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Rochdale District Latest News


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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

Tour De Province 2016 for the ELMC

Read Peter’s Report On His Bike Ride Here

Rochdale Masonic Social Committee

Foodbank Appeal

After the major flooding that occurred in Rochdale over the Christmas period last year, the Rochdale Foodbank were forced to continue their operations from temporary accommodation. The flooding resulted in a loss of almost 7 tonnes of food which included much of the food previously donated by Rochdale Masons. Damage to the premises on South Parade amounted to a figure in excess of £1,500. During the clear up operation over 100 volunteers were employed at various times.  It was only last week that the Foodbank was able to return to its refurbished premises.

To support the Rochdale Foodbank through these difficulties the Rochdale Masonic Social Committee made an application to their Flood Relief Committee and were successful in being awarded a grant of £1,000. In addition to this grant, individual members together with Lodges of Rochdale were once again generous in providing the equivalent of ten boxes of tinned and none perishable food to the FoodBank.

The RMSC would like to thank all the Brethren and Lodges who donated. Any further donations are always appreciated.




Early on Saturday 30th April 2016 at The Rochdale Masonic Buildings, Bro Peter Shipton, Senior Warden of The Rochdale Lodge 6721 will commence his epic journey of cycling round the Province of East Lancashire. Peter was part of the 12 man team that participated in ‘Le Tour de Province’ last year which raised over £2,000 towards the 2015 Festival.

This year Peter has decided to ride solo and has set a personal target of raising £500.00 for the ELMC. During his journey Peter will visit all of the Masonic Halls within the Province. He aims to complete the ride of nearly 200 miles within two days ending back at Rochdale sometime late afternoon on Sunday 1st May.

His friends and family will be on hand to support him during the weekend as he rides through the Eastern Area, on to the Northern Area and finishing day one in Bolton. Day two will see Peter complete the Western Area, on to Bridge Street via Salford, before riding through the Southern Area heading back towards Rochdale via Shaw and Middleton. is the address of the ‘Just Giving’ page which has been created if anybody wishes to support Peter and sponsor him in his epic journey.



Lodge of Naphtali No 266
Worshipful Master: Bro Gary Chadderton

“Talking Heads - The Next Step: Into the Royal Arch”
a presentation by members of the
Metropolitan Grand Chapter

After opening their regular meeting on Thursday 7th April, the Lodge of Naphtali were delighted to receive VWBro Derek Thornhill, JP, PGSwdB, Dep PGM together with other principal officers of the Province including: WBro Peter G Hewitt, APGM,  WBro Chris Welton, APGM, WBro John Pearson, APGM, EComp Paul MA Rose, PAGSoj, DepGSupt, EComp David H Thompson, PAGSoj, 2nd Provincial Grand Principal,  EComp WBro Donald Pryce, Past 3rd ProvGPrincipal,  EComp Len Hayes, APGP,  EComp Paul Aspinall, APGP,  EComp David Basger, APGP and WBro Martin Paul Roche, PSGD, PAPGM, ProvGSec

The main item of business for the evening was introduced by VWBro Ian Currans, PGSwdB, Asst Metropolitan Grand Master. Bro Currans explained that the Presentation entitled  " Talking Heads - the next step into the Royal Arch", was specifically aimed at non-Royal Arch Masons and also those Companions who have left the Order but may be interested in rejoining. He went on to explain that this educational initiative is a key element within the “Initiation to Exaltation” Masonic journey and had so far been presented over 140 times throughout England. It introduces the Holy Royal Arch (or Chapter) to new Master Masons or indeed re-introduces the Order to Craft Masons who might have been members, but who found it difficult to understand and had lapsed, or those for whom it simply did not "click".

“Talking Heads” is presented as a short playlet of an encounter between two craft lodge members; one an experienced Past Master (and Royal Arch Companion) WBro Ian Clark, SLGR, and the other a Master Mason WBro Mike Baker, PAGDC, curious to know more. It covers the history of the Order, explanations of the regalia, links to the Craft, why the Royal Arch is the climax and completion of pure Ancient Freemasonry, the time and financial commitments involved in being a member, how to discover more and how to find a Chapter to join.  It also covers questions ranging from idle curiosity "why is it a separate Order?" to more personal speculations such as “what is the Master Mason in the 21st century missing by not being a member of the Royal Arch?” The presentation itself was narrated by WBro Kevin Saunders, LGR.

This special meeting was attended by over 100 East Lancashire Masons and it is hoped that it will inspire non-members of the Royal Arch to seriously consider joining the order and in so doing progress their own personal Masonic journey.

