Celebrating 300 years
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 00:00

Active Tyler John Bartley’s rapid promotion

Promotion has come quickly for Mersey Valley Lodge of Installed Masters No. 9057 (which meets in Warrington, Widnes, St Helens and Leigh in the Province of West Lancashire) member John Bartley since becoming a member of Probus Ante Meridiem Lodge No. 9195.

Just 11 weeks after he became a joining member of Ante Meridiem Lodge which meets only four times a year, John was installed as Worshipful Master at the meeting in the Masonic Hall, Sidcup, in the Province of West Kent.

Among the many guests present was Derek Hunt who travelled more than 220 miles from Warrington to see his friend of 50 years installed. Derek gave the address to the Worshipful Master who he proposed into Mersey Valley shortly after its consecration in 1983. John has been a regular visitor to Derek’s mother lodge - St Oswald Lodge No. 5170 which also meets in Warrington for more than four decades.

It will be a special year for John for apart from being Worshipful Master he will also be celebrating his 80th birthday.

Despite John’s apparent rapid promotion, he was not a newcomer to Sidcup as he has been a tyler there for several lodges for some time. At the committee meeting where John’s application to become a joining member was on the agenda he was asked if he would like to progress in the Lodge. He said he would so at the next meeting when the ballot took place for him to join he also became master elect!

John joined Freemasonry in Cheshire in Egremont Lodge No. 2872 in 1959 and became its WM in 1973. He was appointed as a Past Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in the Province of Cheshire in 1984.

In 2004 John and his wife Jeanette moved from the north to Masonic accommodation in Aylesbury and in 2009 he was exalted into River Chapter No. 5126 in the Province of Buckinghamshire. Following his wife’s death John moved to the Duke of Kent Court in Chislehurst to be nearer his daughter and his skills as a tyler were soon in demand.

He is tyler at Sidcup for Alma Lodge No. 9792, Burnt Ash Lodge No. 6285, Falconwod Lodge No. 5826 and Sydney Lodge No. 829. He is also janitor at Sidcup for Bexley Heath Chapter No. 4918, Burnt Ash Chapter No. 6285, Ideal Endeavour Chapter No. 7379, Manor Way Chapter No. 6161 and Sydney Chapter No. 829. He is also tyler at Great Queen Street for St James Union Lodge No. 180.

When John completed 50 years as a Freemason he was sent a commemorative certificate by the Provincial Grand Master of West Lancashire, Peter Hosker, which was presented to him by David Bearman, an Assistant Provincial Grand Master of the Province of West Kent at a coffee morning in the home where John lived.

John is planning to join Probus Ante Meridiem Chapter in September but is not expecting rapid promotion there.

Attendance exceeded all records this year as 1,000s of visitors enjoyed the seventh annual Hope Street Feast which was blessed with a dry start but a wet afternoon.

The curiosity of the public was undiminished as record numbers took the opportunity to visit the Liverpool Masonic Hall which once again opened its doors to all-comers. The lounge bar was thronged with visitors who were able to enjoy the full bar and refreshment facilities provided by the hardworking hall catering staff. In addition to cold refreshments, the servings of traditional hot ‘scouse’ and red cabbage, beef curry, and meat balls were as popular as ever and the many customers kept the catering staff busy throughout the day.

The West Lancashire Regalia shop was manned by members of the committee who reported brisk sales of both masonic and non-masonic items. This store now has a considerable inventory and is able to supply all masonic items. Chairman Derek Cadwallader and secretary Mike Melling assisted by Eric Poole were pleased to answer many queries and talk about Freemasonry with the many visitors and customers. Derek said: 'Sales benefitting Masonic halls were greater this year than for any previous Feast. I am really pleased.'

Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Paul Shepherd, Liverpool vice-chairman Steve Walls, group treasurer Steve Kayne and Liverpool Masonic Hall Chairman John Roberts gave members of the public continual conducted tours throughout the day of the lodge rooms and facilities of the hall. They also answered the many questions posed by visitors regarding the theory and practice of the Craft. It is estimated that over 1,500 visitors received the tours of the hall. Chairman John Roberts said: 'People who toured the hall were really complimentary and appreciated the opportunity they had to see inside this magnificent building.'

