Following the announcement in March that the Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker, was to retire on 19 May, a great deal of planning and hard work has taken place in London by UGLE and the Provincial team in Hope Street to prepare for the investiture meetings

In the last few days the all the planning by the Provincial Grand Directors of Ceremonies came together as the acting officers met in Leyland for two nights of rehearsals.

The job of moving the regalia, chapter and lodge furniture from Liverpool and Blackpool Masonic Hall to the Winter Gardens, Blackpool was also undertaken the day before the investiture meeting so that the temple could be prepared for the investiture in the morning of James Anthony Harrison as Provincial Grand Master of the Province of West Lancashire by the Grand Secretary, Nigel Brown. 

On the day of the investiture final rehearsals started at 8am as the Grand Director of Ceremonies, Oliver Lodge and his team took the acting officers through their perambulations for the final time.

When the doors were opened to the ballroom in the Winter Gardens, Blackpool more than 1,800 brethren took their seats before the first procession commenced. The procession was led by the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Keith Kemp who proceeded Howard Jones, Deputy Provincial Grand Master in Charge and the senior officers and acting Provincial Offcers of the Provincial Grand Lodge of West Lancashire along with representatives from the seven oldest lodges in the Province into the packed ball room in the Winter Gardens

Howard then opened Provincial Grand Lodge in due form.

The Grand Director of Ceremonies was then admitted into the lodge – He informed the Provincial Grand Master in Charge that the Grand Secretary stood outside and demanded admission, Howard said he would be pleased to receive him.

The Grand Director of Ceremonies, Oliver Lodge accompanied by his three Deputy Grand Directors of Ceremonies led the Grand Secretary, Nigel Brown, who was accompanied by Assistant Grand Secretary, Tony Rayner and three Provincial Grand Masters: Keith Dalrymple (Isle of Man), Steven Adcott (Cheshire) and Sir David Trippier (East Lancashire) along with other visiting grand officers in what was a very colourful procession into the ballroom.

After being welcomed to the meeting Nigel was offered the gavel by Howard. Nigel accepted the gavel and took his seat. Nigel appointed his wardens Steven Adcott (senior warden) and Keith Dalrymple (junior warden), with Rev Graham Halsall acting as Grand Chaplain, he proceeded to open Grand Lodge.

Nigel addressed the brethren, informing them that the object of the meeting was to invest Tony Harrison as the Provincial Grand Master for the Province of West Lancashire.

The Grand Director of Ceremonies then submitted the Provincial Grand Master designate’s Patent of Appointment to Nigel for inspection. After inspecting the Patent Nigel asked the Grand Director of Ceremonies to form a deputation to introduce the Provincial Grand Master designate.

On the return of the delegation the Assistant Grand Secretary read the Patent of Appointment.

At this point Nigel asked Tony if he could conscientiously undertake the duties of the office, to which he gave his consent.

A prayer was then read by the acting Grand Chaplain. After the prayer Tony took his obligation, after which he was invested and placed in the chair of King Solomon. Nigel congratulated Tony on behalf of the Grand Master, he was then conducted to a chair on the right of the Provincial Grand Master and the deputation resumed the positions in the lodge.

The acting Grand Wardens and Chaplain were replaced by the Provincial wardens and chaplain.

The Grand Director of Ceremonies proclaimed Tony as the Provincial Grand Master and called on the brethren to salute him. To which Tony gave a suitable reply.

Tony addressed Howard Jones, saying: 'You have been Deputy Provincial Grand Master since 2012, previous to which you were an AsstProvGM for four years. Throughout this time, you have clearly demonstrated your enthusiasm and commitment to Freemasonry and to this Province, and I had absolutely no hesitation in asking you to be Deputy Provincial Grand Master, which you have thankfully accepted.

Tony obligated and Invested Howard as the Deputy Provincial Grand Master and he was conducted to his Chair.

A Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies proclaimed Howard as Deputy Provincial Grand Master and called on the brethren of the Province to salute him. To which Howard gave a suitable reply.

Tony named the brethren he was reappointing as Assistant Provincial Grand Masters: 'I am pleased to report that the nine Assistant Provincial Grand Masters have all indicated that they wish to continue in their important roles. I thank them individually and collectively for their support. They are: Raymond Martland, Philip Gunning, Anthony Bent, Mark Dimelow, Harry Cox, David Winder, John Hutton, Derek Parkinson and David Grainger. Thank you very much indeed.

Tony continued: 'As you have all previously filled the office of APrGM, it is not necessary for you to repeat, in full, the obligation which you took when you were first appointed. I will read it and you must, re-affirm the undertakings you made then with regard to the performance of the duties of the office, and that you made when you were first appointed.' Which they did and Tony then said: 'I have much pleasure in appointing each of you as AsstProvGM’s'.

A Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies proclaimed the reappointed Assistant Provincial Grand Masters and called on the brethren of the Province to salute them.

Tony said: 'In addition to the re-appointment of those nine AsstProvGM’s, I intend to appoint as AsstProvGM, Kevin Poynton, who will succeed the late Ian Boswell who passed away very recently.

Kevin, you have been a mason for over 34 years, during which time you have held the office of Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies for three years in the Craft and then three years in the Royal Arch. You have been Assistant to ProvGMs for just over 12 months and had already started to make a positive impact within the groups under your care. You are a highly experienced mason and I am looking forward immensely to working with you.

Kevin gave a solemn obligation with regard to the performance of the duties of his office. After giving his obligation Tony appointed him as Assistant Provincial Grand Master.

A Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies then proclaimed Kevin an Assistant Provincial Grand Masters and called on the brethren of the Province to salute them. To which Kevin gave a suitable reply.

Tony addressed Provincial Grand Lodge:

'Brethren, can I begin my address by thanking the Grand Secretary, Nigel Brown for his attendance here today and for literally stepping in at the last minute, and to the Assistant Grand Secretary for today, Tony Rayner and the Grand Director of Ceremonies Oliver Lodge who, together with their deputies and assistants, have brought so much to what has been a splendid occasion.  

'I am sure I speak for everyone in the Province when I say how delighted we are to see you here for both investitures and I hope your stay in West Lancashire will be remembered as a happy and memorable one.

'The Installation of a new ProvGM is an important milestone in the life of any Province and today has been no exception and it is only right and proper that firstly, I pay tribute to my predecessor, Peter Hosker. Whilst much of Peter’s time in office was spent attending installations, amalgamations, centenaries and even re-dedication ceremonies, behind the scenes he put an unbelievable amount of time and effort into making sure that this Province adopted procedures that would allow it to run in a much more business-like fashion.

