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.

More than 80 brethren travelled from around the Province to attend the celebration meeting of Peter Connolly to mark 50 years of service to the Craft

The Provincial Grand Master said: 'Peter you are a model as a man in the community and to Freemasonry.' The meeting was held at Old Lerpoolian Lodge No. 9270 which meets at Woolton Golf Club in Woolton.

After the meeting was opened and normal lodge business was concluded the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Keith Kemp, entered the lodge to inform the WM that the Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker, demanded admission. Peter was accompanied by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Howard Jones, five Assistant Provincial Grand Masters: Tony Harrison, Philip Gunning, Tony Bent, Mark Dimelow and Roy Skidmore, and 13 other grand officers, Woolton Group Chairman Andrew Whittle and six acting Provincial grand officers.

Accepting the gavel, Peter occupied the chair and addressed the brethren, saying: 'One of my great pleasures and privileges in Freemasonry, following my appointment as an Assistant Provincial Grand Master in 2003, has been to lead the celebrations for brethren who are celebrating 50 years, 60 years or even 70 years of service in and to Freemasonry.

'As Provincial Grand Master, I had thought that my involvement in such celebrations would, sadly, be very few and far between. Not so, in the past five-and-a-half years in office as Provincial Grand Master I have been privileged to lead the celebrations for several senior masons, including my predecessor, the late Colin Penty Wright. This is another special evening for me as I lead the celebrations for our good friend and senior mason Peter Connolly.'

Peter then commenced his address: 'Peter, you were born on 4 August 1941 in Waterloo Liverpool. Your mother Gladys and your father William Joseph, known as Bill, brought you up at Seafield, Abbotsford Road Blundellsands in a large detached house. The house had originally been built for a sea captain, not, I hasten to add, the sea captain who was destined to be in charge of the Titanic. It has now been converted into a 16-bed home for the elderly mentally and infirm.

'It is interesting what childhood memories stay with us as we grow older, and what memories come to mind as we prepare for our celebration of 50 years as a Freemason. Peter, I know that your memories are many and varied. For you those memories include: chasing ‘Fluff’ the cat up the 106 stairs to the attic, and Fluff always won! Perhaps this prepared you well for winding and other staircases, which I will refer to shortly.

'Your father germinating tomatoes in the greenhouse with a rabbit’s tail - could this be your first introduction to a ritual - playing hide and seek in the 24 various rooms/pantries and cellars - I am not sure what this prepared you for.

'I know that both of us agree that memories of our fathers are particularly special. In particular, you recall trips on the Liverpool Overhead Railway with your father on the occasional Saturdays when he was not working. As you pointed out, your father could identify every vessel by its funnel - and knew its cargo as well. The docks were then six miles long. As the Works Director of Leyland Motors - my father could identify every bus by the grill, nose or front panel!

'After Ursuline Convent and Miss Milton's Prep School, you went to Merchant Taylor's School, Crosby for three years. In November 1952, your father died suddenly, aged 46 years, a devastating loss to your family. He had just joined Fairfield Lodge No 2290 in 1949 and only just - in October 1952 - reached the stewards' list. Dr Fred Wilson, who was then a medical officer for one of the shipping lines out of Liverpool, proposed you for the RMBI School at Bushey, which you attended for two-and-a-half years. The closure of the school was proposed, but anyone about to start their GCE course was moved to another school, so that their studies would not be interrupted. You were moved to Liverpool College as a boarding scholar. You left in 1959 having GCE O and A level certificates and equally important your athletics colours.

'Although you recall your boarding school was somewhat Victorian, you nevertheless enjoyed your schooling as you put it, your schooling certainly set you up for life. Perhaps, your many friends at school helped your upbringing. These included: Nigel McCulloch (subsequently Bishop of Manchester) Malcolm Thornton (Minister for Wales under Mrs Thatcher) and a touch of Richard Stilgoe. That mixture of religion, politics and humour has served you well.

'After studying at the College of Commerce, you joined Norwest Construction as a management trainee. You did two years as an internal auditor and then joined Southerns, a national firm of timber merchants. You started up their joinery department and eventually became a manager of the substantial ‘Door and Joinery Division’, with responsibility for a turnover of £2,000,000. Following a merger with Magnet, you were appointed to the Board of Magnet Joinery Sales.  

In 1985, you resigned from the board, started your own business, and quickly became the second largest supplier of spiral stairs (should I say, winding stairs) in the UK. I realise that your stair-chasing activities with Fluff had obviously given you the necessary experience in this field. But there is more: you designed, marketed and sold extruded plastic products for the newly introduced roof ventilation regulations for 22 years, retiring in 2008.

'You married in 1964, you have three children: Andrea, Stephen and Paul, and four grandchildren aged four to 14 years of age. You re-married in 1999 to Lynn, as a result you have acquired a further three grandchildren. Your great joy is not playing hide and seek with your family, but going with them on trips to Llangollen, and many other heritage and narrow gauge railways. The excitement of the railways extends to trams, and with your OAP travel card you have been seen travelling on the new Blackpool Tramway, indeed you tell me that you can go from Starrgate to Fleetwood and back, six times in one day, and free of charge! Who needs the Pleasure Beach?

