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The Travelling Gavel is now held by The Lodge of Perseverance No.345 in Blackburn- see below

TLC to the Rescue!

During the redevelopment of the Blackburn Cathedral Quarter, various statues and landmarks have been re-sited. One such item being the statue of a mother and child, with the child reaching down for its teddy bear. Unfortunately, due to  inclement weather, the resin used to fix the teddy bear to the pavement would not set and the developer is waiting for drier weather to complete the work.

However this is were the Masonic TLC initiative came to a temporary rescue, someone, maybe a child has placed one of the teddies on the pavement as a replacement. The TLC initiative has seen us distributing small teddies to traumatised children through the A&E department of local hospitals during the last ten years.

Assisting at the East Lancashire Hospice Christmas Fayre

Fifteen East Ribble Freemasons from every masonic hall in the East Ribble District recently offered their time to support the annual East Lancashire Hospice Christmas Fayre.

They started the day assisting with the setting up of the stalls, followed by some of the brethren marshalling the car park during very inclement weather. Other brethren were busy inside marshalling the attendance to the Punch and Judy show. The Hospice kindly provided much needed warm drinks, sandwiches and homemade parkin for sustenance.

The day ended with the volunteers packing away.

Kimberley Hall from the Hospice gave her thanks "to all the guys who gave their time. The tills were ringing and we raised over £7,000, about £1,800 up on last year".

Bank Terrace with King Oswald Lodge No.462 - Amalgamation Meeting

On Wednesday the 11th of November 2015, The Bank Terrace Lodge No.462 & King Oswald Lodge No.3306 Amalgamation Ceremony took place, conducted by The Deputy Provincial Grand Master VWBro Derek Nelson Thornhill PGSwdB. He was assisted by WBro Harold Cooper PProvJGW acting as the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, the Rev'd John Winstanley as the Provincial Grand Chaplain and a Provincial Delegation including the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro John Farrington PSGD.

The Ceremony itself was a very special and memorable event, which included the reading of the Certificate of Amalgamation by the Provincial Grand Secretary Martin Roche PSGD Past APGM, an oration and blessings from Rev'd Winstanley and the main amalgamation ceremonials and address by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, who was present many years ago at a meeting at King Oswald Lodge in his former role as our Assistant Provincial Grand Master, when the formations of the strong visiting partnership between the Lodges was beginning.

Following the main business, the Lodge Treasurer Bro Peter Wilkinson, presented the Deputy Provincial Grand Master with new Gavels for the Lodge which he had personally hand crafted. The Provincial Senior and Junior Grand Wardens also receiving their Gavels from nominated Brethren of the Lodge at the same time.

​The last Worshipful Master of King Oswald Lodge ​No.3306 WBro Gordon Lewis PProvAGDC then proceeded to present a cheque for £3306 towards the ELMC, commenting that as this was the last time this number will be used, the now amalgamated Lodge Brethren thought it only right to use it to assist the East Lancashire Masonic Charity in their essential work.

A collarette and jewel, (entitled the Riley & McGregor Jewel)in remembrance of three past Worthy and Worshipful Brethren of the Lodges, WBro's Peter McGregor (3306), John Edward Riley (462) and Charles Clifford Riley (462) was presented to the Worshipful Master by VWBro Thornhill. This commemorates the combined over 150 years of service service of these three Brethren to their respective Lodges and will be presented to the new WM each year.

Following the meeting, 90 Brethren dined at The Festive Board and were well fed and watered with a five course banquet dinner, excellently prepared and served by Barbara Peters and her team.

A raffle was held with many excellent prizes, not least a Marrow, cultivated for many months in the greenhouse of the Immediate Past Master WBro Alan Uttley, with guest WBro Keith Jackson the extremely lucky recipient.

This was a wonderful evening, generously supported by The Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, the Provincial Delegation, the District Team and many visiting friends. A suitable first page in the History of the new Lodge.


GrOwING WILD is a community group who develop and strengthen connections between the local community and nature. They engage with all ages of the community in Hyndburn in outdoor, environmental and food growing activities to improve knowledge, connections and well-being. They run and facilitate activities on 1500 square metres of unused allotments in Baxenden to improve the land's biodiversity through conservation, education and recreational activities. Bringing different members of the community together, to have fun on their doorstep at no or very little cost.

GrOwING WILD approached East Ribble District Charity Stewards to ask for their support to enhance their work in the community. East Ribble District applied for a grant from the East Lancashire Masonic Charity (ELMC) towards a Poly Tunnel including raised beds and tables.

Following the successful grant application East Ribble District Charity Stewards presented a cheque for the sum of £2966 from the ELMC Community Fund to GrOwING WILD.

The new Poly Tunnel will increase GrOwING WILD's food growing by extending the growing season and increasing the different types of vegetables that they can grow. Vegetables are also provided to local food banks or soup kitchens in Hyndburn.

WBro David Gill presents the cheque on behalf of the ELMC

The new poly tunnel at GrOwING WILD in Baxenden

WBro Harry Hesmondhalgh, PSGD, PAPGM celebrates his 50th Anniversary in Freemasonry

On the evening of Monday, 9th November 2015, Prosperity Lodge No 5206 held a very special Lodge Meeting when WBro Harry Hesmondhalgh, PSGD, PAPGM celebrated his 50th Anniversary in Freemasonry. Bro Edwin J Leech, Worshipful Master, and the officers of the Lodge opened the Lodge in fine style. The WM had greeted all the assembled guests and members and said how pleased he was to see the Lodge room so full. It was to become even more full!

The early business was completed and WBro Nigel Pickering, Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, entered the Lodge Room to announce that the RW Provincial Grand Master, Sir David Trippier, RD, JP, DL, accompanied by a Provincial Deputation, was without and demanded admission. He requested the assistance of the lodge DC and Deacons and they, together with WBro Harold Cooper, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, led in the Provincial Grand Master, proceeded by VWBro Derek N Thornhill, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, WBro John Farrington, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro Norman Cope, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro Paul MA Rose, Deputy Grand Superintendent, WBro Paul Aspinall, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals, WBro David Lightbown, District Chairman, WBro Dr Simon Archer, Provincial Senior Grand Warden, WBro Gerry Hodson, Provincial Junior Grand Warden, WBro Martin Roche, Provincial Grand Secretary, WBro Paul Waring, Provincial Grand Sword Bearer, WBro Colin Barton, Provincial Grand Standard Bearer, WBro Roy Tindall, Provincial Grand Standard Bearer, WBro Paul Bowen, Provincial Grand Organist, RWBro Stephen Blank, Provincial Grand Master [Cheshire], RWBro Paul Rink, Past Provincial Grand Master, VWBro Dr Nigel Bramley-Haworth, Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master, WBro Warwick R Davenport, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro Allan Bennion, Past Deputy Grand Superintendent, WBro Bill Waite, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master.

The Worshipful Master offered the gavel to the RW Provincial Grand Master who accepted it and occupied the Masters Chair, the Provincial Wardens occupying their respective Wardens Chairs. The RW Provincial Grand Master was greeted and he in turn welcomed everyone and introduced the members of Provincial Deputation, who each rose in turn and wished everyone a good evening.

The celebration of the Personal 50th of WBro Harry Hesmondhalgh then commenced with WBro Gordon Fletcher, Lodge Secretary, reading the Minutes of Bro Hesmondhalgh’s Initiation.

