Saturday, 22 September 2012 12:18

Colin plays a part in the London 2012 Olympics

Sometime last year whilst browsing online newspapers, Colin Shannon of Bootle Pilgrim Lodge No. 1473 read an article about the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony and how the organisers were looking for volunteers.

Colin’s application was accepted and he was invited to 3 Mills TV studio in London for an audition where he performed various pieces of choreography and other routines.

The following day, he received an email calling him back for a second audition where the choreography was more complex. Six weeks later whilst on holiday in India with his wife Vilma, the email came through confirming he had been successful. It was champagne all around that night.

He was to have 26 rehearsals and due to the timings of them, would mean about 40 nights in London. It was a huge commitment to make and meant he would have to make some adjustments. Fortunately, he did not have to miss too many lodge meetings and, being a once in a life time opportunity, he accepted.

His first rehearsals were at 3 Mills. That was where he first met Danny Boyle as he explained his vision and what he hoped to achieved. Danny was hands on all the time and Colin saw him at most of the rehearsals. He was very approachable and spent a lot of time 'chatting' in general to people. It was whilst he was at 3 Mills that he had his costume fit.

His next rehearsal site was on a piece of ground at the old Ford plant in Dagenham. The area was set up with a big top to have talks, leave bags etc. Outside there were two areas set up each the size of the area of the stadium enabling two segments of the show to be rehearsed at the same time.

Eventually, rehearsals were moved to the stadium itself. Walking into the stadium for the first time and seeing his segment set out in the centre of it brought it home as to what they were doing. Colin says that when he was in the centre, just looking around at all the stands and seats it sent a shiver down him knowing that there would be 80,000 people sitting there watching them in addition to the 1,000,000,000 or so people around the world on TV.

After a few rehearsals there, the time came for his first dress rehearsal in front of an invited audience of 40,000. Lined up in the vomitory waiting the cue to go out, Colin says he could see the stands on the opposite side of the stadium full of people. That, the general music, lighting effects and then the sudden beating of the drums was a sure way of getting the adrenalin flowing. After receiving his cue, they went out fully focused on their roles. Colin said he could not describe the feelings he, and others, had when the audience applauded them.

The following dress rehearsal was even more intense as the participants had been given tickets for their families to attend. That was to an audience of 60,000.

The big day of the opening ceremony came. When they were called to go to the stadium, he recalls it was very impressive to see thousands of people in the various costumes walking to the stadium en mass. His section, which was the industrial revolution, had a thousand people involved all dressed in old style working clothes, then there was the NHS section all dressed in old nurses’ uniforms. Following them was a variety of costumes from the different eras of music.

Before entering the stadium they were held in another area of the Olympic Park. As they walked through the park and approached the stadium, the world’s media was lined up alongside the route filming and photographing them. Some of were stopped for a quick interview. Colin gave a quick interview to an Australian TV company. Closer to the stadium, there were volunteer workers lining the route, applauding and wishing them good luck.

Lined up ready to go on, the atmosphere was electric. As his group reached the end of their segment after performing their choreography, the choreographer Steve Boyd spoke through their in-ear monitors and said how amazing they looked and pointed out that they were the closest people on the entire planet to the Olympic rings. All too soon it was over and after their bow, they left the stage

Colin says “The entire journey from getting invited to the first audition, to final bow has been an incredible experience, it is one I will never forget and one that I felt honoured to have been part of.”

A few weeks later Colin also took part in the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012 01:00

Southport Flower Show opens its gates

Over 80,000 people are expected to visit Southport Flower Show this year, to see the gardens designed by two youngsters in a competition sponsored by the West Lancashire Freemasons

The prestigious David Bellamy School Garden Competition has been won this year by Jessica Simpson from Ashbridge Independent School in Preston and Mia Hodkinson and Emma Chapman who made a joint entry from Stanton Road Primary School in the Wirral.  The competition is held each year in association with Southport Flower Show and the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, and gives a chance for the gardeners of the future to create a garden for the show each year. It is open to all primary school children in years 5 and 6 across the North West, and this year’s competition was entered by 276 children across Lancashire, Cheshire, Manchester and Merseyside.

The two winning designs, chosen by a panel of judges, were once again constructed by a professional garden company and were there for all to see when the show opened on Thursday 16 August.

