Ian Syddall: "When I was Seventeen" - part of his Zoom account delivered on 13th April 2021.
When I was seventeen, I was living in Macclesfield. I had been working in retail for the past 12 months, and thought I would apply to join the police, I passed the entry exam, I can still remember a couple of questions; "Who was the Prime Minister?" (Edward Heath), "Who was the Home Secretary?" (Mr Robert Carr.)
However on completing the exam, I was told “You should have had a medical before the exam", so I took the medical and I failed, the authoritie stating that I was "too small; just under 5’ 6”, so I was told to go away and return after doing some stretch exercises.
Needless to say I had a growing spurt: less than twelve months later I was over six foot but I had enjoyed my eighteen months start in retail and decided to give this career a few years. This took me all over the UK including Northern Ireland at the height of the troubles and as far as Saudi Arabia and South Africa (however that’s for another time possibly.)
From as far as I can remember I have supported Manchester United and this particular season was Manchester United's worst period, it was the first full season in charge for manager Tommy Docherty and it was the year George Best played his last game for the club, Best made his last appearance for United in a 3-0 defeat to QPR.
It was also the season they were relegated to League 2 - only for one season I might add.
It was also the year the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland entered the European Economic Community – Rail workers and civil servants went on strike.
Later that year 1.6 million Workers went on strike over government pay restraints
Although I was not living in Hull at this time (in fact I moved to Hull some 20 years later) there was a fire at a house in Hull which killed a six-year-old boy which was initially thought to be an accident but it later emerged as the first of 26 fire deaths caused over the next seven years by arsonist Peter Dinsdale.
Bruce George Peter Lee (born Peter Dinsdale in Manchester, July 1960) became one of Britain's most prolific serial killers when he was convicted of 26 charges of manslaughter in 1981. It was only when a fire at a house in Hull, East Yorkshire, killed three young brothers that police began to look for an arsonist
Richard Smedley: "When I was Seventeen" - part of his Zoom account delivered on 9th March 2021.
When I was 17!! Oh the world held such promise.
In the years before mobile phones the spirit of adventure ran strong in the Smedley family.
I had passed my A levels and had succeeded in obtaining a place at Manchester University to study Civil Engineering and as such the summer was open for adventure, so with my best pal Paul Woods we decided to Inter-rail around Europe for a month.
With no planning, just a train ticket and a load of Travellers Cheques (remember them!!) we filled our backpacks with totally inappropriate clothing for a Summer in Europe and a tent that weighed a tonne. We headed off to Kings Cross got a train to Dover with first stop Paris. Unwittingly landing in Paris Saturday evening and trying to find a cheap Pension was not that easy and when we did find one and asked for a shared room to keep the costs down (this was shoestring travelling) we did get a funny look. Sunday was a lovely hot day and on Sunday everything in Paris closes. So imagine 2 Whities from Blighty wandering the streets with backpacks and nowhere to get a drink, - First lesson learned!
Anyhow our adventures took us to Juan le Pins where we slept on the beach with the local cannabis dealer and friends (one for another time maybe!), Monte Carlo (rich and famous), Pisa (One of the last years to be able to climb the leaning tower - see picture), Sienna (exquisite), Rome (ancient), Venice (the Bridge of Sighs was OK). AND at no time did our parents know where we were.
In Venice we pitched camp on the Lido de Jesolo and within seconds of putting the tent up, the heavens opened. Next to us was a group of 4 girls trying to pitch a huge tent and we all ran for cover. Their tent got soaked so we helped them out and eventually they had somewhere to sleep for the night. The next day, we heard the girls arguing as the youngest had run out of money and wanted to head home, whilst the others wanted to go to Lake Geneva. Chivalry not yet dead, we offered to accompany the youngest back to Amsterdam to get a ferry home as that was where we were heading next. We even paid for her ferry ticket out of what little money we had left.
And so to Amsterdam, fond and not so fond memories. We stayed in a youth hostel and just for once, my pal Paul, left his passport and money in his backpack whilst we went for breakfast. We arrived back to find the passport and money had gone. We walked to the local police station to report the crime and they gave us a temporary passport to get back to the UK. We were now brown as berries and looked like tourists and on the gentle stroll back from the police station we were held up at knife point for all the money that had already been stolen. Trying to explain this to Dutch muggers wasn’t easy but when they got the gist, they fell about laughing and told us to go forth and multiply in Dutch.
And so we arrived home, where awaiting us was a lovely letter from the parents of the young girl (on the right of the picture below) expressing their gratitude for ensuring their daughter was safe and the return of the funds for the ferry. The world was still a good place.
We were home just in time for me to turn 18!!! Oh the pubs held such promise!
Read about Formula 1 test driver Jack Whileblood on the Zoom Page 8th December 2020
Read about Captain Phil Watts on the Zoom Page 29th September 2020
The Story of an 87 Year-Old
Kenneth Leslie Graham was born in Telford Street, Hull on February 2nd 1933, the first child of Harry and Christine Graham. Here is his account, written especially for this website.
As a child I attended several Catholic schools and during the Second World War I was evacuated for safety with my brother to stay with my mother's sister in Budleigh Salterton, South Devon.
