The 36th Annual Conference
Will be hosted by Audenshaw Masonic Fellowship
Association of Masonic Fellowships 35th Annual Conference
Hosted by Salford Masonic Fellowship
The 35th Conference of Masonic Fellowships was hosted by Salford Masonic Fellowship and held on the 4th April 2017 at Salford Masonic Hall, reception 11.30am for lunch at 12.30am.
There were 59 attending including Ken Tyler, Founder and Hon. President, and delegates from Accrington & District; Audenshaw; Bolton; Bury; Darwen; Leyland; Morecambe; Oldham; Rochdale; Warrington; Wigan and of course Salford.
The delegates were welcomed by our Registrar, Norma Clubbe and Treasurer, Muriel Ward, who gave out the name badges, and tea and coffee was offered by Sylvia Marsh, following which they assembled in the bar lounge, relaxing and catching up with the news from other Fellowships.
Our special guests were our President, WBro Chad Northcott PSGD, APGM, and Vice President WBro Peter Hegarty, PProvGSwdB, Salford District Chairman, and his wife Joanne.
At 12.25 pm the guests took their seats for lunch and were welcomed by our Chairman, Hilda Ince, who added that we were delighted to have Ken Tyler and his friend Gwen England with us, and thanks must go to WBro John Hood and WBro Joe Ramsden for their organisation in arranging to pick Ken and Gwen up. As Gwen lives in Westhoughton and Ken is now a permanent resident at Hewlett Court, this was no mean feat! Hilda hoped everyone would enjoy the lunch and afternoon with us.
Grace was given by our Vice-President, WBro Peter Hegarty, PProvGSwdB, and lunch was then served, which proved to be well received by all present, with some musical accompaniment on the piano towards the end of the meal by WBro Dennis Roscoe, who can always be relied upon to give us a tune!
After tea and coffee had been served, with petit-fours supplied by our Treasurer, Muriel Ward, WBro Peter Hegarty returned thanks, following which our Chairman, Hilda, proposed the Loyal Toast, following which the first verse of the National Anthem was sung and the toast honoured.
The Toast to the Association of Masonic Fellowships was ably given by our President, WBro Chad Northcott, PSGD, the APGM, who said that, as a Veterinary Surgeon, he recently had a young man of 14/15 years of age in for work experience, and he was there to watch a minor operation. Watching the excitement on the young lad’s face as Chad and his assistants donned their gowns, masks etc, and opened up the sterilised instruments, it reminded Chad of the excitement he had felt when he watched his first operation some 30 plus years ago, and could recognise the glamorous and wonderful feeling the young lad was experiencing. Today, for Chad, this operation was now something he had done thousands of times before, so it didn’t have the same ‘Wow’ factor. He felt that happiness was nothing to do with your career choice or what you do, it was more about the quality of the relationships you have with yourself, your nearest and dearest, your family, friends and with God, however you understood him.
There are 29 Fellowships scattered over the country, but there should be more and our Districts should encourage and promote the Fellowships. The Salford District Team have talked about this, and they feel that we should try to bring our Fellowships into the 21st Century – getting rid of the idea that the Fellowship is an over 70’s or over 80’s Club, and bringing in younger Masons and their families, by using the communication channels we now have available, even Facebook. That is the way young people communicate, and even older people can be taught – it is a way of keeping up with what their grandchildren are doing.