The two winners, their families and their teachers were invited to the show to meet Professor David Bellamy OBE and be presented with £500 to enhance their school grounds, and a £50 gift voucher for themselves.

The head teacher, from Ashbridge Independent School, Hilary Sharples, said: "This is the first time our school has entered the competition and we're extremely proud that one of our students has won - it is fantastic to see the garden come to life at the show. This is a great competition giving children the opportunity to link their design skills with a love of wildlife and horticulture - encouraging creativity while also helping the planet.”

Ashbridge Independent School plan to use the £500 to develop an area within their grounds which will encourage bees and butterflies to visit the school and nursery, and also to extend the wildflower meadow for the youngest children in the baby unit.

Peter Hosker, Provincial Grand Master of West Lancashire, and President of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity said: ”We are delighted to have once again had the opportunity of sponsoring this very prestigious competition. As Freemasons we support many community projects and to get children involved in gardening is very worthwhile.”

Eight days after celebrating his 100th birthday Cyril McGibbon was installed as Worshipful Master of one of the oldest lodges in the Province of West Lancashire - the Lodge of Perseverance No.155.

This lodge, which meets in the Britannia Adelphi Hotel in the centre of Liverpool, dates from 1803 and has several unique traditions, one of which is that the only guests to the installation are invited by the new Worshipful Master. It was also the first time that any member has served as Worshipful Master on two occasions.

To mark this extraordinary occasion this tradition was broken and an open invitation issued for the first time in the lodge’s history. The membership of this venerable lodge is restricted to 25 brethren and the fact that there were 125 attendees, 23 members and 102 guests gives testimony to the high regard and affection felt by the Freemasons of West Lancashire for Cyril McGibbon.

An inspection of the Masonic year book will immediately show the calibre of the members, which includes a large number of Grand Officers many of whom have held high acting Provincial offices as well.

Indeed Cyril’s Masonic CV is very impressive. He was initiated in 1951 into his mother lodge University Lodge of Liverpool and was installed as its Master in 1964. In 1970 the then Provincial Grand Master, Sir Knowles Edge Bt recognised his qualities in appointing him as Provincial Senior Grand Warden  Barely had Cyril relinquished that position when he was appointed as Assistant Provincial Grand Master an appointment that he held from 1973 to 1987, a run of 15 years continuous service. Prior to this Cyril became a joining member in 1971 of Lathom Lodge No 2229 and Setentia Lodge of Installed Masters No 7755 and then in 1974 joined The Lodge of Perseverance, becoming Master of this lodge for the first time in 1976.

The calibre of the members of Lodge of Perseverance would eclipse most meetings but this evening the calibre of the guests has exceeded that of the members. Principal guest was Howard Jones (Deputy Provincial Grand Master) accompanied by Colin Wright (Past Provincial Grand Master), Brian Gillbanks and Michael Hill, both of whom are Past Deputy Provincial Grand Masters and four Assistant Provincial Grand Masters Phil Gunning ,Tony Bent, Tony Harrison and Roy Skidmore. It should also be pointed out that another tradition of the Lodge of Perseverance is that all members and guests, no matter what their rank, are clothed in Entered Apprentice aprons.

After opening the lodge the Worshipful Master Robert Hall greeted the principal guest and proffered the gavel which was immediately returned. The normal business of the lodge was conducted during this part of the ceremony the lodge was introducing a joining member. Once the business was transacted the only Entered Apprentice retired and the lodge was then opened in the Second Degree.

The Master elect, Cyril McGibbon, Past Senior Grand Deacon, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master of the Province of West Lancashire was the presented by Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master John Moore to the Installing Master Robert Hall who, after congratulating  Cyril on his election to Master elect proceeded with the installation ceremony. Having been installed in the chair of the worthy lodge in a very dignified manner by his predecessor Cyril was then invested with the Hall Stone Jewel of the lodge. As is customary an explanation of the origin and meaning of the jewel was delivered, on this occasion by John Price.

On completion of the ceremony of installation Howard then rose to deliver the congratulations and thanks of the Provincial Grand Master to Cyril which on this occasion took the form of a personal letter expressing his profound regret at being unable to attend the installation ceremony in person.