'Your other interests include caravanning and fell-walking. You are now an honorary Girl Guide, supporting your wife in her 10 years as commissioner. You recall taking 140 Brownies to London on a two-day trip, and being ceremonially presented with the badge of 'Wise Owl'. Peter, you told me that you were informed later that the Wise Owl badge was given to you because the powers that be could not find a 'Know-it-All' Owl badge. Having been in the Combined Cadet Force for five years at school, you joined the Territorial Army in 1959, being commissioned in 1960. You completed your career as Captain, Acting Major. You commanded 309 Signals at Prescott, but left the TA shortly after it became the Territorial Army Volunteer Reserve.

'Your love of organ and organ music are special, and you particularly enjoy the great Willis organs made in Liverpool. This includes the Willis organ in our Craft headquarters at Great Queen Street. I belong to the Parish of Preston and I am pleased to say that St George's boasts a wonderful Henry Father Willis organ, but like me, not in the first flush of youth.

'All of this gives the clear impression of a very full and enjoyable life, but as we all know there is more to relate, a great deal more.

'Peter, you entered Freemasonry in 1963 when you were initiated into Fairfield Lodge, and became its WM in 1977. You are also a joining member of Lathom Lodge No. 2229 and Lancastrian Rose Lodge No. 7811.

'Importantly, you were a founder member of Old Lerpoolian Lodge No. 9270 in 1988, and became its WM in 2010. I particularly remember the consecration of Old Lerpoolian Lodge because I was the installing Provincial Junior Grand Warden, and I recall that you were the first director of ceremonies.

'You were exalted into the Chapter of Liverpool No. 292 in 1965, being just two years after you were initiated, clearly a man on a mission, anxious to complete his journey.

'Your first Provincial rank was that of acting Provincial Senior Grand Warden in 1984. Thereafter, you served with much distinction as the vice-chairman and the chairman of the Eighth Liverpool Group. It seems a long time ago that we had eight groups in Liverpool.

'Your first appointment in Grand Lodge was PAGDC in 1988, and you were promoted in Grand Lodge to PJGD in 2008. Your first Royal Arch Provincial appointment was that of acting ProvGSN. Your first appointment in Supreme Grand Chapter was PGStdB in 1989, and you were promoted in Supreme Grand Chapter to PAGSoj in 2010.

'I salute you as man and a mason, and you have certainly served your community and Freemasonry. I have said on many occasions that Freemasonry will be judged by the kind of life we lead. And you have certainly set a very high standard in all that you have done.'

Peter Hosker then asked Andrew Whittle, Woolton Group Chairman, to read out the certificate to mark Peter Connolly’s 50 years in Freemasonry.

The assembled brethren gave him a spontaneous accolade.

The celebration in the lodge complete, the brethren adjourned to a sumptuous festive board. After the meal Peter was presented with two celebration cakes.

As is customary at celebrations in the Province a toast to the celebrant was made, on this occasion Giles Berkley proposed the toast to Peter Connolly, in a most sincere manner, but, with several insights into Peter’s life which caused some hilarity from the brethren.

After the festive board the brethren of Old Lerpoolian Lodge presented Peter with a print of their old school.

 

 

Following the amalgamation of Bridgewater Lodge No. 1213, Worsley Lodge No. 1814 and Egerton Lodge No. 2216 which took place at Elm Bank earlier this year a special dispensation was acquired to hold this event at Swinton Masonic Hall to accommodate numbers. There were 140 brethren who attended the Provincial amalgamation ceremony of Egerton Worsley Lodge No. 1213

After the lodge was opened in the third degree Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Keith Kemp announced the arrival of the Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker who demanded admission to the lodge.

Peter was welcomed by Frank Woodcock (WM) who offered Peter the gavel, which he duly accepted. Assistant Provincial Grand Master Jon Clipsham addressed Peter requesting that he conduct the ceremony to which Peter then opened Provincial Grand Lodge.

Peter said that the ceremony would have three objectives, namely, to reflect on the joining of the three lodges, to express gratitude to the work of the three lodges and to accept the need of amalgamation of the three lodges and that this would be demonstrated by prayers, actions, music and words.

Peter then asked the Provincial Grand Secretary to read the certificate of amalgamation.

A wonderful oration delivered by Canon Godfrey Hirst who compared the ceremony of amalgamation to the analogy of that of a funeral and wedding service. He referred to the three lodges with the thread of the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater running through them and a proud history of 145, 134 and 126 years that has remained robustly healthy and stable.

He commended the glorious contribution that the lodges have given to this Province and Freemasonry as a whole. He gave thanks for the characters, personalities that have enlivened the ceremonies and enlightened individuals on their masonic journey, most moments of significance having been recorded in the minutes of each lodge. Also recorded will be the faithfulness, loyalty and service of distinguished brethren over many years for which there should be gratitude and rejoicing.

