Diary for August/September 2018

Other than the Installation meeting of my ‘adopted’ Mark Lodge, Wycoller Lodge of Mark Master Masons at Colne, when I installed my successor into the Chair of Adoniram, and a couple of very enjoyable trips away with Mrs B, there was little to report in August.

September, by contrast, was a very busy month, both Masonically and Socially.

Week commencing 3rd September found Mrs B in Budapest for the International Board Meeting of Soroptimist International and me ‘home alone’, albeit with a full Masonic diary. On 4th September we held a very productive meeting and dinner at Ashday Lea with the members of the Higher Degrees in the District of North East Lancashire. The following day a short train ride took me to Chorley for a meeting of St. George’s Council of the Royal and Select Masters, followed by a quick dash home after lunch for a change of tie, cuff links and regalia in readiness for a visit to Hargreaves Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners at Padiham that evening.

On Thursday 5th September I was admitted as a joining member of County Palatine Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine at Ashday Lea.

On Friday afternoon, I was on my travels to Manchester for the Installation meeting of the East Lancashire Provincial Grand Stewards’ Lodge of Mark Master Masons at Bridge Street, with an overnight stay at the Travelodge on Blackfriars Bridge in order to catch an early morning train to York for the Annual Meeting of the District of Yorkshire North and East Ridings. A fantastic turnout of Past, Present and Future Inspectors General and senior members of other Orders (including the current and immediate past PGM/MEGS and the Mark PGM) to support V∴Ill∴Bro Mike Graham 33° on his retirement after 10 years as Inspector General for the  District of Yorkshire North and East Ridings.

The following week I set off on the first of two trips to London for the quarterly meetings of Grand Mark Lodge on Tuesday and UGLE on Wednesday. Back home on Thursday in time for the White Stone Mark Lodge Installation meeting at Bridge Street on Friday and the Mark Festival Banquet at Middleton on Saturday.

On Monday 17th September, I was back in London for the Higher Degrees meeting at Duke Street St. James’s when 4 members of the North East Lancashire District received promotion to the 30th degree (see separate article here). Back to the North on Tuesday for Brierfield Lodge, the fist time I have been able to attend my mother Lodge for almost 12 months.

Lastly, but by no means least, I was back in Manchester on Friday 21st September for the Enthronement meeting of Donald Maitland Davies Chapter Rose Croix, when I was appointed First General. MWS next year? Maybe, maybe not as I will still be in the Chair of East Lancashire Chapter No.440 so a Supreme Council dispensation will be required.

The rest of the month was spent on a much needed holiday in Cornwall – via Worcester on the way down and via Pattingham (near Wolverhampton) on the way back for Soroptimist Charter events. I can certainly recommend the Lugger Hotel in Portloe – a charming location with plenty of coastal and inland walks, some excellent food and drink and only the gentle sound of the waves lapping against the shore to lull our tired but happy bodies to sleep.



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Higher Degrees ~ September 2018

North East Lancashire District Rose Croix

Four Brethren from the North East Lancashire District travelled to London on Monday 17th September 2018 to receive promotions to the 30°, Grand Elected Knight Kadosh, Knight of the Black and White Eagle at the Higher Degrees Meeting held at the Grand East, 10 Duke Street, St. James’s:

Ill.Bro. Jim Bradley, 30° – Emmanuel Chapter No.447

Ill.Bro. Alan Jones, 30° – Accrington Chapter No.364

Ill.Bro. Bob Norris, 30° – Mark Wilkinson Chapter No.194

Ill.Bro. Graham Wood, 30° – Bury Chapter No.435

As usual, the ceremony was followed by a drinks reception and an excellent festive board at the Royal Overseas League along with Ill.Bro. Jack Aston 32°, the District Recorder for the North East Lancashire District.

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Congratulations to all four newly promoted Brethren, we hope that their further advancement in the Order will give them much satisfaction and that they will treasure the happy memories of this special occasion for…

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Diary for July 2018

So, the Masonic season is at an end until September – or is it?

RCC 2018July was certainly quiet but no less enjoyable than previous months. A flying visit to London at the start of the month for the half-yearly meeting of the Grand Stewards’ Lodge at Mark Masons Hall followed the next day by the Grand Imperial Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine at Freemasons’ Hall and lunch at the Grand Connaught Rooms (photo courtesy of the North & East Lancashire District Facebook page).

One very pleasant social event took place in the middle of the month, the  White Stone Mark Lodge annual ladies luncheon at Stanley House, Audenshaw.

Then, to cap the month, the year and possibly my entire period in office to date as the Inspector General for the Rose Croix District of North East Lancashire, were the centenary celebrations of five Lancashire Chapters warranted on 18th April 1918.

