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WBro Dr Herbert McRoberts 50th Birthday

WBro Herbert McRoberts, WBro Chris Welton APGM and the brethren of Horton Lodge and Visitors

The Worshipful Master of Horton Lodge, WBro Derek Andrews, opened the Lodge in due form and began the meeting by conducting normal business.

The Worshipful Master received a report that WBro David Cowen ProvDepGDC was outside the door of the Lodge. On entering he announced that the APGM WBro John Christopher Welton PJGD, accompanied by a Provincial Deputation, were outside the door of the Lodge and demanded admission.

A Delegation of the Provincial officers and District Officers, headed by the APGM were received by the Worshipful Master, WBro Derek Andrews WBro David Cowen asked the Brethren to stand and give salutation to the APGM.

The Worshipful Master offered the gavel to WBro Welton, who said he was pleased to receive the gavel, accepted it and occupied the chair of King Solomon.

WBro Welton began by saying, Brethren we are here tonight to celebrate a most important birthday, the 50 years in Freemasonry of WBro. Herbert McRobert, known to us all as Mac. Mac was initiated into Alkrington Lodge No. 6102, on 16th November 1964 and then joined Horton Lodge on 1st November 2011 WBro Herbert McRobert was born on 13th August 1940 and that year King George VI was the reigning monarch and Winston Churchill became Prime Minister. We were in the depths of the Second World War. It was a year of Nazi atrocities and Russian annexation of other countries. That year saw the creation of the Commandos, now 50 years on, they are famous throughout the world. Away from the war many well-known pop stars were born in 1940 including John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Adam Faith, Cliff Richard, Tom Jones and Freddie Garrity.

Mac was initiated into Alkrington Lodge on 16th November 1964 and that year proved to be quite a momentous year, not just because Mac joined Freemasonry but in that year Harold Wilson became P.M. and then went on to win an election later that year. The trial of the Great Train Robbers started and during that year 2 children went missing in the Manchester area Keith Bennett and Lesley Ann Downey.

The Forth Bridge opened and we did pretty well at the Tokyo Olympics with 4 gold 12 silver and 2 bronze medals.

Whilst all this was going on Mac was quietly going about his Freemasonry and doing sterling service in his Lodge.

At this point in the proceedings WBro Welton called upon WBro Colin Heywood to deliver a tribute to Mac. Colin began by saying, Mac was born in Birmingham but moved to the Werneth area at a very early age and spent his youth in and around the Chadderton area and finished his school years in Chadderton Grammar where he also met his wife Pat. Mac and Pat continued their education by going to separate universities with Pat obtaining a degree in mathematics.

Mac and Pat were married in 1963 and with the support of his wife Mac continued his university studies gaining a Doctorate in Physics.

He was initiated into Alkrington Lodge on the 16th November 1964, passed 18th January 1965 & raised 25th April 1965.  All three ceremonies were performed by the late WBro Albert Tattersall. Throughout the 60’s & 70’s Freemasonry was thriving throughout the district which resulted in his early years spent on the stewards list but eventually becoming the Worshipful Master in 1977 but the highlight of Mac’s year was his ladies evening at the Dunkenhalgh Hotel where 230 people attended at a cost £6-50pp.

In 1976 Mac joined the Royal Arch, was exalted into Imperial George Chapter and became First Principal in 1986.   He has attended the Lodge for the past 33 years.

In 1993 Mac was approached and asked if he would be interested in becoming a member of the District Committee as the Deputy Chairman and held this position until 1998 then he held the position of District Chairman until 2004.

On the 29th April 1998 Mac gained promotion to Grand Rank becoming a Grand Officer with the rank of PAGDC. Although Mac was a dedicated member of Alkrington Lodge the membership declined and eventually the Lodge handed in its warrant but Mac continued his freemasonry by becoming a member of Horton Lodge.

WBro Welton thanked WBro Colin Heywood for his tribute and went on to say WBro McRobert has been a constant and profound supporter of Life, Freemasonry, his Lodges and Chapters.  50years in Freemasonry is a fabulous milestone to achieve and we are here partly to commemorate that milestone, but what we are actually celebrating is much, much more than that.

We are here to applaud this Man and all that he has achieved and contributed to in Freemasonry. Brethren, it is men like this who have been the custodians of Masonry during its long history and that have enabled the Fraternity to still exist as vibrantly as it does today.

The Service he has given, the various offices he has occupied, the contribution he has made to meetings, committees and social events, the principles of integrity, honesty, kindness and support he has upheld, the knowledge and experience he has shared with the Brethren and the care he has given to other Masons, both new and the more experienced has been strong, deep and has probably touched their lives in many ways”.

WBro Welton then read a letter from the RWProvGM Sir David Trippier and presented WBro McRoberts with his Illuminated Certificate. The Deputy ProvGDC, David Cowen then escorted Mac around the Lodge to the affirmation of the brethren.

WBro Herbert McRoberts & WBro Chris Welton with illuminated Certificate

WBro Welton, together with WBro McRoberts and the Provincial Deputation, withdrew from the lodge in Masonic order.

The Worshipful Master Derek Andrews closed the lodge in due form and everyone retired to what was a most enjoyable social board.

WBro Ed Cheadle APGP, WBro David Cowen DepProvGDC, WBro Herbert McRoberts
Thanking the brethren at the social board



Russia Salutes Alfred Shaw

At the age of 20 Alfred Shaw’s life was very up and down, very traumatic and he could have died at any moment. It was 1944 and Alfred was involved in the bitter Arctic Convoys. A total of 78 convoys took place between August 1941 and May 1945 and thousands of Allied troops lost their lives in the treacherous conditions endured whilst delivering essential supplies to the Soviet Union under the Lend Lease Programme.

After many years, Alfred Shaw, for his gallant work, has received the USHAKOV Medal from the Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko, in a recent ceremony held at Manchester Town Hall.

The Ushakov Medal which was a Soviet Military award created on 3rd March 1944 and was named in honour of the Russian Admiral Fyodor Ushakov who never lost a battle.

WBro Alfred (Alf) Shaw was born on the 29th September 1924. He was initiated into Wilson Lodge 1077 on the 5th March and was the Worshipful Master of Alkrington Lodge in 1977 & 2004. He is currently a member of Horton Lodg


Prior to the presentation the ambassador paid tribute to the crews who were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice to shorten the war.

on behalf of the Russian Government for the invaluable contribution you and your comrade-in-arms made to the defeat of the Germany.

What you did 70 years ago, taking part in what Sir Winston Churchill rightly called the worst journey in the world, was extraordinary even among what is considered to be beyond the call of duty. Thousands of allied seamen lost their lives as British ships sailed in the unwelcoming, stormy waters of the Arctic Ocean under constant threat of being attacked by German u-boats and aircraft. Your heroism will always be remembered in Russia and Britain. Your deeds will continue to serve as the supreme expression of Bravery and a high point in human spirit”. 