Other volunteers assisted by sitting in their regalia in the lodge offices to help explain the layout of lodge rooms. Masonic history expert Geoff Cuthill was on hand at the War Memorial to explain to visitors the valiant contributions made by Liverpool masons to the defence of the realm in battle and to expound on other historic events in Freemasonry.

These tours proved extremely popular and long queues quickly developed to view the magnificently Corinthian, Roman and Egyptian suites. The War Memorial and long hall which contains a museum of historic masonic artefacts proved a fascination for many of the visitors. It was quite apparent that many of the them were deeply interested in Freemasonry judging by the depth and types of questions being asked of and answered by the tour guides.

This year recruitment to the Craft was boosted by the presence of the Provincial trailer manned throughout the day by the very hardworking group membership officers David Sullivan and Paul Rattigan. Both did a superb job of being the friendly faces and first contacts for potential new members. They distributed leaflets containing information about Freemasonry and encouraged members of the public to tour the Hall. A large number of enquiries were made regarding membership and requesting further details.

Assistant Provincial Grand Master Stanley Oldfield accompanied by his wife Marlene were on hand throughout the day to support and encourage the hardworking volunteers.

Following his successful restoration of the Royal Barge, Brian Todhunter of Tuscan Oak and Lamberthead Lodge No. 6387 (which meets in at Pemberton Masonic Hall, Wigan) has been awarded the Royal Victorian Medal (Silver) in the Queens Jubilee Honours list.

Brian has been selected for the award following his work in organising the restoration of the Royal Yacht Britannia’s Royal barge and escort boats, which were used by Her Majesty the Queen during the Thames River Pageant.

Queen Victoria established the Royal Victorian Medal in April 1896 as a reward for personal service to the Sovereign or the Royal Family, and as a mark of royal esteem. The Medal is conferred upon civilians and non-commissioned military personnel. Although the Medal is related to the Royal Victorian Order, it differs in appearance and in the way it is worn.

The Royal Victorian Medal is awarded in silver gilt (gold), silver and bronze - in most circumstances, the Silver Medal is awarded - and recipients are permitted to use the post-nominal RVM.

Brian said that he was 'surprised, but delighted' when he was informed of the award, and he is really looking forward to receiving it at Buckingham Palace later this year.

Saturday, 22 September 2012 12:35

Tributes paid to Colin Penty Wright

Provincial Grand Master Peter Hosker paid tribute to Colin Penty Wright describing him as “one of the finest Provincial Grand Masters that this Province has ever known”

Colin, who was Provincial Grand Master for the Province of West Lancashire from 1997 to 2008, died on Friday, 21 September at the age of 76.

Peter said: “At 4am this morning we all lost a very good friend. That good friend was Colin Penty Wright who died peacefully at St John’s Hospice, a place that he knew well. My thoughts immediately go to his widow Kathryn his two sons Stephen and Kevin and the family. And we offer them our sincere condolences.

About two years ago I lead the celebrations for Colin Wright when he celebrated his 50 years anniversary in Freemasonry. Those who were present and who later read my address to him could not fail to realise that this was a man and a Mason of considerable stature, much loved and respected by all. He was our Provincial Grand Master from 1997 to 2008 and he will be remembered as one of the finest Provincial Grand Masters that this Province has ever known. His funeral arrangements are likely to be a private family funeral and a memorial service at a later date.”

Peter was on the Northern Tour with other leaders of the Province. They attended the Lancashire Group Dinner on the evening of Colin’s death, where Peter paid tribute to Colin at the dinner and brethren stood in memory of departed merit.

Colin was initiated into Poulton Hall Lodge No. 6647 in December 1958 and became its Worshipful Master in 1974. He also enjoyed membership of Setantia Lodge of Installed Masters No. 7755 (WM in 1990), Lathom Lodge No. 2229 (WM in 2001), Poulton le Sands Lodge No. 1051 and was a founder of Plantagenet Lodge of Installed Masters No. 9357 (WM in 1992).

His exaltation into the Royal Arch came in 1965 in Sandylands Chapter No. 502 and was First Principal in 1977. He was also a member of Setantia Chapter of First Principals No. 7755 (First Principal in 1996) and Senatores Chapter of Installed First Principals No. 8966.

Colin’s talents were soon recognised by the Province and he was invested as the Provincial Senior Grand Warden in 1979. Seven years later he was appointed as an Assistant Provincial Grand Master and then served as Deputy Provincial Grand Master from 1995 to 1997.

