Members use their talents

 

MEMBERS of St Oswald Lodge are noted for their service, organisational and fund-raising talents.

As if they did not have enough to do in serving St Oswald Lodge our history is filled with the additional service given to Freemasonry in the Warrington Group and for the Province.

In addition to ensuring the smooth running of many group events, many thousands of pounds have been directly raised by the efforts of St Oswald Lodge members for Masonic and local charities and the Masonic Hall.

WBro George Maude and WBro Ken Foulkes were instrumental in helping to organise various group social functions both in Warrington Masonic Hall and the Parr Hall when £7,000 was needed to decorate and refurbish the Masonic hall. The money also provided the beautiful lodge room carpets.

On the formation of the Warrington Group Choir, WBro Maude acted as its secretary as well as singing in the choir. He was the Warrington Group representative on the Hamer Charity and also worked in a voluntary capacity in the office of the Masonic Hall for many years.

WBro Foulkes embarked on organising a series of fund-raising events with a difference including running a special train from Bank Quay Station for the Lord Mayor’s Show. More than 600 brethren and members of their families supported the event. At the Parr Hall there was a Big Band Show, a concert by classical pianist Steven Hough and a sell-out comedy night “Hold your plums” with Billy and Wally from Radio Merseyside. As a result of Ken’s efforts several thousand pounds were raised. For several years from 1978 he served on the board of the Masonic hall. In conjunction with WBro Vic Charlesworth Ken was initially actively involved in the Sportsman’s Dinners acting as Master of Ceremonies and auctioneer helping to raise thousands of pounds for non-Masonic charities.

Despite the endless hours on official duties for the Province WBro Arthur Osborne also found time to be chairman of the Alpass Trust 1979 Festival.

It is for his musical talents that many people outside St Oswald Lodge know WBro Alan Griffiths best. For use at his Installation in 1974 he composed a new musical arrangement of the Master’s Song which he dedicated to his Masonic Brethren of St Oswald Lodge and the Lodges of the Warrington Group. This has been sung at all St Oswald Lodge Installations since that date. Being a church organist and choirmaster it was easy for him in 1969 to step into the role of choirmaster and conductor of the Warrington Masonic Choir which had been formed by the late WBro Arnold Creamer. Several of the musical arrangements he composed were sung by the choir and were also sung by the combined Liverpool and Warrington Masonic Choirs at the annual West Lancashire Provincial Charity Concerts at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, where he conducted the combined choirs. He was invited to serve on the West Lancashire Grand Masonic Charity Concert Committee arranging the annual concerts at the Philharmonic Hall and conducted the combined Liverpool and Warrington Masonic Choirs from 1971 until they were terminated because of costs in 1978. The choir also participated in the Parr Hall concerts mentioned earlier.

A Community Carol Singing Evening for charity in the Masonic Hall in 1975 resulted in WBro Griffiths instituting the Warrington Group’s Annual Festival of Nine Lesson and Carols which continues to this day at St Thomas’s Church, Stockton Heath. He took over as conductor at the Annual Service of Rededicated held each May in Warrington Parish Church in 1970 and continued in that role for 30 years, With input from WBro Derek Hunt who was Director of Ceremonies for the service, he prepared guide notes for those involved in the organisation of this service in future years.

From 1980 WBro Griffiths also played a major part in organising the group dinner from designing and printing tickets to preparation of table plans, place cards, identity badges for Masters, menu and toast cards for tables. He also provides a similar service for the group ball.

He played a major role in the organisation of the Warrington Group Open Day in April 2001, preparing the script which formed the basis for talks explaining Freemasonry to the general public. He also prepared and provided a major portion of the exhibition and was later asked to prepare a dossier on the organisation of open days which is now used by the Province to give guidance to other groups organising such events. The 24 display panels which he made have been used for open days at Southport, Westhoughton and Leigh.

WBro Griffiths is a self-taught computer expert and he has designed and printed special certificates for presentation to former group chairmen and one for presentation to a brother made an honorary member of his lodge.

In addition to being responsible for the re-design and colour printing of our own lodge Summons, WBro Griffiths has also re-designed covers for several other lodges in the group. In 1970 he designed new Provincial 50th Anniversary Certificates for presentation in Craft Lodges and in Royal Arch Chapters to mark a member’s 50th anniversary. He provided Provincial Office with the computer software to enable them to print the certificates and he continues to frame all such certificates presented in the Warrington Group. It is understood that his certificate design has since been adopted by the Province of Northamptonshire.