The Lord Mayor of Manchester, Sue Cooley, summed up the event by saying “it had been a privilege to see the medal awarded”.



Horton Lodge 8528  - Hosted meeting

On Tuesday the 4th November the RWPGM, Sir David Trippier, together with a Provincial Deputation attended Oldham District for a Hosted Meeting held by Horton Lodge at Middleton Masonic Hall.

The Provincial Grand Master occupied the Chair and together with 95 Brethren comprising of all Oldham District Worshipful Masters, Lodge Members, and visitors from other lodges was treated to presentations from three recently initiated Masons on their first impressions of Freemasonry followed by a presentation on the life Sir Arthur Sullivan by WBro Barry Sugden PProvGOrg.

Bro John Clarkson of Tonge Hall Lodge 8763 described what attracted him to Freemasonry was having to be trusted before one could develop, learn and move forward in the craft, the feeling of belonging to a fraternity and becoming a Brother amongst Brothers.

Bro Laurence Jones of Horton Lodge 8528 said he was introduced to masonry through his father-in-law and lodge social occasions and asked the question of a Masonic friend, “how do you get in to Masonry”? His friend Bro Bob Wall replied “you have just invited yourself”!

Bro Russ Heaton of Werneth Lodge 6163 described how he was researching the mysteries surrounding Freemasonry and made enquires via the PGLEL web site. Subsequently after discussing Freemasonry with WBro David Dunn, Oldham District Chairman, he found the principles of Freemasonry were the same as his own, especially with regards to charity so he decided to become a Mason. Even though he had a good grounding about Masonry he described that nothing could have prepared him for his initiation ceremony which he approached with apprehension and excitement.

The last presentation was given by WBro Barry Sugden on the life of Sir Arthur Sullivan who lived 1842 – 1900. All aspects from his childhood as a chorister through to being a teenager attending the world’s finest school of music in Leipzig Germany, the onto his adult life when he entered Freemasonry at the age of 23 and became the National Grand Organist.

His partnership with W.S. Gilbert produced such shows as H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, Patience, Iolanthe, Princess Ida, but all was not sweetness and light and Gilbert & Sullivan parted company. Sullivan was knighted in 1883 for his services to music.

Sullivan never married, however when his brother died he became guardian to his brother’s wife and seven children. In the summer of 1900 Sullivan health declined rapidly and on the 22nd November aged 58 he died. His wish was to be buried with his beloved parents in Brompton but his wishes were overturned by Queen Victoria who commanded that he be laid to rest in St. Paul’s Cathedral after what amounted to a state funeral.

A very interesting and enjoyable evening.

All present retired to the social board for an excellent meal.



Richmond Lodge 150th Celebration at Middleton Masonic Hall

Worshipful Master WBro Leslie Hamer (Centre with chain) and lodge brethren

After the Brethren paraded into the lodge the Worshipful Master, WBro Leslie Hamer PProvDGSuptWks, opened the Lodge in due form and welcomed all to the celebration of 150yrs of Richmond Lodge No1011.

The Worshipful Master called upon the Lodge Secretary to read a dispensation from the RWPGM, Sir David Trippier, to hold a special meeting on Tuesday the 17th June 2014.

The Master received a report that WBro Simon Archer, PProvDepGReg the ProvDepGDC was outside the door of the Lodge. On entering he announced that VWBro Derek Thornhill, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, accompanied by WBro Chris Welton, and other members of the Provincial Team, were outside the Lodge and demanded admission.

A Delegation of the District Officers headed by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master was received by the Worshipful Master, WBro Leslie Hamer. 

The Worshipful Master welcomed the Deputy Provincial Grand Master VWBro Derek Thornhill and offered him the Gavel which he accepted on this special occasion. Bothe the Provincial SW and JW were escorted to the lodge SW and JW pedestals and took up their rightful positions.

The ProvDepGDC WBro Simon Archer, asked the Brethren to stand and give salutation to the DepProvGM.

VWBro Derek Thornhill thanked the lodge for their salutation and then addressed the brethren by saying “it was nice to be here on this very special night and it’s also nice to come with a deputation.” He then introduced WBro’s Chris Welton, APGM, EComp Ed Cheadle APGM, David Dunn District Chairman, John Porter ProvSGW, David Lightbown ProvSJW, Stephen Holt Prov Organist, David Halford PGChap, John Winstanley APGGhap and John Farrington ProvGSec and finished by saying “it was a great team to have with me”.

He then called upon Bro Phil Howarth, the lodge Junior Warden, to give a short history on the lodge.

“Brethren, Worshipful Brother Les Hamer, PProvDGSupWks, will be our Worshipful Master for the forthcoming Masonic year as one of the longest serving current members of Richmond Lodge. This is the third consecutive year that Les has served his lodge and he has now in fact been Worshipful Master for a total of 5 times. Having been initiated into Freemasonry on the 17-November-1977.

I, being one of the youngest and shortest serving members of the lodge, have been given the great privilege of speaking to you all this evening. Our guest at our Installation a fortnight ago, WBro David Dunn, highlighted the fact that a good many lodges last approximately Forty years on average before handing back their warrant.

Therefore I am very proud to be a member of a lodge that has now been in existence for 150 years, an achievement which has recently been due to the efforts of the senior members of Richmond Lodge and Arthur Sullivan Lodge, a subject that I will touch on in a moment.

When I was made aware that we were quickly approaching our 150th anniversary, I started to ask about the first 100 years. It was at that stage that it became apparent that some of our lodge records had been deposited for safe keeping at Bridge Street. And, due to the renovation works taking place, a number of documents and books had been placed in the safekeeping of the John Rylands University Library. On checking their on-line catalogue I quickly found a historical review: 1864-1964 of Freemasons.
Richmond Lodge, No. 1011 ( Middleton , England ); Sinnott, E.G.

However it became very difficult to obtain a copy but the relevant permissions were obtained by our WM and SW and we were able to make copies of the historical view.
When we finally had copies made, what was remarkable and a credit to Brother EG Synnott, it highlighted the two points I will bring to your attention now.

Have you anything to give in the cause of charity? We are asked.
Charity in Richmond Lodge over the years has needed to change due to the decreasing value of our currency. In January 1865, the first recorded charity collection from the members of Richmond Lodge realized the sum of seven shillings, the highest sum collected during the first ten years on any one evening was fourteen shillings. To put this into perspective the current value for these sums would be :- approx £240  and £480 respectively.

And a comparison between the number of brethren in attendance at a meeting and the amount collected for charity shows that the average contribution was sixpence per member ( approx £17 ) a point to consider when we are reviewing our benevolence to charity into the future.