Before closing the lodge Cyril took the opportunity to thank the members for all their work and the multitude of guests for their support. He also informed the gathering that he had received 91 cards on his birthday which were decorating his dining room, at least until the end of the month! With such a large number he was unable to reply to them all but as a larger number of senders were present, he thanked them verbally.

The lodge was then duly closed and although there is no formal recession normally, all stood to allow the new master to retire first. The assembly were then transferred to the dining room where after the drinks were served an excellent meal was served by the hotel.

Another tradition of this lodge is that there are only three formal toasts and no others, yet another tradition  was a casualty of this special evening when the Installing Master then with a few short words proposed a toast to  the health of the newly Installed Worshipful Master. Cyril was then called upon to respond which he duly did. Citing some of the founding principles of the Lodge of Perseverance he concluded by thanking all the members of the lodge for their hard work, in particular the lodge's Director of Ceremonies, Sidney Ford, and his wife who had manufactured 70 extra white aprons for the occasion. He also thanked all the brethren for making a special day unforgettable. On taking his seat all those present rose and gave a prolonged acclamation to a very special man and Freemason.

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.

The Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker and the Deputy President of the RMBI Chris Cain were welcomed to Tithebarn by Laurie Scott (Chairman of the Friends of Tithebarn) and the Home Manager Linda Johnson.

Ray Martland, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Roy Pyne, Provincial Grand Almoner (West Lancashire), David Littlewood, Provincial Grand Almoner (Cheshire), along with many of the Friends of Tithebarn and their wives and partners were also in attendance, along with the chairmen of several groups from the Province: Frank Umbers (Ormskirk), Peter Levick (Bootle), Brian Henshaw (Southport), David Hawkes (Liverpool) and Harry Cox (North Fylde).

In his opening speech Peter said: “I am delighted to have been invited to open what I thought was to be called the ‘Garden Room’ but is now to be called the ‘Jubilee Room 2012’, which is this ‘Jubilee’ year.

"I still remember with pleasure my visit to Tithebarn in March 2009, when I was delighted to officially hand over to the RMBI Chief Executive David Innes the new ceiling lifting system in the Maude Sullivan Wing. After the handover, my wife Julie and I were pleased to take an escorted tour around Tithebarn, and we were most impressed with everything we saw."

He continued: “Linda, I congratulate you and your team on the continuing excellence of your work and I hear nothing but praise about the quality of care you unfailingly provide. This is a wonderful example of what we Freemasons believe in, kindness and caring for those in need.

"The Friends of Tithebarn are special people, and not only the Friends, because I am told that increasingly the wives have become involved. Laurie Scott's appointment to Grand Rank last week by the Duke of Kent was most appropriate, recognizing the work of Laurie and the Friends over so many years.

"I understand that during the past four years, the Friends have done so much to improve the lives and wellbeing of the residents. I make no excuse for making mention of their good works, because it is important that we celebrate what has been done and achieved: Refitting the main Ambulance and providing a smaller ambulance, supplying the Home with new curtains and throw-overs for 41 bedrooms, purchasing three new large televisions for the main lounge, the Maud Sullivan lounge, and the library, supplying a new bookcase for the library, and two new computers, two printers, laptop and corner desk for the quiet lounge, providing new garden furniture, including five benches and three gazebos, supplying a computer controlled VDU in the entrance hall to display  the daily programme to residents and visitors, helping the Home Events Organiser with residents' outings, and also supplying and distributing Christmas presents, and lastly, and I think there is a list of volunteers waiting to help - cleaning the pond!

"And now, there is more, much more - a new garden room extension to the main lounge, which is of course why we are here today. I understand that the extension has been on the cards for a very long time, and I think that the work has been ongoing for the past 18 months. The Friends are contributing the magnificent sum of £50,000 in respect of the project and this will go a long way to meeting the overall cost. And the RMBI are paying the balance. Also, the Friends are providing the furnishings and fittings for the room. All this means more benefits for the residents providing more useable space and creating options, it means more space generally, more space for the holding of activities, and more space for the holding of specialised activities.

"I know that the home is very much indebted to the Friends and they are to be congratulated and thanked for everything that they do, particularly with regard to this new garden room extension. They in turn receive wonderful support from the West Lancashire Freemasons’ who continue to give so freely and so generously. All of this makes me very proud to be a Freemason. And it is good to see the chairmen of the groups involved here today.”

