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ELMC Community Fund Grant to Besses Boys Band


ELMC Community Fund Grant to Bolton Hospice

ELMC Community Fund Grant to Bury Cancer Care Centre

ELMC Community Fund Grant to the Cotton Shed Theatre Company

WBro Alan Wolstencroft Celebrates 50 years as a Freemason

It was another special night at the Lodge of Faith, No 344, when WBro Alan Wolstencroft, PProvJGW, was joined by over fifty members and guests to celebrate his 50 years in Freemasonry. After the Master, WBro Roy Fairhurst, had opened the Lodge and conducted the formal business, the Acting Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, WBro Nigel Pickering, announced the entry into the Lodge of the APGM, WBro Norman Cope, PSGD. WBro Cope was accompanied by a District Delegation including WBro David Thornton, PProvJGW, APGP; WBro Steve Barton, PProvSGW; WBro Howard Berry, PAGDC; WBro John Griffin, AGDC; WBro Malcolm Ashton, PProvJGD; WBro Gerry Russell, PProvGSwdB; WBro Simon Jones, PProvGStB; WBro Steve Holland, ProvGStwd and WBro Leigh Rickett.

WBro Cope accepted the Gavel from the Worshipful Master, welcomed all present and introduced the members of the delegation. He then asked for WBro Alan Wolstencroft to be seated in the centre of the Lodge before inviting WBro Paul Easterbrook, the Lodge Secretary, to read the minutes from the meeting when WBro Wolstencroft was initiated. A tribute to WBro Wolstencroft was then presented by WBro Jim Wilkins, the Director of Ceremonies of the Lodge of Faith. Read the Tribute HERE

WBro Cope addressed WBro Wolstencroft and enlightened the assembled gathering of the events of November 1965 including that the British Prime Minister was Harold Wilson; Ian Brady and Myra Hindley made their first court appearance in October prior to capital punishment being suspended in November. A United Airlines Boeing 727 crashed on landing at Salt Lake City and the 'F' word was used for the first time on British TV. A national speed limit of 70mph was introduced on British roads. Top of the Pops had a new presenter called Simon Dee and a typical TV would have cost £400, equivalent to £7,200 in today's money, while the average wage was £1,250 per annum. Average prices in November 1965 were: house £2,670; Ford Cortina £591; Loaf of Bread 1/- (5p) and Pint of Beer 2/- (10p)

WBro Wolstencroft was presented with an Illuminated Certificate signed by the Provincial Grand Master and letter of congratulations was read by WBro Steve Barton, the District Chairman. WBro Nigel Pickering paraded WBro Wolstencroft around the Lodge to the acclaim of all present after which he was presented with a '50' lapel badge by the District Chairman.


The Lodge of Faith with APGM, WBro Norman Cope, PSGD and the District Delegation


The Lodge of Faith with APGM, WBro Norman Cope, PSGD


WBro Alan Wolstencroft receives his Certificate from WBro Norman Cope with WBro Roy Fairhurst, Master


An excellent Social Board followed at which there was quite a 'buzz' as members and guests joined together to celebrate with WBro Alan Wolstencroft.


Toast to the 'Birthday Boy'


At the Social Board

A particular highlight of the evening was when WBro Wolstencroft was invited to cut a cake made in his honour. As the cake was shared out amongst the guests WBro Cope was delighted to receive a piece that actually had his initials on it. WBro Leigh Rickett, District Comms Officer, was immediately summoned to take a picture!




WBro Alan Wolstencroft cuts his cake


Look! My initials are on it!


After all the usual toasts the Worshipful Master had great pleasure in presenting WBro Wolstencroft with a gift of a double pen set from the brethren of the Lodge of Faith


WBro Wolstencroft accepts his gift from the Lodge


WBro Wolstencroft responds to his toast


A very enjoyable evening which no doubt WBro Wolstencroft will remember for many years to come




Radcliffe Masonic Hall

At the Annual General Meeting of the Radcliffe Masonic Association held on Thursday November 5th it was announced that the ambitious plans to build a new Masonic Hall were no longer viable at the present time. As a consequence it has been decided that to make the future of the existing hall more viable then a concerted effort needs to be made to encourage greater use of the Function Room.

