Click any menu item to expand it, click again
to collapse it.

The Royal Arch RA Home Page
The EL 2015 Festival Festival Home Page
Manchester Districts (City Derby and City Sykes)

Latest News


Archived news moved to bottom of page

Students from Manchester Metropolitan University Support SAAFA

Report HERE

23rd March 2015

A challenge was put out to Manchester Lodges & Chapters to compete with each other in entering a Quiz with all the proceeds raised going to the 2015 Festival.  David Hudson and Chris Prax the District Chairmen along with John Scott the Festival Chairman were present as well as Derby Deputy District Chairman Roger Bower who had arranged the event and acted as Quiz Master, ably assisted by Elliot Moss.

Taking part were Arkscroll, Maccabee, Volunteer , Mellor, Zion Menorah, Old Mancunians with Mount Sinai & Ark and Menorah Chapter.

The evening was enjoyed by all and a great success with ‘friendly rivalry’ between the participants and the clear winner by some distance was Zion Menorah.

In addition to the fun and ‘Bon Ami’ £750 was raised for the Festival making the evening a double success.

Maccabee Lodge


The Victorious Brethren from Zion Menorah


Ark & Menorah Chapter


Arkscroll Lodge



Zion Menorah Lodge 1798
12th March 2015
Presentation to VWBro Stephen Blank PGSwdB,



VWBro Stephen Blank PGSwdB with Bro Russell Rubinstein, WM receiving a gift of a cut glass decanter and glasses to mark his impending retirement as APGM. Stephen was attending his Mother Lodge for the last time in his capacity as an APGM and shortly before he is to be invested as the Deputy Grand Superintendent in the Royal Arch at the meeting of Provincial Grand Chapter on 19th March.

The Worshipful Master and all the brethren thanked him for all his dedicated work in the Province and recognised the honour that Zion Menorah as his ‘Mother Lodge’ derived and added their congratulations on his appointment in the Royal Arch.


The Decanter & Glasses sitting proudly in Stephen’s home and ready for action!




A grant of £35,000 has recently been awarded to the Rainbow Trust from the Freemasons’ Grand Charity. 

Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity provides expert social palliative care to families when their child has a life threatening or terminal illness. Offering emotional and practical support, assistance is available for families 24 hours a day.  Individually tailored high quality care is offered from diagnosis through to treatment and, should a family become bereaved, the charity will continue to support them for as long as they are needed, helping family members cope with the present and preparing them for the future.

At a cheque presentation at Freemasons Hall, Manchester WBro Chris Welton APGM met the Whyte family who live in Manchester.  Zerina who is three years old was diagnosed when just 18 months with a rare blood cancer.  Sean a support worker started supporting the family in September 2013 and has helped them in many ways.  He plays with Zerina at the family home along with her brothers Hazeeq and Aqeel and when she is too poorly to go to school he sits with her and does lots of painting which she enjoys.  Emotional support for Mum and Dad is also an important part of the Sean’s work with the family and because of this help Zerina is now attending nursery full time and is much more confident in herself.  Hazeeq goes to a monthly sibling group run by the Trust and both brothers enjoy days out with Sean including climbing centres going to the park and a day with an art therapist.

Nina Markham-Bew the Regional Fundraising & Development Manager for the Rainbow Trust for the Manchester Area said “We are delighted to have received such an incredible amount from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity and would like to thank them for their generous donation. We offer emotional and practical support to families when they need it most and this money will go towards funding a Family Support Worker in our Manchester team. Support like this will ultimately help us reach our aim that one day every family who needs our help has access to a Rainbow Trust carer.”

For more information:
Rainbow Trust
The Freemasons’ Grand Charity

WBro Chris Welton presents the Cheque from the Grand Charity for £35,000 to Linda Thomson with Mum Robina holding Zerina in her arms.


WBro Chris Welton, APGM with Robina and Wayne Whyte and their children Zerina (3 yrs old), Hazeeq (11 yrs old) and Aqueel (6 yrs old)
and also Linda Thompson (Family Support Worker, Greater Manchester Team, Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity)




A Visitor from India at Caledonian Lodge


Brother Srinivasan Chellappa who is the current JW of his Lodge Perfect Unanimity visited Caledonian Lodge No.150 recently. 

