Through the years many Masons have had the pleasure if initiating their son into Freemasonry. Very few Masons have had the honour of initiating two sons into their lodge. One such Mason who has had that immense honour is Paul Ashton Both sons were initiated aged 18 years, thanks to dispensations from two Provincial Grand Masters – Peter Hosker and Tony Harrison.
The current worshipful master of William Fleetwood Lodge No.2814, Lesley Neville, kindly agreed to allow Paul, who is a past master of the lodge and currently the lodge’s senior deacon, to take the chair for the initiation ceremony.
Paul is a construction site manager. He is married to Karen and they have four children, two girls: Michele is a medic in the Royal Navy and Hayley is a physiotherapist. Paul’s eldest son Daniel was initiated by his father in April 2014. He is currently studying Aerospace engineering at Loughborough University and has just been accepted to take his Master’s Degree in Aerospace engineering when he completes his degree in 2017. James is currently in his last year at sixth form college and has applied to study Chemical Engineering at Loughborough University. James is a keen sportsman and plays hockey for England.
Lesley opened the lodge and efficiently worked through the initial business before asking Paul to occupy the chair of King Solomon. James was formally announced and escorted into the lodge by the junior deacon, Brian Carrier to start his journey through the first degree to become an entered apprentice Freemason. James was ably conducted throughout the ceremony by Brain who kept James at ease and on the right course at all times.
The ceremony conducted by Paul, was word perfect and was an absolute pleasure to witness. Daniel delivered the working tools of an entered apprentice to his brother in a faultless and sincere manner. The charge after initiation was superbly delivered by lodge director of ceremonies, Jim Thomason, who has known Daniel and James since they were born.
At the end of the ceremony Paul thanked Lesley for allowing him to initiate his son. He also said: “Bringing my sons into Freemasonry has been the proudest moments of my life. Both my sons are now my brothers.”
One more special moment was to mark this special meeting when the lodge secretary announced that he had received a grand Lodge certificate for Daniel, which Lesley duly presented to Daniel after he had signed it at the secretaries desk.
The festive board which followed the ceremony was enjoyed by everybody. After an excellent meal and the formal toasts to grand and Provincial grand officers Paul had the pleasure of proposing the toast to James. Paul said: “James has always ben keen to help others and had spent his summer holidays last year, working for the National Citizen Service (NCS). James worked with 15 to 17 years old children in need at a summer camp where the children made lasting friendships, embraced the outdoors and learned the skills they don’t teach in the classroom.” Pauls toast to James was received with loud acclamation by the brethren.
James responded by thanking his ‘Brother Dad’ for proposing him and and senior lodge member Don Kelso for seconding him and all the members of the lodge for welcoming him into the lodge. James concluded by saying: “It was a very interesting ceremony and I found it very interesting, I have been looking forward to joining Freemasonry for a long time - in fact since I first remember watching my Dad leaving for the lodge in a smart suit and carrying his black case. After Daniel was initiated I was more determined to become a Freemason. I will try to be a good member of the lodge”
George Skarratts a frequent visitor to the lodge and in-fact had stood in at short notice as JW during the ceremony read out Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘The Lewis’.
St Helens and Prescot Group Chairman, Colin Rowling welcomed James into the group and explained that he is not only a member of William Fleetwood Lodge but also a member of a worldwide fraternity. Colin then presented Daniel with a welcome pack containing information about the first degree, the St Helens and Prescot Group and other useful information, including the meeting dates of all the lodges in the group – explaining the benefits of visiting other lodges.
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.
The Ormskirk Masonic Hall was filled to capacity to celebrate the 75th anniversary in Freemasonry of Ernest Richard McKay (Richie) who has reached the wonderful age of 103 years and is the oldest mason in the Province of West Lancashire
Maghull Lodge No. 7190 welcomed 67 members and guests to this auspicious occasion. The regular meeting was opened by WM Peter Yearsley with a very warm welcome to all attending. After the usual lodge business was completed, Malcolm Bell, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, entered and informed the brethren that the Assistant Provincial Grand Master Philip Gunning was without and demanded admission.
Philip then entered in a colourful procession led by Malcolm. Philip was accompanied by Frank Umbers Ormskirk and District Group Chairman, Grand Officers Roy Worthington and Jim Charnock, along with other Provincial and acting Provincial Grand Officers.
Having accepted the gavel Philip asked Malcolm to place Richie before him. It was with great enthusiasm that Philip said how much he had been looking forward to the evening and having the privilege of celebrating with, and telling, Richie’s story.
Richie was born on 6 November 1910 in the military town of Aldershot, where the family lived in the barracks. His father was in the army and served in the South African war where he was promoted to the rank of captain in the Royal Field Artillery. Philip said that looking back to the beginning of this decade, George V became King of England, and other famous people born in the same year included Jacques Cousteau, Mother Teresa and David Niven.
