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Felicity Lodge no. 4365
Wednesday 1st October
Personal Golden Jubilee of
WBro John Thompson PJGD

Photographs have been added to the earlier report



The two Manchester Districts hosted a Lunch for newly appointed, promoted and re appointed Provincial Grand Officers in the Craft and Royal Arch together with their wives or partners.  It took the form of a wine reception followed by a three course meal at Audenshaw Masonic Hall. 

The APGM, VWBro Stephen Blank, welcomed everyone, briefly outlined the honours system and explained how seriously the Province takes the process of considering applications and awarding the honours. He commented “Ladies you may not understand what they get up to but at least you know they do it very well!”  He thanked everyone for attending and mentioned that he was sorry his wife Marilyn was otherwise engaged all day on her latest Theatre Production ‘The King and I’ but that she sent her best wishes.

Grace was offered by Sykes District Chairman, Len Hayes, and Thanks were returned by Derby District Chairman, David Hudson, with former Derby District Deputy Chairman, David Cowen, now a ProvDepGDC, acting as MC.  There were no further formalities as everyone tucked in to the meal and enjoyed an extremely pleasant afternoon.



Semper Fidelis Lodge No. 3299 5th November 2014

The Brethren of Semper Fidelis and their visitors gathered at Freemasons Hall, Manchester, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary in Freemasonry of WBro Ralph Payne, PProvSGW, who was initiated on 4th November 1964.
WBro Dr Simon Archer, the ProvDepGDC, entered the Lodge and announced that VWBro Stephen Blank PGSwdB, APGM, was outside the Lodge accompanied by a District Delegation and they were then received in the appropriate manner. After accepting the Gavel from the WM, Bro Robert Douglas, and receiving Salutations from all the brethren, VWBro Blank introduced the District and Area Officers, also acknowledging WBro Stuart Hughes, the APGP for this Area. The Brethren were most generous in their warm welcome and applause.  The APGM explained that the ProvGM, RWBro Sir David Trippie,r would love to attend all such meetings in celebration of a brother’s 50th year in the Craft but this was not possible.  He was therefore delighted to have been deputed to represent Sir David and asked the ProvDepGDC to seat the celebrant in a place of honour directly in front of him.
VWBro Stephen Blank then set the scene for 1964 the year of WBro Dr Ralph Payne was initiated reminding those brethren old enough (or informing those who weren’t!) who the political leaders were namely Lyndon Johnson in the USA and Harold Wilson in the UK.  Tokyo had hosted the Olympics the Rolling Stones were in the news making an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show and Martin Luther King had won the Nobel Peace Prize.  An average house would have cost £3200, a TV £400 and a Pint of Beer 2s 4d (11.5p).  Liverpool were Champions of the 1st Division with Manchester United runners up.
WBro Phillip Clarke was then asked to read the minutes from WBro Payne’s Initiation.  We learned that this had been the 488th Regular meeting of the Lodge and held at Bridge Street, Manchester with 34 members plus 18 visiting brethren present.  Dr Ralph Payne was admitted and Initiated in due form by the WM.  The working Tools were presented and explained after which Bro K Edwards JW delivered an Antient Charge.
Grand Lodge Certificates were presented to a number of brethren and two candidates were proposed and seconded for Initiation into the Lodge.  A set of Provincial Regalia had been donated back to the Lodge by Mrs W Brooks the widow of the late WBro Walter Brooks and a letter of thanks was to be sent to her from the Lodge.
After the risings the Lodge closed in peace and harmony at 7.25pm.
Bro Robert Douglas, WM of Semper Fidelis, was asked by the APGM to deliver a personal tribute to WBro Payne and he commenced:
Ralph was born on 17th March 1936 at Stepping Hill Hospital Stockport his family having moved from North Wales.  He had two older brothers and all three attended Heaton Moor School. At the outbreak of the 2nd World War his father due to his engineering experience was seconded to work of National Importance at Fairey Aviation where he worked on Rolls Royce Merlin engines, which as most of us know, were essential to Spitfires and the Wellington Bombers.

A major event at this time had a profound Influence on Ralph’s future and professional life with him gaining a place at Stockport School. Having chosen dentistry as a career, he attended Manchester University Dental School. His sporting interests included swimming, captaining his house, ‘Rowbotham’, and he was the long- plunge record holder, rugby and cross-country running, but not football. He played second board on the school chess team. He also enjoyed cycling and even during the later war years.  He will always be grateful to Stockport School, its head Doctor Shave, and the teachers who were responsible for giving him his career.

His university career was very enjoyable with the culmination of some 5 years study seeing him awarded the Senior Operative Dentistry prize in his final year. Unfortunately, his father passed away just six months before his graduation so that he never was able to share his success. Here followed some 40 years in general practice at 23, King Street Manchester and 20 years as treasurer of the Manchester local dental committee. His licentiate in dentistry was dated 1st July 1959.

His future wife Lorraine met with him professionally in the children’s department at the Manchester dental hospital and they were married on 25th August 1962 in Slyne-with-Hest Parish Church.

One of his patients Alan Whitfield Butler became a friend and this resulted in an invitation to be put forward for membership of Semper Fidelis.  Ralph’s proposer was Alan and the initiation ceremony was in the Derby Suite on 4th November 1964. Harry Hulme was the Worshipful Master conducting the ceremony to a packed Lodge.

A memorable highlight for Ralph was the privilege to occupy the chair of the Lodge for the initiation of a Lewis into Semper Fidelis Lodge, namely his son Jonathan.

He was a member of Felicity Chapter 4365 and he proposed Alan Butler as a member and exalting into the Royal Arch. Sadly the Chapter ran out of members and was obliged to close in 2011 however some are present this evening.

After some 40 years of professional life in 1999 Ralph and Lorraine sold their house in Cheadle Hulme to the local church, as a vicarage, and retired to Grange-over-Sands, where the tide regularly ebbs and flows in Morecambe Bay, ‘Twice in the course of a natural day’.

WBro Dr Ralph Payne has been a very active member of the Lodge throughout his 50 years and despite undergoing a triple heart bypass earlier this year he took the office of JW in April.

We wish him well and thank him for all he has contributed to this the Semper Fidelis Lodge No 3299, the Province of East Lancashire and Freemasonry in general. We are looking forward to enjoying his company for many years to come.

WBro Doctor Ralph Payne has been a true and dedicated Freemason throughout the past 50 years and richly deserves the honour we bestow on him today. 

VWBro Stephen Blank thanked Bro Douglas and then left his seat to stand directly in front of the ‘birthday ‘boy’ where he addressed him going through Dr Ralph’s impressive Masonic career in the Craft and Royal Arch which culminated in him being promoted to the rank of PProvSGW, the highest that the RW ProvGM can convey on a brother.