In Grand Lodge he was made a Past Assistant Grand Registrar in 1988 and as an Assistant Provincial Grand Master was promoted to the rank of Past Senior Grand Deacon in 1988 and when he became Deputy Provincial Grand Master was invested as a Past Grand Sword Bearer.

Colin served the Royal Arch as the Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah in 1983 and became Deputy Grand Superintendent in 1993. In 1984 he was made a Past Assistant Grand Sojourner and served as Grand Sword Bearer in 1994-1995.

On 2 July 1997 Colin was invested as Provincial Grand Master for the Province of West Lancashire and was head of the largest Province under the United Grand Lodge of England until 12 June 2008. He also served as Grand Superintendent in and over the Royal Arch Province of West Lancashire at the same time.

 

Saturday, 22 September 2012 12:18

Colin plays a part in the London 2012 Olympics

Sometime last year whilst browsing online newspapers, Colin Shannon of Bootle Pilgrim Lodge No. 1473 read an article about the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony and how the organisers were looking for volunteers.

Colin’s application was accepted and he was invited to 3 Mills TV studio in London for an audition where he performed various pieces of choreography and other routines.

The following day, he received an email calling him back for a second audition where the choreography was more complex. Six weeks later whilst on holiday in India with his wife Vilma, the email came through confirming he had been successful. It was champagne all around that night.

He was to have 26 rehearsals and due to the timings of them, would mean about 40 nights in London. It was a huge commitment to make and meant he would have to make some adjustments. Fortunately, he did not have to miss too many lodge meetings and, being a once in a life time opportunity, he accepted.

His first rehearsals were at 3 Mills. That was where he first met Danny Boyle as he explained his vision and what he hoped to achieved. Danny was hands on all the time and Colin saw him at most of the rehearsals. He was very approachable and spent a lot of time 'chatting' in general to people. It was whilst he was at 3 Mills that he had his costume fit.

His next rehearsal site was on a piece of ground at the old Ford plant in Dagenham. The area was set up with a big top to have talks, leave bags etc. Outside there were two areas set up each the size of the area of the stadium enabling two segments of the show to be rehearsed at the same time.

Eventually, rehearsals were moved to the stadium itself. Walking into the stadium for the first time and seeing his segment set out in the centre of it brought it home as to what they were doing. Colin says that when he was in the centre, just looking around at all the stands and seats it sent a shiver down him knowing that there would be 80,000 people sitting there watching them in addition to the 1,000,000,000 or so people around the world on TV.

After a few rehearsals there, the time came for his first dress rehearsal in front of an invited audience of 40,000. Lined up in the vomitory waiting the cue to go out, Colin says he could see the stands on the opposite side of the stadium full of people. That, the general music, lighting effects and then the sudden beating of the drums was a sure way of getting the adrenalin flowing. After receiving his cue, they went out fully focused on their roles. Colin said he could not describe the feelings he, and others, had when the audience applauded them.

The following dress rehearsal was even more intense as the participants had been given tickets for their families to attend. That was to an audience of 60,000.

The big day of the opening ceremony came. When they were called to go to the stadium, he recalls it was very impressive to see thousands of people in the various costumes walking to the stadium en mass. His section, which was the industrial revolution, had a thousand people involved all dressed in old style working clothes, then there was the NHS section all dressed in old nurses’ uniforms. Following them was a variety of costumes from the different eras of music.

Before entering the stadium they were held in another area of the Olympic Park. As they walked through the park and approached the stadium, the world’s media was lined up alongside the route filming and photographing them. Some of were stopped for a quick interview. Colin gave a quick interview to an Australian TV company. Closer to the stadium, there were volunteer workers lining the route, applauding and wishing them good luck.

Lined up ready to go on, the atmosphere was electric. As his group reached the end of their segment after performing their choreography, the choreographer Steve Boyd spoke through their in-ear monitors and said how amazing they looked and pointed out that they were the closest people on the entire planet to the Olympic rings. All too soon it was over and after their bow, they left the stage

Colin says “The entire journey from getting invited to the first audition, to final bow has been an incredible experience, it is one I will never forget and one that I felt honoured to have been part of.”

