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         Forthcoming Visits to Lodges in the Rochdale District

                         by The APGM, WBro J Christopher Welton                    

The APGM extends an invitation to
Grand Officers and District Officers to join him at these meetings.
Please see Rochdale District Team Visits

APGM Visits 2015

Tuesday, January 27th Benevolence Lodge No. 226
Wednesday, January 28th Roch Valley Lodge No. 5120
Tuesday, February 10th Liberty Lodge No. 5573
Tuesday, February 24th Charity Lodge No. 3342


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


A Message from Rochdale District Chairman, WBro Peter Hewitt

‘The very successful Rochdale District Flower Festival was formally opened by Lady Ruth Trippier on the 6th June and attracted around 1,000 people throughout the 3 days it was open. The event was supported by every Lodge/Chapter in the Rochdale District and raised a magnificent sum of £9,608.00 for the EL 2015 Festival.’


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

WBro David Garnett, District Communications Officer for Rochdale District.



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