Before discussing our current membership it may be worth a summary of our brethren numbers during the last 150 years. On June 16th 1864, Richmond Lodge No. 1011 was duly formed and its officers installed, Bro. Henry Holder our first WM, assisted by Bro. William Dodge as Senior Warden and Bro David Turner as Junior Warden The first men to be initiated into Richmond Lodge were Mr John Hogg, Mr Henry James Warrington and Mr Joseph Dickson, a Clerk - 22 years of age who went on to be WM in 1869 at the tender age of 27.

A look through the original Register of members shows that there have been 598 worthy men recorded as members to date.

During the first fifty years leading up to 1914 our lodge boasted 332 members, over the next fifty years we had a further 180 members and finally over the last fifty years we have had 86 new members join our lodge. Although the diminishing numbers would initially seem to show a decline in interest with the craft, it needs to be put into context with two world wars, and recently the advent of movies, television, video games and the internet, time, it would seem, is now in short supply.

Looking back on the Professions of previous brethren it is immediately obvious that the majority of the members of Richmond lodge were tradesmen, artisans and a smattering of professionals.

My favourite entries in the lodge register are as follows our first Gentleman -  Bro William Heath 1864. A vocalist at Manchester Cathedral– Bro Hudson Lister 1872 who may well have been a founding member of Arthur Sullivan Lodge. I am aware that there is a photograph of the founders of Arthur Sullivan Lodge in existence and Bro Hudson Lister is not in it, but as I have found to my cost, rounding all the brethren up at one time for a photograph is like herding cats.

Our Lodge register will be here on display for review after the lodge meeting.

In our original historical review there is a very interesting paragraph relating to our daughter lodge Arthur Sullivan lodge, No 2156.

In 1949 by unanimous vote of the brethren of Arthur Sullivan Lodge, the Worshipful Master of Richmond Lodge would be appointed an honorary member of the Arthur Sullivan Lodge during his year in office. A kindness that was reciprocated for the Worshipful Masters and Secretaries of both the Arthur Sullivan Lodge , No 2156 and our granddaughter lodge Madrigal  No 5039.



Master Masons entertained by “Crafty Companions” hosted by
Imperial George Chapter at Middleton

The East Lancashire Royal Arch Demonstration Team recently visited Imperial George Chapter No 78 at Middleton Masonic Hall to perform “Crafty Companions” for the members of the Chapter, and a group of Master Masons. As one of the principal purposes of the Demonstration Team is to encourage Master Masons to consider joining the Royal Arch, they accepted the offer very readily.

The meeting took place on Tuesday, 29th April, which turned out to be a very pleasant spring day. The team congregated at Middleton in time for a practice and to get ready. Because of the nature of the performance, this was one of the occasions when the team stayed out of the meeting, in order to create more of a surprise during the performance itself.

On this occasion the Chapter Meeting itself was quite extensive, as there was a good deal of business to attend to under the guidance of the Chapter’s Three Principals.

However, in due course, the last items were dealt with, the Chapter was closed and the Master Masons were admitted to the Chapter Room, which was now set up for the demonstration. EComp Edwin Cheadle, PGStB, who is a Vice President of the Demonstration Team, but is also the Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals for the Eastern Area of our Province, was on hand to introduce the team to the waiting Audience. This he did with both alacrity and grace.

The Demonstration Team then performed “Crafty Companions”, this piece introduces the audience to many of the characters who inhabit the ritual of both the Craft and the Royal Arch. One by one they strode into the room and introduced themselves and told their stories. I will not go any farther than that, since you already know the piece from having seen it, or if you do not, I shall not spoil the occasion when you do see this excellent piece of work by describing it in detail.

At the end, the Most Excellent First Principal of the Chapter, EComp David Clayton, thanked the members of the team for a first rate experience, commenting that he was sure that all those who had been privileged to see this work would remember it for a long time.

The East Lancashire Royal Arch Demonstration Team (ELRADT)


60th Birthday of WBro Eric Chisholm

The Brethren of Imperial George Lodge

WBro Chris Welton then addressed the brethren by saying “we are here tonight to celebrate a most important birthday, the 60 years in Freemasonry of W. Bro. Eric Hugh Chisholm, PProvSGW, who was initiated into Imperial George Lodge No.78 on 25th February 1954, just  a couple of days over 60 years ago”. WBro Welton then introduced the District Delegation, two Grand Officers namely WBro Neville Rayner and  WBro Philip Price together with WBro John Griffin DepProvGDC who were all greeted with applause. Chris went on to say that he also brought greetings from the RW PGM Sir David Trippier and V. W. Bro. Derek Nelson Thornhill, Dep. PGM both of whom sent their best wishes to everyone and personal congratulations to you Eric.

WBro Welton then asked the PDGDC to place WBro Eric Chisholm in the Centre of the Lodge room and asked the secretary to read extracts of the Lodge Minutes.

WBro Eric Chisholm

A very active mason WBro Eric Chisholm PProvSGW, a member of Imperial George Lodge No78, reached sixty years in freemasonry on 25th February this year and his celebration took place at Middleton Masonic Hall on Thursday 27th February.

The Worshipful Master, Bro Stephen Wall, opened the Lodge in due form and began the meeting conducting normal business.

The Worshipful Master received a report that WBro John Griffin ProvDepGDC was outside the door of the Lodge, on entering he announced that WBro Chris Welton, APGM was outside the Lodge and demanded admission.

A delegation of the District Officers headed by the APGM were received by the Worshipful Master, Bro Stephen Wall.  The Worshipful Master offered the Gavel to WBro Chris Welton, who accepted it with pleasure.

The Secretary WBro Naylor read extracts from the minute book stating that Eric was put forward to join freemasonry in October 1953 and placed on good report for a month. In December of that year Eric was proposed to become a member of the Lodge, a vote was taken and proved in favor of Eric. At the regular meeting of the Lodge on the 25th February 1954 Mr. Eric Chisholm was initiated. After taking up offices within the Lodge Eric was invested into the Chair of King Solomon on the 28th January 1967.

WBro Chris Welton said WBro Eric Chisholm was born on 3rd August 1922 and has had a very interesting life before and after joining Freemasonry.

What of 1922 the year of Eric’s birth, King George V was the reigning monarch and David Lloyd George was Prime Minister when Eric was born, but when the Conservative Party broke up the coalition which they had with the Liberals, the Conservative Andrew Bonar Law became Prime Minister.

There were some other notable events that occurred in 1922, Insulin was successfully used for the treatment of diabetes for the first time, BBC was formed, Mahatma Ghandi was jailed for Sedition, and a man called Stalin was appointed General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party. It was also the year that Howard Carter discovered the entrance to the tomb of Tutankhamen and Egypt became independent of the UK 
Well-known names born in 1922 include the late Tom Finney whose funeral took place recently, Jim Laker, Judy Garland, Tommy Cooper and Telly Savalas.