WBro Payne was then presented with a personal letter of congratulations from the ProvGM, an Illuminated Certificate recognising his 50 years in Freemasonry and a Lapel Pin to mark his 50 years’ service.

The ProvDepGDC then escorted WBro Payne around the Lodge to a standing ovation from all present.

After taking his seat alongside the Grand Officers WBro Payne was soon back on his feet to present a cheque for £200 for the RMBI 2015 Festival which VWBro Blank thanked him and the Lodge for its continued generosity.

After the meeting was closed the brethren of the Lodge, the APGM and District Officers joined WBro Ralph for photographs and then enjoyed a marvellous Social Board.  The toast to WBro Ralph was given by two brethren, WBro Alan Butler and WBro Harold Pendlebury who both praised and acknowledged his service to Semper Fidelis and Freemasonry in general as well as the friendships they had enjoyed for many years.

The brethren left Freemasons Hall in good heart having enjoyed a memorable evening.


VWBro Stephen Blank, APGM with WBro Ralph Payne holding his Illuminated Certificate


WBro Ralph Payne with (l to r) WBro Stuart Hughes APGP, VWBro Stephen Blank APGM and WBro David Hudson District Chairman.


The District Delegation surrounding the Birthday Boy.


WBro Ralph Payne seated between VWBro Stephen Blank APGM & Bro Robert Douglas WM with WBro Stuart Hughes APGP, WBro David Hudson Chairman for City Derby District and the brethren of Semper Fidelis Lodge.


WBro Ralph Payne proudly displaying his certificate with VWBro Stephen Blank APGM and WM of Semper Fidelis Lodge, Robert Douglas alongside the Lodge Banner


WBro Ralph Payne takes wine with the APGM VWBro Stephen Blank and his WM Robert Douglas at the Social Board.


WBro Ralph Payne with his lifelong friend and brother WBro Bill Brown who was the DC of Semper Fidelis in 1964, the year of Ralph’s Initiation.




Thursday 13th November 2014 heralded the 16th Annual Manchester Masons’ Sportsman’s Dinner, held at Freemasons’ Hall, Manchester, in support of the Broken Column Widows’ Dinner – and what a fabulous Evening was had by all! Hosted by WBro Brian Durkin in his own inimitable style, the doyen of this Event presented WBro Len Hayes (Chairman of Sykes District, Brian!) to introduce the proceedings. Len explained that he and Brian had taken a well-earned rest from organising this year, so blame Chris Prax, and his team of Mo Afsa, Matty Phillips, Chris Wildman, Elliot Moss, Roger Bower and Mel Rosenthal, if it all went wrong! He also thanked WBro Richard Bermitz and Steve Wallace for securing superb Auction Memorabilia, and the massive support from Lodges and individual Brethren.

After Brethren and Guests had slaked their thirsts in the Derby Bar, the evening commenced with a 4-Course Meal; given that the Staff served four different choices to close to 150 attendees, their efforts should be applauded. A game of that perennial favourite, ‘Heads & Tails’ ensued, with the lucky winner going home in profit (or not, depending on his wine bill). There followed a superb Memorabilia Auction, which included an authentic Bone Dry Jacket, signed shirts from MUFC Legends, individual shirts from Bryan Robson, the Ginger Prince, Silvestre, Wayne Rooney England shirt, a signed Mike Surtees framed montage, and a Lionel Messi Barcelona shirt. The Auction exceeded all the organisers’ hopes, and sincere thanks are extended to all the successful bidders.

Our entertainment for the Evening commenced with the fascinating sporting reminiscences of John Beresford, MCFC, Barnsley, Portsmouth, Newcastle and England Footballer. This was not your usual ‘then I tackled Norman Hunter, and hurt him more than he hurt me’, but more an honest, warts and all, narrative of the highs and lows of a well-respected professional athlete. The poignancy of failing a Medical at Liverpool, then getting a call from King Kevin at Newcastle, was uplifting.

There then followed the most surreal comedic experience, provided by Tim Binns, in his alter ego as Hospital Radio DJ, Ivan Brackenbury. Nobody who attended will ever be able to listen to ‘Search for the Hero inside yourself’ again without an involuntary shudder! This was entertainment of the most unexpected and highest order.

Thanks to the generosity of many Masons, the Raffle was bountiful and well received; the Evening ended with every Brother, and our many welcome Guests, having enjoyed a great evening, and the Broken Column Dinner Fund benefitting to the tune of over £3000. Thank you.




Comedian Tom Binns appearing as one of his alias’ Ivan Brackenbury entertaining the Brethren and guests.


VWBro Stephen Blank, APGM, in the centre with (l to r) Brian Durkin, Tom Binns, John Beresford and Len Hayes



Felicity Lodge no. 4365
Wednesday 1st October
Personal Golden Jubilee of
WBro John Thompson PJGD

A large gathering of brethren were at Freemasons Hall, Manchester for a regular meeting of Felicity Lodge with the main item on the Agenda the celebration of WBro John Thompson’s 50 years in Freemasonry.

After moving promptly through the other items on the Summons WBro Norman Cope PSGD, APGM entered the Lodge accompanied by a Delegation of District Officers.  After receiving salutations WBro Cope took the WM’s chair and explained that if the RW PGM was able to attend all personal 50th celebrations then he would.  He further mentioned that VWBro Stephen Blank, the APGM for City Derby District, was also unable to attend the meeting due to urgent business commitments.  So Bro Cope was both happy and privileged to be acting on his behalf and was looking forward to a very enjoyable evening.

He said that 50 years’ service in any walk of life - in this case Freemasonry - was a fantastic achievement and that was why he was being supported by a large team of Officers from the two Manchester Districts.  He introduced them by name after which they received warm applause from the brethren and visitors of Felicity Lodge.

WBro Cope then asked WBro Andrew Proctor the Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies to conduct and seat WBro John Thompson in the place of honour.

He told the brethren that WBro John Thompson was initiated on 24th September 1964 into Felicity Lodge and that he has been extremely active ever since.

WBro Cope set the scene in 1964 in relation to the political, sporting, economic and popular entertainment arenas mentioning that Lyndon Johnson, Alec Douglas-Home and Nikita Khrushchev were the leaders of America, the United Kingdom and the USSR respectively.  Sidney Poitier and Patricia Neal were the winners of best actor awards in the Oscars with the Kinks ‘You Really Got Me’ and the Beatles ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ being top of the single and album charts respectively.  In sport West Ham won the FA Cup and Liverpool the 1st Division Championship with Australia retaining the Ashes. An average house would have cost £3200 and a pint of beer 2/4d (11.5p).

