Celebrating 300 years
Tuesday, 05 November 2013 00:00

Litherland Lodge No. 3676 celebrates 100 years

The centenary of Litherland Lodge No. 3676 was celebrated at Litherland Masonic Hall in the presence of the Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker, who was supported by the majority of his Provincial team. It was a well-supported event with almost 80 members and guests present

The evening got off to a magnificent start with the Provincial team processing into the temple with other distinguished masons under the direction of the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Keith Kemp.

During the evening, the centenary warrant was read out and presented to the Worshipful Master, Steven Dean, along with a centenary jewel. The lodge members were then permitted to wear their centenary jewels. A splendid oration was delivered by the Provincial Deputy Grand Chaplain, Rev Canon Geoffrey Hirst, after which a short history of the lodge was read out by Derek Parkinson.

After the lodge was closed, the guests and members enjoyed pre-dinner drinks before sitting for sumptuous festive board, and everyone was given a booklet entitled A Brief History in Commemoration of 100 Years of Freemasonry.

Peter Hosker referred to the consecration meeting at the Litherland Town Hall offices 100 years earlier and suggested that while the names of the founders were known, little was known about them. He wondered about their appearance and dress, but thought that under their outward appearance they would have been pretty similar to the lodge's present day members.

Peter referred to the outbreak of the Great War only a year later and the misery of the Spanish Lady, the great flu pandemic, and that one lodge member had lost his life in the conflict. Only a generation later the lodge members would have been embroiled in the Second World War. It was at times like that and during other periods of grief that the lodge members and their families would have received comfort and support from their fellow brethren. He made the point that lodges were more than meeting places and groups of men operating under a franchise, they were more akin to extended families and that no doubt the calamities of life were balanced by the enjoyment of festive boards, ladies' nights and the pleasure of the ritual.

The lodge had endured several years of hardship with falling membership but with the support of senior members of the lodge who had occupied the master's chair on as many as three occasions, the lodge had weathered the storm of the lean periods and anticipated a long future ahead.

He referred to the continuation of the lodge's history which he said: 'Had seen many gentlemen introduced into our wonderful fraternity.' He also said he wondered if, when lodge members were meeting to celebrate the lodge's 200 years of existence - if the then brethren would wonder what the present brethren of the lodge were like.

Peter concluded by referring to the evening as being the 100th birthday party, an opportunity to congratulate the lodge on reaching this notable landmark, but also to wish it well for the future.

Peter Hosker, Provincial Grand Master of West Lancashire, led an impressive and moving dedication ceremony of Kerneforde Hall, the new masonic home for the lodges and chapters of Warton and Carnforth in the Lancaster and District Group of lodges

Peter was accompanied by a glittering array of illustrious Freemasons from around the Province, including the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Howard Jones, Assistant Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and Provincial Senior and Junior Wardens Mark Matthews and Joseph Hall.

The occasion began as a meeting of Carnforth Lodge No. 4951 which had been convened by dispensation. 

After admitting the Provincial team the Provincial Grand Master appointed his officers and convened a special meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge for the ceremony of dedication of the lodge room to Freemasonry, Virtue and Universal Benevolence.

This included an extremely erudite oration by the Provincial Grand Chaplain, Rev Graham Halsall, which drew attention to the difference between the act of dedication and the state of being dedicated – a theme that would be returned to by Peter Hosker later in the proceedings.

Following the ceremony Peter announced that he had another and very pleasurable duty to perform, that of making special promotions to Provincial office which. The promotions were being made for exceptional dedication to Freemasonry, and in particular to the work in transforming Kerneforde Hall from the dilapidated premises it once was, to the impressive new masonic home in which they now met.

He therefore called for Ian Birnie of Carnforth Lodge and Roger Nevinson of Warton Lodge No. 8411 to be brought forward and was delighted to award them the collar of PProvJGW, congratulating them both on their impressive achievement.

After closing Provincial Grand Lodge there remained just one duty left to perform – the unveiling of the commemorative plaque which will be proudly displayed in the Kerneforde Hall lodge room.

At the dedication banquet held in the excellent Kerneforde dining suite, the response to the toast to the health of the grand officers was given by Howard Jones who went on to propose the toast to the health of Peter Hosker in which he praised Peter for his highly effective leadership of the Province which has included many important and innovative initiatives to improve the recruitment and retention of members and in the areas of mentoring and ambassadors for Freemasonry.