'Yes we are doing much the same as before, but I can assure you brethren, because of what Peter put in place, we are doing everything a whole lot smarter and certainly a lot more efficiently.

'I am sure you will all join with me in wishing both Peter and his wife Julie, a long and happy retirement together.

'Brethren, you will all be aware of the tremendous amount of change that has been brought upon us in the past 12 months. I would now hope for a period of stability within the Province so that we can get on with what we are good at ‘enjoying our Freemasonry and making sure that everyone else enjoys it too’.

'To Howard Jones, who has agreed to continue as my deputy, I would say a huge thank you, as well as to my assistants who I have had the greatest of pleasure in reappointing this afternoon and would like to offer the thanks of the Province to Howard for all the work that he has undertaken as the Deputy Provincial Grand Master in Charge. 

'It is indeed extremely sad that Ian Boswell only very recently lost his brave battle against his cancer but I would like to say how grateful we are to him for all the work that he did as AsstProvGM.

'I have been please to appoint Kevin Poynton as AsstProvGM with particular responsibilities for the Warrington, Widnes and Woolton groups and I welcome him to our new team.

'In a Province of this size, one that is still the largest under the UGLE, I cannot be everywhere, all the time, so I place an great amount of trust and responsibility in my deputy and assistants who I know work so hard at doing what they do so well. Brethren you have my unreserved thanks and appreciation and I look forward to us working closely together in the months and years to come.

'In West Lancashire our group system continues to serve the Province and membership well and our group chairman and their executive are, without doubt some of the most dedicated brethren we have and in recognition of, and in support of their office, I will be looking closely at the group system, with a view to devolving greater ownership, but for now, I would like to thank you all for your support, encouragement and commitment.

'The society in which we live and work continues to change at an alarming rate and Grand Lodge has changed to meet the myriad of challenges that those changes bring. Here in West Lancashire we have made those same changes and have met those same challenges. We continue to embrace the advantages that come with new technology and we make full use of the latest means of social media to reach out to the public at large and to communicate within our own membership. Technology does not stand still and neither should we. We are fortunate that within our membership we have brethren with the necessary skillsets in place to make sure we remain ready to adopt the very latest in communication and social media and we will continue to invest in appropriate technology where and when necessary.

'Through our Mentoring and Membership schemes we are tackling head on recruitment, retention and retrieval and already we are beginning to see the benefits. I would suggest to you all that there is nothing better than hearing of brethren talking about Freemasonry openly among their family, friends and colleagues. We are all membership officers and mentors and none of us should feel the need to have any separate designation. From this day forward you certainly have my permission to talk about Freemasonry and if someone asks you why you are, you can tell them Tony Harrison said so, and I am sure our Grand Secretary will confirm. And I would like to inform you all that there is now a new video on our Provincial website that explains the key elements of Freemasonry. Please take every opportunity to share it with your non-masonic friends as this may interest them in joining our fraternity.

'Brethren, as a Province we continue to be at the forefront of charitable giving. In the past year alone we gave just under £260,000 to non-masonic charities and donations to our West Lancashire Freemasons' Charity from our lodges, chapters and individuals, including Gift Aid on those donations, amounted to over £370,000 and we have every intention on not only maintaining that level of disbursement, but by your tremendous efforts, continuing to increase it year on year.

'In a little over two years-time, we will begin to celebrate our tercentenary. 2017 will be a year that will see great masonic events and ceremonial and centrally plans are already well underway. In West Lancashire we will be joining in those celebrations and separately, but complementary to, we will be organising our own events and in the near future I will be making a number of announcements concerning what we have in mind and if you feel that you have any ideas and wish to contribute in any way please let me know.

'Looking round this room now and the many lodge rooms I will look round in the future, serves as a constant reminder of the obligations and responsibilities that are placed upon me. Yes, in the months and years that lie ahead things will alter, nothing ever stays the same, In fact I can't begin to tell you just how much my life has changed already, but you know brethren I am enjoying every single minute of it and it really is my biggest wish that we can all share in that same enjoyment and fun.

'Every single brother of this Province has his own part to play in our future and I would like to encourage a greater transparency in what we do, so that everyone feels that he is part of the whole process and that his views and opinions are just as important as anyone else. But above all I would like to engender a feeling of being happy and having fun, which to me, is fundamental to the success and enjoyment of our entire organisation.

'Brethren, we are inheritors of a past so carefully laid down by some pretty formidable predecessors and we are dealing with a present that continues to change for the better. We now have the opportunity to build on our inheritance so that West Lancashire can continue to prosper and future generations in turn will inherit a Province with an exceptional past, an outstanding present and a wonderful future.

'In closing I would like to give a very big thank you to all the brethren from the Furness and South Lakeland Group and the Lancaster and District Group who together with their respective vice chairmen Peter Schofield and Martin Baxendale are stewarding this special day so well.

'Finally brethren, can I thank each and every one of you for your attendance here today and to those brethren from our neighbouring Provinces and to those from further afield, I trust that you have had a pleasant and enjoyable day here in Blackpool and we hope you all have a safe journey home. God Bless you all.'

Tony then closed Provincial Grand Lodge.

The Grand Director of Ceremonies then led the recession of grand officers out of the lodge. 

In early 1914 the winds of war were already spreading over mainland Europe. Discontent was growing in the Balkans and the hurricane which would be unleashed later that year was fomenting. Closer to home in Britain, Irish home rule was on the governmental agenda and suffragettes were pushing their cause and gaining momentum. Masonry had been well established in the country for many years with some lodges nearby already having celebrated their centenary. Unanimity Lodge in Preston No. 113 in particular.

The town of Fleetwood, at that time, had a single masonic lodge – Hesketh Lodge No. 950 – and it was from there that seven members joined with seven brethren from other lodges to form a new lodge in the town, which was to be known as Fleetwood Lodge No. 3711. The lodge was consecrated on 11 March 1914 at the Mount Hotel. The Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Louis S Winslow, was in attendance along with a number of other Grand and Provincial Grand Officers.

A little over 100 years later over 90 brethren gathered at the Savoy Hotel in Blackpool to celebrate the centenary of Fleetwood Lodge No. 3711.

The WM Howard Valentine opened the lodge and the dispensations to hold the special meeting were read by the secretary Mark Blundell. Howard transacted the other business of the lodge before it was announced that the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Howard Jones, was without and demanded admission.

The brethren rose and Howard was admitted accompanied by Harry Cox, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Raymond Martland, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Duncan Smith, Chairman of the North Fylde Group and a number of grand and acting Provincial grand officers.

Howard Valentine offered Howard Jones the gavel of the lodge which was accepted and he took his place in the chair of King Solomon. 