WBro Cope then asked WBro Andrew Holland PAGSwdB to read an extract from the minutes of the meeting of the Lodge when WBro Thompson had been initiated. The brethren heard that 27 members and 9 visitors had been present and that the Acting WM, WBro Fred Davis, with his officers processed into the Lodge and after opening in due form the Grand and Provincial Grand Officers were saluted under the direction of the DC.

The 9 visitors were from nine Lodges including Felicity’s Mother Lodge, Constitution Lodge No.3392, its Grandmother Lodge, Wolseley Lodge No.1993 and its Daughter Lodge, the Lodge of Veneration No.5686.  The attending brother from Veneration was Brother Stanley Sargent who is now an Honorary Member of Felicity Lodge.

A Ballot was taken for Mr John Thompson which proved in favour and having been duly elected as a Candidate for Initiation and after resuming after refreshments he was Initiated into Freemasonry. 

The Charity collection raised £3-11-6 and the Meeting continued with the normal business including electing Bro C Walker, the Lodge SW, to be Master for the ensuing year.

It was reported that the Prestonian Lecture that was to be delivered in the Lodge.  WBro Holland mentioned that it was only three weeks ago that the Prestonian Lecture had been delivered this year at Felicity Lodge with the RW PGM in attendance.

Later in the meeting Bros A Howell and A Callagan were presented with their Grand Lodge Certificates.

The Lodge was closed at 9.05pm

A tribute was then delivered by WBro Alan Callagan who told the brethren that WBro Thompson was born 10th May 1932 over his father’s Greengrocers Shop in Salford. He went to Broughton Modern School and left school to work the shop although work was more like getting into mischief!
 John was always a “Petrol Head” the first vehicle he drove was “One Horsepower” his Fathers Horse and Cart. He soon progressed to Motorbikes and when he was called up for his National Service he couldn’t report as he had fallen off his bike and broke his leg.

His love of cars resulted in him working in the motor trade culminating with him with him becoming the Managing Director of Wincanton Motors, which is part of the Unilever Group.

His poor wife Eileen never knew what was coming next, John he would ring up and say just pack a few things we are going to Australia or the West Indies, it could be anywhere and
this lasted until he retired at 55 approximately 24 years ago.


 In 1975 I had the honour of installing him as the Worshipful Master of this Lodge

As a Golfer he became President of the Motor Traders Association Golfing Society and in many Masonic and other golfing activities

Two of his old golfing pals, the two District Chairmen WBros David Hudson and Len Hayes sent the Birthday Boy their best wishes and hopes for a wonderful evening

WBro Callagan further explained that John is always full of fun inside and outside of Lodge and his generosity was emphasised by WBro Callagan who stated “John is one of the most generous men I know. John and Eileen formed a Private Distress Fund for Brethren in the Lodge who fell on hard times and had difficulty paying there Lodge Subscriptions.

When a member of the Lodge or his Wife was recovering from illness or a spell in hospital they were invited to spend two weeks at John and Eileen’s Holiday Home in the New Forest with everything paid for.”

WBro Callagan concluded by saying

“Brethren the man you see sat in the centre of the Lodge this evening is ‘One Hell of a nice Guy”

Our Brother and Friend.

WBro Cope thanked WBro Callagan for his tribute and WBro Thompson commented that listening to them brought back his memory of the evening vividly.
WBro Cope ran through WBro Thompson’s Masonic CV from his Initiation to receiving Provincial Grand Honours in 1984 and being promoted twice reaching PProv JGW in 1987 whilst in the Royal Arch he received his first appointment in 1986 to be promoted to Acting ProvGSN.  He has received Grand Rank including a promotion to PJGD in the Craft in 2007and appointment to PGStB in 2003 in the Royal Arch.

The APGM, in recognising his very high Rank, said that it was a true reflection of his dedication to Freemasonry over many years and congratulated and thanked him on behalf of everyone.  He then read out a personal letter of congratulations from the RW PGM, Sir David Trippier which was handed to him by the District Deputy Chairman, WBro Roger Bower who was then invited to read out the Illuminated Certificate.  The certificate was then presented to WBro Thompson along with a lapel badge marking his 50 years in the Craft.

WBro Thompson was conducted around the Lodge by the Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies to the accompaniment of a standing ovation.

After taking his seat next to the other Grand Officers WBro Thompson thanked WBro Cope and everyone involved in arranging his evening.  He explained that he always wanted to put ‘something back’ in life and that Freemasonry had offered him the opportunity to do so. 

The WM Bro Lee then presented two cheques to WBro Cope for the 2015 Festival totalling £400.  He was thanked for the continuing generosity of the Lodge in supporting the Festival.

WBro Cope then accepted the invitation to retire along with the accompanying District Delegation.

The Social Board was enjoyed by all the Brethren and highlighted by a very personal Toast to the Birthday Boy delivered by WBro Stan Bibby which left no one  in any doubt regarding the enormous contribution John had made both to Felicity Lodge and Freemasonry in general.



The 'Birthday Boy' WBro John Thompson sits amidst the brethren of Felicity Lodge and the District Delegation


WBro John Thompson seated between WBro Norman Cope, APGM, WM Bro P S Y Lee and the brethren of Felicity Lodge


WBro John Thompson with his WM Bro P S Y Lee and WBro Norman Cope, APGM


WBro John Thompson with WBro Norman Cope APGM.


WBro Norman cope, APGM, enjoys a glass of wine with WBro John Thompson at the Social Board.


At the Social Board


At the Social Board



East Lancashire Centurion Lodge No 2322 commemorates the beginning of The Great War


The Provincial Grand Master, RWBro Sir David Trippier, RD,JP,DL, was offered the gavel in his own Lodge by the Master, WBro, Capt E.W. Beaman, when he headed a Provincial Deputation, which included the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VWBro Derek N. Thornhill, and Past Provincial Grand Master, RWBro Paul J. E. Rink, OBE to commemorate 100 years since the beginning of The Great War.

The event, at East Lancashire Centurion Lodge No 2322, highlighted the heroism of Masons within the Province who were awarded the Victoria Cross. There were 140 members and visitors at Bridge Street to hear an excellent account of the origins and History of the VC by WBro Lt Col Mark Smith, ProvGStwd(Essex), Curator of the Royal Artillery Museum.

He told how Queen Victoria took a great interest in designing the medal and even changed the original inscription, which read “For Bravery”, to read “For Valour”, saying that all her soldiers fought bravely. The VC is the highest military decoration awarded for valour “in the face of the enemy”. WBro Smith said the George Cross, equally awarded for valour in the face of death, did not involve enemy fire. He said Queen Victoria had added that importance should not be attached merely to the medal but to the deed behind the medal, which takes precedence over all other orders, decorations and medals.

