||Manchester Districts (City Derby and City Sykes)
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.
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
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!
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
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.
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
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)
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,
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.
The Victoria Cross
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
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
“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: http://www.pglel.co.uk/Lodge_Officers_Pages/Mentor/Mentoring_Process_Downloadsx.asp )
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
Maybe not a first, but a rare occasion!
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
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
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 celebrated its 1000th meeting at Freemasons Hall, Manchester.
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.
VWBro Stephen Blank PSwdB, APGM handing over the Certificate to WM Bro Stephen Levene with WBro Jack Levene PProv JGW.
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.
WBro Alan Callagan seated next to the WM Bro Paul S Y Lee who is next to VWBro Stephen Blank APGM.
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.
I have taken a selection of the minutes relevant to Alan’s Initiation and one or two other points of interest.
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.
IPM WBro J Gardner
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.
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;
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;
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.
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
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!
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.