To encourage lodge and chapter members to use the facilities for their functions it has been decided that there will be no charge to them for hiring the hall. For the benefit of those who like a good pint, real ales from Bank Top Brewery will be available.

A new system of booking has been introduced whereby all out of hours phone calls to the hall will be diverted to the mobile phone of Bookings Manager, Judith. This alone has already seen an increase in bookings, with a prestigious event already booked for New Years Eve.

Plans to market the hall for private functions are already well advanced with local advertisements being placed and publicity flyers and posters being printed. Brethren and Companions who meet at Radcliffe are urged to support the RMA Council in promoting the use of the facilities, both for Masonic and non-Masonic functions.

You can find out more HERE



Installation Meeting of Pythagoras Lodge No 9248

Although Pythagoras Lodge of Installed Masters only meets twice a year, it's meetings are always very pleasurable affairs, with the meeting on Friday October 23rd being no exception. Visiting in his own right as Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro Norman Cope, PSGD, was joined by five other Grand Lodge Officers and some forty other lodge members and visitors. The new Worshipful Master, WBro Gordon F Taylor, was duly installed in a most admirable manner by his predecessor, WBro Alan D Jones. The team involved in the installation did an excellent job but perhaps the 'star' of the evening was the ADC, WBro Paul Cichey, who had taken over as DC for the ceremony at extremely short notice. Also worthy of special mention was the address given to the master by the charity steward, WBro Tom Ryan, who was word perfect in every respect.


APGM WBro Norman Cope, PSGD, toasts the health of newly installed WM, WBro Gordon Taylor


Pythagoras Lodge was consecrated in March 1988 having been sponsored by Fairway Lodge No 6693. Of the 42 founding members, six are still with us, with 5 being present at the meeting. Sadly Fairway Lodge closed recently but the brethren of that lodge had kindly donated the banners for the front of the Warden's pedestals to Pythagoras Lodge. Having arranged to have the banners re-embroidered with the name and number of the lodge WBro David McDermid was pleased to make the donation of the banners to the Worshipful Master on behalf of the former brethren of Fairway Lodge.

An excellent and most enjoyable Festive Board followed the meeting where the brethren found that they were amongst the first in the Province to see and buy the new provincial tie, bow tie and handkerchief.



Celebration of 50 years as a Mason for WBro Melvin Magnall, MBE, PProvGSwdB.


On Wednesday 16th September Bury Lodge of Relief No 42 met at Bury Masonic Hall to celebrate the Golden Jubilee in the Craft of WBro Melvin Magnall, MBE, PProvGSwdB.

The Lodge opened at 6.30pm and shortly afterwards received the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro Norman Cope, PSGD, accompanied by a District Delegation, which included such dignitaries as a Past Provincial Grand Master.


The Worshipful Master offered the Gavel to WBro Norman Cope which who accepted and then invited WBro Raymond Sullivan, PProvJGD, to deliver a Tribute to WBro Magnall, written by WBro Alan Jackson PProvDepGSuptWks, who could not be present. Raymond gave a very informative insight to Melvin, his life, his work, his Masonic career and his outside interests including his excellent work with the Ocean Youth Club and the twinning of Bury with the town of Woodbury in the USA.

WBro Cope then proceeded to address the brethren in his own inimitable style bringing snippets of past days and times reflective of the 50 years of Masonry for WBro Magnall. Questions on cricket were correctly answered by our Deputy Chairman!

WBro Cope then presented WBro Magnall with his Illuminated Scroll, framed by the members of the Lodge, and the Provincial DC perambulated WBro Magnall to the applause of all present.



The Lodge then presented WBro Cope with a cheque for the magnificent sum of £2500 for the 2015 Festival, which was gratefully received and no doubt will be faithfully applied.

After a collection of Alms, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master and District Delegation then retired. 

Following the Lodge we enjoyed an excellent Festive Board



Pilkington Lodge 6522


Pilkington Lodge 6522 held their annual bowling match on the 4th July at Elton Cricket Club

16 teams took part on the overall winners were Anne Darlington and Ken Coalby seen here being presented with the Vinny Holden Memorial Trophy by the Worshipful Master Sam Turtington and his wife Denise



Honour for WBro Eric Davidson

It has been announced in the Bury Times that WBro Lt Col Eric Davidson, MBE, DL, PProvGSwdB, is to honoured yet again, this time by being awarded the 'Freedom of the Borough of Bury'

From the Bury Times:
"Lt Col Davidson is being recognised for his outstanding work on behalf of local charities, including the organisation of the annual Poppy Appeal and for his role as a member of the board of directors in assisting with development and successful management of the National Museum of The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. It is also in tribute to his role in organising the annual Gallipoli and Remembrance Sunday ceremonies."

