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St Edmund's Church, Fallinge

This church, dubbed Rochdale's Temple to Freemasony, which had been abandoned and left to become derelict for the last three years, will soon be re-opening after the first phase of extensive repairs have been carried out. It is now in the hands of the Churches Conservation Trust who have raised an appeal for half a million pounds to save the church.

The church features a blend of Gothic revival architecture and Masonic symbolism.The church was built and given to the people of Rochdale by Albert Hudson Royds , former DeputyProvincial Grand

Remembrance Sunday
at Littleborough

8th November 2015

A contingent of Rochdale Masons joined other local organisations in the procession to the Cenotaph at Littleborough on Sunday to pay their respects.


Provincial Grand Lodge Meeting
19th November 2015

The photograph shows some of the Rochdale Masons who received Provincial Honours at the Provincial Grand Lodge Meeting in Blackburn on 19th November.

The full list of honours are shown as follows :-




New Rank


WBro Michael Church-Taylor


Charity Lodge No 3342

WBro Ken Davies


Lodge of Harmony No 298

WBro John Lees


Lodge of Probity & Freedom No 367

WBro Simon Rogers


Rochdale Lodge No 6721

WBro Ken Davies, ProvGChStwd


Lodge of Harmony No 298

WBro David Rothwell


St Martin's Lodge No 2320

WBro Trevor Jewitt


Lodge of Naphtali No 266

WBro Brian Gilman


Roclyffe Lodge No 5198

WBro Rev'd Stuart Kilpatrick


Royds Lodge No 816

WBro Colin Chew


Lodge of Harmony No 298

WBro Reg Foster


Keystone Lodge No 363

WBro Charles MacMillan


St Martin's Lodge No 2320

WBro Phillip Norbury


St Martin's Lodge No 2320

WBro David Wright


Lodge of Benevolence No 226

WBro Kenny Greer


Rochdale Lodge No 6721

WBro Gary Whitelegg


Roch Valley Lodge No 5120

WBro George Pilch


Liberty Lodge No 5573

WBro Vic Blomeley


Liberty Lodge No 5573

WBro Ewan Brown


Lodge of Benevolence No 226



Rochdale Freemasons Help with Poppy Appeal - 2015

Founded in 1921, the Royal British Legion not only honours and supports those who fought in the two World Wars of the last century, but also those involved in the many conflicts since 1945 and those still fighting for the freedom we enjoy today.

Once again this year, Rochdale freemasons assisted the Royal British Legion with its annual poppy appeal by providing a team of volunteers as fundraisers who collected donations at Morrison’s Supermarket in Kingsway, Rochdale.  A team rota ensured that volunteers were on site from 8am to 5pm every day in the 8 days preceding Remembrance Sunday.  They collected over £5,000.00 and were moved by the generosity of the public in support of our Armed Services. 

District Charity Steward WBro Ken Greer was delighted at the success of the initiative, he said the public response was humbling and that it would be fitting for Freemasons to support the appeal in years to come.

From Left to right -  WBro Simon Rogers and WBro Bernard Percy are visited by the
Mayor of Rochdale Councillor Surinder Biant and
Wing Commander David Forbes DL RAFVR, President of the British Legion, Rochdale Branch



The Lodge of Harmony 298
Cabaret night on Friday 23rd October 2015 was a night not to miss.

It is several years since the lodge held such an event and this occasion was every bit as good as the previous ones.
Bro Ed Melvin arranged the artistes, Graham Wheeler an excellent singer and entertainer and top of the bill Dudley Doolittle who had his audience in tears of laughter.
The lodge decided to support the KIngfisher School in Chadderton with this event and the superb sum of £750 was raised to support the work of the school which provides an excellent environment for children aged 4 to 11,who have complex and special educational needs.
We are proud to support the young people in our community, and demonstrate the caring of the Freemasons in Rochdale.

The presentation of the cheque for £750 was made to the Kingfisher School on Thursday 12th November 2015 and shows from
left to right  Dudley Doolittle, WBro David Pawson ,Bro Eddie Melvin, WBro Bernard Percy and
Mike the school Resources Managerreceiving the cheque. Photograph by Bro Mike Royds all of the Lodge of Harmony 298.
The brethren were given a conducted tour of the school to see the wonderful work
going on there and were impressed by the ethos ”No sadness here only Joy”



Remembrance Sunday
Rochdale Cenotaph

8th November 2015

A contingent of Rochdale Masons joined other local organisations in the procession to the Rochdale Cenotaph on Sunday to pay their respects.



The Rochdale Lodge No 6721

Worshipful Master:  Bro Mark Taala

On 26th October The Rochdale Lodge kindly received the Rochdale District Team at their Regular Meeting.

After the formalities of Opening the Lodge, the Minutes of the previous Meeting were approved by the brethren and signed as a true and correct record of proceedings by the Worshipful Master.

The next item of business was to Initiate Mr Dharmendra Kumar Patel who had been proposed for membership my WBro S Buckley and seconded by WBro D Acton. The initiation ceremony was then conducted in an exemplary manner by Master in the Chair, WBro David Whittaker.  The tools and charge of the degree were presented by WBro Peter Rhodes who was acting Junior Warden for the evening.  The ceremony was then concluded by a wonderful presentation of the first degree tracing board given by the lodge DC, WBro Kenneth Greer.
All present agreed that Bro Patel had experienced a very memorable and sincere initiation into Freemasonry.

Bro Kumar Patel with Bro Mark Taala, WM, Master in the Chair, WBro David Whittaker
the Wardens and the DC of the Lodge WBro Kenneth Greer.

During any other business, the WM, Bro Mark Taala, presented our District Chairman, WBro Peter Hewitt, with the gift of a candle together with a container which contained £250 towards the 2015 Festival.  Bro Taala explained that during the Festival he had produced 100 candles which he had sold at a cost of £5 each. The £500 raised was then split equally between the Christie Hospital and the 2015 Festival.  WBro Peter Hewitt thanked Bro Taala for what he considered to be an unusual and innovative method of raising money for charity.

The WM, Bro Taala, presenting WBro Peter Hewitt with the container containing £250 for the Festival. 
Also an image showing one of the candles produced by Bro Taala.

The evening was concluded at the Social Board with the Rochdale Lodge's usual warm welcome and the evening was enjoyed by all concerned. 


Lodge of Friendship 277
Worshipful Master:  WBro Eric J. Howarth PProvJGD

Hope Lodge 54
Worshipful Master: WBro David Jones


After opening their regular Lodge on Wednesday 14th October,  the Lodge of Friendship 277 received the Lodge of Hope 54  together with the Rochdale District Team .

The Minutes of the previous meeting were then approved by the brethren and signed as a true and correct record of proceedings by the Worshipful Master.

The next item of business was a presentation of the 1st Degree tracing board by WBro Peter Hawksworth to the two entered apprentices of Hope Lodge - Bro Stephen Leach and Bro Ian Butterworth. All present agreed that the presentation given by WBro Hawksworth was not only word perfect but it clearly illustrated WBro Hawksworth deeper understanding of the Masonic meanings of the lecture. During  part of the presentation a practical demonstration was given of how Operative Masons use the Lewis to raise the Ashlar.

The District Chairman WBro Peter Hewitt, PAGDC, then introduced his District Team and in particularly his successor WBro Peter Rhodes, PProvDepGSwdB. Although WBro Hewitt said that this would perhaps be his last visit to Friendship or Hope Lodge in his capacity as District Chairman, he did not feel that he would be a stranger to either Lodge in the future.

The combined numbers of the two lodges at the Social Board brought the proceeding to a very satisfactory conclusion. All agreed, that the original idea of the two Lodges working together  had proved very beneficial and that a similar arrangement should be considered at some time in the future.

The WM's of Hope Lodge 54 and Friendship Lodge 277 together with the Speaker (Centre) WBro Peter Hawksworth and Hope Lodge EA's , Bro Stephen Leach and Bro Ian Butterworth.




WBro Harry Bell - What a Man of Rochdale!


Following the Northern Lights Charity Ball in September, current Rochdale Man of the Year, WBro Harry Bell, a member of Liberty Lodge No 5573, and his event committee have donated over £85,000 to Rochdale’s Springhill Hospice.

Springhill Hospice CEO Julie Halliwell said: “We are overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of Harry and his team and of course, the people of Rochdale. Without events like this the future of Springhill would be bleak.”

Last November Rochdalian WBro Bell earned the title of Rochdale’s Man of the Year, an honour given to those in the community who have gone above and beyond the call of duty and given freely of their time for the benefit of others.

Despite stiff competition from other deserving candidates, Harry won the hearts of the judges and has proved himself a worthy winner since.

