There was almost a ‘Full House’ at Ashday Lea Masonic Hall, Rawtenstall, on Thursday November 26th, when the members of the Valleys Lodge of Installed Masters, together with their guests, celebrated the first 25 years of their history. Joining them on this special occasion were WBro Norman Cope, APGM for the Western Area; WBro John Farrington, APGM for the Northern Area and several Officers of United Grand Lodge. Once the Lodge was open the Master, WBro John Audain, offered the gavel to WBro Cope who on this occasion declined. After ballotting for a joining member the actual celebration commenced with an address by WBro Jim Sutcliffe, a Past Assistant Grand Master and a founding member.

The lodge had originally been the idea of WBro Derek Pilling and had 43 founding members, six of whom were present in the Lodge to celebrate; WBros Derek Barclay, Clifford R Cuncliffe, Douglas Dickenson, Peter Holt, Derek Pilling and James Sutcliffe. In his address WBro Sutcliffe talked about the founding members and of the remaining six who were in the lodge tonight. He praised the work of the DC, WBro David Russell, and the Secretary, WBro David Taylor, who work very hard to keep this and other lodges alive. Special mention was also given of WBro Derek Pilling who is a keystone in promoting freemasony in the Rossendale area. In fact it is so believed that WBro Pilling deserves a special thankyou that an award was made to him of a voucher to provide him with two pints of beer at every lodge meeting he attends – for life!
You can read the outline of WBro Sutclffe’s address HERE.
It was also pointed out that the menu from the Social Board of the Consecration Meeting was to be repeated at the Social Board to follow. It is pure coincidence that Paul, the present chef at Ashday Lea, who would be preparing the meal for later, was actually on duty at Bridge Street as a young trainee chef when he assisted at the preparation of the Consecration meal. WBro Cope enquired if the steak would be from the same cow!
The lodge was then pleased to present WBro Cope with a significant donation to the ELMC.

Before the lodge closed WBro Cope was invited to become an Honorary Member of the lodge, which although obviously very surprised, he was most pleased and honoured to accept.

WBros Cope and Farrington with the Worshipful Master and Brethren of the Valleys Lodge of Installed Masters

The Founding Members of the Lodge

APGM, WBro Norman Cope, PSGD, with the Master, WBro John Audain, PProvDepGDC

The APGM and the Worshipful Master

APGM WBro John Farrington takes wine with APGM WBro Norman Cope

A Quartet of Grand Officers

At the Social Board

Three of the Founding Members

WM Bro John Audain with IPM WBro Ross Turner

Chef Paul with two of his staff