My father put labels on both our jackets when we set off on the train for Devon. However, a bomb dropped, damaging the the nearby gas works so the evacuation did not help much in that respect. It was still a case of leaving a warm bed for a cold and damp air-raid shelter.
After the war I got a job as an apprentice plumber with a local builder and got involved in all kinds of jobs, even doing work at Hull City's football grounds after a severe frost caused many burst pipes. I was called up for National Service as was normal and spent two years in the RAF. After that I returned to work and continued my hobby of cycling, particularly Long Distance and Time Trials cycling. One of my first challenges was cycling to Budleigh Salterton and back on my own. [308.1 miles.]
I eventually joined the Hull Thursday Road Club and held various positions including being the President. I also took part in in Long Distance cycling with friends to Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, Ireland and Stonehenge. In those days we had to work Saturday mornings, and then we set off on these trips and returned Sunday evenings.
In later years after my marriage I started my own plumbing and heating business and had people working for me. Two of the most interesting jobs I remember were doing the lead work on the 500 foot Reckitt's chimney and later laying on the water supplies on the North Bank for building the Humber Bridge.
Eventually in 2017 I decided to retire from business and was pleased that I had become a Freemason some fifty years ago so I had plenty to k
eep me occupied in retirement.
Our Charity Steward, Malcolm Forbes, was born in Kidderminster, but as his father was in the military, spent the first six years of his life in Singapore, followed by a grammar school education in Streatham, London. This led to studying law in Stoke-on-Trent. Malcolm graduated in 1973 and studied for the Bar at the Council of Legal Education and thereafter lectured in Law at Hull College of Commerce, Hull College of Higher Education, Humberside Polytechnic and later at the University of Lincoln. “Towards the latter part of my teaching career I specialised in criminal law, the law of evidence and company law,” he explained, “but throughout thirty-four years in the classroom I taught most areas of English law, including European Union law.”
Malcolm appeared on TV in the final of the BBC1 quiz show Masterteam specialising in Current Affairs and has also featured in the TV shows Fifteen to One, Quiz Night and Time Please.
On retiring, Malcolm has taken up cricket umpiring, and has umpired in the United Arab Emirates every year since 2014, including Test Match grounds in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. (See https://www.google.com/search?q=malcolmforbes-umpire&oq=malco&aqs=chrome.0.69i59l2j69i57j46l4j69i60.5709j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8.) He is a member of the East Riding Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association, where he umpires matches in the York Senior League. He is also a member of three Probus Clubs. Since 2008 Malcolm has been involved in voluntary activities for MIND. Malcolm is also a member of the Thorngumbald and Camerton Parish Council.
Malcolm joined the de la Pole Lodge 1605 in 2013 and became a member of Humber Lodge 57 in 2017. Currently he is WM in Andrew Marvell Lodge 5642. He is a member of the Chapter and other Orders.
He keeps fit exercising his cairn terrier Sally in the wilds of Thorngumbald.
Our Junior Warden, Charles Alexander is originally from Aberdeen, but he met Jackie in a Mecca Dance Hall in Portsmouth, while serving in the Royal Navy and married in 1984. He has two children and three grandchildren.
Charles originally settled in Ellon, a lovely village north of Aberdeen. He worked offshore for various companies, including Shell UK. “After a brief spell with Ferranti Offshore and working on the Rough Field for British Gas just off the coast of Humberside as a contract technician,” he said, “I was offered a staff position as an Assistant Engineer Comms and Computing.” He and Jackie moved to Hull, which is, he says, “a great place to live, I am now retired and can indulge in all my likes and pleasures one of those being Freemasonry. I also dabble in playing the Bass Guitar and my thumbs are slightly green.” Another hobby is sampling beer.
Since joining Humber Lodge 57 in 1999 Charles has become a Chapter and Mark Mason and is looking to extend his Masonic involvement in The Royal Order of Scotland. “I find that Freemasonry is a great way of staying active and keeping the grey matter in good fettle,” he remarked; “I have also made a lot of very good friends through the Craft.”
Our Lodge Mentor, Sergiy Bylov left the Ukraine for the UK when he was thirty-one. He speaks Ukrainian, Russian and French and is currently learning Italian, so it is no surprise that his work in an international packaging industry – he is a qualified internal auditor with the Quality Management System – involves dealing with people from different countries and Russian speaking customers in particular. Married to Anna, he has two grown-up daughters, Victoria and Yana.
When asked why he had decided to join the Freemasons, Sergiy said that his inquisitive nature had been stimulated by a Masonic friend in Vienna and since joining the Humber Lodge in 2002 he has never looked back. He has held various offices, becoming Worshipful Master in 2009. He is also a member of the Humber Chapter.
He has many interests, including psychology and various handicrafts, but one particular hobby is painting. “I started painting when I was thirty-nine,” he said, “I just picked up a brush, opened a tube of paint, and started a canvas.”
He spent a lot of time reading about methods of painting, colour theory and the history of art and has enjoyed visiting many galleries and museums. Influenced by the Impressionists, he has produced landscapes and other works which may be found on https://belov.weebly.com/