WBro Harry Hesmondhalgh was then placed in a prominent position in the centre of the Lodge Room whereupon WBro Ian Ogden, PProvSGW, then delivered a tribute. He said he was very pleased and felt highly privileged when he was asked to prepare a tribute to WBro Hesmondhalgh. Ian has had the good fortune of knowing Harry for over fifty years, as he was the Brother who seconded him into Freemasonry. Harry is the longest serving member of Prosperity Lodge.
WBro Hesmondhalgh was born in August 1934 in Blackburn, and after attending Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School he became a Bank Officer in what was to become the Royal Bank of Scotland. Like all young men of his age, he was called on to do National Service.
On 18th of May 1959 he married May and in 2009 they celebrated their Golden Wedding. They have one daughter, Hilary and two grandsons, Harry and Sam.
Harry was proposed into Prosperity Lodge by WBro J Wallbank, seconded by WBro H Catlow and balloted for on May 10th 1965, and initiated on November 8th by the Worshipful Master, Bro A E Wray. He was passed by his proposer in December and raised by the Worshipful Master the following February.
His rise up the Lodge was swift and he was installed in the Master’s chair in October 1972, serving a second year in that office in 1996.  Provincial recognition was soon to follow. In craft he was appointed Provincial Grand Steward followed by promotion to Past Senior Grand Deacon and then Acting Rank as Provincial Senior Grand Warden. He retained that rank in a past capacity for three years before being appointed Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, an office he held for four years. He obtained Grand Rank in1991 and was appointed Assistant Provincial Grand Master in 1999 with responsibility for the Accrington and Blackburn Districts, which office he held for seven years, being promoted to Past Senior Grand Deacon in 2000.                                                                 
In Craft he has also served in other Lodges being a Founder Member of Hyndburn Lodge of Installed Masters (of which he is now an honorary member as he is of several other Lodges) and a member of the Lodge of Fortitude, in each of which he has served as Master (1980 and 2014 respectively), as well as in Frederick W Towns and East Lancashire Provincial Grand Officers Lodges.
 He was exalted into Leopold Royal Arch Chapter in February 1975 where he served as First Principal in1983. His Royal Arch career has been equally impressive. In 1986 he was appointed Provincial Grand Steward followed in1988 as Past Provincial Grand Sojourner after eight years as which he became Provincial Director of Ceremonies for four years. He was appointed Past Grand Standard Bearer in 1993 and promoted to Past Assistant Grand Sojourner in 2003.  In 1998 he was appointed Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals, an office he retained for five years. He was a Founder Member of Huntroyd Chapter of First Principals and is a member of East Lancashire Grand Officers Chapter. 
He has not however restricted his efforts to Craft and Royal Arch having joined Loyalty Mark Lodge (which sadly has now closed) and is now a member of Lancastrians Lodge 689 where he was Worshipful Master in2006/07. Currently he is Almoner of the Lodge and was promoted to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 2010. He is also a member of Donald Maitland Wilson Chapter 1086 Rose Croix being Most Wise Sovereign in 2009, being promoted to 30th degree in 2010. He is Almoner in the Chapter as well and by all accounts doing an admirable job.
At District level he served as District Secretary from 1983 until 1987.
During his time as Assistant Provincial Grand Master he did not neglect Prosperity, his Mother Lodge, continuing his regular attendance and always being enthusiastic to take an active role in ceremonies. Apart from his responsibilities in the two Districts under his guidance, he was instrumental in instituting a system whereby the District Charity Stewards maintained the drinks trolley for the use of patients and visitors at the East Lancashire Hospice. He also made many Pastoral Visits to the Lodges under his care.
He has been and continues to be an active supporter of the three Masonic Fellowships, Accrington, Clitheroe and Darwen in the East Ribble District.    
However it is said that “behind every good man stands a good woman” and Ian said it would be remiss of him not to mention the support given to WBro Hesmondhalgh in his endeavors by May, his wife of over fifty years.
Outside Freemasonry, he has been known to play the odd round of golf. And is an ardent traveller, taking part in many trips both in the UK and Eire and in places like Europe and China as well as cruising the oceans. Recently he has endured some health problems, which he has faced with fortitude and now seems to be fully recovered.
In this brief tribute it can be seen that WBro Hesmondhalgh (and Ian quoted from an informant) ”is a delightful fellow who has contributed much to Freemasonry in East Lancashire” and no doubt he will continue to do so. After all if you want a task doing, look for a busy man. Ian finished by saying that on his own behalf and that of Harry’s many friends, “may I wish you good health and the strength to continue your enjoyment of your Freemasonry.“

The assembled brethren spontaneously gave Ian a great deal of applause and the RW Provincial Grand Master warmly thanked him for his efforts

The Provincial Secretary read out the illuminated certificate and then handed it to Sir David. The RW Provincial Grand Master then presented the illuminated certificate to Harry along with his own personal letter. Harry was then conducted around the Lodge room to prolonged acclaim.

The District Chairman, WBro David Lightbown, presented Harry with a lapel badge on behalf of the East Ribble District. WBro Hesmondhalgh thanked everyone.

At this point the RW Provincial Grand Master, accompanied by WBro Hesmondhalgh and the Provincial Delegation, retired from the Lodge. Rather uniquely, after this, a second retirement procession was formed and VWBro Derek N Thornhill, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, also retired along with colleagues of Grand Lodge!

After the lodge was closed the brethren assembled in the Festive Board Room for an excellent meal and some wonderful speeches. All in all, a most convivial and relaxing occasion, enjoyed by over 90 Freemasons!!

The Delegation with members of the Lodge

Members of the Lodge

VWBro Thornhill, WBro Hesmondhalgh, RW Provincial Grand Master and the Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Northern Area, John Farrington

The Lodge of Fidelity and Crusaders No. 269 hosted The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master RWBro Sir David Trippier.

Over 80 Brethren from across the District came together on the evening of the 5th November at the Masonic Hall Blackburn, to enjoy a wonderful hosted meeting.. The main emphasis with these meetings is for the newer Initiates into Freemasonry to play the major part of the evening and to share their experiences.  This meeting turned out to be a wonderful experience with lots of discussion, laughing and new friendships being formed.

Once the Lodge had been opened by the Worshipful Master WBro Alan Mercer PProvAGDC accompanied by the officers of the Lodge, and the formal business had been completed, the Provincial Grand Director Of Ceremonies WBro John A Griffin AGDC was admitted and reported that the Provincial Grand Master RWBro Sir David Trippier was outside the Lodge accompanied by a Provincial Deputation. WBro Griffin managed the entrance of the Deputation, and expertly placed the Provincial Officers in their respective positions.
The Worshipful Master offered the gavel to the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master,, and on this occasion he was delighted to accept. He began by stating how important these meetings are to him personally. As PGM he has a lot of Masonic Halls to visit and as many Brethren to meet as he can, but the hosted meetings allow him to meet many Brethren and especially the newer Brethren who are to be the future of Freemasonry.
The main item of business for the evening was introduced by the Lodge Director of Ceremonies WBro R. Sutlieff PProvSGD. He introduced four of the newer members of our district  and asked them to address the assembled Brethren and to explain how being a Freemason had impacted their lives with a particular emphasis on charity.

First to speak was Bro Paul Span Of the Lodge of Amity and Rossendale Forest No 283
He said that as a Freemason he was intrigued by the charitable activities within the Province and did some research to find out how these charities work. Inspired by what he found he decided to contribute himself and being a large chap, he did what anyone would do, and that was to pull a 17 ton barge!! So having gathered sponsorship for the event, he researched the route and strapped himself to a narrow boat and pulled it for a total distance of over one and a half miles. This amazing feat saw him raise £1400 for our Festival..

Second up was Bro Scott Miller of Bank Terrace Lodge No. 462
Scott’s story was different in that it was his experience with masonic charities that made him decide to become a Freemason. Scott is part of the vital Blood Bikes charity  where life saving blood is delivered across the country by intrepid riders on two wheels who are volunteers. Two of his good friends are already Freemasons and Scott asked them if the Freemasons could help out with much needed equipment for the Blood Bike charity. They explained the Grant application for the ELMC Community Fund  and who to contact to make an application. This application proved successful and our awarded £4000 towards a new Blood Bike. This inspired Scott who subsequently applied to be a Freemason and the rest as they say is history.

Third to speak was the Lodge Junior Deacon Bro Mark Clayton.
Bro Clayton took a slightly different and approach to his talk and made some very important points about the manner in which new initiates find out about Freemasonry and how they join. It was obvious that the moment he began to speak that Bro Clayton is passionate about his freemasonry and he wears his Deacon’s collar with pride. He said that in the age we live, technology place a huge part in the way communication happens between young people, even though many might be sceptical about social networking and other online means of communication. Mark further spoke about how he has become involved in Charity through the District Volunteering initiatives,  such as assisting over fifty of his fellow District Brethren by Marshalling East Lancashire Starlight Walk.

Last to speak was Bro Chris Wolstencroft of King Oswald Lodge Lodge  No. 3306
Bro Wolstencroft gave a very emotionally charged story  about his brother who was a Freemason. Bro Wolstencroft hadn't thought of joining a Lodge even though his brother was a member. However his brother passed away too soon at the age of 39 after a long battle with cancer. It was the support of ALL four national Masonic Charities, the ELMC, his District and Lodge during the latter part of his illness which inspired Bro Wolstencroft to consider joining Freemasonry.
This was obviously a  very difficult subject to talk about for Bro Wolstencroft, at times having to compose himself. But Chris did himself extremely proud and bravely managed to complete his presentation, to applause and a few Brethren dabbing their own eyes.

Sir David  expressed great thanks and respect to the four speakers and the other new initiates who had made the meeting a great success. After a collection was taken, Sir David and the Provincial Deputation retired from the Lodge which was closed in due form and the Brethren retired to the festive board. On leaving the Lodge each of the 25 newly initiated Brethren received a personalised certificate from Sir David Trippier.

The festive board was a treat. Lots of discussion, laughter, great speeches and most of all great camaraderie. Sir David spoke passionately about the importance of the newer initiates playing a part in the Hosted meetings and explaining what drew them to Freemasonry and most importantly what keeps them in the fraternity. He also expressed delight that  this initiative had been established  in the East Ribble District in a previous hosted meeting. Sir David also spoke about the tercentenary in 2017 and how new technology will allow for the celebrations on London may be watched in Halls across the Province and how important it is for not only Masons but their friends and families to be a part of the celebration.  He also said that a new video was to be made which focuses on just what was seen in the Lodge with the highlight on new Brethren and their initial journeys in Freemasonry. Sir David is working on lots of new ideas before the 2017 celebration which everyone is looking forward to with great interest.

