Celebrating 300 years

The Warrington Museum of Freemasonry has come a long way from its small and rather dusty beginnings. It was in January 2014, when it was formally established under a Trust Deed and trustees appointed; Barry Jameson, John Pether, Jim Cartledge, Mike Williams, Vic Charlesworth, John McIntyre and Caroline Crook, a non-Masonic trustee and archivist.

Two of the initial key objectives for the trustees were firstly, to establish and agree a constitution for a charitable incorporated organisation and secondly to gain charitable status for the museum.

A considerable amount of effort has been applied to this and in January 2016 the trustees received confirmation that the museum had been accepted as a registered incorporated charity. Its registered charity number is 1165077.

Kevin Poynton, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master responsible for the Warrington Group of Freemasons, was delighted to be able to present the certificate to the trustees during their meeting on Tuesday 19 January 2016. He said that it was a considerable achievement for the museum and thanked the trustees for their collective efforts since their appointment. He said that the development of the museum was both impressive and an example of good practice. Getting charitable status was another important step in its development.

The trustees have also established a support group in the form of ‘Friends of the museum’, for individuals and groups. Securing charitable status opens up the opportunity to have future donations under this structure from individuals and to benefit from ‘Gift Aid’. This will allow the museum to claim back a further 25% in addition to the donation, subject to the donation being from a UK taxpayer.

Vic Charlesworth, the museum’s hard working curator, said that it was difficult to comprehend just how far the museum had progressed in the last two years. Achieving charitable status underpins the museums mission, to provide a varied and high quality heritage experience for all members of the community.

 

 

Fleetwood Freemasonry

Freemasonry has flourished in Fleetwood for over 152 years and can trace its roots on the local scene back to 1863 when its oldest lodge, Hesketh Lodge No. 950, named after the town’s founder, was formed.

Bob Boal, who has been a Fleetwood mason for over 23 years, recently gave an account of the organisation’s history and its firm place in Fleetwood to the Fleetwood Weekly News:

Freemasons believe in an ethical approach to life. Our values are based on integrity, kindness, honesty and fairness.

Members are urged to regard family as paramount. However, Freemasonry also teaches and practices concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need.

Fleetwood masons are proud of our reputation for helping others particularly in the communities where we live and work.

Fleetwood and Cleveleys masons belong to the North Fylde Group of Freemasons, one of 22 groups which form the masonic Province of West Lancashire and meet in 25 lodges, seven of which are at Fleetwood.

Last year local MP Eric Ollerenshaw and the Mayor and Mayoress of Wyre John and Linda Hodgkinson joined with North Fylde Group Masons to meet the representatives of 40 local charities to hear how these organisations in turn gave assistance to the community across a very broad spectrum of needy and worthwhile causes.

They saw donations totalling £29,273 handed over to Fylde and Wyre good causes during the group’s ‘giving day’ at which the Mayor said he was astounded on hearing about the amounts given to and received by charities working in the community by local Freemasons.

Funding of worthy causes by Fleetwood masons comes from the members themselves through a variety of fund raising events and not as a result of ‘tin rattling’.

Organisations such Trinity Hospice and its junior wing Brian House, Rosemere Cancer Trust, Blue Skies Hospital Fund, Red Marsh School, Scouts and Guides, Fleetwood Sea Cadets, the RNLI, the Air Ambulance, Coastwatch, Fleetwood Carnival, Fleetwood Parkinson’s Support Group, Hug in a Bag, Streetlife, Donna’s Dream House, Blesma, the RSPCA and Fleetwood Christmas Lights are just some of the local good causes which have received donations ranging from £50 to £5,000.

Fleetwood Masonic Hall on the Esplanade, where Fleetwood masons meet, as a building has had a chequered history since the original property was first built c1847. Then it was a private house known as ‘The Towers’ (one tower still remains).

In 1945 it became Fleetwood Orphanage and Children’s Home and remained as such until the orphanage closed in 1954 having given scores of Fleetwood children an especially fine start in life.

Local masons – up until 1955 when the building was acquired – formerly met in local hotels and public houses but as a result of unsatisfactory service and terms were on the lookout for a building which could be adapted as a masonic hall, as in those post war years there was a long membership waiting list and it was anticipated that there would have to be an increase in the number of lodges meeting in Fleetwood.

Hesketh Lodge received approval to pay a deposit of £240 for the purchase of the building, and fortunately and co-incidentally had received a legacy of £300 from the estate of a former member.

Massive structural alterations took place under the guidance of local architect James Rawlinson who was a member of Hesketh and though the premises were initially quite spartan without floor covering – or even a bar – the work went ahead and the hall was opened on Thursday March 1956 with all due ceremony, though the celebratory banquet was held at the Marine Hall later that same day.

No time was lost in founding another lodge to join the then existing lodges of Hesketh, Fleetwood and Mount to accommodate members who had been on the waiting list and Pharos Lodge No. 7421 was founded on April 10 1956 followed by Wyre Lodge on November 10 1960. Almost 22 years elapsed before Broadwater Lodge was founded on September 23 1982.

Over the intervening years many improvements have been made to the hall to make it a comfortable and enjoyable environment for members to meet. These improvements are ongoing and it is the aim of the Hall Committee to continue the development of the hall for many years to come and extend its use as a venue for private functions for others to enjoy.