"Honorary Freedom is the highest civic honour that can be bestowed by the council. Among those who have been awarded the honour in recent years are the Oscar-winning film director Danny Boyle and the band Elbow. "

WBro Davidson is a Past Master of the Lodge of St John, No 191, and is also Marshal of St Michael Preceptory No 12 Radcliffe.

After completing his Forces career Eric joined the British Police Service and served in the former County Borough of Bolton, Lancashire Constabulary and Greater Manchester Police. He completed 15 years in Operational Support followed by 15 years as Communications Specialist, finally retiring at Force Headquarters as Technical Communications Officer in 1988.

For over 40 years Eric has worked in a voluntary capacity for the Fusiliers and together with three Area Secretaries and three Area Chairmen culminating in his appointment as Area Chairman for Lancashire in 2005. He is founder and president of the world famous Fusiliers Association Band and Corps of Drums.

Eric was appointed Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Greater Manchester in 2002.

In 2008 his tireless service to voluntary work was recognised by the Queen with the honour of an MBE


Celebration of 60 years as a Mason for WBro W Alan Starkie, PProvJGW

It always feels strange to be sitting in a Lodge room at 10.55 in the morning awaiting the entrance of the Worshipful Master and his Wardens but this was the case on Monday May 18th. The Duke of Lancaster Lodge, meeting at Ashday Lea Masonic Hall in Rawtenstall, is a 'Lunchtime' lodge. Both sides of the room were full of members and visitors who were present to help WBro Alan Starkie celebrate his 60 years of Freemasonry. The Master of the Lodge, WBro Derek Pilling, duly opened his lodge followed by the reading of the dispensation allowing this special meeting.

On a report the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, WBro John Griffin, AGDC, was admitted who announced that the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VWBro Derek Nelson Thornhill, JP, PGSwdB, was without, with a Provincial Deputation, and demanded admission. VWBro Thornhill accepted the gavel from WBro Pilling and took the Chair of King Soloman from where he introduced the members of the Deputation. WBro Peter Faulkner, PAGDC, as Provincial Senior Grand Warden; WBro Gerry Hodson, Provincial Junior Grand Warden; WBro Martin Roche, PSGD, Provincial Grand Secretary; WBro Steve Barton, PProvSGW, District Chairman; WBro James Sutcliffe, PSGD, PAPGM; WBro Stuart Hughes, PAGDC; WBro Alan Locke, PJGD, Province of West Lancs; WBro David Swindlehurst, PAGDC, Province of West Lancs; WBro David Gallear; WBro Gerry Russell, District Secretary and WBro Edwin Hardman, Area Closures and Amalgamations Officer.

VWBro Thornhill asked for WBro Starkie to be seated in the centre of the Lodge after which he invited WBro Edwin Hardman to read from the Minutes of the meeting of the former Starkie Lodge for the day when WBro Starkie was initiated. This had been on the 18th May 1955. WBro Hardman went on to read a very fitting tribute to WBro Starkie. Read the tribute HERE

VWBro Thornhill then drew recollections form the year of 1955 which included such items as the launch of HMS Ark Royal in February; the birth of The Guiness Book of Records in August together with the introduction of LEGO. In September Charles Birds Eye had launched Fish Fingers onto the World; the Hovercraft was launched and Cardiff became the Capital City of Wales.

The average cost of a house in 1955 was £2,060 while the average pay was £587 per annum. Just 10% of the population had a phone and an Austin A35 would have cost £533.

On the music scene at No1 was Tenessee Ernie Ford, at No2 was Slim Whitman singing 'Rosemarie', a short snatch of which VWBro Thornhill treated the Brethren to! At No 7 Jimmy Young was singing 'Unchained Melody'. Also hitting the headlines in this year were Bill Haley and the Comets, Alma Cogan and, of course, Elvis Presley. In the cinema there was the "Dam Busters", "Guys and Dolls" and "Oklahoma" while on TV we were treated to "Gunsmoke", 'I Love Lucy" and Phil Silvers starred as "Sgt Bilko".

