Peter celebrates 50 years as a Freemason

Brethren of Lodge of Peace and Unity No 314 celebrated the jubilee of lodge member and Past Provincial Grand Master Peter John Hosker, in fine style. The attendees included the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, the Provincial Grand Master of East Lancashire Sir David Trippier, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Phil Gunning, three Past Deputy Provincial Grand Masters, six Assistant Provincial Grand Masters and 29 other grand officers that included visitors from the Province of East Lancashire. They were supported by the presence of the Preston Group Chairman Steve Bolton, vice chairman Geoff Saul and 10 acting Provincial grand officers. In total over 125 brethren attended the occasion.

Tony presents Peter with his celebratory certificate.

David Winder, as master of the lodge, commenced the proceedings by welcoming the many visitors to this special day. He then opened the lodge in the first degree before the Provincial Director of Ceremonies Keith Kemp entered to announce the presence of the Provincial Grand Master. Tony entered in due form accompanied by grand, Provincial grand and acting Provincial grand officers taking their places in the lodge. Salutations were given, following which, David formally welcomed Tony and concluded his welcome by offering him the gavel of the lodge. On this occasion, the gavel was accepted and Tony assumed the master’s chair.

Tony invited Keith to place Peter in a comfortable chair before him as he began a resumé of Peter’s life and achievements.

Pictured from left to right, front row are, Phil Gunning, Sir David Trippier, Tony Harrison, Peter Hosker, David Winder, Steve Bolton. Rear row: David Walmsley, Kevin Poynton, David Grainger, Harry Cox, Chris Welton (East Lancashire) and Tony Bent.

He began by setting the scene at the time of Peter’s birth in 1940, a time when Britain had entered its first full year of war, the evacuation of Dunkirk, Winston Churchill’s rousing speeches that are immortalized and still quoted today. He mentioned the damage to the northern cities and the Battle of Britain being fought in the skies over southern England. Food rationing had been introduced and, on 17 May, Peter John Hosker was born. He mentioned that the Beatles, Ringo Starr and John Lennon were born in that year and that Peter, went to school at the same time as they did, that is, at around 8:30 in the morning.

Tony went on to mention Peter’s life, spent mostly in the City of Preston, where he attended Kirkham Grammar School before going to Manchester University to read law, returning to Preston in 1961 with an honours degree.

Turning to romance, Tony disclosed that it was at Manchester that Peter met his future wife, Julie. The first time was at a party in Leigh, the second, at the popular venue of Rivington Barn and finally just the two of them at the pictures in Wigan. However, after a wonderful evening, he was riding his scooter on his way home when he had the misfortune to meet a drunk driver who knocked him off his scooter putting him in hospital for three months. Not to be put off, Peter continued with his studies determined to complete his degree. It was in 1965 that Peter and Julie were married, a marriage that was blessed with two children, Joanne and Richard to be followed by three beautiful grandchildren, Alexa, Lois and Sasha.

Peter (seated) receives a memento of the occasion from Howard.

Moving on, Tony turned to Peter’s working life where, having qualified as a solicitor, Peter returned to Preston and practiced for almost 40 years as a corporate and commercial solicitor in private practice at Napthens in Preston’s Winckley Square. He was first a partner and then a senior partner in the firm before retiring in 2003.

Referring to his other activities during his working life, Tony informed the brethren of his time as a Governor and Trustee of Kirkham Educational Foundation and Kirkham Grammar School where he gave over 30 years’ service, first as a board member, then as vice-chairman and finally, as chairman.

He was also the founder president of the Rotary Club of Preston Amounderness where he was awarded the high honour of becoming a ‘Paul Harris Fellow’ by Rotary International.

Arriving at the subject of post retirement, Tony made known Peter’s involvement in the regeneration work in Preston as chairman of the ‘AvenCentral Partnership’. The partnership was ultimately responsible for ensuring that the regeneration budget of over £50,000,000 was properly spent in achieving the strategic objectives for the benefit of the community. The work involved many large and small projects ranging from environmental improvements to streets and shops. Increasing childcare services and also to providing leisure and sporting facilities. He went on to mention Peter’s role as a non-executive director of the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Hospitals NHS Trust in assisting them to obtain the major status of a Foundation Trust.