In an inspirational and amusing reply Peter praised all who had dedicated themselves to what must have seemed a colossal task when they took over the old 'Cocked Hat Club' and set about establishing the premises they were now enjoying and which would be the envy of many lodges who were not so well blessed.

The 84th Southport Flower Show gets off to a fantastic start with some beautiful weather

The show runs between 15th-18th August and the organisers expect over 70,000 through the gate. Visitors who will see many varied and unusual garden designs and two designed by youngsters in a competition sponsored by the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity.

The Schools Design-a-Garden Garden Competition is a prestigious event and has been won this year by Natasha Croft, from Charles Saer Community Primary School in Fleetwood, and Sascha Swindells from Our Lady of Lourdes School in Farnworth. Their winning designs were chosen by a panel of judges from West Lancashire Freemasons and the gardening world, and then the designs were constructed into real gardens by a professional garden company so that the exceptional quality of the designs could be seen by the many thousands of visitors.

When asked how she felt about being a winning Natasha Croft said: 'I was gobsmacked, it’s amazing to see the garden.'

Anne Wilkinson, Natasha’s teacher who runs the art club at the school, said that this was the third time the school had entered the completion and the prize money would be used to put Natasha’s garden at the front of the new school when it opens in September.

Sascha Swindells commented about her win by saying: 'I was shocked and thrilled. It is really good to see the garden made up.' Hannah McMahon, Sascha’s teacher said that the prize money would be used to enhance the outdoor learning area and that the children will have a say in what is done.

Each year the competition is held in association with the Southport Flower Show and the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. It is open to all primary school children in years 5 and 6 from across the North West and gives a chance for the gardeners of the future to create a garden for the show each year. This year there were 681 entries from school children from 36 schools across Lancashire, Cheshire, Manchester and Merseyside.

The two winners, the 10 runners-up, their families and their teachers were all invited to the show to meet Carol Vorderman, the popular TV presenter and Peter Hosker, Provincial Grand Master of West Lancashire, and President of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity to be presented with their prizes.

Each of the winning schools received £500 to enhance their school grounds and £50 was awarded to each of the winners. The 10 runners-up received £50 for their schools. An extra prize was given this year, HMP Thorn Cross Prison presented the winners and runners-up with a set of reconditioned gardening tools.

Peter Hosker, said: 'We are delighted to have once again had the opportunity of sponsoring this very prestigious competition. As Freemasons we support many community projects and to get children involved to develop a love of gardening is very worthwhile. The theme this year has been pride and it’s been a fine achievement by all who took part.'

Monday, 05 August 2013 01:00

MV Arcadia's return trip

Having sailed all the way down to the southern hemisphere it was time for MV Arcadia to set sail from Sydney for the return journey back to Southampton

The three officers of the committee remained the same as the south bound journey, Mike Walker, a member of Gratitude Lodge No. 6514 in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland, president, John Strange, a member of Three Kindred Lights Lodge No. 5066 in Metropolitan Grand Lodge, secretary and Frank Parle, a member of Victoria Lodge No 4629 in the Province of West Lancashire, treasurer.

16 members attended the first meeting on the return leg, and as on the south-bound journey there was a wide range of masonic ranks, with members from across England, Australia and New Zealand. As a number of brethren would be leaving the ship at San Francisco it was decided that we would have a coffee morning and a cocktail party for this leg and carry over the money raised for charity to be distributed at the cocktail party on the journey from San Francisco to Southampton. Chris Hamer, a member of Fitzwilliam Lodge No 3023 in the Province of Yorkshire West Riding volunteered to act as DC at the cocktail party on the journey to San Francisco.

Whilst heading in a north, north easterly direction from Auckland to the Samoan islands in the South Pacific the ship underwent three more time warp turbulences. The first occurred when it got stuck on a Sunday for two days, this was immediately followed by the ship jumping from Monday to Wednesday and then being stuck on Thursday for two days! Another strange time phenomenon kept on affecting the ship’s time, some of the days would be 25 hours while others would be 23 hours.

Again, there was no damage to the ship and no ill effects to the passengers, although some lucky passengers did enjoy a two day birthday while others never got theirs. But that wasn’t the end to it, on the second Thursday the passengers had King Neptune to contend with as he demanded the same procedure for crossing his equator north bound as when south bound.

Fortunately, all passengers complied with his demand and the ceremony and all the slimy pollywogs were changed to shell backs and awarded certificates.

