Click any menu item to expand it, click again
to collapse it.

The Royal Arch RA Home Page

Ashton and Mossley District Latest News


Archived news moved to bottom of page

St John’s Church Band receive £1,000.00 from the ELMC Community Fund

At band practice on Tuesday 6th October, St John’s Church Band were surprised by a visit from the retiring Ashton & Mossley District Charity Steward, Brian Reynolds. The band’s conductor, John Neary, was presented with a cheque for £1,000.00 from the East Lancashire Masonic Charity’s Community fund. In this case, the grant has been given specifically for the upkeep of the Band’s instruments. 

The Leader of the band, Peter Douthwaite, said, “This is a much needed boost for us. In recent months we have been forced to refuse bookings due to a lack of players. An unusually high number of our members have been unable to attend for various reasons, including personal and family illness.” At one point, Mr Douthwaite was forced to issue an appeal for players on local television. Fortunately, “the band is now back up to full strength and are looking forward to our winter engagements, which will include a Christmas concert at Prince Alfred Lodge in Mossley.”

St John’s Church Band are well known in the Southern Area, playing to large audiences at outdoor concerts throughout Tameside in the Summer months. They are one of the stalwarts of the Whit Walks Band Contest and have even appeared in an episode of Channel 4 Television’s “Come Dine With Me.” I am sure that we will all wish the band long and continued success in the future, and hopefully this grant will help with that process.

All of the photos taken on the evening can be found in a Photo Gallery at
Please note that all photographs, and the text of this article, remain the Copyright of ©Kevin Hall and their Commercial use, without permission, is prohibited by law.



ELRADT carry out an Exaltation for Prince Alfred Chapter No 1218

The Three Principals of Prince Alfred Chapter and the newly exalted Companion, (all seated) together
with the Members of the East Lancs Royal Arch Demonstration Team (all standing)

Prince Alfred Chapter No 1218 is based at Westholme, Mossley’s Masonic Hall, and thus falls within the Ashton & Mossley District of Southern Area. It was consecrated in 1955 and, with 23 members, is doing well for a Chapter in this day and age. So it was with a good deal of pleasure that EComp John Cavanagh, the leader of the East Lancashire Royal Arch Demonstration Team received a request for him and his members to carry out an Exaltation at this Chapter.
The brief was to exalt Brother Daniel Byrom, a 24 year old member of Mossley Lodge using the particular form of the ritual which was developed for the use of the team. This particular working demonstrates how the regular ceremony can be divided up among several people which makes it more enjoyable, and a more flexible way of sharing the ceremony among more of a Chapter’s members.

After having seen the Chapter opened in an excellent manner by the three Principals, each office was then taken over by a member of the team who completed the whole ceremony. It was very pleasing to have EComp John Pearson, who is the APGM for Southern Area in another order of Freemasonry, as well as EComp Martin Roche, who is our Provincial Grand Scribe E, but who made it clear that on this evening he had come as a guest of the Chapter rather than in his official capacity. Still, when you are graced by two such senior Masons, it does add a little frisson to the proceedings.

Some of the members of Prince Alfred Chapter together with their principal guests on the evening

The Exaltation went well and all of the members of the Demonstration Team played their part with good grace. After the ceremony was concluded, Daniel was welcomed into the Chapter by the MEZ, and congratulated by all of those present. EComp Roche spoke quite movingly about how much he had enjoyed the ceremony, and congratulated everyone on a job well done. After all, that is why the team take part in these various ceremonies. For the sheer joy of doing a good job, and for love of this wonderful Order.

The photographs and text of this article are copyright ©Kevin Hall 2015. Any commercial use is prohibited.



Another New Candidate at the Lodge of Minerva No 300

On Thursday 1st October the Lodge of Minerva No. 300 welcomed its second new candidate of the year, Bro Chris Stott. The other initiate was Bro. Phill Davies whose passing will take place on Thursday 5th November. Why not come and join us and listen to the harmony provided by our third new member of the year, W Bro Brian Thornley.






Community Fund Makes a Large Donation to Youth Adventure Tameside


Brian Reynolds, Ashton & Mossley Charity Steward, presenting the cheque to one of the YAT Staff, whilst activities go on in the background

Youth Adventure Tameside (YAT) received a generous grant recently. £1,930 has been donated by the Ashton & Mossley Masonic lodges, which will allow the group to buy some much needed equipment.

