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Bury District Latest News


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East Lancs Royal Arch Demonstration Team are to attend Euclid Lodge

See Details Here



Bolton & Bury District Golf Competition - 2016

Thanks Mike!


WBro Mike Gibbons, JP, PJGD, PAPGM, served the District of Bury for fourteen years, as Press Officer, Secretary, Deputy Chairman and finally Chairman. Mike stood down as Chairman to take the office of Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Eastern Area, an office from which he has since resigned.

The present and past District Officers for Bury, who had worked with Mike in his tenancy as Chairman, joined Mike and his wife Carole at a celebratory meal at Owens Restuarant in Ramsbottom to say a big 'thankyou' to Mike for all the work he had done for Bury District. Joining us for this celebration we were pleased to welcome WBro Norman Cope, PSGD, APGM, and his wife Christina. Also present were WBro John Griffin, ProvGDC, and his wife Sue. John had been Mike's predecessor as District Chairman before being called to higher office.


The commitment and dedication Mike has always shown for the District was recorded in the very warm, heartfelt and very justly deserved tribute Norman gave to Mike. Norman also paid tribute to Carole, expressing his belief that the support of his wife was essential to any dedicated mason.

The present District Chairman, WBro Steve Barton, PProvSGW, had great pleasure in presenting Carole with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, while Mike was presented with his prize for winning the quiz in the Bury District Newsletter. Steve also expressed his gratitude to Mike for the tremendous amount of help and support he had been given as the 'new boy' in the District.





Although no longer in office Mike will be kept busy in his role as a Justice of the Peace and with his work for the Citizens Advice Bureau. He is also due to take office as Worshipful Master of the Lodge of Merit.

Mike thanked all present for the support he had received as Chairman and for attending this celebration. Both he and Carole had very much enjoyed the evening.

This was a very enjoyable and convivial evening when all present were able to share their thanks and respect for Mike, not only as their former Chairman but also as a true friend.







Burns Night at the Lodge of Faith No 344

On the23rd January (Burns Night) the Lodge of Faith held a Burns Supper at Radcliffe Masonic Hall.

It was a very enjoyable evening attended by some 70 members and friends who enjoyed traditional Scottish fare, Chappat Taties , Bashed Neeps and Haggis , with Roast Beef, and veg , and trifle to follow.

A number of the Brethren were attired in full highland dress.

The Haggis was Piped in and The Worshipful Master "addressed the Haggis"

We were entertained by a piper during the meal and after the supper by The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.








Bury Lodge Of Relief No.42 Installation

This evening, Wednesday 20th January 2016, Bury Lodge of Relief installed WBro Paul MS Mitchell into the Chair of King Solomon.

The ceremony of installation was conducted by WBro Thomas David Kerr, the presiding WM. I must say that he gave an outstanding performance as did the installing and supporting officers. Yet again I stand impressed by the amount of hard work that was applied to this evenings ritual under the ever vigil eye of WBro Simon Archer, DC.

The PGM was represented by WBro G Hodson PProvJGW who was accompanied by the District Chairman WBro Steve Barton PProvSGW.

It was great to see such good attendance. Once again the Bury Lodge of Relief hosted a perfect masonic evening.








Grant’s Lodge No. 8825, WBro Professor Ian Rogerson’s 50th year celebration


WBro Prof Ian Rogerson, with APGM WBro Peter Hewitt, the District Delegation and Members of Grants Lodge


WBro Prof Ian Rogerson, with APGM WBro Peter Hewitt and Members of Grants Lodge

Monday 18th January 2016 saw Grant’s Lodge No. 8825 celebrate WBro Professor Ian Rogerson’s, 50th year in Masonary.

WBro Peter Hewitt PAGDC APGM, accompanied by a District delegation, accepted the gavel from WBro Alan Kirwilliam to preside over the presentation of the certificate and letter from the PGM.

WBro Peter Hewitt, APGM, presents the Certificate to WBro Ian Rogerson watched by WBro Alan Kirwilliam

Ian became a Freemason on 15th December 1965, being initiated into the Poulton Hall Lodge No. 6647 in Morecombe. He became a mason after asking his future father in law for his daughter Val’s, hand in marriage. He was asked if he was a Freemason, to which the answer was no, only to be told that if he wished to marry Val then he must become a Freemason.

In the year Ian became a Freemason Sir Winston Churchill died, the Pennine Way was officially opened, 70 mph speed limits were introduced and the Government revealed plans for the blood alcohol drink drive limit.

Ian became a keen Freemason and was able to balance his home life, career and Freemasonry as he moved around the country with his career starting with stamping books in the library and ending as Professor Dr Ian Rogerson PhD DLitt, Emeritus Professor at MMU, Honorary Research Fellow of the John Rylands Research Institute of the VU Manchester and Honorary Companion of the VU Manchester.

The presentation and evening was of the highest order with a most amazing atmosphere both in the Lodge and later at the social board. It was clear to all present that a lot of work had gone into the evening and speaking on behalf of the district team and myself, I had a wonderful evening.

Ashday Lea provided an excellent venue as ever.

It should be noted that WBro Peter Hewitt, PAGDC, APGM, took the chair with less than 24hrs notice and did a sterling job.


To the officers and members of Grant’s Lodge, thank you for a most enjoyable evening.

WBro Leigh Rickett, District Communications Officer





Lancashire Freemason receives  Chevalier Ordre National de la Legion D’honneur


Bro Neville Foote, honorary member of Bury Lodge of Relief, No. 42, has been made a Chevalier Ordre National de la Legion D’honneur (Knight of the National Order of Merit Legion D’Honner) by the French Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Sylvie Bermann, at a ceremony held in Kensington Palace Gardens on Wednesday 9th December 2015.


