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The Travelling Gavel is now held by The Lodge of Perseverance No.345 in Blackburn- see below
Julia Wright, Head of Business Development
Laura Walker, Diversity Club Manager
David Lightbown, Laura & Ian Johnson
Vicky Profit, Sharon Anson and Sarah Johns
District Chairman, David Lightbown, cutting the ribbon
Just a few of the features in the room
On Friday, 15th May, Brethren from Craft Lodges across the East Ribble District, who are not currently Royal Arch Masons, were invited to an Open Evening to raise awareness and an introduction to Royal Arch Freemasonry.
The District were delighted to welcome EComp David H Thompson PAGSoj, our Second Provincial Grand Principal, who was accompanied by a very special guest, the Deputy Grand Superintendent for Cumberland and Westmorland EComp Peter Mason PGSwdB.
EComp Paul Aspinall, PGStB, APGP, addressing the visiting Brethren
Rather than giving the Brethren a simple talk and presentation, they were taken on a wonderful, multi sensory journey, designed to demonstrate just why the Craft and Royal Arch are inextricably linked
Introduction of the roles of the Scribe Ezra and Scribe Nehemiah
The allegorical journey included audio and video, as well as presentations from the Three Principals, Scribes and the Sojourners, to tell the story leading to the completion of the Third Degree.
The Chapter room prepared for the Brethren to listen to the roles of the Three Principals
Beginning in the Lodge Room where our Narrator EComp Gordon McMillan, District Officer Royal Arch, took the Brethren through the end of the Third Degree. From there, EComp Alun Davies, District Officer Royal Arch, acting as the Principal Sojourner, guided our guests on the remainder of the journey throughout the building at Mill House Masonic Hall.
At the end of the experience, the 20 visiting brethren assembled in the Festive Board Room and were thanked for their attendance and informed of the routes into the Royal Arch in the various Halls in the District and beyond, should they choose to venture beyond our borders!
EComp David H Thompson PAGSoj, Second Provincial Grand Principal, congratulating
EComp Aspinall and his team for their initiative and the Brethren for supporting the evening
The evening concluded with refreshments, where the Brethren talked informally with the Companions over a cup of coffee … Or something stronger.
An opportunity for informal discussions with the Brethren about the Royal Arch
“The Cabin End” is a family-friendly pub on the outskirts of Blackburn that serves the folk of Knuzden and Oswaldtwistle. It is the hub of the local community and has an Over 50's community group that meets every Thursday afternoon. Bingo is an important part of the group’s activities so when the Bingo Machine recently came to the end of the road it was a major concern.
Fortunately, WBro Bernard Spencer, a member of The Lodge of Perseverance, 345, is the Chairman. He made a request to the East Ribble District Charity Stewards, for assistance in replacing it, to which they agreed and purchased a state of the art electronic machine for their use.
The pictures show WBro Ian M Johnson, Assistant District Charity Steward (on right), presenting the machine to WBro Bernard Spencer.
On May 7th 2015 Limestone Rock Chapter No.369 hosted a joint Convocation Meeting of Royal Arch Chapters across the East Ribble District, at Clitheroe Masonic Rooms. Over 60 Companions were in attendance including a 15 strong Provincial Deputation led by the Deputy Grand Superintendent EComp Stephen Blank PGSwdB supported by the 2nd and 3rd Provincial Grand Principals EComp David H Thompson, PAGSoj and EComp the Rev’d Donald Keith Pryce, PGStB.
As this was a Joint Convocation Meeting, the Chapter was opened in the Limestone Rock way with the 1St Principal EComp C.C Wood PProvGStB assisted by Principals from Chapters across the District. EComp Andrew Taylor from Chapter of Remembrance No.3787 acted as H, EComp Allan Low of Bank Terrace Chapter No.462 as J and EComp Stephen Crowther of Sincerity Chapter No.3120 as Scribe-N.
After the Chapter business was concluded EComp David Stephen Bristol the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies expertly led the Delegation in to the Chapter and ensured the Deputy Grand Superintendent and the 2nd and 3rd Provincial Grand Principals were placed in their respective chairs for the next item of business.
The Companions were then treat to a wonderful presentation from the East Lancashire Royal Arch Demonstration Team, entitled ‘The Rise and Fall of the Twelve Tribes of Israel’. The presentation was delivered in a most entertaining, informative and word-perfect manner by the 12-man team led by the narrator EComp John Cavanagh.
On completion of the presentation the Provincial Delegation retired from the Chapter and the business and Closing were conducted.
Immediately following the Convocation the Companions crossed the road to the Swan and Royal hotel where an excellent festive board was enjoyed by all. The Deputy Grand Superintendent addressed the Companions. He expressed his delight at this being his first official duty in the District since his promotion, even though Clitheroe is in the furthest reach of his jurisdiction! He also thanked the Demonstration team who were also presented with a cheque by the EComp Wood, which was graciously received by EComp John Cavanagh. The main focus of EComp Blank’s address however was the importance of recruitment and retention into the Holy Royal Arch and the exciting changes within the Province planned to support this in the future.
A wonderful evening throughout and superbly hosted by Limestone Rock Chapter 369 with the support of all it’s Companions.
Chapter and District Team
Principals and Demonstration Team
Deputy Grand Superintendent - EComp Stephen M Blank, PGSwdB and EComp Wood, PProvGStB
The East Lancashire Masonic Charity (ELMC) Community Fund recently approved a Grant totalling £4707.60, awarded to East Lancashire Hospice, to complete their external lighting scheme to the recently renovated Gardens and woodland walkway.
East Lancashire Hospice received a major £105,000 Department of Health Capital Grants Scheme award to completely overhaul their external garden area so that they could be properly enjoyed by the patients, community and which would also allow fundraising events to be held 'in house'.