VWBro Thornhill then took great pleasure in reading the personal letter to Alan Starkie form Sir David Trippier, Provincial Grand Master, and presented the Illuminated Certificate recording this special day. WBro Griffin then paraded WBro Alan Starkie around the Lodge to the acclaim of all present after which the District Chairman, WBro Steve Barton, presented a "60th" lapel badge on behalf of the Bury District.

At the excellent Social Board that followed the toast to WBro Starkie was given by WBro John Shaw, a liftime friend and former co-worker in the chemical industry.

No doubt a day that WBro W Alan Starkie will remember for a long time to come.

WBro Alan Starkie with the Deputy PGM, the Provincial Deputation and Brethren of the Duke of Lancaster Lodge


WBro Starkie with VWBro Derek Thornhill and the Brethren of the Duke of Lancaster Lodge


VWBro Derek Thonhill, WBro Alan Starkie and WBro Derek Pilling, Master of the Lodge


VWBro Thornhill with WBro Starkie and his Certificate




At the Social Board


VWBro Thornhill takes wine with WBro Starkie


WBro Starkie takes wine with WBro Pilling


VWBro Derek Thornhill proposed the toast to the Worshipful Master


WBro John Shaw proposed the toast to WBro Starkie....... which WBro Starkie responded




Amalgamation of the Lodge of Hospitality with the Lodge of Tranquility No 274


The time on the summons was 6.30p.m., half an hour earlier than usual, but the lodge was opened at 6.38 p.m. which maintained the tradition of the Lodge of Tranquility of never starting on time.  The amalgamated lodge has 19 members, but due to illness and business commitments, only twelve could be present. These included the most senior past master, WBro Colin Whittaker who was WM of Tranquility in 1981, the most junior brother, Bro Peter Leckie who was initiated in Hospitality in 2012 and the oldest member, WBro Victor Brown, who had travelled from his home in Morecambe and in two days would be celebrating his 94th birthday. There was also one honorary member present and 32 visitors including the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VWBro Derek N. Thornhill, Assistant Provincial Grand Masters WBros Norman Cope and Michael Gibbons, the Provincial Grand Wardens and seven other Grand Officers.

After the lodge was opened, most of the business of the lodge was promptly carried out, including a ballot for a candidate, which proved favourable. On a report, the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, WBro John Griffin was admitted and announced that the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VWBro Derek N Thornhill, was without, accompanied by a Provincial Delegation and he demanded admission. VWBro Thornhill entered the lodge accompanied by a considerable delegation and on being offered the gavel, took the chair.                                           

The formal amalgamation ceremony took place presided over by VWBro Thornhill, including an Oration from WBro Revd John Winstanley.                   

A collection for good causes realised the sum of £167.50.                   
The WM, Bro Peter Burton, presented a cheque for £340 to VWBro Thornhill for the 2015 Festival. The significance of the cheque is that this would take the total donation from the lodge No. 274 to £2740.     [The closed lodge Hospitality No. 1697 had already qualified as a Vice Patron of the Festival, but this sum is not taken into account]                                                                       

The Provincial Delegation retired and the lodge was closed shortly afterwards.                                                                                                          

Everyone sat down to a meal of French Onion Soup, Chicken au Poivre, Summer Pudding with ice cream and Cheese and Biscuits. A raffle realised the sum of £230.                                                                                                  

The toast to the Worshipful Master was proposed by WBro Norman Cope and in his reply the WM said, “We are just 50 bob short of taking £400 for good causes” so WBro Cope duly obliged. The WM presented a cheque for £274 to WBro Derek Pilling for the Rossendale Masonic Building Fund.                          


The Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VWBro Derek N Thornhill, with the Delegation and the Brethren of the Lodge


The Deputy Provincial Grand Master with the APGM, WBro Norman Cope, and the Brethren of the Lodge


The Deputy Provincial Grand Master with the WM Bro Peter William Burton


The Worshipful Master with a commemorative mug and plaque made for him by Bro Peter Leckie




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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