Springhill Hospice Community Fundraiser Lillie Winterbottom said: “Once the crowds had gone, the photographer’s flashes had died down and a little peace and quiet resumed in the beautiful surroundings of Rochdale’s Town Hall, Harry took me to one side, asking ‘What shall I do now?’ He was already chomping at the fundraising bit, even after a few hours as Man of Rochdale.” 

In reply to Harry's question Lillie simply replied: “Nothing Harry, you’ve earned this title through the years of hard work and effort; put your feet up.”

Harry ignored this instruction and has continued to help Springhill and other local charities.

Guests from all over Rochdale spent a fabulous evening listening to guest speaker Professor Brian Cox and sampling the delights of a dessert made especially for the event by celebrity Chef Andrew Nutter, amongst other things. Guests were treated to a wonderful array of auctions and lucky dip prizes, including the auction of an autograph book donated to Springhill Hospice by supporter Colin Fleet. The book, containing autographs of all the 1957 Busby Babes Team, alone raised £2,200!

The night was a very special one for local charities with just over £100,000 being raised in total. 


L to R:  Mrs Kath Bell,  Guest Speaker Professor - Brian Cox, OBE (nephew of WBro Bell),  Mayor of Rochdale - Councillor Surinder Biant,  WBro Harry Bell,  Mayoress of Rochdale - Councillor Cecile Biant


Lodge of Benevolence No. 226



On Tuesday 29th September the Lodge of Benevolence kindly received the Rochdale District Team at their Regular Meeting.

After the formalities of Opening the Lodge, the Minutes of the previous Meeting were approved by the brethren and signed as a true and correct record of proceedings by the Worshipful Master.

The next item of business was to ‘raise’ Bro Jonathan North who had been initiated on the 27th January 2015 and passed on the 28th April 2015.  At this point the Worshipful Master invited WBro
Philip Hollinshead, PProvDepGDC, to take the Chair and conduct the Ceremony of Raising.

Throughout the Ceremony the candidate was conducted round the Lodge by his grandfather, WBro Malcolm Jackson, being the Senior Deacon of the Lodge and we were all treated to a most exemplary ceremony by the Past Master in the Chair.

WBro Joseph Galvin, ProvAGDC, Junior Warden of the Lodge gave an excellent presentation of the Traditional History followed by an equally outstanding presentation and explanation of the Working
Tools of a Master Mason by WBro Anthony Moulton, PProvDepGDC.

The whole Ceremony was conducted to the high standards we have all come to expect from the Lodge of Benevolence and which is due, in no small measure, to the dedicated work of the Director of Ceremonies, WBro David Rigg, PProvGSuptWks.

During a very enjoyable Social Board the Toast to the newly raised Brother was proposed by the candidate’s father, Bro John North, to which son Jonathan responded in an excellent manner. 
An excellent evening was enjoyed by all present.


Bro John North (Candidates Father), WBro Christopher Hajikakou (WM), Bro Jonathan North (Candidate),
WBro Philip Hollinshead (PM in the Chair) and WBro Malcolm Jackson (Candidates Grandfather)


WBro Christopher Hajikakou (WM), Bro Jonathan North (Candidate) and WBro Philip Hollinshead (PM in the Chair)



Keystone Lodge No.  363
17th September, 2015

The History of Freemasonry in India.
a lecture by WBro Michael Holland PAGDC

The Worshipful Master Bro Peter de Loughery and the members of Keystone Lodge together with the District Team led by WBro Peter Hewitt received a very interesting lecture on the History of Freemasonry in India by WBro Michael Holland PAGDC.

As WBro Holland had spent a great deal of his working life in India, is a member of an English Lodge that meets in India and is also a member of the District Grand Lodge of Bombay (one of the 29 active District Grand Lodges that come under the United Grand Lodge of England ),  it can be said that he was well qualified  to deliver an in depth description of Freemasonry in that part of the world.

WBro Holland with the Worshipful Master, Wardens and Secretary of Keystone Lodge

WBro Holland started his lecture by describing how early in the 18th Century Freemasonry was taken to India mainly by employees of the British East India Company together with members of the British Armed Forces. He went on to explain how other constitutions such as the Dutch, French, Scottish, Danish and Irish expanded the craft during the following years.

WBro Holland went on to explain some interesting information about prominent people in India who had been Freemasons. For example, the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn and Sir Roger Lumley, Earl of Scarborough  who had served as District Grand Masters for the District Grand Lodge of Bombay before both going on to become Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England.

WBro Holland and the District team led by WBro Peter Hewitt. 

Finally the lecture was concluded with a description of how The Grand Lodge of India was formed in 1961with an explanation of how the Grand Lodges of England, Ireland and Scotland had collaborated to Consecrate and Constitute the new Sovereign Grand Lodge and Install its first Grand Master, His Highness the Nawab of Rampur, Major General Dr. Sir Syed Raza Ali Khan.



Hope Lodge 54 BBQ

Sunday 9th August 2015 was a warm sunny day perfect for a get together BBQ and that is exactly what the brethren and their friends of Hope Lodge 54 did. The venue was the home of Bro Henry Wakelin and his wife Jennie, and what great hosts they were. Excellent cooking by Bro Ian Sumner and his wife produced juicy beef burgers, sausages and all the accompaniments.

A raffle was held and the photograph shows the WM Bro David Jones carrying one of the prizes.

A quiz organised by the DC W.Bro Ian Dugdale kept us all on our toes, the use of Google being banned!!

A super time of fellowship and banter in a lovely setting on Blackstone Edge on a warm summer day.



Saturday/Sunday June 13th/14th 2015


Le Tour de Province 

And so it came to pass that as near to 9 o’clock as possible on Saturday 13th June an intrepid band of 16 Brethren left their own homes and firesides and made their way to the Masonic Buildings in Rochdale and began their epic cycle tour of all the Masonic Halls in the Province.

The APGM, WBro Michael Gibbons, wishes everone well on this epic journey

The weather forecast had been for heavy rain all day Saturday and light rain on Sunday. You can imagine the relief when both days turned out to be dry, even with a little sunshine. Someone was obviously watching over us.

Having been wished Bon Voyage by our APGM, WBro Mike Gibbons, and hundreds of well wishers, Powerful Pierre Shipton led the charge to our first stop at Todmorden and then displayed his prowess powering up the hills to Bacup.  At this point three of the vets entered the field including John “the Arrow” Ashworth, Dave “one-shot Garnett” and Jimmy “nothing fazes me” Belfield who set the bar for the day.

By the end of the first morning the youngsters had managed to keep pace with the vets as we visited 7 Halls namely Rochdale, Todmorden, Bacup, Ashday Lea, Padiham, Burnley and Colne.  After cycling some 50 miles we arrived in Clitheroe safe and sound despite the horrors suffered by those who had endured the climb out of Sabden.

Ashday Lea, Rawtenstall


Burnley Masonic Hall


Arrival at Colne


Behind Bars – Clayton le Moors


Accrington  Masonic Hall


Steady progress was made in the afternoon as we visited another 7 Halls namely Whalley, Clayton-le-Moors, Blackburn, Accrington, Darwen, Bolton School and Bolton. All cyclists took the opportunity to enjoy riding in some of the beautiful countryside of East Lancashire as we travelled another 50 miles before arriving at the Bolton “Hilton” for the night.

Bolton School

It had been a long first day.  Our dietician, Master Chef Taala, recommended refuelling with curry and lager followed by a nightcap and early night.  No one argued.

Suitably refreshed we began the second day with high spirits visiting Farnworth, Radcliffe and Bury before negotiating the heavy traffic as we rode into Salford, Bridge Street and then quickly out to Audenshaw.  What a delight to find the Building open and the Steward on hand to generously provide tea, coffee and biscuits to ready the youngsters, accompanied by “nothing fazes me” Belfield, for the climb to Mossley. Wisely, the other vets passed on this opportunity but re-joined the riders at Shaw for the penultimate leg into Middleton where we regrouped and John “the Arrow” Ashworth lead the Peloton back to the finish at the Masonic Hall in Rochdale
after cycling another 50 miles.

Kenny leaving Radcliffe


Andy arriving at Bury


On the steps at Audenshaw


Tea and biscuits at Audenshaw

Jim conquers the hill at Mossley


On route to Shaw


Middleton Masonic Hall


The final mile


Back in Rochdale safe and well

Fortunately we suffered no punctures, no crashes and no injuries over the weekend but I am sure there were a few aching legs on the Monday.

Sincere thanks are due to Simon Rogers for his exceptional work in organising the Tour, to all the riders and the support team for giving up their time to take part and to all those who have supported it by making a donation to support the Festival.