He said the VC, awarded to 1,353 servicemen since it was introduced by the Queen in January, 1856, included approximately 130 Freemasons, of whom three were members of East Lancashire Lodges. The award was backdated to 1854 to recognise acts of valour during the Crimean War. However, WBro Smith added that the story of Russian guns being melted down to provide the metal was a myth dreamed up by newspapermen. Only three men have ever had a bar awarded to their VC, which, in effect means having won the medal twice. A quarter of the 628 VCs awarded during World War I were posthumous.

The East Lancs Masonic VC holders, are WBro William Henry Grimbaldeston, PPGSwdB; WBro J. A. “Jock” Christie, PPGSwdB, founding ADC of Albatross Lodge, No 4892, and Bro Graham Thomson Lyall, who, in 1915, joined Harmony and Industry Lodge, No 381, at Darwen, where his mother was born.

Sir David thanked WBro Smith for an interesting and entertaining hour-an-a-half talk, given in a polished and professional manner, commenting that he had never before heard such applause in appreciation for a speaker. He also paid tribute to the visitors for their attendance, who represented many of the Province’s Lodges

The evening was sadly curtailed when a fault on an electric cable meant that the festive board had to be abandoned for health and safety reasons.

Members of the East Lancs Centurion Lodge No 2322 and guest speaker Lt-Col Mark Smith PGStwd (Essex), (Front, 3rd from left)
with the Provincial Grand Master RWBro Col Sir David Trippier, RD, JP, DL,
at a meeting to commemorate the beginning of World War I and the Fallen
and to honour the heroism of the Province’s members who were awarded the Victoria Cross.


The Master of East Lancs Centurion Lodge No 2322, WBro Capt E. W. Beaman, left, is pictured with the Provincial Grand Master, RWBro Col Sir David Trippier, RD, JP, DL,
and the guest speaker, WBro Lt-Col Mark Smith, PGStwd (Essex), Curator of the Royal Artillery Museum.


The East Lancs Masonic VC holders

WBro Grimbaldeston, Company Quartermaster-Sergeant in the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, joined De Lacy Lodge No 4591, at Rishton, Near Blackburn, in 1928 and was Master in 1951, was awarded the VC for his actions on August 16, 1917, in Wijdendrift, Belgium and died in August 1959, from illness aggravated by wounds and gassing. He was also awarded the Croix de Guerre.

WBro Christie joined the Army as a rifleman in 1914. After surviving the landing at Gallipoli in 1915, he was sent to Egypt and Palestine following recuperation from wounds. He was awarded his VC for his actions on the night of December 21/22 1917 when he was one of three volunteers to attack enemy positions. The two others were immediately killed as they attacked but Lance-Corporal Christie not only carried out his  mission but on his way back, thwarted a raid on his own lines by a patrol moving up their trench. He drove in the Auxiliary Fire Service and was a Special Constable during World War II and was a founding member of the Victoria Cross Association in 1956. He was one of the special few to have had a railway locomotive named after him, following his service with the railways in the Manchester area. He died in 1967, three years after his retirement.

Bro Lyall was born in Chorlton, Manchester in March 1982 and educated in Nelson before later emigrating to Canada. He joined up three days after the outbreak of the Great War but wasn’t posted to France until after 16 applications for active service. He served at the Battle of the Somme and the capture of Vimy Ridge at the Battle of Arras, where his conduct gained him a field commission. After training at Bexhill-on-Sea, he returned to take part in the Ypres campaign of 1917 and the Battle of Amiens with the 102nd Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Lieutenant Lyall led his platoon on a series of forays which led to the capture of three officers, 182 other ranks, 26 machine guns and one field gun over two days despite heavy casualties. He was presented with his VC at Buckingham Palace by King George V on March 15th, 1919. He left Darwen to marry Elizabeth (Elsie) Moffat Frew and moved to her home town of Airdrie, where he became MD of his father-in-law’s firm Aerocrete (Scotland) Ltd, supplying the construction industry.
He joined the Territorial Army and was a Major in the Royal Ordnance Corps at the outbreak of World War II. He was placed on active duty and promoted to Lt Colonel. He was sent to North Africa and promoted a full Colonel in charge of the railhead in Egypt as a member of the 8th Army General Staff. On November 28th, 1941, in the middle of Operation Crusader to relieve Tobruck, the Allies’ first major victory in World War II, he died, aged 49, of a heart attack during his sleep.

The Victoria Cross


East Lancashire Provincial Grand Officers’ Lodge, No.3747 - 30th September 2014

It was ‘Back to the Future’ at the mid-term meeting of the East Lancashire Provincial Grand Officers Lodge at Freemasons Hall, Manchester. The brethren were entertained by a demonstration of a 1759 Initiation Ceremony performed by the Members of the Burnley & Pendle Antient Ritual Demonstration Team and thoroughly enjoyed by all present.  The WM, VW Bro Derek Thornhill, thanked the team and the brethren showed their appreciation in the usual manner.

Burnley & Pendle Antient Ritual Demonstration team with VWBro Derek Thornhill
& WBro Harold Cooper who acted as the candidate

The meeting then looked to the real future of the lodge by electing the ProvGM, Sir David Trippier, as the Worshipful Master for the ensuing year, the Lodge’s Centenary.  There were also 17 prospective new members announced by the Secretary who, if approved by the members, will provide a net increase in the membership and help to secure its future.

The Social Board, with well over 100 brethren dining, was very enjoyable and in responding to toasts 3, 4 and 5 VWBro Stephen Blank explained that he had suspected one of his APGM colleagues to have attempted to have stopped him attending the meeting so that he would could have spoken in his place.  Working with another APGM, WBro Martin Roche who is a serving police officer, they actually discovered that the ‘culprit’ was one WBro Martin Caller a Past APGM and Martin Roche stepped forward to handcuff him, much to the amusement of everyone present! 

‘The Purple Sock Brigade’

During his reply to toast 5 Stephen said that the APGMs work really well as a ‘team’ under the watchful eye of the DPGM and Master of 3747 VWBro Derek N Thornhill. Then brethren learned that the APGMs were known to each other as the ‘purple sock brigade’ and they had enjoyed a lunch together with their ladies during the summer. He added that seated around the lunch table he saw some very hard working and dedicated Masonic workers, and even the men weren’t that bad!

The APGMs lunch

The evening ended with all brethren in good spirits as they made their way home.




A large gathering of Widows and their Chaperones gathered at Freemasons Hall, Manchester for the annual Dinner and Entertainment on Monday 24th March.
The ladies were greeted by various District Officers and enjoyed a reception before moving through for a dinner.  They were welcomed by District Chairman (Sykes) WBro Len Hayes and after Deputy Chairman (Derby) Bro Chris Prax said Grace everyone enjoyed a 3 course meal with wine.