Godfrey concluded that in processions, the corn alone is carried in a golden pitcher, the wine and oil are placed in silver vessels, and this is to remind us that the first, as a necessity and the 'staff of life', is of more importance and more worthy of honour than the others, which are but comforts. This reference would become more apparent when the elements of re-consecration were explained.

Godfrey then stepped away from his rostrum and burst into song with Chris Knowles, Amos Millington and John Hindle, who in magnificent voice sang a fitting hymn for the occasion.

Peter requested that the brethren of the lodge faced the east on the pavement. He then presented the certificate to the worshipful master, proclaiming that they were now amalgamated.

Peter explained the elements of re-consecration and that the vessels containing that of corn symbolises food and nourishment, the wine as a symbol of joyful and cheerfulness, the oil as a symbol of peace and ingenuity, and the salt as a symbol of fidelity and friendship. He then went to each member of the lodge and sprinkled salt on them saying, 'May prosperity and peace attend on this lodge.'

Peter said that it was a great pleasure and honour for him and his Provincial team to attend this wonderful event and invited the worshipful master to return to his rightful place in the lodge.

The brethren were then addressed by Jon Clipsham. Peter entrusted the warrants of the three lodges and the warrant of amalgamation to the WM. He also entrusted the artefacts of the three lodges which included a special gavel that belonged to Bridgewater Lodge and a chalice that had been presented to Worsley Lodge on their golden anniversary.

The WM duly accepted and thanked Peter for entrusting the artefacts to him, stating that he would pass them on pure and unsullied to his successor, and expressed an open invitation for Peter to attend the lodge at any future time.

After the first rising Peter along with his team recessed from the lodge room. Following the second and third risings the lodge was closed and the brethren retired to the festive board to enjoy some liquid refreshment in anticipation of a seven course meal.

In response to the toast to grand officers at the festive banquet Jon Clipsham said it had been 'a privilege and a delight' to share in the lodge’s very special occasion. He compared Freemasonry to that of his second love, scouting, and how it has transformed over the last few years, stating that it was now cool to be a member of the scouts association. He went on to describe the familiarities with respect to mentoring, membership, care and development. Jon referred to the hard work that Peter had done over his years in office and that we should be proud of him as our Provincial Grand Master. He then went on to propose the toast to the health of the Provincial Grand Master.

In his response, Peter thanked Jon for his kind toast and referred back to when he was installed as the Provincial Grand Master in 2008, when Jon was the first Assistant Provincial Grand Master that he appointed. He said that Jon had progressed and is now the senior Assistant Provincial Grand Master.

Peter thanked his Provincial team for their hard work and support that they give him in his busy schedule. He commended the choir who sang in the lodge and thanked Canon Godfrey Hirst for his interesting oration. Referring to the history steeped within the three lodges, he said that they were made to be amalgamated and that should build wisely to be transmitted pure and unsullied. Peter thanked the lodge for their hospitality and expressed how he had enjoyed his visit. The brethren then rose and toasted the health of Egerton Worsley Lodge No. 1213.

In his response on behalf of the lodge, Frank Woodcock said that the lodge members are working well together and that they all get on indicating that the early signs are that the lodge will go from strength to strength.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 22 June 2012 10:03

Ansdell Lodge celebrates its centenary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 20 June 2012 01:00

Terry Hudson celebrates his golden jubilee

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

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

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

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

As Provincial Grand Master, I had anticipated that my involvement in such celebrations would, sadly, become very few and far between. I say 'sadly' because such celebrations are always interesting and they have invariably enabled me to learn so much more about each celebrant than might otherwise be the case and, in so doing, appreciate more completely the rich and fulfilling lives that they have led.

As it has happened, during my first four years as PrGM, I have in fact continued to lead the celebrations for many distinguished Freemasons and I have greatly enjoyed all of them. Tonight, I have the pleasure and privilege of leading the celebrations for my - and our - good friend Terence 'Terry' Hudson Past Senior Grand Deacon, APrGM, a man who, like good wine, can be said to be elegant, well balanced and full of character.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 19 June 2012 01:00

A special night for Howard and Roy

The brethren of King’s Lodge No. 3101 and Bootle Pilgrim Lodge No. 1473 along with many visiting Grand and Provincial Grand officers and distinguished brethren packed the temple in Litherland Masonic Hall to capacity to witness a very special and rare investiture - of Deputy Provincial Grand Master Howard Jones and Assistant Provincial Grand Master Roy Skidmore.

After the lodge was opened in the third degree the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Keith Kemp entered the lodge and informed the Worshipful Master Gary Thornhill that the Provincial Grand Master stood outside and demanded admission. Gary informed Keith that he would be delighted to receive him.

