Sydney John Ackroyd (Syd) was born on the 13th October 1923 in Bradford. He was an only child and spent his formative years in the south of Bradford and Shipley areas. He attended Bridge Primary School, Hipperholme Grammar School and finally Salts High
leaving at the age of 16 years.
Sydney followed his father into the wool trade from 1940 until 1947 and was involved in all aspects of scouring, preparing, skinning and combing with Kessler and Co., Canal Road Bradford. He progressed to being a buyer and converter, but he always described himself as being frustrated in that capacity and wanted to branch out into the sales arena.
He then had a complete change of employment and moved into the industrial services sector with contractual maintenance involvement with British Rail on a nationwide basis. He was appointed Chairman of the parent company J N Holdsworth & Co for the next 35 years and finally retired at the age of 68.
Sydney was a married man and had 2 daughters Pamela and Debbie and was the grandfather of three. He had an avid interest in cricket and golf and was a very astute competitor in snooker and dominoes.
Sydney was initiated into Freemasonry, into Rastrick Lodge, on the 3rd May 1950 at the age of 26 years. He was installed as Worshipful Master of the Lodge in 1963. He progressed through the ranks and was appointed to Provincial rank of Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 1973 and promoted to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 1983.
Freemasonry was a significant part of his active life, he was regarded as a lynchpin and mainstay of Rastrick Lodge and involved in every aspect of its functioning. His ritual was always first class and presented with precision, dignity and sincerity. He particularly enjoyed his contribution during the ceremony of Installation of the Worshipful Master.
He was presented with his 50 years certificate in 2000 by his great friend W Bro John Burnham Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master a member of the same Lodge. In fact, Sydney was the acting Junior Deacon at the ceremony of Initiation for John Burnham on the 4th December 1957 and had a major involvement in that ceremony.
In 2010 his 60 years certificate was presented by Very Worshipful Jack Pigott then the Deputy Provincial Grand Master.
When he died, he was in his 69th year as a Freemason.
Sydney was a real servant of the Lodge and retired from the demanding role of Lodge Treasurer, an office which required the holder to be elected annually by members of the Lodge, in 2010 after 40 years in that role. He was appointed the Lodge Almoner, which requires total commitment to the Lodge, members and dependants in 1970 and stood down because of ill health in the early part of 2019. An achievement the like of which is unlikely to be replicated anywhere.
Sydney has been variously described as being suave and debonair and was always immaculately turned out. He was the epitome of old-world charm, courtesy, affability and compassion. Sadly, a disappearing mode of life in the modern age. He was respected by the ladies especially “his widows” who relished his regular visits in his Lodge Almoner role, and they were reluctant to let him leave.
He was fully committed to the social aspects of Freemasonry and enjoyed himself immensely at lodge gatherings and to many fraternal friendships. He took great delight and satisfaction in organising the annual widows/lady’s luncheon and attending the Ladies after Lodge proceedings in the masonic calendar year. He had a masonic bond with Ronnie Bottomley from Brighouse Lodge who joined Freemasonry in 1964. Sadly, Ronnie passed away in 2018, but both attended each other’s Lodge nights over the decades had numerous holidays together and were a real masonic double act.
Mere words cannot begin to describe his worth to Rastrick Lodge and to Freemasonry in general which are beyond measure. He was a significant figure in the development and growth of the Lodge following in the traditions of W Bro Keir so many years before.
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