The Salford Fellowship is very small, and yet we have some really good talks and outings. We need to raise the profile of Fellowships, and perhaps the Lodge Almoners could help as they are responsible for pastoral care. Let’s make a difference! Thank you for everything you do for your Fellowships. On the question of relationships, I would like to go back to 1974/75, when a young mason called Ken Tyler, who was District Charity Steward for Farnworth at the time, and a Mrs Denver, recognised there was a need for getting widows and widowers out of the house in order to socialise with others. after several set-backs from senior masons who said, ‘an old people’s club isn’t needed’, Ken Tyler persisted and took his request to Lord Hewlett who told him to “go and plant your tree”. From this the first Fellowship was formed in Farnworth, and that tree grew. Which is why Jean has used a tree today on the menu card and stationery. Ken has now been honoured by becoming the Honorary President of the Association of Masonic Fellowships, and we would like to present this Certificate to you Ken, which recognises all the work you have done to make the Fellowships prosper. The certificate reads: – Certificate of Merit; As Initiator, Founder and Supporter of the Association of Masonic Fellowships 1975 to the present day, Kenneth Tyler, PProvSGW, in recognition of the years of invaluable service and support you have freely given to the Association. It was signed by WBro Chad Northcott, PSGD, APGM, East Lancs., and dated 4th April 2017. I ask you to rise and the toast is to WBro Ken Tyler and the Association of Masonic Fellowships.
Mrs Norma Clubbe, then read a poem she had written for WBro Tyler which counted his years in smiles. Norma then gave him the poem as a keepsake. Ken will be 94 on the 22nd August 2017, and he actually celebrates 70 years in Freemasonry in 2018.
Ken thanked Chad and the Association for the honour bestowed on him of Hon President, and he also thanked everyone for the framed certificate he had been given today. He was deeply moved and never expected he would receive such an honour when he went to see Lord Hewlett over 40 years ago. He hoped he would be attending the Conferences for as long as he possibly could.
Well! Here we are again! The years seem to go faster the older you get, and I don’t know about you, but there are not enough hours in the day at the moment. Or maybe it’s because I am not moving as fast! Wearing my ‘other hat’ for a few minutes, it’s lovely to be able to welcome you all to Salford Masonic Hall and Fellowship. We are only small in number, but our members are loyal and the Officials of the Fellowship work hard to keep our group going, especially our Chairman, who combines that office with organising our speakers etc. Now, what about the Association. Well, we have had the closure of another Fellowship, Colne and Nelson in December 2016, but on the brighter side, we now have an Honorary President, – our Founder, – WBro Ken Tyler, and I am delighted that Ken has been given this honour, which is long overdue and I have to say, was instigated by the Warrington Fellowship. It’s really lovely you were able to attend today Ken, and hopefully, Hewlett Court will help to keep you fighting fit so you can attend the future cCnferences. I am very pleased to say that following my request for volunteers to host the Conferences, the next two years are sorted; Audenshaw in 2018 and Leyland in 2019. It would be nice if we could add the year 2020 to our up and coming events, so if any Fellowship is desperate to host the Conference then, perhaps you would let me know. The £5 I collected from you in 2011 towards the cost of postage and printing is still going strong. From the statement I have produced you will see that I have £31.02 in hand and there is still £30 held in the Salford Masonic Fellowship account on our behalf. The money I spend is mainly on postage stamps, as all but three Fellowships are now on email, so I can send everything direct to the Secretaries. I ask again, if any secretary is not on email, it would help if I could send any updates and correspondence to another person in their Fellowship who would pass this on, meaning I will no longer need to ask you for donations. Whilst I’m on the subject of emails, I have to apologise to those of you who received emails supposedly from me, with a secure attachment. My emails had been ‘hacked’ and all my contacts used. My computer has since been serviced and cleaned up, so hopefully, it will not happen again. Fingers crossed, but just remember, that if I send you anything, there will always be an explanation of some sort, so if it’s just an attachment, delete it. It’s not from me! I have printed copies of the Expenses for the last year, plus a new address list. These are for your secretary, so if they are not here today, please would you be kind enough to pass them on, and, again, I ask you to let me know if there are any changes, – especially to your secretary’s details. My records are only as good as the information you supply. Changes of emails is one which I don’t seem to be notified about. Also, there is a ‘Fellowship Link’ on the East Lancashire Web site, and it is there for you to look at, and include things your Fellowship are doing. It’s for all Fellowships, not just those in East Lancs, but I don’t think many of you even look at it. It would be nice if it was used more and might give other Fellowships ideas of what they could do.
There were no questions or comments from the delegates.