Keith then announced the Provincial Grand Master who was proceeded by acting Provincial deacons George Skarratt and Jim Hardman (both of whom as long serving assistants for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity) and accompanied by his Deputy, five of his Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, Paul Renton (PrSGW), Ian Sanderson (PrJGW), along with other Provincial Grand officers of the Provincial team.

After welcoming Peter, Gary offered him the gavel which Peter accepted. He then asked his Provincial team to take their places and opened Provincial Grand Lodge. Peter then opened in the first degree in order to admit the newest member of King’s Lodge, Christopher Liston who is due to be passed to the second degree.

Peter said that he was very pleased to invest Howard Jones as his Deputy Provincial Grand Master who he had appointed on 20 January following the decision by Michael Hedley Hill to retire due to poor health.

Peter then asked Keith to form a deputation and place Howard in front of him. Peter then said Howard was initiated into Freemasonry in October 1972 into King's Lodge No. 3101 and he was WM in 1983 and 1995. He was also WM of Lodge Of Peace and Unity No. 314 in 2008. He is also a member of Lathom Lodge No. 2229.

He received his first appointment in Provincial Grand Lodge in 1991 as Provincial Grand Superintendant of Works (ProvGSuptWks), and in 1996 he was promoted to Provincial Junior Grand Warden (ProvJGW). In 2000 he was appointed to Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies (PAGDC) and in 2008 he was invested as Assistant Provincial Grand Master with responsibility for the Bootle, Garston and Gladstone Groups. In 2009 he was promoted to the rank of Past Senior Grand Deacon.

He was exalted into King's Chapter No. 3101 on the 12 October 1981, became first principal of Chapter of Perseverance No. 155 in 1999 and of Vale Chapter No. 5256 in 2004. He is currently a member of Holy Royal Architect Chapter No. 314. He was appointed Past Provincial Grand Scribe N (PProvGSN) in 2006 and was appointed to Grand Chapter as Past Grand Standard Bearer (PGStB) in 2011.

Howard became honorary secretary of the West Lancashire Masonic Charities Fund in 1997 and was a member of the working party along with Peter Hosker that managed the amalgamation of the seven charities in the Province. He has been a trustee of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity since it was formed in 2008 and is now the chairman of the board of trustees.

Peter said that Howard was well qualified to take the position of Deputy Provincial Grand Master and he asked Howard to take his obligation. Peter then invested Howard with his chain of office and presented him with his patent of appointment.

Peter then asked Keith to form a deputation and place Roy Skidmore in front of him. Peter said he was pleased to invest Roy as one of his Assistant Provincial Grand Masters following his appointment on 20 January.

Roy was initiated into Freemasonry in May 1992 into Bootle Lodge No. 1473 and he was WM in 2000 he was also Master of Pilgrim Lodge No. 6207 in 2009 when, during his year in office both lodges merged forming Bootle Pilgrim Lodge No. 1473.

He was appointed as Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 2004. He was appointed to Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies (PAGDC) in April 2008. He was exalted into Bootle Chapter No. 1473 on the 15 March 1996 and was first principal in 2006.

Roy’s career in banking and friendly societies well qualified him to join the team at the West Lancashire Masonic Charities Fund in 2004 as assistant secretary later becoming joint secretary alongside Howard Jones.  In 2008 Roy became the Chief Executive of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity when the seven Provincial charities serving Craft and Royal Arch merged.

Peter said Roy was therefore well qualified to take the position of Assistant Provincial Grand Master with responsibility for the Bootle, Garston and Gladstone Groups and he asked Roy to take his obligation. Peter then invested Roy with his chain of office and presented him with his patent of appointment.

Peter then closed Provincial Grand Lodge. A collection for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity was taken and after the first rising Peter along with his Provincial Team paraded out of the temple. Gary then closed the lodge in due form.

Over 100 of the brethren then retired to the festive board for a very enjoyable meal.

The Senior Warden of the lodge, Richard Edmondson proposed the toast to Grand Officers, coupling it with the name of Howard Jones. In his response Howard said he was a great, though unexpected honour to be Deputy Provincial Grand Master of this great Province.

He remarked that brethren may not know that each of the chains of office were slightly different. His own was donated to the Province by John Hearn Burrell who was Deputy Provincial Grand Master (1920–22) and Provincial Grand Master (1922–29). As ProvGM he laid the final stone in the Chapter House of Liverpool Cathedral on 24 July 1924. Howard said he thought it was good to look at the support Freemasons gave to the Cathedral, as they not only assisted in the building they paid for the Chapter House to be built.

Howard continued that there were several links to the present, the first being that John Hearn Burrell lived in Fulwood Park, which is where Michael Hedley Hill lives today. Howard said he was humbled by a call from Michael earlier in the day, wishing him all the best for the future – a true mark of the man Michael is.

Another link to the present day is the work done by the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and Roy Skidmore in particular as today there is a requirement to install a lift in the cathedral that will give disabled access to the Lady Chapel. Howard said he was delighted that the WLFC had agreed to fund the installation of the lift at some considerable cost and he hope a large number of Freemasons would be able to attend the opening of the lift later in the year.