The picture shows the WM Bro Garry Chadderton, (centre) the IPM WBro Godfrey Lawrence (1st on Left )
the Senior Warden Bro Andrij Korolczuk (far right) and the Junior Warden Bro Alexsander Capewell (2nd from Left )
of Naphtali Lodge together with WBro Ian Clark SLGR  (2nd from Right ) WBro Kevin Saunders LGR.  (3rd from Right)
WBro Mike Baker PAGDC (3rd from Left )

The montage shows three pictures taken at the Social Board.



The Rochdale District Quiz Night 2016

Fifteen teams of Rochdale Masons and their friends enjoyed what has now become the annual ‘Fun Quiz Evening’ at Richard Street on Friday 11th March 2016. The Rochdale Masonic Social Committee would like to thank all those who came along and made it such an enjoyable evening.

WBro Kenny Greer welcomed all competitors to Richard Street and wished them all luck before introducing the ‘Quiz Master’ for the evening, WBro Chris Henthorn. His presentation and delivery kept all participants laughing and attentive during the whole evening’s proceedings. The music quiz was particularly enjoyable taken from the theme tunes of comedies from the 1960’s through to the present day.

During the interval, Martin’s staff served up a delicious supper of Meat & Potato Pie and either Chicken or Vegetable Curry with rice, all served with a huge mound of chips to keep the participant’s brains working at their maximum.

Part two of the quiz then commenced which ended with the overall winners of the Silver Trophy being declared as ‘Ian’s Ringers’ who won it for the second year in succession.

The winners of the prestigious ‘Wooden Spoons’ would have liked to remain anonymous, but seeing that the ‘Roch Valley 2’ team members included our very own Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro Peter Hewitt and the Provincial Grand Charity Steward, WBro Ken Davies, there was never a chance of their wish coming true!!

A raffle was held for the prizes donated by the Brethren.

In presenting the Rochdale District Committee trophy to the winners, in addition to a case of wine, WBro Peter Rhodes the Rochdale District Chairman commented on what a successful and enjoyable evening it had been and hoped to see all present come back next year to compete for the trophy once again, with special thanks given to WBro Chris Henthorn for the excellent manner in which he had conducted the evening.

The evening raised £535.00 which will be donated to the Rochdale Building Committee.



Lodge of Harmony No 298
Personal 50th Celebration of WBro Tom Rawnsley

It was a very special evening for The Lodge of Harmony 298 on Wednesday 2nd March as they celebrated the personal 50th Anniversary in Freemasonry of WBro Thomas Rawnsley PProvGSuptWks.

After opening in due form, the Lodge was pleased to receive WBro Peter G Hewitt PAGDC, Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Province of East Lancashire, accompanied by deputation of Rochdale District Officers and Acting Officers of the year.

After accepting the Gavel from the Worshipful Master, WBro Stephen Newman, WBro Hewitt was given honours by all present, after which WBro Rawnsley was placed on the centre.

WBro Hewitt offered the best wishes of the RWPGM, DepPGM and District Chairman and then delivered a most interesting account of WBro Rawnsley’s Masonic career, which began on 27th January 1966 when he was initiated into Unison Lodge 4051. The Secretary then read extracts from the minutes of that evening along with further extracts WBro Rawnsley’s ‘Passing’ in February 1966 and ‘Raising’ in August 1966. WBro Rawnsley remained a member of Unison Lodge 4051 until 1999 when he became a joining member of The Lodge of Harmony 298, becoming WM in 2004. WBro Hewitt recalled the work WBro Rawnsley put into the sensory garden at Springhill Hospice in 2006/7 and the fact that this garden is still enjoyed by many to this day. WBro Hewitt then asked WBro Eric Kirkbride, PAGDC, to deliver a personal tribute to WBro Rawnsley.

WBro Kirkbride explained how WBro Rawnsley had been a Sea Cadet as a boy when war broke out, and that he had been in the same class as his late wife, Lillian, who was just 8 days younger than him. They were engaged at 18, just before he was conscripted into the Navy, where he recalled being stationed at Chippenham, where a young Philip Mountbatten (Prince Philip) was stationed, and WBro Rawnsley recalls a young girl called Elizabeth giving her bodyguard the slip and spending time in the local pub with Philip.

When WBro Rawnsley and Lillian celebrated their golden wedding in 2007, he dedicated a banner to the Lodge, which is still used to this day.