The donation came after Brian Reynolds, Ashton & Mossley District Freemasons Charity Steward, heard about the group from Emily Moore, who was working towards her Duke of Edinburgh gold award with them. She asked the local Freemasons for help and the request was passed along to the Community Fund of the East Lancashire Masonic Charity, which is able to give out more substantial grants.

Finally Brian presented the cheque on behalf of the East Lancashire Masonic Charity Community Fund to Youth Adventure Tameside. Speaking on behalf of the local Freemasons, Brian said, “We will always do our best to help the young people of the East Lancashire Province.”

Youth Adventure Tameside celebrated their 40th anniversary last year and has traditionally shied away from such donations, but were very grateful for the generous grant. The group have provided more than 22,000 places to youngsters from Tameside and have been running the Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh awards for the past ten years. The expedition part of the awards can be achieved in a variety of ways such as hiking, canoeing or cycling with the gold award being done in wild country over 4 days and is a an excellent way for young people to enjoy the outdoors.


Brian Reynolds and Alan Stoll with two of the recipients of the Community Fund grant




In Memoriam. R.S.M. Phillip Steeden, 11th (Service) Bttn. Manchester Regiment.

Four Members of  Milton Lodge No 1144 commemorated the death of one of their Brethren, Bro Phillip Steeden who was Regimental Sergeant Major with the Manchester Regiment, and who died on the 7th August 1915 at Suvla Bay in Turkey as part of the Gallipoli Campaign during World War 1.   

The four brethren of the current Milton Lodge, The Worshipful Master David Brown, accompanied by W.Bro Peter Cole (Mentor), W.Bro Alec Cross (Secretary) and Bro Alex Miller (SD) placed a wreath on the memorial to Brother Steeden which stands in Weaste Cemetery in Salford. The visit was made, on behalf of the Lodge, to mark the 100th anniversary of Bro. Steeden’s death. Bro Steeden himself is one of those thousands of soldiers of the Great War who have no known grave, but whose name is recorded on the Helles Memorial in Turkey.

Bro Steeden served with the 11th (Service) Batallion of the Manchester Regiment, first raised in August 1914 at Ashton under Lyne. It was formed as part of the first of Lord Kitchener’s New Armies at the start of World War 1. Together with a new Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers it formed a part of the 34th Infantry Brigade, and travelled with that Brigade to Suvla Bay. Bro Steeden himself must have been in the army already, for we know that he had seen service previously in the South Africa Campaign.

It is sad to note that Bro Steeden had a son, also a Freemason, who died in action in the Second World War. “At the going down of the Sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.”

For further general information, look to the following resources online:



The Southern Area Charity Giving Night

The Charity Giving Night has been held once a year for the last eight years. Charitable Giving is central to the ethos of Freemasonry and every Freemason contributes towards the £100 million given away by its Grand Charity to various good causes, large and small, since 1980. Most recently the Grand Charity gave £50,000.00 to the victims of the Nepal Earthquake, through the Red Cross.

On the 17th April this year the Freemasons of the Southern Area met together at the Audenshaw Masonic Hall in the presence of their Assistant Provincial Grand Master, John Pearson, and the Civic Mayor of Tameside, Councillor Dawson Lane who came with his Mayoress, Councillor Jackie Lane. On the night they were pleased to see the local Freemasons giving away grants totalling £39,420.00, which means that they have given away more than £400,000 in the last eight years, and remember that this comes from a membership of only 700 Freemasons.

In his introduction to the evening, WBro Pearson told the Mayor and the assembled brethren and visitors, “We place great importance on Charitable Giving – Freemasons are the largest charitable givers after the National Lottery and are also among the very first to make emergency contributions to International Disaster Relief funds. Charity is not our only reason for existence but it is certainly a most important part of Masonic life – and what a lot of fun we have doing it!”

“In November 2009 East Lancashire started its 2015 Festival in aid of the RMBI. Amongst other things the RMBI runs 17 Care Homes for Masons and their dependant across the UK, focussing particularly on making them Dementia friendly since this affliction becomes ever more common. The Brethren and Ladies have heard at first hand what the RMBI does to support sufferers, and how much it costs. The East Lancashire Masonic Charity also maintains Hewlett Court for assisted living at Holcombe Brook. Its Community Fund is also available and supports many local charities and organisations in their own projects within East Lancashire

“Our Grand Master, HRH the Duke of Kent, has said that we need to work towards regaining our enviable reputation in society, to show how and why we are relevant and to concentrate on the positive aspects of Freemasonry, in particular our generous tradition of giving to a wide variety of causes. We have a huge amount to offer to men in our communities. So I hope I’ve put tonight into context and we look forward to hearing from both our donors and recipients.”