A few weeks later Colin also took part in the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012 01:00

Southport Flower Show opens its gates

Over 80,000 people are expected to visit Southport Flower Show this year, to see the gardens designed by two youngsters in a competition sponsored by the West Lancashire Freemasons

The prestigious David Bellamy School Garden Competition has been won this year by Jessica Simpson from Ashbridge Independent School in Preston and Mia Hodkinson and Emma Chapman who made a joint entry from Stanton Road Primary School in the Wirral.  The competition is held each year in association with Southport Flower Show and the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, and gives a chance for the gardeners of the future to create a garden for the show each year. It is open to all primary school children in years 5 and 6 across the North West, and this year’s competition was entered by 276 children across Lancashire, Cheshire, Manchester and Merseyside.

The two winning designs, chosen by a panel of judges, were once again constructed by a professional garden company and were there for all to see when the show opened on Thursday 16 August.

The two winners, their families and their teachers were invited to the show to meet Professor David Bellamy OBE and be presented with £500 to enhance their school grounds, and a £50 gift voucher for themselves.

The head teacher, from Ashbridge Independent School, Hilary Sharples, said: "This is the first time our school has entered the competition and we're extremely proud that one of our students has won - it is fantastic to see the garden come to life at the show. This is a great competition giving children the opportunity to link their design skills with a love of wildlife and horticulture - encouraging creativity while also helping the planet.”

Ashbridge Independent School plan to use the £500 to develop an area within their grounds which will encourage bees and butterflies to visit the school and nursery, and also to extend the wildflower meadow for the youngest children in the baby unit.

Peter Hosker, Provincial Grand Master of West Lancashire, and President of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity 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 in gardening is very worthwhile.”

Eight days after celebrating his 100th birthday Cyril McGibbon was installed as Worshipful Master of one of the oldest lodges in the Province of West Lancashire - the Lodge of Perseverance No.155.

This lodge, which meets in the Britannia Adelphi Hotel in the centre of Liverpool, dates from 1803 and has several unique traditions, one of which is that the only guests to the installation are invited by the new Worshipful Master. It was also the first time that any member has served as Worshipful Master on two occasions.

To mark this extraordinary occasion this tradition was broken and an open invitation issued for the first time in the lodge’s history. The membership of this venerable lodge is restricted to 25 brethren and the fact that there were 125 attendees, 23 members and 102 guests gives testimony to the high regard and affection felt by the Freemasons of West Lancashire for Cyril McGibbon.

An inspection of the Masonic year book will immediately show the calibre of the members, which includes a large number of Grand Officers many of whom have held high acting Provincial offices as well.

Indeed Cyril’s Masonic CV is very impressive. He was initiated in 1951 into his mother lodge University Lodge of Liverpool and was installed as its Master in 1964. In 1970 the then Provincial Grand Master, Sir Knowles Edge Bt recognised his qualities in appointing him as Provincial Senior Grand Warden  Barely had Cyril relinquished that position when he was appointed as Assistant Provincial Grand Master an appointment that he held from 1973 to 1987, a run of 15 years continuous service. Prior to this Cyril became a joining member in 1971 of Lathom Lodge No 2229 and Setentia Lodge of Installed Masters No 7755 and then in 1974 joined The Lodge of Perseverance, becoming Master of this lodge for the first time in 1976.

The calibre of the members of Lodge of Perseverance would eclipse most meetings but this evening the calibre of the guests has exceeded that of the members. Principal guest was Howard Jones (Deputy Provincial Grand Master) accompanied by Colin Wright (Past Provincial Grand Master), Brian Gillbanks and Michael Hill, both of whom are Past Deputy Provincial Grand Masters and four Assistant Provincial Grand Masters Phil Gunning ,Tony Bent, Tony Harrison and Roy Skidmore. It should also be pointed out that another tradition of the Lodge of Perseverance is that all members and guests, no matter what their rank, are clothed in Entered Apprentice aprons.

After opening the lodge the Worshipful Master Robert Hall greeted the principal guest and proffered the gavel which was immediately returned. The normal business of the lodge was conducted during this part of the ceremony the lodge was introducing a joining member. Once the business was transacted the only Entered Apprentice retired and the lodge was then opened in the Second Degree.

The Master elect, Cyril McGibbon, Past Senior Grand Deacon, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master of the Province of West Lancashire was the presented by Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master John Moore to the Installing Master Robert Hall who, after congratulating  Cyril on his election to Master elect proceeded with the installation ceremony. Having been installed in the chair of the worthy lodge in a very dignified manner by his predecessor Cyril was then invested with the Hall Stone Jewel of the lodge. As is customary an explanation of the origin and meaning of the jewel was delivered, on this occasion by John Price.