After getting through the time warp turbulences unscathed and dealing with King Neptune, it was time for the coffee morning en route to San Francisco. This was held in the Orchid Bar and was felt as a great success by all who attended. One new member joined at this event.

The next event was a cocktail party in the Viceroy Room which was held before arriving at San Francisco, as some of the brethren would be leaving the ship. Guest of honour was Captain Sarah Breton, accompanied by Deputy Captain Derek Grey, Executive Purser Alisdair Ross and Cruise Director Neil Oliver. Again, the party was a great success and well attended with 17 masons and their wives, one lady mason and her husband, five masonic widows, six guests and four members of the ship’s company.

To formalise the program for the final leg of the journey, a meeting was held after completing the north-bound passage along the Panama Canal. 21 members attended this meeting. As more time was available, it was agreed that a coffee morning, lunch and a cocktail party would be arranged. Bob Taylor, a member of Royal Sovereign Light Lodge No. 6630 in the Province of Sussex, and Stanley Broderick, a member of National Westminster Lodge No. 3647 in the Province of London, volunteered to assist in coaxing prizes from the onboard shops. Michael Collins, a member of Liverpool Mercantile Lodge No. 4319 in the Province of West Lancashire, volunteered to act as DC.

It was agreed that the charity donations this time would go to the widow of Allan Lili, a member of the ship’s crew in his late 30’s, who was medevac’d off the ship towards the end of Arcadia’s previous cruise with heart problems and sadly passed away not long after the Arcadia left Southampton. Allan was an Electrical Technician from the Philippines, who was well liked and respected and won the Outstanding Performer award for November and was being put forward for the Outstanding Performer of the Year award. He leaves a wife and three children, the eldest of which is about to start university. Another donation would be made to the captain’s charity the RNLI.

The first event after leaving San Francisco was a coffee morning in the Orchid Bar and this was followed five days later with a lunch in the Meridian Restaurant. Both these events were very well attended by masons and their wives, along with five masonic widows and two lady masons.

The third event was the Cocktail Party reception in the Retreat. Over 70 masons and their wives, masonic widows, two lady masons and guests attended and enjoyed drinks and canopies in very good company. Guest of honour was Captain Sarah Breton, accompanied by Deputy Captain James Brown, Chief Engineer Paul Yeoman and Cruise Director Neil Oliver.

Mike Walker proposed the loyal toast and Michael Collins proposed the toast to the ladies and guests to which Yvonne Franklin gave the response. The toast to the health of the captain and ship's company was proposed by Don Lunn, a member of Isle of Thorney Lodge No. 6194 in the Province of London. Sarah Breton gave a very good response to this toast and mentioned that the donation to Allan Lili’s widow was a magnificent gesture and would by very much appreciated. Sarah also thanked everyone for the donation to the RNLI.

There was a very good response from the onboard shops and members to help raise money for the charities, with a good number of prizes donated. The prizes were a book about MV Arcadia, a meal for two in the Orchid and Ocean Grill Restaurants, two bottles of wine, three bottles of whisky and a box of chocolates. The captain made the draw for the lucky winners and the raffle raised £456 for the charities.

A big thank you was given to Bar Supervisor John Ribeiro for all his help in organising the locations for the events and making them such a success and to Neil Oliver for his help in getting raffle prises.

The last meeting of the cruise was arranged to report on the charity donations as the epic journey back to Southampton would soon be over. Everyone agreed that all the events had been a great success, as the total raised for charity for this part of the cruise was £921. John Strange made arrangements for the donations of £691 to the Allan Lili Fund and £230 for the RNLI to be handed over to the captain.

The following are extracts from an email sent by Allan’s daughter to the captain and forward to the treasurer: 'We, the Lili Family, would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the officials and crew of the MV Arcadia, its passengers and all of those who had offered help to our family during a crucial event in our lives.'

Comments from the captain: 'I would like to join her and his family in once again saying thank you to you all for raising so much money for them. The total the ship has now sent amounts to £5,263; this includes £691 which I received from passengers during the RWC for them.'

Letters to the editor - No. 26 Summer 2014

Sir,

While on a cruise from the UK to the Adriatic, my wife noticed an item in the ship’s daily bulletin, referring to a proposed meeting of Freemasons on board. Being between meals and excursions, I went along and found various groups of men chatting in the bar. 