The Loyal Toast was proposed by WBro David Hudson, District Chairman (Derby) and then VWBro Stephen Blank, APGM gave his first speech at this event since taking over the duties for Manchester.  He explained that the first date he entered into his diary under instruction from his District Chairmen was the Broken Column Dinner and he fully appreciated how important it was and the hard work that went into its organisation.  He was sure that all the Ladies would have an enjoyable evening and in closing he proposed the health of the Ladies.

WBro David Cowen, Deputy District Chairman (Sykes) who acted as MC then invited Courtney Fannon to take to the stage and she sang a number of ‘Songs from the Shows’ including Fame, My Fair Lady, Les Miserables  and she closed with One Day over the Rainbow from the timeless Wizard of Oz.

WBro Brian Durkin who in his time as Deputy Chairman and then Chairman of Derby District had been instrumental in the establishing of the Broken Column Dinner closed the evening thanking all who had been involved and wished everyone a safe journey home.

The Ladies left the Hall with a gift and in a happy mood having had a lovely evening and looking forward to next year.

VWBro Stephen Blank APGM for Manchester ‘Toasting  the Ladies’ on the evening and WBro Len Hayes, District Chairman giving his Welcome




Retirement Dinner
WBro Brian Durkin PAGDC


It was a joyous evening on Monday 31 March, when District Officers current and past from City Derby and City Sykes Districts joined WBro Brian Durkin at his farewell dinner, after serving City Derby District as their Chairman.

In attendance were, VWBro Stephen Blank, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master for Manchester; EComp  William Porter, Deputy Grand Superintendent; Worshipful Brothers  Martin Caller and Warwick Davenport, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Masters.  All of whom Brian had served with during the fourteen years he served on the District system in Manchester.

WBro Warwick Davenport gave an enjoyable speech not only highlighting Brian's Masonic achievements but also his work outside Masonry.  In his reply to WBro Davenport's toast Brian thanked everyone who he had served with on the District system.

WBro Len Hayes Chairman for City Sykes District presented Brian with a bouquet of flowers for his wife Sonia and WBro David Hudson, Chairman of City Derby District, presented Brian with a Cut Glass Decanter and Brandy Goblets on behalf of everyone in attendance.




Mentoring ‘Belonging’ Workshop March 17th Freemasons Hall, Manchester


“A core purpose of the PGLEL Mentoring Programme is to ensure that all Brethren have Fun, Fellowship and Fulfilment via their membership of the Craft – and as a consequence of this, members can be expected to retain their membership not for just a few years, but more often for their lifetime. In support of this, within the Mentoring Programme focus is given to ensure ‘Belonging’, ‘Understanding’ and ‘Involvement’, particularly for newer members.”


The first of a series of Province-wide Mentoring Workshops/Presentations took place on March 17th. for the City Derby & City Sykes Districts, with more than 50 representatives from the Manchester Lodges in attendance.

Lodge Mentors, DCs, ADCs, WMs and newer Brethren were invited to attend. It commenced with David Marsh, the City Sykes District Mentor, welcoming everyone and introduced Alan Kirwilliam the Provincial Grand Mentor who, being responsible for the new PGLEL mentoring process, created the recently published mentoring handbooks.  These are now provided to new initiates at each stage of their progression to Master Mason status. They provide substantial information on every aspect of the Craft and give a basis for interaction between a newer member and his mentor.  They have been well received, in fact many brethren have commented on how they wished they had been available when they were new to Freemasonry.

The PGM, Sir David Trippier, was in attendance and also in his capacity of Mentor of his own Lodge Centurion. When he spoke he told the brethren that he had taken a keen interest when he had become the PGM in encouraging Mentoring to become high on his list of priorities. 

After Elliot Moss, the City Derby District Mentor, had explained the format of the evening, Alan commenced the formal presentation with a review of the new PGLEL mentoring scheme. He reminded everyone of the importance of the 3 R’s –‘Recruitment’, ‘Retention’ and ‘Retrieval’ and that the role mentoring plays, especially with respect to ‘Retention’. He highlighted the way in which the scheme and its associated booklets and mentoring process support this.

The PGLEL mentoring booklets are available via:  )

Alan emphasised that ‘Belonging’ was vital part of the overall mentoring process and then handed the main presentation over to Ian Wilson (District Mentor for Salford) whose excellent presentation led onto a thought provoking and very creative workshop session which was run by Ian. All of those present were divided into smaller groups to discuss and then provide feedback on how they believe ‘Belonging’ may be further facilitated both within and beyond the Lodge Room.

Brethren listening to the presentation


District Chairman-City- Derby David Hudson, District Mentors- David Marsh & Elliot Moss, Alan Kirwilliam Provincial Grand Mentor and Sir David Trippier PGM.


Alan Kirwilliam Provincial Grand Mentor opening the meeting


Len Hayes, District Chairman for City Sykes addressing the brethren




Union Between Two Lodges in Different Provinces


Maybe not a first, but a rare occasion!

Droylsden Lodge, No. 3282 in the Province of East Lancashire, were invited by Derwen Lodge, No. 7407 in the Province of North Wales to meet together with a view to undertaking a Raising ceremony at the Colwyn Bay Masonic Hall.

Droylsden, a Manchester based lodge with 106 year history which is now “re-inventing itself” found themselves with a backlog of ceremonies.  Derwen has a full complement of officers but at one stage no candidates.  Members of both lodges have made several visits to each lodge and by conversation it was agreed to explore the possibilities of the membership of Droylsden undertaking a Raising of one of their candidates in Derwen Lodge.

Whilst there is nothing in the constitutions to negate this, both Provinces were asked their opinions and gave their support to it.

The lodge was duly opened by the Worship Master of Derwen Lodge and carried out the usual preliminaries on the summons.  The Worshipful Master then invited W. Bro. Mel Hill, PJGD to explain the reasoning and introduce the Droylsden team.  The brethren took post and conducted a faultless ceremony in front of an audience of nearly 40 brethren.

In conclusion of the ceremony the Worshipful Master of Derwen resumed his place and finished the administrative business.

A Festive Board was enjoyed by the members and visitors at Colwyn Bay Cricket Club.  The Worshipful Master of Derwen invited the Worshipful Master of Droylsden to accompany him at the top table.

What is the conclusion to this?  Freemasonry was spread across boundaries. The brethren met new friends. Both lodges wanted a bond between the membership and invitations would be forthcoming for reciprocal visits. Members experienced similar ritual workings (with some variations of course).

The whole evening turned out to be a complete success.  Willr this experience will be repeated? Well, we will wait and see!


50 Years in Freemasonry for WBro Alan James Roberts, PProv SGW

The Lodge of Virtue no. 152 held a regular meeting at Freemasons Hall, Manchester on Tuesday 4th March with the main business of the evening being to celebrate 50 years in the Craft of WBro Alan Roberts PProv SGW who for his advanced years cut a fine figure with his full head of hair and trim appearance.