During the evening that followed, donations were made to support 56 charitable causes including National, Regional and Local Charities with grants ranging from £50 to several hundred pounds. The Charities that any individual Lodge supports are decided by the Lodge itself, which is why there are so many and the donation made to one charity can often be made up from several smaller grants made by several individual Lodges. This year the Charities supported ranged from the RNLI, the British Heart Foundation and MacMillan Nurses, through the major Regional Charities that we all know about and support such as the Christie Hospital, Francis House Children’s Hospice and Willow Wood Hospice, which alone received a grant of £3,300.00.

However, it is the local charities, organisations and individuals, who feel the most benefit, for a small amount of money can go a long way. These groups include the Hollinwood Canal Society, Donna’s Dream House, a local Prostate Cancer group, Riding for the Disabled, the Middleton & Chadderton Sea Cadets, Broughton House Care Home for ex Service Men and Women, Debra, New Start, Mrs Lumb’s Hospice, Denton Independent Blind Centre, Ashton Amateur Boxing Club and Breathe Easy Tameside. In addition, the Ashton, Mossley and Audenshaw Districts were able to hand over a cheque for £500.00 to the Civic mayor as part of his Charities for the current year.

One of the recipients of a grant, Phil Shackleton, representing the Glossop Mountain Rescue Team, said, “The team relies upon charitable donations such as yours to meet the expense of repairing and replacing equipment, as well as meeting the day to day running costs which we incur. This means that we can continue our commitment to saving lives in wild and remote places. Your generosity and support are greatly appreciated and help us to provide a service that, when needed, is available to both the residents of Glossopdale, as well as to the many visitors that come to enjoy the hills and countryside of the Dark Peak.”

The Civic Mayor, Councillor Dawson Lane, said, “My sincere thanks go to the Freemasons of Ashton, Mossley and Audenshaw for a wonderful evening and for their extremely kind and generous donations. Many local charities and voluntary organisations received donations at the Charity Giving Evening, including my own Mayoral Charity Appeal Fund, and we are all very grateful to the Freemasons for their kind support and much valued work within our local community.”

To see all of the photographs taken on the day, and download any that you want to keep, please go to the Photo Gallery on the Internet. You will find it at the following address:

If you want any copies of higher resolution photographs, please send an email and I will see what I can do.
WBro Kevin Hall


The Annual Assembly of Masters and First Principals for Ashton & Mossley District

The 26th Annual Assembly of Masters and First Principals, for Ashton & Mossley District, took place in May this year. On a warm, comfortable Saturday evening in Spring, some 25 Masons, together with their partners, came together at Westholme Masonic Hall in Mossley. Our host was WBro Ken Hampson, our District Chairman and, together with his wife Karen he greeted all of his guests on their arrival. After the usual performance that is involved in the taking of a group photograph, everyone retired to the Dining Room and settled down to enjoy a very pleasant dinner in excellent company, precisely what this particular evening is all about. Ken’s principal guests on this occasion were WBro John Pearson, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Southern Area with his wife Denise, and EComp Eddie Barlow who is our Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals for our Area, accompanied by his wife Linda.

After Dinner, and after Grace had been returned, WBro Ken Hampson gave a toast to his principal guests and their Ladies, to all of the Ladies present and finally to the rest of the Brethren and Companions. Finally, everyone settled down to listen to a short address. This is not an evening for extended toasts and long speeches, but we always enjoy one good, well crafted and usually humorous address from one of our local Leaders. On this occasion that address came from EComp Eddie Barlow, and did not disappoint anyone present. Below, I have paraphrased his main remarks, so that you can all have a glimpse of that which we enjoyed on the night.

WBro Ken Hampson, our host for the evening with his principal guests, EComp Eddie Barlow to his left and WBro John Pearson to his right.
On the front row are seated, from left to right, Mrs Linda Barlow, Mrs Karen Hampson and Mrs Denise Pearson

“This evening is to celebrate and to honour, the achievements of our WMs and First Principals, who have by their efforts, earned the esteem of their Brethren and Companions, to receive the highest honour they can confer upon them. On behalf of the Province I congratulate you, and wish you a very happy and successful year in office. Thank you for coming along this evening and thank you especially, to your Ladies for your support. All we ask of you is to carry on doing what you are already good at, and that is promoting Freemasonry and to encourage your Brethren and Companions to promote it as well.

