Warrington lodge reaches 250th anniversary

Lodge of Lights, No. 148, the oldest lodge in the Warrington Group in the West Lancashire Province, has celebrated its 250th anniversary. Among the 150-strong gathering were Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and Deputy Grand Master Jonathan Spence. During the evening WM Stanley Jackson presented Tony with charity donations of £14,800.

Monday, 22 February 2016 15:57

Eureka Lodge No. 3763 celebrates 100 years

Eureka Lodge No. 3763 having been consecrated on 18 February 1916, held at the Litherland Masonic Hall, by dispensation, an extra special meeting in the lodge’s history, that being its centenary meeting, 100 years to the day of its consecration.

In the lodge room, full with the brethren and the many guests for the evening, the WM Don Fraser opened the lodge and requested the secretary Iain Beckett to read out the special dispensation as the first order of business.

The lodge members and their visitors were then most pleased to receive an expected knock on the door from the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Keith Kemp, announcing that the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison was without and demanded admission.

The lodge room rose and were immensely pleased to receive Tony who was accompanied by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Philip Gunning, the Assistant Provincial Grand Masters Derek Parkinson and Tony Bent, accompanied by Ian Gee the Bootle Group Chairman and the grand officers, along with his Provincial team entering the temple in a magnificent, colourful procession.

Keith introduced Tony to Don and acceded to Don’s request to accept the gavel of the lodge and he took his place in the chair of King Solomon.

Tony then appointed his Provincial team in readiness to open Provincial Grand Lodge. For that purpose, Philip Gunning was requested to assist in continuing in the role of Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Derek Parkinson was requested to assist by continuing in the role of Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Michael Threlfall continued in the position of Provincial Senior Grand Warden and Peter Schofield as Provincial Junior Grand Warden, Rev Canon Godfrey Hirst as the Provincial Grand Chaplain, Peter Taylor as Provincial Grand Secretary, Keith Kemp as Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Gordon Ivett as Provincial Grand Tyler, along with other acting officers David Thomas (Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies), William Kilmurry (Provincial Senior Grand Deacon), Edward Harrison (Provincial Junior Grand Deacon), John Houlding and Stephen Lyon (Provincial Grand Standard Bearers), Arend van Duyvenbode as acting Provincial Grand Sword Bearer, Peter Maxwell (Provincial Grand Pursuivant), Stephen Derringer (Provincial Grand Organist), all in their respective positions for the purposes of the centenary ceremony.

Tony opened Provincial Grand Lodge and called upon the Provincial Grand Secretary Peter Taylor to read out the centenary warrant to the brethren. After which a blue bow was tied around the rolled certificate before Tony presented the warrant to Don. Tony then presented and placed the centenary jewel on Don, with the brethren of Eureka Lodge then being told that they could now show their centenary jewels.

Tony then called upon the Provincial Grand Chaplain Godfrey Hirst to give an oration to the lodge. Godfrey started his oration by a reference to the lodge’s name ‘Eureka’, reminiscing to science lessons when being told that the exclamation 'Eureka!' is famously attributed to the ancient Greek scholar Archimedes reportedly proclaiming 'Eureka! Eureka!' after he had stepped into a bath and noticed that the water level rose whereupon he suddenly understood that the volume of water displaced must be equal to the volume of the part of his body he had submerged. Godfrey mentioned that the founding brethren of the lodge must have also cried ‘Eureka!’ when they formed the lodge in 1916. With brief exhorts from the lodges history and the connections to the lodge’s name,  in 1941 the secretary and treasurer even named their homes Eureka, Godfrey then went on to give a detailed explanation of the lodges banner, with the image of Archimedes between the two pillars from its dedication to the lodge in 1931.

Once Godfrey had finished his oration, he gave a prayer, before all the brethren sang the national anthem. Tony then closed Provincial Grand Lodge, handing the gavel back to Don, who said: 'It was an honour and a privilege to see the Provincial team conducting the ceremony this evening.' Don also said: 'It was a privilege to hear the oration by Godfrey.' The Provincial officers where then replaced with the officers of the lodge with Don commenting that: 'Normal service will now be resumed.'