Chris Cain then gave a short address on behalf of the RMBI, in which he said: “As I visit the homes around the country, I am impressed by the hard work and support the ‘Friends’ give their homes, I really do thank the Friends of Tithebarn for their magnificent support of the home and for their part in the creation of this new facility for the residents”.

Peter then declared the new Jubilee Room 2012 open. He then joined the residents of the home in the new room where he cut the celebration cake.

The Friends of Tithebarn then presented flowers to the principal guests.

The RMBI carried out a major program of work on Tithebarn, which started in August 2010 and was completed  in December 2011. The work included the installation of two new fire escapes to comply with fire and safety regulations, seven bedrooms were extended to include en-suite facilities, a new nurse call system was fitted, a new fire alarm system was installed, plumbing was replaced and the wing was rewired, a new bathroom with lifting facilities was created, a new staff room with changing facilities was installed and a refurbishment of the kitchens was carried out and a new general storage area was built along with a new office for the home maintenance manager.   

To find out more about Tithebarn or the RMBI visit www.rmbi.org.uk

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, 13 June 2012 01:00

EIGHTY YEARS A MASON

Members of Hesketh Lodge, No. 950, Province of West Lancashire, called in on John Funk, 105, at his home in St Annes, to celebrate his remarkable 80 years in Freemasonry.

John applied to join a Fleetwood lodge at 21, but such was the popularity of Freemasonry at that time, and with only two lodges in the town, he had to wait for five years to join, otherwise his years in the Craft would have been greater. He is the last remaining founder of Lathom Lodge, No. 6286, in Ormskirk and, together with other prominent masons, purchased the building that is now the masonic hall.

17 September 2012 - UPDATE: It has just been announced that 'The Queen has been graciously pleased, on the ocassion of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee' to award Brian Todhunter with the Royal Victorian Medal (Silver) for 'Restoration of Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia's Royal Barge and Escort Boats'.

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Brian Todhunter, a member of Tuscan Oak and Lamberthead Lodge No.6387, will be on board the Royal Yacht Britannia's tender, the Britannia Royal Barge, transporting Her Majesty The Queen to the Royal Barge, the Spirit of Chartwell, for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant this weekend.

Brian is a former Royal Navy engineer and a member of the Association of Royal Yachtsmen, having served on the Royal Yacht Britannia between 1975 and 1978.   Last November, at the Association's Annual General Meeting, he was asked to inspect the Britannia Royal Barge and an escort launch in order to get them both running. He quickly put together a team of ex-Royal Yachtsmen from the engineering branch, and, based in Leith, Scotland (Britannia's current home), they have worked tirelessly for the past seven months in order to recommission their engines and get the boats shipshape.  This has included extensive sea trials on the Firth of Forth in Force 4 winds - although he is not expecting anything quite so rough on the Thames!

The royal barge was used to transport The Queen and other members of the Royal Family to and from Britannia, until she was decommissioned in 1997.  Brian, who also served on HMS Hermes, said: “Its remarkable how well she ran after 15 years of idleness. We are all looking forward to carrying out Royal duty again - although probably for the last time”.

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, who is Patron of the Pageant, and the Duchess of Cornwall, will board the Britannia Royal Barge, at Chelsea Pier.  They will then be transported some eight hundred yards downstream to Cadogan Pier, where they will disembark and board the Royal Barge, the Spirit of Chartwell.  The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry will join them onboard.

The Britannia Royal Barge will then proudly escort the Royal Barge at the head of this spectacular pageant until the Royal party disembarks close to Blackfriars Bridge and boards HMS President, where they will watch the pageant go by. 

The Association of Royal Yachtsmen was founded in 1989 by Albert ‘Dixie’ Deane and is dedicated to bringing together many of the estimated 1,767 ‘Yotties’ who served on-board HMY Britannia between 14 January 1954 and 11 December 1997.  HM The Queen is Patron of the Association and the Duke of Edinburgh is its President.  Its headquarters are on the Royal Yacht Britannia, where many Yotties return annually for their working party week. Throughout this sociable week the Yotties work alongside Britannia’s maintenance crew to undertake a wide range of jobs throughout their old home. They also mix with visitors, who are enthralled by their stories of the 'good old days'.