The riders:-    

Jim Belfield, Dave Garnett, Peter Rhodes, Kenny Greer, Simon Rogers, Peter Shipton and Steve Carroll from Rochdale Lodge No 6721
David Molyneaux and Andy Evans from Probity & Freedom Lodge No 367
John Ashworth from Liberty Lodge No 5573
David Carter and Mike Coulter from Westholme Lodge No 9101
David Deasy – Oldham Mitre No 5633

The Support Team:-

Mark Taala, Tommy Spencer and John Rochelle from Rochdale Lodge No 6721 and Scott Buckley for supplying the huge van to transport the bikes.


 Greater Manchester Police

The total raised to date is something in excess of £1,500.00 but there is still time to donate by visiting Just Giving “Tour-de-Province-2015”



‘A last minute phone call’

Just as I was preparing to go on holiday I gave my emails a final check and found an email from a Michael Long a freemason form Middlesex asking for some information regarding a founders jewel form St Chad’s Lodge No1142. As I would be away for three weeks I decided to telephone him rather than reply to his email.

I gave him the name of St Chad’s secretary and email address and explained that I was going on holiday the next day, the conversation continued and he asked me were I was going on holiday.

I explained that I was going away on a trip with my son to Bermuda were he worked 25 years ago.

Michael said he had a very good Masonic friend in Bermuda and gave me his name and telephone number and said he would contact him and suggested that I gave him a call when we arrived in Bermuda.

The next five days were spent in the Big Apple before boarding the ship to Bermuda, where after a very relaxing two days at sea before arrived in Bermuda.

 Should I call Greg? Yes, We had a long chat and I said I would be interested in looking around the Masonic Hall in Bermuda, he said he was busy working but would call me back in a couple of minutes. True to his word the phone rang and he said his Father in Law who was also a mason would pick us up at the quayside at 12-15 tomorrow.

The following Day WBro Edward Robinson (Eddie) was waiting for us as we disembarked. He said he would give us a guided tour stopping at the Masonic Hall were his own lodge meets before continuing to the Masonic Hall in Hamilton.

Eddie holds the following ranks, District Grand Standard Bearer in the English Constitution and Honorary Grand Marshall in the Scottish Constitution

His own lodge ‘Lodge Somers Isles No 1503’ was consecrated in 1955, under the Scottish constitution and they meet in the pink building in the photograph. He was the master in 2000, ironically when I was the master of my own lodge, Rochdale 6721. We continued the journey and he pointed out all the sites and places of interest including the smallest drawbridge in the world only 18 inches wide, which is in the centre of a bridge and when raised allows the masts of yachts to pass through.

 Arriving in Hamilton, the Masonic Hall  is located on Reid Street and is a very impressive building, There is the Provincial Grand Lodge of Bermuda and 11 other lodges, 10 of which meet in Hamilton, Three of the English Constitution, Four of the Irish Constitution and Four of the Scottish Constitution.

Bermuda was a base for the Royal Navy and Army and the original lodges were military Lodges, and some of them travelling lodges, which followed the regiments where they were based.

What’s Bermuda like as a holiday destination, very laid back plenty to see. Golf courses, fabulous beaches and many historic sights.

The ships originally docked in the main town of Hamilton but today’s ships are to large and dock on a new cruise terminal at the old Royal Navy dockyard which was disused and has been redeveloped as a tourist area.
Only one drawback you cannot hire a car – only scooters but what a way to travel.



A very special Family Affair

The APGM, WBro Michael Gibbons, JP, PJGD accompanied by The District Team and two Acting Provincial Officers of the Year visited Samaritan Lodge No 286 on the 19th May to witness a very special occasion, that being to initiate William Henry Marsh.

Another distinguished guest was WBro John Farrington, PSGD.

The APGM (Eastern Area) WBro Michael Gibbons, WBro Peter Marsh, Brother William Marsh,
the WM, Bro Michael Holt, WBro Andrew Marsh, The APGM (Northern Area) WBro John Farrington
and Rochdale District Chairman WBro Peter Hewitt

The lodge room was full to capacity and the WM, WBro Michael Holt, opened the lodge in first degree, he then welcomed the APGM, WBro Michael Gibbons and offered him the gavel, the APGM said as he had been unable to attend the practises he would decline the offer. He then proceeded to introduce the members of the District Delegation.

The next item on the summons was to initiate Mr William Harry Marsh, The WM then asked WBro Andrew Marsh, the candidates father, if he if he would to take the chair of King Solomon for the Initiation Ceremony.

The Lodge secretary, WBro Peter Marsh, the candidate’s grandfather, read a dispensation signed by the then Provincial Grand Secretary, WBro John Farrington, who was present in his new role as the APGM for the Northern Area.

WBro Andrew Marsh initiated his son William with a dignified and impressive manner. The ceremony was excellent with all officers delivering their ritual with clarity and sincerity.

The WM then resumed the Chair of King Solomon and reports from the District Representative, the Charity Steward and the Almoner were received before the lodge was closed in peace and harmony.

Bro William Marsh, proud father WBro Andrew and even prouder grandfather, WBro Peter Marsh

The Festive board was excellent, being relaxed and somewhat noisy.  The APGM replied to toasts 3, 4 and 5 before the toast to ‘Our newly initiated brother’ was proposed by his father.
Brother William’s reply was excellent he thanked all the brethren who were present and especially his father and grandfather to which he received a standing ovation.

A raffle was held with an amazing six prizes, The District 2015 Representative drew the first ticket and the winner was, the Candidate, Brother William. Maintaining the tradition of members of the District Team winning raffle prizes the amazing number of three was achieved.

The WM then announced that the Lodge was to donate £100 towards the ‘Tour de Province’ the cycle ride that would take place on the 13/14th June visiting all the Masonic Halls in the Eastern Area.



Liberty Lodge  No 3352 receive the 2105 Festival Certificate of Acheivement

Liberty Lodge 2015 Representative WBro Kevin Hooson, The WM WBro George Pilch,
The APGM, WBro Michael Gibbons and the District 2015 Festival Representative WBro Peter Rhodes

The APGM, WBro Michael Gibbons JP, PAGDC visited Liberty Lodge No 3352 on the 12 May accompanied by a District Delegation comprising of,  The Deputy District Chairman, WBro Alan Barlow, The District Secretary, WBro Ian Clarke, The District CharitySteward, WBro Doug Smith, The District Communication Officer, WBro Dave Garnett and the The District 2015 Representative, WBro Peter Rhodes.

The Lodge was opened in due form and the minutes approved after which there was a ‘report’. The APGM accompanied by the District Delegation, demanded admission and was received into the lodge.

The WM, WBro George Pilch, welcomed the APGM and offered him the gavel which, on this occasion, he declined. The APGM then introduced the Delegation to the brethren.

The WM WBro George Pilch, WBro Don Roberts representing Ecclesholme Residential Home ,
The APGM WBro Michael Gibbons and WBro Gerry Russell the secretary of the Provincial Communications Committee.

The next item on the summons was a very special occasion and the APGM presented to the WM a ‘2015 Festival Certificate of Achievement. The APGM said “This certificate is a very important landmark to the lodge and recognised the fact that all the subscribing members of the lodge had made personal contributions to the Festival”. The WM, on behalf on the lodge, accepted the certificate and remarked how proud the lodge was to receive it and that WBro Kevin Hoosen the lodge representative had been instrumental in achieving this result.

The next item on the summons was to receive an illustrated Presentation on the RMBI’s ‘Ecclesholme’ Masonic Residential Home by WBro Don Roberts PAGSwdB. After the presentation he answered many questions before receiving a well-deserved applause.

There followed reports by the Treasurer, Almoner and the 2105 Festival Representative.

The festive board was excellent with the APGM replying to toast 3,4 and 5.

A raffle was held and in the true tradition the District Secretary, WBro Ian Clarke, held the winning number.



VE Day

Oh, what a night! The Greater Manchester Police Band did us proud, providing a fantastic selection of big band music that Glen Miller would have been impressed with, enabling our VE DAY celebrations to go with a swing.

The V E Day Celebration was the last major social event managed by Rochdale District in support of the 2015 Festival. It was a good opportunity to get together with friends and to recreate something of the spirit of VE Day.”

“Although VE Day is a day of celebration it is also an opportunity for us to remember the sacrifices made by those during the Second World War, who gave their lives, selflessly and heroically so that we may know the freedoms we often take for granted today.”

The Main Ballroom was bedecked with bunting and other themed decorations. After an introduction by WBro Peter Hewitt, Rochdale District Chairman (Aka Captain Mainwaring,) an excellent three course meal was served, reminiscent of the times, and was enjoyed by all. After the meal the band started playing Bless ‘em All which led to the crowd joining in for a good old fashioned sing along.

The raffle in aid of the 2015 Festival was held with a number of excellent prizes being won. This resulted in the superb sum of over £1200 being raised.