When Eric was initiated in 1954 it also proved to be quite a momentous year, not just because Eric joined Freemasonry but in that year Roger Bannister ran the first 4 minute mile, Marilyn Munro broke many hearts when she married Joe DiMaggio and in February of that year President Eisenhower warned against the USA getting involved in Vietnam, and UK Food Rationing finally finished.

WBro Welton finished off by saying “I think I have spoken long enough and hopefully set the scene for you and now it is the turn of WBro Reg Vernon to spill the beans on Eric Chisholm the man!!

WBro Vernon thanked the Worshipful Master and Brethren of Imperial George Lodge for allowing him to pay tribute to his friend and Brother Eric whom he has known for nearly seventy years. WBro Vernon paid a wonderful tribute and spilled the beans on Eric which the Brethren enjoyed; he then went on to say:

In his early years Eric was nurtured in an environment of public service his mother was the Mayor and his sister the Mayoress. His uncle Bill and Sidney were both aldermen and mayors of the Borough and his Father was a magistrate. An appropriate motto for the family would be “If I can help somebody as I pass along then my living shall not be in vain”.

Many Brethren who attend Middleton owe a debt of gratitude to Eric as it was under his leadership as Chairman of the Middleton Pavilion Cub that the old Pavilion was sold and a new purpose-built Lodge room, bar and steward’s quarters were constructed. Brethren, if you look over the bar you will see a notice which reads “The Chisholm Bar” which bears his name as recognition of his tireless work. Eric is a fine example to us all.


WBro Eric Chisholm and his son David

WBro Chris Welton thanked WBro Vernon for his wonderful tribute.  WBro Chris Welton then read a letter from the RWPGM Sir David Trippier and presented WBro Eric Chisholm with his Illuminated Certificate. WBro John Griffin, PDGDC, escorted WBro Chisholm around the Lodge to the affirmation of the brethren.

WBro Welton APGM together with the provincial team and WBro Eric Chisholm retired from the Lodge.

WBro Stephen Wall closed the Lodge and everyone present retired to the social board.



WBro Sydney Barnes Reaches 50yrs

All the Brethren

On Monday the 27th January WBro Sydney Barnes, a member of Pilgrim Lodge, reached fifty years in freemasonry and his celebration took place at Middleton Masonic Hall. The Worshipful Master, Bro Neil Watkins (left in the picture) opened the lodge in due form and began the meeting conducting normal business.

The Worshipful Master received a report that WBro Simon Archer PDGDC was outside the door of the lodge, on entering he announced that WBro Chris Welton, APGM was outside the lodge and demanded admission. A delegation of the District Officers headed by the APGM were received by the Worshipful Master, Bro Neil Watkins. The Worshipful Master offered the Gavel to WBro Chris Welton, who said “he would accept this gavel on this occasion as he was here to celebrate WBro Sydney Barnes 50th Birthday”. WBro Chris Welton then addressed the brethren.

“Brethren we are here tonight to celebrate a most important Birthday, the 50 years in Freemasonry of W. Bro. Sydney Barnes who was initiated into Pilgrim Lodge No. 7306 on 27th January 1964, exactly 50 years ago today”.

Syd Barnes, Chris Welton and Alan Barnes

WBro Chris Welton then introduced the District Delegation and 3 Grand Officers who were, WBro Neville Rayner, WBro Colin Winterbottom,  WBro Alan Barnes( Syd’s younger brother) and the PDGDC Dr Simon Kenneth Archer who were all greeted with applause.

He went on to say “Worshipful Bro Sydney Barnes was born on 9th July1934 to Ethel and Leonard Barnes and to put things in context in the year of Syd’s birth, King George V was the reigning monarch and Ramsey McDonald was Prime Minister in a Coalition Government.

1964 proved to be quite an interesting year, not just because Syd joined Freemasonry but in that year Harold Wilson became P.M. and thus started a new era in Labour Party Politics. The first Match of the Day was broadcast and the Pirate Radio Caroline station started broadcasting.

WBro Syd Barnes was recognised with Provincial Honours in 1989 when he was appointed PProvJD and then in 2001 when he was promoted to PProvGSuptWks.

Brethren, what about Syd Barnes the man? He is the middle one of three children, having an elder sister and a younger brother, Alan, who as you know is here today. Syd attended a local Secondary School and later passed an entrance exam for Grammar School but could not make the transition because financial family needs meant that he had to leave school to start work at 15. He started as an Office Boy at C.H.Johnson Wire Works of Hendon Vale Manchester; he eventually got an Apprenticeship and ultimately progressed so well that he ended up as Director of Works. Sydney gained some of his qualifications at Salford University Syd, including the MIMechE.

The Barnes Brothers

Syd married Jean, in 1960 and they have 3 Children and 7 Grandchildren and it was Jeans Father WBro John Parker who introduced him into Pilgrim Lodge.”

WBro Chris Welton then read a letter from the RWPGM Sir David Trippier and presented WBro Sydney Barnes with his Certificate. Dr Simon Archer, PDGDC, escorted WBro Barnes around the lodge to the affirmation of the brethren. On closing the lodge everyone present retired to the social board.

Syd Barnes Centre

Widows Christmas Party

This year 51 widows from 30 lodges in the District were chauffeured by lodge members to the annual Christmas party held at Middleton Masonic Hall on Tuesday 10th December. All the ladies were welcomed by the District Chairman WBro David Dunn who then went on to welcome the principal guests EComp William John Porter, Deputy Grand Superintendent of the Royal Arch and his wife Nora together with the new Deputy District Chairman Les Taylor, John Dixon the organizer of the event and his Wife Jill and David Clayton together with his Wife Jill who is the new Secretary due to Howard Nuttall stepping down

After grace, proposed by WBro Jack Ball, everyone enjoyed a festive meal beautifully presented by Middleton Catering staff and the liquid refreshment was yet again served by several Werneth Lodge 6163 members.

Following the meal WBro David Dunn asked Bill Porter to propose the toast to the ladies.
WBro Porter began his toast by welcoming everyone to the party, and complimenting the behaviour and professionalism of the Werneth Lodge waiters who this year dressed themselves as James Bonds. He went on to say “welcome to the ladies and we appreciate you coming. It is a widows evening and he assumed that most of the Ladies would be pensioners, but looking at you that is not the case as many of you are too young to be pensioners.
Tonight is a very special occasion and it and a similar special occasion has been going on for 30 odd years. It is an opportunity for all the 197 Widows of the Oldham District to meet together and reintroduce themselves into the Masonic Family. We are a Masonic family and we look after each other, enjoying meeting old friends, making new friends and sharing happy memories.

We are always    extremely proud of our ladies and especially our Widows.