Howard then nominated his Provincial team in readiness to open Provincial Grand Lodge. For that purpose, Harry Cox was requested to assist as Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Mark Matthews the position of Provincial Senior Grand Warden, Joseph Hall as Provincial Junior Grand Warden, Graham Halsall as the Provincial Grand Chaplain, Neil McSymons as Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Frank Kennedy as Provincial Grand Tyler, Peter Taylor, Provincial Grand Secretary, along with other acting officers, all in their respective positions for the purposes of the centenary ceremony.

Howard then opened Provincial Grand Lodge and called upon the Provincial Grand Chaplain Graham Halsall to give an oration to the lodge. Graham started his oration by informing the brethren a little about how the town of Fleetwood come to be and surprised most present by revealing that there were three lighthouses in Fleetwood. 

At the conclusion, Graham was congratulated by Howard for his well-researched and well-rehearsed oration. The assembled brethren concurred with extended applause.

Howard was then pleased to present the lodge members with their splendid centenary jewels.

A prayer of rededication followed which was led by Graham, this was followed by the closure of Provincial Grand Lodge. Howard returned the gavel to Howard Valentine who resumed the WM’s chair. Howard then rose and thanked the Deputy Provincial Grand Master for the wonderful and enjoyable ceremony. He then presented Howard with a cheque to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity for the magnificent sum of £3,711. Howard thanked the lodge members for their splendid donation.

The Provincial party then retired in a magnificent and colourful recession before Howard Valentine closed the lodge and the brethren made their way to the dining room where they enjoyed a happy and convivial festive board.

In readiness for the meeting, the lodge produced a centenary booklet containing lodge information and historical notes. The booklet was written and assembled by Mark Bludell with the assistance of members Peter Bailey, David Brooks, Brian Chapman, Neil McSymons, Jonathon Moss, Alan Ollerton, Peter Tebbs, Edward Vollans and Dewi Williams who all spent hours trawling through the numerous minute books to build the story about the lodge’s existence.

Harry Cox had the pleasure of proposing the health of Howard Jones at the festive board and during his proposition Harry informed the brethren that Howard was a people’s person, always had a ready smile and a welcoming approach to all that he meets. As a Freemason, he had had two acting ranks that really got him known around the Province. Harry continued by adding the Howard was doing a magnificent job as our Deputy Provincial Grand Master.

Howard in his response to the toast to his health congratulated the lodge and commented in saying ‘well done to the founders and well done to the members’. He then offered his own toast to the lodge.

Davyhulme Lodge No. 3715 was consecrated on 22 April 1914 and to celebrate its centenary a unique and special meeting was held by dispensation and is now recorded in the annuls of the lodge history – the centenary meeting, one hundred years to the night after its inception coupled with the dedication of a lodge banner to mark the occasion

The centenary meeting was reported as being the ninth centennial meeting within the Province during this masonic season and was held in the Westbourne suite at Urmston masonic Hall.

Worshipful master Tom Sharp requested the lodge secretary, Keith Lewis, to read out the special dispensation before opening the lodge. 

Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Keith Kemp entered the lodge and announced that the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Howard Jones was without and demanded admission.

The brethren having risen were extremely pleased to receive Howard and the Provincial team, accompanied by John Hutton (APrGM) Mike Adams (group chairman) grand officers Chris McNab, Anthony Jobs, Brian Hayes, David Durling and Nolan Morrison PDepPrGM East Lancs.

Howard, was introduced to the WM, who offered him the gavel to which he duly accepted and occupied the chair of King Solomon.

In his opening, Howard remarked on Davyhulme lodge’s centennial year liaising with eight other lodge centenaries, a total of nine throughout the Province this masonic year, each of the centenary celebrations of course being as equally important to the Province and the respective lodges and individuals. He went on to say that this particular centenary celebration had its own uniqueness in that there was also to be a joint banner dedication.

Howard explained the importance of banners and gave the brethren a note of realisation of banners in their respective theatres of application not just appertaining to Freemasonry.

A banner dedication team of lodge members were despatched from the lodge to collect the banner and return into the lodge room, amongst those members were the lodge secretary, Keith Lewis, who had been rightfully nominated as the banner bearer. Keith had designed and produced the banner himself and along with the other members of the banner party, proudly displayed his work as they lined up in the east. Howard  dedicated the impressive banner and presented it to the worshipful master and his lodge, where after the banner was put on display in the south east part of the lodge.

Howard then appointed his Provincial team in readiness to open Provincial Grand Lodge, for that purpose, John Hutton was requested to assist as Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Mark Matthews occupied the position of Provincial Senior Grand Warden and Joseph Hall as Provincial Junior Grand Warden, with Godfrey Hirst acting as the Provincial Chaplain, Keith Kemp remained as Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Gordon Ivett continued as Provincial Grand Pursuivant, Peter Taylor, Provincial Grand Secretary, along with other acting officers David Thomas Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, Peter Brown Provincial Senior Grand Deacon, Gordon Southwick Provincial Junior Grand Deacon, and having already preceded Howard into the lodge by procession were Stuart Kane and Anthony Hill both of whom are Provincial Grand Standard Bearers, Alan Briggs Provincial Grand Sword Bearer, Derek Hughson Provincial Grand Organist, all in their respective positions for the purposes of the centenary ceremony.

Howard then opened Provincial Grand Lodge and called upon the Godfrey Hirst to give an oration to the lodge.

Howard thanked Godfrey, for a very interesting and thought provoking oration and then called the brethren to the attention of Godfrey for a prayer of re-dedication where after Howard closed Provincial grand lodge and handed the gavel back over to the worshipful master.

On completion of the ceremony, and having retrieved the gavel, Tom rose to the thank Howard along with the Provincial team for making the evening such a special occasion for the lodge members. Tom then had much pleasure in handing over a magnificent cheque for £3,715 made out in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, 3715 being the number of the lodge.

Howard thanked the lodge on behalf of all those who we may never know who would eventually benefit through the charity by the very kind generosity of Davyhulme Lodge.

The Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies then commandeered the proceedings with excellent precision and the Provincial team exited the lodge in a magnificent colourful procession.

The lodge having closed, the celebrations continued at the festive board which was of course an exceptional event of joviality and concord. Howard in his response, congratulated the lodge and Tom for his starting the second centennial term of the lodge as master.

The unique and memorable occasion concluded leaving the lodge members clearly proud of the Provincial presence in full in its ceremonial form, making a lasting impression on their minds and of course in celebration of their founders 100 years prior.