On completion of the ceremony of installation Howard then rose to deliver the congratulations and thanks of the Provincial Grand Master to Cyril which on this occasion took the form of a personal letter expressing his profound regret at being unable to attend the installation ceremony in person.

Before closing the lodge Cyril took the opportunity to thank the members for all their work and the multitude of guests for their support. He also informed the gathering that he had received 91 cards on his birthday which were decorating his dining room, at least until the end of the month! With such a large number he was unable to reply to them all but as a larger number of senders were present, he thanked them verbally.

The lodge was then duly closed and although there is no formal recession normally, all stood to allow the new master to retire first. The assembly were then transferred to the dining room where after the drinks were served an excellent meal was served by the hotel.

Another tradition of this lodge is that there are only three formal toasts and no others, yet another tradition  was a casualty of this special evening when the Installing Master then with a few short words proposed a toast to  the health of the newly Installed Worshipful Master. Cyril was then called upon to respond which he duly did. Citing some of the founding principles of the Lodge of Perseverance he concluded by thanking all the members of the lodge for their hard work, in particular the lodge's Director of Ceremonies, Sidney Ford, and his wife who had manufactured 70 extra white aprons for the occasion. He also thanked all the brethren for making a special day unforgettable. On taking his seat all those present rose and gave a prolonged acclamation to a very special man and Freemason.

Friday, 22 June 2012 10:03

Ansdell Lodge celebrates its centenary

A warm sunny June day heralded the long awaited arrival of the centenary meeting of Ansdell Lodge No. 3607 on Tuesday 19 June 2012 at the Palace, Garden Street, St Anne's

Following a strenuous rehearsal under the direction of Provincial Grand Directors of Ceremonies Keith Kemp, the new team were licked into shape, and afterwards, Ansdell Lodge members gathered for a souvenir photograph in the lodge room.

The 5pm start was strictly adhered to and 137 brethren gathered to celebrate this historic landmark occasion, one hundred years to the day since the consecration. Worshipful Master David Randerson proudly opened the meeting of the lodge, following which the dispensation was read.

The Provincial Grand Directors of Ceremonies, Keith Kemp, then entered the temple and informed the brethren that Howard Jones, Deputy Provincial Grand Master stood outside the lodge and demanded entrance. David said he would be pleased to receive him and Howard accompanied by a full strength Provincial team of the new acting officers then entered the lodge room in a magnificent and colourful procession on their first official duty since their appointment at Provincial Grand Lodge in May.

David offered Howard the gavel, which he accepted and occupied the WM’s chair. Howard then outlined the reasons for the meeting and asked the Provincial Grand Secretary, Geoffrey Lee to read the centenary warrant and explain the centenary jewel, following which he presented the warrant and first Jewel to WM David Randerson. The brethren were then given permission to wear their centenary jewel.

Howard then called upon the Deputy Provincial Grand Chaplain Rev Canon Godfrey Hirst to give an Oration (his first in his new office). Godfrey related a recent visit to the cinema which told the story of the journey of life through the eyes of seven retired people in the film the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Godfrey related the 100 years of change the members of the lodge had undergone to the story in the film.

The ceremony then took an unexpected turn when Howard asked Keith to place John Porter the lodge Directors of Ceremonies in front him and following a short history of John’s masonic CV and an outline of his attributes and  sterling work for the lodge and the group, Howard promoted John to the high rank of Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden, which was greeted with acclamation from the assembled Brethren.

Next followed a prayer of rededication led by Godfrey and the closure of Provincial Grand Lodge. Howard returned the gavel to David who thanked Howard for his attendance and handed him a cheque for £3,607 in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity which was greeted with enthusiastic acclamation by the brethren.

John Porter then gave a short history of the lodge from its beginnings in June 1912, outlining the important work of the early founders in establishing strong foundations for its future and wound up the proceedings by presenting five of the original founders jewels to the WM the sixth being in the Grand Lodge Museum in London.

The Provincial party then retired in an equally magnificent and colourful procession. The lodge was then closed in due form and the brethren also retired from the temple.