The evening ended with many new friendships being made, visits organised and emails being swapped. With newer Brethren of this quality in the District we have a solid base on which to further  develop Freemasonry in East Lancashire.

The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master and the Provincial and District Deputations

Sir David Trippier photographed with the Brethren of the Lodge

Sir David Trippier with the Newer Initiates

The Festive Board was a truly joyous occasion

WBro George M Cattanach PProvSGW 70 years in Freemasonry
Where there is no Vision the people shall perish”

The meeting of Huncoat Lodge No. 8542 at Mill House Clayton-le-Moors on the 4th November was a special and very rare occasion. It highlighted a remarkable milestone, that of 70 years in Craft Freemasonry of WBro George M Cattanach PProvSGW. Over 60 Brethren including Provincial and District deputations as well as numerous visitors as far afield as London, gathered to share WBro Cattanach’s evening with him. It was to be a wonderful celebration.

After the Lodge had been opened in due form by the Worshipful Master WBro Donald Johnson and the regular business had been completed, the Provincial Director of Ceremonies WBro John A. Griffin was admitted and indicated that the Provincial Grand Master, RWBro Sir David Trippier accompanied by a Provincial Deputation was without, and demanded entry. On entry the Provincial Officers took their respective positions and the Worshipful Master offered Sir David Trippier the gavel, which on this occasion he was delighted to accept.

Sir David Tripper began proceedings by stating that in all his years in Freemasonry, this was the first 70th celebration he had attended and that such an occasion was an extremely rare and special occasion. WBro Cattanach was placed on a chair in the centre of the Lodge. Sir David Trippier then asked WBro Brian Carter PAGDC, Provincial Grand Almoner to deliver a tribute to WBro Cattanach. His tribute was a comprehensive and extremely interesting account of a very active masonic and personal life. His masonic career began in Scotland when he was Initiated into Kilmolymock Lodge No. 45 under the Scottish Constitution on the 23rd October 1945 and on this date began a very varied masonic career which totalled 250 years combined Freemasonry in various Degrees. His working life proved to be as interesting and George was involved in the field of Media engineering at the BBC and subsequently Granada, and he was at the leading edge of technological innovation at the time. At the end of 1954 he was transferred up north to Manchester, in order to become part of a team which would open up the North West to the Television world, the unit was based in an old church, where George’s sense of humour got him into a bit of trouble, as he painting round the chancel arch of the church,
Where there is no Vision the people shall perish”
which although a well known paraphrase, caused quite a stir among the top brass at that time.
In 1960 he founded the very first video editing team at Granada television. Luckily for us, he turned down the opportunity to work in the US where he was head hunted by the Radio Corporation of America.
The full tribute which makes for fascinating reading can be found HERE.

Sir David Trippier then asked the Provincial Grand Assistant Secretary WBro Andrew Holland to read the Illuminated Certificate to the Brethren after which Sir David presented it to WBro Cattanach, pointing out that this was such a rare event, a special certificate had been commissioned and produced by the Provincial Secretariat. The certificate was graciously received by WBro Cattanach.

Provincial Grand Master Sir David Trippier presents WBro Cattanach with his specially designed Certificate

WBro Cattanach was then perambulated around the Lodge to the rapturous applause from the assembled Brethren, before the Provincial Deputation retired from the Lodge and the remaining business was concluded and the Lodge closed in Due form and the Brethren retired to the Festive Board.

The festive Board was a joyous occasion and the toast to the Worshipful Master was delivered by the APGM WBro John Farrington in a very sincere and amusing manner to which WBro Johnson responded equally graciously.

The main toast of the evening, to the Celebrant, was delivered by WBro Andrew Taylor PProvGStwd who who presented WBro Cattanach with a gift from the Lodge Brethren as well as a gift and signed card from his Mother Lodge in Scotland Kilmolymock Lodge No. 45 under the Scottish Constitution.
WBro George was eager to respond and thanked the PGM and APGM for their attendance and indeed all of the Brethren assembled. He spoke fondly of his masonic journey with it’s roots in Scotland and of the fraternity across the world where the differences in ritual from Lodge to Lodge make this such an interesting organisation to be a member of. He concluded with  a final thank you to the Brethren and stated how he was looking forward to his 80th Birthday Celebration! The end of his response was greeted with a spontaneous standing ovation.
The festive board was concluded after the retirement of the Provincial Deputation with all agreeing that this was a not to be missed occasion and everyone looking forward to meeting again in 10 years for the next celebration.

The Lodge Brethren pictured with the Provincial Deputation

Lodge Brethren pictured with PGM Sir DAvid Trippier, APGM Derek Nelson Thornhill, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals WBro Paul Aspinall
and APGM WBro John Farrington.

PGM Sir David Trippier pictured with APGM Wbro Derek Nelson Thornhill, WBro Paul Aspinall PAGDC, WBro Cattanach, APGM WBro John Farrington
and Worshipful Master WBro Donald Johnson

The Festive board celebrating WBro George M Cattanach's 70th Year in Freemasonry



Unity & Friendship keeping our District volunteers visible

After seeing the pile of volunteer High visibility vests being quickly depleted, Unity and Friendship Lodge No.8178 kindly replenished the District Charity Stewards stock with our Logo on the front as well as the back this time!

To give an idea of what was needed, over 55 District Masonic volunteers were out in force marshalling the late night Ladies Walk in aid of East Lancashire Hospice in July, continuing support that is offered to the Hospice and other local worthy causes throughout the year.

This donation will allow our many volunteers to continue to have a safe and highly visible appearance when providing our assistance in the Community.

Bro David Gill, WM of 8178 formally presents the printed Hi Vis vests to East Ribble District Chairman WBro David Lightbown PAGDC.

New and Young Masons Conference held at United Grand Lodge

Seven Freemasons from the East Ribble District in East Lancashire, accompanied by WBro John Roberts from the Salford District (mainly for protection purposes) attended the New and Young Masons Conference hosted and organised by The Connaught Club.

The Connaught Club was founded to give young Freemasons in London a means to meet and socialise, with like-minded people of similar ages, who might otherwise be dispersed over London's many Lodges and large geographic area.

The aim of the Conference was to share the successes and pitfalls of other similar working groups across the Provinces, of which 33 were represented on the day, several presenting on their own Provincial and District Clubs. They all held a similar aim; to enthuse, educate and instil a sense of belonging in the early steps of Freemasonry through socialising, visiting and sharing experiences with Brethren of a similar age or position in Freemasonry.

The conference was excellently organised and hit the intended brief, with all in attendance able to take something positive away thanks to the efforts of all the presenters and no less the fantastic work of our hosts.

Complimentary nibbles and drinks were then served as Brethren from across the Country shared their opinions of the Conference subject.

Following the Conference, all had been pre-invited to the Installation of Burgoyne Lodge No.902 at 5pm. Although steeped in history, Burgoyne Lodge No. 902 was close to returning its warrant in early 2009. Graciously, the existing Lodge members agreed to work with the Connaught Club to rejuvenate the Lodge as an avenue for Club members to expand their Masonic activity. All Club members are invited to become joining members of Burgoyne Lodge which celebrated its 150th anniversary in February 2012. Upon joining, members keen to increase their Masonic experience are encouraged to volunteer to undertake an office within the Lodge for a year.

As it was only just after three, this left us an hour or two to sojourn to the Hercules Pillars across the way for a chance to hold deep intellectual conversations, exchanges of thought and reconcile of our extensive notes. However the Brethren decided to watch the beginning of the rugby, chat with Brethren from other Provinces and drink beer instead.

After saying a fond farewell to our Salford Brother, WBro John Roberts who was on a 5pm train back home, the remaining East Ribble and East Lancashire contingency took their places in the wonderful Temple 10 in Great Queen St, which was a fitting venue for a very professional installation meeting. This included a Father installing his son, a Brother giving the new WM his Charge and several more joining members, who were uniquely token balloted for with Trebor Extra Strong mints (we were just thinking this is an odd southern thing they do) when the ballot box was nowhere to be found!

All then made their way to the Raddison Blu Edwardian in Bloomsbury for wonderful meal of Goat Cheese Tartlet, Supreme of Guinea Fowl (which nearly killed a choking Worshipful Master, who was heroically saved by the Assistant Metropolitan Grand Master in attendance with a few well targeted back slaps and a timely heimlich manoeuvre) and ending with a sticky toffee pudding which had the Northerners in attendance baying for custard, unfortunately to no avail. The wine however was excellent, as was the social board itself. All of the visitors to both the Conference and the Installation of Burgoyne Lodge No.902 from across the Country couldn't have been made more welcome or looked after any better. A big thank you to all involved.

Top: All enjoying the Social Board:
Middle: At the Conference: from L to R: WBro Russell Harwood, Bro Scott Miller, Bro Zak Khan, Bro Ronnie Thompson, WBro Dave McGurty, Bro Paul Pratt (who is also a Connaught Club member) WBro John Roberts and WBro Brian Derbyshire.