Most of us had never experienced an informal meeting like this. To break the ice, we decided to introduce ourselves by name, rank and Province, and found that there were members from London, Devon, Dorset, Monmouthshire, Cheshire, Yorkshire, Essex, East Kent, Cumberland, Leicestershire, Middlesex, Durham and Surrey. 

Someone suggested we could do something for our ladies. A meal was not really appropriate as we had food aplenty, so a light afternoon tea with some drinks was arranged for fifteen brethren and their partners, plus two widows. We had a raffle that raised £145 for the ship’s charity, and we gave a toast to the Queen.  

We are still in contact, which is great, considering it sprung from a mention in the ship’s bulletin. This is Freemasonry at its best – being happy and spreading happiness.

John Banks, The Friends’ Lodge, No. 9789, Surbiton, Surrey

Masonry across the globe

Provincial Grand Steward Frank Parle was one of 23 masons who attended the first meeting on board MV Arcadia on route to Australia from Southampton. Some of the brethren were from England, some from Australia and some from New Zealand.

Frank said it was great to see that masonry is thriving across the globe.

As quite a number of brethren would be leaving the ship in the southern hemisphere it was decided the three main officers should be selected from those who were going all the way back to Southampton.

After due process Mike Walker, a member of Gratitude Lodge No. 6514 in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland, was elected president. John Strange, a member of Three Kindred Lights Lodge No. 5066 in Metropolitan Grand Lodge, was elected secretary and Frank Parle, a member of Victoria Lodge No. 4629, West Lancashire, was elected treasurer.

The second meeting saw three new members join the group and after a little discussion it was decided that during the cruise down to Australia two coffee mornings, a lunch and a cocktail party would be organised.

The first coffee morning in the Crow’s Nest, at which four new members attended, went well and gave the opportunity for masons and their wives to meet and get to know each other in a very informal get together.

At approximately 2 am one morning on the journey to Recife in Brazil, a bump could be felt as the ship crossed the equator. Permission had been previously sought from King Neptune, ruler of the seven seas, for Arcadia to cross the equator. Word came back that permission had been granted and that he would visit Arcadia at 3 pm to perform the ceremony of crossing, which officially changed all those who had not previously crossed the equator from slimy pollywogs to shell backs. All passengers were notified that they were required to attend.

It was agreed at the next meeting a charge of £20 per would be applied for the cocktail reception. Charity funds to be split 50% to the captain’s charity and 50% between English and Australian charities. The Flying Doctor Service in Australia was nominated to receive a donation along with the Grand Charity. It was also agreed that masonic widows would be invited to the next coffee morning and the cocktail party.

While in Montevideo the ship had a change of captain, Trevor Lane left the ship to go home on leave and Sarah Breton came on board and took over command.

The next coffee morning was held in the Orchid Bar and was well attended by masons and their wives along with four masonic widows and one lady mason. Two of the widows came from Wales, one from the Isle of Wight and one from Ilfracombe.

25 members were in attendance at our next meeting. This included one new member who joined the ship in Montevideo. The date for the cocktail reception had been agreed by the captain and would be held in the Retreat, from 4 pm onwards. In an effort to try and increase funds for charity donations a raffle was to be organised, Terry Mitchell and Pieter Swinge volunteered to assist in coaxing prizes from onboard shops. A date for the lunch get together to be arranged as soon as possible. Brian Rigby, a member of Preston Guild Lodge No. 4408, West Lancashire, agreed to act as director of ceremonies for the cocktail party.

Lunch in the Meridian Restaurant was well attended by a large number of masons and their wives who thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to have a meal and meet new friends. One more new member joined our group at this event.

The next event was the cocktail party reception in the Retreat. Over 70 masons and their wives, masonic widows, one lady mason and guests attended and enjoyed drinks and canapes in very good company. Mike Walker proposed the loyal toast and the toast to the ladies and guests. The toast to the health of the captain and ship's company was proposed by Brian Rigby to which Sarah Breton gave a very good response.

There was a very good response from the onboard shops to help raise money for the charities with good number prizes donated. The prizes were an English Cricket Board tie and a book about MV Arcadia from Sarah Breton, Thermal Suite and Hydro Pool day pass, back, neck and shoulder massage from Oasis Spa and a meal for two in the Orchid Restaurant. Prizes donated by members included three bottles of wine, a pendent and a box of chocolates. The captain made the draw for the lucky winners and the raffle raised £450 for the charities.