The festivities continued at a sumptuous festive board where the Deputy Provincial Grand Master in referring to the early years of the Lodge, emphasised how important it was to recognise at a meeting such as a centenary the efforts and work put in by our forebears, referring to in particular the sacrifice made by former Ansdell Lodge member Graham Parrish, who joined the RAFVR during the Second World War and died whilst attempting to save the life of a fellow crew member after their bomber crashed at Khartoum Airfield. He was awarded a posthumous George Cross for gallantry.

In reply to the toast to the lodge David thanked everyone for attending, and he made a special mention of the presence of our well-loved Past Provincial Grand Master, Colin Wright who through recent ill health had been absent from most Masonic occasions, but was on the road to recovery.  He thanked the working party consisting of Stuart Thornber (Centenary Chairman), Robert Bentwood (Secretary), John Burgess (Treasurer) and John Porter (DC). David also made reference to the excellent work of the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Keith Kemp and all the new acting Provincial officers. He concluded in the knowledge that Ansdell Lodge was in good heart and looking forward to the future with confidence.

A wonderful day filled with reflections and memories of the workings and traditions of the past, and a belief in a future which held good to keeping those traditions whilst embracing the changes necessary to sustain a happy confident and vibrant lodge.

The Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker and the Deputy President of the RMBI Chris Cain were welcomed to Tithebarn by Laurie Scott (Chairman of the Friends of Tithebarn) and the Home Manager Linda Johnson.

Ray Martland, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Roy Pyne, Provincial Grand Almoner (West Lancashire), David Littlewood, Provincial Grand Almoner (Cheshire), along with many of the Friends of Tithebarn and their wives and partners were also in attendance, along with the chairmen of several groups from the Province: Frank Umbers (Ormskirk), Peter Levick (Bootle), Brian Henshaw (Southport), David Hawkes (Liverpool) and Harry Cox (North Fylde).

In his opening speech Peter said: “I am delighted to have been invited to open what I thought was to be called the ‘Garden Room’ but is now to be called the ‘Jubilee Room 2012’, which is this ‘Jubilee’ year.

"I still remember with pleasure my visit to Tithebarn in March 2009, when I was delighted to officially hand over to the RMBI Chief Executive David Innes the new ceiling lifting system in the Maude Sullivan Wing. After the handover, my wife Julie and I were pleased to take an escorted tour around Tithebarn, and we were most impressed with everything we saw."

He continued: “Linda, I congratulate you and your team on the continuing excellence of your work and I hear nothing but praise about the quality of care you unfailingly provide. This is a wonderful example of what we Freemasons believe in, kindness and caring for those in need.

"The Friends of Tithebarn are special people, and not only the Friends, because I am told that increasingly the wives have become involved. Laurie Scott's appointment to Grand Rank last week by the Duke of Kent was most appropriate, recognizing the work of Laurie and the Friends over so many years.

"I understand that during the past four years, the Friends have done so much to improve the lives and wellbeing of the residents. I make no excuse for making mention of their good works, because it is important that we celebrate what has been done and achieved: Refitting the main Ambulance and providing a smaller ambulance, supplying the Home with new curtains and throw-overs for 41 bedrooms, purchasing three new large televisions for the main lounge, the Maud Sullivan lounge, and the library, supplying a new bookcase for the library, and two new computers, two printers, laptop and corner desk for the quiet lounge, providing new garden furniture, including five benches and three gazebos, supplying a computer controlled VDU in the entrance hall to display  the daily programme to residents and visitors, helping the Home Events Organiser with residents' outings, and also supplying and distributing Christmas presents, and lastly, and I think there is a list of volunteers waiting to help - cleaning the pond!

"And now, there is more, much more - a new garden room extension to the main lounge, which is of course why we are here today. I understand that the extension has been on the cards for a very long time, and I think that the work has been ongoing for the past 18 months. The Friends are contributing the magnificent sum of £50,000 in respect of the project and this will go a long way to meeting the overall cost. And the RMBI are paying the balance. Also, the Friends are providing the furnishings and fittings for the room. All this means more benefits for the residents providing more useable space and creating options, it means more space generally, more space for the holding of activities, and more space for the holding of specialised activities.

"I know that the home is very much indebted to the Friends and they are to be congratulated and thanked for everything that they do, particularly with regard to this new garden room extension. They in turn receive wonderful support from the West Lancashire Freemasons’ who continue to give so freely and so generously. All of this makes me very proud to be a Freemason. And it is good to see the chairmen of the groups involved here today.”