Don then called upon and asked Ron Lofthouse and Shaun Lavery of Eureka Lodge to deliver a reading of the lodge’s history. Ron gave the first part of the history starting from when Eureka Lodge was consecrated on 18 February 1916 at the Bootle Town Hall by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Louis S Winslow, with Mark Wilkinson being installed as the first WM.

Stating the reasons given to form this new lodge were that three lodges at Bootle are getting unwieldy on account of the large membership particularly Bootle Lodge No 1473 and there has been no new lodge stationed in Bootle for over a period of 21 years in which time the population has nearly doubled.

The lodge meetings held in Merton Hall, Merton Road apart from the installation which was always held in Bootle Town Hall. Numerous candidates were admitted, always in two's, but with dispensation up to four. The lodge flourished and although the war was still in progress there seem to be no problem in attracting candidates. During the early years the working of a number of degrees on the same night, often conducted by the WM occurred, even being a first and second degree on the same night with multiple candidates. Every meeting from the beginning of the lodge’s history had a degree worked, until February 1929 when no degree was performed.

The lodge moved after the installation in September 1930 to the Masonic Hall in Balliol Road, the Bootle Group’s former home. One thing that had been missing from the lodge was a banner, so on 23 January 1931 a banner for the lodge was donated by J V Thompson Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer and J H Howard.

Ron continued with the history until the 1940s when he handed over for the second part of the history which was taken over by Shaun.

Shaun continued to inform the brethren, mentioning that in February 1959 the lodge held its 300th meeting, with a double second degree being held on that night.

The current secretary's father Gordon Beckett was installed in September of that year and with Iain himself being initiated in January 1976 by his father and was subsequently installed as junior warden, senior warden and into the chair by his father, a unique occurrence.

Also of note, Les Lownds proposed and initiated in November 1959, left a legacy to the lodge to be used for the centenary celebrations.

The 50th anniversary of the lodge was held in 1966 when Geoffrey Carr was initiated.

Arrend Van Duyvenbode Snr was installed in the chair in September 1989 and a team from Holland gave a demonstration of the first degree in October of that year according to the Dutch ritual.

A story from the lodge’s history which occurred in Balliol Road, on one occasion the acting senior deacon Fred Glover was introducing the candidate to the senior warden when he came to that part of the ceremony, which mentioned, 'By an ear of corn near to a fall of water', the ceiling above them decided to give way to the weight of water above their heads, the candidate thought it was all part of the ceremony and was not impressed.

Due to the compulsory purchase of Balliol Road hall, the lodge moved to its current home in Litherland in September 2007.

Arend van Duvyenbode Provincial Deputy Grand Secretary was promoted to Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in April 2012. Meaning the lodge now has two Grand Lodge officers. Due to his service over the years to the Province of the Isle of Man, Fred Wright was made a Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in that Province. A further promotion was awarded to Fred in April 2013 when he was promoted to Past Junior Grand Deacon together with a promotion in Provincial Royal Arch.

Both Ron Lofthouse and Shaun Lavery delivered their readings in a clear and concise manner, keeping the brethren enthralled with the lodge’s history. Don thanked Ron and Shaun for their readings and also gave special thanks to Stan Edwards for his hard work in compiling the lodge’s history for the evening.

Don then presented Tony with the Cheques for various charities, with total amount totalling £3,763, as it was the centenary the lodge wanted donate the same amount as the lodge number. Tony then read out the donations with the money going to; West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity £282.30, The Linda McCartney Centre (Breast Cancer) £232.30, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital £232.30, Myaware (Myasthenia Gravis Association) £232.30,Merseyside Society for Deaf People £232.30,Head and Neck Cancer £232.30,Bootle YMCA £232.30, Alzheimer’s Society £232.30, Woodlands Hospice £232.30, Claire House £232.30 and theLitherland Masonic Hall £1,390.                                                                                             

Tony thanked the lodge members on behalf of all those who would eventually benefit by such kind generosity with the donations to the charities and was equally pleased to see the same generosity given towards the Litherland Masonic Hall.

Keith Kemp then commandeered the proceedings with excellent precision and the Provincial team exited in the same inimitable, magnificent colourful procession. The lodge having closed, the celebrations were continued at the festive board and there was an exceptional event of joviality and concord.

