Craft Masonry of East Lancashire
Craft Masonry of East Lancashire

The 35th Annual Conference

Will be hosted by Salford Masonic Fellowship

Association of Masonic Fellowships 34th  Annual Conference

Hosted by Middleton Masonic Fellowship

Good afternoon everyone. It’s lovely to once again see your lovely friendly faces, and catch up with your news, –  but I don’t know about you, but I think these Conferences are coming around far faster than they used to!
I have to say that it is getting more difficult as each year passes to get Fellowships to host the Conference. I realise that some of you are only small in number, and others do have difficulty with parking, but if this continues, our conferences will cease.
Following the problems I have had this year, I spoke to the Salford Fellowship Officials, and we have agreed to host the Conference in 2017, so it’s back to Salford Masonic Hall next year. We, too are small in numbers, but we do have a car park! Perhaps I should be trying a different tactic, so instead of asking the ‘next’ Fellowship on the list to do it, I would really like to appeal to all Fellowships to talk to your committees and if they would like to host a conference, to let me know.
Looking at my list,  apart from Shropshire, Kent and Essex, — the next in order would be Darwen – Ashton & Mossley- or Leyland, so if there are any representatives  here from any of those Fellowships who would like to host in 2018, I’ll look forward to hearing from them.

You may remember that at last year’s conference at Rochdale, we had a ‘discussion’ about Darwen Fellowship and the manner in which they had been treated by Darwen M H. It was agreed that I should write to Sir David Trippier, which I did on the 20th May 2015. My letter was passed on to the Prov Grand Secretary, WBro Martin Roach, and I will read you his reply;-

At this time I do not know if anything has been resolved, and from reading WBro Roache’s letter, it doesn’t seem that we, as part of the Fellowship movement, – can do any more. We have expressed our distress at the situation to the Grand Lodge Officers, so they know how we feel, but all we can do now is to continue to welcome the Darwen members and treat them as part of our Masonic Fellowship group. I hope you all agree with this.
We still have £65 left from the £5’s I collected from you 2/3 years ago, so there is no need for anyone to give any more money at the moment. My only expenses are usually for postage stamps, mainly for the Fellowships who are not on email, so if you are not on email, it would help if you had someone in your Fellowship who would be prepared to let you use theirs in order that I can send information to you through them. Obviously, they would have to print it out for you and pass this on. What do you think? Also, it is most important that I receive updates of emails and addresses, and that you update yours when I send amendments to you.

Well, I think that’s it! I’m sorry my report has been rather long, – I didn’t intend it to be, –  and I will try to answer any questions, or receive comments to my report.

Association of Masonic Fellowships 33rd  Annual Conference

Hosted by Rochdale & District Masonic Fellowship

Richard Street Masonic Buildings 19th May 2015

A rather wet and blustery day brought us to Rochdale Masonic Hall for the 33rd Annual Conference. We were warmly greeted by members of the Fellowship, and offered tea, coffee or Bucks Fizz, whilst we circulated and caught up with the news from the representatives of the other Fellowships, from Accrington; Audenshaw; Bury; Burnley; Bolton; Chorley; Clitheroe; Darwen; Farnworth; Leyland; Middleton;
Morecambe; Oldham; Salford; Warrington; Wigan and Rochdale. In all 64 people attended.
Apologies were received direct to Jean F from David Whiteley from North Shropshire Fellowship.

After we had assembled for lunch, Ann Stott J.P., Chairman of the Rochdale and District Fellowship welcomed everyone, before introducing WBro Ronnie Cohen to give the Grace, after which we enjoyed a lovely meal supplied by the hall’s in house caterers. Everyone attending found a lovely pen by their place to take home as a memento of the day.

WBro Cohen returned thanks after which the Loyal Toast was proposed by the Chairman, Ann Stott, and the National Anthem was sung with great gusto to the accompaniment of one of the visiting brethren from Burnley, I think! Sorry Sir, I didn’t get your name!