Fleetwood masons gladly join in many of the community activities in the town and recently were represented at the Remembrance Sunday parade, laying a wreath at the Cenotaph in memory of members who have fallen in conflict. Over the summer months they joined in the Scarecrow Festival and Fleetwood in Bloom with displays at their Esplanade base.

Fleetwood Masonic Hall has opened its doors for the past five years during Heritage Open Week giving visitors and local people the opportunity to take a tour of the building.

Visitors who have been especially welcome have been many Fleetwood children, now adults, who spent a happy childhood at the orphanage and who have returned and given ringing endorsements, music to the ears of the hall committee, on the care which has been taken of their former home.

Fleetwood Freemasonry

Freemasonry has flourished in Fleetwood for over 152 years and can trace its roots on the local scene back to 1863 when its oldest lodge, Hesketh Lodge No. 950, named after the town’s founder, was formed.

Bob Boal, who has been a Fleetwood mason for over 23 years, recently gave an account of the organisation’s history and its firm place in Fleetwood to the Fleetwood Weekly News:

Freemasons believe in an ethical approach to life. Our values are based on integrity, kindness, honesty and fairness.

Members are urged to regard family as paramount. However, Freemasonry also teaches and practices concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need.

Fleetwood masons are proud of our reputation for helping others particularly in the communities where we live and work.

Fleetwood and Cleveleys masons belong to the North Fylde Group of Freemasons, one of 22 groups which form the masonic Province of West Lancashire and meet in 25 lodges, seven of which are at Fleetwood.

Last year local MP Eric Ollerenshaw and the Mayor and Mayoress of Wyre John and Linda Hodgkinson joined with North Fylde Group Masons to meet the representatives of 40 local charities to hear how these organisations in turn gave assistance to the community across a very broad spectrum of needy and worthwhile causes.

They saw donations totalling £29,273 handed over to Fylde and Wyre good causes during the group’s ‘giving day’ at which the Mayor said he was astounded on hearing about the amounts given to and received by charities working in the community by local Freemasons.

Funding of worthy causes by Fleetwood masons comes from the members themselves through a variety of fund raising events and not as a result of ‘tin rattling’.

Organisations such Trinity Hospice and its junior wing Brian House, Rosemere Cancer Trust, Blue Skies Hospital Fund, Red Marsh School, Scouts and Guides, Fleetwood Sea Cadets, the RNLI, the Air Ambulance, Coastwatch, Fleetwood Carnival, Fleetwood Parkinson’s Support Group, Hug in a Bag, Streetlife, Donna’s Dream House, Blesma, the RSPCA and Fleetwood Christmas Lights are just some of the local good causes which have received donations ranging from £50 to £5,000.

Fleetwood Masonic Hall on the Esplanade, where Fleetwood masons meet, as a building has had a chequered history since the original property was first built c1847. Then it was a private house known as ‘The Towers’ (one tower still remains).

In 1945 it became Fleetwood Orphanage and Children’s Home and remained as such until the orphanage closed in 1954 having given scores of Fleetwood children an especially fine start in life.

Local masons – up until 1955 when the building was acquired – formerly met in local hotels and public houses but as a result of unsatisfactory service and terms were on the lookout for a building which could be adapted as a masonic hall, as in those post war years there was a long membership waiting list and it was anticipated that there would have to be an increase in the number of lodges meeting in Fleetwood.

Hesketh Lodge received approval to pay a deposit of £240 for the purchase of the building, and fortunately and co-incidentally had received a legacy of £300 from the estate of a former member.

Massive structural alterations took place under the guidance of local architect James Rawlinson who was a member of Hesketh and though the premises were initially quite spartan without floor covering – or even a bar – the work went ahead and the hall was opened on Thursday March 1956 with all due ceremony, though the celebratory banquet was held at the Marine Hall later that same day.

No time was lost in founding another lodge to join the then existing lodges of Hesketh, Fleetwood and Mount to accommodate members who had been on the waiting list and Pharos Lodge No. 7421 was founded on April 10 1956 followed by Wyre Lodge on November 10 1960. Almost 22 years elapsed before Broadwater Lodge was founded on September 23 1982.

Over the intervening years many improvements have been made to the hall to make it a comfortable and enjoyable environment for members to meet. These improvements are ongoing and it is the aim of the Hall Committee to continue the development of the hall for many years to come and extend its use as a venue for private functions for others to enjoy.

Fleetwood masons gladly join in many of the community activities in the town and recently were represented at the Remembrance Sunday parade, laying a wreath at the Cenotaph in memory of members who have fallen in conflict. Over the summer months they joined in the Scarecrow Festival and Fleetwood in Bloom with displays at their Esplanade base.

Fleetwood Masonic Hall has opened its doors for the past five years during Heritage Open Week giving visitors and local people the opportunity to take a tour of the building.

Visitors who have been especially welcome have been many Fleetwood children, now adults, who spent a happy childhood at the orphanage and who have returned and given ringing endorsements, music to the ears of the hall committee, on the care which has been taken of their former home.

Forget-Me-Not charity set up by Freemason brothers to help the homeless

The adjective term of a ‘down and out’ person relates to a person being without money, a job, or a place to live, in fact quite destitute. This form of destitution is clearly apparent and seen on many of the UK city centre streets, under many highways and by-ways. The term ‘objective’ relates to ‘a thing aimed at or sought a goal’, conjoin these two terms and in this case is where the needy become quite literally, served by some good.