Howard concluded by saying that the collection in the lodge for the WLFC and the raffle at the festive board in support of the Masonic hall which raised over £400. Both the WLFC and Masonic hall are vital to our organisation and we must ensure we continue to support them.

He then thanked Ray Barrow (group secretary) for helping Ray Eccles (lodge secretary) by organising the meeting and Mark Dimelow for acting as Director of Ceremonies for the festive board and all the brethren for taking the time to attend the meeting.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012 01:00

Widnes and Knowsley Lodge score a century

The Members of Widnes and Knowsley Lodge No.3581 celebrated their centenary with a very special meeting attended by the Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker.

Peter Hosker was accompanied by his Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Howard Jones, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Ian Boswell, Widnes Group Chairmen David Redhead and the Provincial team and a host of other Grand and acting Provincial Grand Officers. With a total of 96 brethren attending to celebrate the event, eight of whom were visiting masters; extra seating had to be put out in the lodge room to accommodate all present.

The Worshipful Master of Widnes and Knowsley Lodge, Robert Winch, (for the fifth time), opened the meeting and conducted the initial business of the lodge. With this business complete, Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Keith Kemp announced the arrival of Peter Hosker. Peter was escorted into the lodge room by the Provincial team in full splendour with the Provincial Grand Sword Bearer, Brian Blanchfield, holding the sword upright and the Provincial Grand Standard Bearers, Andrew Thompson and Alan Lock (deputising), with their standards making the procession even more majestic and colourful.

Keith introduced Peter to Robert who gave him a very warm welcome and invited him to take the gavel and occupy the chair, which Peter did. Peter then appointed his Provincial officers to their respective positions and proceeded to open Provincial Grand Lodge.

In his opening address to the lodge, Peter said: “what a magnificent occasion this is and a wonderful achievement for the lodge”. It is an occasion made even more special as when Widnes Lodge No.2819 and Knowsley Lodge No.3581 amalgamated in 2006 the members of Widnes Lodge proposed the use of Knowsley Lodge number for the new lodge to allow Knowsley Lodge to reach its centenary as Widnes Lodge had already reached its centenary in 2000.

Peter then requested Arend Van Duyvenbode, (acting Provincial Grand Secretary), to read out the details on the centenary warrant, which he did very articulately. The warrant was then delivered into the hands of Peter who took great pleasure in presenting it to Robert Winch. This was followed by a presentation of the centenary jewel to Robert, after which the members of the lodge were given permission to display their centenary jewel.

After the presentation, Peter requested Rev Graham Halsall (Provincial Grand Chaplain) to deliver an oration. In his oration, Graham gave the assembled brethren an interesting account of the history of Knowsley Lodge. The lodge was consecrated on 25 March 1912 in the presence of the Provincial Grand Master, The Honourable Arthur Stanley MP, third son of The 16th Earl of Derby, at Hope Street in Liverpool.

The following years were very busy with many initiations taking place with subsequent second and third degree ceremonies. The initiation of the youngest member took place in 1918 after special dispensation was granted to permit the son of a subscribing brother from another lodge be admitted as a minor or Lewis, he was just 19 years old. Membership of the lodge peaked in 1960 at 155, today membership stands at 26.

Throughout the periods of the First and Second World Wars, the members of Knowsley Lodge were undaunted and continued with their meetings. During the First World War servicemen were permitted to attend in uniform and during the Second World War, when as prisoners of war, they continued in the privacy of their quarters to practice ritual.

Following an approach by Widnes Lodge, the amalgamation of Knowsley Lodge with Widnes Lodge in 2006 came about after many meetings and a harmonious agreement was reached and the lodge got off to a busy start. In the first three months they had three important events; the celebration of 50 years Masonic service by Hartley Sanders, the amalgamation ceremony and a celebratory dinner to mark the retirement of Alan Griffiths as Widnes Group Chairman.

David Cook was the first to be initiated into Widnes and Knowsley Lodge, he was made an Entered Apprentice by Derek Williams in 2008 and if all goes to plan, Derek will install him into the chair of King Solomon in 2013.

The oration by Graham was followed by a dedication prayer after which Peter closed Provincial Grand Lodge and invited Robert to resume his chair, the lodge officers then resumed their positions.

Robert thanked Peter for a magnificent ceremony and then presented him with two cheques; one for £3,581 made out to West Lancashire Freemasons' Charity and one for £800 made out to Widnes Masonic Hall Limited. Peter said that on behalf of the recipients he was sure that the cheques would be gratefully received and faithfully applied.

The Alms collection for charity raised £306 of which £217 was gift aided.

With the centenary celebration complete, Peter retired from the lodge accompanied by Grand officers and escorted by the Provincial team. The final lodge business was transacted by Robert, before he closed the lodge and all retired to a splendid meal at the festive board.

