championship. Eddie continued sailing on his return to the UK until 1973.

Having a liking for risky pursuits seems to be a family trait, and in his spare time Eddie enjoyed climbing, cycle racing, particularly doing time trials, in the pursuit of which he twice fractured your skull. Seemingly in need of a new adrenaline kick Eddie started learning to glide in 1992 obtaining his bronze certificate in 1993, silver in 1994, gold in 1994 and Diamond Height Certificate in 1997. The latter apparently for achieving an altitude of 5,000m. Mark commented: “I much prefer one with an engine.”

Eddie and Gordon’s father was a member of Victory Lodge and it was through him that they were both introduced to Freemasonry. They were initiated together into Victory Lodge on 6 April 1956 by T S Jones, the then WM, proposed by their father and seconded by A Cundall. It was after that date that there was a slight divergence in their respective Masonic paths.

Gordon was passed to the second degree on 19 Oct 1956, raised to the third degree on 21 Dec 1956 and therefore became a master Mason prior to being called up for National Service. He was installed as WM in February 1970 by J G Alsop. Gordon has always been busy in support of the lodge and was treasurer from 1977 to 1982, almoner 1983-1987, had two periods as group representative from 1991-93 and 2014 to date, auditor since 2013 and has taken the wardens chairs on numerous occasions.

He received his first appointment from the Province when he was invested as PrGStdB in May 1978 at Blackpool, receiving a subsequent promotion to his current very high rank of Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 1986.

Eddie was called up before he could be passed to the 2nd degree and therefore had the rather interesting experience of being passed and raised in Eastern Gate Lodge No 2970 EC in the District Grand Lodge of Eastern Archipelago meeting in Coleman Street, Singapore.

He continued his progress on his return from Singapore and was installed into the master’s chair in February 1971 by the immediate past master, his twin brother Gordon. Eddie has always been engaged in the running of the lodge and was appointed assistant secretary in 1977, the following year you took over as secretary until 1982, then treasurer from 1983 to 1985 in succession to Gordon and at various times have been ADC and junior deacon. Eddie has also been one of the lodge auditors since 2013.

Eddie received his first Provincial rank in 1978, that of PPrAGDC and a subsequent promotion to the very high rank of PPrJGW in 1986.

In the Royal Arch Gordon and Eddie were both members of James T Callow Chapter No 3596, which sadly closed in 2006, and both hold the rank of PPrAGSoj. They are both members of other Masonic orders.

Mark said that he had checked his records and found the diary entry for their 50th celebration, which was when he was the Provincial DC that was held on 28 April 2006, conducted by Harry Ross. A chap called Kevin Poynton was the PrDGDC and Ian Fisher was the Chairman of the then Wellington Group. Mark remarked: “Brethren from where I sit I think it would be a more than reasonable to expect an invitation to their 70th celebrations here in 2026.”

In his closing comments, Mark said: “Brethren, throughout their 60 years of membership of this fine lodge, as well as in their lives in general, Gordon and Eddie Lees have proved themselves to be men of integrity, dignity and commitment and this evening they celebrate their diamond jubilee in Freemasonry. I am sure that we all wish them the very best of good health and happiness for many years to come. I now call upon Robert Povall, the Liverpool Group Chairman to read the scrolls which come from our PrGM, Tony Harrison.”

Robert read the scrolls which were then presented to the twin brothers by Mark who continued by saying: ‘Brethren, may I conclude the proceedings here in the lodge room this evening by offering both of you my warmest personal congratulations on achieving this wonderful milestone in your Masonic life’s. I consider it both a privilege and a pleasure to be here this evening and to have been able to take part in such a happy and rewarding evening. With the rest of lodge business then concluded the brethren moved to the banqueting suite to enjoy the rest of the evening around the festive board.

Pictured from left to right, are: Mark Dimelow, Gordon Lees, Mike Edwards, Eddie Lees and Bob Povall.

Pictured from left to right, are: Mark Dimelow, Gordon Lees, Mike Edwards, Eddie Lees and Bob Povall.