After the Lodge was opened and the minutes confirmed the APGM VWBro Stephen Martin Blank PGSwdB was admitted accompanied by a substantial Provincial Delegation.

The WM Bro J W Roberts in greeting VWBro Blank offered him the Gavel which he accepted with pleasure in anticipation of the work that he had come to perform.

The APGM then introduced the Provincial Deputation which included officers from the City Sykes and aso City Derby Districts and Area Officers who cover both.  Included were WBro Stuart Hughes the APGP, WBro David Cowen, the Deputy Chairman for City Sykes, who was acting as Chairman as WBro Len Hayes was with his mother who was not well and WBro David Hudson, Chairman for City Derby who is also the Secretary of Lodge of Virtue.

VWBro Stephen Blank, APGM seated next to the WM WBro JW Roberts with the ‘Birthday Boy’ WBro Alan Roberts alongside.  The picture also includes members of the Lodge, guests and the District  Deputation.


VWBro Stephen Blank, APGM with his District Team and the brethren of the Lodge of Virtue


WBro Alan Roberts holding his Certificate seated between WBro Warwick Davenport PSGD, PAPGM and the WM, WBro JW Roberts.  The members of the Lodge of Virtue are also included along with VWBro Stephen Blank APGM.


VWBro Stephen Blank, APGM and WM WBro JW Roberts with WBro Alan Roberts in the Derby Lodge Room after the meeting.


In reflecting on 1964, the year Alan Roberts was initiated into Freemasonry, the APGM mentioned that the Beatles had returned from their ground breaking tour of the USA and that Cassius Clay, later to be known as Mohamed Ali, had, to the world’s amazement, defeated the great Sonny Liston to become Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World.  He mentioned that the average house price was £3100 and a pint of beer cost £2 6d with the cost of petrol now having risen 22 times!  The winter Olympics in Innsbruck saw GB win one gold medal for the Bob Sleigh team and Liverpool won their 6th Title with Manchester United finishing 2nd.

VWBro Blank then asked WBro Archer ProvDepGDC to seat Alan Roberts in front of him on the Pavement and then WBro David Hudson read an extract from the minutes of the meeting from 1964 when Alan was initiated into the Lodge of Truth no. 1458.  The meeting was held on 29th February 1964 at Freemasons Hall, Manchester.  Alan was admitted in due form and Installed by the WM Bro GA Holdsworth including the North East Corner Address with the Ancient Charge delivered by Bro H Dickinson JW who also presented and explained the 1st Degree Tools.  After Bro Alan Roberts returned to the Lodge an explanation of the 1st Degree Tracing board was given by WBro SB Dickinson.

The APGM then invited WBro Bill Gow PAGSuptWks to deliver a tribute which included the following:

Alan J. Roberts was born in Crossley Maternity Home, Pollard Street, Manchester. He grew up in New Cross and  attended St. Paul's New Cross Church of England School and then went on to George Leigh Street junior school.   He joined the Cub Scouts at Bennett Street Sunday School, and became a Senior Sixer.

He survived the Manchester Blitz, and joined St. Paul's New Cross Choir, continuing there until the Church closed. Alan was unable to take his Eleven Plus due to ill health however his teacher. Miss Derry, discovered that he had a talent for drawing and in encouraging that him he spent many months drawing tulips and this enabled Alan to pass the entrance examination for the Manchester Junior School of Art.

Continuing with his scouting activities and holding many senior positions he completed all the proficiency badges which led to him being awarded the King's Scout Badge later to be known as the Queen's Scout Badge. At this time, he joined the Bennett Street Literary Philosophical and Dramatic Society, which included the artist L.S. Lowry amongst its members.

In 1948, he took employment with Wilson's Brewery as a designer artist, staking his claim for designing the famous Wilson's Strong Ale label. At the age of 18 he was conscripted into National Service and he joined the South Lancashire Regiment and was posted to Trieste. After a period of five months, he was transferred to Khartoum. This included a spell at the Royal Palace. On New Year's Day, 1953, the regiment was transferred to Egypt to police the internal conflict which eventually led to the Suez crisis.

He was demobbed in June 1953 and returned to employment with Wilson's Brewery  before becoming "The Man from the Prudential" He moved to Manchester Corporation as a Finance Clerk. In 1961, he moved from Finance Clerk to a School Welfare Officer until 1969, when he became a Child Care Officer in the Manchester Children's Department. This led to his secondment to Manchester University, where he obtained the Home Office Certificate of Child Care and a University diploma which qualified him for the Certificate of Qualification in Social Work.

In 1956, he married Dorothy, a former pupil of the Royal Masonic School for Girls and together they had three sons who attended Manchester Grammar School.  He became a Sunday School Teacher at St. Matthew's, Crumpsall, and then in 1960 he became the Church organist and choirmaster, a position which he still holds. In 1970 he became a Youth Leader at the Church and at various periods he was a Churchwarden.  He progressed through a number of roles with Manchester Social Services Department, finally becoming Area Director. 

He has held numerous roles with charities including took  including Manchester and Salford Catholic Rescue Society, Save the Children fund and the North West Assessment Committee for the BBC's Children in Need Charity.  He became a Trustee of the Bennett Street Educational and Welfare Charity   He was invited to be the Bishop's Representative for Child Protection, a role which he held from 1966 until 2003.


WBro Gow concluded by saying

“From an early age, you have shown the ability to face any challenge that you have been faced with. You have always been able to do this with all the appearance of enjoying life and the company of your fellow man. Courtesy and kindness have been your hallmark and many people have
benefited from their contact with you”.
VWBro Blank thanked WBro Gow on everyone’s behalf and commented that having listened to everything that Alan had achieved and been committed too during his life it was astonishing that he had found time for Freemasonry!  He told the brethren that Alan had held the position of DC in the Lodge of Truth for 7 years and often delivered the 1st and 3rd Tracing Boards along with a substantial amount of other ritual.  In reciting his Masonic career, he congratulated Alan on achieving the elevated rank of PProv SGW, being the highest that the PGM can bestow on an E Lancs Freemason.

The District Deputy Chairman, David Cowen than read the Illuminated Certificate and VWBro Blank then presented it followed by the presentation of a 50th Anniversary lapel pin. 

VWBro Stephen Blank, APGM with WBro Alan Roberts PProvSGW following
his celebration in the Lodge.


Alan Roberts was paraded around the Lodge by WBro Dr Simon Archer to a standing ovation from all present.  After being seated Alan immediately was back on his feet to present a personal cheque to the APGM for the RMBI 2015 Festival.  This was followed by the WM presenting a further cheque from the Lodge for £500 for the Festival and both were thanked for their generosity.