All your husbands were distinguished and respected Freemasons in Oldham and but for them we would not have what we have now. They made what we have and we just tenants of it until we go. What a magnificent job they did, it was harder for them than it is for us but they could not have managed without you Ladies and it is a fact peculiar to masonry that we could not do what we do without the Ladies. There are many times that you have sacrificed your husband because they have been with us instead of with you, and that happened all the time and we are so grateful. We work hard for charity, we don’t collect money outside masonry, freemasons give money and we are the biggest single donator to charity outside the National Lottery. No other organisation in the United Kingdom gives more to charity and it was your husbands and us collectively who have managed to achieve this.

Ladies we hope you have had a wonderful evening with friendship, companionship and good food. Thank you for coming, come along next year and enjoy yourselves in our company because we have thoroughly enjoyed having you in ours. Brethren I give the Toast to the Ladies.”

WBro Dunn responded by thanking Bill for those very kind words and sincere wishes to the ladies. He thanked him for taking the time in his very busy and demanding diary. He went on to reiterate what Bill had said that freemasonry is very unique this party has been going in excess of 30 years and is supported by every lodge in the District.

It is a real team event and looking around the room at you all enjoying yourselves. It makes all the effort very worthwhile”. WBro Dunn then explained about the RMBI Festival which was being undertaken in the Province, which started in 2009 and will finish in 2015. He finished by presenting a Cheque for £1,000 to WBro Bill Porter for the 2015 Festival from events that have happened across the District

Following the meal the entertainment began with “Mike Alone” singing a wide selection of Old, New and Christmassy songs that the ladies knew and immediately joined in with the songs. Janice Dunn took the opportunity to start the dancing by inviting ladies to join her on the dance floor to the great delight of everyone. During the interval the raffle was for the table flowers was drawn and many Ladies received a potted plant as their gift.

The last song of the evening, by popular request, was “New York New York” when almost all the ladies, together with the Werneth Lodge Waiters, Special Guests and their partners were seen doing high kicks to the song.
At the end of the evening all the ladies were given a gift of Christmas cheer and WBro David Dunn wished everyone a merry Christmas and a safe journey home.



The Fusiliers

L-R: Colonel Eric Davidson president of the Corp of Drums of the Fusiliers.
Mike Thomson (Musical Director) Mr David Dunn (Chairman Oldham District Freemasons)

Despite all the sorrow last weekend associated with Bandsman Lee Rigby’s funeral, his comrades in the Band, continued their commitment to the community on Sunday with a fine display for charity - a living memorial to Lee.

The band has performed for the past five years at a Masonic Garden Party, designed to raise money among their members for local charities, but this time there was a difference... the money raised was donated to the Fusiliers and other charitable causes

Chairman of the Freemasons’ Oldham District, Mr David Dunn, said both the Band and the Masons were respected in the community for their charitable work and at this particularly difficult time, the community had rallied round to support Lee’s family and friends and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers who have asked that all donations be directed to the Fusiliers Aid Society, which supports all fusiliers and their Families.

The Band of the Fusiliers had supported the Masons’ fundraising activities for the past five years and, he said, he had great pleasure in supporting them by handing over a cheque for £1,000 to Colonel Eric Davidson president of the Corp of Drums of the Fusiliers.  

More than 100 people, who attended the day, were told by Mr David Dunn that the Masons’ Grand Charity in London had given out this Summer so far, grants worth £718,000 to local charities all over England and Wales, including £32,000 to the Beanstalk Charity, which helps children in care throughout the Manchester area to improve their reading and therefore improve their chances of being helpful members of the community.

The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, which has donated more than £100 million since 1981, is dedicated to supporting people in need and provides nearly £8 million a year to medical research; youth opportunities; hospice services; air ambulances and disaster relief as well as supporting vulnerable people.

The Oldham chairman said the tradition of charitable giving reached back 300 years to the very earliest days of organised Freemasonry. He invited men of good standing, who felt a need to help the community, to contact the Masonic offices in Bridge Street, Manchester, Tel 0161 8326256


WBro Chris Welton's Investiture

Brethren, as most of you are aware WBro Alex McLaren was promoted to Deputy Provincial Grand Master in the Mark degree and subsequently resigned as APGM for the Eastern Area leaving a vacancy.

Our PGM, Sir David Trippier, invited WBro John Christopher Welton PProvSGW to become the APGM, which he accepted.

On Tuesday the 28th May WBro Welton was invested at a meeting of Charity Lodge 3342. The meeting began with the Worship Master WBro Crabtree PProvJGD opening the lodge in due form after which he welcomed the Provincial Grand Master, RWBro Sir David Trippier RD, JP, DL and the provincial Deputation. The Worship Master offered the Gavel to Sir David who occupied the Master’s Chair.

Sir David thanked the Master and Brethren of Charity Lodge and the Masonic Hall for their hospitality. He then introduced the Provincial Team together with PGMs from other degrees, APGMs from other provinces and the Rochdale and Oldham District Chairmen.

He explained to the Brethren that the meeting was to invest WBro Welton as the new APGM for the Eastern Area due to the recent promotion of WBro Alex McLaren. Sir David said he wished to formally place on record his sincere thanks to Alex for the last three years excellent work.

The Provincial DC then escorted WBro McLaren to the Masters Chair where Sir David invested him with Past APGM Collaret.

Sir David said that item two on the summons was to invest WBro John Christopher Welton. The Provincial DC escorted WBro Welton to a chair in the centre of the room of the lodge.

Sir David said he had the honour and privilege to invest Chris and welcomed him as a member of the provincial team.

The Provincial Grand Secretary VWBro John Farrington read a pattern of appointment from the Grand Master to appoint WBro Chris Welton to APGM for the Province of East Lancashire.

Sir David said that Chris started his Freemasonry by joining a lodge in Macclesfield, Cheshire. He progressed to the Province of Cheshire by being promoted to Provincial Grand Mentor which was the first Mentor of the Province. He is a member of New Avon 1633 and Acorn & Rose 5677, he is also a member of two chapters, St Georges & Alexandra, a member of the Mark degree where he was Acting JW in 2011, He has just recently stepped down as Chairman of the East Lancashire Education & Development Committee and remarked what a wonderful career he has had.

Sir David then asked Chris to formally accept the office of APGM and WBro Welton replied in the affirmative, he then recited his obligation.

The Provincial DC then escorted Chris to the Chair where Sir David invested him with the collar and Jewel of an APGM before being escorted around the Lodge to his seat to a rapturous acclamation. The Provincial DC then proclaimed WBro John Christopher Welton as APGM who was saluted with Entered Apprentice Honours.

Sir David Trippier then retired from the Lodge with his Provincial Deputation to applause. The Worship Master then closed the Lodge and all the brethren present enjoyed a wonderful social board.

