Holcombe Hikers Brave The Weather to Raise Over £5,000
Saturday the 22nd July saw Masons, their families and friends gathered at Hewlett Court, ready to take on The Holcombe Hike – ELMC’s 13 mile (half-marathon) sponsored walk in support of the 2026 Festival. Weather conditions could only be described as “adverse” but they did little to dampen the spirits and camaraderie of the groups as they booked in and prepared for the day ahead with fund-raising volunteers, Paul Sellers, Tony Stephenson and Beverley Schofield of Hewlett Court.
First out of the trap were APGM Mark Davis and Tom Daniel of Manchester Masons with their team of seasoned walkers, mostly from The Manchester Level Club.
Next to set off were a larger group lead by Julie Ward, ELMC’s Director of Operations and her Daughter Lauren Rose. Their group contained none other than the PGM, Robert Frankl, who had been breaking in his walking boots for some weeks ready for the event.
Bringing up the rear were Karen Hall, ELMC’s Administrator, and Anne Donnelly, formerly of Provincial Office, with the family group of slower walkers.
Stewarding along the route was provided by a team of volunteers co-ordinated by Steve Thomson, ELMC’s Fund-Raising Chairman, and lead by Chris Wildman, The Provincial Grand Secretary.
The groups soldiered on through the rain, to climb the Holcombe Brook and ascend the mists of Holcombe Hill, to find the Peel Tower Monument. Their descent took them to Ramsbottom’s Municipal Nuttall Park, where many rested for lunch. Crossing the heathland to circle back to Summerseat, they were joined by a second group of walkers to take on the Summerseat Stroll, the last 6 miles of the route as the rain lightened, and then finally abated.
The reinforced groups, which now contains APGM’s John Griffin and Dave McGurty along with ELMC & Festival Chairman, Chad Northcott, made their way along the Irwell Valley into Burrs Country Park. It’s rumoured that the forward group of seasoned walkers made an unscheduled stop at the pub and were overtaken at this point but they quickly resumed their pole position!
The final leg of the journey was the gruelling Kirklees trail, a former railway line that ascended from Bury back up to Holcombe Brook and the finish line at Hewlett Court where hot food and drinks were supplied by the volunteers of Townley Parker Lodge. Some even enjoyed an Ice-cream courtesy of local business, Jersey Girls. Music was provided by DJ Paul Ketcher.
Steve Thomson, Event Co-ordinator said “It was great to see the day so well supported. Event’s like this don’t just happen – they take a great deal of planning and my thanks go to all the volunteers who were working at base camp, leading the walking groups, stewarding the route and catering. We couldn’t have done it without them. Thanks also to The Mountain Rescue and our Ambulance Crew who provided our safety backup and all the local businesses and individuals that sponsored the event. Most of all, I think our intrepid walkers did us proud.
It’s important to us at ELMC that we back The Festival with fundraisers like this. Our partnership with MCF is such that, without their aid it would be impossible for us do the good work that we do for our Brethren and our communities in East Lancashire. I would encourage everyone to get involved in supporting the Festival.”
Use this lik to view all Photographs from the day.