Freemasons come from all walks of life and our values are based on integrity, kindness, honesty and fairness. We provide a unique environment for people from all backgrounds, to learn skills, make lasting friendships, achieve their potential, and above all have fun. In the words of our Deputy Provincial Grand Master, ‘We take good men and make them better’.

In 2017 we celebrate 300 years of the first Grand Lodge.  Please seize the opportunity to spread the message of what we can offer. Above all, do what you can to keep your Lodge or Chapter as a very happy place, which brethren and companions want to share with their friends, so that they too can enjoy the mutual support and care that we offer to each other. Of course none of this would be possible without the support of you ladies. Thank you ladies for all your help and encouragement, and allowing us to do what we all enjoy so much. And please don’t be afraid to tell your friends about how much your menfolk – and hopefully you too - enjoy the opportunity of being a part of our Masonic Fellowship – so that your friends’ husbands or partners may want to come along to a meeting or social occasion to experience it for themselves.”

To see all of the photographs taken on the day, and download any that you want to keep, please go to the Photo Gallery on the Internet. You will find it at the following address:

If you want any copies of higher resolution photographs, please send an email and I will see what I can do.
WBro Kevin Hall



Another Successful Visit by Southern Area Masons to United Grand Lodge

On June 10th some 42 Freemasons came together to visit the Quarterly Communications of United Grand Lodge. About half of the group travelled down by train from Manchester on the morning of the 10th, and the other half had travelled down a day earlier to take part in another meeting. By about 11.15 all was ready and we moved into the imposing building that is Freemasons’ Hall. By noon we were all in our places, ready to watch the spectacle that is a Grand Lodge Meeting. The Pro Grand Master, Peter Geoffrey Lowndes, took the Chair, and we enjoyed the extensive procession that included most of the Provincial Grand Masters, including our own Sir David Trippier, as well as a huge number of representatives of Foreign Grand Lodges.

Our Provincial Grand Master, RWBro Sir David Trippier RD, JP, DL, accompanied by
Southern Area’s own APGM, WBro John Pearson, who organised the visit.

After the end of Grand Lodge we made our way to the Grand Connaught Rooms which are located just a little further down Great Queen Street, where Lunch had been booked in a private Dining Room. There we were joined by our Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro John Pearson, who had organised the day and who now hosted the luncheon. We were immensely pleased to be joined by our principal guest, VWBro Stephen Martin Blank, who was our patch APGM until 2013, and has recently been announced as the new Provincial Grand Master / Most Excellent Grand Superintendent of Cheshire. It was a great joy to have Stephen back with us for what may perforce be the last time on our annual visit, and he was welcomed noisily and with much affection by all of those present.

Admittedly not all of the 42 Diners were from Southern Area but we were glad to welcome visitors from such friendly places as Rochdale and Burnley into our jolly company. In addition we had a couple of visitors from our neighbouring Province of Cheshire and I have no doubt at all that our distinguished guests welcomed their company especially. We enjoyed a delightful lunch of Chicken Terrine, Pan Fried Sea Bass and a Bakewell Tart, all washed down by a glass of lovely wine. What more could you ask for a splendid and companionable way to pass a couple of very pleasant hours?

These visits do not lend themselves to speeches, though WBro Pearson did take the opportunity to welcome everyone to the gathering. He also congratulated VWBro Blank, who is an old and good friend to all of us, on his preferment. We were then fortunate to receive three extra visitors. First of all we were very pleased to welcome our own Provincial Grand Master, RWBro Sir David Trippier  who was accompanied by our Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VWBro Derek Thornhill. They both took the time out to visit with us. Then, just after they left, we had the great pleasure of welcoming RWBro Jonathan Spence, our Deputy Grand Master. This was the sixth year that we have been travelling down to London for this visit and every year RWBro Spence, despite all his responsibilities, takes the time to come round and visit with us. Not only that, but he stayed long enough to speak to every member there at some length. It is always a great pleasure to welcome these warm and charming men into our company.

Here is our APGM, John Pearson together with our surprise visitor, RWBro Jonathan Spence,
the Deputy Grand Master, and VWBro Stephen M Blank, our principal guest

Then, finally, about half of the group went to take a private conducted tour around Freemasons’ Hall. Our guide, the redoubtable John Vazquez, knows everything about the home of English Freemasonry and makes this visit a great joy. The group were first shown around the main Lodge Room, before being shown some of the other nooks and crannies that most people never get to see. All in all this was a wonderful way to end the day. Finally, after returning to Euston Station, we caught the 6.20 train back to Manchester. It had been a wonderful day out and I have no doubt it was enjoyed by everyone present. I have no doubt that we will be going down again, next year, for our seventh annual visit. You might like to think about joining us next year, you won’t regret it.