On the outbreak of the first world war Philip said Richie’s family moved to Hillsborough in Sheffield and then a further move to Aintree when his father was posted to the Royal Army Ordinance Corps in Bootle.
It was here that Richie experienced every boy’s dream of riding in a first world war tank. Richie attended Longmoor Lane Secondary school.
On leaving school Richie gained employment at a colliery and shipping agents, on the magnificent wage of five shillings a week, until the business closed following the general strike. By this time Richie had joined the territorial army and decided as a job to join the regular Army.
Having joined the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders he found himself in Jordan, a short time later at the start of the second world war he was posted to Alexandria with the rank of warrant officer II. Richie also saw action in Tobruk which was under siege by Rommel, before returning to Cairo. Whilst there, Richie having joined Freemasonry in 1939 spent time visiting many lodges.
Philip continued saying that on receiving a commission to lieutenant, Richie was posted back to England. In 1943 he was promoted to captain in the royal army service corp. In 1944 together with his company Richie arrived in Normandy just after the D-Day landings where in the port of Dieppe he and his men assisted in the unloading of supplies for the front.
In 1945 Richie returned to the UK and on the 9 May married Betty Nuttall who was the daughter of one of the founders of Maghull Lodge. Betty and Richie were blessed with two daughters, Allison and Lindsay.
After the war Richie remained with the NAAFI working from the head office in York as the head of supplies for the north.
In 1958 Richie started his own business the Lancashire Embroidery Company with a factory in Kirkby and a work force of 30, being a major supplier of embroidery work to all the armed forces. Richie’s daughters both joined the business and retired in their 60s. Richie continued working and only retired at the age of 97 when the firm was sold!
Richie enjoyed many caravanning holidays with Betty, particularly in the south of France. Sadly Betty passed away just a few years ago but he said that he is still well looked after by his daughters.
Richie enjoys a very active life which includes walking and his greatest love playing golf. He is a member of Ormskirk Golf Club which he has enjoyed for 58 years and has the honour of a challenge cup named after him. Philip said that Richie described his life in these terms: 'If I am not working, I am playing golf'. On his 100 birthday not only did he receive a telegram from the Queen, he also received letters from two of the greatest golfers of all time, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer (who incidentally is a mason).
Richie was initiated on 12 March 1939 into Lodge of the Holy City – Jerusalem No. 1372, Scottish Constitution, and raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason on 19 October. He was also exalted into United Services Royal Arch Chapter No. 631 on 15 October 1942 Cairo, being made a life member in 1946.
Richie attended the consecration meeting of Maghull Lodge No. 7190 at the Adelphi Hotel on 25 November 1952, as a guest of his father-in-law and a month later Richie was proposed and admitted as the first joining member of the lodge.
In 1965 Richie became WM and during his year in office he performed multiple ceremonies. At this time the meeting room closed down and the members made the decision to move to the Ormskirk Group. Richie said that it was the best move they ever made. Whilst working Richie had the honour of designing and presenting a magnificent 50 year anniversary banner to the lodge.
Being a frequent visitor to Lathom Abbey Lodge No. 6286 Richie joined on 1 April 1979 and has been a loyal and regular attendee ever since. Richie was promoted in 1989 to PPrGSupWks in recognition of 50 years in Freemasonry. On the 19 October 1999 Richie received further promotion to the rank of PPrJGW. Richie also holds high ranks in other masonic orders and Philip read out a letter of congratulations from Peter Connolly a PrGM in one of those Orders as Ritchie has been a member for 74 years in that Order.
During the evening Philip read out several letters of congratulations including one from the present WM of the Lodge of the Holy City – Jerusalem, also one from Steven Reid, Philip Gardner and Peter Hosker the Provincial Grand Master of the Province of West Lancashire.
Philip then asked Frank to read out the celebration certificate before he formally presented it to Richie. Philip concluded by saying that he hopes to be in office long enough to see Richie celebrate his 80th anniversary.
At the exceptional age of 103 years Richie stands proud in a lodge that can only admire his fortitude and longevity. He retains a remarkable recollection for ritual, often playing a very active role in the proceedings.
Richie has met every challenge presented to him and remains very committed to Freemasonry. Every mason in the Ormskirk Group wish Richie the very best for his continued masonic career and hope he has many more years of active service in the Craft.
Further celebrations continued at the festive board when Richie had the opportunity of warmly thanking everyone for their support and good wishes. He was then presented with a bottle of his favourite tipple and a 75 year lapel pin from the members of Maghull Lodge. This presentation concluded a most memorable and emotional evening.
West Lancashire sees the advent of a building programme at Urmston Masonic Hall, where the ‘Old hall’ is being renovated by extension and design
By virtue of this, and in honour of the Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker, the Urmston Masonic Hall Committee arranged for a special cornerstone to be manufactured and hand carved by a local artisan in preparation for a dedication service.