However, the grant did not fully cover the full wish list, which also included additional external lighting so that area could be used all year round and particularly in the darker months.
The ELMC Grant of £4707.60 allowed the Hospice to finish these works, which includes fairy lighting along the garden trail, additional power outlets and lighting for the natural stone amphitheatre.
WBro David Lightbown PAGDC, East Ribble District Chairman, along with WBro Ian Johnson ProvJGD presented the cheque to Mrs Sharon Crymble, Hospice Fundraising Manager on the Amphitheatre steps.
Left to Right - Sharon Crymble, Hospice Fundraising Manager, receives the cheque from WBro David Lightbown PAGDC & WBro Ian Johnson ProvJGD.
East Lancashire District Charity Stewards in conjunction with the ELMC have sponsored Megan Fishwick who completed a 1 mile sponsored swim to raise money for the East Lancashire Hospice.
Megan’s father died a day before her 6th Birthday and the hospice provided Megan and her mother with much needed support at a very difficult time.
Megan wanted to do something for the hospice and as she enjoys swimming she thought that a swimming challenge would be a good idea.
Even though she had never swam a mile before.
Megan had initially intended to raise £100 for the hospice but with the combined sponsorship from the East Lancashire District Charity Stewards and the ELMC of £350 along with other sponsors Megan has raised a terrific £1,500 for the hospice.
The members of Sunnyhurst Lodge No.4631 meeting at Darwen Masonic Hall, received the Festival certificate from the Assistant Provincial Grand Master WBro John Farrington PAGDC, on Tuesday the 21st of April.
The certificate signifies that every member of the Lodge has made a personal contribution to our EL2015 Festival. WBro Farrington took great pleasure in making the presentation, congratulating and thanking the Brethren for their efforts so far.
L to R: WBro Farrington with the Lodge Festival Representative, WBro John Coar and the WM of Sunnyhurst Lodge No.4631, Bro Frank Horne.
EComp Alun Davies PProvGStB, one of our East Ribble District Officers Royal Arch, gave a presentation on the Royal Arch at Sunnyhurst Lodge No.4631 on Tuesday the 21st of April. This was in the presence of the APGM WBro John Farrington PAGDC and WBro David Lightbown PProvJGW, who was making his first Masonic visit out in a couple of weeks since a recent bout of pneumonia. WBro Lightbown was on good form and thankfully much improved.
EComp Davies gave an insightful and measured presentation on the connection of Royal Arch and just why it is linked to the Craft. Information was then conveyed about two current Royal Arch District initiatives asking the Brethren present to complete the Royal Arch questionnaire for Craft only Masons (available online here http://tinyurl.com/EastRibbleRA ) and also inviting them along to a Royal Arch Introduction evening, to be held at Mill House Masonic Hall on Friday the 15th of May at 7pm.
The evening will be a demonstration, taking all from the third degree, right up to the point of exaltation, introducing non RA Masons to characters from the Royal Arch and most importantly, showing the connection to the Craft.
The talk was well received and concluded with a question and answer session which helped further explain more about the evenings topic, including input from members of Sunnyhurst Lodge, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, the Provincial Almoner WBro Brian Carter PAGDC and ten members of the District team who had come to support the evening.
WBro Farrington further expanded on the topic in his response at the Festive Board, stating that it was important that Exaltation into the Royal Arch should be made on an individual by individual basis and when a Brother feels comfortable enough with his Craft Masonry to take the next step. For some, that could be right away, for others, it may be further down the line.
L to R: The Assistant Provincial Grand Master WBro John Farrington, PAGDC, District Chairman WBro David Lightbown PProvJGW, Sunnyhurst Members Bro'e Keth Perkins, Ron Thompson & Damien Wells, East Ribble District Dora EComp Alun Davies, PProvGStB
Our fifth and final Walk the Province in aid of our EL2015 Festival took place on Sunday the 19th of April, when volunteer walkers from across the District made their way to Mill House from Blackburn Masonic Hall along the Leeds Liverpool canal.
Walkers from our Northern Area sister District Burnley & Pendle, including the Assistant Provincial Grand Master WBro John Farrington PAGDC, also set off around the same time from Burnley Masonic Hall, aiming to meet us in the middle at Mill House.
WBro James Abbott very kindly opened up Blackburn Masonic Hall at 8am to welcome the volunteers with tea, coffee and biscuits, getting us off to a great start. With options of a long or short route, the walkers (and one cyclist) set off for Clayton Le moors around 9am.
All walkers were at Mill House for around 11.30am, greeted by tea and coffee, again very kindly provided by Mick O'Donnell, Hall Steward. Both DIstrict Chairmen, WBro David Lightbown and WBro Paul Thornton welcomed all at the finish line.
WBro Gordon and Mrs Jean Cornthwaite, representing Rhyddings Lodge No.5205, had an extra surprise for the weary walkers, trays of pies and sausage rolls, along with Bread and teacakes to purchase for a small personal donations.
This raised an extra £50 for the Festival. The 'Bread Van' was WBro Cornthwaites 100 year old Società Ceirano Automobili Torino car!
Grateful thanks to Blackburn Masonic Hall and Mill House Masonic Hall for allowing the event participants use of the facilities, the organisers, the participants themselves and all who have donated to support them and our Festival Charity, the RMBI.
On Thursday 7th April 2015, WBro Gordon James Hebden, PProvDepGSuptWks, celebrated 50 years as a Freemason at Harmony and Industry Lodge No. 381, in Darwen. The WM, WBro Jack Briggs, PProvDepGReg, opened the Lodge and the early business was dealt with. On a report, WBro H Nigel Pickering, PProvJGW, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, entered the Lodge to announce that the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro John Farrington PAGDC was in attendance, accompanied by a Provincial Deputation.
