Click any menu item to expand it, click again
to collapse it.

The Royal Arch RA Home Page

City Derby District Latest News

DISTRICT DIARY - January 2012

Archived news moved to bottom of page


News Items from this district can now be found under the Manchester Area news page

- click here to access the page



Celebration of 50 years in Freemasonry
WBro Alan Butler PJGD
Semper Fidelis Lodge No. 3299
Wednesday 2nd November 2011


Wednesday 2nd November, saw WBro Alan Whitfield Butler PJGD celebrate 50 years in Freemasonry at Semper Fidelis Lodge No. 3299.
The Lodge opened, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro James Sutcliffe PSGD was admitted, accompanied by a District Deputation, and by several Grand Lodge Officers from the Province.  Also in attendance were, RWBro John Lamb the Grand Master for the Grand Lodge of Scotland, accompanied by, WBro Harry Wright and WBro Elliot Lewis, former member of Semper Fidelis Lodge.
The Worshipful Master WBro Stephen Pilling greeted WBro Sutcliffe offering him the Gavel, which on this special occasion, he accepted.  WBro Sutcliffe then introduced each member of the Deputation, which included City Derby District Chairman WBro David Basger PAGDC. 
WBro James Sutcliffe then informed every one of the events in November 1928 the year and month of WBro Butler’s birth.  Alan was born on the Saint’s Days of St Peter of Alexandria, the last Christian slain by the Romans, sharing his birthday with no lesser luminaries than, John Harvard of Educational fame (1607), Charles ‘Peanuts’ Schultz (1922), Tina Turner (1939), and Hilary Benn MP (1953).  George Frederick Ernest Albert Windsor, George V was on the Throne and Stanley Baldwin the Prime Minister.  The pound in your pocket was worth £40 in today’s money, and the average Basic Wage for a 50 hour week was £1.11s.8d! 

In the world of football, Blackburn Rovers were 1st Division Champions, with Manchester United in 18th place.  The now ‘Noisy neighbors’ Manchester City won the Second Division Championship. So that was a brief snap-shot of the world when the birthday boy made his first appearance; what about Thursday 1st November 1961, when Alan joined Freemasonry.

Well, Alan had learnt a little about life, and well hedged his bets by inviting all the Saints to guide his way; yes, it was All Saints’ Day!  JFK had been inaugurated, the Berlin Wall erected, and the Vietnam War would commence a month later.  Her Majesty, Queen
Elizabeth II was toasted that evening, as she will be this evening.  That crisp pound note in your pocket was now worth £16.41 in today’s money.  On TV we were watching such programmes as, Wagon Train and Bonanza.  The Cinema produced 101Dalmations, top grossing Film on both sides of the Atlantic, and West Side Story, which won 10 of the 11 Oscars that year.
WBro Sutcliffe concluded by saying, ‘that’s how it looked when Alan entered Freemasonry’ then inviting WBro Raymond Ricardo PProvJGW to give everyone a greater insight into the life of the birthday boy.
WBro Ricardo started his tribute on behalf of the Lodge by reading the minutes from the
1st November 1961 the night of WBro Butler’s Initiation.
On the 26th November 1928, Grace Butler gave birth to a baby boy; they christened him Alan Whitfield Butler.  Alan was the youngest of Grace and Ernest five children. At that time of Alan’s birth the family lived in Eccles moving to Moss Side when Alan was aged five where his father opened a grocery business.  

After sitting his eleven plus exams Alan attended St. Margaret’s Technical School, because of the shortage of teachers due to the war, he attended school for half days.  Alan was an accomplished sportsman, playing football and cricket for the South Manchester Boys also joining the Army Cadets, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

On leaving school at fifteen Alan started work at Singer Sewing Machines; unfortunately he did not enjoy the job and left after ten days!  He then found employment at GEC, Victoria Bridge, Salford.  In 1947 he was called up for National Service, reporting to the South Lancashire Regiment for infantry training.  He then transferred to the Royal Corp of Signals, being trained as a Telegraphist. On completion of his training he continued as an instructor, rising to the rank of Sergeant.