A big thank you was given to Bar Supervisor Mark Perreira for all his help in organising the locations for the events and making them such a success.

All the money raised will be distributed to the selected charities in the following proportions: 50% to RNLI, captains nominated charity, 25% to Flying Doctor Service in Australia and 25% to The Freemasons' Grand Charity. As the captain had to leave early for other duties Christine Noble, Cruise Director, deputised for her in the group picture.

During the night on the way from Bora Bora to Suva in the south pacific the ship encountered a strange phenomenon when it travelled through a time warp. Having gone to bed on a Tuesday we all arose next morning and it was Thursday. Fortunately no damage was done to the ship and no passengers suffered any ill effects, accept those who lost their birthday!

Our ninth and last meeting for this part of the trip saw 19 members attend the meeting which was arranged to report on the charity donations as many of our Australian brethren would be leaving the ship over the next couple of days. Everyone agreed that all the events had been a great success as the total raised for charity was £747. Mike Walker was handed £373 which is to go to the captain for her chosen charity. Terry Mitchell was handed £187 which he will deliver to the Flying Doctor Service in Australia and John Strange was handed £187 which he will deliver to the Grand Charity in London.

The Chairman of the Leyland and District Group of Freemasons, Stewart Seddon, welcomed the newly installed Mayor of South Ribble, Councillor Dorothy Gardner and her consort Cllr Melvyn Gardner together with representatives from 19 local charities to the group’s fourth annual Giving Day

After welcoming the guests to Leyland Masonic Hall, Stewart said he was amazed, although not altogether surprised, that the Giving Day has snowballed. He said at the first event in May 2010, presentations were made to just seven charities, with a further four having been assisted during the course of that year. The sum donated at that time amounted to £30,052 which included grants from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity and funding was matched by the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity.

Stewart continued by saying: 'Even though we are in the midst of a recession, we are announcing donations amounting to over £154,000 to 31 non-masonic charities'.

Stewart then introduced some of his colleagues who were taking part in the event: 'Ray Martland (Assistant Provincial Grand Master), Paul Renton (Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals), Chris Blackwell (Leyland Group Vice Chairman), Mike Pinckard (group secretary), John Lucas (group treasurer), Eric Hart (Leyland Group Local Care Officer), Andy Sumner (group publicity officer) and Glynn Wrennall (Group Charity Steward) who, along with his wife Eunice and brother John, organised the day’s event and produced the brochures.'

He then introduced Derek Rooney (Publicity Officer - West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity) who explained the structure and the workings of the WLFC.

Ray next announced the names of the charities and the details of the donations they were to receive - and in some cases already had received.

Manchester Royal Eye Hospital £125, Alder Hey Family House Trust £450, Babybeat £200, St Catherine’s Hospice £4,146, Gurkha Welfare Trust £225, Galloway’s Society for the Blind £250 Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust Charitable Fund £250, Bowel Cancer UK at Rosemere £257, Bowland-Pennine Mountain Rescue Team £400, McMillan Nurses £650, Derian House Children’s Hospice £4,776, Rosemere Cancer Foundation, £2,294, Southport Offshore Rescue Trust £787.10, Leonard Cheshire Disability £1,000 plus Gift Aid, Lancashire and South Cumbria Kidney Patients Association £1093.50, The Legacy – Rainbow House £2,430, Diabetes UK £1,200, Teddies for Loving Care £2,060, North West Air Ambulance £15,187.10, Masonic Hall Appeal £300, West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity £12,864.84.

Each recipient gave a brief summary of the work they do in the community - some of which were quite heartbreaking to hear.

The Leonard Cheshire Disability homes in Garstang and Windermere cheques for £500 each plus Gift Aid was money raised from a sponsored walk along the 46 miles of the Preston to Kendal Canal by John Wrennall.

Other charities who have received donations prior to the Giving Day this year are: The Masonic Samaritan Fund £15, Medicine and Chernobyl £50, Eccleston Scouts £125, Eccleston Brownies £125, East Lancashire Hospice £200, St Saviours Church £250, Donna’s Dream House £250, Urology Dept RPH £250, East Lancashire Masonic Benevolent Fund £450, Space Centre £500, Hutton Grammar School £750, Royal College of Surgeons 2013 Bicentenary Appeal £2,790, Cancer Research UK £50,100.

