Copyright © 1998 -
Lodge St. Andrew Livingston Station No. 1587
Grateful thanks to Bro. Robert Ballingham PM for the following tribute to Bro. Jim Whyte. It gives our newer members who didn’t know Jim an insight into the commitment he gave to Lodge St Andrew and the Social Club when he was fit and well.
Bro James Whyte
Last Weekend Our Lodge lost one of its brightest characters which were ever to grace its doorsteps. That was Bro James Whyte.
Bro Jim burst onto the Lodge arena in the 1980’s when we used to meet in the Livingston Station Community Centre. Jim was always available to do a piece of harmony and what a powerful voice he had. When he was asked to sing for the harmony he feigned a bit of reticence, but that was just him, being shy? When he started to sing the room fell into absolute silence and sat back to enjoy his rendition of whatever song he was delighting the company with.
When we did meet in the Community Centre restrictions were placed on how long we could stay in the building Jim was the first to put up his hand and suggest that the unofficial harmonies would be held at his house. So it was that quite a lot of us would trip round to West Glen Avenue and “surprise” Maress and Angela with our instant party. This became a regular occurrence after our Lodge meetings and many a good night’s entertainment was had in the family’s company. This happened for quite a number of years and I am not sure if Maress was really in full agreement with it?
In 1990 when the new Lodge was not only proposed but building work commenced, Jim could quite often be found in a hole in the ground or a trench digging out the services to be laid for the new building. He was not averse to lending a hand with the manual work and he along with a great many volunteers got the building project, quite literally off the ground. Once the more specialized side of the building got underway, Jim had along with the other volunteers had to stand aside until some extra hands were required, then they stepped in to assist.
When the building was nearing completion meetings were held to decide how the building was to pay for itself. A steering Committee was set up and Jim was in the middle of it offering his opinion and advice and in the end it was agreed that a Social Club would be needed to finance the building and repay the loans. A Committee was formed to run the Social Club and Jim Whyte was elected as its very first chairman. Along with Bro Leonard Akers who was the Club’s Secretary.
So it came to pass that Lodge St Andrew Social Club came into being and when the building was complete a grand opening social night was planned. In July 1990 the very first social night was held. Tickets were sold for this evening and of course the Club Chairman was very much to the fore. All the tickets were sold and there was not a seat left in the house. Jim in his capacity as Chairman and on behalf of all the members of Lodge St Andrew welcomed every body not only to the Lodge but to the social club.
That was the start of many great social evenings held within the new club and Jim Whyte was always there and his commitment to the club was 110% and indeed every Saturday night there was very rarely an empty seat in the club.
On the times when the Lodge had official functions, such as the Burns Supper, Annual Ball or the Christmas Dance. Jim Whyte was always there to the fore making sure all went according to plan and without a hitch. The evenings were also a great success and every one who attended had a great evening. In fact on several occasions Jim Whyte was the star attraction himself. As at the Burns Suppers for example he would deliver the Immortal Memory and as always he made his talk both interesting and entertaining. He would also be prevailed upon to deliver his rendition of Holy Willies Prayer. Which he did and really got into character by dressing up in Wullies night gown and cap, along with the required candle, bible and of course the hip flask? When he entered the hall he would frighten some of the audience by shouting “Drunkards and Fornicators” at them as his character was very powerful and scary indeed.
So it went on with the presence of Jim Whyte being felt within Lodge St Andrew Livingston Station. Not only was he so heavily involved with the Lodge and the Social club in those early days he was to become the Captain of Bathgate Golf Club. Of which he claimed to be a “great Golfer” (his opinion?) and I am sure he did the Golf Club proud, because when Jim Whyte took on a project he gave it his all and only for the benefit of the club.
So Livingston Station, greater Deans and Livingston has fallen a little bit darker now that a bright light has gone out of all our lives with the passing to the Grand Lodge above, or the Grand Golf Club above. I will leave that to Jim to sort out?
We will always remember James Whyte from Livingston Station and I have no doubt he will be standing at the 19th hole and toasting his time in Livingston Station.