West Lancashire's 154th Grand Masonic Festival and Ball is the highlight of the Provincial social calendar

Over 530 brethren, companions and their ladies from across the Province joined Mark Matthews, Provincial Senior Grand Warden, and Joe Hall, Provincial Junior Grand Warden, at the Premier Suite, Reebok Centre, Horwich.

The evening started with a formal reception for all installed Masters and First Principals where there was an opportunity to meet the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Howard Jones and the Deputy Grand Superintendent Steven Reid. The Quayside Jazzmen played music during the reception. 

After the reception Howard and his daughter Mrs Lindsey Young led the Provincial party into the Ball room where they took their seats for a sumptuous four course dinner of Beetroot cured Salmon with French dressing and vegetable crisps, Daube of Beef and Yorkshire pudding with roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables followed by chocolate raspberry tart with white chocolate sauce followed by a selection of fine English cheeses. 

After the meal Mark expressed his and Joe’s thanks along with the whole Province to the organising committee. He thanked Ray Dainton for playing piano music at dinner, he then said special thanks go to the members of the organising committee: Mike Kinsella (Hon treasurer), David Lea (Hon secretary) and Glynn Wrenall (Hon event co-ordinator) he then presented flowers to their wives. 

Howard then said he wanted to give special thanks to David Lea, who is retiring after 16 years as secretary. Howard said that David’s first ball was in 1998 and David and his wife Alma had organised 17 Grand Masonic Ball’s and the Province thanked them both for their hard work. 

Before dancing commenced to music by the Pyramid Band, everyone joined in the Grand march led by Howard and Lindsey. 

All proceeds from the evening will be donated to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity.

Tuesday, 04 March 2014 09:42

A special night for Crosby Lodge No. 3714

The members of Crosby Lodge No. 3714 and their many guests gathered in Bootle Masonic Hall to celebrate the lodge centenary and the investiture of Derek Parkinson as Assistant Provincial Grand Master

The Master of the lodge Graham Chambers had the pleasure of welcoming the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Howard Jones who entered the lodge room accompanied by his full entourage of grand and Provincial grand officers in a magnificent and colourful procession.

Graham ceded the gavel to Howard who took the chair and nominated his Provincial officers for this special opening of Provincial Grand Lodge. These included Mark Dimelow who acted as Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Mark Matthews Senior Warden, Joe Hall Junior Warden, Rev Can Geoffrey Hirst Deputy Provincial Grand Chaplain, Peter Taylor Provincial Grand Secretary, Keith Kemp Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Neil McSymond DGDC, John Fielding Provincial Grand Sword Bearer, Peter Hughes and John Gibbon Provincial Deacons, Antony Hill and Stuart Kane Standard Bearers, Gordon Ivett Pursuivant and Frank Kennedy Tyler. They were accompanied by three APrGMs Ray Martland, Tony Harrison and John Hutton and two PPRAGMs David McCormick and John Moore and several other grand officers.

The Bootle Group was represented by chairman Ian Gee, vice chairman John Marsden and secretary Ray Barrow.

After opening Provincial Grand Lodge Howard said: 'Brethren I am delighted to be here with my Provincial team we are here this evening for two special reasons the first is to invest Derek Parkinson as an Assistant Provincial Grand Master for this Province and the second is to celebrate 100 years to the day that Crosby Lodge was consecrated, Howard said the meeting is able to be held thanks to a dispensation that has been granted.

Howard stated that the first item was to invest Derek and it was an honour and a privilege to carry out the investiture on behalf on the Provincial Grand Master Peter Hosker who was unable to attend due to illness.

A deputation was then formed to bring Derek into the lodge to which Howard welcomed him in. Howard read out Derek’s masonic history from when he was initiated into Cleveleys Park Lodge No. 7540 by his father and was installed as worshipful Master in 1988 to his appointment as an Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals two years ago. Howard said that his service to Freemasonry both in the Craft as well a Royal Arch was exemplary and that his CV was highly commendable.

Derek was asked if he was willing to undertake the responsibilities and duties of the office of Assistant Provincial Grand Master, to which he replied, I am. Peter Taylor then read out the certificate of office signed by the Provincial Grand Master.

Derek then knelt and took the solemn obligation of an APrGM. Howard invested Derek with the chain of his office and thanked him on behalf of Peter Hosker for accepting this important office. The brethren then saluted John with the grand or royal sign five times.

The centenary celebration then got underway. Howard said 'Crosby Lodge No. 3714 has prospered and its members can be justly proud of what has been achieved in its 100 years.'

He then called upon the Provincial Grand Secretary to read the Centenary Warrant issued by the Grand Master which he did. This document also gives the lodge members permission to wear a special Centenary jewel. Howard then presented the Centenary Warrant to Graham who promised that it would be preserved, for subsequent masters pure and unsullied as he received it. 

Howard then called upon Rev Can Geoffrey Hirst to deliver an oration to the lodge. What followed was truly an oration of quality, eloquence and erudition which held the assembled brethren spellbound. At the conclusion of his oration, Geoffrey was congratulated by Howard for his oration. The assembled brethren concurred with applause.

Next followed a prayer of rededication, given by Geoffrey. Howard then closed Provincial Grand Lodge. Howard returned the gavel to Graham who resumed the WM’s chair.

Graham then rose and thanked the Deputy Provincial Grand Master for the wonderful and enjoyable ceremony. He then presented Howard with three cheques, £214 for PALMA - Liverpool Pancreas Biomedical Research Unit, £500 to the West Lancashire Freemasons' Charity and £3,000 to FROTH – Friends of the hall. Howard 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 Deputy Provincial Grand Master and his officers and by the officers and brethren of Crosby Lodge No. 3714.

Over 70 brethren enjoyed a wonderful meal and good company at the festive board.

Fallowfield Lodge No. 3693 celebrates its centenary meeting

The centenary meeting of the lodge was held in the Westbourne Suite at Urmston Masonic Hall and was very well attended. The Worshipful Master Andrew Davies requested the secretary, Ron Spragg to read out the special dispensation before opening the lodge.

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

The lodge room rose and were pleased to receive Howard accompanied by John Hutton (AsstProvGM) Mike Adams (group chairman) and grand officers Chris McNab and David Durling, along with his provincial team entered the temple in a magnificent, colourful procession

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

Howard commenced his introduction and remarked on certain centennial dates which liaised with the same year as the Fallowfield Lodge's inception. The comparisons were that on the same evening as Fallowfield had been consecrated there was a famous boxing match taking place in Paris, France, between the two American boxers Jim Johnson and Jack Johnson. Similarly in that same year, Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe made a debut, and composer Benjamin Brittan was born.