Ezra McGowan of Hand and Heart Lodge No. 4109 and his brother Nathan, a former Freemason in a London lodge but soon to be a joining member of a West Lancashire lodge, through their travels have seen many situations in our city streets and in particular Manchester, Peterborough and London where people were and clearly still are, just living in tents and makeshift cardboard box homes or just sleeping rough and in fact quite destitute and many through no fault of their own.

Two years ago, Ezra along with his brother took an objective decision to try to support these unfortunate individuals and to give some support by way of warm food, warm clothing and in the really destitute circumstances what Ezra refers to as crisis packs which contain, a hat, gloves, sandwich, drink and male or female specific toiletries. Ezra initially purchased what he refers to as a burger van which he had inspected and passed by the authorities for distribution of hot soup and other food.

Between the brothers, they then set up trailers for use in the Manchester, Peterborough and London areas which is where they distribute today. They proudly display the square and compass on their trailers and on their hats, of which they are frequently asked about their significance to which Ezra responds it’s about helping others and helping people to realise themselves.

When Ezra was asked for his reasons and his experiences for their work, he said: 'I have been blessed in life with family and business; I have also been privileged to have the total enjoyment of support from within Freemasonry.' Ezra refers to his lodge as a wonderful friendly experience and he said it’s time he and his brother gave something back into society and he saw the homeless and those very much less fortunate people as a way to do exactly that.   

Ezra’s experiences transmit quite a stark vivid realisation of what it is actually like to be in such a social disposition that affects all are all faiths. He estimates in his own experience that there are less than five women to every 50 males. There can be threatening situations and sees people having to move from location to location. He said that in one recent scenario a man and wife had lost their home, business and everything associated with family and were living in a derelict shop doorway – this is why he helps.

The brothers also assist in supplying provisions to local shelter homes and an outreach men’s home in Salford, Manchester and more recently supported both the local Women’s Institute and PROBUS meetings at Urmston Masonic Hall in providing coffee, tea, biscuits and chocolates.    

Currently self-funded, Ezra along with his brother have recently set up a registered charity, numbered 1164359 which is called The Forget-Me-Not Trust and hope that any further donations they can obtain will assist those who are in dire need. They have a website too which is: http://theforgetmenottrust.org.uk

At a recent Hand and Heart Lodge Christmas ladies to dine evening, a presentation of £50 was donated towards the charity and a forget-me-not raffle raised a further £110 with a further donation of £20 from a very moved lady, Ezra responded by thanking the lodge members and their ladies for such fine support saying he was most humbled and quite taken by the support and said that the donation will go such a long way in feeding a lot of people on these forthcoming, cold winter nights.    

At just 34 Simon Dalley was installed as master of Townley-Parker Lodge No. 1032 in the Province of West Lancashire

The lodge is completing its 150th celebratory year with the installation of the lodge's youngest ever master. Attending the installation as the principal guest and representative of the Provincial Grand Master, was the Chairman of Leyland and District Group, Stewart Seddon.

Simon was installed during a well conducted ceremony by Eddie Webster, who had become the ruler of the lodge for the second time in 2014.

Following the installation, Simon presented the Grand Lodge certificates to two of the lodge’s newest members, Joe Kawalski and Gary Mooney.

Simon said: 'I’m hugely honoured to have been given the privilege of becoming master of Townley-Parker Lodge. As for being the youngest ever master, over the last couple of years we’ve seen a surge in younger members and I plan to ensure that I don't hold this title for too long!'

Simon is a Lewis mason (son of a mason), having been proposed into the Craft by his father – a member of the lodge for almost 40 years. His great grandfather was also a member of the lodge. Since his raising ceremony in 2009, Simon has worked his way through all of the progressive offices.

Eddie Webster commented: 'I’m really proud to see Simon take the master’s chair. I seconded him into the lodge and I’ve seen him grow and develop during his time as a Freemason and I think he’s a real credit to our lodge, the Province and to the Craft in general and I’m confident he’ll be a brilliant worshipful master.'

Less than two years ago Townley-Parker Lodge had entered amalgamation talks with other lodges. Over the last two seasons however, a number of new members have joined the lodge and the lodge has benefited from a number of returning and joining members and the members are looking forward to their bicentenary.

Sunday, 08 November 2015 17:07

Tony officially launches new care structure

Brethren from all over the Province of West Lancashire gathered at Brookfield Masonic Hall, in Westhoughton to attend the Provincial Almoners dinner. The guest speaker was Gina Shaw - the star of the current dementia awareness campaign which is running nationally, highlighting the many difficulties caused by Alzheimer’s.

Over 150 brethren attend the dinner, which had as its principal guest the Provincial Grand Master, Tony Harrison. The principal visitors included, Gina Shaw, Hazel Bayley from the Alzheimer’s Society Debra Keeling from Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution and Ray Martland, Harry Cox and David Grainger all of whom are APrGM’s, along with most of the Provincial care team and many lodge almoners and brethren.

After the meal was served the Provincial Grand Almoner, Ernie Greenhalgh proposed a toast to the Provincial Grand Master. Tony thanked Ernie for the very kind proposition of the toast to his health and the ladies, gentlemen and brethren for their kind reception of it.