A Presentation and a Promise

Back in 2011, when WBro Paul Aspinall, now Northern Area APGP, was still the Chairman of the newly formed East Ribble District, he was visiting The Lodge of Unity & Friendship and enquired of the Secretary WBro Stephen White PProvSGD. in his usual light hearted manner, as to why he wasn't yet wearing the Festival Jewel, explaining the importance of outwardly demonstrating your support for our Festival Charity the RMBI and its aims and objectives.
Feeling duly castigated and suitably challenged by WBro Aspinalls words, WBro White made a promise that 8178 would achieve Grand Patron Status by the encourage of the Festival.

On Tuesday the 13th of October, on the night Unity & Friendship were receiving the Festival certificate from the Assistant Provincial Grand Master WBro John Farrington PSGD as recognition for every member of the Lodge making a significant, personal contribution to the Festival, WBro White and his Brethren made good on that promise.

On behalf of the Brethren of this small in number, but big in heart Lodge, WBro White presented a cheque for £1275.00 to WBro Aspinall, who stated he had no doubt whatsoever that Stephen and the Lodge Brethren would endeavour to make good on that promise to the best of their ability.

Personal 50th of WBro James Warner PProvJGW

Over 50 brethren gathered at Old Blackburnian Lodge No. 7933 at Old School in Queen Elizabeth Grammar School on Friday evening 16th October to celebrate the 50th anniversary in Freemasonry of  WBro James Warner PProvJGW.

After the Lodge was Tyled and the business of the meeting concluded, a District deputation headed by The Assistant Provincial Grand Master WBro John R Farrington PSGD and accompanied by a number of Grand Lodge Officers were admitted under the command of  WBro John Griffin ProvGDC. Following a warm welcome from the Worshipful Master Bro R David Sharpe, WBro Farrington was offered the gavel, and on this occasion he gratefully accepted and occupied the Masters Chair.

On completion of the introductions of the Brethren of the District Deputation, including the The Deputy Provincial Grand Master VWBro Derek Nelson Thornhill PGSwdB a member of the Lodge for a number of years, WBro Warner was seated in the centre of the Lodge.
The Junior Warden, WBro Gordon J Hebden PProvDepGSuptWks who himself celebrated 50 years in Freemasonry in 2014, read the minutes of the meeting of the 15th October 1965 when WBro Warner was initiated into Freemasonry.  The Lodge Secretary WBro Trevor Proctor PProvGSwdB then proceeded to deliver his history of WBro Warner’s time in Freemasonry to date. The speech was extremely interesting and outlined not only the brethren who had played a part in the various ceremonies along WBro Warner’s masonic career but that there had been a number of firsts associated with him. He was the first initiate to hold the office of Master of the Lodge, he was the first ADC ever to be appointed in the Lodge. He was also appointed Almoner of the Lodge in 1992 a position he holds today. A poignant moment at this point of the speech was that the recently passed  WBro Chris Oversby PAGDC was the Worshipful Master at the time. Finally, at the celebration of the Lodge’s Golden Jubilee on 6th April 2013, The Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VWBro Derek Nelson Thornhill promoted WBro Jim to the rank of PProvJGW, a very proud moment for him personally and for the Lodge.

WBro Farrington then proceeded to deliver the traditional activity of stating facts that had happened in 1965, but on this occasion with a twist. With the permission of the Lodge and the Celebrant, part of the activity took the form of an informal quiz for members of the District deputation who had recently visited another 50th anniversary and in theory should have known all the answers. In truth they needed help from the regular Lodge members and would have been a poor showing on University Challenge! A detention was threatened by the APGM!  
WBro Farrington did state that in 1965 Winston Churchill died, inflation was running at 5%, petrol was 5 shillings a gallon, the first US troops were sent to Vietnam and in sporting terms it was a bad year for our friends across the border in Yorkshire when they were bowled out for 23 by Hampshire in the county championships and Liverpool beat Leeds 2-1 to win the FA Cup.
WBro Farrington did have one other fact to share regarding WBro Warner, and that was in 1981 he was appointed to the Provincial Rank as a PProvGSwdB and held the rank for 32 years. A great testament to the esteem he has been held within the Lodge and the Province.

WBro Farrington then proceeded to present WBro Warner with his illuminated certificate and personal letter of congratulations from The Provincial Grand Master, both of which were read to WBro Warner. Finally WBro Warner was perambulated around the Lodge by WBro John Griffin to rapturous applause from the Brethren assembled.

WBro Warner receives his Illuminated Certificate from WBro Farrington.

Before retiring from the Lodge accompanied by the District deputation, the Worshipful Master had a very pleasant duty to perform in the form of a cheque presentation for the sum of £500 towards the 2015 Festival. This was gratefully received by WBro Farrington.

The Festive board following the meeting was a joyous occasion punctuated by excellent courses of food in the usual Old Blackburnian way. The toast to WBro Warner was given by Lodge mentor WBro Paul Aspinall PAGDC who paid a very warm and heartfelt tribute to WBro Warner who he had known for a number of years and valued their friendship greatly. WBro Warner’s replied to the toast by giving a potted history of his career in the Police force and how he had progressed from cadet to Superintendent having served in major news worthy events such as the riots in Toxteth, the miners strikes in Barnsley and the prison riots. He did state during his response that whilst he had had an active and illustrious career in the police force, one of the best things he had ever done was to become a Freemason. He concluded his response by an emotional thanks to all the Brethren of Old Blackburnian Lodge No. 7933 and to the District Deputation for their company during what was a very special and memorable evening for him. We hope he has many more enjoyable years in his Masonic career.

Brethren of Old Blackburnian Lodge No. 7933 with the District Deputation

WBro Warner the Worshipful Master and Brethren of the District Deputation

Sponsored swim for the District Charity Stewards Fund.

(Warning, article contains images that may not be suitable for those of a nervous disposition!)

Frustrated at not being able to attend the annual East Ribble District Charity Stewards annual walk due to other Masonic commitments, not to be deterred from his yearly efforts, WBro Tom Pearson PProvJGD completed a sponsored swim, authorised by Rhys (photographed with Tom) at DW Fitness in Blackburn on Saturday October 3rd 2015.
Tom raised a fantastic sum of £130 from his Brethren in Albert Edward Lodge No.1519, which he will be gladly handing in to the District Charity Steward at the Meeting on the 22.10.15, where funds are used to support many local worthy causes. To raise the money, Tom swam 800m (40 lengths)


Lodge of Unity & Friendship No.8178 awarded the Festival Certificate

In recognition of every member of the Lodge making a significant donation to our EL2015 Festival, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master WBro John Farrington PSGD presented the Worshipful Master of 8178, WBro David Gill, with the Festival Certificate.

Acknowledging the achievement, WBro Farrington thanked the Lodge for their generosity and hard work in supporting our Festival efforts.

A score of visiting Brethren were in attendance to witness the Certificate presentation and to hear a short lecture from one of Fred Lomax's book five minute talks, excellently presented by the most Junior member of the Lodge, Bro Geoff Leonard.

A happy Festive Board was enjoyed by all and included the sharing of a 'Quaich' which is a type of Scottish sharing cup, shallow with two handles and filled with an excellent Malt Whisky.

It was passed around the Festive Board in memory of WBro Chris Oversby PAGDC who sadly passed to the Grand Lodge above only a few weeks ago. WBro Oversby was the representative at the Worshipful Masters Installation meeting and partook in the sharing of the Quaich on that occasion, "recommending" that WBro Gill use the malt whisky that was originally destined for the raffle instead of the Bells whisky he had originally planned!

The evening was rounded off by a response by the Worshipful Master of the Lodge of Perseverance No.345 WBro Brian Hartwell, who had brought with him many of his own members as part of the Lodge planned visit programme to all of its family of Lodges in celebration of it's Bi Centenary year.

Assistant Provincial Grand Master WBro John Farrington PSGD presents the Festival Certificate to the Worshipful Master, WBro David Gill

Community Recognition

On Wednesday 7 October, 2015, the Chairman of Lancashire County Council, County Councillor Margaret Brindle, held a reception in County Hall Preston for charitable fraternal organisations including Freemasonry, the Rotary Club International, the Round Table and the Lions Club International.

The evening began with a drinks reception where we were welcomed by the Chairman with LCC Liberal Democrat Leader County Councillor Professor Bill Winlow,  Cabinet Member, Environment, Planning and Cultural Services, Cty Cllr Marcus Johnstone and the Director of Public Health and Wellbeing, Dr Sakthi Kurunanithi.

We then moved to the Council Chamber for a number of presentations, by the Chairman, and Dr Kurunanithi. Margaret Brindle had clearly done her homework, as she welcomed each charity in turn and summarising some of their main charitable contributions to our communities. On Freemasonry she spoke of the work of the Grand Charity, the 17 care homes ran by the RMBI and the work of the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys. Closer to home she referred to the great work Freemasons perform in the East Ribble and Blackburn areas, and across East Lancashire. She also has personal experience of this as she had been involved with ‘North West Blood Bikes’ when the East Lancashire Masonic Charity’s Community fund had donated £4000 for a new bike.