WBro Rawnsley was then presented with his richly deserved Illuminated Certificate by WBro Hewitt who also read a letter of congratulation from the RWPGM, Sir David Tripper, after which he was paraded around the Lodge to great acclaim by all present.

The celebrations continued downstairs at the Festive Board, where an excellent meal was enjoyed by all present. WBro Ken Davis then presented WBro Rawnsley with a beautiful gold plated Fob Watch on behalf of all the Brethren of the Lodge after which WBro Rawnsley offered his heartfelt thanks for making it such a special and memorable night for him.



Rochdale Masons attend the
Provincial Grand Lodge Meeting
of County Down
in Belfast

Back Row L - R: WBro Chris Hajikakou, WBro Bill Aston, Deputy Superintendent IOM, WBro Shaun Higson, PProvDepGReg,
WBro Kevin Horne, PAGDC, WBro Brian Horne, PGADC, WBro David Greenhalgh, PProvDepGReg.
Front Row L - R: PGM of the Province of County Down RWBro Roger Matthews,
MWBro Douglas Grey, Grand Master of Ireland and WBro Jim Sutcliffe PAPGM

East Lancashire Masons together with the Deputy Superintendent of the IOM, WBro Bill Aston, attended the Provincial Grand Lodge Meeting of County Down at the Le Mons Hotel in Belfast on the 30th January.

WBro David Greenhalgh, PProvDepGReg  (a personal friend of the PGM of the Province of County Down, VWBro Roger Matthews)  traveled to the meeting in the company of East Lancs masons  - WBro Jim Sutcliffe, PAPGM, WBro Brian Horne, PGADC, WBro Kevin Horne, PAGDC, WBro Shaun Higson, PProvDepGReg  and WBro Chris Hajikakou.

After the Masonic meeting the visiting party was entertained as ‘personal guests’ of the PGM at a dinner in the evening. 

The following day the group had the opportunity of visiting the Titanic Museum and took afternoon tea in the reconstructed Titanic dining room.

The event turned out to be a very enjoyable one which cemented the relationship which already exists between the Province of East Lancashire and the Province of County Down.


Samaritan Lodge No.286

WM – WBro Michael Holt PPAGDC

On 16th February, members of the District Team, led by the District Chairman WBro Peter Rhodes attended the regular Lodge meeting of Samaritan Lodge No 286 at Bacup Masonic Hall. On a very cold and wet evening the District Team received a warm and genuine welcome by the Lodge brethren in the bar downstairs before the meeting started. An equally warm welcome was extended to WBro Rhodes in the Lodge room by the WM, WBro Michael Holt, and after the customary introductions, the business of the evening commenced.

The Brethren of Samaritan Lodge opened and closed in full in all 3 degrees along with an explanation of the working tools in each degree. The tools, presented by Bro. Edward Wade, WBro. Peter Marsh and Bro. William Marsh were all excellently delivered. The District Chairman, WBro Peter Rhodes congratulated the Brethren on what was an excellent and sincere ceremony.

The Festive Board afterwards was a relaxed, jovial and friendly affair, complemented by an excellent meal and a few songs. 


Liberty Lodge 5573

Bro John A Ashworth, PProvGStB, Worshipful Master

On Tuesday 9th February, Liberty Lodge 5573 was pleased to receive WBro Peter G Hewitt , PAGDC, Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Province of East Lancashire, accompanied by a Deputation of Rochdale District Officers, Acting Officers of the Year and several Rochdale District Grand Officers.

This visitation was to celebrate and mark the personal 50th Anniversary in Freemasonry of Bro John Anthony Ashworth, PProvGStB.

WBro Hewitt opened the celebrations by giving an amusing and informative insight into what life was like in 1966.  WBro Kevin Hooson, PProvSGD, the Lodge Secretary, then read the minutes of the Lodge meeting held on the 8th February 1966, which recorded the Initiation of John by his father WBro Norman Ashworth, PProvJGW, who, regrettably, passed to the Grand Lodge Above shortly after this occasion.

A tribute was delivered to John by his long-time friend and fellow lodge member, WBro Harry Bell PProvSGD, who not only described John's dedication to Liberty Lodge and Freemasonry in general but also took the opportunity to publicly acclaim him for his voluntary work at Rochdale’s Springhill Hospice and for the other community activities John supports.  WBro Bell revealed to those present John’s little known act of heroism when he put his own life at risk in an attempt to rescue a father and son who were being washed out to sea off the Dorset coast.  He then read citations from the 3 certificates for Bravery awarded to John.