Howard opened Provincial Grand Lodge and called upon the acting Provincial Grand Chaplain Godfrey Hurst to give an oration to the lodge. Godfrey started his oration by a reference to the game of poolsticks, where in the era of the lodge commencing its era, where youngsters, from a bridge over a river, would throw sticks into the water and see whose stick would reach a designated point first would be the winner. In the era of a lodge, the sticks would represent people and the flowing water represents change, and so his oration flowed with many references and very interesting analogies. Godfrey then related his oration to the lodge banner and gave a very interesting interpretation of the lodge's Latin motto ‘Quadrage Simus Septimus’ and its ordinal numeric reference.

On completion of Godfrey’s presentation, Howard thanked him for a very interesting and thought provoking oration. Howard called the brethren to the attention of Godfrey for a prayer of re-dedication after which, Howard closed Provincial Grand Lodge and handed the gavel back over to Andrew Davies.

Having resumed his position, Andrew asked the secretary Ron Spragg to read out the minutes of the consecration meeting as recorded on the lodge's minute book. It started ‘at past 4 o'clock’ continued by an interesting dialogue including tools presented in the three degrees by Bro Wilmslow and a presentation of 10 guineas towards the lodge charity account. The lodge closed at 6.20pm.

On completion of the ceremony, Andrew rose to thank Howard along with the Provincial team for making the evening such a special occasion, and handed over a number of envelopes containing charitable donations. Howard was absolutely delighted to receive the donations made out in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. One was for £1,500, one for £1,000 and the third donation was made out in favour of the Urmston Masonic Hall fund for £1,193 - a total of £3,693, that being the number of the lodge.

Howard thanked the lodge on behalf of all those who, through the charity, would eventually benefit by such kind generosity and was equally pleased to see the same generosity towards the Urmston Masonic Hall fund.

ProvGDC 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.

David Durling produced a centenary table card which had interesting points of information relating to Fallowfield's consecration year. Just a selection of those, some of which we take for granted today were as follows: potato crisps were produced commercially for the first time, stainless steel was invented in Sheffield, the first Chelsea Flower Show was held in London. The UK had a Liberal government, the suffragette Emily Davison threw herself in front of King George V horse at the Derby race and to compare against current day communications, news reached London of the failure of Captain Scott’s 1912 polar expedition.

Howard in his response to the toast to his health congratulated the lodge and commented in saying ‘well done to the founders and well done to the members’. He then offered his own toast to the lodge.

The memorable occasion may have ended, but the history encompassing the lodge founders, clearly making an impression on the minds of the proud lodge members for them to recall in their own Masonic years ahead.

In readiness for the meeting, the lodge produced a centenary booklet containing lodge information and historical notes. The booklet written and assembled by Sylvester During with the researched assistance by members David Emmett, Dalphon Lusack, Cliff Bevan, Sahr Kondeh and Andrew Wallace who all spent hours trawling through the numerous minute books to build the story about the lodge’s existence, produced an excellent conjoined effort which is available to view by clicking here.

The Provincial team were out in force recently to help the members of Abercromby Lodge No. 3699 celebrate their centenary meeting at Liverpool Masonic Hall

The proceedings commenced with the entrance of the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Howard Jones, whose arrival was heralded by Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Keith Kemp. He was preceded by the Provincial Standard Bearers and the Provincial Sword Bearer in a magnificent and colourful procession.

Howard was accompanied by many Grand and Acting Provincial Officers. Amongst those distinguished brethren were Mark Dimelow, the Chairman of the Liverpool Group, Sam Robinson, vice chairman Bob Povall and Abercromby Lodge grand officers Dudley York-Sumerskill and Ian Fisher.

Accepting the proffered gavel from the lodge WM Arthur Garnett, Howard took the chair and opened a special meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge. He called upon the Provincial Grand Secretary Peter Taylor, to read to the assembled brethren the centenary warrant issued by the Grand Master commemorating the centenary and permitting and authorising the members of Abercromby Lodge to wear their centenary jewel. Howard then formally presented the warrant and centenary jewel to Arthur Garnett, who promised to keep and pass on the warrant to his successors pure and unsullied as he received it.

A most wonderful oration was then delivered to the assembly by the Provincial Grand Chaplain the Rev Graham Halsall, who explained how Abercromby Lodge came to be so named. The lodge was consecrated on the eve of the Great War on 3 January 1914 and was named after nearby Abercromby Square, in those days a fashionable location filled with merchant’s homes and also the palace of the Bishop of Liverpool. The lodge motto is Vive et Vivas and Graham went on to moralise upon the meaning of those words, which could be translated as 'Live well so that others may live’. Graham then led the assembly in prayer for the future of the lodge and its members.

Howard passed on the greetings and congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master who had been prevented from being in attendance due to illness. The special Provincial Grand Lodge was closed in due form and Howard returned the gavel to Arthur.

A comprehensive but concise history of Abercromby Lodge from consecration to the present day was then read to the lodge by Dudley York-Sumerskill. This history explained how the lodge became named and traced the story of the lodge and its members, including the effects on it of the vicissitudes of two world wars, the economic difficulties of the 1930s, as well as the more prosperous periods.

It was interesting to note that the lodge membership consisted at one time of many members of the teaching profession. Dudley made mention of several individual brethren who made notable contributions to the lodge including the first master, Herbert Standring and Billy Bucknall who were instrumental in founding the lodge. Abercromby lodge’s oldest surviving past master from 1957 is Herbert Price, who recently celebrated his 101st birthday! Although sound in mind and spirit, Herbert’s physical condition prevented him from attending the meeting. Dudley’s discourse was received with applause by the assembly. Although far too extensive to be reproduced here, several of the lodge members have co-operated to produce a written history which was distributed to the members and visitors for their interest.

It is pleasing to report that the lodge is now undergoing something of a renaissance with several younger members looking to advance through the lodge offices. The meeting reached a conclusion when Arthur Garnett presented Howard with a cheque for £300 which represented a donation by Abercromby Lodge to the masonic charities.

The lodge was closed and the brethren adjourned to a lavish festive board. Following the meal Howard gave a most interesting speech in which he gave an account of the life of Sir Arthur Stanley, who was the Provincial Grand Master at the time that Abercromby Lodge was consecrated. The consecration took place in the Bear’s Paw public house in Lord Street, Liverpool. This fascinating account received hearty applause and crowned what had been a most enjoyable and memorable evening and a fitting celebration of the practice of 100 years of Freemasonry by the brethren of Abercromby Lodge No. 3699.