The Toast to the Association of Masonic Fellowships was very ably given by the Rochdale District Chairman, WBro Peter Hewitt, who first of all thanked the Hosting Fellowship for inviting him to propose this toast. He then said how nice it was to see so many Guests and Visitors who had already been warmly welcomed to this Annual Conference by the Chairman Ann, and he trusted we had all had a lovely time here at Rochdale. In his view, the Fellowship organisation is one of the most important branches of the whole Masonic system. It’s an organisation that provides a forum for like-minded people to come together in a congenial atmosphere and share joys and pleasures with one another. To listen to some wonderful speakers and entertainers, and most of all, to be happy and share that happiness with others. To the Brethren here today, he asked the question, -“does your Lodge have an active Fellowship Representative or Lodge Almoner, who is communicating to all their charges the work of the Fellowships and encouraging them to attend the meetings of this wonderful organisation?” If not, why not have a word with them of the pleasures that they may be depriving their members of. We should not keep the Fellowship to ourselves; – we should share it with others. He paid tribute to all the organisers of every Fellowship for the fantastic work they do behind the scenes in making the Fellowship the wonderful organisation it is, and concluded with “ Ladies, Gentlemen and Brethren, would you please be upstanding and join me in the Toast; The Association of Masonic Fellowships, Please continue to enjoy your Fellowships”.

Association Report; given by Jean Forrester;
It doesn’t seem twelve months since we were meeting at the beautiful area of West Bradford, and yet here we are in the heart of Rochdale for the 33rd Annual Conference of Masonic Fellowships, and while we are all happy to be here, perhaps we should spare a moment to remember our friends in the Fellowships which are too far away to travel the distance to be with us. One in particular, is Chislehurst, and I mention this because towards the end of last year I was speaking to WBro Cadwaladr ‘Wally’ Roberts PPSGW, from St Paulinus Lodge No 7992. Wally, as he is apparently known, had been given an award by the PGM RWBro Jonathan Stewart Winpenny, for his work in the Province and particularly to the Chislehurst Masonic Fellowship, where he has been Secretary for over 25 years. This award is called ‘The West Kent Invicta Award’,   and can be awarded by the PGM for West Kent to anyone who has given outstanding service to the Province. I think this is a lovely idea, and although Wally hadn’t phoned to tell me this.. It just came up in conversation, … I sent an article to the East Lancashire web page, where it can be seen under the Masonic Fellowship section.  I have given this web address out several times, but I am not sure if many of you search this out  which brings up the Province of East Lancashire Web page, and you just scan down the list on the left to see what’s going on. Bury use this regularly and Salford have included information and pictures, and I always send the Conference report which is also included. You should make a point of looking at it, as it was set up for our benefit, and as I’ve said before, it’s for ALL the Fellowships, not just those in East Lancs.

Anything you wish to include has to be sent to one of the Brethren responsible for this, but all the information is there for you to access.
Yesterday I went through all the addresses I had for the Fellowships, and checked these with the list of emails I hold, updated and sent out new address lists to everyone who had emails. If anyone here has changed their address perhaps you would see me before leaving.

I have included in the envelopes, the cash statement for this last year, and as you see, I deserve a gold star because I have only spent £12.72 this year! We still have £85 left in our ‘float’, so it’s another free year!

I was extremely pleased to see five members from what was, Darwen Masonic Fellowship, here today. You may recall that they have been having problems but with your agreement I am going to assist in solving their predicament and contact the PGM. Everyone agreed to this action.

After the correspondence last year about whether or not to send Christmas cards, I suggest you do as you wish. Send cards, don’t send cards, send email greetings! Whatever your committee decides.

Ken Tyler, our Founder tells me that this year will be the 40th anniversary of the first Fellowship, Farnworth Masonic Fellowship, and they will be having a lunch to celebrate on the 21st September 2015 at Farnworth Masonic Hall, and an open invitation is extended to any of you who wish to attend. For more information please contact me I will pass it on to Ken. Lastly, don’t forget to leave your badges as you leave, so they can be passed on to Middleton, where the 2016 Conference will be held, and hopefully, at Bolton in 2017!