To see all of the photographs taken on the day, and download any that you want to keep, please go to the Photo Gallery on the Internet. You will find it at the following address:

If you want any copies of higher resolution photographs, please send an email and I will see what I can do.

WBro Kevin Hall



The Ashton & District Lodge of Installed Masters No 8341

Most of the Current Members of ADLIM Lodge

The Incongruous thing about the Ashton & District Lodge of Installed Masters, and from now on we shall call it ADLIM as everyone else does, is that it meets at Audenshaw Masonic Hall. The meeting of the Lodge that took place on Thursday 28th May was slightly unusual in that there were lots of people in attendance. Now there ought not to be anything special about that, except that ADLIM, which was consecrated in 1971 has rather fallen on hard times, as have any number of other Lodges, so that by the Spring of 2015 its membership had declined to eight, and not all eight were able to attend on a regular basis.

WBro John Pearson PSGD, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master for our Southern Area, attended the Installation Meeting of ADLIM last January, understood the plight of the Lodge, and being the man that he is he decided to do something about it. John has set out to revitalise the Lodge which, as the only Lodge of Installed Masters in the Southern Area, ought to be one of our Premier Lodges. So, with the agreement of the members of ADLIM, John has set out to attract as many new members to the Lodge as possible.

By careful management, and some changes to the Lodge’s bye-laws, ADLIM will change its focus. It will still meet three times a year, roughly every four months, but in future it will meet alternately in all three of the Southern Area three Masonic Halls at Audenshaw, Ashton and Mossley. By paying for meals on the night, and by some other tweaks, it has been possible to keep the Lodge’s annual subscription at a level that will make it attractive to every member of the Craft. So a Lodge that was dying on its feet ought to see a revival of its fortunes, thanks to John.

All Together Now

As of writing, the Lodge Secretary has received some 21 approaches from Masters and Past Masters who have indicated a desire to become joining members of the Lodge. They will be balloted for at the October Meeting of the Lodge and will probably become full members of the Lodge at the Installation Meeting in January. Of course, everyone involved hopes that this will be but the start of better things. WBro Pearson wants to see a thriving Lodge, where the very best of ritual can be seen being performed, where excellent papers can be given and a high standard of discussion regarding our brotherhood can take place. A membership of nearly 30 is but a good start, so why not think about becoming a member of ADLIM yourself. The only requirement is that you are in the Chair, or have already gone through the Chair of any of the Southern Area’s Lodges, and that you have a desire to see ADLIM Lodge thrive. For further details contact the Lodge Secretary, WBro McDermott or either District Secretary.



The Fifth Mossley Band Concert

"The Fifth Mossley Band Concert took place at Westholme on Saturday 25th April. Attended by over 70 including a party of 15 from Hewlett Court (a big thank you to WBro Mike Williams there!), we were entertained to an evening of excellent Brass Band music from Mossley Band, conducted by our very own WBro Duncan Byers. 

Several notable solo cornet, euphonium and trombone solos were played and the concert concluded with rousing renditions of Pomp & Circumstance (a.k.a. Land of Hope & Glory) and Jerusalem. 

The evening raised a total of £436 for the Festival and in addition 10 Provincial Festival Draw tickets were sold. 

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable evening of good music, good food and good company!



Hosted Meeting of Milton Lodge No 1144 on the 13th November 2014 in the presence of
the RW Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Sir David Trippier RD, JP, DL.

RWBro Sir David Trippier RD, JP, DL together with the members of Milton Lodge and their many visitors.

RW Brother Sir David Trippier, our Provincial Grand Master, makes a point of visiting a representative selection of Lodges throughout the Province each year. These hosted visits are intended to encourage brethren from every Lodge in a District to take the opportunity to meet with our PGM, and discover his thinking on some of the crucial issues at that time. So, on Thursday 13th November, 2014, Sir David attended a regular meeting of Milton Lodge No 1144 which meets at Albert House in Ashton along with some seventy brethren from Southern Area. As befits someone of his rank, Sir David is usually accompanied by a full Provincial Deputation, and so it was on this occasion. Two of the Assistant Provincial Grand Masters attended, our own WBro John Pearson PSGD, and also WBro Martin Roche PSGD, (who, besides being the APGM for our Northern Area, is also a member of Milton Lodge) and our own District Chairman, WBro Ken Hampson PAGDC. The Deputation also included the Provincial Senior and Junior Wardens, the Sword Bearer and both Standard Bearers (as well as the Acting Assistant Standard Bearer, Roy Tindall, who is also a member of Milton Lodge)(Thinks … if it was actually possible to miss WBro Tindall!) as well as  the Provincial DC.