WBro Farrington then entered with WBro Harry Hesmondhalgh, PSGD, PAGM; WBro Donald Lansbury Laurie, PJGD; WBro Paul Aspinall, PAGDC, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals for our Northern Area; WBro Peter Hargreaves, PAGDC; WBro Roger Flitcroft, PAGDC; WBro Sid Jenkinson, PProvSGW; WBro Bob Allan, PProvGSuptWks; WBro Frank Salt, PProvDepGReg; WBro David McGurty, PProvDepGDC; WBro Gordon McMillan, PProvDepGDC; WBro Dennis Heskett, PProvSGD; WBro Jim Smith, PProvSGD; WBro Ian Johnson, ProvJGD; WBro Mike Stubbs, ProvGStwd; WBro Steve Crowther, ProvGStwd and WBro Andrew Taylor, PProvGStwd.
WBro Farrington was offered the Gavel and on this occasion he accepted it and occupied the Masters Chair. He was formally greeted and he then introduced the members of the District Deputation. He gave apologies for our District Chairman, WBro David Lightbown, PProvJGW, who is only now recovering from a serious illness. He welcomed WBro Steven Watson, Past Provincial Grand Organist, who was already in the Lodge Room at the organ.
WBro Pickering, ProvDepGDC then seated WBro Hebden in the centre of the Lodge Room and WBro Farrington addressed the Brethren. He passed on to Gordon the best wishes of RWBro Sir David Trippier, RD, JP, DL, Provincial Grand Master for East Lancashire and expressed his own sincere congratulations. WBro Norman Jepson, ADC, in his role as acting Assistant Secretary, then read the Lodge minutes from 50 years ago, when the main business of the evening had been the Initiation of a young Gordon Hebden!
WBro Keith Simm, PProvDepGSuptWks, then paid tribute to his very good friend, Gordon.
“Gordon James Hebden was born in Blackburn on 7th January 1939. He attended St. Luke’s Church of England Primary School and Lower Darwen County Primary School before passing a scholarship to Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School where he became Captain of Football. He later continued his studies at Chester, Edgehill and Lancaster. He has taught in secondary schools in Manchester and Blackburn, where he was Head of Department and Head of Guidance. More recently he worked with young people who have behavioural problems.
He was an F.A. Coach and has taken teams of University Students and Apprentice Professionals to compete in Blackburn’s twin towns of Péronne, Northern France and Altena, West Germany.
Following in the footsteps of his father, Bro. Norman Hebden, D.F.C., he joined Harmony and Industry Lodge in March 1965. He worked through every office within the Lodge and has been Assistant Secretary since 1984. He was 381's representative on Darwen Masonic Hall Committee for several years. He was a member of Royal Arch Hutchinson Chapter for a short time and became a founder member of Blakewater Lodge of Installed Masters No. 8574 in 1995, where he held the office of Chaplain. In 2010 he became a Joining Member of Old Blackburnian Lodge where, at present, he is Inner Guard.
He was installed as Worshipful Master of Harmony and Industry Lodge in 1979 and as Worshipful
Master of Blakewater Lodge in 2007.
Gordon has been married to his wife, Helen, for 53 years. They have a son and a daughter and ﬁve
grandchildren, three boys and twin girls.”
WBro Farrington gave some details of what the World was like in 1965. Winston Churchill had died and Harold Wilson became Prime Minister. Inflation was running at 5% and the average UK house price was £3,660 – but not round here!! A new Jaguar would have cost £1,800 or so and petrol was five shillings (25p). The Post Office Tower was opened and the 70mph national speed limit was introduced. Cigarette adverts were banned from Television and Ronnie Biggs escaped. The films of the period were such as “The Sound of Music”, “Help!”, “Mary Poppins” and “My Fair Lady”. The Beatles, the Stones, the Righteous Brothers, The Byrds and Dusty Springfield all had best sellers. In sport, Jim Clark won the Indianapolis 500, Arkle won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali. Liverpool beat Leeds 2-1 in the FA Cup, England beat New Zealand 3-0 in the Test.
WBro Farrington then read out and presented Gordon with his illuminated certificate and letter from RWBro Sir David Trippier. WBro Pickering then escorted WBro Hebden around the Lodge room, to prolonged applause.
At the social board, WBro Alan Hull, PProvGSwdB, in his toast to WBro Hebden, paid a further tribute, saying that 50 years ago he met Gordon at Harmony and Industry Lodge as they were Initiated within 12 months of each other. WBro Hebden had carried out nearly every duty that exists within the lodge, not only the various offices but also the Charges, Working Tools and, during his year as Master in 1979 he carried out all three ceremonies. The longest term of office is that of Assistant Secretary since 1984. Gordon maintains high standards and read the minutes in such a clear and complete manner that he must be the best assistant secretary – ever!
WBro Hebden’s Masonic activities extend to other Lodges. He was a founder member of Blakewater Lodge of Installed Masters, no. 9574, and eventually became Worshipful Master. The social events of both Harmony and Industry and Blakewater, such as Ladies Evenings and other big events, held under his direction, have been very enjoyable and successful events. But, not stopping there, he is now a member of Old Blackburnian Lodge, no 7933, and is again taking active office in that Lodge.
WBro Hebden is a sporting man. He was Captain of QEGS football team, became an FA Coach, played golf and bowls to a high standard and even started his teaching career on the sporting side. He gradually slowed down and transferred his teaching to the academic side and eventually took on the complex task of teaching children with difficulties. But, said Alan, “I missed one highlight. In the 1980’s WBro Hebden became the Harmony & Industry Snooker Pairs Champion and I hope your Golden Skeletal Clock is still functioning as well as mine”.