The Provincial Grand Master Peter Hosker, along with his wife Julie, were accompanied by Provincial Grand Chaplain Graham Halsall, John Hutton (Assistant Provincial Grand Master), Mike Adams (South Eastern Group Chairman) and numerous brethren who were present to witness the admirable dedication ceremony which had been specially prepared by Graham.
Mike Adams gave a short introduction followed by John Hutton inviting Peter to dedicate the cornerstone to Freemasonry in due form, whereas, it was tried and tested and as Peter confirmed, ‘the craftsmen had done their duty’.
The foundation work is nearing completion, and the timing for laying of the now dedicated cornerstone will take its ‘course’ in the north east corner of the brickwork in early 2014.
The stone has had a time capsule chamber prepared for inclusion of the dedication service leaflet signed by Peter and John.
At the conclusion of the service, Neil Stackhouse, on behalf of the Hall Committee, presented Julie Hosker with a bouquet of flowers as a measure of gratitude for their kind attendance.
The members of Quingenti Lodge No. 8516 - the Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge - welcomed seven of the eight acting Provincial Grand Stewards as joining members at their installation meeting
The principal guest at the meeting was the Provincial Grand Master Peter Hosker.
Peter was accompanied by Ray Martland, Harry Cox and David Winder all of whom are Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, Mark Matthews (Provincial Senior Grand Warden) and Joe Hall (Provincial Junior Grand Warden), Keith Kemp (Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies) and Malcolm Bell (Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies), together Terry Hudson (PProvAsstGM) and many other grand and Provincial grand officers.
There was also a large attendance of other visitors from across the Province who attended the meeting for two reasons. The first was to watch the newly appointed Stewards parade into the lodge room after their application to join the lodge had been voted on by the members.
The second was to witness the installation of the Steward (master elect) John Martin. John was installed into the chair of King Solomon by Greg Pinnington, in what Peter described as: 'distinguished and unique manner.'
After being installed in the Chair of King Solomon John invested the lodge officers which included David Grainger as JW, David is an Assistant to the Three Grand Principals in the Royal Arch. Peter Pemberton as SW who is the group publicity officer for Lancaster Group and region four publicity officer and Fred Wright as almoner. The Provincial Grand Almoner Ernie Greenhalgh explained the almoners duties to Fred who has served as lodge almoner for several years. Ernie also presented Fred with the new almoners booklet.
More than 80 brethren retired to the main dining room to enjoy the festive board after the meeting was closed. They enjoyed a fine meal and listened as Peter Hosker in the response to the toast to his health, pay tribute to the excellent work in the lodge and by the lodge members in managing the banquets after the meetings of Provincial Grand Lodge.
Peter described Quingenti Lodge as the jewel in the Provincial crown. He said: 'As ProvGM, I would wish to salute and thank the lodge for all its good work over the years in running and managing the banquets at Provincial Grand Lodge, now held at Preston Masonic Hall.'
He continued by saying: 'Many brethren come to Provincial Grand Lodge to enjoy and admire the Province at work, and in that work, the acting Provincial Stewards play a very important part. I have attended Grand Lodge and visited many other Provinces and I venture to suggest when it comes to ceremonial occasions, 'nobody does it better than West Lancashire'.
'Over five years have now passed since I became ProvGM. I thought that I would revisit my 2008 principal aims and objectives, to see whether I had lost the plot!
They are: to share more widely our principles and beliefs; to extend our charitable giving; and to give even greater service in and to our communities.
'As to sharing our principles and beliefs, we have taken two giant steps with the initiative of Ambassadors for Freemasonry, and the base values of our Order - Integrity, Kindness, Honesty, Fairness - enabling us to speak in modern language with our families, friends and others about our Order.
'Additionally, our excellent Provincial website is our open window to the world - tirelessly managed by your retiring SW Mark Holloway, supported by webmaster, the team of group publicity officers and the assistant webmasters.
'Looking at our charitable giving, I am proud of what we have achieved together in Province and I continue to be humbled by the masonic and non-masonic donations.
'By way of example: In 2010, £5,4000,000 to our 2010 Festival for the Masonic Samaritan Fund. This year we gave £80,000 to the Royal College of Surgeons for the Royal Arch Bi-centenary Appeal. Last year the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity gave grants of £500,000 which included £143,539 non-masonic grants. Last year the giving to non-masonic causes throughout the Province - including group giving days, of over £250,000. This has achieved a balanced giving between masonic and non-masonic giving.
'I was pleased that The Freemasons' Grand Charity gave a grant of £50,000 to the British Red Cross in support of immediate emergency aid efforts in the Philippines. Also, The Grand Charity has opened a dedicated Relief Chest for Freemasons to give individually to the disaster.
