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East Ribble District Latest News

What's On in the East Ribble District in April - updated 12th April
What's On in the East Ribble District in May - updated 16th April
Forthcoming Special Events - updated 16th April
Follow And Enjoy Freemasonry With Your APGM Here

Please view the April Newsletter which contains a personal message from our APGM, WBro Martin Roche PSGD

Latest Newsletter April 2014       Archived News      Masonic Hall and Lodge Details for the Northern Area     Blackburn MH     Clitheroe Masonic Rooms     Mill House

Latest Festival Flyer No. 19     District Officer Information    R A Demonstration Team    Adelaide Suite    Accrington Inter Lodge Visiting Program     Adelaide Suite Newsletter

The Travelling Gavel is now held by Rhyddings Lodge 5205 in Accrington. See below

Rhyddings Lodge - Old England NIght

Wednesday 16th April 2014. What a night. Rhyddings Lodge, 5205, put on a fabulous Old England Night at the Masonic Hall, Accrington. It really was a night to remember. The Beagle introduced the procession of the Black Pudding into the Festive Board Room. And what a sight each of these fullsome puddings did make, as can be seen below.


The WM, Bro Gordon Cornthwaiten enjoyed the evening with WBro Fred Smith, PProvJGW, who celebrated 60 years in Freemasonry just a month ago.

Then came the Tripe. But photos of such items should be severely curtailed so in the interests of preserving dignity and decorum no photos will be published. It took much Salt, Pepper and Vinegar; not forgetting pickled cabbage and beetroot, before the tripe could be safely consumed.

To help digest the tripe, the main course was soon set before us and this was a most delicious and very tasty Lancashire Hotpot. The lamb was cooked to perfection and the top layer of potato was delightful. All in all, a perfect dish.

But we are not yet finished. The dessert was a full on Apple Crumble. Once again cooked to perfection and beautifully set off with luscious custard. Beautiful.

Meanwhile, whilst this feast was being devoured and washed down with copious quantities of ale from the jug, the collection pots were being quietly (sometimes noisily) filled up, due entirely to the somewhat random fines being doled out by Bro Beagle. A fearsome chap who was not one to be easily crossed.

WBro Tom Pearson entertained the assembled brethren with some fine local dialect poetry. Some of these were from the pen of a local poet from Darwen. All greatly appreciated and well received.

As Tom was a visitor it fell to Rhyddings own accomplished poet to complete the evenings entertainment – WBro Keith Ramsden (Rammy) to put his own stamp on the evening.

All in all a perfect masonic evening and a bob or two was raised for the Festival. Can’t be bad!!



WBro Alan Hull, PProvGSwdB celebrates 50 years as a Mason


On Thursday 10th April 2014, Harmony and Industry Lodge, no. 381, was the setting for a special evening to celebrate 50 years in Freemasonry for WBro Alan Hull, PProvGSwdB. The Lodge Room at Darwen Masonic Hall was filled with Lodge members and guests and a full Provincial Deputation including most of the District Team and several Grand Lodge Officers.

The Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro Martin Roche, PSGD together with the Provincial Deputation, was received. The WM, WBro Gordon Thompson, PProvSGD, PProvJGW (West Lancs) welcomed the Assistant Provincial Grand Master and offered him the gavel, which, on this occasion he accepted and occupied the Masters Chair. He then proceeded to introduce the members of the delegation.

WBro Roche said how delighted he was to be at Darwen and complimented the work done by the hard-working team at Darwen to make it a Masonic Hall to be proud of.  He then asked the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, WBro Simon Archer, to place WBro Hull in the centre of the Lodge.

The APGM then set the scene by commenting on news items from 1964. Amongst many of the things mentioned was the start of “Top of the Pops” and the line up of that first show and who were the presenters! The Sun newspaper made its first appearance, replacing the Daily Herald and BBC2 became the second TV channel.

WBro Colin Talbot, PProvJGD, was then invited to deliver a brief summary of the life and times of WBro John Alan Hull, PProvGSwdB, starting with his birth in Darwen on 4th July 1934. Alan attended Hollins Grove Junior School and then Bolton School. He joined Duckworth Street Scout Troop as a cub and eventually became Troop Leader.

In 1953 he became a Gunner in the Royal Artillery for two years followed by four years studying Chemistry at Oxford. He started work in 1959 at Mullard Simonstone and was the Works Chemist for 30 years. During this time he married Adrienne in 1964 and had two children, John and Sally. Alan was then sadly widowed in 1974.

