MEMBERS of St Oswald Lodge have been involved throughout its history in helping to form new lodges but the most important of these was sponsoring the Mersey Valley Lodge of Installed Masters No 9057.
This lodge for Masters and Past Masters within the Warrington, Leigh, St Helens and Prescot Groups of Lodges was the brainchild of WBro Arthur Osborne and it was because of his involvement that St Oswald Lodge was invited to be the “Mother Lodge”.
The lodge was formed quite quickly after preparations were put forward at a meeting on 9 December 1981 following which WBro Osborne sent a letter to all 44 Lodges in the Warrington, St Helens and Prescot and Leigh Groups, which qualified to have founder members. A meeting in Leigh in March 1982 showed there was total support for the new lodge and the Petition seeking permission for Mersey Valley Lodge of Installed Masters to be created was signed in St Oswald Lodge by the Master and Wardens on 14 April 1982.
The interest in the formation of the new lodge was such that each Lodge was only allowed to put forward two members to become founders.
However, because of the special situation of St Oswald Lodge in addition to its two official founders –
There was so much interest in the Consecration of the lodge, which was granted its Warrant on 8 September 1982, that the ceremony had to be held outside the Provincial boundary. The Crest Hotel in Runcorn was the only nearby location which could host the 300 plus brethren who wanted to attend the Consecration and banquet. At that time it was the biggest gathering for the Consecration of a Craft lodge in the history of the Province.
WBro Osborne was Installed as the first Worshipful Master of the new lodge and a member of the Provincial team which performed the Consecration was WBro Ken Foulkes who acted as Tyler. All the other offices were held by Grand Officers from the groups involved.
However, after the first year all offices were to be filled by Masters and Past Masters who had not yet gained Provincial Grand Rank.
The first “light blue” member of St Oswald Lodge to be invited to serve in the Mersey Valley Lodge of Installed Masters was WBro Derek Hunt who became ADC to WBro Jack Forsyth, PAGDC, and then took over as Director of Ceremonies for five years.
Several other members of St Oswald Lodge have since held office in Mersey Valley which meets alternatively in Warrington, St Helens, Leigh and Widnes.
WBro Derek Hart was an officer of Mersey Valley on three occasions, a steward in 1985, tyler in 1988 and junior warden in 1993. WBro Eric Main was a steward in 1990 and Inner Guard in 1992 while WBro Les Coster served as a steward for two consecutive years.
WBro Charles Shand served as the lodge’s almoner from 1992 to 1995. In January, 2004, WBro Bill Wainwright, who was Master of St Oswald Lodge in 2002, was appointed as a steward of Mersey Valley Lodge of Installed Masters.
Another St Oswald Initiate, WBro David Blizzard, who became a member of Academy Lodge No 9382 also became Director of Ceremonies of Mersey Valley which is one of the largest lodges in the Province of West Lancashire. He served in that position from 1999 to 2003.
Past Masters from the Widnes Group became eligible for membership in January 1987 after the group replaced St Helens as part of the responsibilities of WBro Osborne. This change meant that WBro Harry Boscow had to find an area on the lodge banner, which he had made, to add the name of the Widnes Group.
Lord Daresbury was a founder of Warrington Temple Lodge No 6420 in 1947 and was its first Worshipful Master. He was also a founder in 1945 of Winmarleigh Lodge No 6101.
WBro Nat Morris, who was a founder of St Oswald Lodge and Worshipful Master in 1956, was one of the founders of the Lodge of Good Endeavour No 8258 as was WBro Arthur Osborne. WBro Morris, Past Grand Standard Bearer, was also a founder of Boteler Lodge No 7367.
Hillcliffe Lodge No 8812 was Consecrated on 23 May, 1978, and although its mother lodge is the Lodge of Friendship No 2963, Brethren of St Oswald Lodge were active in its formation. Of Hillcliffe Lodge’s 23 founder members six were members of St Oswald Lodge –
Several members and former members of St Oswald Lodge were involved in the formation of Academy Lodge No 9382. Among the founders were WBro Bill Cartwright who became its first Worshipful Master, WBro Charles Shand, its second Worshipful Master, WBro Harry Boscow, WBro John Cartwright who served the lodge as Director of Ceremonies for eight years, WBro Malcolm Smith (the lodge’s chaplain for eight years), Bro Michael Conduct and Bro David Blizzard. Bro Blizzard became the lodge’s third Worshipful Master and served as its Director of Ceremonies for several years until 2004 when he went into the chair of the lodge for the second time. The Lodge was Consecrated on 30 April 1991 and among the Provincial Officers who performed the ceremony was WBro Derek Hunt who was the Provincial Grand Steward.
Bro John Upton and Bro Dr Gordon Summers who were both members of St Oswald Lodge were among the brethren who were founders of Great Sankey Lodge No 5939.