'Service in the community continues to grow, and I hear many stories of good service. I repeat what I have said on many occasions - for the kind of life we lead, will Freemasonry be judged.
'In conclusion, I emulate my predecessors when I say that I am fully aware of the importance of this lodge not just because of its work at PrGL, but because it brings together those who, importantly, have served the Province as acting Stewards. I am sure that in bringing acting Stewards together, it fuses like minds and develops a masonic spirit and purpose which are then spread throughout the Province for the good of freemasonry. It is all about qualities of commitment, ability and potential leadership, which is at the very heart of all that is good in the Province.'
He then wished John Martin well in the coming years, he said: 'You lead a most important body of men. Once again I have greatly enjoyed my visit to your fine lodge.'
Greg proposed the toast to the new worshipful master, during his toast Greg said John was born in Stroud, Gloucestershire in 1954, after leaving school aged 16 he spent 15 years working in the private forestry sector and qualified as a forester. He joined the Fisheries division of North West Water at 30 and became a Fisheries Officer working in Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumbria for 25 years. He is currently self employed and works for clients which include the Forestry Commission, Highways Agency and Cumbria County Council.
John was initiated into the Arthur John Brogden Lodge No. 1715 in October 1997 and served as WM in December 2005.
John gave a suitable reply, thanking Greg for the way he had installed him in the chair.
The toast to the visitors was proposed by the new Steward of the lodge David Coulson. Joe Hall replied on behalf of the visitors, saying he had greatly enjoyed the ceremony and he congratulated Greg on the work he did in the lodge. He also said he should single out the Provincial Deacons as they clearly had some talent despite their roles as last season’s acting Provincial Wardens!
The final toast of the evening was in the hands of the tyler Keith Lang who gave the tyler’s toast.
The members of Senatores Chapter of Installed First Principals No. 8966 had been looking forward to receiving members of the East Lancashire Demonstration Team who were delivering a demonstration entitled ‘The rise and fall of the twelve tribes of Israel’. Little did they know that the meeting would be the venue for the investiture of the Second Provincial Grand Principal and an Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals
Following the appointment and investiture of John Hutton as the 91st Assistant Provincial Grand Master of the Province of West Lancashire at a meeting of his mother lodge, Peter Elmore was asked to succeed him as the Second Provincial Grand Principal, with David Randerson being asked to take the position of Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals left vacant by Peter’s promotion.
The meeting date of Senatores Chapter made it the obvious meeting for the Provincial Scribe Ezra to request permission from the three principals of the chapter to host Provincial Grand Chapter in order to hold the investiture of two companions who are members of Senatores Chapter of Installed First Principals.
After the chapter was opened Ian Higham the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies announced that the Grand Superintendent Peter Hosker, demanded admission.
The first principal Derek Parkinson said he and his fellow principals would be delighted to receive him. Ian then announced the arrival of the Grand Superintendent accompanied by the Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra Peter Taylor, the Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah Stephen Brereton along with 13 grand officers entered the chapter in a very colourful procession.
After Ian introduced Peter to Derek Peter accepted the sceptre from him and occupied the first principals chair.
Peter then appointed his officers and opened Provincial Grand Chapter. Peter then explained to all the companions the reason for the meeting, saying: 'John Hutton has recently retired as my Second Provincial Grand Principal and was recently been invested as one of my Craft Assistant Provincial Grand Masters.
'Since 2007 John Hutton has served the Royal Arch Province of West Lancashire. He has occupied these offices with much credit to himself and advantage to the Province. Indeed, he has enhanced these offices with his kind and generous demeanour and his enthusiasm and dedication for the Royal Arch. I publicly express my sincere thanks for all his good work. In his place, I have invited Comp Peter George Elmore to become my Second Provincial Grand Principal.'
Peter then addressed Peter Elmore, saying: 'You became a Freemason in 1978 when you were initiated into Kirkham Lodge No. 6615, becoming its WM in 1986. In 1992, you were appointed in Provincial Grand Lodge to the acting rank of ProvGStwd, and in 1996 you were promoted to PProvDepGSuptWks. In 2001 you were promoted to be an acting ProvDGDC, an office you held with distinction for three years until 2004. In 2004, you were promoted to PProvJGW. In Grand Lodge, you hold the rank of PAGDC, which you were appointed to in 2005.
'In 1986, you were exalted into the Blackpool Chapter of Fellowship No. 7692, becoming its first principal in 1992. You are a founder of Tithebarn Chapter No. 8446. You are a joining member of Provincial Grand Stewards' Chapter No. 8516 and a joining member of Vale Chapter No. 5256. You are also a joining member of this Chapter, Senatores Chapter of Installed First Principals, becoming its first principal in 2010.
