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Strictly Come Dancing Night - See the pictures!


Cromwell with Papyrean Christmas Dinner

ELMC Community Fund Grant to Grace's Place

Thank you Letter from Grace's Place

ELMC Community Fund Grant to Bolton Hospice



Grand Charity Cheque Presentation to Bury Hospice

On Wednesday 3rd December 2014, WBro Mike Gibbons, Bury District Chairman, and WBro Malcolm Ashton, District Charity Steward, were delighted to visit Bury Hospice to present a cheque for £2,728 on behalf of Grand Charity.  The donation was part of a grant of £23,576 made to nine hospices across East Lancashire by Grand Charity in 2014.


WBros Gibbons and Ashton handing the cheque to Michelle King from the Hospice Fundraising Team.







Grand Charity Donation to Rossendale Hospice

On Monday 1st December 2014, Bury District Chairman WBro Mike Gibbons, was delighted to visit Rossendale Hospice to present a cheque for £1,000 on behalf of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity.  The donation was part of a grant of £23,576 made to nine hospices across East Lancashire by Grand Charity in 2014. 

Throughout England and Wales there are two hundred and forty two hospices receiving grants totalling £600,000 from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity.  The money has been raised by Freemasons and their families with the aim of assisting hospices in their vital role in helping those affected by terminal or life limiting illness.  Since 1984 the Grand Charity has donated more than £11 million in support of hospices.

Rossendale Hospice records every significant donation on an engraved leaf on a Giving Tree on the wall by the Hospice reception.  WBro Gibbons is pictured below, in front of the Giving Tree, presenting the cheque to Carol Metcalf, Head of Hospice at Home, a service designed to help and support patients with palliative care needs in their own home.


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WBro Ernest Hutchinson, PProvSGD, Celebrates 60 years as a Freemason

There was hardly an empty seat in the Lodge room at Ashday Lea when the Duke of Lancaster Lodge, No 4207, met on Wednesday 5 November to celebrate the 60 years in Freemasonry of WBro Ernest Hutchinson. It did feel strange to be meeting at 11.00am but this is a 'Lunchtime Lodge' and the sun streaming through the windows of the Dining Room was quite a change from the usual dark evening outlook.

After the Master of the Lodge, WBro Derek Pilling, had opened his lodge and the initial business conducted, WBro John Griffin, as ProvGDC, announced the presence of WBro Derek Nelson Thornhill, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master together with a District Delegation, who were duly admitted.

WBro Thonhill accepted the Gavel and introduced the members of the delegation: APGM, WBro Norman Cope; APGP, WBro David Thornton; Bury District Chairman, WBro Mike Gibbons; Provincial Senior Grand Warden, WBro John Porter; Provincial Junior Grand Warden, WBro David Lightbown; Provincial Grand Secretary, WBro John Farrington; WBro Andrew Holland as Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies; Bury District Secretary, WBro Gerry Russell; Provincial Grand Mentor, WBro Alan Kirwilliam and Bury District DORA, WBro Roy Fairhurst.

WBro Ernest Hutchinson was duly invited to be seated in the centre of the Lodge.

WBro Edwin Hardman, former secretary of Starkie Lodge, where Ernest had been initiated on 15 September 1954, had done much research into Ernest's life as a Freemason and gave a report based on the minutes of meetings of Starkie Lodge. You can read the report in full HERE

WBro Thonhill then invited WBro Alan Starkie, a life long friend of Ernest, to recall details of his life outside of Freemasonry. It was very apparent that Ernest has led a very full life, mainly as a surveyor and whose work had been very valued by our Armed Forces. A great deal of his time was spent producing maps which proved extremely valuable in times of conflict.

Prior to making a Certificate Presentation, WBro Thornhill recalled some of the events and times of 1954, the year of Ernest's initiation. Winston Churchill was Prime Minister and Dwight D Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States. RCA made the first colour TV set which was a 12" model costing $1000. With an average basic pay of £567 it would have cost £1,970 to buy an average house. In May of 1954 Roger Bannister ran the first sub 4 minute mile. In 1954 Bill Hayley and his Comets recorded 'Rock Around the Clock' and Eddie Calvert, the man with the golden trumpet, recorded 'Oh Mein Papa'

WBro Thornhill presented an Illuminated Certificate, signed by the Provincial Grand Master, and read a letter of congratulations to Ernest from the PGM. WBro Hutchinson was then conducted around the Lodge to the acclaim of the brethren present.

An excellent Social Board followed where the Toast to Ernest was proposed by WBro Glen Barlow. In his response to his toast Ernest proved that his 96 years was not going to stop him from standing and thanking all concerned. A very memorable occasion enjoyed by all present.

The Brethren of Duke of Lancaster Lodge are joined by the District Delegation


The Brethren of Duke of Lancaster Lodge with WBro Thornhill and WBro Cope


WBro Hutchinson with WBro Thornhill and WBro Cope


WBro Thornhill with WBro Hutchinson and his Certificate


Your Good Health on your Birthday


The Social Board


Deputy Provincial Grand Master, WBro Derek N Thornhill with the Birthday Boy


WBro Ernest Hutchinson responds to his toast




'Lest We Forget'

On the afternoon of November 9th 2014, WBro Barry Anderton of Constancy Lodge No 4767 laid a wreath on behalf of the Rossendale Masonic Association at the ‘Act of Remembrance’ at the Rawtenstall Cenotaph.

Three Lodges from Ashday Lea were represented, Cribden, Constancy, and Tranquility. Those present were Barry Anderton, Organiser and wreath layer of Constancy 4767, Edwin Hardman of Constancy 4767, Barry Howerth of Tranquility 274, Derek Pilling and Matthew Morton of Cribden 7285









Bury District Team say thank you to WBro Jeremy Aston

WBro Jeremy Aston has been a very valued member 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




The Prince of Wales Lodge No. 1012 at Bury celebrated it’s 150th Anniversary on Friday 11th July.