Chris Cain then gave a short address on behalf of the RMBI, in which he said: “As I visit the homes around the country, I am impressed by the hard work and support the ‘Friends’ give their homes, I really do thank the Friends of Tithebarn for their magnificent support of the home and for their part in the creation of this new facility for the residents”.

Peter then declared the new Jubilee Room 2012 open. He then joined the residents of the home in the new room where he cut the celebration cake.

The Friends of Tithebarn then presented flowers to the principal guests.

The RMBI carried out a major program of work on Tithebarn, which started in August 2010 and was completed  in December 2011. The work included the installation of two new fire escapes to comply with fire and safety regulations, seven bedrooms were extended to include en-suite facilities, a new nurse call system was fitted, a new fire alarm system was installed, plumbing was replaced and the wing was rewired, a new bathroom with lifting facilities was created, a new staff room with changing facilities was installed and a refurbishment of the kitchens was carried out and a new general storage area was built along with a new office for the home maintenance manager.   

To find out more about Tithebarn or the RMBI visit www.rmbi.org.uk

Wednesday, 20 June 2012 01:00

Terry Hudson celebrates his golden jubilee

Brethren came from all across the Province of West Lancashire, eager to share in the celebrations marking the 50 year landmark for Assistant Provincial Grand Master Terry Hudson. 

The Provincial Grand Master Peter Hosker, accompanied by the Provincial team and a procession of Terry’s APrGM colleagues, present and past, along with many other Grand and Provincial Grand Officers made this a night to remember for Terry and for all the members of Quadrant Lodge No 8044.

Worshipful Master Mike Wenham offered Peter the gavel of Quadrant Lodge, who accepted it on this particular and special occasion.

In his opening address Peter said: One of my great pleasures and privileges in Freemasonry is to take the chair and lead the celebrations for brethren who are celebrating 50 years, 60 and 70 years 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 PrGM, 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 my - and our - good friend Terence 'Terry' Hudson Past Senior Grand Deacon, APrGM, a man who, like good wine, can be said to be elegant, well balanced and full of character.”

Peter then asked Keith Kemp (Provincial Grand Diector of Ceremonies to place Terry before him so that he  could address him.

Peter said that Terry was born on 14 August 1937 in Hednesford, Staffordshire, the only child of Alfred and Julie Hudson. From the 12th century, Hednesford was always a small agricultural village whose only claim to fame was the training of race horses.  However, in the late 19th century it suddenly mushroomed with the opening of coal mines and, as a young man, Terry’s father Alfred worked for some time as a coal miner as did everyone else in the community. After World War ǁ, during which he served as a leading instructor in morse code, he was demobilised and the family re-located to the bright lights of Blackpool.

Peter said that he felt that it is often true for us, that as we think back to our own father and  mother and our upbringing, we recall that often it was one of them in particular who had the more significant and  beneficial influence upon our lives. He commented that it was Terry’s mother Julie who had that significant and beneficial influence and said that from his own personal experience that the 'Julies' of the world are invariably wonderful people.

In 1945, in Blackpool, Terry attended Claremont Junior School, where he stayed until passing his 11 plus, to gain entry to Blackpool Grammar School. He proved to be certainly well balanced at school where he enjoyed and succeeded at rugby, cricket, music and amateur dramatics. In those formative years Blackpool Grammar School gave Terry a holistic education and grounding for life.

Peter added that Terry developed a love of music, which he himself has described as the greatest gift given to him by his father in those early years and has been ever present throughout his life. The playing of the piano and singing were encouraged and developed. In fact, as a boy soprano, Terry entered singing competitions with some conspicuous success.

On settling in Blackpool, Terry’s father established a wholesale business in house-ware and, after school he joined that business for two years before joining National Cash Register for some three years. He then returned to the family business, being appointed to the elevated position of sales director. After consideration, Peter said he rejected the unworthy thought that there was an element of nepotism in this appointment!

Sadly, a fire destroyed the business and Terry’s father retired. However, thanks to Terry’s determined efforts, and in conjunction with his sales personnel, he secured a merger of the business, such as it was, with another company. The business traded with many retail outlets throughout the North West, including Eddie Stobart in Wigton and Sherrington’s in Leigh. Peter mentioned Sherrington’s because another Alfred, who was Peter’s own father-in-law, was the owner of Sherrington’s in Leigh. The affectionate and apocryphal story about his father-in-law was that he regularly sold stair carpet to customers who lived in bungalows!