The centenary of Yachtsman’s Lodge No. 3698 was celebrated at Woolton Golf Club in the presence of the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Howard Jones, who was supported by the Provincial Senior and Junior Grand Wardens, Mark Matthews and Joe Hall and the majority of the Provincial team

The members of Yachtsman’s Lodge were delighted that their honorary member Cyrill McGibbon was present, as Cyril is older than the lodge at 101 years of age. The centenary meeting was well supported by almost 70 members and guests.

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

Howard was welcomed into the lodge by the worshipful master Ken Baxter, who offered Howard the gavel which he accepted. Howard proceeded to open Provincial Grand Lodge. 

Howard gave a short address to the lodge before asking asked Mike Cunliffe (Woolton Group Secretary) who was acting as the Provincial Grand Secretary for the meeting to read out the centenary warrant.

The warrant was presented to the worshipful master, Ken Baxter along with a centenary jewel. The lodge members were then permitted to wear their centenary jewels.

Howard then called upon the Provincial Grand Chaplain Rev Graham Halsall to deliver an oration was delivered by the Provincial Deputy Grand Chaplain, which was based on the maritime history of Liverpool and the ways time has changed the waterfront of Liverpool and Yachtsman’s Lodge in particular.

Next followed a prayer of rededication led by Graham and the closure of Provincial Grand Lodge.

Before closing the centenary meeting Howard informed the brethren that the Provincial Grand Master was sorry he could not attend the meeting due to poor health, but he sent his best wishes for the future of the lodge.

Howard returned the gavel to Ken who thanked Howard for his attendance and handed him a cheque for £3,698 in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity which was greeted with enthusiastic acclamation by the brethren.

Ken then asked Howard if he would present three Grand Lodge certificates to three new members of the lodge. Howard said he would be delighted to do so.

After the lodge was closed, the guests and members enjoyed pre-dinner drinks before sitting for sumptuous festive board.

Woolton Group Vice Chairman who has known Howard for many years proposed the toast to him.

Howard responded: 'First of all if I may thank Vic Albin for his generous toast to my health especially as our friendship goes back almost 40 years.

'Brethren, on such a special occasion it is appropriate to have a party which brings to mind a sentence from Gilbert and Sullivan - and you're giving a treat, penny ice and cold meat, to a party of friends and relation.

'Well brethren, we are certainly friends if not relations through our various lodges and we are privileged to be here to celebrate or should I say party, with you. As I said, Princes Lodge No. 2316 was your mother lodge, sadly their warrant was returned in 2004 but you also had a daughter lodge, Hyperion Lodge No. 3933, but again their warrant was returned in 2009. From your family it is therefore up to you to sail into your second century with confidence.

'I don't know if any present members remember your WM in 1963 when you reached 50 years. It was a brother called Bill Edwards who was a regular visitor to my own lodge and one of the first I got to know outside my own lodge. Sitting and talking to him certainly increased my knowledge of Masonry and you can be proud that he was everything you would wish a Freemason to be. You could say he was a typical mentor but long before we gave it a title. Tonight I was able to present three Grand Lodge Certificates and I would urge those brethren to make sure they talk with the older members whenever possible. You will learn a considerable amount.

'I congratulate and thank you for presenting such a generous cheque for £3,698 to WLFC. You will of course be able to increase the amounts you raise if you use the yellow envelope scheme and benefit from the Gift Aid reclaim.'

Howard concluded by referring to the evening as being the 100th birthday party, an opportunity to congratulate the lodge on reaching this notable landmark, but also to wish it well as it set sail on the route to the next landmark.

As Howard finished the bell which is traditionally sounded on the half hour during the festive board rang!

To which he said: 'Brethren I have clearly had time called on my response!'

Saturday, 30 November 2013 22:38

A double gold for Hal Eccles and Tom Fairley

The King’s Lodge No. 3101 had good cause to be in a celebratory mood, as two of its members, Haldane Raymond Eccles and Thomas Paton Fairley both celebrated their 50 years in Freemasonry on the same night

This was enhanced even more by the fact the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Howard Jones, who is also a member of King’s Lodge, was to deliver the celebration.

Lodge formalities over, Howard was offered the gavel by the WM Colin Robinson which he accepted, remarking that it had been in his care on several occasions before.

Howard set the scene with a short introduction.

'Fifty years ago 1963 was a year with a number of metaphorical clouds. The winter had been long and cold with the snow remaining until April and for three months there was no amateur football in Liverpool because of frozen, snow covered pitches.

'The railways had a bad year. First Dr Beeching issued his report and latterly Ronnie Biggs and others carried out the Great Train Robbery. There were political problems with the Profumo affair. To cap it all Manchester United had won the cup! However. every cloud has a silver lining. Everton won the League, the Beatles were sweeping all before them in Pop music but most importantly a lifelong friendship was formed.'

Howard continued: '41 years ago in October 1972 I was initiated into this lodge in a double ceremony alongside Peter Hough. We completed our three degrees together. Peter was three years younger than me and sadly he died three years later. Worshipful Brother Fred Darbyshire had proposed Peter into the lodge. Nine years earlier he had proposed another gentleman and that is where we shall begin.'

Howard then asked Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Neil McSymons to place Hal and Tom in seats in front of him before proceeding as thus:

'Picture the scene brethren in the offices of St John Ambulance in Rodney Street two young men met for the first time as they arrived to face the inquisition for that is how they perceived being interviewed by the Past Masters at the time.

'C.S. Lewis said friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another ‘What! you too?’

'How right he was and as a consequence today we have a double ceremony to celebrate Hal and Tom achieving 50 years in Freemasonry.

'Hal became Bro Hal on 22 October 1963 and Tom followed one month later, 50 years ago today on 26 November 1963. So first I will introduce you to Bro Hal.

'Charles and May Eccles lived in Allerton and by 1925 they had three children, Audrey, Hilary and Cyril. In the following year on St Patrick’s Day, 17 March, they were blessed with a fourth who was christened Haldane Raymond.

'Hal’s early schooling was at Springwood, then Northway and finally at Highfield High. At school he enjoyed his athletics, particularly sprinting. He was choirboy at St John’s Church in Knotty Ash, which was where he first met Doris in the Village Hall.

'On leaving school he began as a paper ruler apprentice but he realised it was not really for him. However, it was wartime and Hal was drafted into the infantry and eventually the Cameronians. After initial training in Omagh and Dalton-in-Furness, Hal served in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany as front line infantry and as a nominated stretcher-bearer. Whilst in Holland the regiment was taken out of the front line for a rest and Hal was billeted with a baker in De Haan. Rest over it was back to the front line.

