The members of Fleetwood Chapter No 3711 and their guests gathered for a celebration of the 50 years in Royal Arch Freemasonry of Robbie Heywood. The initial business of the chapter was transacted by the first principal Robert Thompson before receiving Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals David Randerson, accompanied by several distinguished grand and acting Provincial grand officers.
Robert welcomed David and offered him the sceptre of the chapter, which was accepted and David took the first principal’s chair. After salutations from the companions, he introduced the main business of the meeting which was to honour Robbie’s 50 years in the Royal Arch.
Robert Edmund Heywood, affectionately known as Robbie, was born on 18 November 1941, the only son of Vera and Edmund Heywood, of Meadowcroft Avenue, Cleveleys. He was educated at Highfield College, sometimes locally known as Towers School, then moved to Norbreck Primary School and in 1953, to Baines Grammar School, being in the same class as Ted Vollans. Later he attended the University of Manchester where he attained a Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree in History.
In 1962 he started as a graduate trainee with Williamsons in Lancaster, one of the biggest linoleum companies in the world and was eventually made an assistant sales executive, travelling around the UK. Next he applied for a position in the Civil Service and was offered a job as an executive officer at Norcross in War Pensions and stayed in the Civil Service for the next 26 years. In the 1980’s he was promoted to principal and moved to Hesketh House. He then took a position in Liverpool looking after all the pensions of the universities in the UK, travelling to Liverpool every day for 6 years, eventually retiring for the second time at the age of 56 in August 1998.
He married Wendy on 15 March 1969 at St Oswald’s Church in Warton and they were blessed with two beautiful daughters, Alexandra in February 1971 and Georgina in 1973, both going to Stanah Primary School and then Elmslie Grammar School.
Robbie is a fifth generation Mason and his father Edmund initiated him into Royal Oak Lodge No 5919 on 24 September 1965. He was installed as master on Saturday 28 May 1977 and was presented by his father, who also delivered the address.
He joined Pharos Lodge No 7421 on 5 February 1985, being proposed by his good friend John F Atherton and seconded by Bill Strickland and he has served as master twice in 2000 and 2008. He was appointed Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon in 1991 and promoted to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 2003. He was exalted into Thornton and Cleveleys Chapter No 3854 on Wednesday 27 April 1966. He soon became assistant scribe Ezra of the chapter, a position he carried out for two years.
On Thursday 16 July 1970 Fleetwood Chapter No 3711 was consecrated, with Robbie being scribe Ezra from its consecration until 1974 when he moved onto the floor, progressing to first principal in January 1979. He was appointed to the acting rank of Provincial Grand Steward in 1982 and in 1986 received a promotion to the rank of Past Provincial Assistant Grand Sojourner. A further promotion came in 1992 to Past Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah.
Towards the end of the presentation, Robbie’s certificate in recognition of 50 years in Royal Arch Freemasonry was read by the North Fylde Group Chairman Duncan Smith and then presented to Robbie by David Randerson. The chapter meeting was followed by a sumptuous meal and further praise was bestowed upon Robbie, who was delighted to receive a bottle of malt whisky from the chapter.