Cllr Brindle said, “As Chairman of Lancashire County Council I would like to thank you all for the voluntary, charitable and fundraising work that you do throughout Lancashire to support a range of important and needy causes.

The activities you undertake make a real contribution to society and support many people in Lancashire and beyond, offering help and personal development for those in need, caring for the less fortunate and developing projects at a local, national and international level.

Your commitment to improving people's lives is reflected in so many ways, operating as individuals, as an organisation and also by engaging with and complementing professionals and local services.  As Chairman of the County Council I would like to thank you for your extraordinary accomplishments.”

The evening finished with a hot buffet supper accompanied with some splendid entertainment by a Quartet.




It was super for all the charities to be recognised in this way and we are grateful to Lancashire County Council for inviting us. Masonic representatives from both East and West Lancashire were present.

From East Lancashire we had:

Derek Thornhill – Deputy Provincial Grand Master
Paul Rose – Deputy Grand Superintendent
John Farrington – Assistant Provincial Grand Master [covering the areas of Burnley, Pendle and East Ribble]
Chad Northcott APGM – Chairman of the East Lancashire Masonic Charity
Paul Aspinall  - Assistant to the Grand Superintendent – Burnley & East Ribble Districts
David Lightbown – Chairman – East Ribble District
Paul Thornton – Chairman – Burnley and Pendle District
Jeff Ward – Member of Burnley and Pendle District
Steve Jansen – Member of Burnley and Pendle District
Walter Coupe - Member of Burnley and Pendle District
John Wilkinson - Member of Burnley and Pendle District
David McGurty - East Ribble District
Bob Allan - East Ribble District
Steve Crowther - East Ribble District
Mike Stubbs - East Ribble District



WBro Alan S. Mercer PProvAGDC 50th Anniversary

The meeting of The Lodge of Fidelity and Crusaders No. 269 on the 1st October 2015 was a very special occasion in the rich history of the Lodge.
The meeting marked the 50th Anniversary in Freemasonry of WBro Alan Smith Mercer PProvAGDC, Worshipful Master.

Once the business of the Lodge had been completed, the Brethren welcomed a 20 strong District Delegation led by The Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro John Farrington PSGD.WBro Farrington was offered the gavel by WBro Mercer, and on this occasion he accepted and occupied the Masters Chair. On completion of the introductions of the Delegation members WBro Mercer was placed in the centre of the Lodge and the Lodges most Junior member, Bro D Bevan read the minutes of the 1965 meeting at which WBro Mercer was Initiated into Freemasonry. Bro Clayton then proceeded to read the minutes of the 1976 meeting when he was Installed into the Chair of King Solomon in 1976.
WBro R. Smethurst PProvDepGSwdB gave a very interesting and comprehensive potted history of the life of WBro Mercer. It showed him to be a man of many talents and interests. Over the years he has been a business owner, keen golfer and very active in amateur dramatics. Alan still loves his crown green bowling and currently plays for a number of teams and is captain of one. However the eyebrow raiser was his claim to fame that on a business trip to the Isle of Capri, he had his photo taken with Gracie Fields!
The highlight of his Masonic career was being installed as Master of the Lodge by his late Father at Darwen Masonic Hall in 1976 due to a recent fire at Richmond Terrace, forcing a temporary relocation.

WBro Farrington then proceeded to remind the Brethren of world events that took place in 1965. These included the Death of Sir Winston Churchill, the proliferation of the Beatles in the music industry and then establishment of the National Speed Limit, the average house price was £3660 and a new Jaguar car cost half the price of that house, cigarette advertising was banned on TV in that year, amongst other numerous titbits.

WBro Mercer was then presented with his Illuminated Certificate and the personal congratulations from the Provincial Grand Master were read, after which he was perambulated around the Lodge to the acclaim of all present.
WBro Farrington then retired from the Lodge and was accompanied by the District team, upon which the remainder of the Lodge business was concluded.
The festive board after the meeting was a joyous occasion attended by nearly 50 brethren. Following the meal and toasts the Worshipful Master presented WBro Farrington a cheque for £500 towards the 2015 Festival which was gratefully received.

WBro Alan K Bird PProvGSuptWks proposed the toast to WBro Mercer and made reference to the history of the Lodge and WBro Mercer's and his father's role in it. WBro Mercer made an emotional and heartfelt response to the toast and stressed his delight at the happy feel of the meeting and thanking everyone present for celebrating what was, as he described, one of the most important days of his life.

May there be many more to come!

Pictured is WBro Alan S. Mercer receiving his illuminated Certificate from The Assistant Provincial Grand Master
Top Right: The Lodge of Fidelity and Crusaders No. 269
Bottom Right: The Lodge Brethren along with the District Delegation

Below: The Festive Board


When the brethren of Verity Lodge No. 3949 received an email with the subject line NOT A WORD TO SID!!!!!!! It was an indication that something special was to happen at their September 26th  meeting.  After the regular lodge business had been completed, including an excellent talk on Freemasonry and the Statue of Liberty, delivered by WBro Brian Carter PAGDC, Provincial Almoner, it was time for any other business.

At this point WBro David Lightbown PAGDC District Chairman, stood and said he had one one important item of business and proceeded to make a moving presentation to WBro Sid Jenkinson PProvSGW in recognition of the hard work and dedication he has shown during his three and a half year term of office as District Communication Officer. WBro Lightbown made reference to the excellent manner in which the duties of the post had been undertaken and how WBro Jenkinson had played a pivotal roll in the establishment of the Provincial Website as well as promoting the District within the Province.

WBro Lightbown then proceeded to present WBro Jenkinson with an engraved decanter, and of course something to fill it with in the form of a bottle of malt whisky.
WBro Jenkinson, after declaring his surprise at the presentation, made an emotional and heartfelt response thanking everyone, and wishing his successor WBro Steve Crowther ProvGStwd all the best in the role and offering his help and support as and when needed.

Pictured are WBro Lightbown presenting WBro Jenkinson with his decanter.
Also pictured are Worshipful Master Bob Allan PProvGSuptWks The Worshipful Master, WBro Derek Nelson Thornhill PGSwdB The Deputy Provincial Grand Master, WBro Paul Aspinall PAGDC the Director of Ceremonies, Senior Warden WBro Dave McGurty PProvDepGDC and Junior Warden WBro Brian H. Derbyshire PProvSGD

The Lancashire Scouting Lodge of Allegiance No. 6384

Picture at Waddecar Scout Camp (near Beacon Fell) where the Lancashire Scouting Lodge of Allegiance held its September meeting by dispensation.

After a short meeting and closure of the Lodge a number of non-masonic Scouters were welcomed by the new Worshipful Master, Dick Griffiths, for a presentation by Michael Loomes, explaining the establishment in year 2000 of a unique and privately funded and maintained Scout and Guide Museum at the Camp Site.

The Collection was established in year 1957 by Michael and inspired by Olave, Lady Baden-Powell of Gilwell. Many subsequent donations have expanded the collection of memorabilia which is contained in a purpose made building covering an area of 160 square metres. The museum is open every Saturday (donations welcomed) and for a full examination would require at least 2 hours.

Charity Stewards Walk

Every September representatives from East Ribble District embark on a walk within the district to replenish the funds of the District Charity Stewards fund which provides support for local good causes.

WBro Duncan Holmes from the Lodge of Confidence and his wife Mary carefully researched and planned a walk entitled "Accrington Skyline and Beyond". The masons and their families and pets set off from Accrington Masonic Hall, Adelaide Street led by our District Chairman WBro David Lightbown up the incline of the disused railway line to Holland's Pies.

At this point the walkers left the line and were met by the Assistant District Charity Steward WBro Ian Johnson and his driver WBro Bruce Pollard in the support vehicle who distributed pies that had been provided by WBro Cornthwaite. Some of the healthier walkers chose to eat fruit at this point.

The walk passed under the A56, along the King's Highway and then off road gaining height to reveal stunning views of the Accrington skyline and beyond. The walkers then descended back into Accrington and to Accrington Masonic Hall where they were greeted by Barbara and John Peters who provided soup, sandwiches along with tea and coffee for the now weary walkers. And for the more thirsty an open bar.

The District Charity Stewards Team would like to thank all who participated and supported this year's walk.

District Charity Steward WBro Mike Stubbs ProvGStwd deciding not to take the healthy option!

Masonic Matchday Marshalling

East Ribble District Freemasons have again been roped into to help East Lancashire Hospice, by marshalling the Darwen Vale School car park on 6 of this seasons Blackburn Rovers FC Home games.

Each of the five halls in the District will take a turn to man the car park, with the Boxing Day game being a joint effort between all Halls. At just £5 per game, the 140 space secure car park, kindly provided free of charge by the School to the Hospice, is a an easy way to raise money and continue our Masonic Community Partnership.

Accrington Freemasons started the ball rolling on Saturday the 19th September, at what turned out to be a good day for the hosts with a 3-0 win over Charlton Athletic.

Accrington Freemasons Bro Jim Gaynor (left) and WBro Eric Bullock (right) Marshal the car park.