Tony in his response to the toast to his health congratulated the lodge members and commented in saying he was delighted to attend as principal guest this evening and with being accompanied by Philip, Derek and Tony for this special evening in your good company and amongst friends.

Eureka is a cry of joy and satisfaction, Litherland is part of Bootle, Bootle has its own motto: ‘respice, aspice, prospice’ which translates into ‘look to the past, the present, the future’, which the founders achieved when they founded the lodge. Tony gave congratulations to all the brethren of Eureka Lodge for the wonderful evening, congratulations were also given to all the brethren who have recently received letters informing them of their appointment and promotion in Provincial Grand Lodge. 

Tony again said he was delighted at the amount the lodge members had donated to the various charities and towards Litherland Masonic Hall. Giving special thanks to Freddie Wright and Arend van Duyvenbode for the many hours they have given to the our Province, but others further afield saying: 'Freddie you’re a legend'. Tony thanked Arend for the amount of time he has devoted to Masonry, saying he hopes he enjoys his retirement from the role and continues to enjoy his Freemasonry in the future.

Tony also mentioned John Moore saying he has learnt a lot over the years from him and the Bootle Group are honoured to have him as a member.

Tony concluded his response by informing the brethren about 2017, the 300 anniversary of Masonry in Lancashire asking all the brethren to help support the celebrations and events that are going to happen in 2017. Hoping to see an increase in the number of the brethren joining Masonry, stating we are quite fortunate at the moment as we are seeing an increase in joining members.

Derek Parkinson then proposed a toast to the brethren of Eureka Lodge, starting the toast with the information of the period of when the lodge was formed, when Britain declared war on 4 August 1914 and with English Freemasonry facing unprecedented circumstances. Freemasonry was, and remains non-political, but during this period the United Grand Lodge of England, the governing body for Freemasonry in England, Wales and across much of the British Empire, had to deal with the impact of global war.

Eureka Lodge was created, formed and consecrated during the dark days of the First World War, and much credit is due to the founders who persevered in its formation, in spite of innumerable difficulties. There were other difficult times to follow but due to the tenacity and fortitude of its members over the years the lodge continued and in fact increased popularity and membership when other lodges were struggling.

On such an occasion as this centenary meeting it is important to emphasise the importance of the efforts and work put in by our forebears and those who are members of the lodge to look forward to the future with a similar positive frame of mind, to rededicate yourselves to those Masonic principals which are so close to our hearts and to ensure that those who follow will be encouraged to celebrate not only the 150th but also the bi-centenary of the lodge, Derek said: 'To which of course, I and my immediate colleagues around the table would be delighted to receive an invitation.'

Derek finished the toast by saying: 'The future begins today WM and we are certain that under you leadership Eureka Lodge will continue to be a leading light in Freemasonry in the Province of West Lancashire and that with the guidance and support of your past masters and brethren the lodge will continue to serve not only Freemasonry in this area but the wider community.'

Don responded on behalf of the lodge and the brethren for the toast, saying: 'It is a privilege standing here today and hope the lodge will continue to go from strength to strength, it’s been a tremendous night.' Don gave thanks to Gary Adamson the lodge treasurer, who had organised the centenary and presented a gift to him from the lodge members for his hard work. Thanks were also given Iain Beckett and Howard Jones.

Don mentioned that Jeff Carr’s golden anniversary should have been held on this evening and that he generously moved the celebration to next month.

As it was a special occasion a fruit cake with the lodge name was made to commemorate the event by Cathy Bousfield, the wife of the lodge DC Stephen. It was brought to the top table with four candles on, which Don blew out before cutting, this was later distributed amongst all the brethren and guests. 

As a treat for the guests the members of Eureka Lodge sang the visitors song, with Michael Threlfall responding on behalf of the guests, commented that he will tell his wife that he sitting next to and was sung to by John Lennon, John is the current senior warden of Eureka Lodge.

A raffle was held on the night, raising £455, which will be given to the Litherland Masonic Hall. With the evening being drawn to a close, Don on behalf of the lodge members presented Tony with a special bottle of single malt whisky to commemorate the evening, also presenting flowers to be given to his wife Maureen on behalf of the lodge members.