Srini, as he is known, contacted the Province looking for a Lodge to visit whilst in Manchester on business.  WBros Len Hayes, District Chairman and a member of the Lodge and WBro David Hudson, District Chairman arranged for Srini to visit Caledonian as it fitted in with his itinerary whilst in Manchester and, as they were having a 3rd Degree ceremony, an ideal opportunity. Srini, a business analyst with the Royal Bank of Scotland, was met by David in the afternoon who gave him a guided tour of some of the highlights of Manchester.  They visited St Anne’s Church to see the stained glass window of King Solomon which had been presented by the Province.  Srini had a great evening and was made most welcome by the Brethren of the Lodge.  Srini is a Manchester United supporter and so he received a combination of congratulations on his taste in football and plenty of ribbing from brethren who prefer the light blue!

Srinivasan is the third generation of his family to be a member of his Lodge.  His father Madhavan Chellappa is the Grand Supreme Ruler of the Secret Monitor and Grand Master of the AMD orders in India and he is also a member of the Lodge.

Michael Holland, a Manchester Mason and a member of Alexandra Lodge and Chapter No. 993, is very much involved in Freemasonry in India being the President of the Board of General Purposes for the District of Bombay.  His Lodge in India is St. George No. 549 in the DGL of Bombay.  He would have been happy to meet Srini but wasn’t available and they have arranged to meet either on the next occasion Srini is in town or in India.

Caledonian Lodge welcomed a visitor from Madras, India, Brother Srinivasan Chellappa who is the current JW of his Lodge Perfect Unanimity No.150. He is pictured next to WBro Fred Walker and also in the picture is WBro Graham Alexandra who acted as WM and WBro Len Hayes.


Fred Walker PProvSGW of Caledonian Lodge No. 204 who has raised over £23,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK is named a ‘Champion’


Fred Walker decided to start fundraising after losing his wife, Joan, to dementia in 2010 - two weeks before their 46th wedding anniversary.
Since then, Fred has been pushing himself to the limit in order to help fund vital research into diagnosis and cures and in August 2011 the Charity recognised his amazing efforts in naming him a Champion of Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Fred has been supported by his mother Lodge, Caledonian, who adopted it as their non-masonic Charity and so far have contributed over £2000.  Fred was invited to attend a grant presentation from the Masonic Samaritan Fund of £181,723 to ARUK in his joint capacity as a mason and a Champion of the Charity.
The grandfather of six completed a sponsored climb of Snowdon at the age of 73, as well as a 14,000ft skydive above Lancaster and after years of fundraising, Alzheimer’s Research UK recognised his outstanding dedication to helping others with the disease.


The Sponsored Climb of Snowdon


The Sponsored Skydive

Fred said: “They phoned out of the blue and said I was getting the title because I’d raised so much money and that I gave a power point presentations about dementia”.
“It was quite surprising really because after my wife died I decided there were many many charities looking after sick people in the community, but very few researching diagnosis and cures.”
Joan, who died at the age of 70, played an active part in the community and was involved in the church as well as the Institute of Advanced Motorists.
The couple also played an active role as foster parents in the community, fostering 30 children throughout their lives together.

Fred cared for Joan throughout her battle with Alzheimer’s, but had no idea how hard it was going to be.
He said: “Alzheimer’s is so horrendous that when you are a carer you think nobody else can possibly be going through what you are going through”.
“If I had known at the beginning of the journey what the end would be like, it would have been very hard to cope.”  His family of three children and six grandchildren proved to be a great support throughout his remarkable journey of caring for Joan and raising money for ARUK.


Fred and Joan

Fred has written a book “Alzheimer’s: An Engineer’s View” with co-author Bro Dr Chris Pomfrett, current President of the Royal Society of Medicine, Anaesthesia Section, who is also a member of Caledonian. The book describes the journey through Alzheimer’s disease from a pragmatic engineering point of view. Fred and Chris covered the costs of publication resulting in all the sales being another way of raising funds for the Charity.  So far over £2000 worth of copies have been sold through Waterstones and Amazon in hard and download versions. Book link to Amazon

Fred gives talks regularly at Probus, Round Table, Rotary, WI, Town Women’s Guild as well as large company social events including the National Alzheimer’s Show on two occasions  and Fred has twice represented ARUK at the House of Commons.

Fred has become a ‘media star’ having been interviewed on BBC Radio Manchester a few times as well as Wythenshawe FM and he was featured in the Manchester Evening News and the Messenger Group of Newspapers.

Fred celebrated 50 years in Freemasonry in October 2009 when the then APGM for Manchester, WBro Martin Caller, supported by a Provincial Deputation, recognised his huge contribution to the craft as well as his service to the wider community.  The full report can be found by following the link:


WBro Fred Walker at his 50th Celebration in Freemasonry.