West Lancashire Freemasons donate £10,000 towards the East Lancashire 2015 Festival

Whilst in attendance at the Lancashire Scouting Lodge of Allegiance No.6384 on the 26th August, the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master for West Lancashire, Brother James Anthony Harrison, presented our Deputy Provincial Grand Master VWBro Derek Nelson Thornhill PGSwdB with an incredible donation of £10,000 from the Brethren of the Provincial Grand Lodge of West Lancashire.

Taken slightly aback, not only by the size of the donation, but also by the generosity of the gesture,VWBro Thornhill wholeheartedly thanked RWBro Harrison and West Lancashire Freemasons on behalf of the Brethren of East Lancashire and also of those who will benefit from their kindness, namely the dependants of our Festival Charity, The RMBI.

RWBro James Anthony Harrison, Provincial Grand Master of West Lancashire presents a cheque for £10,000
to the Deputy Provincial Grand Master VWBro Derek Nelson Thornhill PGSwdB



East meets West at the Lancashire Scouting Lodge of Allegiance

The Provincial Grand Master Provincial Grand Master for West Lancashire, Right Worshipful Brother, James Anthony Harrison honoured the installation meeting of The Lancashire Scouting Lodge of Allegiance No.6384 on Wednesday the 26th August. He was accompanied by his newly invested Deputy Provincial Grand Master WBro Philip Gunning PSGD, and our very own Deputy Provincial Grand Master VWBro Derek Nelson Thornhill PGSwdB, who are both members of the Lodge.

Supporting the two Deputies were two Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, from the Northern Area, WBro John Farrington PSGD and from the Western Area, Principal guest WBro Norman Cope PSGD. The ceremony was carried out by the Installing Master WBro Roger Flitcroft PAGDC, who installed his successor Bro Dick Griffiths into the Chair with aplomb, very ably supported by Officers of the Lodge and a poignant address to the Master by a close friend.

At the 1st rising Right Worshipful Brother Harrison gave greetings on behalf of the Officers of Grand Lodge then proceeded to present VWBro Thornhill with an incredibly generous gift from West Lancashire Freemasons towards our East Lancashire 2015 Festival. A full and happy Festive board celebrated a day of hard work and generosity, underlined with the shared fraternal and kindred philosophies promoted through Scouting and Freemasonry.

A Decade of Drinks for the Hospice

East Lancashire Hospice celebrated ten years of funding for the patients drinks trolley by members of the East Ribble District, by presenting their 20th half yearly cheque for £350 and bringing the total financial support so far to £7000!

The initiative began when our APGM at the time, WBro Harry Hesmondhalgh PSGD saw that the trolley was looking rather threadbare, and suggested that the District Charity Stewards of the former Accrington and Blackburn Districts look to support the stocking of the trolley.

After therapy and treatment sessions, day patients are offered a drink whilst the trolley is also taken around to inpatients in the evening where appropriate.
This carried on with the formation of the East Ribble District and a £350 cheque is still presented every Summer and Winter.

As a marker for this milestone, WBro Harry Hesmondhalgh PAPGM, PSGD came along to the official press presentation to help present the cheque to the Hospice Fundraising Team of Sharon Crymble and Denise Gee with the Hospice day patients. He was joined by the District Chairman WBro David Lightbown PAGDC and the Assistant District Charity Steward WBro Ian Johnson ProvJGD.

Newspaper Article Supporting the presentation



Raring to Glow – Marshalling 4th July 2015

Over 50 Freemasons from across the district put their names down to volunteer to act as marshals for the ‘Raring to Glow’ run and walk in aid of the East Lancashire Hospice in Blackburn. A small group of Brethren arrived at the event at 2.00pm to help set up the marshalling area, and remained until 2.00am when everything was packed away and cleaned up.

This popular and well supported event went through a big change this year with a name change from ‘Starlight Walk’ as well as comprising a run and a walk. There were approximately 75 runners and over 400 ladies taking part to raise funds in the name of their late relatives and friends.
For the marshals, the evening began early with the customary Indian meal for those who wanted to attend. This year the restaurant chosen was the Reena Tandoori in Oswaldtwistle, and over 30 brethren enjoyed the feast . Appetites were satisfied with enough food eaten to take everyone into the early hours of Sunday morning when it was estimated the final walker would cross the finish line.

The assembly point for the marshals and the ladies was DW Sports in Blackburn. High-Vis jackets were issued and the final Marshall positions confirmed before everyone headed off to their designated spot around the route. The ladies began to arrive, and the car park at DW became a sea of lime green as they were warmed up by the Gym staff.

The run section of the evening was the first to take place, and this stared at the Britannia pub at 9.00pm where they were taken by bus. Once the last runner was safely back the walk was able to get under way. This year over 400 ladies, girls and the odd dog took part and the spirits were high all the way around the 8 mile long route. As always they are well supported by volunteer police staff and medics who give up their time to support the event and keep the walkers safe.
The first walkers arrived back at DW Sports just before midnight in a time of 1 hour and 50 minutes, the rest came in in a constant stream for the next hour with everyone back before 1.15am. Many had the energy left to race each other to the line and there were hundreds of smiling faces at the end of the walk. Once they were presented with their medal and checked themselves back in, they were all thankful for a hot drink and a sausage butty whilst they patted each other on the back and shared their experience of the walk.
This is a super event which is always well supported by volunteers and this year the walkers raised the grand total of £37,000 for the East Lancashire Hospice.

Permission granted to use all images in this post


Child Action North West - Pound Day Volunteering

Over 10 volunteers from the East Ribble District came to support Child Action North West again at their annual Pound Day event, held on Sunday the 28th June at Oswaldtwistle Mills.

It was an 8.30am start for some of our willing volunteers (unusual for many of them on a Sunday morning) and included setting up of gazebos, merchandise shifting and general assistance for the organisers. This continued throughout what appeared to be a well supported and enjoyable event that brings awareness of, and raises much needed funds for Child Action North West essential child services.

Bucket rattling and venue cleaning ended at 4pm, concluding with some heavy lifting and packing away on what was another worthwhile District volunteering and support event.



WBro Tom Pearson Golden Wedding Donation To Derian House Hospice

WBro Tom Pearson of Albert Edward Lodge No 1519 and Mrs. Enid Pearson celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary on June 7th 2015 with a family party at the New Drop Inn Ribchester, they requested donations in lieu of presents to Derian House Children's Hospice Chorley.

On June 30th 2015 they were able to present cheques at Derian House Children 's Hospice to the value of £550 which included donations from Tom and Enid's Friends, Masonic donations and social and community groups that they are actively involved with.
W. Bro Stan Bamber of Old Blackburnian Lodge accompanied them

The photo's shows Mr and Mrs Pearson, Susie Poppit ( Head of Fundraising )and W.Bro Stan Bamber of Old Blackburnian Lodge No 7933 ( ex chairman of Derian House Group Fundraising for Blackburn Hyndburn and Ribble Valley, as well as Tom and Enid on their wedding day.


East Ribble District Summer BBQ and Prize Draw 27th June 2015

Approximately 90 people gathered at Mill House Clayton-le-Moors on a warm summer
Saturday evening to enjoy this very popular annual event. Appetites were readied, tickets were purchased and laid out on the tables and intellect’s were honed and ready for the quiz. No Google allowed!

All arrived for a 6.00pm start and once glasses were charged everyone took their seats. The evening was compered by Bro. Don Johnson of Huncoat Lodge No.8542  who, whilst announcing the various activities throughout the evening, also provided some nostalgic 70’s television and music to keep everyone entertained.

The food, as always, was very well received with lots of empty plates at the end of the meal. There was lots to fill even the hungriest of appetites with second helpings for those who could manage it. Those with a sweet tooth were also catered for with a range of deserts.

The two main events of the evening then took place.


             Winners of the quiz                                     Serious quizzing!

The raffle was drawn with the first prize of £150 being won by Wbro. Steve Birkbeck from Sunnyhurst Lodge No. 4631 in Darwen. The second prize of £75 was won by Wbro. Ken Rawcliffe from Bank Terrace Lodge No. 462. There were dozens of prizes won on the evening, a very huge thank you to all who donated them. The winner of the Wallace and Gromit car cleaning kit was hotly anticipated!

     And the winner is…..

The quiz concluded the evening, and was taken just as seriously as in previous years. The prize of two bottles of wine awaited the winner. A hushed quiet fell across the room as heads went down and brains were rattled. Questions from a variety of categories tasked even the keenest of intellects, however someone has to win and on this occasion it was a team from a table hosted by Bank Terrace Lodge No. 462. Mrs Karen Youds the wife of newly initiated Bank Terrace member Bro. Paul Youds was volunteered to collect the winners prize.

Once again this was a super evening. Great food, raffle, quiz and a very successful sale of hanging baskets. Most of all though it was a lovely evening of companionship, and as ever it was delightful to welcome a table of residents from Hewlett Court and they seemed to have a super evening out at Mill House.


<        Hewlett Court residents                           A great time was had by most! 