'However, Hal’s elder brother Hilary, who was a regular and had been out in the Far East, was then billeted with the same bakers, Yvonne and Edmund, who made the connection. Hilary wrote to Hal, who got a twelve-hour pass and hitchhiked back to see his brother but missed him as he had been returned to England the previous day. It resulted in a friendship with Yvonne and Edmund, which continued after the war, was over.

'Whilst in Germany Hal was selected to go on a course about feet at the 77th British Hospital in Wuppertal, known as Bethesda. This was his first introduction to Chiropody. He was now a Corporal and the regiment’s chiropodist so he volunteered to go on the advance course.  With the war over Hal, now in the Royal Army Medical Corp, found himself being transferred round various Regiments and finished with the distinction of having been an Englishman in an Irish, Welsh and Scottish Regiment.

'Having spent three and a half years in the army Hal returned home and in 1948 completed his training and examinations to enable him to practice as a chiropodist and finally in 1951 he completed his Higher Chiropody Diploma. He had begun his own business the year before working from his mother’s house but he was now able to open his own surgery in Prescot Road.

'1951 was a big year for Hal as on 8 September he married Doris at St John’s Church in Knotty Ash. As I said before he had met Doris at a Village Hall dance when, saying how nice she was to his brother Cyril, received the reply that she was the councillor’s daughter and wouldn’t be interested in you. However, on another occasion at Dovecot Hall, entrance 1s 6d, Hal won the raffle and Doris gave him the prize. It was his opportunity and he grabbed it and asked her out. They have now been married for 62 years and counting - quite a raffle prize.

'They lived above the surgery for two years until they were able to buy their house in Court Hey. The timing was right as their first daughter, Susan, arrived in 1953 and she was followed by three more girls; Janet in 1955, Christine in 1959 and Marian in 1963. If I were to tell you much more about the family we would be here a long time brethren as Hal and Doris now have 10 grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

'As a chiropodist Hal has been a member of the Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists for 64 years and was called upon to answer the toast to the Institute on a number of occasions. He has only retired from practice this year. Brethren that is a remarkable achievement.

'In planning my presentation I asked him if there were any particular memories of a lifetime with feet but as you are all expecting to eat shortly I will forgo the graphic descriptions of ingrowing toenails septic toes and ulcerated feet! However, at one time Hal was having difficulty retaining the young receptionists so he elected for a more mature lady. As there were three of them practicing then he gave her instructions to spread the work between the three of them. Imagine his reaction when he heard her say on the telephone ‘We have three practitioners but I can’t recommend any of them.’

'A regular lady client who was now 94 had a septic toe and all the usual treatments hadn’t worked so Hal decided to try one of the old remedies, a hot poultice, and told the receptionist to show her into the back room as he was preparing the poultice in the steriliser. The client saw the steam rising and asked her what it was. The receptionist told her it was okay Mr Eccles is just getting it ready he’s going to sterilise you today!

'Hal was proposed by his Brother-in-Law, Fred Darbyshire and initiated into this lodge on 22 October 1963. He became WM on 22 April 1975 and again in 1994. He has occupied many of the lodge offices making particular contributions as both director of ceremonies and secretary. He is currently the lodge mentor. He was appointed Provincial Grand Steward in 1982 and promoted to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 1986. For 14 years Hal served the Eighth Liverpool Group; first as group secretary and then as vice chairman. As a consequence of his time as a group official Hal was elected an honorary member of six lodges and he was promoted to Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 1990. The Grand and Provincial Grand Officers Luncheon Club has had the benefit of his organising ability for the last 14 years and he has been the chairman since 2001.

'Now brethren a few words about Tom.

'John and Isabella Fairley had three children, John, Nan and Tom and all three became Masons. John, a Scotsman, had been a regular soldier who after leaving the army settled in Liverpool.

'The youngest, Thomas Paton Fairley, was born at home on 26 July 1933. His school days were spent at Florence Melly School, which opened in 1927 and still exists today as a Community Primary School but in a new building. Whilst at school Tom contracted Rheumatic Fever and was banned from playing all sport so he exercised at home and obviously recovered well as he won the Liverpool Schools Neat High Dive Competition held at Norris Green Baths. I don’t think he’d fancy diving from a five-metre board now. Also when playing for Florence Melly Old Boys he played at Goodison Park in a local Cup Final. For an Evertonian a day to remember.

'Leaving school Tom began working at a Radio and Battery Services firm in Kirkdale Road but after six months the owners nephew, Fred Hughes, took him on as an apprentice cabinetmaker.

'In 1953 National Service intervened and because of his Scottish ancestry Tom asked for a Scottish Regiment and was posted to The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders. After his 10 weeks basic training he had one stripe followed three months later by a second and became a full-established corporal, which was rare for a National Serviceman. Tom was a PTI and on nine occasions was listed for posting overseas, every one of which was cancelled at the last minute. The farthest he managed from Inverness was Aldershot. Boxing was very much in evidence in the army and on one occasion Tom found himself in the ring with the six foot six Regimental Champion.

'Later in the day he was found in the changing rooms still in his vest and shorts not too sure of why he was there. It was probably concussion and consequently no more boxing. Obeying commands and training is essential in soldiers and drilling National Serviceman to jump into water in full kit and swim to the other side of the river was a routine exercise. Fortunately this was carried out in a swimming pool. One young lad from the Gorbals, who for the first time in his life had his own bed and clothes, was ordered in. He then stood to attention on the bottom of the pool until they realised he couldn’t swim and Tom had to drag him out.

'Tom had met a young lady called Beatrice at the Florence Melly Old Boys Club before he was called up, so it came as no surprise that on 7 May 1955 they were married. You might say that it was a quiet affair as there were only four at the ceremony. On the other hand it was a grand occasion as it was in Inverness Cathedral with Tom in his full dress uniform of Kilt, Glengarry and spats.

'Just four months later Tom returned to civvy street and returned to work for Fred Hughes. That led to Tom working for Frank Marsh, a member of this lodge and Gilly Fisher of Aigburth Lodge No 4103. When they split the business it led to Tom travelling to Wrexham to work for seven years for Frank Marsh. When the business closed he began to work for Hanson’s, which became Unigate and then Express Dairies initially as a Spray Painter and Sign-Writer then over the years Tom became proficient in welding, vehicle maintenance and HGV recovery. One of the spin offs from this employment was the supply of cream at our lodge’s social events to accompany George Willis’s apple pies.

'After their marriage Tom and Beatrice lived with Bea’s parents until eventually they were able to buy their own house in 1963. They are still there today. Their son Duncan was born in December 1964 and they have two grandsons, Thomas and Alexander. Duncan went to Glasgow to take a degree in Art and Design and to assist with the cost took a job in a bakery, which he enjoyed. The course now completed Duncan still continues to knead the dough.