'In 1999, you were appointed in Provincial Grand Chapter to the acting rank of ProvGStwd, and in 2003 you were promoted to PProvGSwdB. In 2004 you were promoted to be an acting ProvDGDC, an office you held with distinction for three years until 2007. In 2006, you were appointed as the vice chairman of the South Fylde Group. You were vice chairman for just one year because in 2007, and you were appointed by my predecessor as AtoPrGPs, with responsibility for the North and South Fylde Groups and the Blackpool Group.
'I re-appointed you in 2008. In Supreme Grand Chapter, you hold the Grand Rank of PGStdB, which you were appointed to in 2008. During your six and half years as a Royal Arch Assistant, you have contributed much to this wonderful Order, you have been a role model for others to follow and you have been a popular leader.
'You are well qualified and experienced to become my Second Provincial Grand Principal.'
Peter Elmore then confirmed he was willing to accept the office. Peter asked the Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra to read the patent of appointment.
Peter Elmore recited the obligation, after which Peter Hosker invested Peter as his Second Provincial Grand Principal, to which the companions gave acclamation.
Peter’s Father died when he was only six years old, he attended the masonic school for boys in Bushy from 1955 to 1963. Leaving school he started work in the NHS where he worked for 37 years. When he retired he was the Deputy CEO for Corporate Affairs at Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. He is a Justice of the Peace, an office he has held for 13 years.
Peter married Rosie in 1970 and they have been happily married for 43 years. Rosie was a head teacher and enjoyed her teaching career until she was forced to retire 10 years early as she suffers from MS.
Peter hobbies and interests are varied and include: reading, gardening, cooking and entertaining and, of course, football. Peter is a Shrewsbury Football Club supporter and shareholder. He also goes to Manchester United as Rosie is an ardent supporter - she has even named her mobility scooter Fergie!
Peter says he is excited by the new appointment and looking forward to his time in office but he knows it will be challenging. Rosie said he has been floating in mid-air since he was asked if he would accept the office by Peter Hosker.
Peter then asked Ian if David Randerson was in attendance. Ian said he was and Peter asked him to place David before him, so that he could invest him.
Peter then addressed David: 'You became a Freemason in 1989, when you were initiated into Quadrant Lodge No. 8044, becoming its WM in 1998. You are a joining member of five other lodges. In 2002, you were appointed as an acting Provincial Steward, and in 2005, you were promoted by my predecessor to be acting Provincial Junior Grand Warden. In Grand Lodge you hold the rank of PAGDC.
'You were exalted into Quadrant Chapter No. 8044 in 1993, becoming its first principal in 2006. You are a joining member of this chapter, Senatores Chapter of Installed First Principals. You were appointed by my predecessor as vice chairman of the South Fylde Group in 2007, and then reappointed by me the following year. You were appointed by me as Group Chairman in 2009. You have therefore held Group Office for six and half years. Having been a group chairman myself for five years, I am well aware of the work and demands involved in this office. On the other hand, the experience of being a group chairman is extensive. I have enjoyed working with you, and your thoughtful and challenging approach to your work have made you an excellent group chairman.
'In Provincial Grand Chapter, in 2010, you were appointed to acting Provincial Grand Sword Bearer, and in 2012, you were promoted Past Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah.
'You are well qualified and experienced to become an AtoPrGPs but I must ask you in the Provincial Grand Chapter whether or not you are ready and willing to take on the duties and responsibilities of that office.' David confirmed he was willing to accept the office. Peter then invested him.
David went to Barnsley Grammar school. He then studied at Manchester University where he attained a first class honours and Master’s degrees in graphic design. Leaving University he started his own graphic design business with Manchester Business School as his first customer.
He has been married to his wife Anne for 30 years. Anne works in the family business as does Anne’s daughter Julie who is one of David’s two step children. The other is Stuart who works in a printing company based in Blackpool. They have four grandchildren and four great grandchildren which the both love to spend time with.
David enjoys caravanning and walking Bailey his black Labrador other hobbies include watching most sports although he no longer plays football he supports his home town club Barnsley and Bolton FC.
David says he is looking forward to his new role, but most of all he hopes he will have fun with the new companions he meets while doing it.
Peter then closed Provincial Grand Chapter and asked Derek if he would return to his chair and take the sceptre back. Ian formed the recession and the Grand Superintendent accompanied by his officers recessed from the chapter.
Derek carried out the rest of the chapter business which included a ballot for two joining members. He then asked John Cavanagh the East Lancashire Demonstration Team narrator to introduce the team and conduct the demonstration entitled ‘The rise and fall of the twelve tribes of Israel’.
The team then enthralled the companions with their demonstration which was delivered in a sincere but light hearted manner. Following the demonstration which lasted around 30 minutes Derek thanked the team for the skilful demonstration. He said he had learned a few things he had not known, as he was sure many other companions had as well. The temple was filled with acclamation as over 100 companions showed their thanks to the team for their wonderful demonstration.