Ray Martland then gave a cheque for £250 from the Leyland and District Group to the Mayor, Cllr Dorothy Gardner for her nominated charities which are Babybeat, St Catherine’s Hospice and Hope-4-Justice.

Dorothy then addressed the Leyland Freemasons present and thanking them for their generosity she made a specific mention of the many recipients of donations, how grateful they were for them and how contributions such as those made would have life changing results for many people. She then spoke about her chosen charities, giving the particular example of Hope-4-Justice which is a charity that helps to provide rescue, rehabilitation, education and public awareness with regard to child prostitution in Penwortham.

The Giving Day event was formerly closed with Chris Blackwell, vice chairman of the group thanking the representatives of the charities for taking time out of their busy schedules to attend. Many of the guests were given a tour of the Masonic hall.

The total donations to non-masonic charities during the past 12 months from the Leyland and District Group including The Grand Charity was £154,043.50

The total donations to masonic charities were £16,319.84 making a grand total of £170,363.34

The Provincial Ball for West Lancashire has been held for the fourth year in a row at the De Vere Whites Hotel in the Reebok stadium in Horwich. This year's celebration was possibly one of the most enjoyable in its 153-year history.

The re-introduction of a reception for Masters and First Principals was very well received by both the Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker, and his senior officers.

The staff at the De Vere Whites Hotel seemed even more friendly and attentive than last year, and the bars in the two reception suites were well stocked and the service was very good.

After the reception over 500 Masters, First Principals, brethren, companions and their ladies from across the Province were invited by the Deputy Provincial Grand Directors of Ceremonies to take their seats in the Premier Suite for the banquet.

When the brethren had taken their seats Keith Kemp (ProvGDC) asked everyone present to stand to receive the president, vice president, chairman and vice chairman of the 153rd Grand Masonic Ball.

Peter Hosker and his wife Julie then led the Provincial party into the Premier Suite where they took their seats for a sumptuous four course dinner.

After the meal, thanks were expressed to the many people who had helped organise the Ball. Starting with the music supplied by Quayside Jazzmen during the reception, Ray Dainton for providing the piano music during dinner and the Pyramid Band who were providing the music later in the evening. Then all the members of the organising committee were thanked, particularly David Lea (secretary) and Glynn Wrenall (event co-ordinator), and flowers were presented to Alma Lea and Eunice Wrenall.

Before dancing commenced to the Pyramid Band, everyone joined in the Grand March led by Peter Hosker and his wife Julie.

After the Grand March the dance floor filled and a great evening was enjoyed by all.

Brian Todhunter, a member of Tuscan Oak and Lambert Head Lodge No. 6387, which meets at Pemberton Masonic Hall in Wigan has been invested with the Royal Victorian Order Medal.

Brian played a significant part in the Queen's Jubilee celebrations by leading the team of engineers which restored the Royal Yacht Royal Barge which carried the Queen and Prince Phillip as part of the Thames pageant on that very special day.

The Royal Victorian Order recognises distinguished personal service to the monarch or members of her family. Established in 1896 by Queen Victoria, the order has five hierarchical grades and one medal with three levels, each representing a different level of service.

Brian, who is a member of the Royal Yacht Association, was specially re-called and selected for the task to ensure that the barge, which had not seen service for over 15 years, was restored it to its former pristine condition. For his personal service to the sovereign he was awarded the prestigious Royal Victoria Medal (Silver) which is awarded to non-commissioned officers of HM Forces. Brian served for a period on the Royal Yacht Britannia when it was still in service.

His Royal Highness Prince Charles conducted Brian’s investiture at Buckingham Palace and during a conversation, Prince Charles recalled that using the Royal Barge and escort boats from HMY Britannia had brought back many happy memories for him, Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Members of St Oswald Lodge No. 5170 were the first to see a newly restored copy of the extremely rare 1769 edition of the Book of Constitutions

Lodge members had been so impressed by a talk given by Vic Charlesworth on the creation of a museum at Warrington Masonic Hall that they resolved to help him in whatever way they could.

His hard work to restore a particularly rare edition of the Book of Constitutions – so rare in fact that even the Library and Museum of Freemasonry does not have a copy – struck a chord with those present, however the book was in several pieces and needed to be professionally rebound, the work estimated to cost more than £200.

After the talk, and without Vic’s knowledge, those present decided to help restore the illustrated book to its former glory. They had a whip round and in no time at all had raised £120. Within a couple of days further donations had been received and the remainder of the money had been donated.

