WBro Bill Ainsworth receives his certificate from WBro John R Farrington PSGD APGM
Over Fifty Brethren, including the Assistant Provincial Grand Master and a District Delegations, signed the Tylers attendance register of Colne Lodge No. 4402 on Monday 7th March 2016 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary in Freemasonry of WBro William (Bill) Ainsworth PProvGSwdB
After opening the Lodge and conducting the preliminary business, the Worshipful Master of Colne Lodge WBro David Hawkins announced the next item of business was to celebrate the 50th anniversary in Freemasonry. The Provincial DepGDC, WBro Andrew Taylor was admitted. He announced that WBro John R. Farrington PSGD, Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Northern area of the Province of East Lancashire, was without and that he demanded admission.
WBro Farrington was welcomed to the Lodge and was offered the Gavel by the Worshipful Master, WBro David Hawkins, who said he was confident WBro Farrington would accept. On this special occasion, WBro Farrington did accept, saying “that the Worshipful Master’s confidence could be misplaced”. WBro Farrington, together with WBro Jim Sutcliffe, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master were then saluted in due form.
WBro Farrington thanked the Brethren for their welcome and remarked that he was delighted to see the Lodge room so full.
He went on to say that fifty years in Freemasonry was a significant achievement and that all present were here to celebrate that landmark; that the most important thing is that Bill should enjoy the occasion and remember it for many years to come. After introducing the Delegation, which included Grand Officers, District Officers and Provincial Grand Officers of the year, WBro Farrington announced “the main business of the evening”, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary in Freemasonry of WBro Bill Ainsworth PProvGSwdB. WBro Ainsworth was then placed in the centre of the Lodge.
WBro Farrington first passed on the very best wishes of the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, Sir David Trippier, and those of the Delegation and all the Brethren present.
WBro Bill Ainsworth with the Provincial and District Delegations
The Lodge Secretary, WBro Tony Medley, then read extracts from the minutes of the meeting of the 7th March 1966, the main business of which was to initiate “Mr William Ainsworth”. WBro Medley went on to read the Lodge minutes of the Installation of Bro Bill Ainsworth into the chair of King Solomon.
WBro Farrington invited WBro Stephen Halstead to deliver a tribute to WBro Ainsworth.
WBro Halstead opened by saying, “I begin by quoting John Cleese as Basil Fawlty addressing his wife Sybil in an episode of Fawlty Towers, in which he accused her of stating the obvious, I am going to state the obvious”.
“WBro William Ainsworth Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer is a true gentleman, a gentle-man and an exemplary freemason. That should be all that needs to be said about Bill, So…… Thank you. But I am sure that you would like me to expound a little further.
WBro Farrington is to refer to his Masonic career, so, with some overlap, I shall reflect upon my personal thoughts of Bill, and Tony Medley will do him at the festive board. There is so, so much that could and should be said about our Bill but I shall limit myself to, as they say in the jargon, a form of “Bullet points”
I have known Bill since I was 10 or12. or even earlier He, along with Arthur Bickerstaffe, was my father’s best pal. Arthur introduced Bill to my father and they became lifelong friends. Those of us who knew them, often referred to the three of them as being like the trio in The Last of the Summer Wine, muttering, chatting away and doing things together. I don’t which one was Compo!
His National Service was in the REME, “join the army and see the world” They say! He was stationed for 2 years in the exotic and exciting city of Derby in the West Midlands. After his stint in the army, Bill worked at Jackson and Hanson’s, a Rootes main dealership in Barrowford, later becoming the service manager.
It was a position well suited to his unflappable and patient nature. Eventually though the constant nattering of customers, wanting their precious motor cars back, even before they went into the garage, persuaded Bill to leave and join General Accident as accident repair assessor where he remained until his retirement. During his time at Jackson and Hanson’s he found that many of the staff there were freemasons. Knowing my father was a freemason, he enquired as to what it was all about. My father bit his arm off at the chance to propose him and explained all that he could about the Craft
Bill was an obvious candidate for masonry but in those days one had to come of “one’s own free will and accord,” which is why my father was unable to make the first move and had to wait for Bill to make the approach, as indeed, was the case with myself.