The companions assembled in the main dining room in Cleveleys Masonic Hall for the festive board which was enjoyed by all.
Following the normal toasts after the meal Derek thanked the East Lancashire Demonstration Team again for their magnificent demonstration, saying that they undertook the work without payment and travelled to many Provinces each year to deliver demonstrations in both lodges and chapters. Derek concluded by presenting a cheque to John Cavanagh for £100. Derek also thanked the two AtoTGPs from West Lancashire - Norman Clarke and David Thornton who had travelled to Cleveleys to support the team.
In his response John thanked Derek and his co principals and companions for their hospitality and the donation, which would go towards the donations to charity made by Chapter of Friendship No 44 of which all the demonstration team are members of in East Lancashire.
John said the team had greatly enjoyed their visit to Cleveleys as it had been: 'A game of two halves, with the first half comprising the two investitures – at this point the score was two – nil to West Lancs' He continued 'the temple was full and was the largest audience the team have delivered their demonstration to and we hope they enjoyed it as we certainly did – you could say the companions got three for the price of one!'
John concluded by thanking all the companions for their kind comments and acclamation.
He said the team were giving another demonstration at Cleveleys Park Lodge No 7540 on 14 March 2014 entitled ‘The crafty Companion’.
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.
More than 130 brethren attended the annual almoner’s dinner, which was held in Wellington Park, Leyland
After the meal the Provincial Grand Almoner Ernie Greenhalgh welcomed Peter Hosker, Provincial Grand Master, and the guest speaker Col Sylvia Quayle OBE. Ernie thanked everyone for attending the dinner and said he hoped the evening would prove to be both interesting and enjoyable.
Peter Hosker then said: 'In this Province, I think we can all be proud of our long history of Care and Charity. Indeed, it is now 163 years since our first Provincial charity was created, and we have come a long way since then. Our masonic care and charity is made up of four parts.
'One: a Provincial Care Structure serving the Province. Two: a Provincial Charity Structure serving the Province. Three: the West Lancashire Freemasons' Charity (WLFC) our own Provincial One Stop Charity, a professional and well managed charity with over £11,000,000 in funds. And four: our four main national charities operating under the banner of Freemasonry Cares.
'The excellent Provincial care and charity structures were put in place by my predecessor. In turn, in 2008, I was pleased to play a major part in bringing together the then seven Provincial charities to create our WLFC, our own Provincial one-stop-charity a professional and well managed charity with over £11,000,000 in funds.'
'Freemasonry Cares was launched in 2009, in partnership with the Metropolitan and Provincial Grand Lodges and promotes awareness amongst Freemasons and their dependants of the wide range of financial, healthcare and family support available from masonic charities and delivered by a central enquiry service.
'The Province of West Lancashire provides a dedicated care structure in support of brethren, widows and dependants who at times of sickness, personal distress or financial hardship are in need of masonic assistance. Our care structure is extensive and is overseen by AsstProvGM Ray Martland.
'Ernie Greenhalgh, was appointed last May, since then he has been a whirlwind of frenzied activity. His enthusiasm for the new presentation 'How do I get help' has been infectious and I am quite sure that as it rolls out the presentation across the Province, it will be well received. I have seen this excellent presentation, and I particularly like the video case studies which will appear on our Provincial website. Presently, the video running is a case study revealing the help and support received by a Preston family from the RMTGB.
'Invitations for the care presentation ‘How do I get Help’ now stand at 57 which is just over a third of Ernie's target of 160 during this masonic season. By the end of this month 14 presentations will have been given. The video has turned out to be a very powerful aid, particularly as it shows a family from our Province saying that Freemasonry has changed the lives of their whole family.
'Ernie is ably supported by his Deputy Paul Webster, Roy Pyne the administrative link with the Grand Charity, eight regional care officers, 24 local care officers, and by over 500 Craft and Royal Arch almoners. They make up the ground force - they bear the heat of the day. It is demanding work, and I thank them all for their substantial and tireless efforts.
'I wish to mention the Pastoral Care undertaken by our care structure. This can only be carried out by going to and visiting people - it cannot be done on the telephone. This enables the problem to be identified and help assessed. It breaks down into three separate areas. One: visiting people who are sick. Two: visiting people who have lost their partner and are lonely. Three: visiting those who need some form of help either financial or otherwise.
'It is essential that the Provincial Almoner and his team continue their good work, and are ready willing and able to help and support when people need our help.'
Ernie thanked Peter for his kind words and then said: 'Since I came into office some of you will remember my two favourite words ‘communications’ and ‘training’, well now I have a phrase to go with them ‘working in harmony’.
'I am delighted to see Barry Jameson and a number of charity stewards here as we start to work even closer than in the past. Together they will be supporting our team when the presentation ‘How do I get Help’ are given.