Because of their generosity and initiative, Vic decided that the members of St Oswald Lodge should be the first to see the restored book, and he presented it at their next lodge meeting in order to thank them in person for their support. 

William Richard Seddon, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master for West Lancashire, celebrated 50 years as a Freemason at Preston Masonic Hall before a packed lodge room at a special meeting of Preston Guild Lodge No. 4408

Not only was Bill’s golden anniversary celebrated, the Lodge's banner was re-dedicated. The banner is traditionally re-dedicated in a year when the Preston Guild is held. This year the Lodge celebrates 90 years of existence and the Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker, was present to lead the proceedings.

Peter spoke a few words before the banner was brought into the room, along with the banners of Commercial Travellers Lodge No. 3493 and Forest of Fulwood Lodge No. 6388, with whom Preston Guild amalgamated in 2004.

He then called upon Rev Graham Halsall as Provincial Grand Chaplain to give an Oration, which Graham delivered with his usual sincere style.

Peter then gave an overview of the Lodge history: 'Preston Guild Lodge was consecrated on 20 June 1922, a year in which Preston celebrated its Guild, a fact that was instrumental in deciding the name of the Lodge. This was reinforced with the dedication of the Lodge banner featuring the Victorian Preston Town Hall as its centrepiece on 16 November 1927.

'At the time of the next Guild in 1952 the Lodge marked the occasion and its 30th year anniversary with a presentation of the history of the Lodge by W Bro Pomfret. This was followed by a special festive board at which some 160 brethren dined.

'Having set the format, at the next Guild year in 1972 was marked by the consecration of Preston Guild Chapter and the Lodge celebrated its 50 years anniversary.

'The next Guild year in 1992, was marked by a special demonstration by the Burnley and District Ritual Demonstration Team circa 1759. That was combined with the Lodge's 70th anniversary which was again followed by a special banquet.

'In 2004 the Lodge amalgamated with Commercial Travellers Lodge No. 3493 and Forest of Fulwood Lodge No. 6388, whose banners will in a few moments accompany the Preston Guild banner into the Lodge.

'Preston is now celebrating its 2012 Guild year, and the Lodge its 90th anniversary. It is also Bill Seddon's golden anniversary. Bill has specifically requested that the Lodge continue with the tradition of marking the Lodge's Guild years by, on this occasion, holding a Lodge banner re-dedication ceremony prior to his celebrations.'

The banner was then re-dedicated and handed over to the Lodge Worshipful Master, Keith Jackson.

Peter then said the highlight of the evening had now arrived - to celebrate 50 years of service to Freemasonry of one William Richard Seddon.

Peter continued: 'One of my great pleasures and privileges in Freemasonry is to take the WM's chair and lead the celebrations for brethren who are celebrating 50, 60, 70 and, dare I say it, 80 years of service in and to Freemasonry. I feel that against these landmarks my own service pales into insignificance at a mere 44 years.

As Provincial Grand Master, I had anticipated that my involvement in such celebrations would, sadly, become very few and far between. I say sadly because such celebrations are always interesting and they have invariably enabled me to learn so much more about each celebrant than might otherwise be the case, and in so doing appreciate more completely the rich and fulfilling lives that they have led. As it has happened, during my first four years as ProvGM I have in fact continued to lead the celebrations for many distinguished Freemasons, and I have greatly enjoyed all of them. Tonight I have the pleasure and privilege of leading the celebrations for another distinguished brother, my good friend good friend Bill Seddon, PSGD, PAsstProvGM.'

Peter then asked the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies to place W Bro William Richard Seddon before him so that he could address him.

'Bill, was born on 21 January 1941. How appropriate that we are holding this celebration in the 2012 Preston Guild Year, because it is well known that you were born and bred in Preston, and proud of it. I too was born in Preston, and at the beginning of September this year Julie and I attended several of the Guild events. I am so pleased that the Lodge has continued with the tradition of marking the Lodge's Guild years by, on this occasion, holding a lodge banner re-dedication ceremony prior to your celebration. Indeed, I think it was Bill who specifically requested that this been done.'

Peter continued: 'Bill's overriding passion is for his wife Christine and his family, comprising two sons Andrew and David, and three grandsons and two granddaughters.

'However, brethren, unless you are aware of it, you may think that Bill is quite rational and well-adjusted, and yet he has a peculiar interest — some would say a fanciful and dreamlike interest — in Preston North End, where he has been a season ticket holder for 63 years. I suggest that the total money he has spent on season tickets over 63 years would now be sufficient to buy the club outright!

