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On Thursday March 5th Bury Masonic Hall was the venue for a very special evening. Over 70 Freemasons were present to join in with the celebration of 50 years in Freemasonry of WBro Andrew Ben Sykes. Making the evening special was the presence of RWBro Sir David Trippier, the Provincial Grand Master, who was to officiate at the formal ceremony in the lodge room.
The lodge was duly opened by the Master, WBro Michael Jones, PProvSGD (West Lancs), who was conducting his first meeting as Master of the lodge. Upon a report WBro John Griffin, the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, was admitted to announce that the Provincial Grand Master was without, accompanied by a Provincial Deputation, and demanded admission.
The Provincial Deputation with the Brethren of Prince of Wales Lodge
The Provincial Grand Master with WBro Sykes and the Brethren of the Lodge
After welcoming the Provincial Grand Master the Worshipful Master offered Sir David the gavel which he was pleased to accept. Sir David introduced the Deputation; Assistant Provincial Grand Masters , WBro Norman Cope, VWBro Stephen Blank, WBro Martin Roche; Provincial Senior Grand Warden, WBro John Porter; Provincial Junior Grand Warden, WBro Gerry Hodson; PGM (Cumberland and Westmorland), RWBro Norman Thompson; Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals, WBro David Thornton; Bury District Chairman, WBro Mike Gibbons; as Provincial Grand Secretary, WBro Andrew Holland; Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, WBro John Griffin; Provincial Grand Sword Bearer, WBro John Waring; Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, WBro Nigel Pickering; Provincial Grand Standard Bearers, WBro Colin Barton and WBro Ray Tindall; and also from Cumberland and Westmorland VWBro Keith Young, Deputy Provincial Grand Master and WBro William J Bewley, Assistant Provincial Grand Master.
The Provincial Grand Master asked for WBro Andrew Ben Sykes to be seated in the centre of the lodge. Sir David then invited WBro John H Spencer, the lodge secretary, to read a precis of the Minutes from the Lodge of Relief No 42 for February 18th 1965 when WBro Sykes was initiated. WBro Spencer acknowledged the assistance of WBro Raymond Sullivan in obtaining the Minutes from the Bury Lodge of Relief.
It was very apparent that WBro Sykes is a well respected and much loved member of his lodge as well as being a close friend of both Sir David and of WBro John Holt, the Director of Ceremonies.
It was of great pleasure to Sir David to address a tribute to WBro Sykes. He opened his tribute by saying what a great privilege to him it was to preside at this celebration. Although Sir David threatened to bring Trippiers 'Reign of Terror' down onto WBro Sykes he proceeded to highlight that WBro Sykes was indeed an old friend - or more accurately, a good friend who is very old!
WBro Sykes' father had been a pupil at Bury Grammar School along with the fathers of WBro Derek Calrow and Sir David. In due time WBro Sykes went to Bury Grammar School to be followed by Sir David by which time WBro Syskes was school captain. Sir David may have expected some 'special treatment' from WBro Sykes but this was not to be the case. Instead he received a good thrashing after being reported for eating Black Pudding in school uniform on Bury Market.
Sir David related how WBro Sykes left school to attend London University before joining the family business in Rope and Cordage Manufacturing. Sir David went on to say that WBro Sykes' commitment to Freemasonry is undeniable and his service has been outstanding. He has been a Provincial Junior Grand Warden, Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies and an Assistant Provincial Grand Master. In Grand Lodge he became a Past Senior Grand Deacon. In Sir David's words - he has become a legend in his own time.
WBro Sykes married his wife Babara in 1972 and has two sons and three grandchildren with another on the way. He now lives in Cumbria where he maintains an active role in Freemasonry as well as golf.
Sir David mentioned WBro Sykes ability as a superb after dinner speaker with an excellent humour and is a gifted raconteur.
A Certificate signed by himself was then presented by the Provincial Grand Master. A 50th lapel badge was presented by WBro Mike Gibbons on behalf of the Bury District after which WBro Griffin conducted WBro Sykes around the lodge to the acclaim of all present.
A Certificate signed by the APGM, WBro Norman Cope, was presented personally by him to the Lodge to acknowledge that every member of the Lodge had made a personal contribution to the EL 2015 Festival.
WBro Andrew Ben Sykes receives his Certificate from Sir David Trippier, PGM, accompanied by APGM WBro Norman Cope
Sir David with WBro Sykes and RWBro Thompson
Sir David with WBro Andrew Ben Sykes
An excellent Social Board followed where the toast to WBro Sykes was given by RWBro Paul Rink, OBE, PProvGM. WBro Sykes responded with thanks to all who had attended to make this a very special night for him.