'But it does not stop there, our four central masonic charities are working ever more closely and the latest initiative is the coming together of both Welfare teams from the RMBI and the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys. While we have always had a good liaison with Elaine Hanson and Claire Beaumont, I believe it will improve even more in the coming months.
'The West Lancashire project run by the RMBI for the benefit of elderly brethren and their dependants within our Province, has now been closed to new applicants. However, I am delighted to announce tonight that the trustees of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity have agreed to take over the role of assisting with third party top-up-fees, should the State not meet the full cost. On behalf of us all, I thank the WLFC for taking over what is becoming an area of concern within ‘Care’.
'While I have always had an admiration for the work carried out by SSAFA the armed forces charity which provides lifelong support for our servicemen and women, together with their families. Their volunteers who are the equivalent of our almoners have an excellent professional approach. In the care structure we continue to move forward, but still have some way to go before we achieve that high standard. So I was delighted when a senior speaker from SSAFA accepted my invitation to address you all tonight.'
Just before Ernie introduced Sylvia he thanked all the almoners for the dedication and hard work they have already put in during the year. He said this made him feel confident that their professionalism will shine through. He said they are well on target to reach the 160 presentations in this masonic season.
He concluded by saying to all the team, when presenting ‘How do I get Help’ the experience is something you should enjoy, our story and video have a very powerful message.
Ernie then introduced Colonel Sylvia Quayle saying she is a Freeman of the City of London, the first lady to be invited onto the board of trustees for the RMBI and earlier this year the Queen honoured her with the OBE for her charitable work.
Sylvia started by giving a short outline of SSAFA’s history which was founded in 1885. She then spoke about the work carried out by SSAFA, their training and how they go about helping individuals in need.
During her talk Sylvia said she realised that in comparison to SSAFA the masonic movement was small, but both organisations have the same ethos in helping and looking after its comrades.
There was a large gathering of brethren at Wellington Park, Leyland, for a very special anniversary meeting, the purpose being that of celebrating 150 years of masonic service of Hesketh Lodge No. 986
In fact there were over 150 brethren in attendance to mark the lodge’s milestone. The atmosphere was one which was full of anticipation of the celebration ahead and there was a real buzz around the lodge room.
The lodge was opened by the current worshipful master, Ian Smith, who before the meeting was full of the apprehension a ceremony of this nature could stir. Once he was into his stride though he very quickly despatched the lodge business and admitted Ray Martland, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, into the lodge room. Ian, out of courtesy and as a right, offered the lodge gavel to Ray who, on this occasion retained it as it was befitting for this celebratory ceremony. Ray started by saying: 'Are we all sitting comfortably?' He then set about telling a brief and concise history of the lodge.
Hesketh Lodge was consecrated in 1863 when there were other notable and historical facts in the same year. Queen Victoria was on the throne, the Prime Minister was Viscount Palmerston and the first section of the London underground was completed. The FA was founded at the Freemasons Arms in Long Acre, London and scarlet fever caused 30,000 deaths.
At a meeting of the Lodge of Harmony held at Ormskirk, Lancashire, on 26 August 1863, the petition to form Hesketh lodge was signed. At this time there were only 85 lodges in the whole of Lancashire of which 55 were in East Lancashire and 30 in what is now West Lancashire. The Province now has 367 lodges.
It was decided that the first meeting would be held on the third Tuesday in November at the Grapes Inn, Croston, and to have the warrant read and the master installed. The annual subscription was one guinea for 33 years with an initiation fee of 5 guineas. Hesketh Lodge is the mother lodge of a number of other lodges including Carnarvon Lodge No. 2376, Coppull Lodge No. 4232, St Michael’s Lodge No. 5756, Eccleston Lodge No. 7754 and Tarleton Lodge No. 7871.
Ray asked the members of the lodge to stand and he commented that it gave him great pleasure to be able to say thank you to those brethren whose foresight and enthusiasm made it possible in the founding of this lodge. He went on to congratulate them and their successors on a happy and successful one and a half centuries of service to Freemasonry. He concluded the celebration by saying that he hoped the lodge would be refreshed and reinvigorated and may they continue to enjoy the friendship and the good fellowship of this, the world’s finest fraternal organisation.
Once Ray had completed his oration he invited Ian back into the chair before he was presented with a number of cheques. These cheques were each written out for the sum of £986, the number of the lodge, and there were six in total. Two were written out to the Wellington Park Masonic Hall loan reduction fund and one each to West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, St Catherine’s Hospice, Derian House and the Rosemere Cancer Foundation. Ray thanked the lodge for their kind donations. He also said that the Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker, had sent his good wishes and celebratory congratulations and wished the lodge health and happiness for the future.