One final item from the social board was the presentation to Gordon of a Ukulele. He wasted no time in taking it from its case, tuning it up and started playing!!
Growing Wild is an outdoor community group that is based in Baxenden, Accrington. The group provides allotments, wild food collecting along with conservation for all ages. Maintaining a site with the aim of involving everyone in the community.
East Ribble District Charity Stewards have donated the funds to provide a much needed shelter for their composting toilet to enable their work to continue on all areas of their site.
Please click on this link for a wonderful letter from Jayne Rogers of Growing Wild, thanking the Freemasons for their donation.
Pictured is Kate Mason braving the inclement weather to receive our cheque.
On the 1st April, Lesley Ireton on behalf of Keep Lodge 6538 ladies committee presented a cheque to Child Action North West for £100.
This was raised through a fashion show and cake stall, organised by the Ladies Committee
The picture L to R Nicola Terry C.A.N.W, Lesley Ireton Keep Lodge Ladies Committee & David Pilkington C.A.N.W
Another special occasion took place at Verity Lodge, no. 3949, on Saturday morning, 28th March 2015. The Installation of the East Ribble District Secretary, WBro Bob Allan, PProvGSuptWks, Master Elect, by the East Ribble District Communications Officer, Bro Sid Jenkinson, PProvSGW, Worshipful Master, was greatly enhanced by the presence of a great many Province of East Lancashire rulers of the craft – past and present.
The Worshipful Master, WBro Sid Jenkinson, opened the Lodge and the VWBro Derek Nelson Thornhill, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master for East Lancashire, PGSwB, entered the lodge, accompanied by the Distinguished guests who were all subsequently greeted in fine style. The Principal Guest was WBro John Farrington PAGDC, our new Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Northern Area, on his first Official Visit since taking over from WBro Martin Roche, PSGD, who is now Provincial Grand Secretary!
The Worshipful Master, WBro Sid Jenkinson offered the gavel to the Deputy Provincial Grand Master who returned the gavel with thanks. He introduced the guests, amongst whom were EComp Stephen Martin Blank, PGSwdB, the new Deputy Grand Superintendent in the Royal Arch. Also Assistant Provincial Grand Masters WBro John Pearson, PSGD and WBro John Farrington PAGDC. Past Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, WBro Harry Hesmondhalgh, PSGD and WBro Martin Caller, PSGD. Also in attendance were Grand Lodge Officers Roger Flitcroft, Bryan Bristol and Brian Carter (who has just joined Verity Lodge!) We also had the District Chairman of the Burnley and Pendle District – WBro Paul Thornton. All in all there were 33 guests present!!
On completion of the normal Lodge business and the Installation of the new Worshipful Master, WBro Bob Allan, PProvGSuptWks, two more special presentations were made.
First of all WBro John Farrington PAGDC, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, presented a framed certificate to the Lodge in recognition of the fact that every member of the lodge had contributed to the 2015 Festival. The second presentation was on behalf of the East Ribble District when the District Chairman, David Lightbown, PProvJGW, presented WBro Martin Roche, PSGD with an engraved decanter as a “thank you” from East Ribble for all his kind help and assistance over the years when he was our APGM. WBro Roche was a great help in the dramatic change to the Area/District Organisation a few years ago when our new, enlarged Area was formed.
WBro Lightbown expalained that an empty decander, no matter how nice it was, was of little use until it had something inside it, whereupon he made a further presentation of a bottle of Talisker!!
But that was not the end. David informed the Lodge that Martin lived in Oldham and it was a 70 mile round trip for Martin every time he headed out in our direction. Goodness know how many miles Martin has covered and how many long hours he has spend away from home so a bouquet of flowers was also presented for Martin to hand on to his wife as a small token of appreciation for her tolerance and understanding.
At the social board everyone enjoyed the typical fare provided by Verity – French Onion Soup, ‘Tator Pie and Jam Roly Poly with Custard. It doesn’t get any better than that!!!
Finally, at the social board, the IPM presented WBro Farrington with a cheques for £500 for the Festival.
The WM of Bank Terrace Lodge No.462 in Accrington, (soon to be amalgamated with King Oswald Lodge No.3306) Bro Frank Leach, brought along five of his Brethren to Verity Lodge Installation on Saturday the 28th March, and claimed the District Travelling Gavel. There were also three Brethren of Verity who share 'dual nationality' between Accrington and Blackburn, making a total of nine 462 Brethren in attendance.
Claiming it from the newly installed WM of Verity Lodge, WBro Bob Allan PProvGSuptWks, despite taking great pleasure in stealing it away, Bro Leach hoped that the Lodge wouldn't be in possession of the Gavel for too long, as the purpose after all was to encourage cross district visiting.
WBro David Lightbown, WBro David Bristol, WBro Bryan Bristol
WBro David Lightbown, the East Ribble District chairman, visited Keep Lodge, no 6538, in Clitheroe, accompanied by members of his District team. WBro Lightbown enjoyed an informative talk by WBro Fred Lomax the Provincial Orator but the main purpose of his visit was to present WBro David Bristol with a decanter along with some Gin to thank him for his excellent work as Deputy Chairman now that he has moved onto his new office of the Royal Arch Provincial Director of Ceremonies.
A unique occasion took place on Monday evening, 23rd March 2015. The RWBro Sir David Trippier, RD, JP, DL, Provincial Grand Master for East Lancashire, presided over a role reversal when Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Northern Area, WBro Martin Roche PSGD became Provincial Grand Secretary and WBro John Farrington PAGDC took over as Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Northern Area!!!