Well, that’s about it. I always enjoy meeting up with you all each year, and I shall look forward to seeing you again in 2016…. And as the time is going by faster as each year passes,… it will be here before we know it.

WBro Joe Lamb from Darwen Fellowship expressed sincere thanks for the manner in which the conference had responded to their dilemma.

Resume of Fellowship Activities;

Middleton M.F. representative, Marjorie Bannister, said she was forever receiving complaints from widows who say they know nothing about the Fellowships. Their numbers are dwindling, so they decided to open a Luncheon Club and this has brought in many new faces, some of whom again, say they did not know anything about the Fellowships. Could we not have an official leaflet done which could be handed out?

Michael from Burnley, said he had agreed with the comments made by WBro Hewitt had said, and thought a Fellowship Representative was a good idea but he hadn’t heard of any Lodges in his area  having one. Could this not be made a ‘real’ appointment?

Warrington representative said he had heard the Fellowships were thought to be just ‘singing, dancing and hand clapping’, and it would be good to educate Lodge members exactly what we did do at our meetings.
Another representative said letters sent to Lodge Secretaries are not always read out. Out of 17 letters, only 4 would be read out in full, the others just turned over.

Tom Hunter from Morecambe said they now write to their widows twice a year, informing them of what is going on at the Fellowship. It has brought in new faces.

Jean Forrester, Salford also agreed with the comments of WBro Hewitt and the other speakers, and said most of these idea had been tried out at Salford without success. The area in which the Masonic Hall was situated is an important factor in getting people to attend. Those in the rural areas seemed more like a ‘meeting place’ than those in Cities and Towns, but the idea of a Fellowship representative at Lodge meetings seemed like an excellent idea if it was to take off.

A reply to these comments was made by WBro Hewitt who felt that Fellowship correspondence sent to the Lodge Secretaries was not the most effective way of getting our message across, as the letter would be mentioned and Brethren told it was available for them to read if they wished!  He was pleased that three of the Brethren present, from Rochdale Fellowship, had volunteered to cover the 18 Lodges in the Rochdale area by visiting every Lodge and requesting to address the Lodge regarding Rochdale M F. Hopefully, this would prove a better way of getting the Fellowship Association recognised.  The spoken word was always better!

There were no further comments.

At this point, the Rochdale Fellowship Chairman Ann, drew a raffle for the table plants.

The response to the Toast was given by WBro Allen Clarke, who said that we had enjoyed everything about the day, and in particular the comments made by WBro Hewitt and the other speakers. He thanked WBro Hewitt for his toast and everyone for their contributions which had made the effort worthwhile and polished the Jewel in the crown!

The vote of thanks to the hosts was given by Marjorie Bannister from Middleton Masonic Fellowship who thanked the Rochdale Fellowship for their welcome today, the chef for the excellent meal we had enjoyed and all the speakers for their comments and new ideas. It had been a very successful conference and she hoped Middleton would do as well in 2016, when they would be ready to welcome us to the 34th Annual Conference.

With no further business the Conference closed at 2.45pm and the delegates were invited to visit the Lodge rooms if they wished.

For a full conference report you can email Mrs Jean Forrester at

Association of Masonic Fellowships 32nd Annual Conference

Hosted by Clitheroe & District Masonic Fellowship

West Bradford Village HallThursday, 15th May 2014

A journey to a very beautiful part of the country took us to West Bradford, in the Pendle area of Lancashire, where approximately 85 people from the Fellowships met again for the Annual Conference of Masonic Fellowships. Thankfully, we did not encounter any witches!

On arriving at the village hall, we were given a very warm welcome by the members of the Clitheroe and District Masonic Fellowship and were offered a welcome drink of Bucks Fizz, tea or coffee before circulating and meeting friends from the other Fellowships attending.

At 12 noon we gathered in the dining room for an excellent meal provided by Country Kitchen of Waddington, — another beautiful part of this lovely area! I have to admit to being a fan of this whole part of the country, it being one of the first places I choose to visit when I’ve time. The fact that there are two lovely, but expensive, clothes shops is purely coincidental!

