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Lodge of Faith No 344 Bi-Centenary

The evening of Monday March 30th was very special for the Brethren of the Lodge of Faith No 344 as they were celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Consecration of their Lodge
Due to the number of visitors expected they had a dispensation to hold this special meeting at Rochdale Masonic Hall, which on the night was almost full to capacity.

The lodge was opened in due form by the Master, WBro Roy Fairhurst, who called on the secretary to read the dispensation.

Upon a report the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, WBro John Griffin, was admitted who announced that the Provincial Grand Master, RWBro Sir David Trippier, was without, accompanied by a Provincial Deputation, and demanded admission.

Sir David and the deputation were duly admitted. The deputation consisted of:

VWBro Derek Thornhill, PGSwdB, Deputy Provincial Grand Master
WBro Norman Cope, PSGD, Assistant Provincial Grand Master
WBro David Thornton, PProvJGW, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals
WBro Dr Simon Archer, Provincial Senior Grand Warden
WBro Mark Davis, as Provincial Junior Grand Warden
WBro Martin Roche, PSGD, PAProvGM, Provincial Grand Secretary
WBro John Griffin, Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies
WBro Paul Waring, Provincial Grand Sword Bearer
WBro Andrew Procter, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies
WBro Eric Kirkbride, PAGDC, as Provincial Grand Organist
WBro Colin Barton, Provincial Grand Standard Bearer
WBro Roy Tindall, Provincial Grand Standard Bearer

The Worshipful Master offered the gavel to the Provincial Grand Master who on this occasion declined.

Upon a further report the Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, WBro Philip L Hall, was admitted who reported that the Assistant Grand Master, RWBro Sir David Hugh Wootton, was without, accompanied by a Grand Delegation, and demanded admission.

The Assistant Grand Master and the delegation were duly admitted. In the delegation were:

RWBro C Nigel R. Brown, PJGW, Grand Secretary
WBro Philip L Hall, Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies
WBro Rev’d David Halford, Provincial Grand Chaplain
WBro Philip Mountford, PSGD, PAProvGM
WBro Jeremy Aston, PJGD
WBro Norman Pickles, PAGDC
WBro Derek Pilling, PAGSuptWks

The Worshipful Master welcomed Sir David and the delegation and again offered the gavel, which again was declined.

The Worshipful Master then called upon WBro Norman Pickles to read a précis of the 200 year history of the Lodge of Faith which was received with great acclaim by all present.

An oration was given by the Provincial Grand Chaplain, WBro Rev’d David Halford, who carefully explained the true meaning of the word ‘Jubilee’. This word actually refers to the 50th year so the lodge was actually celebrating it’s fourth Jubilee year. Rev’d Halford explained that in past times on the Jubilee year all rented land was returned to the owner, without payment; all debts were cleared and apprentices released from their bond, again without payment!

There now followed the formal presentation by Sir David Wootton of the bi-centenary certificate to the Worshipful Master. Prior to the presentation the certificate was read in open lodge by RWBro Nigel Brown , the Grand Secretary.

Both the Assistant Grand Master and the Provincial Grand Master addressed the brethren, congratulating the members of the Lodge of Faith in achieving 200 years and wishing them well for the future.

The surprise of the evening came when the RW Provincial Grand Master, Sir David Trippier, announced that he was going to use this occasion to promote WBro Roy Fairhurst to the high rank of PProvSGW. This was met with great acclaim from all present.

At the Social Board that followed all present received a bound copy of a Bi-Centenary Souvenir, which included a very comprehensive ‘History of the Lodge of Faith’.

In response to toast number three to the Grand Officers, Sir David Wootton , expressed his pleasure at being invited to attend this special meeting and, as he was accepting the hospitality of Sir David and Lady Trippier, did suggest that he and the PGM should stay out all night in order to see the response of Lady Trippier the next morning!

Sir David Trippier, in response to the toast to his health, declined the suggestion to stay out all night! He remarked on the very close working relationship that existed between our Provincial Secretariat and the Grand Secretariat and asked WBro Nigel Brown, PJGW, the Grand Secretary, to convey his  personal thanks to the Grand Secretariat staff for all the help and assistance they give. As Sir David Wootton hails from Yorkshire, Sir David Trippier took great delight in reminding him that Lancashire won the 'War of The Roses' and is still "God's Own County"!