WBro W S Johnson, Worshipful Master of Huntroyd Lodge opened the Lodge and dealt with all the preliminary business and then the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, WBro John Griffin ProvGDC, entered the Lodge Room to announce that the Provincial Grand Master was in attendance, accompanied by a Provincial Deputation.
After entering the Lodge room the two Provincial Grand Wardens occupied the Wardens Chairs - WBro Dr Simon Archer, SW and WBro Gerry Hodson , JW.
The Worshipful Master, WBro W S Johnson offered the gavel to the Provincial Grand Master who accepted it and occupied the Worshipful Master’s chair. He greeted all in attendance and thanked Huntroyd Lodge for hosting this special event, along with the Hall Committee, and then introduced the members of Provincial Deputation, along with many distinguished guests. The main deputation consisted of the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, the Deputy Grand Superintendent, ALL the Assistant Provincial Grand Masters and and Assistants to the Provincial Grand Principals, a past Provincial Grand Master, past Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, the two Northern Area District Chairmen, Provincial Grand Chaplain, Provincial Grand Secretary, Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Provincial Grand Sword Bearer, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, Provincial Grand Organist and Provincial Grand Standard Bearers along with many other distinguished brethren from our Province and neighbouring Provinces.
The Provincial Grand Master thanked WBro Martin Roche for all his work and for taking on the post of Provincial Grand Secretary and then appointed him with the collar of a PAPGM and then that of Provincial Grand Secretary.
The Provincial Grand Master then asked the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies to escort WBro Farrington to the centre of the Lodge Room where he was met by his chain bearer, WBro John Ellis. The new Provincial Grand Secretary, WBro Martin Roche, then presented the Patent to the Provincial Grand Master for inspection. The Patent was in order, whereupon the Provincial Grand Secretary read it out.
After affirming that he was willing to accept the duties of his high office the Provincial Grand Chaplain read a prayer and then WBro John Farrington recited his Obligation as Assistant Provincial Grand Master. Finally the Provincial Grand Master invested WBro Farrington with his chain of office. WBro John Griffin ProvGDC, then proclaimed WBro John Farrington PAGDC as Assistant Provincial Grand Master.
On Thursday 12th March, 2015, Harmony & Industry Lodge, No. 381, meeting in Darwen, helped WBro Jack Briggs celebrate 60 years in Freemasonry. Jack was Installed as Worshipful Master of 381 just the previous month, but on this occasion IPM WBro Gordon Thomson, PProvSGD, PProvJGW (WL) was in the chair.
After opening the Lodge and dealing with all the early business, WBro Andrew Proctor, ProvDepGDC, entered the lodge to announce the presence of the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VWBro Derek N Thornhill, JP, PGSwdB accompanied by other distinguished guests. VWBro Thornhill then entered with EComp Paul Aspinall, PGStB, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals for our Northern Area, together with WBro Dr Simon Archer, Provincial Senior Grand Warden and WBro David Lightbown, PProvJGW, District Chairman. Also in the Provincial Delegation were WBro John Farrington, ProvGSec (who will shortly become our very own Assistant Provincial Grand Master), WBro Harry Hesmondhalgh, PSGD, PAGM, WBro Roger Flitcroft, PAGDC and WBro Donald Lansbury Laurie and WBro Harold Cooper, ProvAGDC.
VWBro Thornhill was then offered the Gavel and on this occasion he accepted it and occupied the Masters Chair. He was then formally greeted, as were all the Provincial Delegation, which included WBro Paul Bowden, GOrg, Provincial Grand Organist, who was already in the Lodge Room at the organ. VWBro Thornhill then introduced all the guests previously mentioned and then the District Delegation who were already in the Lodge Room. These comprised WBro David Bristol, PProvJGW; WBro Sid Jenkinson, PProvSGW; WBro Frank Salt, PProvDepGReg, WBro David McGurty, PProvDepGDC; WBro Jim Smith, PProvSGD; WBro Dennis Heskett, PProvSGD; WBro Brian Derbyshire, PProvSGD, WBro Ian Johnson, PProvJGD; WBro Mike Stubbs, ProvGStwd; WBro Steve Crowther, ProvGStwd and WBro Andrew Taylor, PProvGStwd.
WBro Briggs was then seated in the centre of the Lodge Room and WBro John Briggs (junior) paid tribute to his father, WBro John Briggs, who is known to his friends as Jack.
Jack was born on the 13th July I922 in Darwen. He started school at 4 years old and at age 11 went to Darwen Grammar School. When he left at 14 he became an Apprentice Engraver at Belgrave Mills. The War then started and Young Johnny, as he was then known, particularly wanted to join the Royal Air Force so he lied about his age and reported for duty on 10th May I940 and was de-mobbed from Egypt in April 1946 when he returned to Belgrave Mills to ﬁnish his Apprenticeship.
In I949 he left Belgrave to set up his own business as an Engraver supplying various wallpaper manufacturers with embossing rollers. During this time he became a Governor of Blackburn Royal lnﬁrmary and around this time he became very interested in Politics and was Chairman of Darwen Conservative Party.
On 27th July 1950 he married his wife, Esther. They continued to live in Darwen and had two children Mary and John. By this time he had joined the family butchery business but continued to do engraving as a hobby, especially sports cups and shields. The butchery business expanded and a further shop was opened in Little Harwood which Jack ran for 20 years before joining his brother at the remaining Darwen shop and working part-time.
In I955 he started his Masonic career by following in his father's footsteps. Bro George Briggs was already a Member of Harmony and Industry Lodge No. 38l and was delighted when Jack was Initiated on the 10th March 1955. When his name was put forward for consideration the Lodge met at the Parliament Building at the centre of Darwen but you will probably know it better today as the NatWest Bank car park. The Lodge then moved to the Liberal Club where Jack's Initiation took place.