Howard Jones replied to the toast to the Grand Officers saying: “Thanks for having me back after being here for the installation meeting; it is a great pleasure to be here and be part of this wonderful celebration.” He then proposed a toast to the Provincial Grand Master in which he said that Peter does a lot of work in the background, this is not the first centenary celebration this year and there are a few more to come.

In his reply Peter said: “It was a pleasure to lead such a celebration, a centenary is a very special landmark and I enjoyed going back into the chair.” He thanked Ian Boswell for his involvement in making the website very successful and the Provincial team for the excellent work they carried out in the lodge room. He then conveyed his warmest congratulations to the lodge members and said it was a privilege to come along and share the celebration.

Proposing the toast to Knowsley Lodge, Ian remarked how the lodge had benefitted from the amalgamation by sharing the number of the former Knowsley Lodge. He said that the lodge is now lively and vibrant and may it prosper for very many more years to come.

Robert Winch responded to this toast saying: “It is a privilege to respond to this toast, the lodge has a really good relationship since the amalgamation and we now have two light blues coming up through the ranks.” He thanked Derek Williams and Peter Carter for their tireless work over a number of years in the planning of the centenary celebration.

Four bottles of whisky were up for grabs in the raffle; first prize went to Howard Jones, second to Paul Smith, third to Alan McElhinney and forth to Hartley Sanders. The sum of £455 was raised from the raffle and this was presented by Robert Winch to Allen Yates and Paul Burrows who are doing a coast to coast walk for charity.

The significant influence exerted on Freemasonry in Warrington by the Lodge of Rectitude was highlighted by Provincial Grand Master Peter Hosker when he headed the centenary celebrations of the Lodge of Great Endeavour No.3597 and urged members to build on its legacy while planning for the future.

For this “very special landmark” Peter opened Provincial Grand Lodge in Warrington Masonic Hall. He had the help and support in the Provincial team of Assistant Provincial Grand Master Ian Boswell (who acted as Deputy Provincial Grand Master), Provincial Grand Secretary Geoffrey Lee, Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Keith Kemp, Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Barrie Crossley, Provincial Grand Wardens Paul Renton and Ian Sanderson and Provincial Grand Chaplain Rev Graham Halsall. There were two Provincial Junior Grand Deacons, Jim Cartledge and Eddie Wilkinson, Assistant Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works Dennis Tierney, Provincial Grand Charity Steward Barry Jameson, Provincial Grand Stewards Arthur McArdle and Ian Rowan.

More than 100 brethren attended the special celebration including Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Dennis Rudd and Grand Officers Jack Forsyth, Frank Starkey, Gordon Amos, Stan Churm and Derek Hunt.

When presenting the Centenary Warrant to Worshipful Master John Tyrer, Peter said it was a “very special moment” and he urged members of the lodge to study the “very special document” when it is on display at future meetings. John said the lodge would take great care of the warrant and that it would be handed on “pure and unsullied” by masters from generation to generation.

Provincial Grand Chaplain Rev Graham Halsall gave an oration and also said a prayer of rededication of the lodge. Peter praised Graham for “his input and particularly for his inspirational oration.”

Peter presented John Tyrer with a Centenary Jewel and then gave all other members of the lodge permission to immediately wear their new jewels.

As Provincial Grand Master, Peter said it was within his power to make certain special appointments. He asked for John Tyrer to be placed before him and promoted him to the rank of Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works. John said he was “totally surprised” and did not know how it had been kept such a secret. He said that even with 31 years as a detective he had not heard anything in advance of being promoted in Provincial Grand Lodge on the night of the centenary celebration.

After giving a brief history of the lodge John presented Peter with cheque’s for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and Warrington Masonic Hall. He praised the selection of these two recipients, as he said the charity had suffered during the 2010 Festival and that Masonic halls were now being given the priority they deserve.

In response to the toast to grand officers at the festive banquet Ian Boswell said it had been “a privilege and a delight” to share in the lodge’s very special occasion. He then went on to propose the toast to the health of the Provincial Grand Master.

In proposing the toast to the Lodge of Great Endeavour No 3597 Peter said: “Today's story begins in 1912, when Freemasonry was flourishing in Warrington, with five lodges.  However, with the ever increasing number of Masonic candidates not even five lodges were sufficient to provide opportunities to those who sought either membership or advancement in Masonry. Accordingly, to supply that need, Lodge of Rectitude was formed and consecrated on 13 May 1912,

Unfortunately, the then Provincial Grand Master, the Hon Sir Arthur Stanley, was unable to attend to consecrate the lodge in 1912. Whenever I think of Sir Arthur Stanley, I am reminded that one of his lasting legacies to the Province was the creation of the group system, and that group system is still in place today. In his absence, the ubiquitous and evergreen W Bro W Goodacre stepped in. His office was that of the Provincial Grand Secretary of the Province of West Lancashire, and he held that office from 1884 to 1918 a total of 34 years. He was in education, being the headmaster of Talbot House School Old Trafford. There are, in fact, similarities between Bro Goodacre and our current Provincial Grand Secretary - Geoffrey Lee was also in education, being an English teacher and the House Master of Spread Eagle House Rossall School on the Fylde Coast, and although Geoffrey has only served as Provincial Grand Secretary for 16 years, he tells me that it feels more like 34 years!