Neville, a Lance Bombardier in the 79th Scottish Horse Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery, landed on Juno Beach, along with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders, 3 Canadian Division, on 6th June 1944, D-Day.

Of this Neville says “We were very pleased to be able to fight our way ashore, starting the liberation of France…” Whilst on mainland Europe Neville and his colleagues pushed all the way to Germany. On V.E. Day he was in Bremerhaven. Along that heroic road with horrors that I cannot even begin to imagine they liberated so many desperate people including the prisoners in Belson concentration camp.


Sylvie Bermann, The French Ambassador to the United Kingdom, said this of Neville, “I offer you my warmest congratulations on this high honour in recognition of your acknowledged military engagement and your steadfast involvement in the liberation of France during the Second World War……we must never forget the heroes like you who came from Britain and the Commonwealth to begin the liberation of Europe by liberating France. We owe our freedom and security to your dedication, because you were ready to risk your life”.




The order is the highest decoration in France and was bestowed upon Neville for his actions during World War 2. To put into context so we may better understand, the United Kingdom's highest decoration for military action is the Victoria Cross, for civilian action it is the George Cross. So you can see, this order is truly more honourable than the Garter.

The Cross and Eagle of the Order was worn by Napoleon Bonaparte who created the order in 1802. Other recipients of the Ordre National de la Legion D’Honner have been George Callaghan (Admiral of the Fleet), Air Chief Marshall Sir Augustus Walker, George S Patton (U.S. army General), also Sir Paul McCartney and J.K. Rowling. Neville is among distinguished company indeed.

Neville, born in 1920, a local Bury lad born and bred, is the eldest member of Bury Lodge of Relief joining in 1969. He is now an Honorary member of the lodge.

Congratulations abound to you Neville. I cannot find the words to describe how proud your colleagues of Bury Lodge of Relief, the District, Province, in fact all masons, the country and Europe are to be associated with a hero such as yourself.




The Bury Hospice


On Tuesday 22nd December 2015 the District Charity Steward for Ashday Lea, Radcliffe and Bury, Stephen Holland and I attended the Bury Hospice.

Stephen presented Michelle King with a donation of  £2,757.00 from the Freemasons Grand Charity toward the running of Bury Hospice.

The Bury Hospice is a non masonic charity who provide specialist palliative care. The new facility opened its doors on 13th March 2013. We were shown the extent of the facility and the amazing work they do.

The hospice has friendly, knowledgeable staff who keep it running like a fine ship in these challenging times. They rely upon charitable donations from the people of Bury and beyond.

The service they provide is second to none. Requiring their services is traumatic for the patient and the patient’s family alike but the hospice’s care for both makes such a difficult time that little bit easier.

If any Lodge or individual is looking for a well worthy charity to place a donation then please consider this amazing, caring and deserving hospice.

Leigh Rickett - Bury District Communications Officer

WBro Stephen Holland presents the Grand Charity cheque to Michelle King of Bury Hospice




Valley Lodge of Installed Masters 9396 - 25 years

There was almost a 'Full House' at Ashday Lea Masonic Hall, Rawtenstall, on Thursday November 26th, when the members of the Valleys Lodge of Installed Masters, together with their guests, celebrated the first 25 years of their history. Joining them on this special occasion were WBro Norman Cope, APGM for the Western Area; WBro John Farrington, APGM for the Northern Area and several Officers of United Grand Lodge. Once the Lodge was open the Master, WBro John Audain, offered the gavel to WBro Cope who on this occasion declined. After ballotting for a joining member the actual celebration commenced with an address by WBro Jim Sutcliffe, a Past Assistant Grand Master and a founding member.

The lodge had originally been the idea of WBro Derek Pilling and had 43 founding members, six of whom were present in the Lodge to celebrate; WBros Derek Barclay, Clifford R Cuncliffe, Douglas Dickenson, Peter Holt, Derek Pilling and James Sutcliffe. In his address WBro Sutcliffe talked about the founding members and of the remaining six who were in the lodge tonight. He praised the work of the DC, WBro David Russell, and the Secretary, WBro David Taylor, who work very hard to keep this and other lodges alive. Special mention was also given of WBro Derek Pilling who is a keystone in promoting freemasony in the Rossendale area. In fact it is so believed that WBro Pilling deserves a special thankyou that an award was made to him of a voucher to provide him with two pints of beer at every lodge meeting he attends - for life!

You can read the outline of WBro Sutclffe's address HERE.

It was also pointed out that the menu from the Social Board of the Consecration Meeting was to be repeated at the Social Board to follow. It is pure coincidence that Paul, the present chef at Ashday Lea, who would be preparing the meal for later, was actually on duty at Bridge Street as a young trainee chef when he assisted at the preparation of the Consecration meal. WBro Cope enquired if the steak would be from the same cow!

The lodge was then pleased to present WBro Cope with a significant donation to the ELMC.

Before the lodge closed WBro Cope was invited to become an Honorary Member of the lodge, which although obviously very surprised, he was most pleased and honoured to accept.



WBros Cope and Farrington with the Worshipful Master and Brethren of the Valleys Lodge of Installed Masters


The Founding Members of the Lodge


APGM, WBro Norman Cope, PSGD, with the Master, WBro John Audain, PProvDepGDC


The APGM and the Worshipful Master


APGM WBro John Farrington takes wine with APGM WBro Norman Cope


A Quartet of Grand Officers


At the Social Board


Three of the Founding Members


WM Bro John Audain with IPM WBro Ross Turner


Chef Paul with two of his staff









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If you have any new stories you would like to see published here, please contact

WBro Roger Bowden, District Communications Officer for Bury District.

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