As well as raising such an impressive sum which continues to grow, Fred is raising the awareness of ARUK.  This work also helps the Charity to gain more support from people willing to volunteer. To find out more about volunteering for Alzheimer’s Research UK visit , call 0300 111 5 555 or email

At the most recent meeting of Caledonian Lodge, Fred was surprised by WBro Len Hayes, District Chairman and also a member of the Lodge. Secret discussions had taken place and a donation to ARUK was made from Manchester Masons for £200 in recognition of Fred’s sterling efforts for the cause.

Fred Walker receiving a cheque for £200 from WBro Len Hayes from Manchester Masons



£125,000 donation supports improvement of children’s eye care and diagnosis


Manchester Royal Eye Hospital Charity has received a £125,000 donation from the Freemasons. Made up of a major donation from East Lancashire Freemasons and supplemented by a grant from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, the funds will be going towards the Hospital’s Eye Bicentenary Charity Appeal to improve treatment, research and care at the Children’s Outpatient Clinic.

The substantial donation will contribute to the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment called a DNA Sequencer. The DNA Sequencer together with sequencing agents will not only be able to improve diagnosis for inherited eye diseases, but will also provide a vital tool to enable researchers to better understand the genetic basis of eye disease.

Currently, a diagnosis for inherited eye diseases can involve repeated and invasive testing. However, using the latest sequencing technology, the cause of the disease in 75% of patients will be detected with a single blood sample. This will mean that the Hospital will be able to treat more eye-patients than ever before while greatly reducing the trauma that they might experience.

DNA sequencing helps to identify new gene variants that cause disease in the eye. It will enable researchers at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital to better understand how such eye problems develop and open up enhanced treatment possibilities.

The donation will also enable the post of ‘Children’s Eye Clinic Liaison Officer’ to be created. The post will provide much needed support to patients and their families at a critical time – when a child is diagnosed with a serious eye condition. From specific counselling, working with social services, schools and the wider community, the Children’s Eye Clinic Liaison Officer will enhance patient care beyond diagnosis.

Manchester Royal Eye Hospital recently marked its bicentenary by raising funds to improve treatment, research and care at the Children’s Outpatient Clinic. The success of the Appeal will enable the Hospital to provide the best possible treatment using the best possible equipment in the best possible environment for children.

Tanya Hamid, Legacies and Trusts Fundraising Manager, said:

“We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of The East Lancashire Freemasons and The Freemasons Grand Charity. The support we have received really will make a significant difference to the lives of children who suffer from a range of eye conditions.

“Being diagnosed with a serious eye condition can be a scary time a child and their family. With the funds raised by the Freemasons we are a step closer to being able to provide the most specialist care and support for those who need it the most.”

Sir David Trippier, Provincial Grand Master for East Lancashire, said:
"Freemasons are delighted to have provided vital financial support for the most worthy cause of the eyesight of young children, a cause for which Manchester Royal Eye Hospital provides such superb facilities and expertise. We are also delighted to have been supported in this project by The Grand Charity."

Left to right: Professor Graeme Black (of MREH), Mr Grahame Elliot (representing the Freemason’s Grand Charity), Sir David Trippier (Provincial Grand Master for East Lancashire),
Maurice Watkins CBE (Chairman of MREH Charity), Mr Susmito Biswas (of MREH) and Professor Chris Lloyd (of MREH).




November 24th

A large gathering of over 100 Brethren attended the Hosted Meeting in the presence of the RWPGM Sir David Trippier at Freemasons Hall, Manchester.

The PProv DC, Wesley Marchant brought the RWPGM into the Lodge with a Provincial Deputation and after taking the Chair he commented on how wonderful it was to see the Derby Lodge room so full.  He thanked the WM and the Brethren of Minnehaha Lodge for the work they had put in in hosting the meeting and how important such meetings were to enable him to meet as many brethren as he could in the Province.

The Provincial Deputation were introduced which included VWBro Stephen Blank APGM and both Provincial Grand Wardens, Simon Archer and Gerry Hodgson plus the Provincial Grand Secretary John Farrington.  The Brethren gave a warm and rousing round of applause in acknowledging and welcoming them.

RW PGM with V WBro Stephen Blank, APGM flanking WM Bro John Bissett with the
Provincial Deputation and the Officers and Brethren of Minnehaha Lodge.