During the 1960’s Terry’s entrepreneurial talents led him to plan for the future. As a result of his foresight, he put together a property portfolio of 'buy to let' properties, which he eventually sold 25 years later to a development company. Peter added that he thought that even Lord Sugar would have been most impressed with this successful business venture.

Peter continued that one of the truly important parts of Terry’s life was his interest in wine, particularly the wines of Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Italy. This led to Terry investing in wine and the PrGM suggested there might have been the ‘occasional spare case’ for Terry to drink himself. This brought Terry into contact with the major houses in the wine industry and, in turn, proved very useful in helping to provide the Province with fine wines for Provincial meetings.

Terry has two sons by his first marriage, Nicholas and Mark. Although that marriage failed, some 17 years ago Terry happily met Sonja and it is she who has brought great joy and happiness into Terry’s life. They have done so much together and in particular have travelled widely, during which, art and music has figured prominently.

Peter then moved on to Freemasonry to which he said Terry has generously devoted so much of his life and energies.

It was on 16 May 1962 that Terry was initiated into Rectitude Lodge of Blackpool No. 4122. At this point, the Peter asked the Secretary of Rectitude Lodge of Blackpool, Gordon Ivett, to read out the minutes of that very important lodge meeting of 16 May 1962.

In 1966 Terry joined Quadrant Lodge No. 8044, becoming its Master in 1974 and in 1975. He is a joining member of Quingenti Lodge No. 8516, Setantia Lodge of Installed Masters No. 7755 and Senatores Lodge of Installed Masters No. 8966. Terry also joined Lathom Lodge No. 2229, becoming its Master in 2009 and he was also a Founder of Aemulantes Lodge No. 8827.

Terry’s first rank in Provincial Grand Lodge in 1977 was that of acting Provincial Grand Steward and, in 1981, he was promoted to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden (PPrJGW). Colin Wright appointed Terry in 2007 as one of his Assistant Provincial Grand Master’s (APrGM) and in 2008 he was re-appointed by Peter.

He was appointed in Grand Lodge in 1987 to the rank of Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies (PAGDC) and promoted to Past Junior Grand Deacon (PJGD) in 1995; having become an APrGM, he was then promoted to Past Senior Grand Deacon (PSGD) in 2008.

In the Royal Arch Terry was exalted into St Anne's Chapter No. 2457, being installed as its first principal in 1978. In 1985, he became a founder of Senatores Chapter of Installed First Principals No. 8966 and, in 1996 he was installed as its first principal. He was a founder of Quadrant Chapter No. 8044 in 1987. Terry is a joining member of Semper Fidelis Chapter No. 4428, Setantia Chapter of Installed First Principals No. 7755 and Provincial Grand Stewards' Chapter No. 8516. He became first principal of Provincial Grand Stewards' Chapter in 1993.

As in the Craft, Terry’s first Provincial rank in 1983 was that of acting PrGStwd, and he was promoted to PPrGSN in 1987. In 1993 he was appointed by Peter’s predecessor Colin Wright as an Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals and then in 2004, he became Second Provincial Grand Principal.  Terry was appointed in Supreme Grand Chapter in 1991 to the rank of PGStdB and then promoted in 1999 to PAGSoj.

Peter spoke of Terry’s first senior appointment in 1993, namely Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals, with an elevation in 2004 to Second Provincial Grand Principal for three years. In 2007, he became an APrGM and Terry remains in that office to the present time. This means that Terry has held senior offices in the Province continuously for 19 years. Accordingly, his service to this Province has been continuous and outstanding.

On a personal note, Peter commented that since he had become Provincial Grand Master, Terry has given him unfailing loyalty and support and he had been a good friend. Additionally, Terry has been a most welcome visitor wherever he has attended in the Province.

Peter then asked South Fylde Group Chairman David Randerson to read out the Certificate marking Terry’s long service to the Province.

After the meeting 140 brethren retired to the dining room where they enjoyed a wonderful meal. During the festive board, Geoffrey Lee, Provincial Grand Secretary, gave a very moving and humorous address to Terry which illustrated the considerable friendship they have both enjoyed over many years.

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