The evening finished with the Provincial team leaving, after an enjoyable evening with much celebration in good company and jovial fun.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016 10:22

Father and sons act on the square

Through the years many Masons have had the pleasure if initiating their son into Freemasonry. Very few Masons have had the honour of initiating two sons into their lodge. One such Mason who has had that immense honour is Paul Ashton Both sons were initiated aged 18 years, thanks to dispensations from two  Provincial Grand Masters – Peter Hosker and Tony Harrison.

The current worshipful master of William Fleetwood Lodge No.2814, Lesley Neville, kindly agreed to allow Paul, who is a past master of the lodge and currently the lodge’s senior deacon, to take the chair for the initiation ceremony.

Paul is a construction site manager. He is married to Karen and they have four children, two girls: Michele is a medic in the Royal Navy and Hayley is a physiotherapist. Paul’s eldest son Daniel was initiated by his father in April 2014. He is currently studying Aerospace engineering at Loughborough University and has just been accepted to take his Master’s Degree in Aerospace engineering when he completes his degree in 2017. James is currently in his last year at sixth form college and has applied to study Chemical Engineering at Loughborough University. James is a keen sportsman and plays hockey for England.

Lesley opened the lodge and efficiently worked through the initial business before asking Paul to occupy the chair of King Solomon. James was formally announced and escorted into the lodge by the junior deacon, Brian Carrier to start his journey through the first degree to become an entered apprentice Freemason. James was ably conducted throughout the ceremony by Brain who kept James at ease and on the right course at all times.

The ceremony conducted by Paul, was word perfect and was an absolute pleasure to witness. Daniel delivered the working tools of an entered apprentice to his brother in a faultless and sincere manner. The charge after initiation was superbly delivered by lodge director of ceremonies, Jim Thomason, who has known Daniel and James since they were born.

At the end of the ceremony Paul thanked Lesley for allowing him to initiate his son. He also said: “Bringing my sons into Freemasonry has been the proudest moments of my life. Both my sons are now my brothers.”

One more special moment was to mark this special meeting when the lodge secretary announced that he had received a grand Lodge certificate for Daniel, which Lesley duly presented to Daniel after he had signed it at the secretaries desk.

The festive board which followed the ceremony was enjoyed by everybody. After an excellent meal and the formal toasts to grand and Provincial grand officers Paul had the pleasure of proposing the toast to James. Paul said: “James has always ben keen to help others and had spent his summer holidays last year, working for the National Citizen Service (NCS). James worked with 15 to 17 years old children in need at a summer camp where the children made lasting friendships, embraced the outdoors and learned the skills they don’t teach in the classroom.” Pauls toast to James was received with loud acclamation by the brethren.

James responded by thanking his ‘Brother Dad’ for proposing him and and senior lodge member  Don Kelso for seconding him and all the members of the lodge for welcoming him into the lodge. James concluded by saying: “It was a very interesting ceremony and I found it very interesting, I have been looking forward to joining Freemasonry for a long time - in fact since I first remember watching my Dad leaving for the lodge in a smart suit and carrying his black case. After Daniel was initiated I was more determined to become a Freemason. I will try to be a good member of the lodge”

George Skarratts a frequent visitor to the lodge and in-fact had stood in at short notice as JW during the ceremony read out Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘The Lewis’.

St Helens and Prescot Group Chairman, Colin Rowling welcomed James into the group and explained that he is not only a member of William Fleetwood Lodge but also a member of a worldwide fraternity. Colin then presented Daniel with a welcome pack containing information about the first degree, the St Helens and Prescot Group and other useful information, including the meeting dates of all the lodges in the group – explaining the benefits of visiting other lodges.

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 master 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. 

 

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.

Warrington masonic museum officially opened

Tony Harrison, Provincial Grand Master for West Lancashire, has opened the Warrington Museum of Freemasonry at Warrington Masonic Hall. Vic Charlesworth started the collection in 2010 with just one cupboard in the hall, but over the past few years many more exhibits have been donated – including rare and unusual jewels that were unknown to the Library and Museum in London.

There is now an impressive collection of jewels from every Warrington lodge on display, and volumes of masonic books and literature – which Vic is in the process of documenting – are available for research.