He was Installed as Worshipful Master in February 1972, with his wife Chairing the Ladies Committee. They had their Ladies Evening at the Cliffs Hotel in Blackpool and during the year they raised considerable funds for Darwen Masonic Hall. Several Members of the Lodge together with their wives, including Jack and Esther put on wonderful shows for a number of years to raise extra funds. They had lots of laughs and fun on the way and everyone enjoyed
the ‘'38! Shows" - they actually became famous and the shows were put on outside these rooms for various Charities.
Jack served for many years as the Lodge Representative on the District Committee and is also now the most senior Past Master of the Lodge and was appointed the Lodge Mentor several years ago. He is also a Past Master of Perseverance Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 403 and spent two years in the Chair. He was later joined in Freemasonry and the Lodge by his son John
Briggs and by his brother Ben Briggs. To keep the Masonic trait in the family, his daughter Mary also married a Mason, WBro Michael Thompson.
Jack lives at Priors Close where he moved I3 years ago with his wife. This was a terriﬁc wrench at the time as he had previously lived for the majority of his life overlooking Sunnyhurst Woods in Darwen and close to the Tower. He was married to Esther for 53 years until her sudden death 11 years ago.
Jack is very active and attends most Practice and Lodge Meetings and most will know that last month, at the age of 92, he was actually Installed as Worshipful Master. He has for many years visited and supported other Lodges both at their Meetings and social functions. He has, until recently, been a Member of Sunnyhurst Bowling Club having been Treasurer for many years and also serving a term as President. He is also a Member of Darwen Probus Club and always
enjoys the holidays they organise. He also enjoys the holidays organised by Victory Lodge and is looking forward to this years trip to Southern Ireland.
Jack had two knee replacements last year - the first one in March when three weeks later he went on a Probus holiday and the second one in September when just over two weeks later he was at his Lodge Meeting in Darwen - he really is remarkable!!
He enjoys spending time and socialising with his close knit family and idolises his grand-daughter Emma. He enjoys catching up with old friends and having meals together. He also enjoys reading, crosswords and Sudoku but struggles with jigsaws - always complaining there are pieces missing!!
Jack has always participated and assisted with the social events at Priors Close and is always ready and willing to help other Residents if the need arises.
Following this tribute, VWBro Thornhill re-capped some of the more memorable events of 1955. Winston Churchill was Prime Minister and retired from that office at the age of 80 years. 1955 was the year of the Big Freeze, HMS Ark Royal was launched, the Guinness Book of Records made its first appearance, Lego was invented and Clarence Birdseye invented the Fish Finger!! Christopher Cockerell built his first working model (and filed his first patent) for the hovercraft.
In 1955, only 10% of the population had a telephone, and only 25% of homes had a fridge/freezer. The Austin A30/A35 cost just £533. Quite a bit less than a Sunbeam Rapier or a Triumph TR3. Stirling Moss won the British Grand Prix whilst Juan Manuel Fangio became World Champion. Fred Davis beat John Pulman in the Championship over 77 frames.
Turning to music, two big hits of the year were Tennessee Ernie Ford with “Give me your word” and Slim Whitman with “Rose Marie”. Bill Haley and His Comets were only just making it with “Rock around the clock” and Elvis didn’t get going in the UK till the following year.
The films of the time included The Dambusters, Guys and Dolls, Oaklahoma and To Hell and Back. On TV we had Gunsmoke and Sgt BIlko!
But the big event of 1955, as reported earlier, occurred on the 10th March!!
VWBro Thornhill then presented Jack with his Certificate and personal letter from our Provincial Grand Master, RWBro Sir David Trippier, RD, JP, DL and congratulated Jack on his 60 years. Jack then perambulated the Lodge to prolonged acclaim.
VWBro Thornhill, along with the Provincial Delegation then retired and WBro Thomson re-occupied the Masters Chair to close the lodge.
Keep Lodge held their Installation Meeting on on 27th Feb 2015 and were very pleased to welcome the guest of honour, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Very Worshipful Brother Derek Thornhill, who was accompanied by the District Chairman, Worshipful Brother David Lightbown and the Deputy Provincial Grand Director of ceremonies Worshipful Brother Nigel Pickering.
The Installation of Bro David Moran as Worshipful Master for the ensuing year was conducted by the outgoing WM, WBro John Wilson, PProvAGDC and WBro David Bristol, PProvJGW.
In the photos below, bottom left, we see VWBro Thornhill between outgoing WM (now IPM) WBro John Wilson (left of picture) and the new WM, Bro David Moran (right of picture) presenting 2 cheques. One is to the 2015 Festival for the magnificent sum of £6,538.00 (Keep Lodge 6538) and the other to the ELMC for £250.00.
After the excellent installation meeting the 60 or so Brethren (some from as far as Scotland) crossed the road to the Swan and Royal and enjoyed, a superb meal.
David Lightbown, East Ribble District Chairman, accompanied by his wife Susan, presented GO on Tour with a cheque for £429 as a community award in support of the work the group do in taking live entertainment into nursing and dementia care homes.
The money will be spent on a new microphone system after the group suffered an equipment breakdown at Christmas, and to extend the costumes that provide the colour and visual stimulation of the group's performances.
The presentation took place at Thwaites Empire Theatre, the GOs home base.
Left to Right, Susan Lightbown, Michael Berry, Empire Theatre Chairman, David Lightbown, East Ribble District Chairman, Lesley Hyde, Lorraine May, Gwen Tomlinson, Roslyn Walsh and Mandy Stableford, GO on Tour Artistic Director
The Victory Lodge, 3932, held their 4th Annual Race Night at Blackburn Masonic Hall on Friday 27th February in the newly re-opened function room. The theme of the evening was “Ladies at the Races” and there was a prize for the best dressed Lady.