In his very humorous toast to the Worshipful Master, WBro NormanCope, APGM, suggested that having two 'Sir David’s’ at a meeting was like waiting for a bus – you wait for ten years for one and then get two together!

This was an excellent evening, greatly enjoyed by the brethren and guests of the Lodge of Faith and one that will surely be remembered as a very special occasion.

The Brethren of the Lodge of Faith with RWBro Sir David Wootton, RWBro Sir David Trippier, the Grand Delegation and the Provincial Deputation


The Brethren of the Lodge of Faith with RWBro Sir David Wootton; RWBro Sir David Trippier; VWBro Derek Thornhill,DepPGM and WBro Norman Cope, APGM


The Brethren of the Lodge of Faith


RWBro Sir David Wootton, WBro Roy Fairhurst and RWBro Sir David Trippier





50th Birthday Celebration for WBro Kelvin W Gaskell - Bury Lodge of Relief No 42

The Bury Masonic Hall was once again the venue for another happy occasion when the brethren and guests of the Bury Lodge of Relief No 42 met to celebrate the 50 years in Freemasonry of WBro Kelvin Whittier Gaskell, PProvDepGReg.

After the lodge had been duly opened by the Worshipful Master, Bro Thomas David Kerr, there was a report upon which WBro David Cowen, the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, was admitted. WBro Cowen announced that the Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Western Area, WBro Norman Cope, PSGD, was without accompanied by a District Delegation.

The APGM with the Worshipful Master, members of the lodge and the delegation


The members of Bury Lodge of Relief with WBro Norman Cope


Upon entering the Lodge WBro Cope was offered the gavel of the lodge by the Worshipful Master which he was pleased to accept. WBro Cope then introduced the members of the District Delegation and expressed his pleasure at being at this special meeting, after which he asked for WBro Kelvin Gaskell to be seated in the centre of the lodge.

WBro Cope invited the Lodge Secretary, WBro Raymond Short, to read a precis of the Minutes of the Lodge of Relief, No 42, for the meeting when Kelvin was initiated. It was pointed out that it was exactly 50 years to the very day since Kelvin was initiated.

WBro George H Cornwell was invited to read a tribute to Kelvin which demonstrated what an interesting and fruitful life Kelvin had fulfilled. The fact that he had only ever missed one lodge meeting, which was due to inclement weather, served to prove what a truly dedicated Mason Kelvin is. You can read the tribute HERE.

As is the custom at 50th celebrations WBro Cope informed the brethren of a few of the events happening around March 1965. Sir Winston Churchill had died in January and Goldie the Eagle had escaped from London Zoo. On the actual day of Kelvin's initiation Alexey Leonov had become the first person to walk in space. The No 1 single was 'The Last Time' by the Rolling Stones who also had the No 1 album - 'Rolling Stones No 2'. Typical costs at that time were; the average wage, £1,250; a TV, £400; an average house, £2,760; a Ford Cortina, £591 and a pint of beer, 2/- (10p).

It was then the pleasure of WBro Cope to read a letter of congratulations to Kelvin from the Provincial Grand Master and to present him with an illuminated certificate marking the occasion. WBro Cowen then escorted Kelvin around the lodge to the acclaim of all present.

WBro Norman Cope, WBro Kelvin Gaskell and WBro Thomas Kerr, WM.


WBro Cope with WBro Gaskell and his Certificate


Finally it was the turn of Deputy Bury District Chairman, WBro Steve Barton, to present a' 50th' lapel badge as a token of congratulations from Bury District.

There followed an excellent social board where all present were able to sign a specially produced card for Kelvin as a reminder of his special night.

At the Social Board


WBro Cope takes wine with the 'Birthday Boy"


WBro Gaskell with the Worshipful Master


The Worshipful Master with WBro George Cornwell who provided the Tribute


Lodge DC, WBro Simon Archer with Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, WBro David Cowen




50th Birthday Celebration for WBro Andrew Ben Sykes - Prince of Wales Lodge 1012

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
and RWBro Norman Thompson, PGM for Cumberland and Westmorland


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-


Fairway Lodge 6693 Final Meeting

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




Lodge of Faith Installation and Festival of St John

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.


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 Roger Bowden, District Communications Officer for Bury District.

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