The APGM then processed out of the Lodge with his Provincial Deputation and the ‘Birthday Boy ‘to applause from the brethren.

The evening continued at the Social Board when after WBro Ken Edwards PProvDepReg proposed Alan’s health, a very personal tribute from a lifelong friend. Alan responded in splendid style giving his own thoughts to the way Freemasonry had changed and evolved over the 50 years he had been a member.  His views were both illuminating and insightful and he paid particular reference and complemented our Provincial Rulers for their work.  He made special mention of VWBro Stephen Blank for his work both inside out outside of the Province both thanking and congratulating him.

The evening concluded with everyone present travelling home in good spirits.




Volunteer Lodge March 13th 2014.
1000th Meeting

Volunteer Lodge celebrated its 1000th meeting at Freemasons Hall, Manchester.
VW Bro Stephen Blank, APGM had scheduled a visit in recognition of this special event but unfortunately due to being ill he was unable to attend and sent his sincere apologies.  WBro David Hudson, the City Derby Chairman, took his place as principal officer.

The Lodge was opened and David Hudson was acknowledged. He congratulated the Lodge on the achievement of 1000 meetings and he introduced the District team who were present and this included WBro Christopher Prax the Deputy Chairman.  Thei Worshipful Master responded and thanked him and the members of the District Team for their attendance.

The Lodge was opened in all 3 degrees and then Called Off.

A presentation of the Traditional History by the Brethren of the Lodge then followed introduced by the WM who also carried on with a narrative during the presentation.  The members spoke the ritual of much of the 3rd degree and re-enacted the story of the Tracing Board.

The brethren showed their appreciation and enjoyment of the presentation by giving the participants with applause after it was concluded.   The Lodge was then Called On and closed in the long way in all 3 degrees.  

The Social Board followed and was enjoyed by everyone and in his response David Hudson mentioned that W Bro Eddie Barlow was to be made an APGP next week at Blackburn in the Royal Arch.




A ‘Full House’ of personal donations to the Festival

All the brethren of Zion Menorah Lodge no 1798 have made a donation to the 2015 RNBI Festival and in acknowledgment of this VWBro Stephen Blank PSwdB and the APGM for Manchester made a presentation of a certificate to acknowledge this tremendous effort.
He commented that it was a particularly significant effort given the Lodge has over 70 members and regularly initiates new brethren.  He made special mention of WBro Levene PProv JGW, the Festival Representative, for encouraging the brethren to make a personal commitment to the Festival.
The presentation was made on the 12th November at the recent meeting of the Lodge at Freemasons Hall, Manchester.


VWBro Stephen Blank PSwdB, APGM handing over the Certificate to WM Bro Stephen Levene with  WBro Jack Levene PProv JGW.





Felicity Lodge No.4365

50th Anniversary of WBro Alan W Callagan PProvSGW

The Brethren of Felicity Lodge, guests and a large District Delegation assembled at Freemasons Hall, Manchester, in anticipation of the Personal Golden Jubilee of a much loved and respected Mason, WBro Alan Callagan, PProvSGW.

The Lodge was opened in due form under the direction of the WM Bro Paul S Y Lee and, following the confirmation of the minutes, the APGM VWBro Stephen M Blank PGSwdB was admitted along with his Delegation.

The WM welcomed VWBro Blank and offered him the Gavel which he accepted recognising that he had a very special duty to perform.
The Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, WBro John Griffin, PProvJGW, then directed the brethren to give Salutations separately to VWBro Stephen Blank PGSwdB, RWBro Graham Elliot PJGW and finally WBro Martin Caller PSGD and WBro Warwick Davenport PSGD.

WBro Alan Callagan seated next to the WM Bro Paul S Y Lee who is next to VWBro Stephen Blank APGM. 
The picture also includes the District Delegation and the Brethren of Felicity Lodge.


WBro Alan Callagan seated next to the WM Bro Paul S Y Lee who is next to VWBro Stephen Blank APGM and the Brethren of Felicity Lodge.


VWBro Stephen Blank APGM the commenced as follows:

“The next item on the Summons is to celebrate with WBro Alan Callagan PProvSGW, 50 years in Freemasonry. 
If the RW PGM was physically able to attend all the Personal 50ths in his Province, there is no doubt he would be here.  Instead he deputed me, as his personal representative having responsibility for Manchester Area, to carry out his duties.  I will read the RW PGM’s personal message later in the ceremony. 

Brethren, 50 years is a fantastic stint to put into any life activity whether it's business or in this case Freemasonry.  That’s why I am supported this evening by two very hard working District Teams from both Manchester Districts and several acting Provincial Officers.”  He went on to introduce the District Teams who were headed by WBro Stuart Hughes (APGP) and WBro Brian Durkin (Chairman of City Derby District).  Also in attendance was WBro Len Hayes, (Chairman of City Sykes District).  VWBro Blank had invited the Acting ProvGOfficers of the year from Manchester Area to accompany him and he was pleased that three of them had been able to do so on this occasion

Three past APGMs were also in attendance, RWBro Grahame Elliott, WBro Warwick Ross Davenport and WBro Martin Stuart Caller who was until last week the APGM for the District.  VWBro Blank noted that “Typically, Martin offered to observe the custom of staying away from ceremonies during my first year but I wasn’t having that.  I know he has great affection for WBro Callagan and it is only right Martin should be here.”

WBro Alan Callagan was initiated into Felicity Lodge on Thursday the 28 November 1963, fifty years ago to the day. 
VWBro Blank went on to set the scene for 1963, recalling that in the early hours of Thursday 8th August 1963 the Great Train Robbery took place.  The gang stole over £2.6 million (the equivalent of £46 million today).   The bulk of the stolen money was never recovered.   VWBro Blank went on to say that “There is no truth in the rumour that Warwick Davenport started smiling that day and has never stopped since.”

He also recalled the two other 50th anniversaries that we have been remembering or celebrating over the last few weeks, the assassination of President Kennedy and the first episode of Doctor Who on the 23rd November 1963 and gave the brethren some views of what masonry was like In 1963 as told to him by his late father who had been 6 years past the Chair in 1963.

VWBro Blank then asked WBro John Griffin ProvDepGDC, to conduct and seat WBro Alan Callagan in the place of honour.
 Then WBro Andrew Holland read the minutes from WBro Callagan’s Initiation and also added some of his own observations which are highlighted in italic and some interesting extracts were as follows:
WM, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Brethren.

I have taken a selection of the minutes relevant to Alan’s Initiation and one or two other points of interest.

They commence:
The Minutes of the last Regular Meeting of Felicity Lodge No.4365, held at the Masonic Temple, Manchester, on Thursday 28 November 1963.