Victory Lodge trip to Ireland - 14th to 18th June 2015  

Phil and Susan (The Courier) Beaumont started running trips in 2009 and each year they have got better and better. For 2015 the Victory Lodge trip was to Ireland – in particular Dublin and the surrounding area. Though the trip is for Victory Lodge, as always, it is extended to all friends of Victory Lodge.

The Emerald Isle is full of myths and legends and some of these were experienced at first hand! We all enjoyed a taste of some traditional elements for which Ireland is renowned, particularly Guinness and Jameson! But also some culture and wonderful scenery. We enjoyed the "craic" with Irish entertainment, Irish coffee as well as well as experiencing city, countryside and heritage attractions.

We immersed ourselves in the history, heritage and culture of the cosmopolitan capital city, which still has an individual charm. We took in the stunning beauty of the wonderful gardens at Powerscourt and thoroughly enjoyed a day in the Wicklow Mountains.

We were royally accommodated at the 4 star Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa from where we ventured out on our daily excursions. The first day saw us at the Guinness Storehouse, Ireland's number one visitor attraction. This historical building is central to Dublin's and Ireland's heritage, and has been continually updated to create a blend of fascinating industrial tradition with a contemporary edge. The seven floors bring to life the rich heritage of Guinness telling the story from its origins at St. James's Gate in Dublin to its growth as a global brand, known all around the world. At the top of the building is the Gravity Bar, giving a 360deg panorama of the whole of Dublin, out to the coast and south to the Wicklow Mountains. A perfect place to enjoy a “free” pint of Guinness.

Powerscourt House was a magnificent mansion dating back to 1730 but in 1974 a disastrous fire completely destroyed the interior, leaving only the stark walls intact. It stood, lost and forlorn for over twenty years but in 1996 the house was re-roofed and it was opened to the public by President Mary Robinson in 1997. Today it makes a wonderful place to visit. But the real attraction are the magnificent gardens. Features include a fabulous walled garden, a pets’ cemetery, the Italian garden, the Japanese garden, Tower Valley, the Rhododendron Walk and the Pepper Pot Tower and an extensive herbaceous border.

From Powerscourt we went further into the Wicklow Mountains to Glendalough, "The Valley of the two lakes". This is a glacial valley renowned for an Early Medieval monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St Kevin. The Round Tower is the first thing you see as it stands 30metres high. The weather that day was superb and allowed us to enjoy a brilliant picnic with food and drink laden tables perfectly set off with the finest chandaliers money can’t buy!! What a great day out.

Our last trip out was back into Dublin to take in the Old Jameson Distillery. This is an Irish whiskey tourist attraction located just off Smithfield Square. Since opening as an attraction in 1997, it receives between 300,000 and 350,000 guests per year, so we were in good company. It is the original site where Jameson Irish Whiskey was distilled until 1971. It is now a visitors centre that provides guided tours, tutored whiskey tastings, bars, a restaurant, and a gift shop. The distillery is laid out over two floors and sits above the foundations of the original fermentation vats, which can be seen through the glass floor in the atrium. We were taught how to enjoy a glass or three, as we had a glass of Jameson Irish Whiskey, a glass of Red Label and a glass of Jack Daniels. We then went off and had a large ice-filled glass of Jameson, Ginger Ale & Lime, at the Jameson Bar. Not a bad trip at all!!

In our free time in Dublin, some of us enjoyed a trip round Trinity College and had the privilege of viewing the famous “Book of Kells”, an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament. It is believed to have been created around 800 AD.

Others visited the Grand Lodge of Ireland (photo above), whilst other enjoyed the shopping on Grafton Street and the area around. But most enjoyed the food and drink – notably at The Duke and at Bruxelles.

All in all – a fabulous holiday. Many, many thanks to Phil and Sue.

Top - Stephen's Green Shopping Centre and Grafton Street, bottom - Phil Lynott and Phoenix Park Papal Cross

Powerscourt House and Gardens

Glendalough Picnic (complete with leprechauns and dancing ladies)

Guiness Brewery - fish on a bike and views from the Gravity Bar

Trinity College - Campanile, Sphere Within Sphere, Inside the Old Library, the Alexander Calder sculpture in Fellow's Square with Old Library behind

Freemasonry at the  Blackburn 41 club

District Chairman WBro David Lightbown, PAGDC was invited along to the  BLACKBURN 41 Club meeting held at Blackburn Golf Club on Wednesday 10th June 2015. The purpose of the invitation was for the Chairman to give a presentation on” Freemasonry Today “; this was delivered in the form of a power point presentation. Although the initial presentation lasted for twenty five minutes, this was followed by a lengthy question and answer session from an enthusiastic audience, relating to all aspects of Freemasonry.

The members present were impressed with the content of the presentation in particular by our charitable objectives and support of worthy causes . Even though in recent times Masons have been more open and proactive in promoting Freemasonry with the general public and local press, it was obvious on the night that there is still a lot of ignorance and misunderstandings about Freemasonry. This confirmed that we should, at every opportunity, talk about our activities and emphasise that we consider ourselves privileged to be members of such a wonderful organisation.

The pictures shows the Chairman after the presentation along with Peter Yarwood and Bill Aspin two members of Ribblesdale Lodge No 3393,  who were also present at the presentation.

Narrow Boat Pull raises over £1000 for our Festival!

On Sunday morning, the 7th June, Bro Paul Spann one of the newer members of the Lodge of Amity and Rossendale Forest, No. 283 in the East Ribble District, completed a sponsored narrow boat pull for the EL2015 Festival in aid of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution.

In his attempt to complete a distance of 1 mile he navigated overgrown areas and moored up narrow boats and actually completed 1.6 miles in about 1 hour; maybe the pub at the end was all the incentive he needed! Although the event took place on the Bridgewater canal from Worsley to Boothstown Basin, members from East Ribble and Oldham Districts came along to cheer him on.

Paul has so far raised approximately £1,000 but his JustGiving page is still in place and he would welcome any other donations from anyone who wishes to contribute to a very worthwhile charity. His JustGiving page can be found at

A big thank you to Paul for his efforts and the fantastic sum raised so far, to WBro Chris Harris for keeping the boat heading in the right direction and to our own DC WBro Mick Rosney for finding an alternative use for his wand when lifting the tow rope over other narrow boats.

A great morning was had by all who joined in and the pub at lunchtime was just the icing on the cake and well deserved for at least one of our party.

District Officers Mess

On Saturday 6th June, 50 or so members of the East Ribble District, both past and present, together with wives and partners, gathered at Ferrari's Country House Hotel and Restaurant for their annual "bash". Ferrari's is a former shooting lodge, built on a grand style. This family-run country hotel is housed in a stately, circa-1830, manor within 4.5 acres of walled gardens. It's 2 miles from the town of Longridge and 5.9 miles from the ruins of the Roman baths at Ribchester. The meal was held in the conservatory and everyone agreed it was a rather splendid "do"


Travelling Gavel keeps on Moving!

Six Members of the Lodge of Perseverance No.345 claimed the Travelling a Gavel from Bank Terrace Lodge No.462, on Thursday the 4th of June.

Led by their WM WBro Brian Hartwell, they were amongst 70 Brethren enjoying the annual 462 Old England night.

Worshipful Master of Bank Terrace, Bro Frank Leach stated that he was only too glad to see the Gavel move on and encourage visiting throughout the District.

WBro David Thomas Bury, PProvGSuptWks, celebrates his 50th Anniversary in Freemasonry

After the Lodge was opened the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro Farrington, PAGDC, entered the lodge, accompanied by a District Delegation comprised of WBros David Lightbown, Paul Aspinall, Alan Johnson, Brian Carter, Bryan Bristol, Gordon McMillan, Brian Derbyshire, Ian Johnson, Andrew Taylor, David Gill and the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, Andrew Proctor.

The proceedings began with the Junior Warden WBro Greg Casson, reading the minutes of David's Initiation on 19th May 1965, into Rossendale Forrest Lodge 4138. The Senior Warden WBro Chris Harris then read the minutes of David's Installation on 19th October1977.

David Thomas Bury was born Saturday 23rd November 1935. After his early education at Haslinden County Primary he went on to Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar school, Blackburn. He did two years National Service in the Royal Air Force serving mainly in Germany at RAF Duren.

Later, he joined the Trustees Saving Bank and was promoted to manager at Church but he had the idea that the bank would be better suited in Oswaldtwistle where there would be more potential customers and Senior management asked him to find a suitable location, which he did near the Library. With a bit of bargaining he obtained 2 shops; the Bank then knocked down the premises and built the new branch. Such was his success that the bank steadily moved him up the grading scale and David retired early at the age of 54.

In 1952 David married Betty and had 2 boys Andrew in 1962 and Simon in 1965; unfortunately, Betty died in 2001.

After the 1965 and 1977 minutes were read, The Worshipful Master, WBro Derek Smith, gave a detailed history of David's Masonic life.

Following his Initiation on the 19th May in 1965, he was Passed on the 16th February 1966 and Raised on the 18th May 1966. He followed his older brother, through all the degrees, approximately two months behind and their father conducted all six ceremonies.