Leaving the Army in 1949 Alan decided to go into the textile business, starting work as a warehouseman, progressing to warehouse manager.  He then ventured into the sales side of the business.  It was during this period, and on a visit to a client, that lead him to being offered a job as Departmental manager of Textile Company; Wadkin and King based in Salford.
It was during his time at Wadkin and King that Alan was invited to be a member of Semper Fidelis Lodge, being proposed by, Bro P Drabble and seconded by WBro T Birchall.  The Initiation ceremony was carried out by the Worshipful Master Bro Frederick Kench, the attendance at the meeting totaled forty two, which included eight visitors.  The Initiation fee was £26.5s with Lodge subscriptions at £5.5s.
Alan progressed steadily through the offices of the Lodge, and was installed into the chair of King Solomon in 1973 and again in 1990.  For a number of years he served as the Lodge District representative, becoming Lodge Charity Steward.  In recognition of his work he was Invested as Provincial Grand Steward in 1980, promoted to Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon in 1983 and finally to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden, 1987.  WBro Butler received Grand Lodge honours in 1989, being appointed Past Grand Standard Bearer and further recognition in 1999, becoming Past Junior Grand Deacon.   

Alan continued to serve the Province and in March 1991 he was invited to become   Provincial Grand Charity Steward.   Alan served on the ELMBI Committee of Benevolence and the General Committee for 14 years, from 1983 to 1996, and was on the East Lancashire Hall Company Committee for three years.  Alan also holds Grand Rank in the Royal Arch.

After 23 years service with Wadkin and King, Alan decided it was time to leave.  After a further two changes of employment he became manager of a textile Mill in Reddish, Stockport where stayed until 1976.  Alan then decided to start his own business.  The business quickly improved, over the years proving to be a successful company, having several Mills and employing a large number of workers. 

In his final remarks, WBro Ricardo said, ‘Alan has always been a very energetic and happy member of the Lodge, willing to help in any way he could, especially with younger members and visitors, encouraging and giving advice where needed.  He is a true and dedicated Freemason and richly deserves the honour bestowed on him today’

WBro James Sutcliffe presented Alan with a letter of congratulations and Illuminated Certificate from the Deputy Provincial Grand Master in Charge, VWBro Harold Woodward.  City Derby District Chairman WBro David Basger presented Alan with a ‘fifty years in Freemasonry’ lapel badge on behalf of the District. 

Before WBro Butler was perambulated around the Lodge room, to great acclaim by WBro Harold Cooper ProvDepGDC, he gave a generous donation on behalf of the Lodge to WBro Sutcliffe in aid of the 2015 Festival.

The Lodge closed everyone retired to a buoyant Festive Board where more speeches, heaped with praise were bequeathed on WBro Butler, by his close friend and Lodge Junior Warden, WBro Ralph Payne PProvJGW.  WBro Payne informed everyone that Alan and his wife celebrated their Diamond Wedding anniversary in March and that Alan’s son married his daughter in June.  This year has certainly been a time for celebration for WBro Alan Butler PJGD and his family.

Finally, it was also a poignant evening for the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro James Sutcliffe and City Derby District Chairman, WBro David Basger.  This was their last official outing before they before retire from their respective office at the Provincial Grand Lodge meeting on November 17th.  All the Officers from City Derby District wish them well for the future and a happy retirement.





District Delegation headed by WBro Jim Sutcliffe



Grand Lodge Officers from the UGLE and Scotland



WBro Alan Butler with WBro Jim Sutcliffe and District Chairman WBro David Basger



Lodge members with the District Deputation and Grand Officers



WBro Butler, the Worshipful Master and his Wardens



Lodge members and guests



WBro Butler responding to the toast in his honour


Archives Navigation: 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 & earlier

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

WBro Richard Bermitz, District Communications Officer for City Derby District

back to top