The main part of the evening was to be a presentation of ‘Light Blue Entertainment’ which was introduced by the WM John Bissett who started it with his own talking briefly about his masonic family history which is extensive and the reason for his early interest in becoming a Freemason. He explained that his father, WBro Stephen John Bissett PProv SGD, the current Lodge DC, Initiated-Passed and Raised him.

His great grandfather Jim Thompson was initiated into Constitution Lodge (3392) in November 1920 which sadly closed in the early 2000’s. He joined Minnehaha lodge in April 1930 and was WM from 1939-1941 and became a Provincial Officer in 1952.

Jim’s brother Herbert was also initiated into Lodge in May 1925 and he followed his brother to Minnehaha in March 1931. He was master from 1943-1945 and DC for many years.

His Grandfather JM Bissett (Mac) was initiated into Minnehaha in 1955, Master in 1966 and a provincial officer in 1972. In 2005 he achieved 50 years in Masonry.

His other great Grandfather John Bissett (commenting that they were not very original at names in his family!) was initiated into Trafford Lodge (1496) in March 1915. He was master in 1930 and became a provincial officer in 1934.

John also mentioned his Great-Great Grandfather John Schofield (another John) who was initiated into the Earl of Latham lodge in 1905, which still meets in Bury.

John commented the he really had no choice but to join however since becoming a Freemason he has found the comradery to be an important aspect  and that Minnehaha is a friendly Lodge and where he has had many positive experiences in the last 7 years.

RW PGM Sir David Trippier with the WM Bro John Bissett of Minnehaha Lodge and the Brethren who gave the ‘Light Blue Presentation’

The Senior Warden of Minnehaha Lodge Ed Rowan delivered his presentation.

He explained that he was intrigued by a work colleague, Simon De Wynter, telling him that he ‘was off to Bridge Street after work’.  On further enquiry he learned that this was to go to a Lodge meeting and this was to see another work colleague initiated into Freemasonry.  This eventually led to him telling Simon that he would be interested to learn more and after a while he was to be put forward as a candidate.  Prior to this he told the brethren that he had a number of concerns and misgivings regarding the craft fuelled by rumour and false information in the media and in particular the internet.  He had no masonic background in his family to fall back on but fortunately found the East Lancashire Provincial website and the UGLE site to be full of useful and helpful information that re assured him.

Ed also met with the Lodge Secretary which enabled him to have his questions answered and then attended a Ladies Evening and met a number of brethren including the Worshipful Master.  He enjoyed the evening and this helped him reach his decision and wish to become a mason.

Ed explained that he was Initiated in December 2009 and made sure that he didn’t read any of the ritual before the meeting.  He was greeted in the Derby Bar by brethren and was intrigued by the mention of ‘a goat’ on a number of occasions however everyone told him to relax and enjoy the evening.

Ed commented that his Initiation, Passing and Rising all worked out well and that he was now standing  5 years later in front of not only brethren from his  own lodge, but also Provincial Grand Lodge and others from the Province.

He stated how sad it is that a few of the Brethren whom were here when he first joined are now in the Grand Lodge above and how thankful he was to have met them on his journey mentioning Worshipful Brother's John Knowles and Keith McCloud.

He is looking forward to the next chapter in his Masonic career which is about to begin next year when he hopefully becomes the Worshipful Master of Minnehaha.

He also confirmed on a final note that no goat' were harmed during the preparation of this speech!

A special night for ‘Father & Son’ Colin and Scott Bagshaw with the RW PGM as
Colin the WM of Britannia Lodge No. 3005  recently Initiated his son into the Craft.

The next presentation was given by the Junior Warden Luther John Williams

He told the meeting that he had been initiated into Freemasonry on the 23 January 2009 and since that day Freemasonry and its Philosophy has formed a large part of his life. It is his belief that it has not only improved the way that he deals with people in his everyday life but it has also helped him develop a strong belief in himself which has enabled him to progress in his professional life.

Luther told the brethren that he has made a great deal of friends through his Freemasonry most of whom he would never have met in any other environment. He has have visited many Lodges all over the UK including North & South Wales, Sheffield, London, Leeds, Liverpool, Cheshire and countless Lodges here in his home Province of East Lancashire.

Luther has recently moved to Saudi Arabia to start a new job. He left the UK to start this daunting new adventure on his own however his involvement Freemasonry gave him the opportunity to meet brethren that had already been living there for some time.  They were able to advise him on day to day living and also made him aware of certain customs that need to be adhered to whilst living in Saudi Arabia, this in its self was extremely helpful.

