Roddy Beare’s 40-year scroll presentation – 6 December 2016

Brother President Peter Crowe kindly offered to transport Brothers Richard Dillon, John Dillon and Karol Grabowski all the way to London for a very special celebration to mark Bro Roddy Beare’s 40 years of membership of the Catenian Association.

The celebration began with the Circle meeting of North London (336) Circle (the formation of which Roddy had instigated) at the Enfield Golf Club. Visitors from across London and much further afield joined Grand President David Rowley and the brothers of North London Circle for a short meeting which was followed by a Ladies’ Evening and three-course meal. All four of us were made extremely welcome by both the officers and brothers of the Circle who ensured that our visit was a memorable one.

After dinner, Brother President Paul Dick said a few words about Roddy and his contribution to the life of the Circle. Roddy is both the Welfare Officer and the Charity Officer and is assiduous in both roles; despite his advancing age and his own health issues over the last year or so, Roddy has continued to keep in touch with all the brothers “in sickness and in need”, visiting them in hospital and in their homes. No greater praise can be heaped on a person who lives out the fundamental principles of the Association. Bro President Paul then presented Roddy with a memento from the Circle, and then flowers to Eileen Rowley and Carol, Roddy’s young lady friend.

Grand President David was invited to give an outline of Roddy’s life history:

Roddy was born on 23 November 1931 in London and went to a number of local primary schools. Following this, he passed his 11-plus exams and moved on to Finchley Grammar School where, in his own words, he “was deemed to have had a less than successful academic career”, finishing his time at the school at the age of 15. On leaving school, he joined an insurance company in the City; he was later called up for his National Service with the 14/20th King’s Hussars and then returned to the insurance industry which he “didn’t like much”. His ambition was always to be a teacher and he duly applied to, and was offered a place at, St Mary’s College in Twickenham where he flourished and qualified as a teacher of PE and Geography. He took a number of jobs in London schools but decided to move further north to Nottinghamshire when he was offered the post of Headteacher at Hillocks School in Sutton-in-Ashfield, later moving on to Quarrydale School from where he retired in 1999.

Roddy joined the Catenian Association on 23 November 1976, his 45th birthday. He was always a lively presence at Circle meetings and became President in 1982/83 and then went on to make further contributions to the life of the Association as Provincial Councillor for the Circle as well as being the life and soul of the party.

Around the time that he retired, Roddy was bitten by the travel bug – he had always been a keen traveller as a sailor and had spent time on such distinguished ships as the three masted tall ship schooner SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL during his breaks from school. He took a year out to travel around the world and meet “wonderful people” with whom he still maintains contact. Following that spell of travelling on his own, he joined Travelsphere as a tour manager and spent a happy 8 or 9 years working with adults in many different countries. He finally came back to London and has settled in north London not far away from the old Highbury ground of his beloved Arsenal.

By 2003, Roddy had been actively pursuing the setting up of a new Circle in his home area and on 9 September 2003 it was inaugurated, with Roddy as the first President. Since then it has also flourished and recently combined with London North East Circle to form a much more stable entity with 55 active brothers.

Roddy’s indomitable spirit continues to influence the Circle and those whom he knows. He was truly a worthy recipient of his scroll for 40 years’ service to the Association. May he continue for many years to come. Floreat Catena!