One person who attended and remembers the jubilant spirit of the original VE Day is a 94-year-old resident of Hewlett Court Bury, She said: "We celebrated in a field, the Signallers set up speakers playing music and the locals came out and joined in too, happy that the war was finally over, I heard about the street parties back home and I am delighted to be a part of this 70th-anniversary celebration."

Private Pike

The Genuine Aticle from WWII


Whale Meat Again
The Greater Manchester Police Band


The Andrew Sisters
Winston Churchill with Clementine


Munitions Worker

Onconclusion of the raffle The Greater Manchester Police Band returned and took the revellers through to midnight. At the end of the evening WBro Hewitt took to the floor and thanked everyone involved in making the night happen, with particular thanks to WBro Simon Rogers for all the work he had done particularly being “instrumental” in obtaining Onthe GMPB for tonight’s event.

WBro Hewitt then wished everyone a safe journey home.


Rochdale District Social Committee  


The Rochdale District Charity Steward, WBro Doug Smith, accompanied by Social Committee members WBro Tony Gillard and WBro Mike Royds attended the first Junior County Bowling match of the season on the 3rd May. The venue was the Kirkholt Bowling Club, Rochdale, where the local youngsters were playing host to teams from Furness and Dewsbury.

The purpose of the visit was to present a cheque for £200 to the Rochdale District Junior Bowling League to assist with travelling expenses to away games. The league runs 2 teams, The Junior Team under 16 years of age and the Youth Team under 20 who, in addition to Furness and Dewsbury, have fixtures away in Leeds and Doncaster.

The League Treasurer, Tim Rothwell said “we are extremely grateful to the Freemasons of Rochdale for their support as the travel costs are spiralling each year’ and I feel that it is beneficial to the players to travel together, as a team, and enjoy the whole experience.

WBro Tony Gillard presents the cheque to Tim Rothwell, the League Tresurer accompanied by WBro Mike Royds



“We Stand Together’’

Pride in the Borough of Rochdale

WBro Harry Bell, The Rochdale Man of the Year, pictured with WBro Doug Smith District Charity Steward
and WBro Peter Hewitt Rochdale District Chairman

Rochdale Freemasons were honoured for their efforts during a special ceremony at Rochdale Town Hall, along with other business organisations within the borough.

Rochdale Freemason’s District Chairman, Peter Hewitt, and District Charity Steward, Doug Smith, said it was in everyone interest to help the Mayor of the Borough of Rochdale to improve the Borough’s image.

Beverley Place, the Mayor's Consort, WBro Doug Smith District Charity
Steward and Councillor Carol Wardle, Mayor of the Borough of Rochdale 2014/15

Events reported in recent years have caused real concern among our communities. The “We Stand Together’’ event is part of an initiative in joining with people across Rochdale to celebrate diversity yet demonstrate solidarity.  ‘This is the start of something really special – it’s about people’ said Councillor Carol Wardle, Mayor of the Borough of Rochdale 2014/15.

Her daughter, Beverley Place, the Mayor’s Consort, said  ‘we’re going to commit to a pledge and with a message of unity, so have a think about what it means to stand together as a united community in the borough of Rochdale’. 

The Rochdale Freemasons’ have, wherever possible, always assisted local communities in their tremendous charity work and appear on the scroll in the Town Hall, demonstrating their commitment to the local community at large.



The APGM and the District Team Visit the Lodge of Prudence No 219

The APGM WBro Mike Gibbons, JP, PProvJGW, accompanied by WBro Peter Hewitt and the Rochdale District Team, visited Prudence Lodge No 219 at the Masonic Hall, Todmorden, on the 14th April  where the Team received a most cordial and fraternal welcome by all members of this revitalised Lodge. This was the first visit to a Lodge in the Rochdale District by the APGM since he was invested as the APGM for the Eastern Area on the 2nd April.

The Lodge, having been formally opened in the first degree and the Minutes of the previous meeting being confirmed, received a Report following which the APGM accompanied by a District Delegation was then admitted to the Lodge. The WM, WBro Michael Boxall, welcomed WBro Gibbons and offered him the gavel which on this occasion he declined to accept.

The Lodge was then opened and closed in full in the second and third degrees. The APGM congratulated the brethren on the ceremony and then introduced the Rochdale District Chairman, WBro Peter Hewitt, who in turn introduced the members of the Team to the brethren which he did with pleasure.

On behalf of the Rochdale District Social Committee WBro Gibbons then presented two lifesaving Defibrillators to representatives of the Rochdale District lodges that meet in Todmorden and Bacup for use in their respective premises.  These had been acquired through a money raising event organised by the District Social Committee.

At the Social Board the masonic toasts were given and the APGM replied to toasts 4 and 5. The District 2015 Representative, WBro Peter Rhodes, then addressed the brethren and informed all present of two events being organised by the District. A VE day Celebration Dinner at which the PGM, RWBro Sir David Trippier will be attending and the sponsored ‘Tour de Province’ cycle ride which will visit every Masonic Hall in the Province of East Lancashire during the weekend of 13/14th June.

A raffle was held, and the District Secretary, WBro Ian Clarke, won the first prize. The WM then announced the raffle monies which raised £170 would be donated the Tour de Province cycle ride.

The Toast to the Master was given by Bro John Cockroft, SW, and the Toast to the Visitors was given by the JW, WBro Roy Cunliffe.  The response to the latter was given by WBro Ray Milligan.
A wonderful meal was served by the Hall’s catering staff, which thoroughly complimented the evening to make it a most enjoyable evening of masonry and fellowship.

WBro Alan Butterworth ,  WBro Peter Marsh,  WBro Doug Smith,  WBro Andrew Marsh, 
APGM WBro Mike Gibbons, WBro Geoff Howorth  and WBro Brian Smith

The defibrillation units have been donated to the Masonic Halls of Bacup and Todmorden by the Rochdale Masonic Social Committee (RMSC).

Rochdale Area District Charity Steward WBro Douglas Smith explained: “It is critical that a person who is unconscious and not breathing normally receive CPR and defibrillation as soon as possible," The purchase of these Public Access Defibrillators will certainly strengthen the cardiac safety of our community".

"The Members were greatly encouraged by the generosity of those who donated to this endeavour"  and will now  be better equipped to respond when defibrillation is needed".

Following the presentation to Masonic Halls of Bacup and Todmorden, North West Ambulance Service will then assist with the installation of the units, as well as providing training support.

APGM WBro Mike Gibbons said: “As one of just a handful of halls in the county without a defibrillator, we are delighted that Rochdale Masonic Social Committee has been able to help us obtain these defibrillation units”.  WBro Aubrey Oldham, Charity Steward for Todmorden Masonic Hall added “It’s incredibly important for the local community to have access to this type of lifesaving equipment, which will prove invaluable”.

The new defibrillators have also been welcomed by North West Ambulance Service’s community response manager stating - “Any expansion in Lancashire’s network of defibrillators is incredibly welcome and we are only too happy to work with the Masonic Halls of Rochdale, Bacup and Todmorden to ensure that they are able to use these units safely and effectively, helping to potentially save people’s lives”.


A Lodge meeting with a difference

WBro Martin Roche now an honorary member of the Lodge,
WBro Stuart Kilpatrick WM & WBro Geoffrey Howarth DC

The Rochdale District Chairman accompanied by the Rochdale District Team paid a visit to Royds Lodge No 816 at the Masonic Hall, Todmorden on the 9th.

Royds Lodge is unusual in the District in that they hold the social board before their meeting, and a very enjoyable meal with the most enormous Lemon cheesecake was greatly enjoyed by all present.

The Lodge was opened in due form and a report was sounded, WBro Martin Roche PSGD, PAPGM and Provincial Grand Secretary was admitted and presented by the DC, WBro Geoffrey Howorth, to the WM who welcomed WBro Roche as an Honorary member of the Lodge. WBro Roche addressed the WM thanking him and the members of Royds lodge for the honour they had bestowed upon him. The DC then introduced The Rochdale Chairman WBro Peter Hewitt, who in turn introduced the members of the district team who were in attendance.

The correspondence was then read and the accounts passed.

A ceremony of Initiation then took place. The ceremony was conducted with grace and dignity and on this occasion the role of Junior Deacon was taken by WBro Aubery Oldham the DORA for the Eastern Area and a member of the District Team. The ceremony was enjoyed by all present including the visitors to the Lodge.

Reports were than received on behalf of the Almoner, the 2015 Festival representative and from the Todmorden Masonic Association. The Lodge was then closed in peace and harmony.

Specific to Royds Lodge is that the alms are collected when leaving the Lodge, this caught some members of the District Team by surprise.

Rochdale District Chairman, WBro Peter Hewitt, Bro Ian Mottershead ,
WBro Stuart Kilpatrick, WM and  WBro Geoffrey Howorth, DC.