I am certain that in 1912, Bro Goodacre, as the honored guest, would have been entirely at home with the professional and local businessmen from various walks of life, including members of the Indian Civil Service. who came together on that consecration day.

The lodge has much to proud of, and over many years it has had a significant influence on the development of Freemasonry in Warrington. That influence is evidenced over the years, and this evening I have chosen three examples.

In 1944, the substantial expansion of Rectitude led members to promote the formation of a daughter lodge, which was consecrated on 10 May 1944 and that lodge was named Great Sankey Lodge No.5939.

In 1947, as Rectitude continued to prosper and enlarge its membership, the members sought permission to sponsor a new lodge, the result was the formation of Warrington Temple Lodge No.6420 - a lodge that continues in existence today.

And in 1968 Rectitude had expanded its membership to become once again one of the largest lodges in the Warrington Group, prompting members to seek permission to sponsor a further daughter lodge. The Warrant is dated 13 November 1968 and the lodge was named the Lodge of Good Fellowship No.8258.

I appreciate and understand that when numbers increase, additional lodges are consecrated, and when numbers decrease, changes need to be made. Lodge of Rectitude properly recognized the need for change, and what better way forward than for mother to invite two daughters to return to the family and amalgamate together. Thus the amalgamation of Lodge of Rectitude No.3597, Great Sankey Lodge No.5939 and Lodge of Good Endeavour No.8258 took place on 13 June 2007, with the No 3597 being retained and the name being changed to Lodge of Great Endeavour.”

Peter concluded: “Give thanks for your history and all those who have made Lodge of Great Endeavour what it is today; build on the legacy that you have inherited; in building on that legacy of the past 100 years, enjoy the present; but at the same time plan for the future.”

Replying to the toast on behalf of the lodge, John said that when the amalgamation took place it was “the coming together of the family”. He said the lodge is looking forward to the future and aims to “grow and grow”.

Monday, 07 May 2012 01:00

Excelsior celebrates 100 years

The members of Excelsior Lodge No.3580 celebrated their centenary with a special meeting held at Hope Street Masonic Hall in Liverpool.

Excelsior Lodge was consecrated in Hope Street in 1912 and continued to meet there for their first 56 years. Following the ‘Great Fire’ in Hope Street in 1968, they moved to the Masonic Hall in Garston, but due to the large numbers wishing to attend the celebrations, they were given permission to hold the centenary meeting in Hope Street.   

The Worshipful Master of Excelsior Lodge, Gary Jones, opened the meeting and after confirming the minutes he opened the lodge in the second and third degrees. At this point, the Inner Guard announced that the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Keith Kemp sought admission to the lodge.

Gary, said he would be pleased to admit him into the lodge, upon his entry Keith announced the arrival of the Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker. Peter was escorted into the lodge room by Neil MacSymons (PrDCDC) at the head of the Provincial team in full splendour with the Provincial Grand Sword Bearer, Brian Blanchfield, holding the sword upright and the Provincial Grand Standard Bearers, John Stansfield and Martin Lynton (deputising), with their standards making the procession even more majestic and colourful.

Peter was accompanied by two of his Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, Roy Skidmore and Philip Gunning, the Provincial Senior Grand Warden, Paul Renton, the Provincial Junior Grand Marden, Ian Sanderson, and the rest of the Provincial team, along with Howard Griffiths (Garston Group Chairman) and 13 other Grand Officers. With over 125 brethren attending the celebration, there was not a spare seat in the temple.

Keith introduced Peter to Gary, who gave him a very warm welcome and invited him to take the gavel and occupy the chair of King Solomon, which Peter said on this occasion he would be pleased to do. Peter then appointed his Provincial officers to their respective positions and proceeded to open Provincial Grand Lodge.

In his opening address to the lodge, Peter said he was delighted to be able to celebrate the 100 years of continuous meetings that the lodge had achieved. Peter then requested Geoffrey Lee (Provincial Grand Secretary), to read out the details on the centenary warrant, which he did in his usual articulate style. The warrant was then delivered into the hands of Peter who took great pleasure in presenting it to Gary Jones.

Peter then requested Rev Graham Halsall (Provincial Grand Chaplain) to deliver an oration. Graham started his  oration by taking the assembled brethren back to the mid 1800’s to a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow That was first published in the book ‘Ballads and Other Poems’ in 1841. Graham read the first verse: “The shades of night were falling fast, As through an Alpine village passed a youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice, A banner with the strange device, Excelsior!