He continued: “It is an honour for me to be here with you again, at this the third Provincial Almoners Annual Dinner since Ernie was appointed as the Provincial Grand Almoner. I am particularly pleased to be able to officially launch the new care structure which started on 5 October this year. A great deal of work has been completed over the last year by Ernie and his team in order to prepare for the launch of the new system.

Ernie has been supported during the last year by the CEO and officers from the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, the Provincial publicity team and of course the CEOs and their teams in the Central Charities and I thank all of them for their hard work and support.

Last year I said a change in the Care Structure within the Province had my full approval. My cabinet also approved and agreed to support the initiative which we all agreed would further advance and improve care in the Province of West Lancashire.

As Ernie has said on many occasions it has been increasingly apparent that the lodge almoner`s task has in general terms had become too onerous and therefore it was clear that there was a need to reduce his workload, to enable him to carry out the most important function of an almoner - that of pastoral care. I hope that during the next 12 months almoners across the Province will embrace the new structure as it will give them more time to spend visiting their windows and brethren who are ill or in need of support even if that is calling in for a cup of tea and a chat.

I am delighted to welcome Mrs Gina Shaw to our Province and to say how much we are looking forward to hearing what she has to say to us about the many difficulties caused by Alzheimer’s.

In conclusion I wish to take this opportunity to again thank the Provincial Grand Almoner, Ernie Greenhalgh, his deputy, all the members of the care team and all of you, together with almoners across the Province, for the work that they have been undertaking and for all the work that I trust they will continue to undertake as they strive to implement the new care structure for the benefit of all Freemasons and their dependants in West Lancashire.”

Before Gina’s talk the winners of the raffle held during the dinner were drawn. The first prize of a long weekend for four people in a luxury cottage in South Lakeland courtesy of Barry Robinson was won by Bill Hinchliffe, the second prize £100 of Tesco vouchers courtesy of Tesco’s Stores was won by James Simms and the third prize of a pleasure flight for up to three people from Blackpool Airport for up to 45 minutes courtesy of Derek Midgley was won by Alan Jones. The Raffle raised £950 with £500 being donated to Alzheimer’s Society and £450 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity

Ernie then thanked all the members of the care team for their dedication and hard work they have put in over the past three years under his watch. He said: “By streamlining the system and taking away the administration work, the opportunity occurs for almoners to make an important contribution to the wellbeing of our widows and brethren of all ages by increasing the number of pastoral care visits.”

He then introduced Gina, who has he said: “Unfortunately seen both sides of the problems caused by Alzheimer’s, having been diagnosed as being in the early stages of dementia, Gina is here to speak about her experiences since learning about her health issues.”

Gina thanked Ernie for his introduction and the brethren for their very warm welcome. She then spoke about how she had first encountered dementia when her “Nana” started to show signs of the illness, which she said started with her nana looking for her daughters who were at the time in their 30’s but her nana thought they still lived at home and she could not find them so she was knocking on Gina’s door in the middle of the night.

Gina said that eventually her nana had to go into care which in those days ensured her nana was: “Fed, washed and had clean cloths – but received no care, in the real sense” She said she was pleased to say today’s care homes are far better and offer excellent standards of care and offer new experiences for their clients with dementia. Gina said these include days out, shopping trips etc.

She then spoke about ‘SURF’ Service User Reference Forum which enables people with dementia  and their carers to join is with other  people living with dementia and carers who meet once a month to drive forward changes in local services in Liverpool and the community. One example Gina gave was a dementia checkout being trialled by Tesco’s in Chester that has pictures of money as many people who have dementia have difficulty managing / counting money.

Another example Gina gave was the need for understanding in shops where people with dementia and their carers need to share changing rooms and due to single gender policy in shops people living with dementia have difficulty trying cloths on as they are unable to cope on their own and need the assistance of their carer who may not be the same gender so can’t go in the changing room. Gina said that some stores in Liverpool One were now offering an area where people living with dementia and their carers can try cloths on – this was thanks to the Mayor of Liverpool who have hosted an evening for retailers, transport operators and emergency servicer to hear about the difficulties encountered by people living with dementia when doing everyday things taken for granted by most people.

Gina also gave an insight into living with dementia, including the change in vision, which she described seeing a mat on the floor appeared to her as a hole in the ground that she would walk around as she was afraid of falling into it. She said some people had very frightening hallucinations and even things as not seeing white meant she had red dinner plates as she could not see the food on a white plate. 

At the end of her talk Gina was given a standing ovation by the brethren.

There are now 800,000 people with dementia in the UK and there are estimated to be 670,000 family and friends acting as primary carers

The current financial cost of dementia is £23,000,000,000 a year. Yet this significant spend is often not deployed effectively and is not delivering good outcomes for people with dementia and carers. Many people with dementia and their carers are still not living well with the condition and quality of life remains extremely varied.

Not only do people face potential battles for a diagnosis and support from the health and social care system, but everyday things we all take for granted - having control over daily life, spending time with friends and family, socialising and enjoying hobbies - are made difficult by a lack of understanding of dementia in our communities. 

 

Saturday, 31 October 2015 17:41

West Lancashire team shines at Grand Lodge

Demonstration teams are popular attractions at lodge and chapter meetings and in recent years a plethora of teams have performed with demonstrations of 18th century degree ceremonies, Scottish degree ceremonies, modern chapter exaltations, ‘Talking Heads’ presentations and many more; not forgetting the Fylde Group Lodge of Instruction Festival.

