Bury District Latest News
**See FORTHCOMING SPECIAL EVENTS above for News from Progress Lodge**
WBro Jeremy Aston has been a very valued many of the Bury District Team for many years, at one time being District Chairman before stepping down for the first time. Seven years ago Jeremy was pursuaded to rejoin the team as District Mentor, an office that he really took to his heart. In this role he instigated the 'Perfect Ashlar Club', designed to bring newer members of lodges in the District together to share experiences and to make new friends.
In the summer recess the District Team had a partial re-organisation which gave Jeremy the ideal opportunity to step down for a second time. As a small token of gratitude for the commitment Jeremy has shown to Bury District, Chairman WBro Mike Gibbons invited those brethren who had shared District Office with Jeremy to join together for Sunday Lunch at Dunscar Golf Club. The members of the team, and their ladies, had the pleasure of the company of our APGM, WBro Norman Cope, and hiis wife Christina. Also there to bring their good wishes to Jeremy and his wife Diane were past District Chairmen, WBro Howard Berry and WBro John Griffin together with Area Festival Manager, WBro Steve Pollitt, alll accompanied by their wives. Jeremy and Diane were especailly pleased to see their very good friends, Past APGM, WBro Phil Mountford and his wife Josie.
After lunch Mike Gibbons gave a short address to Jeremy and Diane after which a toast to their health was proposed by Norman Cope. In his response Jeremy expressed how much he had enjoyed his time with the team and their warmth and friendship over the years but gave a firm assurance that he would not be returning for a third team appearance!
WBro Jeremy Aston responds to his toast
Past and Present APGMs, District Chairmen and District Officers join Jeremy and Diane in the Sunday afternoon sunshine
In anticipation of this event RWBro Paul Rink, Past Provincial Grand Master and Lodge Mentor had previously been installed as the Worshipful Master of the lodge in the preceding February. Due to the anticipated attendance, being greater than the capacity of Bury Masonic Hall, it was decided to hold the event at The Bury Grammar Schools, as many members of the lodge have strong connections with the school, either as ‘old boys’ governors etc.
The principle guest for the evening was to be the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, with a full Provincial Delegation.
However it must surely be a rarity, for a lodge meeting, for the Provincial Grand Master to be accompanied by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master along with all the Assistant Provincial Grand Masters of the Province.
Also in attendance were many Past Assistant Provincial Grand Masters and distinguished brethren from this and other Provinces.
The Roger Kay Hall was used as the lodge room and comfortably accommodated the 200+ brethren in attendance.
WBro John Holt PJGD, the lodge Director of Ceremonies, delivered a history of the lodge which included the only recorded counter petition of a lodge formation that Grand lodge is aware of. Fortunately and quite obviously this was withdrawn but was alluded to, at every opportunity during the evening, to any of the current members of the lodges that originally objected some 150 years ago! This light hearted banter was typical of the friendly and warm atmosphere both in the lodge room and later at the social board.
Following the history of the lodge WBro Revd. John Winstanley, ProvDepGChap as the Provincial Grand Chaplain, gave a well received oration, touching on thoughts of what his predecessor might have said some 150 years before.
The RWPGM then spoke warmly of his friendship with many brethren in the lodge and congratulated it on achieving 150 years. He went on to say that it was very special to have the meeting in the assembly hall of the school he attended. A certificate was then presented on behalf of the Province.
The RWPGM then surprised everyone in the hall by promoting the lodge secretary,
The next item was a cheque presentation by the Worshipful Master to the Provincial Grand Master for the 2015 Festival. Following the general tradition of donating an amount akin to a lodge number, the Provincial Grand Master was very pleasantly surprised to receive a cheque, from RWBro Rink on behalf of the members of the lodge, for ten thousand one hundred and twenty pounds (£10,120).
The Provincial Grand Master and delegation then retired and the lodge was closed.
A champagne reception was held prior to dinner in the Boys School Hall. The guests included many members from lodges at Bury along with guests from this and other Provinces. In particular several members from other Prince of Wales lodges attended, most bearing gifts, they were from:
The toast to the Provincial Grand Master was proposed by the Senior Warden of the Lodge, WBro Michael Jones, PProvSGD (West Lancs). The Provincial Grand Master, in his response, picked up on comments from the Senior Warden’s toast and alluded to his time and potential differences between his own and his father’s school days at The Bury Grammar Schools.
The RWPGM then proposed the health of his good friend The Worshipful Master of
Perhaps it was a measure of the affection, with which RWBro Rink is held by the brethren, that the whole room rose to its feet with loud applause at the end.
Everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable and fun evening and the brethren will look back on it with great pleasure — it was indeed a very special occasion!
The Roger Kay Hall prior to the meeting
The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master and Delegation along with the members of the Prince of Wales Lodge No. 1012
The RW Provincial Grand Master, Sir David Trippier with RWBro Paul Rink, PProvGM, Master of the Prince of Wales Lodge No. 1012
The Social Board, held in the Boys School Hall
The RW Provincial Grand Master reminisces on his time at the school and some of his exploits!