Graham continued his oration with a translation of ‘Excelsior’ – ‘Onwards and Upwards’ he referred to the founding of New York City and the way ‘Excelsior’ defines the city ‘How far - How high’. During the final part of the oration Graham spoke of the way ‘Excelsior’ defines Freemasons, particularly the distinguished members of the lodge. He also congratulated the lodge on its support of the charities over the years, as he noted the lodge was a Gold Patron of the Samaritan Fund and the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys. He also congratulated the lodge on the number of younger Masons who were filling all the progressive offices, which he said was a great indication of the lodges future.  

The oration was followed by a dedication prayer after which Peter closed Provincial Grand Lodge and invited Gary to resume his chair, with the lodge officers then resuming their positions.

Gary then asked David Atkinson to give a short talk on the history of the lodge.

David started by saying that the consecration of the lodge was carried out by the then Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Robert Wylie and other officers of the Provincial team on 18 April 1912.  The lodge consisted of many brethren from all walks of life, from the Liverpool and surrounding areas, many of whom were either business men, traders, labourers and service personnel, including sea fairing brethren. It was agreed that the lodge would meet on the third Saturday in the month and that all brethren must wear bow ties, unless they held Grand or Provincial Grand rank.

The first regular meeting of the lodge was held on 20 April 1912 with 13 members and five visitors present to witness a double initiation, which was not unusual for the lodge in its early years.

Throughout the periods of the First and Second World Wars, the members of Excelsior were undaunted and continued with their meetings, and at the meeting in May 1919 a motion to amend the bye laws in relation to the meeting of the lodge from the third to the first Saturday of the month was unanimously carried.

Unfortunately due to the great fire in 1968 much of the lodge history was destroyed, however, as a result of the remaining books of declaration it can be seen that the lodge continued to thrive between 1923 and 1968 with many initiations taking place with subsequent second and third degree ceremonies.

The first installation meeting to be held at Garston took place on 19 April 1969 and the lodge continues to meet at the Masonic hall at Island Road South, Garston on the first Saturday of the month, October to May. 

David has produced a history of the lodge which contains a dialogue of the distinguished members of the lodge throughout its100 years, which was presented to all the brethren present at the festive board.

Gary then thanked Peter and the Provincial team for a magnificent ceremony and he presented him with three cheques for £3,580 made out to West Lancashire Freemasons' Charity, The Friends of Tithebarn, The South Liverpool Foodbank and one for £800 made out to KIND. Peter said that he was delighted he had been able to attend with his team and he was pleased on behalf of the recipients to accept the magnificent sum of £11,540, which he was sure that the cheques would be gratefully received and faithfully applied.

With the centenary celebration complete, Peter retired from the lodge accompanied by Grand Officers and escorted by the Provincial team. The final lodge business was transacted by Gary, before he closed the lodge and all retired to a splendid meal at the festive board.

Roy Skidmore replied to the toast to the Grand Officers saying: “it is a great pleasure to be here and be part of this wonderful celebration.” He then proposed a toast to the Provincial Grand Master in which he gave a comprehensive summary of Peter’s career, his work in Freemasonry and his work in the community which Roy said he had drawn from the CV on the West Lancashire Provincial website entitled ‘Peter John Hosker OBE - The Man and the Mason’, which he recommended the brethren to read.

In his reply Peter said: “It was a pleasure to lead such a celebration, a centenary is a very special landmark and I enjoyed going back into the chair.” He thanked Roy for his proposition of the toast and the brethren for the way they had receivecd it. He then conveyed his warmest congratulations to the lodge members and said it was a privilege to come along and share the celebration. He then said he had found the history of the lodge very interesting and he named a few of the brethren that stood out, these included;  Brian Jackson, PJGD, William Roberts (Longest subscribing member) and Sam Robinson, PAGDC, a long serving Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, and now Deputy Chairman of the Liverpool Group of Lodges and Chapters.   

Peter then presented Gary with a past masters jewel that was returned to the lodge in 2005 by family members of Edward Dewar who had been installed as WM in 1928. Peter said the members of Excelsior had decided that the oldest known past masters jewel should be presented to the Worshipful Master of the day at the time of the lodge centenary.   

Proposing the toast to Excelsior Lodge, Peter said that he hoped the lodge would continue to prosper for very many more years to come.

Gary responded to this toast saying: “It is a privilege to respond to this toast, the lodge has a really good relationship and has lots of light blues coming up through the ranks. He thanked the brethren for their tireless work over a number of years in the planning of the centenary celebration. He then presented Peter with a set of cufflinks and a tie pin that had been commissioned to celebrate the centenary. He also presented Peter and Roy with flowers for them to take home to their wives.

Three prizes, a three litres of Jack Daniels, a £50 Tesco voucher and a bottle of whisky were up for grabs in the raffle; first prize went to Stephen Lyon from Royal Victoria Lodge No.1013. The sum of £585 was raised from the raffle and this will be donated to the Hope Street Masonic Hall Appeal Fund, in thanks for allowing the lodge to hold its centenary meeting in Hope Street.

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