WBro Hull’s Masonic life began in 1964 when he joined Harmony & Industry Lodge. He soon became Secretary and held that post over a period encompassing 26 years, in the middle of which, he moved into the office of Tyler and progressed to Worshipful Master in 1977.

He resigned from the office of Secretary in 1994 because of illness in the previous year. He was promoted to PProvJGD in 1985 and then to PProvGSwdB in 1994. He also became a member of Blakewater Lodge of installed Masters, 9574, which he joined in 2008.

The APGM then read out and presented a letter from the PGM to WBro Hull. He then read out and presented an illuminated Certificate marking Alan’s 50th. A particular passage on the certificate reads “I congratulate you on attaining this anniversary and express my appreciation of your long and devoted service to the Order and to this Province ”. WBro Roche spoke at length about the importance of recognizing 50 years of service to the Craft and to the Lodge of Harmony and Industry in particular.

The Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, WBro Simon Archer, then escorted Alan around the lodge room, to much applause. The Provincial Deputation then retired from the Lodge.

At the Social Board following the meeting, his very good friend, WBro Gordon Hebden, PProvDepGSuptWks, gave a warm and amusing toast to Alan, who suitably responded in a manner unique to WBro Hull.

An Installation with a difference

Verity Lodge 3949 in Blackburn held their Installation Meeting at The Masonic Hall on Richmond Terrace at 10:30am on Saturday morning 22nd March 2014.

Now, normally, an Installation Meeting would not feature on these District News pages. But this one was a little different. The reason being that the guest list featured FOUR Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, two Past Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, five Grand Lodge Officers, numerous Provincial Grand Lodge Officers and TWELVE current Worshipful Masters.

And the driving force behind this galaxy of stars – none other than our very own Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VWBro Derek Nelson Thornhill, PGSwdB, who was accompanied by a very good friend of Verity Lodge, WBro Harold Cooper, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies.

The photo below shows a very excited new Worshipful Master, WBro Sid Jenkinson, PProvSGW accompanied by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VWBro Derek Nelson Thornhill, PGSwdB, principal guest WBro John Pearson, APGM, PAGReg on his left and WBro Edward Penny, IPM on his left. To the right of the WM is WBro Norman Cope, APGM, PSGD with WBro Harold Cooper, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies to his right. At the front, Left to right, is WBro Martin Caller, PAPGM, PSGD and WBro Chad Northcot, APGM, PJGD and at the right of the pedestal is WBro Chris Welton, APGM, PProvSGW and WBro Harry Hesmondhalgh, PAPGM, PSGD.

WBro Fred Smith, PProvJGW – 60 years a Mason

WBro Fred Smith, PProvJGW with The Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VWBro D N Thornhill, JP, PGSwdB and The WM, Bro Gordon Cornthwaite

What a wonderful evening was had at Adelaide Street, Accrington on Wednesday 19th March 2014, when members of Rhyddings Lodge and many visitors came to celebrate the 60th anniversary of WBro Fred Smith, PProvJGW becoming a Mason.

The Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VWBro D N Thornhill, JP, PGSwdB, together with a Provincial Deputation were received. The WM, Bro Gordon Cornthwaite welcomed the Deputy Provincial Grand Master and offered him the gavel, which, on this occasion he accepted and occupied the Masters Chair. He then proceeded to introduce the members of the delegation.

VWBro Thornhill was recently made an Honorary Member of Rhyddings Lodge and thanked the members of Rhyddings for that and said how delighted he was to be there. He was especially grateful to the Lodge for moving the date of this celebratory meeting so that he could attend and officiate.

The star of the show, WBro Fred Smith, was then seated in the centre of the Lodge and WBro Keith Ramsden delivered a marvelous tribute to WBro Smith. It started with a poem:

He’s been around a long, long time
Since Nineteen Fifty Four
And, like a true and loyal Brother
He keeps coming back for more.
A legend in his lifetime
A Mason born and bred
So to honour a favourite Mason
I give you Brother Fred!!

Then followed a comprehensive tribute, covering Fred’s early years from 1954, mentioning an event in 1958 on Bonfire Night and Fred starting his own business in 1962. This necessitated Fred taking time out from Freemasonry but he later proceeded through all the offices, eventually being Installed as WM on 5th October 1977. He was ADC for six years and in 1986 became DC for the next nine years. He then became the Lodge’s representative on the District Committee and received appointment and promotions in Provincial Grand Lodge.