For this purpose, a gathering of 29 West Lancashire brethren from the Fylde Coast, Southport and Wigan Groups met at Preston station. They were preparing to travel to Freemason’s Hall, Queen’s Street, London as a team with a difference; they were going to the home of United Grand Lodge to demonstrate a West Lancashire installation, for real!

The organiser of the trip was Chris Sage, holder of London Grand Rank and a member of Broadwater Lodge No 9027 that meets at Fleetwood. Chris was also the master elect of the Lodge of St Mary Balham No 3661 that meets at Freemason’s Hall. The team consisted of friends that Chris has made since his move to Blackpool in 2000. The team was going to install one of its own, ‘an honorary northerner’ as one brother put it. As many will know, there are no two lodges that work exactly the same. The team therefore choreographed an eclectic ceremony combining a number of the ‘quirks’ seen in their respective lodges. There were also reserves in the team ready to cover if necessary. Peter Bawden of Broadwater Lodge was one such member who assisted the lodge by acting as their opening inner guard while Mark Allen of Mount Lodge No 6654 was organist throughout the whole event.

The lodge was opened by its master Marios Alexandrou, in the Buckinghamshire Temple. There were six distinguished brethren present. They included Metropolitan Grand Inspector Jeremy Beech who is a Past Senior Grand Deacon; senior visiting officer Jonathan Hillman, accompanied by other grand officers Ronald Worby, George Cody and Barry Payne, with the lodge’s visiting officer Peter Walker, holder of Senior London Grand Rank, present in his official capacity.

The secretary Keith Waddy transacted the business of the lodge with alacrity and the scene was set for the installation ceremony. WM Marios Alexandrou then invited John Deal of the Southport Emulation Lodge No 3675 to occupy the master’s chair. Brian Dicks of Mereside Lodge No 6360 was asked to act as director of ceremonies while Tony Hind and Provincial grand steward of the Province of West Lancashire Jim Finnegan, both also of Mereside Lodge, took over as installing senior and junior wardens respectively. With Ben Clarkson of Blackpool Lodge of Fellowship No 7692 acting as installing inner guard and Darren Shillito of Thornton and Cleveleys Lodge No 3854 becoming chaplain, the team was in place and ready.

The lodge was opened in the second degree and Darren Shillito presented Chris Sage as master elect, after which Chris advanced and recited his obligation. In customary fashion, the lodge was opened in the third degree and the installing officers assumed control. Chris was duly installed according to ancient custom in fine style. Thus installed, Chris invested his predecessor Marios Alexandrou as immediate past master and Marios was presented with a past master’s jewel, with an explanation thereof delivered by Ron Fenton of Hesketh Lodge No 950.

Brethren were admitted in their order of precedence and they saluted and greeted the newly installed master in the appropriate degrees. The working tools in the third degree were explained by Carl Gittins of Blackpool Lodge of Fellowship, those in the second degree by John Brumfield, master of Mereside Lodge and finally Steve Cullen of Southport Emulation Lodge explained the first degree tools.

Glenn O'Brien of Landmark Lodge No 7273 presented the Hall Stone Jewel. This golden jewel on a sky blue collarette was presented to the lodge on 1 December 1926. It serves as recognition that former members of the lodge contributed worthily to the building of, the then new, Freemason’s Hall.

The appointment and investiture of officers of the lodge then followed. The senior warden Andy West and junior warden Jason Reid were placed in their chairs by the installing wardens who explained their gavels, columns, duties and pillars. The remainder of the lodge officers were then invested. The address to the deacons was by Graham Suthers of Blackpool Lodge of Fellowship. The address to the inner guard was by Ben Clarkson, with the address to the stewards given by Jim Finnegan. The principal addresses were then delivered by Walter Daubney of Mereside Lodge, who delivered addresses to both the newly installed master and to the brethren, with Clive Gitsham of Tithebarn Lodge No 8446 delivering the address to the wardens.

A notice of motion in the name of Robert Harvey, the lodge almoner, then proved in favour of £300 being donated to Prostate Cancer and £300 going to the Metropolitan Masonic Charity. Following this a collection of alms raised a very generous sum of £179.

Salutations, which in this lodge occur just before the risings, were extended to the grand officers, receiving a suitable response from Jeremy Beech and to the officers of Metropolitan, Provincial and District Grand Lodges, receiving an informative response by Peter Walker.

The lodge was then closed and the brethren retired to the Dorset Suite at the Grand Connaught Rooms for a fine banquet, during which the toasts appropriate to a London lodge were observed. In response to the toast to holders of Metropolitan, Provincial and District Grand Lodges, Peter Walker observed that the hub of conversation during the meal was a clear indication of the friendly and vibrant effect of this wonderful event. He praised the installation team for an interesting and fascinating ceremony which was so well done, adding that there were pieces of ritual that he had never witnessed before. He concluded by saying that he hoped that the brethren from West Lancashire would return on future occasions.

The toast to the WM was delivered by Marios Alexandrou, He stated that the Lodge of St Mary Balham had installed a great master and added that Chris had done a fine job during the evening and the lodge was looking forward to a successful year in his capable hands. He noted that it was nice to see so many guests present from the north, who added so much to this meeting. He urged Chris to bring his many friends as often as possible. Following this toast the ‘master’s song’ was performed by Arthur Caldicott, to the delight of all.