The celebrations started gently enough on Saturday 28th July with a private celebration in Pemberton of one of the five Chapters, Col. JD Murray Chapter No.196, to which I and a small number of guests were invited. Then on Monday 30th July, we had the main celebration when all 5 Chapters met together under the warrant of the Morning Star Chapter No.33, meeting by dispensation at Westhoughton. With over 130 Rose Croix Masons present, the Lodge room was heaving and uncomfortably warm on a summer’s late afternoon and early evening but the discomfort was quickly forgotten as the host Chapter conducted its regular business, including the Enthronement of the MWS, and we then enjoyed seeing the 5 Chapters celebrate their Centenaries under the direction of the Sovereign Grand Commander, M∴P∴Bro Alan Englefield 33° and the Supreme Council team. The full article and photos can be found on the North East Lancashire District website by clicking here.

2018-07-07 19.17.54Sue and I also managed some time away as part of her Soroptimist Federation Presidential duties, including a long weekend in Oxford for the club’s 60th Charter Anniversary. Events included a civic reception on the Friday evening, a gala dinner in the main dining hall of St. John’s College on the Saturday evening and a garden party at the home of the club President the Sunday.

The following weekend we travelled to Solihull where Sue was attending the Federation Management Board meeting which gave me some free time to explore.

Lastly another weekend trip, to Kidderminster, for the club’s 70th Charter Anniversary, which took the form of a luncheon at Spring Grove House, a restored Georgian manor house in the grounds of the West Midlands Safari Park.

As I writ this blog on 2nd August, the new Masonic season has already begun!

Last night I attended the first practice for the meeting of Wycoller Mark Lodge at Colne on 16th August when I will install WBro John Hudson as my successor as WM. Tonight I am attending the Northern Area Grand Officer’s Dinner at Accrington Masonic Hall when I have no doubt we will hear more about the Craft and Royal Arch re-organisations announced yesterday and what our newly appointed Deputy ProvGM, Assistant ProvGM and AProvGP have in store for us!



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Diary for June 2018

Although it has traditionally been a quiet month with no Craft or Royal Arch meetings, June now sees many of the other Orders continuing to meet.

In the Ancient and Accepted Rite, I’ve spent more time visiting Chapters in other Districts than in my own:

  • The North East Lancashire Annual District Meeting was held on 2nd June at our usual venue of Rochdale, this year hosted by James D Murray Chapter. See separate article on the District Website;
  • Visit to Rose of Lancastria Chapter at Garstang on 11th June, when we witnessed a first class Enthronement ceremony and the Grand Prior Most Illustrious Brother John Railton 33°presented the Inspector General for North West Lancashire, Very Illustrious Brother Philip Gardner 33°, his patent extension for a further 5 years;
  • Visit to my own ‘mother’ Chapter, Benedicta Chapter at Bryn on 15th June, again an excellent Enthronement ceremony;
  • Visit to the Mount of Olives Chapter, also at Bryn, on 22nd June, where we enjoyed a presentation by the Grand Director of Ceremonies, Very Illustrious Brother Nick Bosanquet 33° on his adventures as a Grand DC, followed by an 8-course World Cup Themed dinner with accompanying drinks package (BTW, thanks to Christine at Bryn Masonic Hall for proving me with alternatives to all the meat courses).

In the Masonic and Military Order of the Red Cross of Constantine, I attended the half-yearly meeting of Signum Caeleste Conclave at Preston on 7th June, when old friend and former District Chairman colleague Dave Lightbown and fellow Inspector General Philip Gardner were admitted as candidates.

My Masonic month was rounded off nicely on Tuesday 26th June at the AGM of the East Lancashire Mark Benevolent Fund where I was re-elected as Chairman of the Prior’s Close Management Committee along with the rest of my committee who have carried out a fantastic programme of work over the past year, including holding matters together during my 2 spells in hospital.

If the month of June was a little quieter than usual on the Masonic front, the same cannot be said for my travels with Sue in her role as Federation President for Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland:

On 4th June we set off for London to attend the Buckingham Palace Garden Party on 5th June. Although the weather was rather unsettled earlier in the day, the afternoon turned out lovely, and I was glad of my newly acquired panama hat.

Sue (for those who don’t know her, she’s the second from the left in the royal blue jacket and hat) managed to bump into a group of Soroptimists from Bournemouth and I spotted a couple of fellow Freemasons among the 5,000 strong attendance.

