The Atherton Lodge No 4488 was honoured to have as its principal guest AProvGM Malcolm Bell, who proceeded in to the lodge in the third degree. Malcolm was accompanied by PAProvGM Antony Bent, Len Hart, Malcolm Parr and Chairman of the Leigh Group Jonathon Heaton. Acting Provincial deacons where Albert Marchall and Colin Thorne, who has the acting rank ProvJGD, the DC was William Molyneux.
Malcolm was introduced to the WM Jonathan Battye, who offered Malcom the gavel, to which Malcolm politely declined saying he had every confidence in Jonathan in his ability to conduct the ceremony.
The ceremony got underway and the master elect, David Hughes, who was presented to the WM to continue with his obligation, which was impeccable.
David was born, and still lives in Golborne; he went to Golborne Comprehensive School. His father passed away when he was 12 and left an overall impression of a happy childhood, he enjoyed school and had a loving mother and wider family of relations.
When he left school, he worked in what was then called the National Westminster Bank in Standishgate, Wigan. He was there for two years on the tills in the main office and in all of the sub branches in the area, he also ran the sub branch at Lower Ince for six months which was a one-person operation with a security guard.
He then left to go to Manchester University to do a degree in art history, which he thoroughly enjoyed and was pleased that his mother was able to see him graduate. After graduation, he got a job with Wigan Council at the Drumcroon Arts Centre in Wigan, which had opened in the 1980s and was part of the Education Department. The centre was in operation for more than 30 years until it closed in 2011.
Drumcroon showed about six exhibitions a year and these were very popular with school groups and visitors. The centre produced its own exhibitions with associated backup notes and photos all of which David helped to produce. They also did practical workshops for the children based on the current exhibition.
Whilst he was working at Drumcroon, he met his lovely partner and later wife Heather who worked in a local school, they were together for 14 years. They went hill walking and enjoyed theatre trips and holidays together, it was a very happy time with lots of sunshine and laughter. He was also an active member of the Long-Distance Walking Association for about 15 years.
Sadly, Heather was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May 2008 and died in his arms 36 days later. Marie Curie was very supportive to the both of them and that is why he had chosen to donate money both to them and to Wigan Hospice during his year in office. The hospice helped him a great deal after Heather’s death and her father also spent time there before his death in 1985.
The following few years were difficult for David to deal with, fortunately things eventually got easier and thankfully in September 2012 he saw an advertisement in the local paper for an Open Day at Leigh Masonic Hall to introduce people to Freemasonry. He went along and was pleased with what he saw and applied to join and was accepted by Atherton Lodge. David was really looking forward to going through the various offices and is looking forward to his year in the chair.
The lodge continued to the third degree, where Jonathan enabled the ceremony to flow impeccably. The working tools were presented in all three degrees to David, the address to the WM was given by Albert Marshall, the address to the wardens was given by Graham Bottomley, the address to the junior warden by Peter Gregory, the address to the junior deacon by Bill Evans, the address to the charity steward was given by David Gordon-Williams.
David presented cheques to Malcolm and were as follows; The Bolton Dementia Society £100, the Leigh Group Charity Fund £115, The West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity £200, the Wigan and Leigh Hospice £400 and the Marie Curie Cancer Fund £400 making a grand of £1,215. Malcolm thanked David and the brethren of the lodge for their very generous donations.
The Festive board started in the way it was meant to go on, fully enjoyed by all, as usual by Malcolm with his usual friendly amusing banter, lots of laughter was enjoyed by friends old and new. After the formal toasts, Malcolm gave his best wishes from the Provincial Grand master and himself. David thanked Malcolm for all his support in attending the Atherton Lodge installation and the many brethren who were in attendance. Jonathan then gave the response to David, which brought about incredible amount of cheer and laughter. The Master’s Song was sung by Harry Ainsworth.
The festive board meal started with ham hock on a bed of rocket, the main meal was roast beef with roast and boiled potatoes with seasoned vegetables, finishing off the cheese board, tea or coffee and biscuits.