WBro Ramsden was fulsome in his praise for Fred’s many years of hard work and involvement in the well being of Rhyddings Lodge. In his closing remarks he made especial reference to one particular person – Fred’s wife Audrey, saying that she was the support and foundation that Fred, like every one of us needs, when we engage in Masonry. He said that they were a wonderful team and graced many events together through the years – indeed, he felt they were the “Posh & Becks” of Rhyddings Lodge!!

This wonderful tribute was perfectly rounded off with another short poem:

It’s sixty years Fred since you entered the fold
And though some of our Brethren are now looking old
Your shining example has been wonderful mate

So I now salute you – “Frederick the Great”.

The DPGM then reflected on the events of 1954. Buying a hot penny loaf and a one penny sarsaparilla. Dwight D. Eisenhower was the President of the USA and Winston Churchill was our Prime Minister and had his 80th Birthday. Seemingly April 11th 1954 has been declared the most boring day in History!

Food rationing ended in 1954 and RCA released the first colour TV. The average house price was £1,920 and inflation was 1.9%. Roger Bannister ran his famous 4 minute mile and Fred Davies won the World Snooker Championship. Bill Haley and the Comets released Rock Around the Clock and Elvis Presley recorded his first hits in the Sun Studios. The films White Christmas, the Glen Miller Story and “On the Waterfront” were released and BBC TV broadcast George Orwell’s 1984.

The DPGM then read out and presented a letter from the PGM to Fred. He then read out and presented an illuminated Certificate marking Fred’s 60th.

WBro Harold Cooper, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, then escorted Fred around the lodge room too much applause.

The WM presented two cheques of £300 to the DPGM.. The first was from the Rhyddings Lodge Ladies Committee on behalf of the ELMC and the second was from the Lodge on behalf of the 2015 Festival. The DPGM was delighted to accept the cheques and was effusive in his thanks.

The Provincial Deputation then retired from the Lodge.

The members of Rhyddings Lodge and the Provincial Deputation

The members of Rhyddings Lodge

Friends of Darwen Cemetery ELMC Grant presentation and East Ribble Volunteering

The ELMC Community fund approved a £2650 application recently for The Friends of Darwen Cemetery ( to purchase a Muck Truck.
The powered wheelbarrow will assist the volunteers in making repairs to the old cemetery, restoring the toppled gravestones, clearing many overgrown areas and providing education and remembrance areas for the community.
East Ribble District volunteers presented the cheque and got their hands dirty by providing a work party and attacking rhododendron bushes with the volunteers in an area of the grounds.

Top: Bro Terry Woods presents the Cheque to Jill Marr and the volunteers. Bottom: Volunteers from the District, including the District Chairman WBro David Lightbown ProvJGW get stuck into the mighty Rhododendron bushes!


Victory Lodge - A Night at the Races

On Friday 28th February, the members of Victory Lodge put on an excellent evenings entertainment at Blackburn Masonic Hall. A total of eight races were held and a generous sponsor supported each one. The members and guests thoroughly enjoyed themselves and entered into the spirit of the evening with great enthusiasm. At half time a Chicken and Chips supper was gratefully received.

£790 was raised during the evening on behalf of Blackburn Masonic Hall, which is in real need of further funding.


The Chairman of the Masonic Hall, WBro Phil Beaumont, cunningly disguised as "Just William" - or is it a jockey? was ably assisted by WBro Dave Nuttal - both members of Victory Lodge - in running the Tote!!

Official Presentation to Nightsafe

East Ribble District Chairman David Lightbown and long-time Nightsafe supporter Jim Abbot made the official presentation to Diane and Amanda from the Nightsafe Team today.

The East Lancashire Masonic Charity ( Community Fund Committee granted £3,050 for the purchase of equipment for those looking for support from Nightsafe, ( which provides shelter, assistance and advice for 16-24 year old homeless people in Blackburn and Darwen.

The funds provided:
40 x four season sleeping bags
Approx 50 x food parcel packs
Approx 50 toiletry packs, detergent and cleaning supplies for the accommodation that the Charity provides.

Jim Abbott and his late wife of 52 years, Joyce, held Nightsafe very close to their hearts and actively promoted their cause to the District Charity Stewards, which resulted in the grant application and realisation of funds.

The ELMC & East Ribble District Support Nightsafe

In November of 2013, the ELMC Community Fund Committee approved an East Ribble District application for £3050, which have gone towards supplies for Nightsafe, a charity that works in the Blackburn and Darwen area with 16-24 homeless people. They provide shelter, advice, emergency support and assistance for these young people, helping them turn their lives around.