Tony added to Peter’s list of community spirit accomplishments by recounting his 20 years connection with the churches of St John the Evangelist and St George the Martyr; churches that benefitted greatly from his fund-raising campaigns for Parish Prospect, Preston.

Returning to Peter’s working career, Tony continued with Peter’s achievements in the law profession that started in 1995 when Peter was appointed as a tribunal chairman in the Lord Chancellor’s Appeal Service and extended beyond retirement when, in 2008, he transferred to the ‘Tribunal Judiciary’. There he rose to the position of a tribunal judge, sitting in Preston on many occasions.

Concluding Peter’s civic duties and accomplishments, Tony moved on to 2010, when in recognition of all his work in the community, Peter was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Considering what had already been said, Tony was sure it was an honour that was justly and rightly deserved.

The diners enjoy a hearty meal.

Changing the subject to that of Freemasonry, Tony referred to Peter’s initiation into Stanley of Preston Lodge No 2600 in February 1968, a lodge he said that, along with its records, sadly no longer existed. Currently he is of course, a member of the Lodge of Peace and Unity together with several other lodges, of which he is a member or an honorary member. He also became a companion of the Royal Arch with his exaltation into Holy Royal Architect Chapter No 314 in May 1982.

Continuing the Masonic theme, Tony informed the brethren that in May 1987 Peter was appointed Provincial Junior Grand Warden then some three years later, became vice-chairman of the Preston Group, a position he held for some seven years. During that time, he received his first appointment to grand rank with the position of Past Assistant Grand Registrar before becoming chairman of the group in 1997 until 2002. In 1999 he received a promotion in grand rank to Past Junior Grand Deacon and in 2003 he was appointed Assistant Provincial Grand Master with responsibilities for the Lancaster and the Furness and South Lakeland Groups, a position he held for 5 years. Further promotion came Peter’s way as in 2004 when he was appointed to the rank of Past Senior Grand Deacon of England. Tony went on to mention the merger of the then, five existing Masonic charities into the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity (WLFC) and Peter’s involvement in the creation of the constitution and legal frame work under which it continues to operate.

Tony reminded the brethren that further recognition and promotion followed Peter when in July 2008, the Pro Grand Master Peter Jeffrey Lowndes had the pleasure of appointing, investing and installing him as the Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent in and over the Masonic Province of West Lancashire.

He served in that position for a period of six years during which time he held the office of President of the 2010 Festival together with many other presidencies, including the WLFC. Unfortunately, during that period neither Peter nor his wife Julie enjoyed the best of good health resulting in his retirement from office in May 2014.

Tony completed his presentation by congratulating Peter on the exemplary way he had discharged all his civil, Christian and Masonic duties to the benefit of all. He then invited the Preston Group Chairman Steve Bolton, to read the celebration certificate for the benefit of the brethren.

He brought the proceedings to a close by coming down onto the floor of the lodge, presenting the certificate to Peter with the words: “Peter John Hosker, it gives me the greatest of pleasure to present you with this 50-year certificate to commemorate your achievements in Freemasonry. I wish you good health and much happiness for your future in Peace and Unity Lodge and throughout the Province and trust that you will continue to enjoy your Freemasonry as you have done of the last 50 years. On behalf of all the brethren present, I extend to you our heartiest congratulations and our sincere good wishes to both you and Julie.”

The Provincial Grand Master of East Lancashire, Sir David Trippier then rose to bring the congratulations and best wishes of the brethren of East Lancashire. He personally thanked Peter for all his help and support when he himself assumed the role of Provincial Grand Master in East Lancashire. He concluded by saying what a pleasure it had been to be present on this wonderful occasion. This was followed by sustained applause from all those present.

The lodge was closed with due ceremony, after which, the brethren retired to the dining room to enjoy the celebratory banquet.