The brethren then reformed in the dining room where the Masonic toasts were given.

The District Chairman replied to toasts 3,4,and 5 reminding the brethren how much the District team looked forward to visiting Royds Lodge, he then informed them of forthcoming District events supporting the 2015 Festival, namely the VE Day Celebration and the Tour de Province sponsored cycle ride.

The WM then announced that Royds Lodge would be pleased to donate £50 to the Tour de Province.

A toast to the WM was given by the SW who reminded everyone that the WM had last carried out the ceremony of initiation 22 years ago when he was then the WM for his first time.

This was followed by the most important toast of the evening that to the newly initiated brother, Bro Ian Andrew Mottershead which was given by his proposer WBro Ray Milligan the Lodge secretary.

Bro Mottershead replied to the toast and thanked the brethren, and in particular the JD, WBro Oldham, for the way had been conducted around the lodge during ceremony.
The brethren replied with a warm and welcoming ovation.

A raffle was organised but prior to the draw it was realised that there were no raffle prizes, however two prizes  miraculously appeared! The draw took place and both prizes were won by members of the District Team, WBro Peter Rhodes, District 2015 Representative and WBro Peter Hewitt the District Chairman.

An excellent and entertaining evening thoroughly enjoyed by the Brethren and Visitors.



Another reet good neet!

Roclyffe Lodge Director of Ceremonies WBro B Gilman PProvGSuptWks
chatting to Rochdale District Chairman  WBro Peter Hewitt PAGDC

The  Rochdale District Team made its fourth visit to Roclyffe Lodge No. 5198 on the 26th March. Bacup Masonic building ‘Holmroyd’ is cold forbidding house elevated above the road, but the welcome you receive is warm and inviting. But what a difference to Rochdale, no bar staff, no catering staff and no waitress service.

The Lodge was opened in due form and the 2nd Ancient charge followed by summons being was read by the secretary prior to the confirmation of the minute.

The lodge was then opened in the second and third degrees then closed down to the first degree by virtue.

The reports of the Lodge Officers were delivered before the alms were collected and the Lodge was closed in peace and harmony.

Whilst we regrouped in the bar enjoying a welcome drink, the lodge members were preparing the festive board. The lodge members served a hearty meal consisting of roast ham, roast potatoes, tomato’s, beetroot and a
enormous salad followed by fruit pie and cream with an excellent selection of cheeses. It was sight to behold,as a member of the lodge, dressed in a red and white apron, the sort seen in a kitchen, collected the dirty dishes before he started with the washing up!

After the toasts, the District Chairman WBro Peter Hewitt, reiterated that the District team always looked forward to visiting Roclyffe Lodge for obvious reasons; the ritual, the friendship, and noted that the atmosphere in the dining room was electric and thoroughly enjoyed by all present.

The toast to the visitors was afforded and the Brethren of Roclyffe gave a another superb rendering of their visitors song the words of which are in Lancashire dialect. The raffle was drawn and the prize, a fine bottle of wine, was claimed by Acting Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies, WBro Joe Galvin. The WM addressed the brethren and than announced that the raffle monies would be donated to  ‘Tour de Province’ bike ride by the Rochdale Lodge No 6721 to raise monies for the 2105 Festival.

Reflecting on the evening, the visitors had a great night and the Brethren of Roclyffe  Lodge always have a super time and enjoy their masonry to the full, but, after all, isn’t that what it's all about?

Installation of WBro Michael Gibbons as APGM

On Thursday 2nd May 2103, at a special meeting of Napthali Lodge No 266 in the Rochdale Masonic Buildings, Rochdale the assembled brethren witnessed WBro Michael D Gibbons, JP  PProvJGW installed as the APGM for the Eastern Area of The Provincial Grand Lodge of East Lancashire

WBro Christopher J Welton, PJGD, who was the APGM for the Eastern Area has now become APGM for the Manchester Area.

The Lodge was opened in due form, the minutes of the previous meeting were confirmed and reports received from the Lodge Almoner and the Lodge 2015 Festival Representative.

There was a report at the door of the Lodge and the ProvGDC, WBro John Griffin, was admitted and announced that the PGM, RWBro Sir David Trippier RD,JP,DL, accompanied by a Provincial Delegation demanded admission. The PGM and the provincial Delegation were admitted.

The Provincial Delegation

The WM, Bro Godfrey Lawrence, offered the gavel to the PGM and on this occasion he accepted.

The PGM addressed the brethren before introducing the members of the deputation.

The PGM than presented a PAProvGM's Collarette to VWBro Stephen M Blank, PGSwdB.

The PGM then proceeded to invest WBro Michael D Gibbons, JP, PProvJGW, as Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Province of East Lancashire.

After the collection for good causes, the PGM and the Delegation retired from the Lodge.

Retiring APGM WBro Stephen M Blank and the PGM  RWBro Sir David Trippier 

APGM WBro Christopher J Welton and the PGM RWBro Sir David Trippier
     Congratulate the new APGM WBro Michael D Gibbons

L to R - WBro John Griffin Prov DGDC, WBro David Dunn PAGDC, Oldhan District Chairman.
  RWBro Sir David Trippier RD,JP,DL Provincial Grand Master, WBro Michael Gibbons JP,APGM Eastern Area,
   WBro Peter Hewitt PAGDC, Rochdale District Chairman, WBro Leonard Hayes PAGDC, APGP Eastern Area.

L to R - WBro David Dunn, PAGDC, Oldhan District Chairman. RWBro Sir David Trippier, RD, JP, DL Provincial Grand Master,
WBro Michael Gibbons, JP, PProvJGW, APGM Eastern Area and
  WBro Peter Hewitt, PAGDC, Rochdale District Chairman

At the Festive Board a total of 128 brethren dined, the room looked resplendent, and the chatter of the brethren was incredibly noisy.

The PGM’s reply to his toast was witty and humorous but above all very serious, he commended the brethren of Naphtali Lodge and especially the secretary WBro Trevor Jewitt for the exceptional amount of organisation that had gone to making this Investiture such a success, he continued with the humour for which he is renowned before concluding for which he received a lengthy ovation.

The reply to toast number 5, to the Deputy Provincial Grand Master and the Assistants, was given by the newly installed APGM, WBro Michael David Gibbons, JP, PProvJGW who stated that he would serve the Oldham and Rochdale Districts to the best of his ability for which he also received a lengthy ovation.

A truly wonderful night of Masonic brotherhood that will be remembered with fond memories by all who were present, ending as always with the Tylers toast


The Rochdale District Quiz Night 2015

The Winning Team -  Cock & Magpie

Twenty-three teams of Rochdale masons and their friends enjoyed the fourth “Fun Quiz” evening at Richard Street on Saturday 28th March 2015. The Rochdale Masonic Social Committee would like to thank all those who came along and made it such a special, fun evening.

The questions and answers were posed by our own “Quiz Master” aka WBro Ken Davies, M.B.E; his presentation kept all participants laughing and attentive for the whole evening’s proceedings. No mean feat! The rumour circulating that the music questions were taken from his own private “78” collection we strongly suspect to be true. Every double act has a good partner and in this instance it was Ken’s long suffering wife, Joan who kept the whole show on an even keel, keeping scores and checking queries.

The Winning Team - Cock & Magpie,  pictured with the bar manager (centre)

During an interval Martin’s  staff served up a delicious supper of either Meat & Potato Pie or Chicken curry and rice, both served with lashings of chips to keep all the quiz participants brains working at their maximum, not to mention help from Ian, the bar manager, keeping everyone well lubricated.

After this break it was back to the rest of the quiz which ended with the overall winners of the Silver Trophy being declared as the Cock & Magpie team, guests of Ian the bar manager.

The Wooden Spooners’

During an interval Martin’s  staff served up a delicious supper of either Meat & Potato Pie or Chicken curry and rice, both served with lashings of chips to keep all the quiz participants brains working at their maximum, not to mention help from Ian, the bar manager, keeping everyone well lubricated.

After this break it was back to the rest of the quiz which ended with the overall winners of the Silver Trophy being declared as the Cock & Magpie team, guests of Ian the bar manager.

The Quiz master -WBro Ken Davies MBE

The winners of the prestigious ‘wooden spoons’ were pleased with their trophies but their identities have been kept secret.

In presenting the Rochdale District Committee trophy to the winners WBro Peter Hewitt, the District Chairman, commented on what a successful and enjoyable evening it had been and that he hoped everyone would come back next year to compete for the trophy once again. A raffle was held for the prizes donated by a number of brethren.

Overall the evening raised £ 730, which will be donated to the East Lancashire 2015 Festival.