We were welcomed by the Chairman of the Fellowship WBro Donald Wilson and grace was given by WBro Raymond Shuttleworth, who later returned thanks .

The Loyal Toast was given by W.Bro Bryan Bristol, of the hosting Fellowship.

The toast to the Association of Masonic Fellowships was given by WBro Paul Clark, APGM of West Yorkshire who thanked the hosting Fellowship for inviting him and extended a warm welcome from the Province of Yorkshire and West Riding Area 3, who confessed to not knowing much about the Fellowships as he didn’t have any in his area! This was received with a significant murmur from those assembled! He went on to say how well the Province had been doing in raising funds towards their 5 Year Festival, under the direction of their new PGM. They had two major projects, Cares for You and Care for One Another. There was plenty of evidence here that we did care for one another. Some say strange things about the elderly; – growing old is something you catch when you are 60; – old people moan, are interfering and old fashioned.  However, looking around at the people here today, I think we have a lot to thank them for, and in particular, to those who help to run the Fellowships in their area. May the work of the Fellowships continue. Would you please rise and join with me in the toast I have much pride in giving, – to The Association of Masonic Fellowships.
The Secretary’s report was given by Mrs Jean Forrester.
Well, here we are again at the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association of Masonic Fellowships. And it is really nice to be back in this beautiful spot.  I realise the hosting Fellowship have had additional expense for the hire of the hall, making our ticket more expensive, but I hope you will all agree that travelling to this lovely area has been worth it, and the Clitheroe and District Fellowships have done us proud.

It has again been a quiet year, apart from changes to some Secretaries. I have given out to the Fellowships attending today, a new address list, which as far as I am aware is up to date. Would you please advise me if anything is incorrect, and more importantly, pass this list to your Secretary as they are the people for whom it is intended. Any amendments will be sent to your Secretary; therefore it is important that they have the copy. Also enclosed is a copy of the cash flow. As you will see, the only expenditure has been on stamps, and we still have £85 left in the SMF account, — at least I hope we have as I haven’t had time to clarify this with our treasurer! We will probably need to collect more money again next year but we do not need to contribute anything this year.

Although not relating to the Fellowships, I feel I must tell you, or remind you…. that Rochdale Masonic Hall are hosting  ‘A Masonic Flower Festival ‘ on the 6th, 7th and 8th June at Richard Street , Rochdale, PL11 1DU. Opening times are Friday 10.30 – 8pm. Sat, 10 – 6pm and Sun 10 to 4pm. £5 prior to the event and £6 on the day. I understand that it is being run by the District and the proceeds are for the RMBI 2015 Festival. I am sure they would love to see some of you there, especially as our Conference 2015 will be hosted by the Rochdale Masonic Fellowship. Well, that’s about it. Don’t forget to leave your name tags so they can be passed on for next year. Thank you for your continued support to me.
Forum; There were no questions or discussions.
In the unavoidable absence of WBro M P Roche, APGM of East Lancashire, the Response to the Toast was given by WBro Ian Ogden, who thanked WBro Clark for his very nice toast, and said that as their area was scattered over East Lancashire and Yorkshire there could be  a little bit of ‘mixed loyalties’, but as Freemasons, we don’t fight over  such a small thing as where we live. He then thanked the hosts, Clitheroe and District Masonic Fellowships for a most enjoyable day, and the welcome so sincerely given.
Good wishes were extended to Rochdale Masonic Fellowship who would be hosting the conference in 2015.
With no further business, the conference closed at 2.10pm with wishes for a safe journey home.

Association of Masonic Fellowships’ 31st Annual Conference

Hosted by Preston Masonic Fellowship

PrestonMasonic Hall, Saul Street, Preston Wednesday  15th May 2013

Once again, the Fellowships gathered, — this time in Preston, — for the 31st Annual Conference, — although ‘Conference’ is perhaps the wrong word. That sounds very heavy and boring, but our Conferences are certainly not like that! We start to arrive around 11.00am, are given a warm welcome and a cup of tea/coffee,  by the hosting Fellowship, — and Preston was no exception,  — then mingle with the representatives from other Fellowships, renewing old acquaintances and making new ones, and all this is followed by a glass of sherry before being called in to lunch, including wine!  And what a lovely lunch it was!