Before the Opening of the Lodge the WM Bro Ronald Johnstone Crawford, accompanied by his Wardens, Deacons and his DC, made processional entry into the Lodge Room at 5.30pm. The Lodge was opened in due form after solemn Prayer by the WM.

Visiting Brethren were admitted and welcomed by the WM.
There were present 13 visiting Brethren and 26 members, whose names and Ranks are herein recorded as per the Lodge Attendance Book.

IPM                  WBro J Gardner
SW                   Bro C Walker
JW                   Bro A Poole
Treas               WBro JB Stevenson
Sec                   WBro CH Tuckett
DC                   WBro EG Freeman

The visiting Brethren came from 11 Lodges, including Felicity’s Mother Lodge, Constitution Lodge No.3392, Felicity’s Grandmother Lodge, Wolseley Lodge No.1993 and also Felicity’s Daughter Lodge, The Lodge of Veneration No.5686. Of particular note is the Brother attending from the Lodge of Veneration was one Brother Leslie Sargent, who is now, of course, an Honorary Member of Felicity.

The Ballot proved favourable to the Candidate and the WM declared Mr Callagan a candidate for Initiation.

High Twelve was called at 6.20pm, whilst the Lodge dined, with labour being resumed at 7.35pm.
WBro Treasurer and Secretary announced that Mr Callagan had signed the usual declaration and paid the required fees.

Mr Alan Wilfred Callaghan was then admitted to the Lodge and Initiated into Freemasonry by the WM.

The Charity collection raised the sum of £3-14-0

Brethren, if you divide this sum by the number of attendees it works out at almost exactly 2/- per member. It makes you wonder if it was then the norm to put a two bob bit in the collection.

There were a couple of interesting items mentioned during the Risings.

On the Second Rising the Secretary reported receipt of a letter from the Provincial Assistant Grand Secretary informing the Lodge that the Masonic Calendar for 1964 was being pressed, the price being 2/- each. It would seem that even in 1963 Lodges couldn’t escape communications from the Provincial Assistant Grand Secretary.

Extending Greetings on behalf of the visiting Brethren was WBro Gordon Davis a Past Master of Gorton Lodge No.7657, who is still an active Freemason in the Southern Area and is currently the DC of Gorton Lodge.

There being no further business the Lodge was closed by the SW, at the Command of the WM after Solemn Prayer in Peace and Harmony at 8.55pm”

After the minutes the APGM invited WBro Stan Bibby PJGD to deliver a personal tribute and he addressed the meeting with some memorable points as follows;
“The honour falls upon me as a member of Felicity Lodge to give a formal tribute to WBro. Alan Callagan for all his extended efforts to the benefit of the lodge and its members both present and passed.

 Having joined the lodge in November 1963 we all I am sure wish him well in celebrating his 50th anniversary as a valued member of our Lodge

Alan became the ADC and for several years he supported me personally (especially with Masonic ritual for which I thank you).  His dealing with Brethren whilst he was in that office was always considerate and encouraging, indeed he was carrying out the office of 'Lodge Mentor' even in those days!

When Alan was appointed by the Lodge as secretary some 32 years ago he took on the role with an unassuming gusto,  bearing in mind that everything was either hand written or produced by his permanent assistant at home his wife Flora on the 'Olympus' typewriter,  at this stage I feel that a further mention of Flora ought to me made and recorded because as you are all aware that behind every great man there is a great woman,  When Alan was laid up after his accident Flora used to type out the summons's and take the copy to the printers and then collect and post out to lodge members etc., never missing a meeting or communication, perhaps knowing as much about Felicity as the members did,  our grateful thanks go out to her for the continuing support that she gives to Alan and the Lodge and sincerely hope that her health improves.

Although Alan is now computer literate which I am sure is part to his son David he still continues to give things his personal touch.

At each and every past masters dinner Alan presents to the master a copy of all the summons's for his year in office, in a pristine condition, this is the kind and considerate person that he is.

Alan I am proud to extend to you the best wishes of all your friends in Freemasonry as we all wish you improving health and a continuance in serving this lodge.”

VWBro Stephen Blank then asked the District Chairman WBro Brian Durkin to read out what's on the illuminated Certificate.

VWBro Stephen Blank left the Chair of King Solomon to join WBro Callagan to read out the letter of congratulations from the RW ProvGM, Sir David Trippier and he then presented him with the illuminated Certificate.  He also gave the key dates of WBro Callagan’s Masonic career as follows;

  • In 1963, Initiated into Freemasonry
  • in 1974, Installed as WM for the first time
  • In 1982, you were appointed to the rank of ProvGStwd
  • In 1985 promoted to PProvSGD
  • in 1988, promoted to PProvJGW, extremely rapid progress
  • In 1998, you were promoted to PProvSGW, the highest rank the RW ProvGM has in his power to bestow.
  • You have been Secretary of this Lodge since October 1981

VWBro Stephen Blank shakes hands with WBro Alan Callagan who is holding his Illuminated Certificate accompanied by WM of Felicity Lodge Bro Paul S Y Lee


VWBro Stephen Blank congratulates WBro Alan Callagan.


WBro Callagan spontaneously responded and thanked VWBro Stephen Blank and all his friends in Felicity Lodge for the kindness shown to him during the evening.  He said that he was a ‘little sad that there weren’t too many of the old faces present’ but glad that a few of his oldest Masonic friends were still able to join him on this special night.

The APGM then invited WBro Brian Durkin the District Chairman to present WBro Callagan with a 50th Lapel Badge on achieving 50 years in Masonry on behalf of the District.  In making the presentation WBro Durkin told him to wear it with pride at all times.
The APGM then asked WBro John Griffin to escort WBro Callagan around the Lodge to receive the acclaim of all the brethren.

When he took his seat WBro Callagan then presented VWBro Blank with two cheques for the EL2015 Festival.  One being a personal donation of £50 and the other for £250 from the Lodge and the APGM thanked WBro Callagan and the Brethren of Felicity Lodge for their generosity.

After the collection of Alms the APGM accompanied by the Delegation and including WBro Callagan retired.

Special friends of WBro Callagan,  Geoffrey Miller on the right who has also celebrated 50 years
& Neville Worthington who has reached  60 years  in Freemasonry with VWBro Stephen Blank.


During the Social Board special presentations of gifts were made to WBro Callagan from the Lodge to him and his wife although as he wasn’t allowed to open them until he arrived home!
A raffle was held under the unique rules of a ‘Westhoughton Swindle’ raising over £300 for Charity when combined with the Alms Collection earlier in the evening in the Lodge.

WM Bro Paul S Y Lee presenting gifts to WBro Callagan and for his wife from the Lodge


Cover of Special Toast List produced for the meeting.


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