Each person was given a Race card with all the information for the evening’s eight races. Betting took places on each race and for a small amount a horse could be “bought” for a race.
Half way through the proceedings a break was taken to enjoy a wonderful supper of chicken and chips.
Sponsors supported each race and their input was greatly appreciated. Phil and Sue Beaumont were once again on sparkling form and worked hard, alongside David Nuttall (with Phil) on the Tote desk and the Worshipful Master, Sean Duckworth. Bryan Pemberton (who had a knee replacement on 3rd Feb 15) was resplendent in a Top Hat.
Grateful thanks are due to the race provider who has worked hard on our behalf for all four years. It was very good to see Victory Lodges' friends from other Blackburn and Darwen lodges supporting this good cause. £624 was raised - all of which will go to the 2015 Festival. A very good effort all round and thanks to all who supported the night.
|Draw Prize List|
Another very successful weekend was held at the Chadwick Hotel in St. Annes. Starting Friday 23rd January through to Sunday 25th it was a non-stop eating fest!!! The theme this year was celebrities. Martin Slater was given the unenviable task of being the judge and so Doris Lamb was crowned Miss Chip Butty 2015 while Phil and Sue Beaumont were given joint best dressed couple.
A multitude of prizes was once again donated by the very generous freemasons in East Lancashire and these were all awarded on the night. The money raised by the Winter Draw, held at the Chadwick Weekend, amounted to a magnificant sum of £1,833. This will be donated between the 2015 Festival (50%), the ELMC (25%) and the East Ribble Charity Stewards Committee (25%).
On Friday evening we were entertained by Johnny Big Yin. As you can guess, Johnny was not dis-similar to The Big Yin himself. It was as though Billy Connerly was in the room. But Johnny, as well as being very funny, was a fantastic guitarist and played a fantastic selection of hits old and new (mainly old!!)
On Saturday night the entertainment was provided by "The Zeta & Lee Experience". Derek and Mike, accompanied by their respective wifes, not only provided a wonderful "Swing Era" vocal performance, but also provided a comedy dance routine and a full state of the art DJ show.
Many thanks once again to Doris and Joe Lamb for organising this fantastic weekend. Now in its 16th year, Doris and Joe work tirelessly for our enjoyment. The East Ribble District Charity Stewards must be thanked for the 2015 Winter Draw. Mike Stubbs and Ian Johnson were on hand to ensure all went well.
Finally, a big thank you to the owners and staff of the Chadwick Hotel for all they did for us over the weekend. The food was fantastic.
Following the original run being cancelled due to adverse weather, over 450 runners turned out for the East Lancashire Hospice 10K Run this weekend.
Organised by Gaskells Motor Bodies and the amazing Hospice fundraising team, many came to keep the route and runners safe at the event. This included 12 of our own volunteers who managed to re-arrange their weekends at short notice to support the day.
We originally had 24 volunteers the previous week ready to attend, but alas the run was thwarted by the unsafe running conditions.
East Lancashire Hospice has many fun events across the year, which gives all in the local area the opportunity to support this vital community cause, including volunteering at the Hospice itself.
East Lancashire Hospice received our bi-annual £350 donation towards the patients Drinks Trolley on Wednesday the 21st of January.
District Chairman David Lightbown, presented the cheque to Denise Gee, Events Fundraiser and the Hospice day patients, who were enjoying some afternoon craft activities through the Creative and Support Therapy initiative.
Creative and support therapies provides therapeutic activities designed to improve well being. They are based on the belief that everyone can benefit from participating in activities and conversation where they learn about themselves and others
On Wednesday 14th January 2015 the East Ribble District presented some entertainment for the residents of Eccleshome, our RMBI care home located in Eccles.
The entertainment was provided by the GOs on tour , the singing and dance group are based at the Thwaites Theatre in Blackburn, and from their humble beginnings some five years ago, are now providing superb entertainment throughout the North west of England.
The GOs provide entertainment at all sorts of venues and are a charitable group giving up their time and expertise for nothing to give pleasure to residents at care and rest homes, and it is wonderful to see the interaction between the group and residents with the music bringing back all sorts of memories for the residents.
The event was supported by the East Ribble District Chairman and wife Susan (pictured centre, below with the GOs), but the chairman drew the line when asked to join in with the musical entertainment , but thanked the group for a very enjoyable show which lasted just over two hours.
On Monday 12th January, two cheques were presented by the Clitheroe and District Masonic Fellowship. The first cheque for £250 was presented to the Friends of Clitheroe Hospital and the second cheque, also for £250, was presented to Child Action North West. This is a quite remarkable achievement for a Masonic Fellowship to donate £500 to non-Masonic Charities, entirely out of their own funds. The Fellowship is an organisation for senior citizens with Masonic connections, including wives, widows and close relatives. The Clitheroe and District Masonic Fellowship meetings are held in the splendid Village Hall/Community Centre in West Bradford. This is a wonderful building for a small East Lancashire Village. The Hall was opened in 1994 and just recently a new extension was added to the side to increase the capacity of the original meeting room to now provide a perfect meeting room for the Fellowship.
Meetings are normally held on the second Monday in each month at 2:30pm until approximately 4:00pm. There is no membership fee but a very small nominal charge is made at each meeting to cover the cost of refreshments.