Response to the Toast
This was given by our Registrar, Norma Clubbe, who said Mr President, thank you for your toast to the Masonic Fellowships. I thought I would do a small potted history of Salford Masons and their Masonic Hall. Let us go back to 1755 when there were 3 Lodges in Manchester and Salford, who called themselves ‘Ancient Masons’ or ‘Athol Masons’. At that time, there were many Public Houses, not all were able to enjoy these as money, for most, was short. It was recorded that an incident took place regarding the money box of a Lodge, which the Tyler was found to have robbed. He was sentenced to 7 years transportation. This was in 1763. Another was when the WM was admonished for being intoxicated, he left in high dudgeon in 1803, saw the error of his ways, but was not readmitted until 1812. But in 1880, on a happier note, Brethren of Zetland Lodge carried a proposition for a 12 year tenancy at number 41, The Crescent, at a cost of £55 per annum, to hold meetings. In March 1887, a Soiree and Ball was held to help with funds at a cost of £1 per couple! In May 1887, the Prince and Princess of Wales visited Salford and were pleased to stop their carriage outside the Hall and acknowledge a truly Loyal Masonic Welcome. Around 1929, by this time 43 had been acquired, – permission had been given to demolish these two houses and build the Masonic Hall. The ceremonial stone was laid by the Rt. Hon the Earl of Derby, PGM, in November 1930 and was built into the staircase. The Hall was ready for use in 1931 and is here as you see it today. Before I close I would like, if I may, to tell you about what could be the best visit of all. John and Gwendoline Ship were going on a visit to Germany, to a small village, where the air would do Gwendoline good and there was a superb Salmon river for John who was a keen fisherman. At that time, however, Gwendoline had a slight bladder problem, and was a bit worried about the convenience in such a small hamlet, so she wrote to the House Frau to ask if there was a W.C. close at hand. The House Frau didn’t understand, so she took the letter to the Vicar, who spoke a little more English. He, not wanting to appear foolish, said the lady must be a devout Weslyan Chapel goer, and replied as follows: Dear Lady Ship, the W.C is situated about 2 miles from your Pension in the centre of a pine forest, very private amidst lovely scenery. It is open onTuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. This is unfortunate if you are in the habit of going regularly. Some people take their lunch and make a day of it. As it is very busy in Summer, I suggest you go early as there are only 25 seats. There is, however ample standing room, whichever you prefer. A bell will sound when the W.C is open. I would recommend your Lady Ship to pay a visit on Tuesday as there is splendid Organ accompaniment by one of our local men, which the ladies seem to enjoy in particular. If your husband doesn’t want to go to the W.C on that day, he would perhaps like to use the river, which is just behind the W.C. Very popular with the men, I’ve used it myself. Your landlady and her husband have been unable to go for the past 6 weeks, which pains them very much, as they would like to go more regularly. If you are unable to walk the 2 miles to the W.C she says they have a small horse and you are welcome to use the cart with them. I’d have loved to have been there when Gwendoline got that letter! Thank you, Mr President for your toast and to you, Ladies and Brethren for the manner in which you received it.
Thanks to the Host
This was given by WBro Donald Roberts, Chairman of Audenshaw, who will be hosting the Conference in 2018. On behalf of all those attending, he thanked the Salford Fellowship for a wonderful day – a warm welcome, a lovely meal, great humour and fellowship around the table. This great hall lends itself to functions such as this, and he thanked the Association Secretary and the Salford Secretary, Jean, for all the work she had done, together with the Salford Fellowship committee for all their input and support. He also expressly asked that thanks should be passed to the Hall caterers for a splendid meal, and hoped to see everyone again in 2018 at Audenshaw.
A fond farewell was given by the Salford Chairman Hilda, who thanked everyone for coming and wished them all a safe journey home, hoping to see them all again at Audenshaw.
The Conference was closed at 3pm.
Please note that Bolton came to me afterwards and said they would see if they could persuade their Committee to host the Conference in 2020. Two minutes later Warrington said they would definitely host the Conference in 2020!
Thank you to the two Fellowships, but perhaps you could decide which one will definitely do 2020 and maybe the other would do 2021?