The Members of Milton Lodge with their Principal Guest

The Lodge meeting itself was a supreme success. The Lodge Mentor, WBro Peter Cole, had encouraged three of the junior Brethren of the Lodge, Bros Paolo Bissolati, Donald Geary and Wayne Drysdale, to come forward and each make a personal presentation explaining, “Why I joined Freemasonry”. This proved to be a brilliant concept which everyone agreed was a splendid piece of work and more than worth the effort needed to attend another meeting. All three of the presentations were interesting, extremely well presented and cogently thought through. A tour de force if ever there was one.

The Provincial Grand Master and the Assistant Provincial Grand Master together with the Demonstrators;
From Left: Bro Drysdale, Bro Geary, RWBro Trippier PGM, WBro Walvin WM, WBro Pearson APGM, Bro Bissolati and WBro Cole

In many ways the real high point of the evening came at the Social Board, when Sir David took the opportunity of his visit to address the brethren of Ashton and Mossley District. Sir David began by reflecting on the evening, “I was overwhelmed by the ceremony. The four presentations were outstanding, as I’m sure you all agree. They were sincere, impromptu and unrehearsed – very impressive. I wish all of them a very successful future in Masonry.”

Sir David then went on to address himself to the 2015 RMBI Festival which is now entering its final year. “I’d like to thank you for the cheque. (Insert amount of cheque here with a suitable sentence.) It is important that your particular Lodge is actually the greatest contributor to the Festival in this District. We only have until next October to make sure that we raise a significant amount. We must make sure that we reach a significant total for this Festival. We are one of the largest Provinces with the United Grand Lodge of England. When I took the job of being Provincial Grand Master just three years ago I realised that it was in the teeth of the biggest financial downturn in history. However, I have always been up for a challenge.”

RWBro Sir David Trippier RD, JP, DL thanks the Worshipful Master of Milton Lodge,
WBro Ian Walvin PProvAGDC for the excellence of the meeting.

Remember that we will have seven years when we are out of a Festival and during that time we can give to all the other charitable causes that we hold so dear. Just remember that for the next ten months we are on show to all the other Provinces, simply because we are such a big Province ourselves. There are 13 RMBI Homes, and there are 46 Provinces. We have an RMBI home right on our doorstep at Ecclesholme. Most of the other 45 Provincial Grand Masters support the RMBI but the majority of them do not have a local home to support. All that I am saying to you is, let us just have one final push and see what we can do.”

“Tonight has been, for me, a very important and a very memorable evening.”

If you wish to see all of the photographs taken on the night, and download any that you might want to keep, just go to



Waverley Lodge No 1322 Installation Meeting

Our Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro John Pearson PSGD, attended the Installation of Bro Stephen Marshall as the Worshipful Master of Waverley Lodge No 1322 at the end of October. On this occasion WBro Pearson was accompanied by four of the District Officers of Ashton & Mossley District, as well as WBro Mark Reader who officiated as Director of Ceremonies and two Acting Officers of the Year from Audenshaw District, WBros David Grimshaw and Michael Porter.

The Worshipful Master of Waverley Lodge, together with the
Assistant Provincial Grand Master and the rest of the visiting District Team

All those who attended the meeting enjoyed a fine ceremony, beautifully managed by the Lodge DC and the various brethren who took an active part in the proceedings. This was a Proclamation Ceremony because, as in so many Lodges today, it was not possible to install a new Master into the Chair, but despite that the ceremony went with a real swing.

Afterwards, at the Social Board, John Pearson took the opportunity of speaking to the brethren who had just enjoyed a very pleasing meal. John began by thanking all present for a very special evening, and especially for the hospitality that he had received from the Lodge. He commented on the fact that the Lodge would be celebrating its 150th Anniversary in six years’ time, and congratulated them on the number of Junior brethren who were members of the Lodge.