W.Bro Doug Smith rounded off the evening’s proceedings by thanking everyone for coming and for their generosity, with a special thanks to Ken and Joan who conducted the quiz magnificently.

Put it in your diaries - the date for the next quiz night – Friday 29th January 2016!

An excellent evening of learning, debating and fun

The Rochdale District Chairman WBro Peter Hewitt, 
The Provincial Grand Orator WBro Fred Lomax, WM, Bro P Taylor and the IPM WBro Stephen Holt.

The District Chairman,WBro Peter Hewitt accompanied by the Provincial Registrar, WBro Michael Church-Taylor and a Provincial Steward, WBro Tony Gillard and members of the District Team visited St Chad’s Lodge No1129 on the 18th March.

The lodge was opened in due form and the WM welcomed the District Chairman who then introduced the members of the team.

The minutes were approved and the correspondence read before the WM, Bro Barrie Taylor welcomed the Provincial Orator WBro Fred Lomax PProvJGW who gave an Oration entitled ‘The Ashler, both rough and perfect’. WBro Lomax then gave a most enlightening lecture after which he asked the brethren had anyone any questions to ask on any masonic subject. There were several brethren who asked questions about recruitment, about delivery of the ritual, and other topics, which resulted, in a very interesting and in depth debate. WBro Lomax then brought the debating to a conclusion.

The WM congratulated The Provincial Orator WBro Fred Lomax on an very informative lecture and his skills in the debate that followed.

Reports were received from the lodge Almoner, and the 2105 representative and the District representative.

A alms collection was taken before the lodge was closed in due form.

At the festive board there was a continuation of the debate that had been conducted in the lodge room.

A reffle was held and the winner on this occasion was the lodge Almoner, WBro George Caygill.

The evening was another example of the the merits of being a freemason, an excellent lodge meeting followed by a Festive Board where old and new friends shared an evening of friendship and fun.



District Team visit the Lodge of Friendship No 277

WM of Friendship Lodge No 277,  WBro Eric Howarth
and the Rochdale Deputy District Chairman, WBro Alan Barlow

 The Rochdale Deputy District Chairman, WBro Alan Barlow, accompanied by the Provincial Grand Registrar, WBro Michael Church-Taylor and members of the Rochdale District Team visited The Lodge of Friendship No 277 on Wednesday 11th March.

The Lodge was opened in due form and the WM welcomed the Deputy District Chairman apologising for the small number of brethren at the meeting explaining that several members were sick, others on holiday and several were on other Masonic business. WBro Alan Barlow thanked the WM for the warm welcome and introduced the members of the delegation to the brethren.

The minutes were than approved.

The WM said that the main item on the summons, which was to have been a Lecture, entitled  “The Relationship of Officers today to those of King Solomon” and the delivery divided amongst members.  However, because several members were absent this was replaced by a short lecture given by the WM about the Lodge as we know it.

It was a very interesting lecture which contained many facts such as; the word ‘Lodge’ being used in the middle ages referring to a place were operative masons both lived and worked and was transferred from site to site. More interestingly was the fact that the current Book of Constitutions of the United Grand Lodge of England was written in Manchester by James Anderson and has changed little since 1729.
The WM received an ovation for a very interesting and well-presented lecture.

The reports from the Almoner, the EL 2015 Festival Representative and the Buildings Representative were received before the lodge was closed in due form.

The Festive board was a jolly and friendly affair and the meal was enjoyed by all present, the excellent evening being brought to a close by the Tylers toast



The APGM WBro Christopher J Welton accompanied by APGP EComp Ed Cheadle,
Rochdale District Chairman WBro Peter Hewitt and a District Delegation
visited Charity Lodge No 3342 on Tuesday 24th February.

The Lodge was opened in due form and the Minutes were read and approved prior to the APGM and District Delegation being received into the lodge. The WM welcomed the APGM and offered him the gavel and on this occasion the APGM accepted.  He thanked the WM for the warm welcome and informed the brethren that this was his last official visit as the APGM for the Eastern Area, he said that he had been invested as the APGM in Charity Lodge meeting on the 24th May 2013 and it was very fitting that his last visit was to Charity Lodge. After returning the Gavel to the WM he then continued by individually introducing the members of the District Team.

L to R  The APGM WBro Christopher J Welton,  The APGP WBro ED Cheadle
and the  Rochdale District Chairman WBro Peter Hewitt

WBro Michael Church-Taylor the Provincial Grand registrar and secretary of the lodge, presented what turned out to be a very interesting lecture entitled ‘Getting your bearings’ a series of three short lectures written by WBro John Acaster.

The WM, WBro Michael Cooper, thanked WBro Church-Taylor for his very explicit and interesting presentation and the brethren spontaneously showed their appreciation in the usual manner.

During the festive board the District Chairman WBro Peter Hewitt informed everyone on the pending retirement of both WBro Ed Cheadle and WBro Chris Welton. WBro Cheadle had been a Deputy District Chairman and a District Chairman before he became the APGP and had now served our Province for a continuous period of 19 years in these roles.  WBro Welton has diligently served Eastern Area for almost 2 years and is about to assume responsibilities for the Manchester District. Both brethren were wished well for the future and all present then stood and took wine with the ‘retiring leaders’.

L to R The APGP WBro ED Cheadle, The Provincial Grand Registrar WBro Michael Church- Taylor
The WM WBro Michael Cooper,  The APGM WBro Christopher J Welton,
and the Rochdale District Chairman WBro Peter Hewitt

The remainder of the Festive Board was conducted in with dignity and decorum by the DC, WBro Stephen Bullen during which the APGM WBro Welton replied to toasts 3,4, and 5 and thanked the Brethren for their hospitality.

The WM, WBro Michael Cooper invited our APGM to draw the winning raffle ticket, which on this occasion was a bottle of single malt whisky and was won by WBro Rodney Schofield.



Teddies as part of Victim Support for Children


Service Delivery Manager, Andrea Lawlor proudly accepts TLC Teddy Bears from freemason David Law.
Court Security guards Danny & Lester kindly help settle the bears into their new home!

David Law a member of Royds Lodge No 816 in Tomorden applied to the ELMC Community Fund which resulted in the supply of 144 Teddy Bears to Victim Support as part of our continued support under the TLC initiative.

On Friday 30th January he visited Minshull Street Court in Manchester to formally present the bears to Andrea Lawlor who is the Service Delivery Manager working with the Witness Service and Victim Support based in the building. Andrea is the wife of a Royds Lodge member and our relationship began when he was District Charity Steward for the Rossendale District and as part of their initiative in engaging with non masonic charities and the local community in general. The Teddy Bear appeal (TLC) as you are no doubt aware, was initially launched to offer support to children attending Accident and Emergency units in Hospitals local to each of the Masonic Districts throughout the North West and was funded by selling Teddy Bear lapel badges. As they did not have an A+E associated with the Rossendale District, the Victim Support charity was ideal for consideration to receive their bears under the scheme and thus the relationship began. With the generous support and previous successful application to the Community Fund this relationship continues to date.

The bears are offered to children attending the court when giving evidence and greatly assist in that traumatic process, Duty managers based around the North West also take teddies to offer to children attending similar traumatic interviews in their offices and courts.

Below are extracts from a letter from - Andrea Lawlor, Service Delivery Manager, Minshull Street Crown Court Manchester.

I wanted to send you a heartfelt Thank you for the amazing donation of 144 TLC Teddies! I love them almost as much as the children will!!!

You and your colleagues cannot possibly know what this little bear represents to a small child who is about to give evidence about how they have been abused sexually or violently by somebody they loved and trusted! I see first- hand how these vulnerable children are affected. Something simple like the gift of a Teddy bear can mean the difference between a child being comforted or a child being so traumatised that they refuse to give evidence!

To see a little smile appear on a frightened child’s face when they are given the bear is truly priceless, but believe me, it happens every time! Children are informed when they arrive that they will receive a Teddy bear for giving evidence & being brave, which helps soften things for them. I also design a certificate for the child using personal information gained from family members (IE A love of Disney’s Frozen) which goes perfectly with their cuddly bear! As you are probably aware these bears will not just be used here at Minshull Street Crown Court but at all the courts in Greater Manchester & Victim Support offices.

So we really do get the word out there that the Freemasons are one of our biggest supporters. In these uncertain times (Victim Support have just lost their bid to keep heading The Witness Service to Citizens Advice) its heart -warming to know that some things, like your continued support will remain the same.

So please pass on not only my appreciation on behalf of all the service users but all the other Managers who work within the borough, we really can’t thank you enough!
SoThank you   David for acting as our champion and doing all the running around in order to get the bears to us!!

Some of the teddies waiting for the call to action


Some Districts may have had difficulty collecting for TLC bears, having done so for 10 years plus, due to working all out for the EL2015 Festival. The ELMC, through the Community Fund, wholeheartedly supports Districts needing extra funding for TLC Bears to keep this important initiative going.