'Tom and Bea enjoy their holidays and the opera. Those of you who remember Ron Charles will know he was not too mobile. On holiday in Florida the two couples were visiting a snake farm and watching snakes being milked for venom when one was dropped on the floor. Tom reckons the other three would have beaten Usain Bolt. He didn’t move. When the snake had been captured the farmer said you were brave to stay there. Tom did not tell him he had been rooted to the spot. Visiting the opera Tom was sent to get Lesley Garrett to sign her autograph on the programme. On explaining it was for Bea he was asked what do you want? Tom replied he would settle for a kiss and he remembers it well.

'Tom was initiated on 26 November 1963 becoming WM on 27 April 1976 and for a second time in April 1997. Since his year as Immediate Past Master in 1977 he has carried out a number of the lodge offices including 10 years as treasurer and has been our chaplain for a number of years. Some of his contributions to Masonry are in use in this lodge room. On the secretary’s desk you can see the lectern made by Tom with the three tracing boards behind the relevant doors. The various wands are standing in the blue holders made by Tom. In Hope Street there is a set of pedestals he constructed and in Tenerife a Chapter has the benefit of a set of Arch Stones made by him. All this commitment resulted in Tom becoming Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon in 1988 and he was promoted to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 1996.

'Worshipful Brother Hal and Worshipful Brother Tom I know over the years you and your wives have had numerous holidays together in many places both near and far. To China, New Zealand and of course Tenerife for a ladies' night that lasted a week! You have had many happy times and a few laughs along the way. Thrown out of your rooms, no breakfast as the hotel had run out of bread, butter etc., even though the supermarket was only down the road.

'Brethren, during the past 50 years their friendship has been a constant source of pleasure to both of them and they have a number of common interests. One of them being the pleasure they get from their gardens.

'I feel sure Tennyson must have had such a friendship in mind when he wrote ‘If I had a flower for every time I thought of you...I could walk through my garden forever.’

'To both of you: Worshipful Brother Haldane Raymond Eccles Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies of the United Grand Lodge of England and Worshipful Brother Thomas Paton Fairley Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden of the Province of West Lancashire, I’m sure all the brethren join me in wishing you good health to continue enjoying your masonry secure in your friendship for each other and for us all to have the continued pleasure of your company.'

The group secretary, Ray Barrow read the certificate from the Provincial Grand Master which was duly presented to Hal by Howard.

The group vice chairman, John Marsden, read the certificate from the Provincial Grand Master which was also duly presented to Tom by Howard.

At the festive board, the toast to the health of Hal and Tom was given by Ron Davies, which was followed up by him presenting them with a gift on behalf of the lodge.

It was a delightful evening enjoyed by all the brethren that attended.

John Hutton was invested as the 91st Assistant Provincial Grand Master of West Lancashire at a meeting of his mother lodge Pendlebury Lodge No. 8177

After the lodge was opened in the third degree by the WM Trevor Dickenson, the Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Neil MacSymons announced the arrival of the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Howard Jones, who was accompanied by Assistant Provincial Grand Master Philip Gunning and the senior and junior Provincial Grand Wardens Mark Matthews and Joe Hall, along with the Rev Graham Halsall (ProvGChap), Peter Taylor (ProvGSec), David Walmsley (Eccles Group Chairman), Patrick Walsh (Eccles Group Secretary) and Jonathon Platt (ProvGStwd).

Trevor said he would be delighted to receive Howard. After welcoming Howard into the lodge, Trevor offered him to gavel which Howard accepted saying: 'On this occasion I am pleased to accept the gavel as I have been asked by the Provincial Grand Master to invest John Hutton as one of his assistants.'

Howard then asked Phillip Gunning to assist him to open Provincial Grand Lodge by acting as Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Mark Mathews to continue to act as Provincial Senior Grand Warden and Joseph Hall as Provincial Junior Grand Warden, Neil MacSymons to act as Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies and Patrick Walsh as Provincial Grand Pursuivant.

Howard then opened Provincial Grand Lodge and salutations were given to Howard. John Hutton retired from the lodge and Howard announced that the next business was to invest John Hutton as Assistant Provincial Grand Master and that it was an honour and a privilege to carry out this duty on behalf on the Provincial Grand Master Peter Hosker, who was unable to attend as he was attending the Provincial Care Team’s dinner in Leyland.

A deputation was then formed to bring John back into the lodge to which Howard welcomed him in. Howard read out Johns’ masonic history from when he was initiated into Pendlebury Lodge in 1971 and was installed as worshipful master in 1978. Howard said that his service to Freemasonry both in the Craft as well a Royal Arch was exemplary and that his CV was highly commendable.

John was asked if he was willing to undertake the responsibilities and duties of the office of Assistant Provincial Grand Master, to which John replied, I am. Peter Taylor then read out the certificate of office signed by the Provincial Grand Master.

John then knelt and took the solemn obligation of an AsstProvGM. Howard invested John with the chain of his office and thanked him on behalf of Peter Hosker for accepting this important office. 

Howard closed Provincial Grand Lodge and invited the worshipful master back into the chair of King Solomon and thanked him for allowing the investiture to be performed before the installation meeting.

John was born in Eccles in 1945 and soon moved Little Hulton to be brought up in a working shop/bakery environment. Similarities between Ronny Barker's Open All Hours and the Hutton’s family business were not too far apart. Bread, cakes and pies were under manufacture before school and Saturdays morning’s football could commence.

After leaving school at 15 years a position in the family firm was swiftly turned down in favour of an apprentice in engineering. Starting work at 5.00am and finishing at 11.00pm didn’t seem quite right!

Day and night school brought a change in career to a technician apprentice finishing as a Scientific Engineer working with Electron Microscopes and other large vacuum instruments.

After a few years of traveling around the country, overseas and marriage to Anthea a new position was sought at Manchester University, Department of Botany and Zoology. New skills, knowledge, promotions, and take overs saw John responsible for teaching, research and developments in one of the UK’s largest Electron Microscopy Units and a title of Senior Experimental Officer.

Although early retirement from University Departmental life happened in 1996, an active interest in research, development of unique equipment and histology glass knives continues at slower pace with his own scientific glass and engineering company.

John meet his wife Anthea dancing in Bolton and they married in 1968 and after a series of moves finally settled in Bolton. Anthea gave up her career as a University administrator after the birth of their daughter Clare. Today Clare is happily married and has provided two grandchildren Ben and Harry.

John’s hobbies include tennis, travel and seeing his grandchildren. Travel for both work and pleasure has taken Anthea and John to such places such as America, Canada, China, Greece, Europe and Egypt.

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