Bury District Latest News
It did feel a little strange to be gathering at Ashday Lea Masonic Hall in Rawtenstall at 11.30am for a Lodge meeting but the Duke of Lancaster Lodge, whose meeting we were attending, is a lunchtime lodge. On this occassion the Lodge was celebrating the 50 years in Freemasonry of WBro Neville Farnworth, PProvSGD. After the Worshipful Master, Bro W Alan Starkie had opened the Lodge in due form and the initial business of the Lodge concluded, on a report Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Cedremonies, WBro John Griffin, was admitted to announce that the Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Western Area, WBro Norman Cope was without, accompanied by a District Delegation.
After entering the Lodge and accepting the gavel off the Worshipful Master WBro Cope introduced the Delegation who were warmly welcomed by the brethren of the Lodge and the many visitors present. WBro Cope then asked for WBro Farnworth to be seated in the centre of the Lodge. WBro Edwin Hardman, who had previously been a fellow mason at Starkie Lodge with Neville, presented a report on Neville's masonic career. While pursueing a career as a draughtsman Neville was initiated into Starkie Lodge at the age of 35 on the 18th December 1963 by the WM, Bro Charles Yates. At that time the Lodge met at Ramsbottom Civic Hall. Neville was subsequently raised in April 1964 and passed to the degree of a Master Mason in September of that year. It was to be 16 years later in 1979 that he attained the Chair of King Solomon. On November 16th 2006 Neville was appointed Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon. Sadly Starkie Lodge closed in 2012 so Neville joined the Duke of Lancaster Lodge. WBro Hardman concluded by thanking Neville for all of the help and assistance he had received from him.
The WM of Duke of Lancaster Lodge, Bro Alan Starkie, then gave his own tribute to Neville and a little of Neville's personal history starting from when he left school at 14 and started work in the office of Ashworth and Parker. Neville soon decided that the office was not for him and went to work on the factory floor learning his trade as an apprentice.In 1947 National Service called and he was posted to Aldershot Barracks as a Military Policeman but spent much of his duty time at the Tower of London. At the age of 21 in 1949 Neville left the Army to return to Ashworth and Parker.
WBro Cope then reminded Neville of some of the events and costs of goods in the month and year of his initiation, 1963. This was a month after John F Kennedy was assasinated and two months after Alec Douglas-Home had become Prime Minister. On December 18th of that year the No 1 Single was "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles and in the USA the Singing Nun topped the charts with "Dominique". The top televsion show was Coronation Street and in November Doctor Who was first broadcast. The average price of a house was £2,670 and a loaf of bread 1/- (5p today). WBro Cope included several other facts and concluded by informing Neville that Brad Pitt was born on the day of his initiation
As is tradition a letter from the Provincial Grand Master was read and presented to Neville who was also presented with an illuminated certificate to mark his 50years in the craft. After WBro Mike Gibbons had presented a '50' lapel batch from the District to Neville he was paraded round the Lodge by WBro Griffin to the acclaim of all present.
WBro Neville Farnworth with WBro Cope,APGM, the District Delegation and the Brethren of the Duke of Lancaster Lodge
WBro Neville Farnworth with WBro Cope,APGM, and the Brethren of the Duke of Lancaster Lodge
WM Bro Alan Starkie, WBro Farnworth and WBro Cope
WBros Farnworth and Cope with the Certificate
WBros Norman Cope, Neville Farnworth and WM Alan Starkie
WBros Mike Gibbons, District Chairman and Norman Cope, APGM
At the Social Board
It was fitting that 92 masons from two provinces, were present when The Lodge of Merit No. 934 hosted a celebration of 60 years in Freemasonry for WBro Fred Nicholson, PProvSGW. The event was honoured by the attendance of the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VWBro Derek N Thornhill, JP, PGSwdB, together with WBro Norman Cope PJGD, APGM for the Western Area, accompanied by a Provincial Deputation.
The Brethren of the Lodge of Merit and the Provincial Deputation
The Deputy PGM, VWBro Derek Thornhill, with WBro Fred Nicholson and the Brethren of the Lodge
WBro Brian Priestley, from the Province of Yorkshire West Riding, then took the Brethren back to January 7 1954, when a certain Mr Fred Nicholson was initiated into Saville Lodge No. 1231, aged 22, by the then WM , Reverend Walter Nicholson – his father.
WBro Nicholson with WBro Thornhill and the Master, WBro David Wood
WBro Thornhill and WBro Nicholson with the framed illuminated certificate
The Deputy PGM then concluded his address by reading a letter of congratulations from the Provincial Grand Master and with the presentation of an illuminated certificate to Fred in recognition of 60 years continuous work in Freemasonry.
WBro Nicholson takes wine with The Deputy PGM, WBro Thornhill.....
.......and with APGM, WBro Norman Cope
WBro Thornhill takes wine with WBro David Wood, Master of the Lodge of Merit
WBroMike Gibbons, Bury Didtrict Chairman and WBro David Thornton, APGP; with WBro Fred Nicholson
WBro Nicholson responds to his toast
The Presentation by WBro Jim Hodge
At the Social Board
The evening was completed by a full and festive social board, with a moving and sincere toast to WBro Nicholson by long time friend WBro James Hodge, PProvJGW, and culminating with the presentation from a grateful Lodge, of a framed landscape of Yorkshire beloved by Fred.
Fred responded with a toast typical of the man – honest, humble, and in sincere gratitude to his friends and fellow Brethren.
Following a brief business meeting, The Lodge of St John no 191, meeting at Parsons Lane, Bury, held its annual Christmas Dinner and Carols evening on Thursday 12 th December.
83 members, ladies and guests were entertained by the Rochdale Youth Services Brass Band and a full Christmas fare was served with Turkey and all the trimmings. A raffle and lodge collection raised nearly £400 which will be donated to the EL2015 Festival.
Members of the Lodge were particularly delighted to have as their honoured guest Mrs Norah Porter, widow of the late Austin Porter.
The Brethren of the Lodge hope to see Mrs Porter and all their guests for many more years to come. It was an excellent start to the festive season.
Norah, seen here with the Lodge Master, Bro Ed Beaman, is proud of her age – an incredible 102 years !!!!!
The Duke of Lancaster Lodge No, 4207 once again celebrated their Christmas lodge, at Ashday Lea Rawtenstall, by inviting ladies and friends to a Christmas lunch. Father Christmas visited ( W.Bro, Jack Ball) with gifts for the ladies and carol singing was enjoyed by all
If you have any new stories you would like to see published here, please contact
WBro Paul Easterbrook, District Communications Officer for Bury District.