Thursday, 16 April 2015 01:00

PGM unveils 19th century tracing cloths

The members of Stretford with Trafford Lodge No.4379 were joined by many guest from around the Province, foremost of these was the Provincial Grand Master, Tony Harrison who had been invited to attend the meeting of the lodge to officially unveil the three Masonic tracing cloths that were purchased in 1872, 1873 and 1889 by Architect Lodge No.1375 which met at Swinton Masonic Hall up until it surrendered its warrant in 2014.

The lodge was opened by John Harrop the worshipful master of Stretford with Trafford Lodge. John was a member of Architect Lodge and was WM of Architect Lodge on two occasions. After completing the normal lodge business, which included a ballot for a new member John opened the lodge in the third degree. As soon as the lodge had opened in the third degree The inner guard announced that the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Keith Kemp requested admission. Keith was admitted and announced that the PrGM stood outside the lodge and demanded admission. John said he would be delighted to receive him.

Tony entered the lodge accompanied by Assistant Provincial Grand Master, John Hutton, Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Keith Kemp, six grand officers, Eccles Group Chairman, David Walmsley and four acting Provincial grand officers Ian Lynch PrSGD, Eric Lynch PrAGASuptof Wks, Tom Fredrickson PGStdB and Ken Wilson PrGStwd.

John welcomed Tony on behalf of the members of Stretford with Trafford Lodge and promptly offered him the gavel. Tony said he was delighted to be present at this unique occasion, but swiftly returned the gavel, saying: “I have no idea what John planned to do during the evening so it was better placed in his hands”.

After salutations were given to Tony John resumed labour in the first degree. Patrick Wilkinson gave an excellent explanation of the first degree working tools.

John then asked Tony to officially unveil the first degree cloth, which Tony said he was delighted to do. The electric motor then slowly revealed the restored cloth to the brethren as the cover was rolled up.

John then asked Robert Macmillan to give a short talk about the first degree tracing cloth. Robert said the story of the Architect Lodge floor cloth tracing boards began 139 years ago when the lodge was formed. The floor cloths each measure approximately 7ft x 4ft and the first degree painted floor cloth had been a personal purchase by Samuel Studd who presented the cloth to Architect Lodge in October 1872. Samual was installed as WM of the lodge in 1874. Robert continued his talk by saying: “A picture paints a 1,000 words and this is true of these tracing cloths” He then gave a brief explanation of the painting.

John thanked Robert for his talk and resumed work in the second degree.

The senior warden of Stretford with Trafford Lodge then gave an explanation of the second degree working tools.

John then asked Tony to officially unveil the second degree cloth, which Tony said he was delighted to do. The electric motor again slowly revealed the restored cloth to the brethren.

John then asked Robert Macmillan to give a short talk about the second degree tracing cloth. Robert started his talk on the second degree floor cloth by saying the cloth was purchased by the lodge in October 1889 for the sum of £9 10s. He said that this cloth was very different to most second degree tracing boards in that its major focus was the staircase leading to the middle chamber. He went on to further describe the detail in the rest of the painting.

John thanked Robert for his talk and resumed work in the third degree. The lodge secretary Mal Walters  gave an explanation of the third degree working tools.

John asked Tony to officially unveil the third degree cloth, which Tony said did and the cloth was revealed to the brethren.

John again asked Robert Macmillan to give a short talk about the third degree tracing cloth. Robert started his talk by saying the cloth was purchased by the lodge in October 1873 for the sum of £6 10s. He said: “This cloth was very dramatic as the artistic message seems to concentrate on what can only be described as the symbolic death and resurrection of man”. Robert continued with further revelations about the painting and concluded by saying that: “The artist is saying that death is not the en, it is just the beginning of a wondrous spiritual journey of discovery”.

John once again thanked Robert for his talk and then closed the lodge in the third and second degrees and resumed labour in the first degree. After the communications from Grand lodge were read, John Hutton gave greetings on behalf of the grand officers. John said he would like to thank all the brethren who had taken part in the meeting and all the lodges and brethren that had contributed to the fund to restore the three floor cloths to their former splendour. He said special thanks went to the members of Architect Lodge who had donated the cloths to Swinton Masonic Hall so that brethren and visitors to the hall could enjoy the beautiful paintings for many year to come.