The Worshipful Master of Waverley Lodge, together with the
Assistant Provincial Grand Master and the members of Waverley Lodge

John took the opportunity to comment on the Southern Area’s visit to the Quarterly Communications of Grand Lodge in July, when we had the opportunity to talk with three of the High Rulers, and had also had the unusual opportunity of visiting the Lodge Room that is used by the Royal Alpha Lodge, the private Lodge of the Royal Family. One of our Ashton & Mossley brethren even went so far as to sit in the Master’s Chair and is rumoured to have picked up a copy of the Summons.

John went on to talk about the upcoming meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge and mentioned some of those who would be receiving promotions and honours. He stressed the importance of having every Lodge represented, preferably by its Master, at that meeting and made a point that the Province would recognise those Worshipful Masters and Wardens who were in attendance at Blackburn. He then spoke about the 2015 Festival, stressing the importance of using the Festival to support the work of the RMBI. He pointed out that our Province, receives more money from the Grand Charities than we give back, so we are not sending our money south, more money actually comes the other way.

The Worshipful Master of Waverley Lodge, together with the
Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro A John Pearson PSGD

John concluded by talking about the importance of recruitment and retention, which is our Provincial Grand Masters key objective for the next few years. John said, “We must not be afraid of shouting about an organisation from which we get so much on a personal level. It is very important in terms in terms of self-development. As Derek Thornhill says, “We take good men and make them better.” Don’t be afraid to let everyone know that message.”

Prince Alfred Lodge No. 1218

The Members of the Lodge and the District Delegation, together
with the APGM WBro John Pearson and the new Worshipful Master

Our Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro A John Pearson, together with the Ashton and Mossley District Team, came together to celebrate the Installation of Bro David J Wolfenden as the Worshipful Master of Prince Alfred Lodge at Mossley Masonic Hall. This meeting, which occurred at the end of October, marked an event that has become quite unusual in recent years, for it was an occasion when Father installed Son into the Chair of their Lodge. As our numbers have shrunk in the last few years, so the occasions when this sort of family connection can be seen have also been reduced. On this occasion the circumstance added something special to the event.

Four of the Principal Officers of Prince Alfred Lodge, but just two families;
From Left To Right: WBro David Pritchard, Bro David Wolfenden (WM),
WBro John Pritchard,  WBro Colin Wolfenden, (IPM)

We all enjoyed an excellent Installation Ceremony, performed with great aplomb by the Installing Master and various other Past Masters of the Lodge, but it would be inappropriate to go further in disclosing the details of the ceremony itself. It is nice to keep the details of our ceremonies private, not because they are secrets, but because it would spoil the special nature of the ceremony for those who have not yet had the opportunity to participate. It is worth waiting for, I assure you. If everyone was able to look forward to so deftly handled a ceremony as this one, they would be more than content.

The Members of Prince Alfred Lodge, together with the WBro Pearson and the District Chairman, WBro Ken Hampson

After the ceremony was completed we retired to the bar to toast the new Worshipful Master’s health, and then we went in to the Dining Room to enjoy the Installation Banquet. Following this most satisfying meal we enjoyed the usual toasts to Her majesty and the rulers of the Craft, and then it was time to enjoy our APGM’s response. WBro John Pearson is an excellent speaker and it is always a pleasure to listen to him.

John began by thanking all those who had attended the meeting as visitors, noting that some had even come from foreign parts, even from as far away as West Yorkshire. He welcomed all of the visitors to what he described as a “very warm and family affair.” He commented on the fact that not only was the Worshipful Master Installed into the Chair by his father, but also that the ceremony was, in part, conducted by the Pritchard family, with the brothers John and David being ably assisted by their nephew Stephen. He commented that though this sort of familial link is less common among Masons than it once was, it is still the cement that binds us together as a fraternity.

The ties that bind: WBro John Pritchard, Bro Stephen Pritchard (nephew of the other two) and WBro David Pritchard

John then went on to talk about the annual trip that some of the Southern Area’s brethren make to United Grand Lodge in early June. He regaled us with the series of events which had taken part this current year. Following our visit to the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge itself, we always go next door to the Grand Connaught Rooms where we always enjoy a little bit of the Capital’s fine dining. However, on this occasion, it was the nature of our visitors that caused John to comment. After dining we were visited first by the Provincial Grand Master, Sir David Trippier, then by the Deputy Grand Master, RWBro Jonathan Spence, who had attended one of our Southern Area Lodges just the previous January, and finally by the Pro Grand Master, MWBro Peter Geoffrey Lowndes himself. John told us how the Pro Grand Master spent more than an hour in the company of the visitors from Southern Area, working his way around the room and spending a significant amount of time with each group. “It all goes to show,” said John, “that they are Masons just like us and they are interested in what we do and are doing."