Finally, after a personal letter of congratulations from Sir David Trippier, RW Provincial Grand Master for the Province of East Lancashire was read out in open lodge by the District Chairman, WBro Peter Rhodes, following which WBro Hewitt took great pleasure in presenting John with a richly deserved Illuminated Certificate to mark this very special occasion.

The celebrations continued at the Festive Board and concluded when, after making a very warm and heart felt speech, John was presented with a large canvas print showing his father, WBro N Ashworth, dressed in Worshipful Masters regalia.

Top Photo - Seated Centre - WBro Peter G Hewitt and Bro John Ashworth . Members of the Provincial Deputation together with members of the Lodge.
Bottom Left Photo - Bro John Ashworth being presented with his 50 year certificate by WBro Peter Hewitt APGM.
Bottom Right Photo WBro Hewitt and Bro Ashworth taking wine at the social board.  


Greater Manchester Police
Concert Band
Richard Street .
29th January 2016

A concert organised by the Sales and Marketing Committee of the Rochdale Masonic Building Co. Ltd saw more than 150 guests entertained by the 30 strong Greater Manchester Police Concert Band.

The concert was staged in the large lodge room where the audience was enthralled by a wide range music which started with a trumpet fanfare and was followed by both traditional and modern scores.  It closed with a rousing rendition of Jerusalem and as an encore the band played the Dambusters theme to provide Tommy Spencer with yet another flying lesson.

Both guests and band members were served with a choice of refreshments at the interval when raffle tickets were sold raising more than £500.00 for the victims of the recent floods.

Building on the success of the evening, the Buildings Committee are hoping to stage a similar event next year, when it is hoped that the Police Band will perform some of their other musical themes such as jazz or swing band configurations.



The Investiture of
WBro Peter Graham Hewitt, PAGDC
Assistant Provincial Grand Master
RWBro Sir David Trippier, RD, JP, DL
Provincial Grand Master
Wednesday 27th January 2016
at the Masonic Hall Richard Street Rochdale

On the 27th January the WBro John A Harrop PProvJGD, Worshipful Master and Brethren of Roch Valley Lodge No. 5120 were delighted to host the Investiture of WBro Peter G. Hewitt as an Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Province of East Lancashire by the Provincial Grand Master RWBro Sir David Trippier.

After opening the Lodge in the First Degree, the Brethren were delighted to receive the Provincial Grand Master accompanied by a Provincial Deputation and it was a mark of the esteem and respect in which WBro Hewitt is held that his Investiture was supported by over 145 Masons from across the Province  

WBro Harrop presented the gavel to the Provincial Grand Master who then conducted the Investiture and paid tribute to WBro Hewitt in a very warm and sincere ceremony.

The celebrations were continued at the Social Board where a hearty meal and an evening of fellowship were enjoyed by all.

WBro Peter Graham Hewitt PAGDC, Assistant Provincial Grand Master
RWBro Sir David Trippier, RD, JP, DL Provincial Grand Master

WBro Arthur John Pearson PSGD, WBr Norman Cope PSGD,  VWBro Derek Nelson Thornhill JP PSSwdB, 
WBro Peter Graham Hewitt PAGDC,  RWBRo Sir David Trippier RD JP DL PGM,   WBro Chad Anthony Northcott PSGD, 
WBro John Christopher Welton  PJGD,   WBro John Richard Farrington PSGD.

RW PGMSir David Trippier, WBro Peter Hewitt the District Deputation and the Master and Brethren of  the Roch Valley Lodge.

The Social Board




WBro Harry Bucknell Celebrates 60 Wonderful Years in Freemasonry

Harry receiving his Illuminated Certificate from WBro Peter Hewitt

On the 28th December 2015 WBro Harry Bucknell, PProvDepGSwdB, at the age of 97 and an Honory Member of Roch Valley Lodge No 5120 celebrates his 60 years in Freemasonry.
A private party was arranged for Harry at the Four Seasons Care Home in Littleborough, where he now resides, by kind courtesy of the Owner/Manager of the Care Home, Mrs W Collinson.

Brethren from his Lodge and Harry’s two daughters, gathered at the home on Thursday 14th January where a his fine achievement was recognised.  WBro Peter Hewitt, APGM, took great pleasure in referring to Harry’s fantastic support and the wise council that he had given to his beloved Lodge over six decades.

WBro Hewitt addressing WBro Bucknell

Extracts from the Minutes of Roch Valley Lodge dated 28th December 1955 were read out by WBro Colin Farrow and WBro Alan Grime read a personalised letter of congratulation from the RW PGM, Sir David Trippier.