After the meeting was closed the brethren adjourned to the dining room for a very enjoyable meal. After the meal John Hutton proposed the toast to the Provincial Grand Master. Tony replied to the toast by thanking the WM for the invitation to attend this special evening, for the hospitality and work he had witnessed in the lodge by all those brethren who took part. He thanked all the acting Provincial officers for their support. In conclusion Tony thanked the brethren for their donations to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity saying: “We are about to go into festival and although I do not have details for you now, I know that the WLFC needs your support as its donations will fall dramatically when we go into the festival, so I urge all lodges and chapters to give as much as they can to the WLFC”. He concluded by thanking the members of Architect Lodge who had so kindly donated the three floor cloths to Swinton Masonic Hall.

 

The members of the Lodge of Concord No. 343 celebrated the bi-centenary of its consecration

The lodge was honoured by the attendance of the Deputy Grand Master, Jonathan Spence, accompanied by other distinguished brethren, including the Provincial Grand Master, Tony Harrison who was supported by his Provincial team. Also in attendance were 130 members and visitors.

After welcoming the assembled brethren, the lodge was opened in due form by the WM, Ray Thompson, following which, the dispensation calling the meeting was read by the lodge secretary.

Following transaction of the normal business, the lodge was raised to the third degree. The PrGDC, Keith Kemp entered the lodge to announce the attendance of the PrGM, Anthony Harrison. Tony, accompanied by an entourage of acting Provincial grand officers, was admitted and formally welcomed into the lodge by the WM. Salutations were then given under the direction of Keith Kemp.

The Acting Grand Director of Ceremonies, Stephen Blank entered the lodge to announce the presence of the Deputy Grand Master, Jonathan Spence, who entered the lodge accompanied by a Provincial escort of distinguished brethren and other grand officers. Salutations were then given under the direction of Stephen Blank.

The lodge returned to the first degree before lodge member, Melvyn Carter, rose to give a short history of the lodge. The presentation proved both interesting and informative and was well received by the brethren.

Stephen collected the bi-centenary warrant from the secretary’s table and presented it to Jonathan for confirmation of its validity. The brethren were invited to rise as the warrant was read to the assembled brethren by the Assistant Grand Secretary, Shaun Christie, who concluded by returning the warrant to Jonathon for him to make the official presentation to the worshipful master. Having accepted the warrant, Ray was then presented with a centenary jewel embellished with the bi-centenary bar.

There then followed a captivating oration, delivered without notes, by the Acting Grand Chaplain, Rev Harry Ross. He began by referring to his school motto, translated as: “Look to the past, look to the present and look to the future.” He reminded brethren that many things change with time and we as individuals should look to avoid repeating the bad things that have happened in the past and seek to improve on the good things that have also occurred. What we do today sets things for the future. Harry concluded his oration with solemn prayer.

The WM then had the pleasure of presenting Tony with a cheque for £2,343 in favour of the West Lancashire Freemason’ Charity. He commented that the cheque was the culmination of a number of years of charitable collecting and giving in the name of that charity that has been carried by the lodge since it announced its intention to begin planning for the bi-centenary. Ray continued by saying that during the last 10 years the lodge had become a Grand Patron of the 2010 Festival donating in excess of £22,500 to the WLFC and, in addition, had passed monies to the Preston Masonic Fellowship and the Masonic hall. A further £7,200 had also been donated to non-Masonic charities that included the North West Air Ambulance, the Girl Guide Association and the Rosemere Cancer Foundation. In summing up, Ray announced that, excluding the cheque that had just been presented, over the last 10 years the lodge had collected and dispersed a grand total of £31,700 to worthy causes.

Ray then announced that although the lodge charitable giving was complete for the evening, the lodge donations were not. He understood that the Masonic hall was about to launch an appeal for funds to help cover the cost of a major and necessary refurbishment of the hall roof. He then invited the Masonic Hall chairman, Terry McGill, to step forward and accept a cheque to the value of £1,000 as the starting donation for the appeal.

At the risings, prior to the formal closing of the lodge, Jonathan responded on behalf of the grand officers, Tony on behalf of the Provincial officers and the WM of the Setantia Lodge of Installed Masters No 7755, Bob Poole, responded on behalf of all the visitors all, of whom commended the lodge on its achievements over the last 200 years.