The community fund finance provided 40 four season sleeping bags, 50 food packs, 50 toiletry packs and laundry and cleaning supplies for their midway accommodation houses and emergency shelter.

East Ribble District volunteers purchased, picked up and delivered the sleeping bags in December. Additionally, further volunteering took place recently at a local cash and carry, buying all the food, cleaning and toiletry supplies and taking them to Blackburn Masonic Hall for individual packing. 13 volunteers gave up their Saturday morning to make up the packages, which are essential for those needing emergency support.

All supplies were delivered to the grateful staff of Nightsafe, who are arranging a local press presentation.

The Travelling Gavel is claimed by Rhyddings Lodge 5205

Limestone Rock, no. 369, had a great night on Thursday, 13th February, when a visiting party of 12 from Ryddings Lodge in Accrington claimed the travelling gavel.

369 did a demonstration Second Degree Ceremony and the Master of Limestone Rock, Bruce Pollard, is photographed handing the travelling gavel over to the WM of Ryddings at the festive board.

The following photo shows the victorious members of Rhyddings Lodge with their Worshipful Master, Bro Thomas Gordon Cornthwaite, proudly displaying the Travelling Gavel.

Limestone Rock Lodge 369 raise funds for the Festival

On 11th January Bruce Pollard, the WM of Lime Stone Rock Lodge, no. 369, held an "Open House" at his home, Hall Foot at Worston.

Over 60 people attended from various lodges and they raised a fantastic sum of £564.00 pounds which will go towards the 2015 festival. This is the second time that Bruce has been in the chair of this fine old lodge.

As can be seen from the photos everyone had a great time enjoying this wonderful social evening.

ELMC Community Fund Cheque presention to Fit 2XL Boxing Club in Lower Darwen

WBro Frank Salt and Wro Mike Stubbs made the official £2900 cheque presentation to Fit 2XL Community Boxing Club, which financed a Youth/Training ring in which the photograph was taken. WBro Salt initially brought the cause to the attention of the District who made a successful application to the Community Fund Committee.
The club, run by husband and wife team Baz and Bev Higginson, which has been instrumental in providing the youth of the Community a direction and safe place off the streets, suffered a devastating fire caused by a blaze started in an adjoining unit. The community came together, along with local businesses, children, parents, East Ribble District Volunteers and the ELMC, to get the club back open again and continuing their work.

Main picture, WBro Frank Salt and WBro Mike Stubbs present the cheque in the ring that was purchased with funds from our ELMC Community Fund.

£350 Donation to the East Lancashire Hospice for the Drinks Trolley

East Lancashire Hospice received a £350 cheque from the East Ribble District Freemasons Chairman David Lightbown, to be used for the patients drinks trolley.
The District donates £350 every six months to keep the drinks trolley topped up, so the patients can enjoy a tipple whilst under their care.

Albert Edward Lodge No. 1519 presents cheque to Hospice

WBro Tom Pearson, ProvJGD, IPM of Albert Edward Lodge No. 1519, presents a cheque to Jennifer Quinn at East Lancs. Hospice. Other cheques received at their Installation Meeting were presented to EL 2015 Festival, ELMC, Mill House Masonic Hall and NW Air Ambulance. WBro Tom Pearson ( Charity Steward ) offered his grateful thanks to the Brethren for their support.

2014 Chadwick Weekend and Winter Draw

The 2014 Chadwick Weekend took place last weekend at the Chadwick Hotel in Lytham St Anne's and hosted the East Ribble District Winter Draw.
The weekend away was again expertly organised by WBro Joe and Mrs Doris Lamb, and offered full board (with more food than you can possibly eat!), accommodation and a full entertainment package, enjoyed by all who came along. Mrs Beryl Aspinall, looking very well following her illness last year, won the best dressed Ladies Prize for the Black and White themed event on the Saturday evening.

On the same evening, the Winter Draw took place with 52 prizes on offer, including a High Definition Samsung Television as the mystery star prize.
The Draw, announced by our Deputy Provincial Grand Master VWBro Derek Thornhill PGSwdB, raised £1804.01 and will be divided between our EL2015 Festival (£902.00), The ELMC (£451.01) and The District Charity Stewards Fund (451.00).
A huge thank you to all who bought tickets, sold tickets, donated prizes and helped organise the event.

Accrington District Fellowship - Mrs Barbara Gee

In December, after 28 years service as secretary of Accrington Masonic Fellowship, Mrs Barbara Gee decided to retire.