So Bill was proposed into masonry and initiated as we know, 50 years ago. My father proposed me into freemasonry and Bill seconded me.
One of the things he impressed on me that it is it not only what happens in the Lodge, of which he, of course, couldn’t tell me a great deal, but it is also outside, at the festive board and indeed that just sitting down and sharing a meal with your fellow brethren, is as important as the work in the Lodge in building the bond of friendship and brotherhood which is the essence of Masonry
Bill was in the chair when I was initiated and he graciously allowed my father to initiate me. Bill gave me the Long Charge and I remember the passion and belief with which he delivered it. Marvellous. Obviously its meaning at the time, went mainly over my head, as it will have been the case with every initiate, it is something I will never forget.
This is but one example, typical of Bill’s caring nature which has come through in his freemasonry, always ready to help someone or help in the Lodge but his greatest gift to masonry is his care and compassion to others, not to mention his humour and self- deprecation
For many, many years Bill was the Lodge Almoner and such of us who have received his ministrations, will testify to his superb care and attention. His aid in financial matters through our almoner’s fund, the physical help and compassion, which were freely given when required, and, not forgetting how well he looked after our widows, they were always happy to see Bill!
Bill is now our Lodge Mentor. He was always our De Facto, Mentor, even before the rank was officially created, as he said, tongue in cheek at our Installation “he is the brains of the Lodge, but he wished that had more brethren to mentor”.
Bill has put a lot into masonry and the saying is “you only get back out what you put in.” is very true
Bill has found this and amongst the many other things he has discovered is that he can now stand up and make a speech in front of strangers Something he has mentioned on our open nights when he recalled his difficulties in making a speech to his niece at her wedding, now, he says, he would be able to say all the things he wished he could and should have said, but he couldn’t do then.
There are many, many more things that could be said in praise of Bill, his love of his wife, his family, his love of nature and the countryside, of bees, he used to bring honey for the raffles, and his love of life in general. Bill, as I said at the start, is a true gentle -man. Gentle in the way he lets it be known if he disagrees with something (though he’s not always a sweet pussy cat) and gentle in the way he talks to you, gentle in any help he can be and in so, so many other ways
He is a true mason, in that he thinks of others and most of us could all do well to emulate him. I cannot think of a more popular mason. Brethren thank you for the opportunity to address you and Bill
Brethren, I give you W Bro William Ainsworth Our Bill”.
WBro Farrington thanked WBro Halstead for his tribute saying that such a tribute could only be delivered by someone who knows WBro Ainsworth so well.
WBro Farrington then referred to a number of significant events and other interesting facts relating to 1966, the year WBro Ainsworth was initiated, following which he then came onto the floor of the Lodge and presented WBro Ainsworth with his illuminated certificate and letter from The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master for the Province of East Lancashire, Sir David Trippier.
WBro Ainsworth with Lodge members and guests
WBro Ainsworth was then paraded round the Lodge to the enthusiastic acclaim of all the Brethren present, after which the Worshipful Master, WBro David Hawkins presented WBro Farrington with a sizable cheque for the East Lancashire Masonic Charity, WBro Ainsworth’s preferred Charity. WBro Hawkins further informed WBro Farrington that he could expect yet another cheque later from the proceeds of the Alms collection and the raffle. The total amount presented for the ELMC on the night was £596.30. I tremendous effort.
Following the Alms collection the Provincial DepGDC, WBro Andrew Taylor, formed a retiral procession and the Assistant Provincial Grand Master, accompanied by WBro Ainsworth and the Delegations retired to the acclaim of the Brethren.
WBro Bill Ainsworth with WBro Farrington and the Master of Colne Lodge, WBro David Hawkins.
The social board was a happy occasion with all Brethren present enjoying the fellowship that can only be generated at such celebration events. The usual toasts were proposed and duly honoured. WBro Ainsworth responded to the toast to his health thanking all present for their tremendous support. It had truly had a memorable evening for an exceptional Freemason.