Further information on the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, which takes place on Sunday 3 June 2012, can be found on their website.

As the lark was still slumbering and dreaming of catching flies during the forthcoming daylight, 27 companions of the Provincial Stewards’ Chapter No 8516 of West Lancashire, Demonstration Team were already on the road and heading for Shrewsbury, in Shropshire.

They had been invited to the Masonic Hall in Crewe Street to perform ‘The Re-building of a Chapter’, by the Shropshire First Principals’ Chapter No 6262 after correspondence between their secretary Eric Booth and the head of the demonstration team Bill Smith.

After a long journey the team was thankful for a hearty breakfast which was served soon after arriving at the hall at 7.30 am, but a fully organized chef and his team were more than able to match even the most voracious of appetites.

The name of the host chapter is self-explanatory and was consecrated in 1987 and since permission was granted by Supreme Grand Chapter, has like many, chosen to dispense with the wearing of gloves. It meets in what is now the Shrewsbury Masonic Hall, which was the former parish church of St Michael and it was pleasing to see the war memorial within the grounds fully renovated and adorned with flowers.

The church was consecrated on 24 August 1830, being designed by John Carlisle in the Grecian style and includes an octagonal tower. The church was built in brick and the chancel was added later in 1873, the church served the local community until it was closed in 1976.

It was within this fine building that the demonstration team spent their early morning in setting out the room and having the necessary practice to assimilate with the unfamiliar surroundings.  When all were satisfied that everything was ready there was just enough time to change into regalia before the Shropshire companions arrived and the chapter opened. Present on the day were the Grand Superintendent of Shropshire Peter Taylor, accompanied by Roger Pemberton, (Second Provincial Grand Principal) and John Williamson (Deputy Grand Superintendent).

The past first principals of the chapter were introduced and escorted to their places, this was followed by the First Principals of Shropshire Royal Arch Chapters being individually announced and escorted to their respective place by a Provincial Steward from West Lancashire. The chapter was then placed in a state of darkness and a synopsis of the historical events and of the proclamation of Cyrus King of Persia leading up to the ‘re-building’ was delivered by David Harrison.

The chapter resumed its illumination as Barry Elman described the purpose and cause of the individual pieces of furniture which were brought in by the members of Provincial Stewards’ Chapter. When this was complete the chapter was opened by its three Principals and after two matters of chapter business had been dealt with the demonstration was resumed. The chapter was also at this time re-dedicated by Reverend Graham Halsall.

There then followed a reminder to the companions of what the six lights within the chapter represent. This was delivered by Bill Smith and his conclusion of the form of a triangle which represented the Supreme Being and/or an aide memoire, as the triangle could be reconstructed by using one piece of material or matter that was totally portable. Furthermore as it was a geometrical figure, was geometry itself the powerful superior knowledge that set aside the intelligent being, man? Robin Andrews Morris then presented the acting candidate to the first principal and proceeded to inform him on what the floor furniture represented.

Bill then introduced David Harrison, who had with him an extremely special gavel which may be described as a true Masonic gavel for a number of reasons, which David explained most eloquently. It is made of three differing woods; elm, ash, and oak.

On conclusion of the talk, David and Bill presented the gavel to the chapter on behalf of the Provincial Stewards’ Chapter, suitably inscribed onto an adorning plaque. First Principal, David Joyce assured them both that it would be treasured by all of the members of the Shropshire First Principals’ Chapter and become a respected artifact within the chapter.

On conclusion of the meeting, all descended to the ground floor for a very agreeable festive board at which twocheques were made out from the alms collection at the ceremony, for an equal three figure amount, one for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, the other was returned to David Joyce to be used for the benefit of the Midland Air Ambulance Service.

In the next available post, Bill Smith received a letter of thanks and appreciation from David Joyce, part of which said: “It has been a lovely experience and it is clear that the companions of our chapter and our Province were deeply impressed with the choreography, the detail and the ethos of your presentation. Would you please pass on to your team our enormous appreciation of the efforts they made, each and everyone? Thank you, again.”

It had obviously been a successful day for all concerned and it must be remembered that the demonstration team carry out their work voluntary and in their spare time, but such dedication brings its own reward at the satisfaction gained spreading knowledge to  those that attend a chapter to see the team at work. 

 

 

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