John went on to talk about the 2015 Festival, saying,“We often hear that the money that we give goes to London. There can be nothing further from the truth. While we have raised just short of £2 Million pounds, we have received more than £2.5 Million in our Province from the Grand Charities.” He continued by saying that, “there are something like 40% of the Masons in our Province who have yet to give anything to the Festival. We now have less than a year left to make sure that the final total is something that we can be proud of. Let us all spread the word.”

The Worshipful Master and the Installing Master: Father & Son

John concluded by thanking the new Worshipful Master for his kindness and his greetings. He finished by saying, “It must have been wonderful to have been installed by your Father. I wish you all the best for the forthcoming year.”

If you wish to see all of the photographs taken on the night, and download any that you might want to keep, just go to




Eric Aldred, an 87 year old resident of the Broadoak area of Ashton, regularly drives to Scotland, France and the South Coast of England to visit Friends and relatives. Recently he found that members of his family were advising him that, at his age, this was no longer the safest way to travel such long distances. However, Eric has a mind of his own and, rather than simply giving in to these suggestions, he decided to look for some advice. It was at this same time that Eric came across a leaflet from the Institute of Advanced Motorists inviting him, and people like him, to “Assess Your Skills” under a scheme called “Drive Check 55”.

Eric, who is a Freemason and a member of Waverley Lodge which meets at Ashton Masonic Hall, took up the challenge and signed up for the course. He did so well that his instructor asked him if he would like to follow this up by signing up to take an Advanced Driver’s Class. Eric agreed and thus joined the “West Pennine Advanced Motoring Group which meets weekly in Oldham". Eric said, “I really enjoyed doing the classes. It meant that I had to go to Oldham every Sunday morning for six weeks, in my own car. When I got there I would spend two or three hours in the company of an Advanced Driving Instructor, learning how to improve my driving".

At the end of the six week course Eric was put forward to do his final test, and found himself being tested by the Chief Examiner for the Police Motorway Group. At the end of the test, Eric was astounded to be told that not only had he passed the test, but he had been rated as Excellent in every one of the 27 Competencies that are tested in the Institute of Advanced Motorists test. His examiner commented that it had been an, “excellent drive which was smooth, progressive and of a great standard”. Eric was later told that the he was the first person in the Oldham Group to pass the test at such a high level. What an achievement.

I am sure that we would all like to congratulate Eric on his performance, and hope that we will be doing as well as him when we reach his age!

This article appeared in the "Advertiser" Tameside edition.



Happy Ever After

Written by Sue Carr of the Manchester Evening News

A couple whose dream day was almost derailed when their wedding reception venue fell through have finally got their happy ever after. Emma Jeffreys and Dave Mullaney were left devastated after finding out on Facebook that the venue in Stalybridge  – where they had booked to hold their reception – was closing.

The newly-weds, who had been engaged for 12 years and forced to cancel their wedding plans twice before, were just weeks away from the big day and feared they may have to postpone for a third time. But, after Ashton Masonic Hall stepped in, the couple got hitched without a hitch and say they couldn’t be happier.

Emma, who lives in Stalybridge with Dave and their two children Joshua and Jessica, said: “The wedding was perfect. It was a hot and sunny day and everything went to plan, it was beautiful. We ended up better off in a way because the Masonic Hall was so much nicer.”

Emma, 34, who works as a cleaner at Hyde Town Hall, wore a simple gold and champagne dress to wed her long-term partner Dave, 46, who works at Manchester Airport. The Masonic Hall, on Jowetts’ Walk, was more expensive to hire but waived the extra charges so the bride and groom wouldn’t be left out of pocket. Manager Anne-Marie Wilde said: “We didn’t charge them any more than they were going to pay because they were on a budget and they didn’t have any spare funds. We’re lucky because we have two rooms and there was another function on so the building was open and there were staff in anyway. I just felt sorry for them. You don’t like to see people let down at the last minute and they were a lovely couple so we were happy to help.”

(This item has previously appeared in the Tameside Advertiser and appears by permission of Manchester Evening News Ltd. The item is copyright Sue Carr and MEN Ltd. The photograph is copyright Rachel Burbidge Photography. All Rights Reserved.)






Archives Navigation: Latest News | 2014 | 2013

If you have any new stories you would like to see published here, please contact

WBro Kevin Hall, District Communications Officer for Ashton/Mossley District

back to top