Other Soroptimist events attended in June included:

  • Northern England Region Afternoon Tea at Hexham Priory
  • Leigh and District Club ‘Women’s Forum’ in Leigh Town Square
  • St. Helen’s Club 75th Charter Anniversary Lunch at Haydock Park Golf Club
  • Tamworth Club 70th Charter Anniversary Dinner at Drayton Manor Hotel
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Annual District Meeting for 2018 hosted by James D Murray Chapter

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Originally posted on North East Lancashire District Rose Croix:
The Annual Meeting of the North East Lancashire District was held at the Masonic Ballroom, Rochdale on Saturday 2nd June 2018, under the warrant of James D Murray Chapter No.197 in…

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Diary for May 2018

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Six months on from my health problems last November and again this February, May seemed an almost normal month other than the continued reliance on my darling wife Sue and various Masonic colleagues for transport as I’m still without my driving licence until the neurosurgeon at Preston Hospital is happy that the brain tumour (or whatever it was) is well and truly gone.

A great start to the month with a 3-day trip to London with Sue, for lunch at the House of Lords in aid of the National Osteoporosis Society and some very enjoyable lunches and dinners in our favourite West End eateries, including a rather belated Silver Wedding Anniversary Lunch at Tredwells (Marcus Wareing’s) in Covent Garden.

A busy month in the Ancient and Accepted Rite:

  • Visits to two District meetings; Yorkshire West Riding in Huddersfield and Cumberland and Westmorland in Carlisle
  • Visits to three local Rose Croix Chapters; East Lancashire (Past Sovereigns) Chapter 440, Colne St. Bartholomew Chapter No.1073 and William Horrocks Chapter No.603
  • A second trip to London (also with Sue, taking a break from her Soroptimist presidential duties), for the half-yearly meeting of Suprema Lex Chapter followed by lunch with members of the Supreme Council and fellow Inspectors General.

Unusually for me, I found myself attending three Knight Templar meetings during the month; Plains of Tabor Preceptory at Colne, John O’Gaunt Preceptory at Milnthorpe and the annual meeting of the Provincial Priory of Lancashire at Leyland. All really enjoyable meetings and opportunities to catch up with old friends from the bodyguard.


Photo courtesy of East Ribble District, Province of East Lancashire.

Only one Craft meeting in May – a visit to Lodge of Unity and Friendship in Blackburn who were hosting an event organised by the East Ribble District entitled ‘The Colours of Freemasonry’ at which representatives from other Orders were invited to give short presentations to newer members of the Craft. The full article can be found on the East Lancashire Provincial website.

Mess 2018Also only one meeting in the Mark degree during May;  the annual meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of East Lancashire at King George’s Hall in Blackburn on 23rd May. The Provincial Wardens Mess followed on Friday 25th May in the newly refurbished rooms at Manchester Hall on Bridge Street. Both events were somewhat overshadowed by the untimely death of WBro Tony Davies, AProvGM at the tender age of 58. RIP Tony.

My Masonic month was finally rounded off by a long overdue visit to my Royal Arch Chapter – Cana Chapter No.116 at Colne. Fascinating explanation of the 12 banners by the Companions of the Chapter and a good ‘catch up’ with old friends at the social board.


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Diary for April 2018

My diary for the month of April ran as follows:

Visits to Rose Croix Chapters in my District:

  • Verney Clayton Chapter (Accrington) – experimenting with meeting on a Wednesday evening instead of their usual Saturday afternoon meeting fixture
  • Emmanuel Chapter (Bolton)

In the Craft, I paid a visit to Queen’s Jubilee Lodge No.2193 in Colne where I witnessed an excellent (extended) explanation of the Second Degree Tracing Board.

In the Mark, I attended meetings of three of my own Lodges:

  • Wycoller Mark Lodge No.1582 where WBro John Hudson was elected to succeed me as WM in August and we received a fascinating paper entitled ‘A Commentary on the Mark Degree Ceremony’ from a visiting Brother from North Wales
  • Thomas Sharples Barlow (Grand Officers) Mark Lodge No.1383
  • East Lancashire Provincial Grand Officers’ Mark Lodge No 990

All well attended and enjoyable meetings.

Along the way I managed to squeeze in a visit to Faith Preceptory Knights Templar No.41 at Pemberton with a ‘gang’ of hungry fellow knights from our Preceptory in Colne.

One Masonic social event this month; the South West Lancashire District’s Rose Croix ‘Ladies to Dine’ was held at Bryn Masonic Hall in Ashton-in-Makerfield. As always, Christine and her team excelled with the standard of their catering and we were entertained after dinner by Don Billington, Champion Flower Arranger.

Sue’s travels as Federation President of Soroptimist Internal of Great Britain and Ireland took us to Haslingden for the SI Rossendale Club’s Charter Anniversary, Barry in South Wales for the SI Barry & District Club’s 50th Charter Celebration, St. Annes for the SI The Fylde Club’s 80th Charter Celebrations and Kidderminster for the Midland Arden Region’s Afternoon Tea and Programme Action competition.