Barbara and her husband Reg had only been in the Fellowship for 6 months before being asked to take over the role of Secretary & Chairman in 1985. Reg passed away in 2002, leaving Barbara to continue the sterling work they both started. Barbara still intends to carry on supporting the Fellowship in every way possible.

Barbara would like to thank each and every one of the people who have contributed to the success of the Fellowship during this time and hopes that it will continue to thrive.


East Lancashire Hospice 10k Run, District volunteering and ELMC Support

On Sunday the 19th January, East Lancashire Hospice staged their inaugural 10k run event, put together by Nick Gaskell of Gaskell Auto Repairs in Great Harwood, a keen local runner.

The ELMC Community Fund awarded £350 towards sponsorship of the participants medals and printed lanyards, bearing the provincial website details and 'East Ribble Freemasons' , which nearly 300 runners took home with them. A presentation photograph of the ELMC Cheque handover was published in the Lancashire Telegraph a few weeks ago.

17 Volunteers from across the District gave up their time to support the event by stewarding the course along with other community volunteers.

East Ribble District volunteers, participants and Hospice organisers at the successful fundraising event

East Ribble District Community volunteers and the ELMC help Local boxing club get back on its feet

Volunteers from our District assisted with painting and cleaning at a truly worthwhile local cause on a brisk Saturday morning.

Following a fire at the adjoining unit, Fit2XL Community boxing Club in Lower Darwen suffered devastating damage to the premises, the day after they officially finished over two years of renovation.
The club, run by husband and wife team Bev and Barry Higginson have been instrumental in intervening in youth problems and social issues in the village, offering the local children and adults a place to learn discipline, teamwork, and fitness.
Indeed following the fire, the whole community has rallied behind them, volunteering to try and get the club back on its feet, such is the recognition of the importance of their work.

Barry, a former Royal marine, has won local community awards and has been nominated nationally for his work, using his knowledge in boxing training and his selfless attitude. Along with go getter Bev, they ensure that every youth who comes to their doors gets support from the club, no matter if they have the funds to pay or not.
Indeed they have trained and supported a 19 man called AJ Faizy, who has now just turned a professional boxer. AJ was a refugee from Afghanistan at 14, sent to Manchester as a 14 yr old boy following the murder of his father and personal harrowing treatment at the hands of the Taliban. Barry and Bev took AJ into their own home at 18 following the cessation of foster care support.

The club is due to reopen in the next two weeks, and on Monday they will take delivery of a Youth Training/Boxing Ring, donated by a £2900 grant from our ELMC Community fund.

Volunteers including our District chairman WBro David Lightbown ProvJGW came to lend a hand and support the club in whatever little way we could. Further presentation details and photographs to follow over the next few weeks.

Volunteers offer their support with a paintbrush, not before Bev Higginson shows us the amazing eight week turnaround since the fire and refurbishment progress.

East Ribble Freemason donates bone marrow to American youngster


Bro Rob Dickinson, aged 30 years of age, who was recently raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason, donated a litre of bone marrow to 8 year old Michael Peterson, who lives in Kansas City, Missouri.

Michael was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2011, given only a 20 per cent chance of survival and at one time had zero antibodies, meaning the slightest infection would have killed him. After a successful transplant in May 2011, Michael is now cancer free.

Strict anonymity rules meant the indentities of donors and recipients were kept confidential for at least two years.


See the full article at This is Lancashire. With thanks to The Lancashire Telegraph.

ELMC Community Fund Grant awarded to East Lancashire Hospice

East Lancashire Hospice received a cheque for £350, awarded by the East Lancashire Masonic Charity Community Fund Committee towards sponsorship of the participants medals at the Sunday January 19th 2014, 10k run in Great Harwood.
East Ribble District Freemasons will also be marshalling at the 10k Run, continuing our community partnerships programme.

East Ribble District Chairman WBro David Lightbown ProvJGW presented the cheque to Kimberley Hall of the Hospice Fundraising team.

East Ribble District Chairman makes Grand Charity Hospice Cheque Presentation

East Lancashire Hospice received a cheque today from the Freemasons Grand Charity totalling £2443.00.
This was part of the annual £600,000 donated to Hospices across England and Wales.
Since 1984, the Grand Charity has donated over £10 million pounds to our Hospices.

East Ribble District Chairman WBro David Lightbown ProvJGW, gladly presented the cheque to the East Lancashire Hospice patients, staff and Chief Executive Lyn Stevenson


East Ribble Archives Navigation: Latest News | 2013 | 2012

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

WBro Sid Jenkinson, District Communications Officer for East Ribble District.

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