After a welcome by the Chairman of Preston & District Masonic Fellowship, W.Bro Ray Beech, – W.Bro Frank Holroyd, – also from Preston, said grace. Lunch was then served consisting of Melon with seasonal fruits and raspberry coulis; Braised Steak cooked in red wine and herbs, or Salmon with sauce, or vegetarian and seasonal vegetables. The desserts were Sticky Toffee Pudding and custard, profiteroles with chocolate sauce or Ice Cream! All this followed by tea/coffee and mints. It did my diet no good at all, but I’m not complaining!

W.Bro Holroyd returned thanks and the Loyal Toast was then proposed by another member of Preston Fellowship, W.Bro Frank Moss. The toast was suitably honoured.

We then had the Toast to the Association of Masonic Fellowships, very ably given by V W Bro Howard Jones, Deputy Grand Master of the Province of West Lancashire.   He began by saying what a delight it was for him and his wife, Pat, to be present, although it did remind him of the children’s bible story, Daniel and the Lion’s Den! When being told to smile, and asking ‘Why’, the victim was told that the last one to eat has to respond! He said he had really enjoyed being with the Fellowships today, meeting people and in particular, W.Bro Ken Tyler, the founding Guru, who, – like Martin Luther King, – had a dream. Realising Masonic widows in particular, were missing the comradely they had when their husbands were alive, Ken had taken it upon himself to form the Fellowship, was given permission to proceed, and, as has been said before, – was told by Lord Hewlett, to ‘go and plant your tree’, which he did and the movement has grown, mainly in the North, but there are a few Fellowships in Shropshire and the South. He then mentioned the letters which had appeared in Freemasonry Today which referred to Fellowships, and hoped that the movement would develop further as a result.  We need to spread out, go out and tell everyone what a good day and meal we have enjoyed with friends from other Fellowships.  Encourage our Masonic friends who do not attend to join us in a movement which provides friendship, kindness. Day trips, speakers, and in some cases, holidays! The modern generation communicate via email, Twitter, Facebook and the like, but there is nothing like communicating face to face, enjoying the company and seeing the pleasure on a person’s face.  To quote Albert Schweitzer, “The only ones who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve”. Ladies and Brethren, the toast is to the Association of Masonic Fellowships.

The Association Report was given by the Association Secretary, Jean Forrester, who said “It doesn’t seem 12 months ago when we were at Mill House Accrington, on the same day that HM The Queen was also visiting the area on her Diamond Jubilee Tour. We still had the actual Diamond Jubilee Celebrations to look forward to, and of course, the Olympics.  Neither of them disappointed!  Both were very spectacular events, and as usual, we did ourselves proud!
And Preston Fellowship has done us proud today. We received a warm welcome from the members, we’ve enjoyed a lovely meal, and the sticky toffee pudding was delightful! Worth breaking my diet for!
As far as Fellowship news is concerned, this year has been very quiet!  This is made more obvious on our Statement of Accounts, which have been distributed to Fellowship representatives today.  I have only spent £18 this year, and that was on postage stamps, bought before the price increase! There have been a few amendments to secretaries, and an odd phone call, but nothing special, other than an enquiry regarding the usual question ‘Can we allow friends to come to our Fellowship Meetings?’ The answer is a BIG ‘YES’ – especially if they are providing the transport for a member who would otherwise not be able to attend. This subject has been aired several times, and quite a lengthy discussion took place at the 2007 Conference when it was decided that one friend could accompany a member if it meant that otherwise the member would not attend, — and yet,  the same question was raised again at the 2008 Conference! All Fellowship secretaries receive a copy of my report, but I do sometimes wonder if the information it contains are passed on to the rest of the committee, — or if a file is kept and passed on should a new secretary be appointed. Perhaps it’s just me but I do believe this is necessary to enable continuity. It is, after all, part of the history of the Fellowship Association and needs to be filed and retained, just as your Fellowship minutes are filed and retained, for future reference.
On a more personal note with respect to the Salford Fellowship, we are experiencing difficulties at the moment. Our Chair and Vice Chair, for personal reasons, have found it necessary to resign their positions, and we cannot find replacements, – especially as our Vice-Chair used to book the speakers. However, I have learned today, that one of the Reps from Salford, W.Bro Ian Whitehead, is prepared to stand as Chairman, so perhaps our problems could be resolved. Thank you Ian. We are having a meeting on Tuesday, but whatever happens, I am happy to continue as Secretary to the Association if you still want me.
The 2014 Conference will be hosted by Clitheroe and District so remember to leave your name tags so they can be passed on. Thank you for your continued support.