Lots to look forward to in May, with 2 trips to London, including lunch at the House of Lords, visits to 3 neighbouring Rose Croix Districts, and Annual Provincial meetings in Knights Templar and Mark.

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Diary for March 2018

Hello Folks, I’m back! Just when everything seemed to be going tickety-boo after I had spent most of November last year in hospital and getting back to normal over Christmas and the New Year, things took an unexpected turn for the worse as I was rushed back into hospital on 1st February. Seemingly, some of the treatment I had been receiving for a suspected brain tumour was not quite right and I was missing some essential hormones due to the damage to my pituitary gland.

Seafood PlatterFortunately, that problem was quickly resolved and I was home again by 8th February,  and spent the rest of the month recuperating, coupled with some very pleasant outings with Sue to Soroptimist events as far away as Tenterden in Kent, with overnight breaks in both directions with our friends Heather and John in Chelmsford, during which we were treated to a most exceptional seafood lunch at the West Mersea Oyster Bar.

Early March saw my health much improved, with MRI scans confirming that the tumour had completely vanished and a plan agreed for regular scans to monitor any changes.

Masonic duties were quickly resumed (despite being snowed in for 4 days at the start of the month), with visits to five Rose Croix Chapters in the North East Lancashire District.

It was particularly gratifying to note that candidates were Perfected in three of the five Rose Croix Chapters visited and another Chapter has two candidates awaiting Perfection.

Further progress was made with the projects at Prior’s Close, with the launch of a new website, installation of the integrated fire alarm and emergency lighting across the whole site and two flats completely refurbished ready for new occupants. We also welcomed Keith Wareing onto the Management Committee as Groundsman and Assistant Tenant Liaison, bidding farewell to Brian Simm after 8 years on the committee.

On the social front, Sue and I attended the Second Annual District Lunch for the North East Lancashire District Rose Croix at Bury Masonic Hall and the 16th Annual Mark Masters and Royal Ark Mariner Lodge Commanders Assembly, also at Bury Masonic Hall.

IMG_0290Sue’s travels as Federation President of Soroptimist Internal of Great Britain and Ireland took us to the Forest Hills Hotel in Frodsham for the 70th Charter Anniversary of SI Runcorn, Frodsham and District and Baldwin’s Omega in Sheffield for the 90th Charter Anniversary of SI Sheffield. Sadly, the inclement weather on 18th March prevented us from attending the 75th Charter Anniversary of SI Burnley at the Fence Gate Inn.

Happy Easter everyone!



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Second Annual District Lunch at Bury

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Diary for October 2017

May I first of all wish all my followers a happy and healthy new year, and hope that you and your families had an enjoyable Christmas holiday. You may be wondering why this is appearing in the October blog, and why the October blog is something like 2 months late.

Well, there is a fairly straightforward answer:

October was a busy month for me Masonically and for my wife, Susan, who was installed as the Federation president of Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland at the end of the SIGBI Federation Annual Conference in Cardiff.

My diary for the month of October ran as follows:

Visits in the Rose Croix to:

  • Canon Francis Paton-Williams Chapter
  • Bethel Chapter
  • Colne St. Bartholomew Chapter
  • Nottinghamshire District Meeting in Nottingham

In the Craft, I attended a meeting of my own Lodge, Brierfield Lodge No.7560, where a Brother was Raised to the Third Degree, my part in the proceedings being to deliver the Traditional History.

In the Mark, I attended a meeting of my own Lodge, Wycoller Mark Lodge No.1582 where I delivered a lecture on the Chronology of the Solomonic Degrees.

Along the way I managed to squeeze in a visit Lancastria Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees when I witnessed two excellent ceremonies and enjoyed an splendid lunch.

The highlights of the month however, involved two trips to London, the first on 24th October (travelling from Cardiff) for the Annual Meeting of Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees at Great Queen Street.

The second trip was to attend the Special Tercentenary Meeting of the United Grand Lodge of England at the Royal Albert Hall on 31st October and the following day a meeting of the 32nd degree st Duke Street St. James’s, followed by lunch at the Royal Overseas League.

It was on my return home at the start of November that the proverbial roof fell in.

To be honest, I had been feeling a touch below par for some weeks and had visited my GP on 2 or 3 occasions with odd symptoms, not for one minute expecting that I would end up being hospitalised for over 3 weeks and (tentatively) diagnosed with a brain tumour which was pressing against my pituitary gland, and thereby was preventing my thyroid gland and other life sustaining systems from working. I’ve been home now for a month, and awaiting further scans and tests to determine what further treatment options are possible. Watch this space!

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