Later in the evening at the celebration banquet, in response to the toast to the grand officers, Jonathan began by relating some of the events occurring in 1814, the year of the lodge’s consecration; a year when the Times of London was first printed on steam driven presses. He went on to say that this was his first visit to West Lancashire as a ruler in the Craft. He also congratulated Shaun Christie for the excellent manner he had read and delivered the contents of the warrant. Thanks also went to Stephen Blank for his control of the proceedings as the Acting Grand Director of Ceremonies and to the Rev Harry Ross for his extremely powerful and thought provoking oration.

Jonathan continued by reminding brethren of the need to get younger men involved in Freemasonry and that lodges need to recognise and be sympathetic to the demands placed on young men as they develop their working careers. He emphasised that there is no such thing as a Masonic career. As members progress they may be asked to take on a responsibility that they would hopefully carry out to the best of their ability. This may lead to further opportunities within the Masonic community that should in no way be considered as a career path.

Jonathan concluded by saying he was delighted to be with Tony and his Provincial team on this auspicious occasion and wished him and the Province of West Lancashire well for the future. He closed by proposing a toast to the health of Tony that was followed by sustained applause from the brethren.

In his response, Tony thanked Jonathan for his kind words saying he was pleased to welcome him to West Lancashire. He thanked Jonathan and his colleagues, Stephen and Shaun for sparing the time to travel to Preston to attend and take part in the ceremony, a ceremony that represented a special day for the Lodge of Concord.

Tony continued by saying the brethren in 1814 could not have foreseen the future leading to this bi-centenary event. He congratulated the lodge on its achievement thanking the lodge for the support it has given down the years and continues to give to the Preston group today.

He suggested that, in this age of electronic communication, all Freemasons should communicate with Grand Lodge with suggestions and ideas to enable Freemasonry to keep up with the times.

He went on to thank the lodge members for the charitable donation made in the lodge and thanked the Provincial team for their support and attendance.

Tony concluded by wishing everyone all the best for the future and above all to continue to enjoy their Masonry to the full. He closed by proposing a toast to the Lodge of Concord No 343.

In his response, Ray, as the WM, thanked Jonathan for his attendance and the Provincial team for their support with particular thanks to the Provincial Grand Secretary, Peter Taylor, for his response to the numerous lodge requests for information during the build up to the celebration.

Turning to the lodge members he expressed special thanks to Bob Dickinson who, despite recently retiring as the lodge secretary, continued his work in organising the event. He reminded brethren that, excluding Setantia, Concord is the largest lodge in the Preston group and concluded by thanking all the visiting brethren for their attendance.

During the banquet proceedings, to serve as a memento of the occasion, hard backed bound copies of the 200 year lodge history were distributed to all those present.

The evening closed with the Provincial Grand Tyler, Frank Kennedy, proposing the Tyler’s toast.

 

A rare a special sighting in West Lancashire

One of the most treasured and iconic images of British history and tradition is the distinctive scarlet-plumaged Chelsea Pensioner with its characteristic tricorne hat. Whilst this exceptional species is frequently observed in its native habitat amongst the shrubberies and lawns of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, it is an infrequent migratory visitor to the sandy shores of the Fylde coast and, when away from its more familiar surroundings, it sheds its iconic headwear and dons its shako, a less flamboyant peaked hat.

In a rare sighting, believed to be the first of its kind ever in West Lancashire, an extremely fine specimen was spotted perching on the chair of King Solomon in Symphony Lodge No. 4924 in the masonic hall at Blackpool.

Former Coldstream Guard John Gledhill, proudly sporting his Chelsea Pensioner finery, was installed as Master of the lodge with military precision and in magnificent style by installing Master Steve Smith, Mentor for the Blackpool group of lodges. The lodge is proud that since its consecration in 1927 no member has served a year’s tenure as WM on more than one occasion. This has been aided by many joining members volunteering to occupy the exalted position. And so it was with John, another ‘willing’ volunteer!

Adding his dignified presence to the proceedings was Peter Elmore, representing the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. Unscathed by the wear and tear of modern society and its decline in general courteousness and etiquette, Peter is one of those individuals who has retained a consistency of poise and demureness, embodying the perfect gentleman.

