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Charity Stewards & Festival Reps March Newsletter District Officer Information Archived News
The Travelling Gavel is now held by Verity Lodge 3949 in Blackburn
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.