The Open Forum then followed, which was mainly about finding speakers and their costs. Some are charging £60 – £75 plus travelling expenses, which is proving too expensive for the smaller Fellowships, said Shirley from Preston. Some wanted 35p per mile.  Peter Mellor from Rochdale said 3 of their members sit down and arrange the calendar for the year and they don’t have a problem. Warrington suggested looking in local papers where sometimes, there would be a report of a speaker at a local group, or swap speakers with people in Rotary. Another suggestion was to go on the web site to find speakers. Joyce Williamson from Garstang suggested Age Concern, or to ask the Lodges if they had anyone willing to speak/entertain, and Ken Tyler, Farnworth, said they only have whist and dominoes! Jean F reminded everyone that a few years ago, the late Tom Owen had compiled a list of speakers which he had given or sent out to Fellowships, which may help. All Fellowships should have a copy. She also said that she had offered to sing at Fellowships meetings, didn’t charge anything like £60 – £75, did not charge travelling expenses, and had recently been to Clitheroe – for the second time, – had sang at Leyland about 12 months ago and quite a few times at Bolton, although not recently. Fellowships were asked to pass on any speakers they would recommend to Jean, who would pass them on to other Fellowships.

The response to the toast was given by W.Bro Ian Greenwood {Preston Fellowship}   who began by thanking Howard for his very kind toast and saying how nice it was to see all the Fellowships members here today from the East and West  but reminded us that, – just like the wise men, –  all good things come from the East! It was good to see Ken Tyler here again and agreed that getting new members was difficult, and we should approach this by personal contact. Another avenue for speakers was Probus, but he was concerned that some people had ‘jumped on the band wagon’ where speakers were concerned. They saw it as ‘easy money’ but some of them were very poor when it came to ‘entertaining’ a group. He then thanked everyone for coming, especially Pat Jones, wife of the DPGM, who was an author of Children’s books, and hoped we had all enjoyed the day. He thanked V W Bro Howard Jones for his Toast, and to everyone by the manner in which it was received.

A vote of thanks was given by W.Bro Brian Bristol, Clitheroe & District Masonic Fellowship, who thanked V W Bro Jones and his wife for attending today, Secretary Jean ‘for keeping us all in order’, {she was also a good singer!} the staff of Preston Masonic Hall for an excellent meal, but mainly to our hosts, Preston Masonic Fellowship, for their warm welcome, hosting and organising today. It had been a ‘good do’! He then extended a warm welcome to everyone in 2014 for the 32nd Conference which was to be hosted by Clitheroe & District.

A fond farewell was given by Ray Beech, thanking Preston members for their hard work. They had enjoyed hosting the conference and hoped the visitors had not had too much trouble parking with the police restrictions around the Hall area due to the ‘special’ court case taking place, but at least the helicopter hadn’t been around! {Trial of man accused of killing two police women in Manchester was taking place nearby} He thanked everyone for coming and wished them a safe journey home.

The Conference closed at 2.55pm.