Chris Welton our newly invested APGM, at the social board

Middleton Gymnasium

Gymnasts Trainers and Project Workers

Over the past few years Oldham District Freemasons have been involved in many projects within the community.  This year’s project was Middleton Gymnasium which teaches Gymnastics to a very high standard to children from the age of 2yrs to 18 years.   The Gym is owned by the Local Authority, and is on long term lease to Glen Prendergast, the manager and head trainer of the Gym, who is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the Gym.   Some time ago they suffered water penetration to the roof of the main hall which brought down parts the ceiling, damaged the remainder of the ceiling, and stained the walls. The roof was repaired by the local council, but the ceiling was not and the ceiling fibre board was left warped, or missing which left the underside of the roof exposed.

Gymnasium cleared of apparatus and floor covered

In October 2012 the Gym problem was first brought to the attention of the District Charity Steward WBro Steven Graham by a lady called Rachael Walsh one of the parents whose daughter uses the Gym.

Steven Graham subsequently brought it to the attention of the District Committee as a potential project for the District to undertake. 

The Chairman WBro David Dunn, having discussed the merits of the suggested project with the team, asked WBro Edwin Baines to discuss the needs of the Gymnasium with the manager Glen Prendergast and a follow-up meeting took place where it was agreed that the Oldham District would be able to help in repairing the ceiling and decorating the walls, with funds provided by East Lancashire Masonic Charity.

Gymnasium completed and Olympic flags

An application was submitted to East Lancashire Masonic Charity and funds were made available for materials in February 2013 to the delight of Glen the gym manager.  

Due to the fact that the Gym is used most afternoons and evenings seven days a week, arrangements needed to be made to close the Gym for two weeks, and the date was set for the 18th March.

WBro Baines contacted all those who had volunteered, arranged for all materials to be purchased and delivered prior to commencing the work.  He also arranged the hire of scaffolding as the height of the ceiling was approximately 5m from the floor.

The project, which was non stop for 11 days, involved removing the old fibre boards as necessary from the ceiling and replacing with plastic tongue and groove boards, painting the roof support beams and walls with white emulsion paint to approximately 2m from the floor. Glen Prendergast arranged for 9 parents who had volunteered, to help paint the lower walls in yellow.

Just one small damaged section


Mums helping to paint lower part of wall

During the project, WBro Baines District Project Manager, had the support and help of Worshipful Brothers, Peter Hawkesworth, Stuart Booth, David Dunn, George Sharp, Peter Clegg, Ken Turner, John LeBrun, James Clegg, Philip Price, Alex McLaren, Steven Graham, and David Clayton, the Gym manager Glen, and many parents.   On Wednesday the 17th April the project volunteers and their wives were asked to attend a Cheese and Wine celebration as a big thank you from Glen Prendergast the gym manager, the 10 volunteer instructors, and the parents of children who attend the gym. WBro Baines presented a plaque already fixed to the wall, to commemorate the work which had been completed by the Freemason’s, for people in the community. Glen Prendergast presented WBro Baines with pictures showing a before and after of the project and the other showing all Club members and trainers alongside the flags of the 22 nations supporting gymnastics.  The children ended the presentation event by giving a excellent display of all their skills which was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone present

Solidarity Lodge 50th Birthday

The Brethren of Solidarity Lodge, the APGM WBro Alex McLaren, District Chairman WBro David Dunn, District Members and guests celebrated the 50th Birthday of Solidarity Lodge.

The Lodge was opened in due form after which the Worshipful Master, Jeremy Marshall, received a Grand Lodge Officers delegation and offered the Gavel to WBro Alex McLaren PSGD, the Eastern Area APGM who accepted on this special occasion. WBro McLaren began by saying how pleased he was to be there and introduced the Grand Lodge Officers, District Chairman and District Officers who all greeted the lodge members.

Alex said that the lodge was concreted on the 28th March 1963 exactly 50yrs to the day. In 1963 other things were happening, Harold Wilson became Prime Minister, in Cuba 7,000 people died in a hurricane, Lord Beeching act reduced the railways and 50yrs on we are expanding the system, President De Galle vetoed a vote to allow Britain into the EU

During the lodge’s 50yrs there have been two Grand Masters the Earl of Scarborough 1951-1967 and Duke of Kent our present Grand Master.

There have been eight Provincial Master namely Frederick William Towns, James D Hemsley, Peter Walthall. Paul J E Rink, Jack Price, WBro Harold Woodward, WBro Derek Thornhill, and Sir David Trippier, our present Provincial Grand Master.

Alex explained it was not easy to form a new lodge and have it consecrated. He called upon WBro Peter Clegg PProvGSwdB to give a presentation on the history of the lodge. Peter began by saying:-
Invitations to form a new Lodge began on 16th March, 1960 and the first meeting in connection to the formation was held on 5th April, 1960, with ten brethren present. The name suggested for the Lodge was ‘The Gables Lodge’ and Albert Lodge, their Mother Lodge, agreed to sponsor the new Lodge on 8th June 1960.
WBro Wilfred lamb, father of WBro Paul Lamb, who was present, was the first Secretary to the Founders of the Lodge but had to retire due to illness. The lodge submitted its petition to Sir Frank Lord APGM for a new Lodge at Bridge Street on 3rd October 1960.

From the outset the Founders wished the Lodge to be different from others in Oldham District, so WBro G.H.Thomas joined the Founders to help source an alternative ritual to Emulation. A search for a new ritual began, with brethren visiting a Lodge in Hull to see the ‘Humber Workings’ and Brunel Lodge in Bristol. At the next meeting of the Founders, it was agreed to adopt the ‘Bristol Ritual’ and to fund printing and binding of the ritual book,  However, the Provincial Grand Master of the Bristol Province objected to the Ritual being used outside the Bristol Province for fear that it may be amended or altered. He, therefore, wrote to the Grand Lodge Secretary with his objections and the Grand Lodge Secretary informed the Provincial Grand Secretary of East Lancashire that it was forbidden to use the Bristol Ritual.

The Founders argued that, according to the Book of Constitutions, a private Lodge was permitted to adopt any Ritual that conformed to the Rules and Regulations of the Craft. Some very acrimonious correspondence ensued between the Founders, the Provincial Grand Secretary and the Provincial Grand Registrar.

At a meeting with Provincial Representatives in March 1962 regarding the Petition, they were informed that the Provincial Grand Master would not submit it to the Grand Lodge Secretary until the Founders adopted a different attitude.

To make progress the Founders agreed to start again with the Lodge to be renamed Foundation Lodge. However, following all the difficulties experienced and the firmness of the Founders to form a Lodge, it was unanimously agreed to adopt the name of SOLIDARITY LODGE. The Provincial Grand Secretary was invited to suggest a suitable Ritual and he suggested the English Ritual, which at that time was used by only nine Lodges. This was adopted by the Founders and one hundred copies of the Ritual were purchased.

WBro Marshall presented several lodge history plates to prominent
members attending the meeting in celebration of the evening.