The photographer has now uploaded the photos to his own site and there is a facility to obtain prints, if desired.
On the very hot evening of July 17th there was a joyous atmosphere in the Lodge Room at Ashday Lea Masonic Hall, Rawtenstall, when over seventy guests joined the Brethren of the Lodge of Tranquility to help them celebrate 225 years of Freemasonary
After the Lodge had been duly opened by the Worshipful Master, Brother Robert Russell, on a report the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, WBro Wesley Marchant, was admitted who announced that the Provincial Grand Master was without and demanded admission. The PGM, RWBro Sir David Trippier, accompanied by a Provincial Delegation, entered the Lodge and accepted the Gavel from the Worshipful Master. The Provincial Grand Master introduced the members of the delegation whicn included WBro Norman Cope, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Western Area and WBro Mike Gibbons, the Chairman of the Bury District.
The Provincial Grand Master then invited the Master, WBro Robert Russell, to present a history of the Lodge which was very informative. The Lodge Secretary, WBro David Russell, presentated a report on the 200th anniversary of the Lodge and the 25 years that had elapsed since. To the amusement of all present WBro Russell informed the Provincial Grand Master of how honoured he should feel at being invited to sit in the Chair of this Lodge!
Due to the extreme heat in the Lodge Sir David restricted himself to a short address but did take time to explain that in the near future the Lodge of Tranquility is to amalgamate with the Lodge of Hospitality which also has it's home at Ashday Lea. Sir David expressed his good wishes for the future of the amalgamated lodges.
The Provincial Grand Master, RWBro Sir David Trippier, with the Provincial Delegation and the Brethren of the Lodge of Tranquility
The Provincial Grand Master, RWBro Sir David Trippier, with WBro Norman Cope, the APGM for the Western Area and the Brethren of the Lodge of Tranquility
Sir David with the Master, WBro Robert Russell and WBro Norman Cope
Sir David with the Master, WBro Robert Russell
The Brethren were joined by their guests for an excellent Social Board during which the traditional toasts were proposed. In his response to his toast Sir David made particular reference to the superb co-operation and support that had been received by the staff of the Secretariat during their transfer from their office in Bridge Street to the delightful setting of Ashday Lea.
A very enjoyable light hearted evening, where the Brethren of the Lodge of Tranquility not only celebated their 225th anniversary but were also excellent hosts to such a large gathering of guests
On Saturday evening June 21st, the Smithills School Senior Big Band and its conductor Mr Chris Wormald performed to another packed Radcliffe Civic Suite once again for a concert in aid of the EL2015 Festival and the forthcoming Smithills America band tour. In July the Smithills Bands are to tour again in North and South Carolina having been invited back there after their very successful tour of 2012
Chris Wormald conducts the Smithills School Senior Big Band
Having sold out its two, previous Radcliffe Civic Suite Big Band Saturday Nights in June/July 2012 and 2013 respectively, the Smithills School Senior Big Band returned to an atmosphere of great anticipation and the packed audience was certainly not disappointed in any way. Opening at 7.30pm with Birdland and closing at just before 10.15pm with New York, New York, the evening featured the usual, eclectic Senior Big Band mixture of swing music from the 1940s and 1950s, repertoire from every decade from the 1960s and 1970s and through to the present day, with the versatility of the musicians providing a truly memorable programme from Glenn Miller and Count Basie to Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and, much more topically, even The Beatles and Gary Barlow.
In attendance were VWBro Derek Thornhill, Deputy PGM, and Mrs Joan Thornhill; WBro Norman Cope, APGM, and Mrs Christina Cope; EComp David Thornton, APGP, and Mrs Thornton; WBro Mike Gibbons, District Chairman, and Mrs Carole Gibbons together with brethren and their guests from across the Western Area of the Province. Also present were many parents and supporters of these very talented young musicians together with a party of residents from Hewlett Court.
VWBro Derek Thornhill with Mrs Joan Thornhill, Chris Wormald and five Band Principals: Sophie Dunlevy, Max Ainsworth, Sam Scully, Jacob Smith and Lilly Taylor
The Bury Civic Catering team provided an excellent hot supper of Lamb Hot Pot or Lasagne and Salad and a raffle for a 32" televison, won by one of our residents from Hewlett Court, completed the evening. The event raised a total of £623 for the Festival
It was a Grand Day out for some members of the Prince of Wales Lodge, No 1012, as they attended the Quarterly Meeting of the Grand Lodge on Wednesday 11th June.
The trip was organised by the Worshipful Master, RWBro Paul Rink, PProvGM, Lodge Mentor and after the meeting the party enjoyed lunch at the Grand Connaught Rooms.
This was followed by a visit to the Masonic Library to meet with one of the librarians, Martin Cherry, who had, at the request of RWBro Rink, researched the original petition of the lodge in 1864.