Association of Masonic Fellowships’ 30th Annual Conference

Hosted by Accrington Masonic Fellowship

At Mill House Masonic Hall Corn Mill Yard, Whalley Road, Clayton-le-Moors Wednesday  16th May 2012

Even though the Queen was visiting the area as part of her Diamond Jubilee Tour,  I don’t think anyone had any difficulty making their way to this old, –  but with a fairly recent extension, – building. The latter part of our journey saw people, some with children, all armed with flags and quite excited, obviously on their way to witness this special occasion. Unfortunately, we couldn’t join them as we had a more pressing engagement!

17 Fellowships were represented at the Conference by 37 delegates, plus the members of Accrington Fellowship. Apologies were received from Furness & Sth Lakeland, Garstang, {who were going on a coach outing} and Shrewsbury, Colne & Nelson, Carnforth {sickness} and Leyland {sickness}.
On arrival and collecting our name tag, we were able to enjoy a glass of sherry or soft drink before circulating with other delegates, renewing acquaintances, making new ones and exchanging views.

We were then invited to take our seats in the dining room, where we were welcomed by the Chairman of Accrington Masonic Fellowship, W.Bro Gordon Hunter, who said he hoped there would not be a repetition of the last Conference they held in 1985 when, sadly, the then Chairman had collapsed from a stroke.  He gave a particular welcome to Mrs Dorothy Price, widow of the late RW Bro Jack Price, PGM. Gordon said that the new extension to the building had, not long ago, been officially opened by Jack. In fact , this was probably the last duty he had performed. The Masonic Building, was once an old mill on the edge of the canal, had at one time, been a soap factory!
After Grace, given by W.Bro Ian W Ogden, lunch was served, which everyone agreed was excellent.
The Loyal Toast was given by W.Bro Brian Maden, a member of the host Fellowship.

The Toast to the Association of Masonic Fellowships was ably given by the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, W.Bro Martin P Roche, who began by welcoming everyone to Mill House, and then said he was mindful of a comment that the Duke of Edinburgh had said about making a speech. “The mind can only absolve what the bottom can endure”! He said the Fellowships were a very important part of Masonic life and we should all try to encourage other retired masons to join our groups. Most Fellowships were suffering due to lack of new members.  Fellowships required new blood in the same way that Lodges need new members and the Brethren were now being encouraged, – more than ever before, — to try to obtain new members into their Lodges.  It was down to all of us to pick up the gauntlet and talk about Freemasonry, tell people what it does for you, both in and out of the Masonic Halls. He said he was greatly proud to be President of the Accrington Masonic Fellowship and unanimously proud of the Fellowships in general and was delighted to propose the toast to this important  part of the Masonic family.

The Association Report was given by the Secretary, Mrs Jean Forrester, who said it was lovely to be with everyone again, – enjoying the day and the food we’ve just had.
Most of you present have received an envelope which contains an address amendment list and a statement of the monies collected to cover, mainly postage and occasionally I take a donation towards ink or paper. Although I only asked for a £5 donation, you will see that some Fellowships have paid more!  I am not sure if this is to cover them for the next 8/10 years or not!  The other problem I have is that I have a £5 donation which I am uncertain who it is from! I think this was one of those paid at the last conference and those of you who were there will remember there was a ‘bit of a crush’ of those wishing to leave £5!  It looks as though I did not make a note of someone, and as you can see from the statement, I have four Fellowships who did not send me £5, even though I contacted them several times. Incidentally, Wigan have today given me a cheque telling me the previous one they sent was never cashed, so that looks like my fault! Regarding the extra £5, it is possible that this was from one of the other three, in which case I apologise most sincerely for the confusion. It would be helpful if they let me know.
Other than that, we have £130 banked safely in the Salford Fellowship account and £39.28 in hand, so this should keep me going for a good couple of years, — although with the postage going up like it has been doing, I do wonder!  Again I will say that it would help if all Fellowships could offer an email address, which would save on postage.