A further meeting with Sir Frank Lord on 12th November 1962 resulted in a Petition being signed by the Founders, Master and Wardens of Albert Lodge. Surprisingly the petition came back unapproved with the comment that there was one brother included in the list who was ineligible to be there. It turned out to be Bro Stanley Brooke, who had been initiated in Karachi, Pakistan, under the Scottish Constitution and had as such not taken the Oath De Fidelis to the English Constitution. To aid progress, Bro Brooke agreed to stand down but became the first joining member, which required him to swear an oath of allegiance to the Grand Lodge of England.
The Consecration Meeting took place at the Union Club, Oldham on Thursday, 28th March 1963. Sir Frank Lord occupied the Chair and WBro Harold Yates was installed as the first Master by the DepPGM WBro Fredrick Towns and the oration was given by WBro Rev Canon Francis Paton Williams.

WBro McLaren APGM thanked WBro Peter Clegg for his explanation of the lodge’s history which was received with enthusiastic applause. Prior to WBro McLaren asking WBro Marshall to reoccupy the chair WBro Marshall presented several lodge history plates to prominent members attending the meeting in celebration of the evening.

Congratulations to WBro Robert Henry Rowden on reaching 50 Years in Freemasonry

WBro Rowen WBro McLaren APGM WBro Cheadle APGP WBro Leadbeater WM members and guests

On Monday the 11th March WBro Robert Henry Rowden, a member of Ben Brierley Lodge, reached fifty years in freemasonry. The Worshipful Master, WBro M Miles Leadbeater PProDGSwdB, opened the lodge in due form. He then received the APGM, WBro Alex S McLaren PJGD, and offered the Gavel to him, WBro Alex S McLaren said it was always a pleasure to be offered the gavel by the Worshipful Master, and on this special occasion of WBro Rowden’s birthday he would accept it and take the chair.

After occupying the lodge chair Alex then addressed the lodge and said that WBro Rowden was born in 1926 and many other things happened during that year.  There was the General Strike which lasted from May until December and Marshal Law was declared, John Logie Baird (Scottish Engineer) gave a demonstration of a mechanical television to the Royal Institution, (it took 10 years before the BBC did its first broadcast to 15,000 televisions and 5 years later there were 5 million televisions). The League of Nations abolished slavery. Other famous people born during  that year were Queen Elizabeth II, Danny Blanchflower, Jack Brabham, Marilyn Monroe, Kenneth Williams, Frank Carson, Ian Paisley, Fidel Castro, and David Attenborough.

WBro Robert Henry Rowden WBro Alex McLaren APGM
& WBro Miles Leadbeater WM

WBro Robert Henry Rowden was initiated into Freemasonry in 1963 the same year that President John F Kennedy was assassinated, a hurricane in Cuba killed 7,000 people, Harold Wilson was elected as Leader of the Labour Party, and there were also two James Bond Movies released.

He asked the Lodge Director of Ceremonies to place WBro Rowden on a chair in the centre of the lodge. Alex then invited the Worshipful Master WBro Leadbeater, WBro Rowden’s son-in-law, to give a tribute. WBro Leadbeater began by telling all that Robert was born in Bristol on the 9th March 1926.  During the war Robert served in the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Bideford in the North Atlantic.  The Bideford was a Shoreham-class sloop, was built in 1931 and named after the town Bideford, Devon.

Robert was about to be posted to the Far East so whilst he was between ships, in 1945, he returned to Bristol and married the love of his life, Joyce, in August of that year. In 1946 his daughter Linda was born and after much arranging a telegraph was sent to his ship with news of the birth to the great excitement of his fellow crew members. After the war Robert returned to his job in the CWS flour mill. He was soon promoted to chief clerk at the factory in Oldham and relocated his wife and child to a residence in Limeside Oldham where they were welcomed most heartily by the local residents. Robert was subsequently promoted to chief clerk Manchester, then Manager of Oldham, and ended up as Manager in the CWS Avonmouth. His Freemasonry interest started when he was based in Oldham in 1952, however he was not initiated into freemasonry until 1963 when he joined Ben Brierly Lodge 3317 and became Master in 1978. He is still a very active member of the lodge and has held the post of Chaplain for 22 years. He  was a founder of Tonge Hall Lodge 8763, Master of Middleton Lodge 8517 and Woodchurch Lodge 4308, and was exalted into Ben Brierly Chapter 3317 in 1964 where he is still their current organist.

WBro Leadbeater met Robert’s daughter Linda at several ladies evening and subsequently married her and as a result Robert now has two Grandsons and Two Great Granddaughters which he is very proud of.

Besides freemasonry Robert’s other passion was golf and he used to play at Wirral Ladies Golf Club, however, due to knee complaints he is unable to play anymore so has taken up doing Jigsaws.

WBro Leadbeater finished off his tribute by saying it is an honour to know Robert and to be his son-in-law.

WBro Alex McLaren addressed Robert by saying he hoped that what was said was not inappropriate. He went on to say he had known Robert for many years, served with him as a Provincial Steward in Chapter and it was a pleasure for him to be present at this celebration.

WBro Rowden Principle officers of the Lodge & Eastern

WBro Alex McLaren then read out a letter of congratulations from the Provincial Grand Master of East Lancashire, Sir David A Trippier and presented Robert with his Birthday certificate. Alex then asked the Lodge Director of Ceremonies to escort Robert around the lodge to rapturous applause.

WBro Alex McLaren, together with Robert, and the Grand Officers retired from the lodge which subsequently was closed by the Worshipful Master M Miles Leadbeater.  



Celebration of Bro Robert Holder’s Sixty Years in Freemasonry

VWBro Derek Thornhill, WBro Neville Raynor, Lodge members and guests

Congratulation to Bro Robert Holder, a life long member of Langley Lodge, in reaching sixty years in freemasonry. His celebration took place at Middleton Masonic Hall on Thursday 7th March 2013 with the lodge opening in due form by the Worshipful Master WBro Neville Rayner, who then received the Deputy Provincial Grand Master VWBro Derek Nelson Thornhill, PGSwdB

The Worshipful Master, and the members present, welcomed VWBro Thornhill. The Master then offered the Gavel to VWBro Derek Thornhill who said “it was always an honour to be offered the gavel by any lodge, however, on this special occasion of Bro Holder’s birthday he would accept it”

After occupying the lodge chair the DPGM introduced the Provincial Senior Warden WBro Peter Faulkner, the Junior Warden WBro Mark Davies, the Provincial Grand Secretary WBro John Farrington, the Provincial Directors of ceremonies WBro Harold Cooper & WBro John Griffin, together with the rest of the Provincial Deputation.

The DPGM then asked his Director of Ceremonies to escort the birthday boy, Bro Robert Holder, to a seat in the centre of the lodge and called upon WBro Vernon to give a tribute our birthday boy.

WBro Neville Raynor, Bro Robert Holder and VWBro Derek Thornhill

WBro Reginald Vernon PPGSwB began by saying that Robert was not a Lewis but his father was a Freemason, a Past-Master of Langley Lodge and was well known. Robert was initiated into freemasonry on the 5th March 1953 by WBro Jimmy Moss, who had just been installed into the chair the previous month.