The information he discovered was quite surprising and will be revealed at the forthcoming 150th Celebration of the Lodge on the 11th July at the Bury Grammar Schools.
With time in hand, prior to the return train home, it was off to the London Eye, the accompanying photograph shows the day trippers enjoying the sights, suitably refreshed of course.
The committee of Progress Lodge brainstormed what would make a great social. Two things came out "Value for Money" and "Ageless Entertainment" . We shamelessly stole the "Strictly Come Dancing " concept from the BBC and luckily got a professional dance team to provide our entertainment.We also got an offer from Sean and Tina to provide first class food and pre dinner nibbles at very reasonable prices. Because of space requirements for the dance floor we limited the number to seventy two, which was quickly over subscribed. We had humongous amounts of non masons attending and brethren from Progress , Knowlsley, Earl of Latham, Brun, Merit, Pythagoras, Prince of Wales, St John, Papyrean & Cromwell joining in the games and dancing, The evening turned out to be great fun and charity made a few bob from the raffle. Who knows a few of the younger non masons who attended, may like to find out what makes us tick..
The Worshipful Master of the Lodge of St John, WBro Richard Wright, invited the Brethren of his Lodge to join him on a visit to the ELMC Retirement Home, Hewlett Court. This took place on the lunchtime of Saturday May 24th when just three Lodge members with two wives joined Richard to make the trip just up the road to Hewlett Court. They were able to meet staff and residents and to have a tour of the home, where they found the facilities and the care provided to be very impressive.
Their visit coincided with the gathering at Hewlett Court of those who were going on the ELMC annual trip to a hotel in St Annes, so they were able to see at first hand the efforts that the Hewlett Court staff, together with all the volunters that assist, make for the benefit of those in need of a short holiday.
Visiting Hewlett Court were: WBro Chris Mills, WBro Peter Whitnall, Mrs Lynda Whitnall, Mrs Pauline Wright, WBro Richard Wright, WM, and WBro Jeremy Aston
On Friday May 9th it was the turn of Ashday Lea Masonic Hall at Rawtenstall to host the Annual District Dinner. Although numbers were a little less than may have been expected this proved to be an excellent evening, no doubt very much enjoyed by all who attended. Superbly organised as always by District Secretary, WBro Paul Sellers, the evening commenced with a wellcome to all present by WBro Mike Gibbons, Bury District Chairman. A most excellent meal was provided by the caterers at Ashday Lea and served most efficienly by the waiting staff. After dinner it was time for the guest speaker who on this occasion was WBro Malcolm Ashton, Bury District Charity Steward, who is probably better known as the satistician and scorer on Test Match Special. Malcolm gave an excellent and very amusing insight into the activities of various well known stars of cricket and other personalities from the perspective of the commentary box. As the subject was to be non-masonic the decision had been made to welcome non-masons to the dinner who joined with all present in much laughter at Malcolm's anecdotes.
As is usual at this annual dinner the District Charity Stewards draw was made and it was reported by Committee Secretary, WBro Steve Clark, that this year the draw had raised in excess of £1,100 which was to be divided between the EL2015 Festival, £760, and the ELMC, £375. WBro Ashton thanked all who had helped to raise this fantastic amount.
Also held on the evening were the 120 Club monthley draws together with the Annual Draw where one lucky winner went home with £500.
Guest speaker, WBro Malcolm Ashton with District Chairman, WBro Mike Gibbons
Duke of Lancaster Lodge 4207
During the summer break the Duke of Lancaster Lodge 4207 will be holding it's usual social events. The first is the celebration of the Queens birthday on the 8th of June which this year will be held at Sykeside Country Hotel at Haslingden, whilst the second is the annual BBQ on the 17th of August which will again be held at the CPA Social and Bowling Club in Loveclough Rossendale
Pythagoras Lodge of installed Masters
is rather different to the norm in that it only meets twice a year; once as an Installation Meeting at Bury Masonic hall and one other
meeting atRadcliffe Masonic Hall in March. Obviously there are no degree ceremonies to perform as all the brethren are joinng members and are all Installed Masters. Therefore at the March meeting there is the opportunity to do something a little different, which was certainly the case on Friday 28th March.
The purpose was for a Demonstration of a 1759 Initiation Ceremony to be performed by the Burnley and Pendle Ancient Ritual Demonstration Team. This was definitely an 'education' for our modern day Brethren who sat almost spellbound as the 1759 Brethren proceeded with their business of initiating a candidate. With their drinking mugs being constantly refilled the team played their parts superbly and to the delight of all present. We did discover later that the beer was actually orange squash but one would have thought at the time that it was the real thing! Although everyone had learnt their words well there was obviously some 'ad-libbing' going on which only added to the enjoyment.
After this very enjoyable demonstration the Brethren joined the team to partake of an excellent dish of Potato Pie.
WBro Howard Berry, WM, with his Wardens and the 1759 Demonstration Team
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.