'Christine and Bill have been married for 45 years — but she is still unconvinced of the longevity of Bill's support for a football team, although she accepts that both sons and two eldest grandsons are committed supporters of Preston North End, especially with their second grandson this season being a ball boy at Deepdale for first team games!

'For over 30 years Bill has enjoyed "treading the boards" in amateur dramatics. Bill’s interest is with The Club Players at Broughton and District Club in Broughton, north of Preston, and for 27 of those years he was honorary treasurer of the Club Players.

'In 1990 he became President of Broughton and District Club in its centenary year, and that summer Christine and Bill were able to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace on a gloriously hot summer afternoon.

'Bill, belongs to the Church of Christ Church Fulwood, a member of the Parochial Church Council and Chairman of the Church Hall Building Committee which was originally charged with raising something approaching £120,000 to regenerate the Church Hall! Life has its difficulties — the committee was formed at the beginning of what turned out to be the banking crisis, but despite this much of the money has been raised, including a grant from the WLFC towards the cost of a totally refurbished disabled toilet. A previous application to WLFC in respect of other work had been rejected. If at first you don't succeed…

'Bill attended Harris Primary School in Fulwood and then Hutton Grammar School, and his first day at HGS coincided with the arrival of a new Headmaster, Charles W Lloyd, PAGDC, later Headmaster of Dulwich College.

'In the law, Bill was an old fashioned "Five years man", and served his Articles of Clerkship as a Solicitor with his father, who later introduced him into Freemasonry. Bill passed his solicitors' final examination in November 1961, two months before his 21 birthday. In those days you could not be enrolled as a solicitor until you were 21 years of age and had completed your Articles of Clerkship. Bill’s articles expired on 8 March 1962, so he was able to be enrolled the following month. I can tell you that in 1962, the 1 April fell on a Sunday, so Bill was actually admitted the next day and his first Practising Certificate is dated 2 April 1962 not on April Fools' Day!

'Much to his surprise, at the end of April 2012 Bill received a certificate from the president of the Law Society congratulating him on having been on the Roll of Solicitors for 50 years.

'And so to Freemasonry. Bill was initiated into Preston Guild Lodge on 19 September 1962 by his father, who had been Master in 1959/60. Bill himself became Master in November 1974, ­just two months after his father's death.'

At this point Peter said: 'I am well aware that becoming Master was both a very proud and a very sad day for you. I invite the Secretary to read out the minutes of the meeting held on 19 September 1962.'

The Secretary then read the minutes of the meeting of 19 September, 1962.

'Bill spent eight years as a Past Master until he was appointed acting ProvJGD in 1983. The following year he was appointed ProvDepGDC. He came into the Royal Arch in 1976, when he was exalted into Preston Guild Chapter later that year.

'In the Craft, Bill was appointed to Grand Rank as PAGReg in 1989, promoted to PJGD in 1997, and further promoted to PSGD in 1998. In the Royal Arch, he became PGStdB in1991, and was promoted to PAGSoj in 2000.

'From 1990 Bill served as joint Vice Chairman of the Preston Group. In those days there were two Vice Chairmen, and Peter reminded Bill that he was his junior vice chairman.

'He was appointed as Assistant to the Grand Superintendent in the Royal Arch from 1993 to 1997, with responsibility for the Chapters in the Preston and Leyland Groups. He relinquished that office on being appointed Assistant Provincial Grand Master in May 1997 from which office he retired in 2008. Initially, Bill had responsibility for the lodges in the Preston Group and then from 2003 also for those in the Chorley and District Group.

'Bill also holds high rank in several other masonic orders.'

Peter then invited the Chairman of the Preston Group, Stan Rigby, to read out the certificate in his possession.

After the citation had been read, Peter went on to say: 'Bill, over the years our paths have crossed on many occasions. In the law, where we both practised as solicitors in Preston; in Freemasonry, where you attended my initiation in 1968 in the Preston Group, in the Province, and at Grand Lodge and Supreme Grand Chapter; and as friends Bill, you are much loved and respected in every walk of life through which you have walked. I salute you as a man and a mason and I know that everyone will join me in offering warmest congratulations to you on this special night.'

The brethren retired to the festive board where Bill was delighted to be able to respond to the toast to his health.

 

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