Following the banquet and in response to the toast to the grand officers, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Phil Gunning, rose to thank the lodge for the toast saying, he had never been in the company of so many grand officers present during peace time. He commented that it showed the esteem and steep affection the brethren had for Peter on this special occasion. Turning to the Provincial Grand Master, he thanked Tony for the excellent contribution he had made to the evening’s event and extended thanks to Sir David Trippier for his involvement in the proceedings. However, in this case, it did involve some ‘to and fro’ discussion as to where the demarcation between East and West Lancashire should have been made.

David (centre) and Steve (left), present Terry with the festive board collection.

The toast to Peter’s health was proposed by Past Provincial Deputy Grand Master, and lodge member, Howard Jones who said he had proposed the celebrant’s health on numerous occasions, always briefly as part of a regular visit to lodges. Having been asked by Peter to propose the toast, Howard enquired would he like the usual two or three minutes or maybe five minutes as it was a special occasion. Peter’s response was: “Oh no, I think 30 minutes would be about right.”

However, as Tony had already covered Peter’s working life and his civic and Masonic duties, Howard added to the occasion by concentrating on Peter’s sporting and musical activities.

He commenced with Peter’s time at Kirkham Grammar School and his love of rugby, cricket and athletics when his prowess resulted in him being awarded a prize as the boy who had done the most for the school as a sportsman. His claim to fame being his record for the 120-yard, high hurdles that still stands today. Perhaps the event having been taken off the schedule because of metrification may have something to do with it!

Moving on to his time at university, Howard mentioned that Peter still managed to keep up with athletics, training alongside such notables as Bob Birrell and Ron Hill. Unfortunately, Peter’s career in athletics ended abruptly as a result of the motor scooter accident, recounted earlier.

Howard continued by referring to Peter’s next sporting adventure; when he decided to embrace of the game of golf. His, no doubt many hours spent at Preston Golf Club must have paid off, as he managed to reduce his handicap to nine. However, his move to Royal Lytham golf course saw him struggle to maintain that well-earned handicap. Howard did note that Peter’s sporting prowess had been inherited by his children and grandchildren with Richard a fully qualified yachtsman, Alexa, keen on rowing, Lois a county hockey player and Sasha playing in the ladies under 14 squad at Manchester United.

Changing the tune, Howard ventured into the area of music where Peter’s parents were both talented. After a period as a choir boy, Peter started piano lessons and took the Royal School of Music examinations. Unfortunately, as with all these things, work interfered, and progress was not as fast as he would have liked. However, in 2002, Peter started grade five followed by grade six in 2003, grade seven in 2005 and finally grade eight in 2007. Howard informed the brethren that to reach that level requires daily practice.

Howard then had the pleasure of presenting Peter with a booklet that contained the signatures of all the brethren present and contained the musical piece, ‘Clair de lune’ to help with his daily practice.

He went on to relate Julie’s charitable work that involved organising local events, with Peter acting as the volunteer car park attendant and gave a resumé of his attributes that started with Peter being a man of letters, a judge, a Freemason, a Rotarian, a sportsman, a musician and of course, a willing car park attendant.

He concluded by asking all the brethren to stand to honour the toast to Peter John Hosker, OBE, Past Provincial Grand Master for the Province of West Lancashire. There followed a sustained standing ovation from all, in appreciation of Peter’s contribution to society.

By way of thanks for their attendance, David Winder in his capacity as WM, presented bouquets of flowers to Tony, Sir David and Peter as a thank you from the lodge to their respective wives for agreeing to be without them for another evening. The evening closed with a presentation to the Preston Hall Chairman, Terry McGill.

In place of the usual lodge charity collection, prior to the festive board, envelopes had been placed on the dining tables asking brethren, should they so wish, to donate to the Masonic hall. As a result, this raised the magnificent sum of £900 that included a significant contribution from the celebrant, Peter.

Terry, in accepting the donation, thanked all for their generosity, saying it would act as a boost to all the brethren and staff who work so hard behind the scenes to maintain and operate the hall on behalf of the members.

David presents bouquets to, pictured left: Tony, pictured centre: Sir David, pictured right: Peter, as a thank you to their respective wives.