WBro Derek Thornhill PGSwdB, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, and a full
Provincial delegation came to celebrate Bert Hulme’s 60th Anniversary

On Wednesday 17th February WBro Herbert Garside Hulme, who is known to just about everyone as Bert, celebrated his personal 60th Anniversary in the Craft. The Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VWBro Derek N Thornhill PGSwdB, accompanied by the Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Southern Area, WBro John Pearson PSGD and the District Chairman, WBro Peter Douthwaite PProvGSwdB, were present to mark this exceptional occasion. They were joined by Grand Officers, The District Team and a Provincial Delegation, all there to honour Bert Hulme. Bert was Initiated into Denton Lodge No 5234 on 25th January 1956, he became Worshipful Master of his Lodge in February 1984 and remained a full member until the Lodge was transformed in January 2012, since then he has continued to support his Mother Lodge in its new location as an Honorary Member. He became a Joining Member of Lodge of Fidelity No 430 in January 2011. He was Exalted into Chapter of Faith No 210 in November 2006. He was appointed to the Provincial Rank of PProvJGD in November 1991 and promoted to PProvGSwdB in May of 1999. However, to know more about the man, we will turn to WBro Ian Casson who has known Bert for many years, and who gave this testimonial to his friend Bert, and to their extensive friendship, on the night.

C Fidelity 02

The Deputy Provincial Grand Master was accompanied by WBro John Pearson PSGD, the
Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Southern Area seen here with members of the Lodge of Fidelity

A Testimonial by WBro Ian R Casson PAGDC

To start at the beginning, Herbert Garside Hulme was born on 21st July 1931, at Dukinfield in the County of Cheshire. The son of Harold and Alice Hulme, he was named after family members Private Herbert Garside, killed in action fighting with the Cheshire Regiment in 1917, and Sergeant Herbert Hulme who had served with the Machine Gun Corps. With that family history, Bert has long had an interest in the Cheshire and Manchester Regiments, and has made pilgrimages to Ypres, the Menin Gate, and the battlefields and the war graves of 1914-18.

C Fidelity 04

WBro Derek Thornhill PGSwdB, Deputy Provincial Grand Master,
presents the Anniversary Certificate to WBro Bert Hulme

The Hulme family moved briefly to Ashton in 1934/5 where the young Bert started school at West End Primary. He suffered from asthma, however, and believing that the climate in Ashton was not conducive to his good health, in 1938 his parents moved a couple of miles, back to Dukinfield, believing that the improved Cheshire air would alleviate his condition! He then continued his education at the Moravian School, and having sadly failed his 11 Plus, moved on to Crescent Road Boys’ School until he left to begin work at the age of 14.

Bert’s first job was that of Junior Salesman at John Harrop House Furnishers, on Stamford Street, Ashton under Lyne. He tells me that he was really an errand boy while being taught the trade, but that was how most youngsters began their careers, and for any boy with a little talent and plenty of ambition, it offered a good foundation. Like most of his contemporaries, however, Bert was caught in the National Service net, and at the age of 18, he was conscripted into the Royal Air Force for 18 months. After basic training and more than a little “square bashing” he was posted to the RAF Police School at Pershore in Worcestershire, and on Passing Out was promoted to Corporal and posted to the “Central Flying School” at RAF South Cerney near Cirencester. However, on the night that Bert completed his first 12 months service, it was announced on the wireless, that owing to the Korean situation, the Queen had extended National Service to 2 years, so instead of just 6 months more, he then had another full year to serve.

C Fidelity 09

Both the APGM, John Pearson, and the APGP for Southern Area,
WBro Eddie Barlow, were present to help Bert celebrate

On being demobbed, Bert returned to employment with Harrops Furnishers, but over a number of years was then able to sharpen his skills and widen his reputation, with a series of increasingly better positions, working in turn for J.O.Bolt and Sons, Kendal Milne and Co. on Deansgate, Manchester, and eventually his last retail position as Manager for Cooper Council in Hyde.

It was around this time that Bert became interested in mountaineering, and must have kept very fit with most Sunday and holiday weekends spent over Kinder Scout, in Snowdonia, Nevis and Skye, with Summer breaks climbing in the Swiss Alps. Whilst at Kendal Milne & Co., and in between climbing mountains, Bert had also met Hazel, who was to become his wife, and they were married at Christ Church, Ashton-under-Lyne on 15th September 1962.

From being a furniture store manager, Bert then achieved what had been a long held ambition from the age of 15, when he became the Area Sales Representative for Vono Beds with leap in salary, a company car and expenses, and the prestige to go with it. A long time later and until he retired, Bert became a freelance Manufacturers’ Agent with a high reputation within our industry.  And I frequently met up with Bert on stands at the various furniture trade shows, where Hazel was often in support, serving tea and coffee to his customers.

In time, Hazel had presented Bert with a daughter, Gail, of whom they have both been justifiably very proud. An achiever at school, she has played for us here in the Brass Band at Christmas, and has just retired after a distinguished career in challenging CID roles in the police force.

C Fidelity 39

Bert Hulme with the cake that was baked especially for him by his daughter Gail

As mentioned earlier, I had already met Bert in our travels around the north-west’s furniture stores, but it was here in the Lodge of Fidelity that we first became aware of our Masonic connection. Unknown to me, Bert had been introduced to Freemasonry by his uncle WBro EWJ Marsh, and had been initiated into Denton Lodge on 25th January 1956 as you are all by now aware. We both called upon and were friendly with Derek Lumb and had been individually invited to his Installation in the Master’s Chair of this Lodge in January 1974. Derek knew that I was looking for a Masonic home in the north-west, and the fun and frivolity which we enjoyed at Lodge of Fidelity that night, was something I had never experienced before. I was immediately invited to become a Joining Member which was a “no brainer” and I accepted immediately.

Bert has been a great servant of Denton Lodge, as a Past Master filling many Offices over the years, and compiling a History of Denton Lodge in 2006.  He has also been a great servant of Ashton Masonic Club here at Albert House, serving on the committee for many years and as Club President in 2009/2010. Like many Lodges before, Denton Lodge was experiencing difficulties but was rescued and re-formed with a rather different format, a new membership structure, and relocation to Mossley. Some of the old members including Bert Hulme have retained the membership of their Mother Lodge, but have also joined elsewhere. We were very lucky to have had WBro Hulme become a Joining Member of the Lodge of Fidelity No.430 in January 2011, and while not wishing to progress again to the Chair of King Solomon, he has been very happy to serve as our Inner Guard for the past few years.

C Fidelity 41

WBro Herbert Garside Hulme PProvGSwdB

In turn, therefore, he has become a regular and reliable servant of this Lodge, and we are   very fortunate to be able to host his Personal 60th Celebrations here this evening. As we celebrate this very special anniversary in Freemasonry, can I ask you all to stand and join me in this Toast to WBro Herbert Garside (BERT) Hulme.

C Fidelity Composite

All of the photos taken on the evening can be found in a Photo Gallery at


Please feel free to take, and use, any of the photographs in the Gallery for your own personal use,
but please note that all photographs, and the text of this article,
remain the Copyright of ©Kevin Hall and their Commercial use, without permission, is prohibited by law.