As many of you will remember, when the Fellowships were first formed, they started in East Lancs, and the person keeping the records went around the East Lancs Fellowships for the Conferences. The Conferences did not go outside the E.L. area until all the E.L Fellowships had ‘had a turn’! However, some Fellowships outside the E.L. area were formed before some in E.L.!  Some 18 months ago, I did try to put things right by putting the Conferences in order of the year the Fellowships were formed, but I hit a problem! This year I tried to contact Colne & Nelson, as the Fellowship formed in 1979, having hosted in 1986. This was when I discovered that the Secretary had resigned and did not know who had taken over!  I then went to my second plan, contacting the Fellowship who, though formed in 1979, did not host until 2001 as they were ‘outside E.L! . This was Preston, and they have kindly agreed to host the Conference in 2013. I would however, like to know your feelings regarding the way future conferences should be allocated; –  by date of their last conference or by date of formation of the Fellowship?
Lastly, please keep me updated of any changes to your secretary, as my details are only as good as the information you give me.

An Open Forum then took place which mainly dealt with the question raised by Jean; how should future conferences be dealt with. The consensus of opinion was that future conferences should be allocated by date the Fellowship was formed, therefore the 2013 Conference would be hosted by Preston, who had readily agreed, and the 2014 Conference by Clitheroe & District.  Tom Owen from Audenshaw said he had lists of speakers, which he would willingly pass on to Fellowships if they contacted him. or on 0161 483 5754.

Christmas cards: One of the members raised the question of sending Christmas Cards, particularly with the increase in postal charges. He felt than an ‘electronic’ card would suffice. Also some Fellowships did not have meetings in December so cards received in that month were really a waste of time. There were many different opinions regarding this, but it was felt that if Fellowships did want to send Christmas cards to other Fellowships, – either by post or emails, – then they should continue to do so, but please could they send them out early in November and not wait until December.

The response to the Toast was given by E.Comp Michael Landreau, Assistant to the Prov. Grand Principals. He advised that Colne and Nelson were having a few problems at the moment and there was a suggestion that they join with Burnley, but nothing had been decided. He thanked W.Bro Roche for his toast to Fellowships and for the excellent knowledge of his ambassadorial role.

The vote of thanks to the Hosts was warmly given by W.Bro Frank Moss from Preston Masonic Fellowship. He said we had all had a most enjoyable day from the warm welcome we had received on our arrival, to the splendid lunch, speeches and discussion. He thanked the committee and members of Accrington Masonic Fellowship and the staff at Mill House for all their work in making the day such a success. He then confirmed that the 2013 Conference would be hosted by Preston Fellowship, and the secretary, Ray Beech, would be notifying everyone in the usual manner once details were known. He did warn that parking at Preston was difficult but was certain Ray would give detailed arrangements of where parking was available  when sending out the invitations.  However, he looked forward to welcoming everyone at Preston in 2013.

Lastly, a fond farewell was given by the Secretary, Barbara Gee, who was described as ‘a jewel in the crown’ of the Accrington Fellowship by Chairman, Gordon Hunter. Barbara had been secretary for many years, still dealing with her duties even though she wasn’t getting any younger! Barbara said it had been a thoroughly enjoyable day and she hoped that everyone present had thought so too. She thanked everyone for coming, asked us to take care of one another and wished everyone a safe journey home.

The conference closed at 3.35pm

Association of Masonic Fellowships’ 29th Annual Conference

The Association of Masonic Fellowships held its 29th Annual Conference at Burnley Masonic Hall on Wednesday 4th May 2011.

The meeting was opened by the Chairman of Burnley Masonic Fellowship, WBro Donald Simpson, who welcomed the 81 attendees, representing 21 fellowships in total.

Following a sumptuous Nelson House lunch, the Loyal Toast was given by Mrs Sheila Pate of Burnley Masonic Fellowship and the Toast to the Association of Masonic Fellowships was given by the Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Burnley & Pendle and Rossendale Districts, WBro Martin Roche.

The response to the Toast was given by WBro Jim Sutcliffe, who had been associated with the Burnley Masonic Fellowship for many years while serving as APGM in the area.

The 30th Annual Conference will be hosted by Accrington Masonic Fellowship at Mill House Masonic Hall, Clayton-le-Moors on Wednesday 16th May 2012.