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
The centenary meeting of Tower of Sir Francis Drake Lodge No.3583 was held in the magnificent Corinthian Suite at Liverpool in the presence of the Provincial Grand Master Peter Hosker, who opened a meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge for the purposes of the ceremony.
The lodge was formed in January 2004 following the amalgamation of Tower Lodge No.3583, which had been consecrated on 26 April 1912, with Sir Francis Drake Lodge No.8109, and there were 71 members and guests present to celebrate this special centenary meeting.
The Master of the lodge, Eric Wilson, had the pleasure of welcoming the Provincial Grand Master, who entered the lodge room accompanied by his full entourage of officers in a magnificent and colourful procession.
Eric ceded the gavel to Peter who took the Chair and nominated his Provincial officers for this special opening of Provincial Grand Lodge. These included Howard Jones, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Stanley Oldfield, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Paul Renton, Senior Warden, Ian Sanderson, Junior Warden, Rev Graham Halsall, Chaplain, Geoffrey Lee, Provincial Grand Secretary, Keith Kemp, DC, Neil McSymond, Deputy DC, Paul Rattigan, Sword Bearer, Eric Hart and James Cartledge, Deacons, John Stanfield and John Breakwell, Standard Bearers, Frank Kennedy, Pursuivant, and Alan Locke, Tyler. They were preceded by Stewards Geoff Cuthill and Robb Fitzsimmons and accompanied by other Grand officers.
The Liverpool Group was represented by chairman David Hawkes, deputy chairman Sam Robinson, vice chairman Roy Ashley and secretary Roy Cowley.
Peter said: “I am delighted to be here with my Provincial team. Lodge 3583 has prospered and it's members can be justly proud of what has been achieved.” He then called upon the Provincial Grand Secretary to read the Centenary Warrant issued by the Grand Master. This warrant also gives lodge members permission to wear a special Centenary jewel. Peter then presented the Warrant to Eric who promised that it would be preserved, unsullied as he now received it.
Peter then called upon the Rev Graham Halsall to deliver an oration to the lodge. What followed was truly an oration of such quality, eloquence and erudition which held the assembled brethren spellbound. Graham commenced with a condensed history and origins of the lodge gleaned from the few lodge records which had survived the wartime blitz and other ravages of time. He went on to compare the physical properties of a tower being the image of strength, durability, security and fortitude; these being qualities to which Freemasons should aspire and to demonstrate. At the conclusion, Graham was congratulated by Peter for his well-researched and well-rehearsed oration. The assembled brethren concurred with extended applause.
The ceremony then took an unexpected turn when the Provincial Grand Master announced that he had decided to take advantage of this special Provincial Grand Lodge to confer a promotion on 85 years old member of the lodge, Bill Gallagher, to the high rank of Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden. This surprise promotion is well deserved as Bill has been WM of the lodge on four occasions in 1996, 1999, 2009 and 2010. Previously a member of the now defunct Skelmersdale Lodge No 1380, Bill was WM on no less than seven occasions and was also that lodge’s almoner. He was appointed to the rank of PPrSGD in 2003. A strong Royal Arch Mason, Bill has also been the first principal of Skelmersdale Waterloo Chapter No.1380 five times and has been appointed to the rank of PPrGSoj. Peter directed Geoffrey Lee to read the patent before investing him with the collar and jewel of his office. Peter said: “I congratulate you on 25 years of outstanding Masonic service made more remarkable by virtue of your advanced years.” A surprised Bill replied that he was grateful to accept the honour on behalf of the lodge and thanked Peter accordingly.
Next followed a prayer of rededication, led by Rev Graham Halsall and the closure of Provincial Grand Lodge. Peter returned the gavel to Eric who resumed the WM’s chair. It was remarked that Eric had conducted the proceedings in a most efficient and dignified manner despite medical problems.
Eric then rose and thanked the Provincial Grand Master for the wonderful and enjoyable ceremony. He then presented Peter with two cheques both for substantial donations to the West Lancashire Freemasons' Charity and to the Liverpool Masonic Hall Fund. Peter thanked the lodge members for their generous contributions to these most worthwhile causes.
The Provincial party then retired in an equally magnificent and colourful procession to a sumptuous festive board.
Nobody present could fail to be impressed by the dignified and stately manner in which this important and historic landmark had been celebrated by the Provincial Grand Master and his officers and by the officers and brethren of Tower of Sir Francis Lodge No 3583.