It also presented him with another masonic visiting opportunity as there was a Lodge meeting in the residential compound where he is living. They work under a warrant from the American Canadian Grand Lodge and he has visited this Lodge on quite a few occasions.

He explained the Freemasonry practised in Saudi is very different to our own but very enjoyable all the same; although the existence of this Lodge is not for common knowledge outside of Freemasonry due to the very strict regulations that are currently in place in Saudi Arabia.

Luther stated that having been in the Craft for coming up to 5 years he cannot see himself ever not being a Freemason concluding by stating “I enjoy every minute of my freemasonry and I am truly passionate about it.

I will be forever grateful for the positive changes it has inspired in me and in my life.”

RW PGM Sir David Trippier congratulates WM Bro John Bissett

The next brother to speak was another Steward-Ionut Vamanu

He opened by expressing his thanks you for giving him the honour of learning so many things and meeting so many brothers when he is at the beginning of his journey in this brotherhood.

For many years, he was attracted and impressed by this society, so he decided to go ahead and “knock at its doors and ask for admission.” He made his first step in Freemasonry 6 months ago, in this building, very curious and with a lot of hope.  However, he didn’t expected Monday of 28th of April to become a day that he would never forget and his first “left foot step” into the Lodge to be one that would change him into a better person, and that has “opened him a unique path towards light.”

Ionut told the brethren that during his first rituals and meetings, he had tremendous support from “my brothers, and there are no words to describe my gratitude for their help.” They managed to help him understand Freemasonry and motivate him to gain knowledge, grow and respect the true values of this sacred society.  He commented “It’s no wonder why this Lodge is 125 years old.”

He concluded by explaining that 6 months ago, the reasons he’d entered Freemasonry were to develop himself, learn and become a better person. Now he can say he has an additional one and he wants to make sure that as long as he is a Freemason, together with his brothers, he will transmit to all new candidates or generations the same passion and values that he felt and received from Minnehaha Lodge this year.

The Brethren then heard from two brethren from other Lodges.  Bro George Deer from Ark Scroll had been introduced to Freemasonry through a work connection and thoroughly enjoyed attending meetings and meeting such diverse people.  He said that the charitable element was of particular interest to him and he thanked his Lodge Mentor, Laurence Rickless, for the help and guidance he had afforded him since becoming a mason.  Bro Domingos Mamede from Virtue Lodge who was a recent initiate said that he felt he had started an “amazing journey” and once that he was sure would help him improve himself in his private and professional life.

This was the last of the personal presentations and the RWPGM congratulated and thanked the junior brethren for the effort they had all put into delivering their individual views and experiences of Freemasonry.  He added that listening to them was so much more enjoyable than hearing yet another explanation of the 2nd Degree Tracing Board!  The brethren gave a long and loud applause in recognition of the presentations given.

The WM John Bissett then presented a cheque for £600 for the RMBI Festival which was gratefully received by the RW PGM. 

In the Social Board thanks were again expressed by the RW PGM to the WM and Brethren of Minnehaha Lodge for all their efforts in hosting the meeting.  He emphasised that the Festival which had now raised over £2m was in its last period and that there would be a Grand Dinner in October 2015 at the Macron Stadium (Bolton Wanderers FC) to bring it to a conclusion.  He explained that once it ended their would be a 7 year period when the Province would be able to concentrate once again on the ELMC and Non Masonic Charities and encouraged everyone for a final push to swell the coffers of the Festival.  He said how impressed he was with the presentations given in the Lodge and how varied they were.  He recognised how nerve racking it must have been for each of the brethren and thanked them all.  He concluded by repeating something he had said recently at East Lancashire Provincial Grand Lodge; “A brother might forget what you say or do, but he will not forget how you make them feel.” 

In his toast to the WM, VWBro Stephen Blank, APGM took the opportunity to thank both District Chairman in assisting in the arrangements for the meeting and Manchester Masons for helping with some of the costs.  He also told the brethren that with the help of WBro David Hudson he had discovered the reason for the name of the Lodge.  It had been created by some travelling Masons who had a musical group called the Minnehaha Minstrels who provided entertainment and hence the name was adopted when the Lodge was created.

Responding Bro John Bissett, WM, expressed his thanks to WBro Ken Palmer for the work he had invested in the meeting and also his wife Glynis who had ‘taken the register’ this evening.





Archives Navigation: Latest News | 2014 | 2013