APGM & District Team visit Liberty Lodge No 5537

L to R - The candidates proposer, Bro Paul Roberts, the candidate, Bro Lee Barnfield, WM,
WBro George Pilch, APGM WBro Christopher Welton and District Chairman WBro Peter Hewitt.

The District Team visited Liberty Lodge No 5573 on Tuesday 10th February as part of the ongoing scheduled visits to Lodges in the Rochdale District by the APGM WBro Christopher Welton. The Team consisted of the APGM, Chairman of the Rochdale District, WBro Peter G Hewitt, Deputy Chairman, WBro Alan Barlow, District Secretary, WBro Ian Clarke, District Mentor, WBro Ian Warrington, Asst District Charity Steward, WBro Bernard Percy and the District Communications Officer, WBro Dave Garnett. We were joined by two Provincial Officers of the year namely Provincial Grand Registrar, WBro Michael Church-Taylor and Provincial Grand Steward, WBro Tony Gillard.

The Lodge was opened and the team were welcomed by the WM, WBro George Pilch with the APGM thanking the WM for the very warm welcome and introducing the members of the deputation.

The most important business of the evening was to raise Bro Lee Barnfield to the sublime degree of a Master Mason. An excellent ceremony was conducted by the WM, WBro Pilch and assisted by WBro Victor Howarth. It was noted that the ceremony was at times infiltrated by the Scottish Rite!

The Social Board was excellent; the Lodge 2015 Representative gave a comprehensive report of the lodge’s success in the amount raised for the Festival.  The District Chairman responded to the toasts thanked the brethren for there warm welcome, and congratulated the lodge on its response to the 2105 Festival appeal. He also stated that the District team enjoys their visits to Liberty Lodge.


Keystone Lodge No 363 Installation Meeting

RWBro Sir David Trippier PGM & WM,

Our very own Provincial Grand Master, RWBro  Sir David Trippier, RD, JP, DL as member of Keystone Lodge No 363attended the Installation of Bro Peter de Loughery as Worshipful Master. On this occasion RWBro Trippier  was accompanied by Grand Lodge Officer of United Grand Lodge WBro Dennis  Everett, PAGReg(Eng).

All those who attended the meeting enjoyed a fine Installation Ceremony, performed with great style by the Installing Master and various other Past Masters of the Lodge.  Excellent explanations of the working tools were given by Brothers  Stuart Smith, Nick Clough and Daniel Nutall.

Bro Peter de Loughery, as WM

The outgoing Worshipful Master, R. Robert Codling (it was 21years ago when he last stood as WM) addressed the Brethren of Keystone Lodge and thanked them for their support throughout his year in office and said it was an honour and privilege to serve the brethren of Keystone Lodge again. He gave particular thanks to DC, WBro Ian F. Hastie PProvJGD who was retiring after tenure of 7 years.

SW Bro Stuart Smith, WM Bro Peter O’Neil de Loughery, JW Bro Nick Clough

After the ceremony was completed everyone retired to the bar to toast the new Worshipful Master’s health (who generously  just happened to buy the first round!).  Following a most satisfying meal, everyone then enjoyed the usual toasts to Her Majesty and the rulers of the Craft.



Families keeping in touch

Following on from a report by the WM of Benevolence Lodge No 226 WBro Chris Hajikakou regarding visits he made to lodges that were all descended from the Lodge of Antiquity No 146.
Chris still feels quite strongly about family ties and is hoping that he can get the message out there.

He hopes this could possibly lead to a rise in the number of brethren visiting amongst families of Lodges - which is a great thing to behold when it comes time to give greetings.

Recently there have been three (family) Lodges in attendance at various meetings and it causes a bit of a stir when we announce our links.

Chris recently visited a granddaughter lodge in West Riding of Yorkshire - Royal Forest 401. They are only ever known as "Four nought one" appears that few people know their lodge name.

This photo shows the Tyler in his traditional garb and how he dresses on every meeting.
In an anachronistic 18th Century Tyler’s uniform challenging a 21st Century Master.In February there will be a meeting at
Blackburn with six related Masters in attendance with lodge members plus District Deputation.



L to R WBro Alan Grime, acting JW, APGM WBro Christopher Welton, WBro Keith Davenport, WM,  
WBro John Harrop, SW and  WBro Joe Warburton, the candidate for the Ceremony.

On Wednesday 28th February, Roch Valley Lodge had the pleasure of receiving into their Lodge the APGM for the Eastern Area, WBro Christopher J Welton, accompanied by the Rochdale District Team and 2 Acting Officers of the Year, WBro Joe Galvin, ProvAGDC and WBro Tony Gillard, ProvGStwd.

The District Team was welcomed by the WM, WBro Keith Davenport and WBro Welton kindly introduced the individuals to the brethren who, including the District Chairman, WBro Peter Hewitt (ADC in Roch Valley Lodge) and the two Acting Officers of the Year, totalled ELEVEN in number. 

The main focus of the evening was a Demonstration Ceremony of Passing with the candidate for the demonstration being WBro Joe Warburton the Assistant Secretary of the Lodge.

The work of WM WBro Davenport was excellent and the ceremony went without a hitch. Reports were heard for the Almoner, the District and the 2015 Festival representatives.

The Social Board was conducted with dignity and good humour combined with a superb Festive Board.

The toasts were honoured and the APGM, WBro Welton responded to Toasts 3,4,and 5 during which he informed all present that he was soon to become the APGM for Manchester, but that he would always remember the many friends that he had made from both the Rochdale and Oldham Districts whilst he had been the Eastern Area APGM.

The raffle was drawn by the APGM and he drew his own ticket.  He commented that this was the first raffle he had won at Rochdale and insisted that the Lodge accept the prize back for them to use on a future occasion.  His gesture brought about a tumultuous and spontaneous round of applause.

 A wonderful evening all round and certainly a night to remember.




L to R .   APGM WBro Christopher Welton, Bro Jonathon North, the candidate,
WBro Christopher Hajikakou WM and WBro John North the candidates father.

On Tuesday 27th January, WBro Chris Welton, APGM for the Eastern Area, accompanied by the Rochdale District Officers paid a visit to The Lodge of Benevolence No 226.

After the Lodge was opened in due form WBro Welton and the District Team were admitted into the Lodge room and cordially welcomed by the WM, WBro Christopher Hajikakou following which WBro Welton was formally saluted.  WBro Welton acknowledged the salute then took the opportunity of introducing the District Officers, together with two Acting Officers of the Year, who accompanied him.

The next item of business was the Initiation Ceremony of Mr Jonathan North.  The Ceremony was conducted by the Worshipful Master and the initiate had the pleasure of being escorted throughout the Ceremony by his grandfather, WBro Malcolm Jackson who had been invited to take the office of Junior Deacon for this rather special occasion.

At the second rising WBro Welton took the opportunity to congratulate the Lodge for a wonderful Ceremony and which was executed to the traditional high standards that we have all come to accept from The Lodge of Benevolence.

During a very enjoyable Social Board the Toast to the newly initiated brother, Bro Jonathan North, was proposed by his father, Bro John North. Son Jonathan responded in an excellent manner.  Quite a family occasion.
The winning raffle ticket, that was drawn by our APGM, was held by W Bro Ian Warrington, the Rochdale District Mentor.

A most enjoyable evening all round.



Tripe, Onions and Black Puddings

The Members of Burnley and Pendle Antient Ritual Demonstration Team
with President, WBro Martin Roche, APGM

The Rochdale District Installed Masters Lodge No 9211 at their January meeting invited The Burnley and Pendle Antient Ritual Demonstration Team to perform an authentic Initiation Ceremony as conducted in 1759.
The lodge was opened in due form the minutes confirmed prior to Receiving WBro Martin Roche, PSGD, APGM for the Northern Area accompanied by WBro Peter Hewitt PAGDC and a District Deputation.

The WM welcomed WBro Roche and proffered him the gavel.

WBro Roche thanked the WM for the extremely warm welcome but on this occasion declined to accept the Gavel.  He spoke of the imminent presentation and hoped that everyone present would enjoy the spectacle.

The 1759 Lodge Room

The lights in the lodge were extinguished and a member of the team entered to give a short précis of the year 1759 in Burnley where tripe, onions and black puddings were local delicacies, King George ll was the monarch, General Wolfe had defeated the French at Quebec and the composer of the ‘Music for the Royal Fireworks’, George Frederick Handel, a freemason, died.

The Tyler entered the room and lit the candles prior to the arrival of the brethren and the WM, referred to as ‘Worshipful’. The lodge was opened and the minutes were read by the secretary, one brother sent his apologies as he was recovering from falling off his horse on the way home from their previous meeting. The Tyler certainly carried out his duties by continually filling the pewter mugs of the brethren with ale from a pitcher.