Chris responded with special thanks for the support of his visiting team. He spoke of the work done to make sure that the ceremony ran smoothly and said that he knew how ‘nervous’ St Mary Balham director of ceremonies Arthur Lewer had been about what the team were going to do, but knew the meeting would go well. Chris advised his audience that 12 West Lancashire lodges had been involved in the team and hoped that everyone had enjoyed the ceremony. He closed by expressing his pleasure to be at a banquet with so many people in attendance.

The toast to the visitors was delivered by Andy West, saying that it had been a splendid night with a brilliant ceremony. He added that it was a treat to see how things are done in West Lancashire and concluded by urging all the visitors to return whenever they could. In response, Mike Fishwick of Sincerity Lodge No 3677 expressed his pleasure at being asked to respond on behalf of the visitors, having been present on a previous occasion that Chris went into the chair. He thanked the members of the lodge for the way they had received the visitors and for providing such a magnificent meal.

In keeping with the West Lancashire theme, the raffle was conducted in the ‘Westhoughton’ fashion by Mark Tomlinson of Thornton and Cleveleys Lodge. With an excellent table of prizes, the numbers were flying. With that extra prize for claiming the last number up for grabs, there was some interesting and amusing bidding in the later stages. The raffle raised the excellent total of £420 which will be donated to Masonic and non-Masonic charities.

After starting the following morning with hearty breakfasts, the team met with Mike Baker, the Director of Communications at Grand Lodge, who treated the team members to a special tour of Freemason’s Hall, including rooms that the general public don’t get to see. The day continued with a boat trip down the Thames to Greenwich. After a fish and chips lunch they removed to the Tower of London where they had a brief walk before moving onto the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub in Fleet Street, which was rebuilt shortly after the Great Fire of London. There has been a hostelry there since 1538. It was in such a historic setting that the team enjoyed a final sojourn before collecting their luggage and catching the train home.

 

Tuesday, 27 October 2015 15:03

A new lodge is born

The brethren in the Isle of Man once again showed their hospitality when 26 visiting brethren from many Provinces in the UK, visited the island to attend the consecration meeting of Henry Callow Lodge No 9916.

The consecration of a new lodge is a fairly rare occurrence and it is considered an honour for a Provincial Grand Master to preside over. Keith Dalrymple, the Provincial Grand Master for the Isle of Man has previously acted as a consecrating officer when he presided over the consecration of the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy Lodge No 9872, three years ago and he was delighted to again be honoured by taking the office of consecrating officer for the meeting.

The meeting started with the procession of the Provincial Grand Master and his Provincial team into the lodge room in the Masonic Hall in Douglas. After opening the lodge Keith explained the purpose of the meeting. The petitioners of the new lodge were arranged in order by Roger Southern, the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies. The warrant was inspected by the consecrating officer and then read aloud to the brethren by Martin Blackburn the Provincial Grand Secretary. The consecrating officer then confirmed his intention to constitute the petitioners into a regular lodge and to consecrate it according to ancient usage.

An oration was delivered by William Ashton the Deputy Grand Superintendent for the Isle of Man, titled ‘The nature and purpose of our institution’ Bill said: “The very title of the oration, in itself, poses questions. What is this institution of ours. What is freemasonry? Is it a secret society? We answer that with the glib and hackneyed phrase, ‘not a secret society but a society with secrets‘”.

Bill continued: “Is it really? What secrets? Our ritual has been in the public domain for many years. Complete and very detailed descriptions of the degrees which we work, together with the signs and the words. So what secrets. Consider the answer to the question posed before passing to the second degree – what is Freemasonry? – a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. I would suggest that the true secrets of Masonry are to be found in the allegorical ritual and you have to find them. That is the way, and the only way, by which you will make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge. 

Masonry is a discipline of conduct and of the mind. It is also a challenge. It is a challenge we brought upon ourselves from the moment we took the obligation of an initiate. Over the years we move on to further degrees in Craft, in Royal Arch, and degrees beyond the Craft. Each one contained a particular commitment but all have similar aims ‘the love for our creator’, our love for our fellow-man, and a knowledge of ourselves. How to further that knowledge and love for the good of humanity.

In a world that is plunging into anarchy, lawlessness, man’s inhumanity to man, greed, selfishness and confusion we look to our Masonic principles and tenets for guidance. We look to our lodges where we can briefly escape the rigours of the outside and enjoy the company of our fellow Masons – like-minded men endeavouring to live by the same high principles. A virtual oasis.  A normality the like of which cannot be found elsewhere.

The name chosen for the lodge throws further responsibilities on the members of the new lodge: Deemster Henry William Callow, Past Provincial Grand Master of the Province of the Isle of Man, was greatly admired and well respected. He was an honest and friendly man who openly professed his Masonic standing and allegiance to all. He was undoubtedly held in high estimation by the brethren of this and other Provinces. He justly deserves the honour bestowed on him.”

Bill concluded his oration by saying: “We are expecting good things of you and we will be observing your progress with great interest. We wish you well in all your undertakings.  Remember the high standards that will be expected, obey the book of constitutions, obey your by-laws, and above all, obey the volume of the sacred law and its commandments.

Thou shalt love the lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul. And with all thy mind and with all thy strength. That is the first and greatest commandment. The second of these is - thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. If we do not live by these two great laws how can we reasonably expect to convey to the outside world the happy and beneficial effects of our ancient institution.