Bill Fishwick, Brenda Dixon (Chairman - Friends of Clitheroe Hospital) and Donald Wilson
Bill Fishwick, Donald Wilson and Nicola Terry (Fundraising Manager - Child Action North West)
John Hemingway, Margaret Garnett, Doreen Wilson, Bill Fishwick, Brenda Dixon (Chairman - Friends of Clitheroe Hospital),
Donald Wilson (with cheque) and Jean Fishwick
John Hemingway, Margaret Garnett, Doreen Wilson, Bill Fishwick, Donald Wilson, Jean Fishwick
and Nicola Terry (Fundraising Manager - Child Action North West) with cheque
After the cheque presentations the meeting continued with a combined talk and magic show presented by Mr John Pye. John has only recently completed his year as President of the International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM) - an organisation for both professional and amateur stage magicians, with approximately 15,000 members worldwide. John is also the Executive Secretary of the British Ring of the IBM.
A rather rare and special ceremony was performed on Thursday 8th January at Coronation Lodge, 3479. WBro John Rimmer, PProvDepGReg, presented a splendid locked Bible to the Lodge. The Bible, from Billinge Mark Lodge 908 (which closed in 2014) originally came from Hawthorne Street Methodist Church, Blackburn. WBro Rimmer had the Bible refurbished for presentation to Coronation Lodge.
After the usual Lodge business was conducted, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro Martin Roche, PSGD, was admitted, accompanied by a District Deputation consisting of:
Paul Aspinall, PGStB (PAGDC), APGP
Christopher Oversby PAGDC
David Lightbown, PProvJGW, District Chairman
David Bristol, PProvJGW, Deputy Chairman
Bob Allan, PProvGSuptWks, District Secretary
Brian Derbyshire, PProvGStwd, District Mentor
Sid Jenkinson, PProvSGW, District Communications Officer
Jim Smith, PProvGStdB, District Treasurer
Dennis Heskett, PProvSGD, Assistant Secretary
Ian Johnson, ProvJGD, Sec Charity Stewards
Steve Crowther, ProvGStwd, Assistant Communications Officer
Frank Salt, PProvDepGReg, Responsible for the care of Widows of closed Lodges.
After greetings, the WM, WBro Keith Stainton, invited the Assistant Provincial Grand Master to occupy his chair, which, on this occasion, he did. The APGM then introduced all the members of the Deputation.
The Bible Dedication Ceremony was then performed. The new Bible had been placed in the centre of the Lodge and covered with a veil. Andrew Procter, ProvDepGDC and Harold Cooper, PProvJGW, ProvDepGDC unveiled the Bible and a small deputation was formed to parade the bible around the Lodge Room, whilst the Brethren sang an appropriate hymn. The group consisted of the Bible Bearer, Bro Andy Hindle together with the Bible Donor, WBro John Rimmer, together with the two Deacons.
The Bible was then presented to the Lodge by WBro John Rimmer, who placed it on the WM’s pedestal after the old bible had been removed, still open, to the secretary’s table. Reverend John Winstanley, ProvDepGChap, dedicated the bible and it was opened for the first time as the old bible was closed.
Reverend John Winstanley gave a wonderful oration on the importance of the Bible and explained in detail it’s use, together with the square and compasses, within the Lodge. This oration was very well received by the Brethren. The APGM thanked Reverend Winstanley and then gave a reading from the bible in his own inimitable style.
The APGM invited the WM to resume his rightful place within the Lodge and the APGM and Delegation then withdrew.
The District Deputation with members of Coronation Lodge and the Assistant Provincial Grand Master
Members of Coronation Lodge and the Assistant Provincial Grand Master
The Bible Donor, WBro John Rimmer, WBro Keith Stainton, WM and the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro Martin Roche, PSGD
On December the 19th, 14 District Volunteers assisted the Hospice Fundraising team set up Gazebos, mulled wine and hot Vimto station and merchandise area in the newly renovated Gardens in the Hospice grounds.
The event was well supported, all enjoying the fantastic brass band and carols, wrapped up warmly on a very cold Winters evening.
The volunteers marshalled the parking and assisted with the tidy up after the Festive fun had finished.
On Monday 15th December, 2014, Cathedral Lodge, number 7814, held a Christmas Meeting, and were entertained by three presentations, given by WBros David Bell & Mike Stubbs.
But, on that evening, a very unique occasion took place, for on the night; in attendance, were four generations of Lodges.
Heading the list was the WM of Cathedral’s Great Grandmother Lodge, WBro Lawrence J Yarwood, of the Lodge of Antiquity, number 146, in Bolton - founded in the year 1776,
Then came WBro Chris Hajikakou, WM of Cathedral's Grandmother Lodge, the Lodge of Benevolence, number 226 (formerly Blackburn but now meeting in Rochdale) - founded in 1797.
WBro Malcolm Roe is the WM of Cathedral’s Mother Lodge, The Lodge of Perseverance, number 345, meeting in Blackburn - founded 1815. Perseverance will be celebrating their bi-centenary in 2015!
For the mathematically minded, these four Lodges represent 706 lodge years. That is 238 years of freemasonry from 146, 217 from 226, 199 from 345 and 52 from 7814.
The photograph, below, shows from Left to Right:
WBro David Bell, IPM of Cathedral Lodge No 7814 and SW of Lodge of the Lodge of Perseverance No 345 and chief instigator of this grand “coming-together”.
Bro Clive Owen, WM Cathedral Lodge No 7814.
WBro Malcolm Roe, who was, at the time, the WM of the Lodge of Perseverance No 345. (They have since had their Installation meeting and WBro Brian Hartwell is now the WM).
WBro Chris Hajikakou, WM of the Lodge of Benevolence No 226.
WBro Lawrence J Yarwood, WM of the Lodge of Antiquity No 146.
If you have any new stories you would like to see published here, please contact
WBro Sid Jenkinson, District Communications Officer for East Ribble District.