At the Social Board
Three APGMs together -WBro Paul Roche, VWBro Stephen Blank and WBro Norman Cope
A rare picture - Eight Provincial Directors of Ceremonies - Past and Present
L - R: WBro Wesley Marchant, PAGDC (2012-2014), VWBro Stephen Blank, PGSwdB, AProvGM (2001-2004), WBro Andrew Sykes, PSGD, PAProvGM (1992-1996), WBro Warwick Davenport, PSGD, PAProvGM (1982-1988), VWBro Nolan Morrison, PGSwdB, PDepProvGM (1988-1992), WBro William Waite, PSGD, PAProvGM (1996-2001), WBro Norman Cope, PSGD, AProvGM (2004-2012), WBro John Griffin, PProvJGW, ProvGDC (2014-
Tuesday 3rd March was a sad day for the Brethren of Fairway Lodge No 6693 as they had made the brave decision to formally hand back their Warrant and to close their lodge. An almost full lodge room of brethren, who attended to support the members of the lodge, witnessed a very moving final ceremony.
The lodge was honoured by the attendance of the Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Western Area, WBro Norman Cope, PSGD, who was to receive the Warrant from the Worshipful Master, WBro Kenneth Donald, PProvAGDC.. WBro Cope expressed his wish that, although this was a sad occasion, the lodge should be celebrating the past success and happiness of the lodge.
The Worshipful Master proposed several donations to charity which were seconded by the Charity Steward, WBro Steve McDermott. Donations to the EL2015 Festival and to the ELMC were accepted by WBro Cope.
WBro David McDermid, the lodge treasurer, presented an outstanding report on the history of Fairway Lodge from its consecration at Salford on November 1st 1948 to the present day. Read the report HERE
It was then the great pleasure of WBro Cope to present the Worshipful Master with a very special certificate for being a lodge in which every member had made a personal commitment to the Festival.
The formal handing back of the Warrant was given a special touch by WBro Cope as he invited all of the Lodge Brethren to stand around the tiled pavement when the warrant was passed from member to member in order that each may inspect it for the last time. WBro Cope then joined the Worshipful Master in parading the Warrant around the lodge to the acclaim of all present.
APGM, WBro Norman Cope, with the Brethren of Fairway Lodge
WBro Cope with the Worshipful Master, WBro Kenneth Donald and the Warrant of the Lodge
After the formalities of the lodge had been completed the brethren and their guests enjoyed an excellent Social Board. The generosity of this lodge was reflected in the large number of donated raffle prizes, with even a special extra raffle for a birthday cake.
Although all the visitors no doubt shared the deep feeling of loss felt by the brethren of Fairway Lodge it was encouraging to note that the whole evening had been conducted with great dignity and composure. WBro Cope wished all the brethren of Fairway well for their future, a sentiment shared with all present.
The Final Table Plan
The Social Board
WBro Cope and WBro Donald
The Worshipful Master and his IPM, WBro Paul Hartley
Director of Ceremonies, WBro M Smith, with WBro A Hilton
As the evening neared its end a very sincere toast to the visitors was given by Junior Warden, WBro D Boyes, which was responded to by WBro Alan Hilton in his own inimitable manner, bringing much laughter to the occasion.
The Tyler gave the Tylers Toast in the full version to close a moving yet most enjoyable evening
A grand afternoon and evening was had by all who attended the Lodge of Faith’s 200th Festival of St John and Installation yesterday (Saturday 10th January). The incoming Worshipful Master was Roy Fairhurst, our very own District Officer, Royal Arch, and he was installed as the Worshipful Master for this very important BiCentennial year for the Lodge of Faith with a huge celebration planned for Monday 30th March at Rochdale Masonic Hall (further details will be published soon). Supporting Roy last night were some very distinguished guests, with our Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro Norman Cope, our own District Chairman, WBro Mike Gibbons, and Roy’s “Boss” in the Royal Arch, David Thornton, our Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals to name three!
The installation was conducted extremely ably by the Installing Master and outgoing WM, WBro C J Smith with assistance from members of the Lodge and was very well received by all present, especially the Assistant Provincial Grand Master.
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.
If you have any new stories you would like to see published here, please contact
WBro Roger Bowden, District Communications Officer for Bury District.