Martin Luther King famously had a dream, so did Robert Burns ‘For a’ that and a’ that it’s coming yet for a’ that that man to man the world o’er shall brithers be for a’ that.

A dream? Maybe, but we can and must strive towards it. We can hope and pray that come what may someday the human race will embrace these same principles and these same teachings, perhaps then the dream will become reality.”

The consecration then took place with the solemnity, and ceremonial, accompanied by music and psalms as the vessels containing corn wine and oil were carried around the lodge. The consecrating officer then sprinkled salt upon the lodge board and the founders as a symbol of fidelity, hospitality and everlasting friendship. 

The consecration was followed by the installation of the Worshipful Master designate Captain Eidwin Mullan conducted by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master for the Isle of Man, Alexander Downie OBE.

This was followed by the appointment of lodge officers, which saw Fred Wright (that well-known West Lancs Mason) appointed and invested as Junior Warden.

The address to the WM was given by Keith Dalrymple. The address to the wardens was given by the Provincial Junior Grand Warden, Michael Garrett and the address to the brethren was given by Provincial Senior Grand Warden, Nigel Bowrey.

The business of the lodge was conducted this included the election of six honorary members which included the PrGM, DepPrGM, PrGSec and PrGDC. 

Six joining members were balloted for, one of whom was Joeseph Williams who is a member of Croxteth United Services Lodge No 786 in the Province of West Lancashire.

At the conclusion of lodge business the lodge was closed in due form and the brethren then enjoyed a wonderful festive board, which started with the traditional starter of Manx Queenies with garlic and bacon, followed by roast beef and seasonal vegetables, followed by panna cotta with winter berries with a selection of Manx cheeses served with a glass of port.

Responding to the toast to the consecrating officer, Keith said: “I am happy and proud today as I was 45 years ago when Deemster Henry William Callow first called be a brother”      

Responding to the toast to his health Eidwin thanked all the brethren that had worked hard over the last year to ensure that the new lodge could be formed, he said he never thought that he would be asked to serve as the first WM, but having been asked to do so he was honoured to do so. Eidwin then spoke about the lodge motto ‘Shereish’ or ‘Service’ which he said meant that the members of Henry Callow Lodge would be there to help any lodge in the Province, to improve Freemasonry by giving demonstrations and being there to serve when-ever they are needed.  

Robert Vaughan, Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Worcestershire responded to the toast to the health of the visitors, he expressed his thanks to the brethren for their hospitality and the warmth of their welcome. He presented Eidwin with a bottle of Worcester Sauce and a Provincial Stewards Grand Lodge tie worn by the Provincial Stewards Lodge in Worcestershire and a crystal decanter for the WM and brethren of the Henry Callow Lodge to use to serve Port at their festive boards.

After midnight the brethren left to go home the visiting brethren returned to their hotels, some spending time over another glass of wine reflecting on the wonderful day they had in the Isle of Man.

The following morning offered time for the brethren to relax before flying back home. 

 

Following the amalgamation of Norley Lodge No. 7319, Langtree Lodge No. 6166 and Lodge of Antiquity No. 178 which took place in London last December, the Provincial amalgamation ceremony of Norley and Langtree Lodge of Antiquity No 178 took place at Pemberton Masonic Hall

For this very auspicious occasion the members of the amalgamating lodges were honoured by the presence of Tony Harrison the Provincial Grand Master, along with his Provincial team. Brian Sharples welcomed Tony to the meeting and offered him the gavel of the lodge. Tony accepted the gavel and occupied the chair of the lodge and appointed his officers for the amalgamation ceremony.

The Provincial Grand Chaplain gave the opening prayer after which all the brethren sang the opening hymn.

Tony addressed the brethren, informing them of the purpose and nature of the ceremony which he said would include: 'lights, music and actions!', to mark three key elements: 'The Grand Master permitting the amalgamation – Gratitude to the Great Architect of the Universe for the hard work of all the past members of the three lodges – To dedicate the new lodge'.

Tony continued by saying the three lodges had four centuries of history as the Lodge of Antiquity’s warrant was dated 26 May 1786, Langtree Lodge – warrant dated 1 August 1945 and Norley Lodge – dated 4 November 1953.

The Provincial Grand Secretary Peter Taylor then read the certificate of amalgamation.

The Provincial Grand Chaplin, Rev Godfrey Hirst delivered an inspiring oration based of his experience of two schools amalgamating and his knowledge of funerals and marriage! He said it was right to mourn the loss of the three lodges, but he urged the members to remember and celebrate the memories they had of the good times.

He also said that marriage was the union of two not three, but he had often wondered if marriage was indeed for three as he had often seen mother-in-laws who have too much to say when planning weddings!

Godfrey made it clear in the rest of his oration that the members of the new lodge would have to work hard to make the new lodge a success just as partners in a marriage have to work to please each other and to care for others.

Godfrey continued: 'Communication, Care, Trust and Veneration were the key elements of any marriage and he urged the members to remember ‘CCTV’ as they moved into the new era for the Norley and Langtree Lodge of Antiquity No. 178'.

Tony and the Provincial Grand Wardens, Sword Bearer and Standard Bearers then moved ceremonially into position.

The brethren of the amalgamating lodges assembled around the pavement of the lodge. The elements of consecration: corn, wine and oil were re-presented in a fine display of masonic pageantry, enhanced by the Provincial choir adding to the sense of occasion.