WBro Hewitt then presented Harry with both the letter and an Illuminated Certificate that he could hang on the wall of his room by the side of his 50th Certificates for both Craft and Royal Arch.

WBro Michael Lucas presented Harry with his 60th Lapel Badge and WBro Tony Heanley asked all present to join him in a Toast to WBro Harry Bucknell for his wonderful achievement. 

Harry with his daughters Valerie and Sheila and Lodge members

Harry responded suitably and extended an invitation to all present to join him in 10 years’ time when he would be celebrating his 70th birthday in Freemasonry.
The Four Seasons Care Home very kindly provided a finger buffet which was greatly enjoyed by all.



The Lodge of Probity and Freedom

Worshipful Master  - Bro Steven Holmes

On Thursday 14th January the Lodge of Probity and Freedom were pleased to receive a deputation from the Rochdale District, lead by the District Chairman WBro Peter Rhodes.

The occasion was the passing of Bro Peter Fitchett who had been initiated into the Lodge during 2015.

In addition, the Lodge was pleased to welcome WBro Jeff Antrobus , from the Luz De Murcia Murcia Lodge No.91 based in Spain.  WBro Antrobus is currently the Provincial Grand assistant Treasurer in the Province of Murcia, which forms part of the Grand Lodge of Spain. Prior to moving to Spain,  WBro Antorbus was a member of Tudor Lodge No.467 of Oldham and holds the rank of Past Provincial ADC in the Province of East Lancashire. 

The ceremony was conducted by the officers of Probity and Freedom in a very sincere manner and the evening was concluded with the usual good fellowship at the social board.

Senior Warden - Gareth Unsworth , Worshipful Master - Steven Holmes , Candidate - Bro Peter Fitchett,
WBro Jeff Antrobus Pro Gr Ass Treasurer ( Province of Mercia ) Junior Warden - WBro Greg Bradley



Rochdale District Social Committee New Years Celebration

The New years celebration organised by WBro Bernard Percy and his team was once again a great success.  This year, the annual event was supported by 130 guests. After the usual 5 course meal, the guests were entertained by the well known duo Saremma. It can be seen from the attached photograph that everyone enjoyed a great start to the New Year.

The District Social Committee would like to take the opportunity of thanking everyone for their support during 2015 and to wish everyone a happy and prosperous New year .



Rochdale Masonic Social Committee
Foodbank Appeal


Individual Members together with the Lodges of Rochdale were once again very generous in providing support for the annual foodbank appeal. This generosity resulted in a donation of £250 as well as a delivery of ten boxes of tinned and none perishable food to the Rochdale Food Bank on 21st December.

Food Bank manager Steve Field said, " this donation is gratefully received as we approach the most difficult time of the year for some families in Rochdale"

The RMSC would like to thank all the Brethren and Lodges who donated and would be pleased to receive further donations should any further items be made available.


WBroTony Gillard presenting the cheque to Steve Field of Rochdale Food Bank and is supported by WBro Kenny Greer



Children’s Christmas Party
Rochdale Masonic Social Committee

On the 19th December 2015, Rochdale Masonic Social Committee again hosted another very successful Children’s Christmas Party.

Sixty Two boys and girls aged between three and twelve were entertained by Dazzle the Clown and his vanishing rabbit.

After the entertainment, all the children enjoyed burgers and chips followed by cookies and cakes.

After filling themselves up with goodies, the children joined in with more dancing and party games. Father Christmas then made a spectacular entrance to deliver presents and selection boxes to all the children. This concluded another fantastic family event at Rochdale Masonic hall with everyone going home looking forward to the Christmas period.

Members of the Social Committee would like to thank all the staff and helpers on the day and wish them a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.




Rochdale Freemasons Provide Hospice Gifts.

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

The money raised by lodge members had 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 special time of the 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 the ‘Christmas Goody Bags ' to the homes of patients throughout the Borough of Rochdale.


Back Row - Bernard Percy -District mentor, Peter Rhodes - District Chairman, Doug Smith - Deputy District Chairman, Kenny Greer - District Charity Steward.
Front Row - Dr. Charlotte Barber, Clarece Gillis - Nursing Assistant , Rebecca Davies - Staff Nurse , Sheila Johnson - Director of Clinical Services, Gemma Renshaw - Staff Nurse, Julie Halliwell -CEO.






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If you have any new stories you would like to see published here, please contact

WBro Ken Rowlatt, District Communications Officer for Rochdale District.



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