The achievements of long time Thorpe Hesley resident Wallace were honoured by his Brothers of St. Philips Lodge No. 7116. Wallace was joined by his family and friends and our Provincial Grand Master David Pratt presented Wallace with his 50 year certificate.
Wallace was born on the 15th of December 1928 to Walter and Emma Hible at 46 Wortley Rd, High Green, Sheffield an only child, he moved with his family to Thorpe Hesley aged three. He attended the new Thorpe Hesley school and then Rotherham Technical college at age 14 to study accountancy and maths, an indication of where his future career lay. His working life began at the Grange Colliery at Droppingwell as a junior wages clerk, eventually becoming the manager’s clerk in 1946. He remembers the time well as he received and extra 3 shillings a week for being on the production committee and another 5 shillings a month for dishing out the soap rations to the miners. Another sign of his involvement and energy at work.
In 1947 he was drafted into the RAF for his National Service with the Bomber Command at RAF Wyton. He was promoted to corporal and worked in pay and accounts. He played football and cricket and boxed for his station, including a match with Sgt Paddy Collins, the Northern Ireland Welterweight champion which Wallace age 19 won on points. After demobilisation in 1949 he returned to work for the National Coal Board at Grange Colliery and then to the North East Division Headquarters in 1952.
After that he moved to work in the steel industry for Samuel Osbourne’s in Sheffield and then to Eaton & Booth where in 1964 he became Group Financial Director. His career as an accountant had flourished and he became joint Managing Director of three of their subsidiaries. It developed further when he received the silver medal of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants for his outstanding service to accountancy in the UK and the Commonwealth. He went on to work for many other Sheffield companies and finally set up his own consultancy in 1992. British Rail was one of his major clients.
At age 90 in his retirement he was again honoured with by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants as the oldest member to receive their silver medal.
Wallace had married in 1953 and was for 72 years until his wife Alma’s death in 2018. He has two sons, five grandchildren and five great- grandchildren.
Wallace had wanted to join Freemasonry for some time having applied to join a Sheffield Lodge and been waiting for over a year a pal suggested joining St. Philips. Wallace was amused as his interview was done in Hulley’s ice cream factory at Ecclesfield, very strange. Shortly after Wallace was initiated into Freemasonry on the 9th September 1971 and it was 50 years to the day holding his celebration. Wallace said he took to Freemasonry and Freemasonry certainly took to him, he progressed up the ladder and through the Wardens chairs becoming Master of the Lodge in 1981. Wallace as an accountant being an obvious choice served as treasurer of the St. Phillips Lodge in Sheffield, a post which he held for 19 years until 2003 with a reputation for diligence and accuracy.
Discussing diligence and accuracy caused a smile turning Wallace to the lighter moments in Freemasonry. One night as treasurer Wallace stood up to announce the night’s Raffle takings and then asked who had put 67p in Almoners purse, our festive board erupted in laughter. From then on small change and foreign coins have always been added to the purse and Wallace bless him has never failed us with his comments.
Wallace has done many pieces of ritual in Lodge but for several years he has done his favourite, Eclesiates for our 3rd degree and with great feeling but it's the lighter things like the 67p we all remember. Wallace fondly remembers a Masonic trip to Birmingham. On 10th November 2010 we all went on a visit to Stirling Road, Birmingham for St Philip’s Lodge No. 5580 to enact a 1st degree. Wallace played the part of Junior Deacon leading Bro. Paul Turton as Candidate and on the second walk round the Lodge Wallace’s apron fell around his ankles, three more steps in a tangle all concentration was lost as the laughter erupted.
As a new Mason Wallace and his pal Alwyn took it in turns to drive me to Lodge. Every month I want you to imagine on alternate weeks being driven there by Bro. Alwyn an Octogenarian who recovered Tanks with the eighth army in the desert in W.W.II . Being driven in his little automatic left the impression of dodging bullets in a tank recovery vehicle. Our septuagenarian Wallace was in the RAF, drove a slightly bigger car like a fighter plane and at every amber traffic light we lifted off to beat the red light. Sitting in the back seat listening to the non stop banter you realised you were being driven by two 19 year olds still in the forces. Alwyn has sadly gone to the Grand Lodge above, Wallace at 92 still loves swapping tales and telling the wonderful camaraderie he has enjoyed through life and the warmth of being amongst his Brothers in Freemasonry.
Wallace for all his service to Masonry and his community was honoured in 2019 as Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden of the Province. Wallace’s long service was commended by David Pratt our Provincial Grand Master he pointed out there is no precedent for recognising 50 years service as a mason but customary to honour members like Wallace in this unique achievement. He asked Wallace what he considered had changed in his time as a mason. Wallace replied that the movement had become more open and inclusive and stressed the importance of our charitable activities. He hoped that would continue.
Wallace has had a long history of involvement in charity and community activities from his earliest years in Thorpe Hesley. He joined the Scout movement in 1936 as a cub becoming a King’s scout in 1944. On leaving the RAF he returned to the movement, working on the Hesley Wood Scout Camp which is still enjoyed by hundreds of children today and the conversion of the Primitive Methodist Chapel into the local Scout HQ . Wallace had joined the British Legion in Chapeltown in 1949 after leaving the RAF becoming its president in 1965, a post he held for 14 years and still meets there every Sunday.
Wallace had been a choir boy at Thorpe Hesley Church in 1937 and rejoined the new Thorpe Hesley Choir in 1984 He always enjoyed singing and was a member until its closure in 2019. For 20 years he served as Chair of the Trustees of Thorpe Hesley OAP and Community Centre on Brook Hill until its closure in 2017. At the same time he was a committee member and treasurer of Scholes and Thorpe Action Group (STAG) which had been formed to prevent the development of 2000 houses on land between Thorpe Hesley and Scholes and Wentworth Park, the area known as The Shortlands. In 2018 Rotherham Council made this area Green Belt. Even at 90 years old Wallace did not give up and helped out at the Thorpe Hesley Junior and Infant School listening to children read. All in all Wallace has contributed much to both Freemasonry and his community in Thorpe Hesley. Wallace enjoyed a wonderful 50 year celebration surrounded by his family, friends, Masonic pals and the Brethren of his Lodge.