Tony then sprinkled salt on all the members of the new lodge as an emblem of conservant power. He then delivered the warrants, certificate of amalgamation and the artefacts to the care of Brian Sharples the master of Norley and Langtree Lodge of Antiquity.

Under the direction of the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Keith Kemp, Tony retired from the lodge accompanied by his team.

The celebrations continued at the festive board with 100 brethren enjoying an excellent meal provided by the new caterers in Pemberton Masonic Hall.

After the meal Assistant Provincial Grand Master Tony Bent responded to the toast to grand officers and proposed the toast to the PrGM.

Tony Harrison thanked Tony Bent for his kind words in proposing the toast to him. He then informed the brethren that the last 12 months had been the best time he had had in Freemasonry and he thanked all the brethren in the Province for their support. He that spoke about the new care system that comes into effect on 5 October – which he said would 'form the cornerstone of care in the Province for many years to come.'

Before proposing the toast to the new lodge he also spoke about the Provincial website – urging brethren to have a look at it, the Tercentenary in 2017 and the sound financial decision to relocate the Provincial Office from Hope Street (rented space) to Leyland (Province purchased the freehold of the north east corner of Wellington Park).

Tony then proposed the toast to Norley and Langtree Lodge of Antiquity No. 178, whishing the members a happy and successful future.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015 12:41

Hospitality with a capital ‘H’ in Isle of Man

Hospitality with a capital ‘H’ started for the 46 visiting brethren from six Provinces (some of whom had their wives and partners with them), when they were picked up at the airport or ferry office and driven to their respective hotels where a welcome pack was waiting for them

The pack contained a welcome letter from Keith Dalrymple the Provincial Grand Master for the Isle of Man, which gave details of the plan for the ladies to go to Milntown House for a tour of the beautiful walled garden, followed by a buffet supper, while the brethren attended the Provincial Grand Lodge meeting.

Details were also given about the church service at St George’s Church on Sunday afternoon, followed by afternoon tea at Freemasons' Hall in Douglas. All of which had timings for the minibuses to pick up and drop off everyone at the venues and return to their hotels!

After settling in to their hotel Fred Wright, Mark Holloway, Tony (APrGM) and Linda Bent were picked up by two long-time friends of Fred’s: Alan Fielding and Hughie McCallon to go for lunch. After lunch they returned to their hotel to get ready for PrGL and the trip to Milntown House.

Provincial Grand Lodge was tyled and the parade consisting of a number of Provincial Grand Masters and their deputies and APrGMs from surrounding Provinces on the adjacent isle. (Not the mainland as any Manx man will tell you). On opening Provincial Grand Lodge, Keith thanked all the visiting brethren and asked each of the Provincial Grand Masters to stand with their officers and brethren. After everyone had been introduced, the brethren from the Isle of Man showed their appreciation of those attending the meeting with acclamation.

Keith then invited Fred Wright to stand as he said he and the brethren in the Isle of Man very much appreciated all the care and attention Fred has given to the brethren and their wives or partners on the island over many years when they need to come across for cancer treatment at Clatterbridge Hospital and heart treatment at Broadgreen Hospital. The Provincial Grand Almoner of the Isle of Man Laurie Henley readily contacts Fred when one of the brethren or wife or partner is due over for treatment and Fred is the welcoming smile that is always there to greet them and attend to the needs of the patient and his or her spouse in making sure that they are transported to and from hospital and if necessary to find accommodation. The brethren clearly agreed as they responded with prolonged acclamation.

After the investiture of his officers, Keith went on to appoint and promote the brethren and it was a delight to see them receive their honours.

The next day the visitors were invited by Alan Fielding to join him for a tour of the island and a private tour of the Manx Parliament by Alex Downey, Deputy Provincial Grand Master of the IOM and past member of the House of Keys.

The Tynwald is the oldest parliament in the world. The Manx Parliament, which meets regularly throughout the year, but most notably outdoors at St John's on 5 July, is a direct legacy from our Viking ancestors. Norsemen first came to Mann around the year 800 AD and ruled the island for four-and-a-half centuries before finally ceding it to the King of Scotland in 1266. By then they had firmly imposed their own administrative system, which continued even while the island's ownership passed between Scotland and England, to the Stanley family of Lancashire (Lords of Mann from 1405-1736) and to their kin the Dukes of Atholl, who held it until it was revested in the British Crown in 1765. King George VI was the first British Sovereign ever to preside at St John’s in July 1945 and Her Majesty The Queen is acknowledged as Lord of Mann, she presided in 1979 when the Millennium of Tynwald was celebrated.

After the tour, Alan took brethren from West Lancashire, Cumberland and Westmorland to Peel, a harbour town in the south of the IOM where they enjoyed eating ice creams on the pier and having a jolly good laugh, then it was back to the hotels for a quick change before being picked up by one of the minibuses driven by Alan Fielding and Martin Blackburn (PrGSecretary) to go the Keith’s house where his wife Hillary had prepared a wonderful buffet for the visitors, Hospitality with a capital ‘H’.

The following morning offered time for the visitors to enjoy a walk along the sea front before attending the church service, followed by afternoon tea at Freemasons Hall in Douglas.

For some, this was the time to say farewell and thank you to Keith and Hillary and the brethren on the Isle of Man for their Hospitality with a capital ‘H’.

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