Philip Gunning was invested as Deputy Provincial Grand Master at the meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge held in the Winter Garden in Blackpool.
Philip was born in Ashton-under-Lyne and on leaving school, he joined the Lancashire Constabulary as a Police Cadet. In his 30 years of service, he was stationed at Seaforth, Liverpool, Ormskirk, Skelmersdale, Chorley, Preston, Fulwood, Leyland and Headquarters. He retired in 1997 holding the rank of Inspector. During the penultimate year of his service he first put forward the idea of a lodge for members of the Lancashire Constabulary and in 1997 the Red Rose of Lancashire Lodge No 9640 was founded.
Philip was initiated into Anfield Lodge No 2215 in December 1975 and was installed as WM in 1985. Philip is also a member of Quingenti Lodge No 8516, Lathom Lodge of Installed Masters No 2229, Red Rose of Lancashire Lodge No 9640 (founder), Ormskirk Priory Lodge No 4007 where he was WM in 2007 and Lancashire Scouting Lodge of Allegiance (East Lancashire) He was also a member of Lodge of Justice No 6850 and held many offices in the lodge including WM (four times) charity steward (twice for a period of nine years in total) a post he held when the lodge closed in 2007.
He was appointed group charity delegate of the 4th Liverpool Sandon Group in 1989 and was the group representative for the 1997 MTGB Festival. Following the restructure of the care team in 2003 he was appointed as a Regional Care Officer for the Sandon, Wellington and Gladstone Groups of Lodges. In 2005 he was appointed as the vice chairman of the Ormskirk and District Group and in 2010 he was appointed group chairman. He has held group office in one form of another for 29 years,
He received his first appointment in Provincial Grand Lodge in 1991 as an acting Provincial Grand Steward. In 1995 he was promoted to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden. Promotion to Grand rank followed in 2002 when he was appointed PAGDC. Philip was appointed Assistant Provincial Grand Master responsible for the Ormskirk and District and Southport Groups in 2011 and in 2012 he was promoted to the rank of Past Senior Grand Deacon.
Philip was exalted into St Michael’s Chapter No 5756 in 1987. He was installed as first principal in 1993. He is also a member of Silver Jubilee Chapter No 8818 and a founder member of Red Rose of Lancashire Chapter 9640 (East Lancashire). He was appointed PPrAGSoj in 2000 and promoted to PPrGSN in 2006 with appointment to Grand Chapter as PGStdB in 2010. He is also a member of many other Masonic Orders.
Philip shares his time, when not engaged on Masonic duties, between his home in Heskin and one in London where he works in Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery planning. Despite claiming an encyclopaedic knowledge of the West Coast Main Line, he denies owning an anorak! He says that being in charge of his own diary means that he is able never to miss a meeting and that keeping busy both Masonically and in his working life, is what he enjoys the most.
Outside Freemasonry his hobbies are golf (In 2000 he was Captain of Shaw Hill Golf Club, Chorley) – field sports, Rugby Union, fishing, astronomy and aviation – Philip holds a Private Pilot’s Licence.
He is passionate about conservation and the countryside and is a member of the Game Conservancy and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation. He says: “There is nothing I like more than going up onto the moorland just listening and watching the wildlife and not, as some may think, plotting their demise.”
His passion for Grouse is immeasurable and without doubt his favourite time on the moor is not, as most would imagine, spent in a grouse butt in August, but in early June when the grouse chicks first start to make an appearance. “I spend hours and hours in complete silence with only my Cocker Spaniel for company, just watching and waiting for the little ones to emerge from the heather with their mums – completely enthralling”.
Of his Cocker Spaniel ‘Mister Judd’ he simply says “He is legend – just ask those who have met him.”
His great sadness in life was losing his son Philip 10 years ago. Andrew, the other of the twins, is a member of Ormskirk Priory Lodge and St Michael’s Chapter and has given him two grand-daughters which, of course, he doesn’t spoil at all. Andrew was his chain bearer when he was appointed as an Assistant and will bear his chain again when appointed Deputy.
Philip said on his appointment to Deputy Provincial Grand Master: “It is obviously a great honour to be Deputy Provincial Grand Master of this Province and I am conscious that I am following in some very august footsteps, not least those of Howard Jones, Brian Gillbanks and Tom Blackburn. I have been fortunate to know all three for many years and if I do half as well as they did, I shall be very well pleased. I have been absolutely staggered by the number of brethren not only in this Province, but further afield, who have come up to me and offered their best wishes. To you all, thank you so much, it does mean an awful lot to me.