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,
WBro John Spencer, to the office of PProvSGW.  Bro. Spencer was then escorted around the lodge by the ProvGDC, WBro Wesley Marchant, PGDC, to a standing ovation.

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:
Prince of Wales Lodge No. 1705 at Gosport, Province of Hampshire & Isle of Wight
Prince of Wales Lodge No. 426 at Renfrew, Grand Lodge of Scotland, Province of Renfrewshire East
Lodge Prince of Wales No. 959 at Ipswich, Province of Suffolk
Prince of Wales Lodge No. 951 at Stow-on-the-Wold, Province of Gloucestershire
Prince of Wales Lodge No. 1648 at Bradford, Province of Yorkshire, West Riding.

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
the lodge, RWBro Paul Rink, with plenty of humour and laughter. In a moving response RWBro Rink thanked the RWPGM for his kind toast and at the end made an impassioned plea to the brethren of the Prince of Wales Lodge No.1012 to maintain the great traditions of the lodge as they move on to the bicentenary in 2064. "Be as good as you can be" he asked them.

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.
Please see
The password is **** (which Lodge was it again?)


Lodge of Tranquility No 274 Celebrates 225 Years

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





Big Band Night at Radcliffe

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


Prince of Wales Lodge, No 1012, visits United Grand Lodge


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.

Left to right:Terry Kakoullis, Peter Carroll, Simon "Don't Look Down" Jones, John Griffin, Peter Banks, John Spencer, Mike Jones, Paul Rink, Derek Calrow and Martin Entwistle


Progress Lodge Strictly Dancing Social 10th May 2014

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..




Lodge of St John 191 Visit Hewlett Court

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



Bury District Dinner

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

Queens Birthday Poster

Barbecue Poster

Prince of Wales No 1012 Installation

The Prince of Wales Lodge No. 1012 held their usual Installation at Bury in February with a slight twist this year.
The Senior Warden, WBro Michael Jones, ‘held post’ for a further year to allow RWBro Paul JE Rink, PProvGM, to be Installed into the chair of King Solomon. 

There was however a surprise for RWBro Rink; the Worshipful Master, WBro Simon Jones, one of the Provincial Standard Bearers of the Province, handed the gavel over to the DC of the lodge, WBro John Holt, PJGD, who had specifically requested to install RWBro Rink, as he had installed WBro Holt in 1976.

The ceremony took place in front of the Representative off the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, WBro William Waite, PSGD PProvAGM, along with a multitude of Grand and Provincial officers and many other guests.

And why would RWBro Rink take on this role for another year, thirty nine years after his previous mastership of the lodge?  The answer is that the lodge members specifically requested that RWBro Rink should lead them during their 150th year, the celebration of which will be held at The Bury Grammar Schools on Friday 11th July.

 At that meeting the lodge will be pleased to welcome the Provincial Grand Master along with many senior officers of the Province to what should be a very special event.

RWBro Paul JE Rink, PProvGM with the Representative of the Provincial Grand Master, WBro William Waite, PSGD, PProvAGM, Grand Officers
and the members of the lodge



Pythagoras Lodge of Installed Masters No 9248


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.

After a short Lodge meeting where the business of the Lodge was conducted by the Master, WBro Howard Berry, PAGDC, some 47 members and guests adjourned to the Social Board where they found the room to be dimly lit by candles on a central area of tables resembling a Lodge meeting as it would have been in 1759. The Brethren were asked to sit around the perimeter of the room.

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


WBro Neville Farnworth PProvSGD Celebrates 50 years as a Freemason

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


WBro Fred Nicholson Celebrates 60 years as a Freemason


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 were delighted to also have in attendance a large number of visiting brethren from the district and beyond – Yorkshire West Riding in fact!.
The Deputy PGM was delighted to accept the gavel from the Master, WBro David Wood  and introduced the 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.

Work having taken Fred across the border into Lancashire, resulted in him settling down within the district.

Wbro Alan Ikin then brought the Brethren up to 1979, when Bro Fred Nicholson joined The Lodge of Merit.  Ten years later, on 11 March 1989, 87 brethren were present to witness the Installation of Bro Nicholson into the Chair of King Solomon.

WBro Mike Gibbons, JP, PPJGW, then presented a tribute to WBro Nicholson, giving a brief outline of Fred’s journey from Yorkshire to Lancashire, via National Service and his occupation.  Mike commented on his contribution to the Lodge and Freemasonry in general, resulting in being honoured in 2004 with the rank of PProvSGW. 

VWBro Derek N Thornhill then took the Brethren  down memory lane to the year of Fred’s initiation – 1954.  The country,and the world, were very different then.  In 1954,  food rationing introduced during the Second World War, was only just ending.  In 1954 Dwight Esinhower was President of the U.S.A. and Winston Churchill was again the British Prime Minister.  1954 also saw Roger Banninster break the four minute mile.

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.
To mark the celebration, the Lodge proudly presented a cheque in the sum of £250 to the VW Deputy PGM as a donation to the 2015 Festival.  WBro Mike Gibbons, Bury District Chairman, presented WBro Nicholson with a commerative lapel badge denoting his 60 years


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.



The Lodge of St John No 191 Christmas Dinner

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.

Mrs Porter in really fine form said that she had thourougly enjoyed the evening which was further enhanced when she won the first prize out of the raffle drum.

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 !!!!!



Duke of Lancaster Lodge 4207 Christmas Lodge

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












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