The most important item of business was to initiate (WBro) Eric Kirkbride. The candidate was led into the room, not with a blindfold but, wearing a hood. Certain details of the ceremony were certainly recognisable today (In the meantime the Tyler was still filling the mugs of the brethren)  The room was a ‘U’ shape with the WM, the SW and the JW in the places they occupy today. The Tyler was within but sat at a separate table. Singing played an important part of the ceremony and toasts to King, the Grand Master, etc., were taken.  After the demonstration WBro Kirkbrde confessed it was a fantastic experience and he thoroughly enjoyed it.

The festive board was excellent, The main course was delicious Steak and Kidney Pie, and thankfully not Tripe and Onions.

We were privileged to have two previous APGM’s for the Eastern Area present, VWBro Harold Woodward, PGSwdB a Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master, and also  WBro Alex McLaren, PSGD.

A Cheque was presented to WBro Martin Roche, the President of the Burnley and Pendle Antient Ritual Demonstration Team for £400 which was to be donated to the 2105 Festival. WBro Roche stated that the Demonstration Team had raised in access of £8000 for the 2015 Festival and asked for an appreciative round of applause for the team.

A raffle was held which raised over £250.

An Excellent evening of nostalgia, theatre and performance which will be remembered by all who were present.

The First Visit of 2015

L to R : WBro Charles Macmillan, DC, APGM, WBro Christopher J Welton,
Bro Anthony James, WM and the District Chairman, WBro Peter Hewitt.

The APGM for the Eastern Area, WBro Christopher J Welton, accompanied by the District Chairman, WBro Peter Hewitt and eight members of the District Team visited St Martin’s Lodge No2320 on the 8th January.

The Lodge was duly opened and several items of business were transacted prior to the Delegation entering the Lodge. The Worshipful Master, Bro Anthony James, welcomed the APGM,and offered him the gavel. On this occasion the APGM declined the offer before introducing members of the delegation. He said he was pleased to welcome in the delegation for the first time two Acting Provincial Officers of the Year, WBro Joe Galvin, Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies, and WBro Tony Gillard, Provincial Grand Steward.

The Main business on the summons was to give a demonstration of the first degree ceremony, which was executed with great decorum. A visitor to the Lodge and past master WBro Andre Klosowicz played the role of Candidate. Reports from the District Representative, the Almoner and 2015 Festival Representative were received.

Before leaving the lodge the APGM said how much he had enjoyed the demonstration and thanked all the brethren that had taken part.

The Festive Board was a very enjoyable affair which included amongst the brethren visitors from the West Riding of Yorkshire, In replying toasts 3,4,and 5 the APGM reported on the Grand Lodge, Provincial Grand Lodge and the District. He said that the news that he was to retire as APGM in the Eastern Area and take the post of APGM in City Derby District had been circulated and how he would miss his many friends and colleagues he had made in both Rochdale and Oldham. He then remarked that the festive board had been a delight and many of the items on the menu were his particular favourites.

A raffle was drawn the proceeds of which had raised £140.



Visiting and encouraging Lodge families to keep in touch

L-R: W Bro David Bell, IPM of Cathedral Lodge No 7814, SW of Lodge of Perseverance No 345 Bro. Clive Owen,
WM Cathedral Lodge No 7814, W Bro Malcolm Roe, (at the time) WM Lodge of Perseverance No 345
WBro Chris, WM Lodge of Benevolence No 226 and W Bro Laurence J. Yarwood, WM Lodge of Antiquity No 146

WBro Chris Hajikakou the WM of Benevolence Lodge No 22 visited Perseverance Lodge No 345 who meet at Blackburn to attend their Installation .There was an event planned for the following month and Chris expressed a wish to attend and watch the proceedings.

W Bro David Bell of Cathederal Lodge No 7814 had the idea of the Lodges getting 'closer'; Chris thought about that but didn't think that it would go beyond a good idea. David thought otherwise and the lodges have now built up a rapport between them. Cathedral Lodge has now been brought into the 'family' circle.

W Bro Laurence Yarwood of the Lodge of Antiquity had been visiting Benevolence as a casual visitor and has also visited the Blackburn lodges; his main purpose of which is to encourage closer ties with relative lodges.He is hoping to maintain his visits to the other lodges when he leaves the chair of King Solomon. Antiquity Lodge No146 is the mothers lodge of Benevolence Lodge No226 which is the mother lodge of Perseverance Lodge No345, which in its turn is the mother Lodge of Cathedral Lodge No7814.

The Lodge of Benevolence No 226 has two daughter lodges, which in turn have many daughter lodges and as a result there is a ‘family’ of twenty eight lodges spread over Darwin, Blackburn, Clitheroe, Burnley and one in Waddington in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

Benevolence Lodge originally was formed in Blackburn in 1797, moving to Littleborough in 1845 before finally moving to Rochdale in 1977.



The New Year's Eve Ball at Richard Street.

One thing we like as much as happy endings is new beginnings, so this New Year's Eve Party, organised by the Rochdale District Social Committee went off with a bang and the best start to the New Year.
The New Year's Eve Ball saw over 130 Masons, wives and friends gather at Richard Street to commence the celebrations.

After an introduction by WBro Bernard Percy, Asst District Charity Steward, an excellent six course meal was enjoyed by all. Whilst coffee was being taken the guests enjoyed playing with the compulsory rocket balloons. Before dancing could commence new District Charity Steward WBro Doug Smith's initiation induction was to sweep up the resultant mess.

The Keyboard and Vocal Harmony Duo 'Saremma', with Pete Shaw and Yvonne Johnston, then kept the dance floor packed for the next hour with a non-stop programme of music to suit all tastes.

The raffle in aid of the 2015 Festival was held with a sixteen excellent prizes being won: WBro Ray Lancashire's wife, Barbara, taking the 'star' prize of two free tickets to next year's 'do'. The excellent sum of over £1000 was raised.

WBro Smith, took to the floor and thanked everyone involved in making the night happen with particular thanks to WBro Bernard Percy and 'Saremma'. Our good wishes were also passed on to Josh, a member of the Masonic Hall staff, who was leaving that night to start a new career with BMW.

'Saremma' then returned and took the revellers through to midnight, Big Ben and Old Lang Syne, after which dancing continued until carriages at one.  At the end of the evening WBro Smith wished everyone a great and prosperous New Year and safe journey home.



Freemasons Provide Hospice Gifts

Back Row (L to R) Danielle Wood, Janet Froggatt, Doug Smith, Stephanie Thompson, Tracey Marriott,
Kath Basquill and District Chairman Peter Hewitt.
Front Row (L to R) Sandra Hewitt and Chief Executive Julie Halliwell

The Freemasons of Rochdale continued their annual Christmas tradition by paying a surprise visit to Springhill Hospice to deliver a number of festive gifts for Hospice patients.

The money raised by the lodge members has been donated to help to provide Christmas gifts for the local men and women who are in receipt of Hospice services. Chief Executive Julie Halliwell said, "It's a wonderful gesture to think about others at this very special time of year. I know that our patients really appreciate these gifts and we extend our thanks to the Freemasons of Rochdale Todmorden and Bacup for their kindness.”

After the presentation a small team of Freemasons then hand delivered personally the ‘Christmas Goody Bags ' to the various homes of the patients throughout the Borough of Rochdale.

The gifts were very well received by all.



Childrens Christmas Party 2014

In the run up to Christmas, the Rochdale Masonic Social Committee at Richard St. staged the children’s annual Christmas party on December 20th. Ken Davies aka Father Christmas, again this year, ensured the children were not disappointed.

Around 50 children with ages ranging from four to twelve years old, accompanied by their parents or relations, packed into the Masonic hall to take part in all manner of games and entertainment, prior to the much anticipated arrival of Santa himself

Dazzle the clown, performed in his trademark hilarious style, entertaining the youngsters and their mums, dads and grandparents in equal measure. All of which teased and tantalised until Father Christmas arrived to loud cheers and applause. With the help of his elves, he dispensed gifts and good cheer to every boy and girl at the party before, finally, due to it being his busiest time of year, he had to take his leave.

District Charity Steward WBro Doug Smith thanked Party organiser WBroTony Gillard for all his tremendous hard work in making the day possible and so enjoyable. WBro Gillard in turn thanked all the helpers, paying tribute to his wife Lesley for her organisational skills and unstinting assistance in making the party such a success.

Tony said how grateful he was that lodges which meet at Rochdale, Todmorden and Bacup, had been so generous with their donations and support. Seeing the delight and enjoyment the party brings to all the children and accompanying adults makes it a very worthwhile occasion.





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