There were eight toasts on the toast list for the evening and following the first toast to the Queen the most important one was indeed the toast to the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Ray Martland. In his reply Ray was more than pleased to be offered the opportunity to be present at the occasion. He brought his own best wishes to the lodge and thanked every member and their predecessors for having ensured the well being of the lodge. He said that he hoped the lodge would continue to thrive for at least another 50 years but quipped, and conceded that he didn’t think that he would be present at that occasion.
Stewart Seddon the Leyland Group Chairman then proposed the next toast of the evening that to Hesketh Lodge No. 986. He started by thanking the lodge secretary David Lloyd for affording him the pleasure of being able to make the toast. He also mentioned that the lodge members are merely custodians of Freemasonry and past performance is no guarantee of future success – the immediate future of the lodge rests in their hands. He also mentioned that 50 years ago at the lodge’s centenary celebration there were three lodge members who were also at this celebration too. Jack Staziker a member for 65 years, David Johnson a member for 55 years and Alan Heald a member who will celebrate his 50 years in the coming weeks.
Ian Smith responded to this toast on behalf of the lodge and saying what an honour it had been for him to have served as WM in the lodge’s 150th year. He praised the organising committee for all their hard work preparing for the big day and thanked Ray and the Provincial team for attending and making the day additionally special.
At the end of a very enjoyable day’s celebration every lodge member and visitor went home happy and with the knowledge that they had witnessed and been a part of Hesketh lodge’s 150 year celebration. Each were gifted with cuff links which had been embossed with the lodge crest as a memento of this special evening.
Sincerity Lodge No. 3677 is unique in several ways. It has just celebrated its centenary but has actually worked continuously since 1786, that is what makes it unique in English masonic history
Formerly the Lodge of Sincerity No. 486 under the Moderns Grand Lodge it joined the Liverpool and Wigan masonic rebellion of around 1818 and was amongst the lodges in Lancashire which revived the Antients Grand Lodge which became eventually the Grand Lodge in Wigan with the Lodge of Sincerity at its head as Lodge No 1.
The story is a fascinating one which went on for 90 years, but eventually with the wise council of Col James Murray, a Past Grand Treasurer of United Grand Lodge and a Wigan mason, the lodge was re-constituted, all the members re-obligated and it returned to United Grand Lodge on 26 September 1913.
Since then it has continued to work in the Wigan area and now meets at Bryn Masonic Hall, in Ashton in Makerfield, where it is proving to be quite successful with two Fellowcrafts and three Entered Apprentices currently amongst its membership.
The centenary was presided over by the Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker, who opened a special meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge for the occasion, assisted by Howard Jones, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master and Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Tony Bent along with Mark Matthews, Provincial Senior Grand Warden, and Joe Hall, Provincial Junior Grand Warden, and 16 other acting Provincial grand officers.
The Provincial Grand Secretary, Peter Taylor, read the centenary warrant. It was then presented to Ian Dawson the Worshipful Master of Sincerity Lodge by the Provincial Grand Master who remarked that he was delighted to be able to do so on the unique occasion, the like of which we are unlikely ever to see again - that is until the bi-centenary of the lodge.
Peter also presented Alan with a centenary medal which he said could now be worn by all the member of the lodge who were Master Masons.
An oration was then given Rev Graham Halsall by the Provincial Grand Chaplain, who delivered and interesting insight into Lancashire’s boundary changes that had taken place during the lodges history and the effects they had upon the members.
Graham then gave a prayer of rededication.
The evening’s celebrations were rounded off by the promotion of Malcolm Irving Bell Snr to the rank of Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden for his work both in Freemasonry and out of it, especially in the Scout movement. Peter praised Malcolm for his outstanding commitment and hard work in the Craft and the community and said his promotion was very well deserved.
Peter then closed the meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge and returned the gavel to Ian. Ian thanked Peter and the acting Provincial officers for attending the meeting and making it such a special evening. He then presented Peter with a cheque to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity for the sum of £3,677.
After the lodge was closed nearly 100 brethren sat down a very pleasant festive board. Which was followed by the usual toasts. In his response to the toast to his health proposed by Howard Jones, Peter said he was very aware he was following in the footsteps of the previous 15 Provincial Grand Masters since 1826 who had held that office. He said he had looked at the service of Sir Arthur Stanley, who presided at the consecration of the lodge in 1913 and he listed some of his work both in the Craft and the community and said that he hoped that the lodge would celebrate 200 years as a part of the United Grand Lodge of England and that the PrGM who presided over the ceremony would be able to say that the work by Freemasons both in the Craft and community had continued in the tradition set by Sir Arthur Stanley.
Peter concluded by congratulating the members of the lodge on their centenary and said he hoped they would continue their lodges fine traditions, as he firmly believed that we will all be judged by the way we live and the work we do in the community.
Tony Bent then proposed the toast to Sincerity Lodge No. 3677, which was fully supported by all those present.