His name also appears on the list of Provincial Lecturers and he has given lectures throughout the Warrington Group and the Province as well as two addresses to the Grand and Provincial Grand Officers’ Luncheon Club.

The work of WBro Harry Boscow in making banners for various Lodges and other degrees earned more than £17,500 for charity.

WBro Charles Shand has also been extremely active outside St Oswald Lodge in the field of Masonic charity. He was very actively involved since 1979 and was not only the group representative at the West Lancashire Fund for Widows but was also on the Committee of the West Lancashire Masonic Educational Trust.

WBro Derek Hunt had always had a taste for organising social events and when he was Master in 1982 took the “gamble” of booking the Masonic Hall for a New Year’s Eve Dance and Tombola for the lodge. The hall had not opened on New Year’s Eve for many years and there was much scepticism about the venture. However, it proved to be a massive success. Derek later continued to organise the New Year’s Eve Dance and many other events on behalf of the 1982 Warrington Masters’ Association of which he was secretary. The group raised thousands of pounds to buy carpeting for all the downstairs area of the Masonic hall, provide new light fittings in the bar area and buy several pieces of equipment for the bar and kitchen. Derek also served as the lodge’s social secretary for many years and another of his “gambles” was to organise a Race Night in March 1990 which raised £400, a record figure at that time for single lodge event. It was WBro Hunt’s idea to have a Warrington Group Ball for all the lodges and chapters in the area and he successfully organised this premier event between 1991 and 2003. It was not only on the social side that he took an active role. For many years he was Assistant Director of Ceremonies with WBro Robert Antrobus as DC for the Warrington Group’s Annual Service of Rededication. When it was decided that each lodge should host the event in turn he continued to give support but in 2003 the group asked WBro Hunt to officially act as Director of Ceremonies of the church service with each lodge providing all the other officers in rotation. When the Warrington Group was invited to host the meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge in October 2004 it again turned to St Oswald Lodge for assistance and WBro Hunt was appointed Captain of Stewards to recruit and organise nearly 100 Brethren from the group to ensure the smooth running of the event.

For many years WBro Hunt, a newspaper editor, had acted as Press Officer for the Warrington Group and had always expressed the view that Freemasonry should be more proactive when dealing with the media. In 2004 he was appointed as Provincial Communication Officer with responsibility for Warrington Lodges and Chapters. Provincial Grand Master Colin Penty Wright recognised Derek’s special abilities and appointed him as Editor of the West Lancs Freemason Magazine and also Editor of the West Lancashire Provincial Website. When Peter Hosker was appointed as Provincial Grand Master he appointed Derek to a wider role and appointed him as Provincial Publicity Officer.

In 1988 WBro Eric Main, PPrJGD, and WBro Bob Brannon, PPrJGD, who was serving for the second time as Worshipful Master of Great Sankey Lodge No 5939 decided to hold a joint venture, a Caribbean Evening, at the Parr Hall. The night was a big success and £400 was raised for St Rocco’s Hospice and each lodge also received £100 for its charity funds. WBro Brannon had been a regular visitor at St Oswald Lodge since 1982 and in April 2004 became a joining member.

Another event at the Parr Hall also helped swell St Oswald’s charity coffers. Showbiz agent Bro Dave Warwick, formerly a member of our lodge, organised a big show starring Warrington band Poacher and he donated 100 tickets for the lodge to sell and retain all receipts.

WBro Derek Hart, PPrGSuptofWks, was very active on and off the bowling green. Derek won the group bowls event two out of three years in the early 1990s and then went on to organise the annual competition for several years. He also reached the finals of the Provincial bowls contest and earned £65 for St Oswald charities.

WBro Peter Craven, PPrGStwd, worked hard to raise money during his eight years as social secretary of the lodge. He also organised the Warrington Group Christmas Fayre. Peter took over as chairman of the organising committee in 1998 and this event raised more than £11,500 up to 2002. Peter also served as a director of the Warrington Masonic Hall Company. Initially Peter joined the board in charge of sales and marketing in September 2000 and later served as bar and catering director until 2003. As Peter gave up his role with the hall he became the second member of the lodge to be appointed as Warrington Group Secretary, an important role in the smooth running of Freemasonry in Warrington. He held the post for one year.