In 1953 it was not easy to become a mason and it could take up to 5 years to be initiated with a further 5 years as a steward. In many cases when the junior brethren met to practise there could be between 20 to 25 junior brethren queuing  up to be selected to rehearse a piece of ritual.

Robert and WBro Vernon were Stewards for many years and Robert reached the heights of being Top Steward. He took his job very seriously because, in those days, in the Old Pavilion, they had to clear the room of Lodge Furniture and lay tables for the Social Board as it was the only room available. The geometry of the table lay-out depended upon the numbers present which necessitated Robert to create seating plans for each different numbers attending. As Robert was a Professional Printer the Lodge benefited from his skills because besides the seating plans, he would print place cards, ballot papers, summonses, etc. Robert became an accomplished ritualistic and it was a great pity that due to business commitments he was unable to give his masonry the attention it deserved.

Robert’s business was flourishing, and Middleton Cricket Club wished to have a professional cricketer from South Africa in their club but not able to employ him, so they asked Robert to employ the man in his business. That man was Basil D’Olivera who eventually played Cricket for England but sadly passed away last year.

Robert was called-up into the RAF during the War years and served in India, Burma, and Malaya after the atomic bomb, and relates many tales of his experiences.

Robert’s passion was his garden and he loved to produce orchids in his many green houses, he was also a member of Primula and Auricular Society, sadly he is no longer able to pursue his hobby for various reasons, but when you call at his house you always find orchids there.

Robert was devoted to his wife and was a tower of strength during her long term illness; unfortunately Wendy lost her battle and passed away. Before Wendy’s illness they spent many years holidaying in Austria and to ensure they enjoyed their holidays to the full Robert learned German to get the best out their holiday.

WBro Vernon concluded his tribute to Robert by thanking the Deputy Provincial Grand Master for allowing him to give this tribute to his great friend and Brother.

Bro Robert Holder, VWBro Derek Thornhill, WBro Neville Raynor and Lodge members

The Deputy Provincial Grand Master related to other great things that happened in 1953;- Queen Coronation of our present Queen, Queen Elizabeth II, Eisenhower was president of the USA, Winston Churchill was Prime Minister from 1951-1955, Edmund Hillary & Nepalese Sherpa Tensing Norgay conquered Mount Everest,  the average cost of a house was £2,000, Sir Stanley Matthew played his last FA Cup Final, and Arsenal were the league winners with 54 points.

The DPGM then read out a letter of congratulations from the Provincial Grand Master of East Lancashire, Sir David A Trippier and presented Robert with his Birthday certificate. The Deputy then asked the Provincial DC’s to escort Robert around the lodge to rapturous applause.

The Deputy Provincial Grand Master, together with Robert, and the Deputation retired from the lodge which subsequently was closed by the Worshipful Master WBro Neville Rayner PAGDC.  


Oldham District Widows Party @ Middleton Masonic Hall 11th December

This year 58 widows from 32 lodges in the district were chauffeured by lodge members to the annual Christmas party held at Middleton Masonic Hall on Tuesday 11th December. All the ladies were welcomed by the District Chairman, WBro David Dunn, who then went on to welcome the principal guests with a special welcome to WBro John Dixon the treasurer who has not been able to attend for several years due to illness.
After grace, proposed by WBro Jack Ball, everyone enjoyed a festive meal beautifully presented by Middleton Catering staff and the liquid refreshment was yet again served by several Werneth Lodge 6163 members, who this year were dressed as footballers.
Following the meal, WBro David Dunn proposed the loyal toast, and then introduced the principal guest of the evening, our past District Chairman WBro Philip Price PAGDC and his wife Lynn.

District Chairman, WBro David Dunne, welcomes the Ladies

WBro Price started by saying this was one of Lynn’s and his favourite occasions and discussed with David Dunn how he could get himself onto the top table to share these happy times with the ladies and the only way of doing this was to be their guest of honour.
He went on to say that masonry cares and it is very pleasing to be brought together by the chairman with so much warmth and affection and hoped everyone would continue to enjoy the evening organised by the team and their helpers. He asked everyone to show their appreciation to David Dunn, John Dixon, Howard Nuttall and Jack Ball. He also stated how very pleased he was to see John Dixon at the party and looking so well as he had known Jack for many years and had missed his company.
He began his toast to the ladies by saying that his wife Lynn said that were he able to think like a woman he would have gone far, as all ladies excel in everything they do and woe betide any man that thought differently.
Ladies are also very good at multitasking and the skills that fall naturally to a lady such as how to pump up a cushion, how to draw curtains, correctly hang washing and take things back to Marks & Spencer.  He felt sure that he was a disappointment to Lynn as he had mastered these skills.
Such tasks are effortless to you ladies so just continue to be as you are- intelligent, lovely, decorous charming etc

This was their evening and it was a privilege for us, as masons, to be with you to enjoy your togetherness your thoughts and your fellowship so may you have a wonderful Christmas, keep in touch with your almoner and his helpers, keep well so that we can share the same happy times next year. He then invited the brethren to stand and drink the toast to the ladies

WBro Alex McLaren APGM stood and responded to the toast on behalf of the ladies by saying it was his duty to thank WBro Price and Lynn for the toast. He commented that he was sure that Philip was not a disappointment to anyone let alone his wife Lynn and especially his mother who was present and listening to every word. Alex went on to say that everything Philip had said was true about the ladies, intelligent, charming, and they excelled in everything they did. Never a truer word had been said, however, he did not recognise such things as puffing cushions drawing curtains, washing.

He thanked Philip for the lovely toast to the ladies and he was sure all the ladies were enjoying themselves, and on behalf of all the ladies he formally thanked WBro Nuttall and his committee for organising the evening and also the stewards whom he recognised from three years ago when they were dressed in kilts. He thanked them for their enthusiasm and fun joining in the event. Thanks also went to Julie, the Catering Manager, for an excellent meal. He finished his speech by saying that the event had been going for forty years and he was sure that all the guests would want him to say to the chairman that it was his responsibility to make sure it would run for the next forty years. He finished by thanking Philip for the toast to the ladies.

Following the meal the entertainment began with Richard Daniels singing a wide selection of songs and inviting the ladies to join in if they knew the words. During the interval the raffle was drawn and some 18 ladies selected a raffle prize. After the interval the members of Werneth lodge, aided by Richard Daniels, sang “We wish you a Merry Christmas” after which the Werneth brethren partnered many ladies in dancing to songs by Richard. The last song of the evening, by popular request, was the”New York New York” whereby almost all ladies were seen doing the high kicks to the song.
At the end of the evening all the ladies were given a gift of Christmas cheer and WBro David Dunn wished everyone a merry Christmas and a safe journey home.



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