The general business of the lodge having been completed with expediency and exactitude by Roy Fenton, the procession of dignitaries bowled in. Shedding further lustre on this already special event were other distinguished Grand and Provincial Grand Officers and acting Provincial Officers. Grand Officers Bill Eardley and Peter Bentham, chairman of the Blackpool group of lodges commanded pole position behind Peter Elmore, followed by John Turpin vice chairman of the group, and supported by acting Provincial Officers Martyn Jones, Gordon Ivett, and Chris Walpole.

Steve Smith, the installing Master, in the course of his masonic career has had many ambitions. As a young mason, he had yearned someday to become Master of a lodge. At one time he had entertained aspirations of being a Director of Ceremonies. Later he leaned towards being Secretary of a lodge. But now having elevated his status to group Mentor, all these desires were cast aside and forgotten. The sole thing that seemed most worthwhile to him now was to install John in the best possible manner and to this task he addressed himself with all the energy and enthusiasm he could muster. The resulting ceremony was delightful, impeccable and entertaining.

Equal to the task in hand too was Alistair Still, the formidable Director of Ceremonies of the lodge who had evidently whipped the company into great shape yet, being the perfectionist that he most certainly is he appeared to be ruminating on whether a few extra lashes may have paid dividends in some quarters.

Of particular note in the ceremony were the brethren who presented the working tools. Kicking off was Bill Snell with a delightful delivery of the tools of an installed Master, followed by Vinnie Carte’s presentation of the third degree tools. David Wilson, a professional magician, thrilled the throng by conjuring up a wonderfully vibrant rendition of the second degree tools and, bringing up the rear, a marvellous recital of the first degree tools by Keith Roberts.

Two highly experienced masons, Tom Bullen and Brian Sharples then gave exemplary addresses to the WM and wardens respectively. Following quickly on the heels of excellence, came brilliance. Peter Elmore rose with his customary dignity and delivered the address to the brethren in the most eloquent and articulate of fashions.

On occupying the chair John felt and looked quietly happy. He seemed to have brought sunshine with him from Chelsea. All eyes were now upon him and, being a chap of a demure and unassuming disposition who never seeks attention and shies away from limelight, he had acquired a complexion that perfectly complemented his splendid scarlet tunic.

But the Coldstream guards train their sons well. Once John had digested the fundamental fact that his installation had been concluded, he grasped the role of master with the tenacity of a lithe mongoose pouncing on a dastardly king cobra and adopted a stance of supreme efficiency. He seemed to be so energised that, should he have had any desire to do so, he could have felled a two ton hippopotamus with a single blow of the gavel. One may pontificate, with a degree of reluctant trepidation, that even the ubiquitous Steve Smith was reduced to a meagre shadow of his former resplendence by John’s alluring performance. 

During his years in the Coldstream Guards John had served in Kenya, Aden, and Bahrain. He was stationed at Gilgil camp in Kenya during the Mau Mau rebellion of 1952 to 1960. Posted to the camp in 1959, it is rumoured that John’s arrival there was the sole reason that the Mau Mau surrendered the following year, although, being the modest man that he is, John refuses to take full credit for the regiment’s success.

The Coldstream Guards is the oldest regiment in the regular army in continuous active service and dates back to the English Civil War when Oliver Cromwell gave Colonel George Monck permission to form his own regiment as part of the New Model Army. The Monck’s Regiment of Foot was formed in August 1650 and less than two weeks later it took part in the Battle of Dunbar at which the roundheads defeated the forces of Charles I. After Richard Cromwell’s relinquishment of his position as Lord Protector, Monck gave his support to the Stuarts and in January 1660 he crossed the River Tweed into England at the village of Coldstream from where he made a five-week march to London. He arrived in London in early February and helped in restoring Charles II to the throne. Such is the glory of the regiment that John is so proud to represent.

And this was one of the points that Peter Elmore spoke of in conveying the best wishes of the Provincial Grand Master. Adding further glitter to the dazzling ceremony, John presented Peter with handsome donations to charities, including £1,400 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, £200 to Prostate Cancer research, £200 to the Blackpool Group Sponsored Walk, £100 to Violet’s Light, and £100 to the Children’s Hearing Service.

The day was an occasion to celebrate and remember. The rare sighting of a Chelsea Pensioner alighting the chair of King Solomon in West Lancashire was made extra special by the endearing, modest and enigmatic personality behind the tunic. 

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