On the 19th October 1977, his Brother, WBro R M Bury, installed David into the Chair of King Solomon.

David was appointed Lodge Secretary on 17th October 1984. For while he handed over the secretarial duties to WBro S Barton, but on 16 October 1996 took the office back again when WBro Barton went back in the chair. David remained Secretary until 20th October 2006. On the 6th November 1986 he was appointed PProvSGD and on the 13th May 1997 he was promoted to the rank of PProvGSuptWks

On the 9th October 1984, David was Exalted into Wisdom Chapter 283 and became 1st Principle in 1996. In 2004 David was appointed to the RA rank of Prov1stAGSoj and in 2005 assumed the rank PProvAGSoj.

David was the Worshipful Master once again in October 2011, being the last master of 4138, before the amalgamation. He then became the first Immediate Past Master of the new lodge of Amity and Rossendale Forrest, number 283, in 2012.

The Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro Farrington, then presented David with an illuminated scroll and a letter from the Provincial Grand Master and WBro David Lightbown, District Chairman, then presented David with a framed certificate and lapel badge on behalf of the lodge.

The Worshipful Master then presented a cheque to WBro Farrington for £500 for the 2015 festival. (Later, at the banquet, WBro Bury very generously presented a personal cheque for £500 to the festival.)

After the cheque presentation, WBro Bury then perambulated the lodge accompanied by very warm applause.

The Lodge of Perseverance, no. 345 - 200th Birthday Party

On Thursday 21st May 2015, the Lodge of Perseverance, no. 345, held its 1800th regular meeting. What made this a very special event is that the lodge was founded in the year 1815, the year of the Battle of Waterloo, which was fought on Sunday 18th June, 1815.

The Worshipful Master, WBro Brian Hartwell, PProvDepGDC, opened the Lodge and the early business was dealt with. One of these early items was, in itself, very special indeed. The Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VWBro Derek Nelson Thornhill, PGSwdB, was made an honorary member of the Lodge!!

Following this, on a report, WBro Andrew Proctor, ProvDepGDC, 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 Paul Aspinall, PGStB (PAGDC), Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals for our Northern Area; WBro David Lightbown, PAGDC, Chairman of the East Ribble District; WBro Harry Hesmondhalgh, PSGD, PAGM; WBro Derek Parkinson, PSGD; WBro Alan Johnson, PAGDC; WBro Roger Flitcroft, PAGDC; WBro Brian Carter, PAGDC, Provincial Grand Almoner; WBro Bryan Bristol, PAGSuptWks, WBro Ivan Eastwood, PAGSuptWks: WBro Sid Jenkinson, PProvSGW; WBro Bob Allan, PProvGSuptWks, WBro Dennis Heskett, PProvSGD; WBro Ian Johnson, ProvJGD; WBro Andrew Taylor, PProvGStwd; WBro Mike Stubbs, ProvGStwd and WBro Russell Harwood.

WBro Farrington was offered the Gavel but returned it, with thanks, to the WM. He was formally greeted and he then introduced the members of the Deputation. Following this was a wonderful presentation of the history of the lodge, going back to the very beginning of the Lodge of Perseverance, No. 345. The presentation was based on the work of WBro John Thomas Shield, PProvSGD who wrote a very thorough history of the lodge one hundred years ago. He used his knowledge and imagination to write about the delivery of the Warrant from Grand Lodge in February or March 1815.

This script was turned into a nice little playlet, delivered by WBro John Kenyon, PProvJGD, Bro Brian Hartwell, WM, PProvDepGDC and the lodge secretary, WBro Jim Fallow, PProvDepGReg. The father of the lodge, WBro Barry Thompson, PProvGStdB, played the part of “The Stranger”.

Following this excellent presentation, the Lodge Secretary, WBro Fallow, explained the somewhat unusual circumstances surrounding this evening’s celebration of the first 200 years of the lodge. Some time ago, his predecessor as Secretary, WBro John Kenyon, made enquiries at Provincial Grand Lodge about the procedure to apply for a bi-centenary warrant. The reply was not what was expected: we were told that Grand Lodge would refuse any application.  Unfortunately, despite having received a Centenary warrant, there was a discrepancy in the first hundred years.  By 1915, much of the lodge’s archive had been lost and the Lodge was unable to produce any records for the period in question. 

After Jim was appointed Secretary he continued the work that John had started.  Various conversations and correspondence took place with officials at Provincial Lodge who were all unfailingly supportive but the final decision of Grand Lodge was that the lodge would have to wait until 2050 before an official bi-centenary meeting could be held. Since several, or even many of us will not be around then, the lodge decided to have a party now and celebrate 200 years since our first meeting!

The Worshipful Master gave further details of the early years of the Lodge and how it had its origins in the Lodge of Antiquity which was founded in 1776. He mentioned an early lodge inventory that listed a bust of the Priince of Wales. This subsequently went missing many years ago and surfaced in West Lancs! In a museum!! After much ado it was returned, in a rather poor state, to the Lodge and could now be seen on display at the Festive Board.

Jim then read the minutes from 100 years ago. The minute book is a very impressive document, as the photo below shows. After this the WM presented WBro Farrington with a cheques for the 2015 Festival. This cheque was for the magnificent sum of £3,450. Ten times the Lodge number!!!

The lodge meeting was followed by a Grand 200th Birthday Party Festive Board consisting of a starter of Egg Mayonnaise, followed by Roast Lancashire Topside of Beef and all the trimmings. Then followed a copious Cheeseboard, with wine provided and a 10 year old Crusted Late Bottled Vintage Port. What a good “Do”!

The photos at the end show the Worshipful Master, WBro Brian Hartwell, PProvDepGDC,taking wine with the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro John Farrington PAGDC. In the centre is The WM and the APGM taking wine with the new honorary member of the lodge, The Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VWBro Derek Nelson Thornhill, PGSwdB. On the right the WM and the APGM are shown taking wine with WBro Andrew Proctor, ProvDepGDC.

The Delegation and Lodge Members

The members of the Lodge of Perseverance with the Principal Guests

On the left we have new honorary member with the WM and the APGM and on the right, in front of the Lodge Banner


Official Opening of the new Sensory Room at Blackburn Youth Zone

On Wednesday 20th May, Julia Wright, Head of Business Development at the Youth Zone, invited The Chairman and several East Ribble District Officers to attend a formal opening of the recently completed Sensory Room. The work was greatly assisted by a grant of £4,995 made from the " East Lancashire Masonic Charity " community fund towards the end of last year.

The new facility is equipped with a range of equipment to stimulate the senses of the young people with a range of learning difficulties, and includes specialist lighting, sound systems and a range of touch and interactive devices. The room now provides the users and their families with a safe and practical hands on space and compliments the extensive range of existing facilities at the Youth Zone.

Blackburn Youth Zone is located in the heart of the new Cathedral Quarter in Blackburn. It is a superb 365 day a year facility that caters for 2,400 boys, girls and young people up to the age of 18. It has been open now for three years.

The Sensory Room is a special project of Laura Walker, the Diversity Club Manager, and it was a pleasure to see her cut the ribbon to open the new room. She was supported by other members of staff, including Julia, Vicky Profit (Events Manager), Sharon Anson (Administration Manager) and Sarah Johns (Head of Finance and Support Services).

From the District we had David Lightbown (Chairman), Dave McGurty (Deputy Chairman), Sid Jenkinson (Communications Officer), Steve Crowther (Assistant Communications Officer) and Ian Johnson (Assistant Charity Steward).

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

Royal Arch Demonstration and Awareness Evening

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



Eyes Down For A Full House

“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.

Limestone Rock Chapter No. 369 - Joint Convocation Meeting

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

Festive Board

Let there be Light!

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 Support Sponsored Swim

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.

Sunnyhurst Lodge No.4631 receives the Festival Certificate

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.


Royal Arch Presentation and District Initiatives

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 ) 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

East Ribble District - Walk the Province 2015

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.


Personal 50th of WBro Gordon James Hebden, PProvDepGSuptWks

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

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.

Keep Lodge 6538 meet Child Action North West

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

A Special Thank You to WBro Martin Roche

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.


Travelling Gavel moves on

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.

Thank you - Deputy Chairman

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 very special evening at Huntroyd Lodge, no. 6385

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.

WBro John Grime (Jack) Briggs, PProvDepGReg – 60 years a Freemason

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.




Magnificant donation to the Festival

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.

Cheque Presented to GO onTour

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

Victory Lodge, 3932, 4th Annual Race Night

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
Chadwick Weekend

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.

Marshalling at the East Lancs Hospice 10K Run

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.

Hospice Patients drinks trolley donation

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

East Ribble - Entertain Eccleshome

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.



Clitheroe and District Masonic Fellowship

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.

Coronation Lodge, 3479 - Bible Dedication Ceremony

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

Volunteers Support the East Lancashire Hospice 'Carols by Torchlight'

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.

Four Generations of Lodges

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.



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

WBro Steve Crowther, District Communications Officer for East Ribble District.

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