WBro John Pearson, the APGM for Southern Area, together with WBro Peter Douthwaite,
the District Chairman for Ashton & Mossley District, Officers of Grand Lodge,
the District Delegation and all the other attendees at the meeting

Duke of Athol Lodge has now successfully converted itself into a daytime Lodge meeting four times a year at Ashton Masonic Hall. If the meeting on December 9th was anything to go by, it really ought to be able to use its new status to attract many new brethren to this estimable old Lodge which first met in 1795. Some forty masons came together to celebrate Bro Steven Boyle taking the Chair of the Lodge for the third time. The entire team of District Officers attended the meeting to support our Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro John Pearson, along with some of the Southern Area’s Acting Provincial Officers. Considering that this was a Proclamation Meeting, and thus somewhat shorter than a full Installation, it was still an excellent ceremony, and demonstrated quite clearly how this sort of ceremony can be carried out with aplomb.

At the Social Board, WBro John Pearson responded on behalf of both United Grand Lodge and the Province of East Lancashire. He started by thanking all of those who had joined him this day for what had been a warm welcome, an excellent lunch and a wonderful meeting. He went on to thank the District Team, who had come out in force on this occasion, and also WBro David H Thompson “who is so much better known to all of us as the Second Provincial Grand Principal in the Royal Arch, but who is just as welcome among us in a Craft Meeting like this.” He also thanked WBro Eric Evanson whose contribution to the meeting had been so enjoyable.

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WBro John Pearson, together with WBro Steven Boyle, the WM of Duke of Athol Lodge, and the brethren of the Lodge

WBro Pearson commented on the Festival Dinner which had been held at the Macron Stadium in Bolton, in the presence of the Pro Grand Master, Peter Geoffrey Lowndes. Everyone who had been able to attend the Festival Dinner had enjoyed the excellent entertainment and splendid Dinner which had proved to be a “fitting climax to an excellent festival.”

WBro Pearson then went on to talk about the Southern Area’s annual visit to United Grand Lodge which we will be repeating in June 2016. Most of our brethren travel down on the day of the Quarterly Communications of United Grand Lodge. Brethren leave Manchester at about 8.15 am which gives plenty of time to attend Grand Lodge, something that every Freemason ought to attend whenever possible. The visit is well worth it for the pomp and ceremony involved. Afterwards we take lunch in a Private Dining Room in the Grand Connaught Rooms which are just next door. In the last few years we have been fortunate to be joined no only by our own Provincial Grand Master, but also by the Deputy Grand Master and even the Pro Grand Master. The day then finishes with a conducted tour of Grand Lodge, most often conducted by WBro John Vazquez, a man with a wealth of knowledge about Grand Lodge. More details of the visit will be forthcoming in the New Year.

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WBro John Pearson, the APGM for Southern Area, together with WBro Peter Douthwaite,

the District Chairman for Ashton & Mossley District, toast WBro Steven Boyle at the Social Board

WBro Pearson concluded by mentioning the Charity Giving Evening which will take place in April. It will be an opportunity for us to garner some good publicity. This year the event will take place at Ashton Masonic Hall and we are hoping to gain some good publicity from the event. We want to improve upon last year’s rather disappointing turnout and we hope that Lodges and Chapters will assist us by holding back their donations and presenting them at the Charity Giving Evening, we hope that this will then encourage more of the recipients to actually attend the event. To this end we have prepared a leaflet which Lodges and Chapters are encouraged to send out to those who will be receiving donations, and we are also encouraging the recipients to bring publicity materials with them to sell their causes to all the brethren who will surely be in attendance.

John ended by reminding everyone that, “the main thing is to enjoy our Freemasonry. As long as we are having fun we stand a better chance of attracting new members. I sincerely hope that it works for Duke of Athol Lodge.” And I have no doubt at all that we all agree with that sentiment.

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