This year was a very cold but dry Remembrance Sunday, but the weather didn’t really matter. Come rain or shine, this special occasion will always find Masons from the Wigan Group attending the various ceremonies and paying their respects, remembering those special people who gave their all and made the ultimate sacrifice. These will include those attending in private, as well as those representing their lodges in the official proceedings.
In the small township of Hindley, home to Hindley Masonic Hall, the great and the good including a good contingent of Masons from Hindley lodges and other Masonic Orders gathered on the market square as is the annual custom. The parade appeared to be larger than previous years, maybe because it was sunny and dry or perhaps more probably because passing generations understand more than ever the sacrifice that was made in those savage conflicts on our behalf.
Proud to be there were local Hindley Masons, Ken Wilson, Peter Newell, Dave Webster, Alan Johnston, Eric Bailey, Jack Lyon, Ray Pye and Jonathon Lever (also representing St Peters Scouts) and all were delighted to fly the Masonic flag. A special privilege this year fell to Peter Newell of Corinthian Lodge No 2350, who was chosen to lay the traditional Mark poppy wreath.
Following the parade and wreath laying, their duties fulfilled, the merry group of Masons retired to a nearby store cafe to bring back blood circulation over hot tea and toast, before wending their way home.
At the same time, on the other side of the borough in Wigan town centre, the honour of laying the wreath at the cenotaph fell to Bryn Lodge No 6553, who were represented by WM Phil Barr, supported by John Mason and Fred Dickinson.
Suffering from similar cold conditions, after the event, they too sought re-vitalising refreshment. This was something a little more substantial, as Christine and Phil Hughes always arrange a Sunday lunch on Remembrance Sunday at Bryn Masonic Hall, making a special event for those returning from various services, parades and ceremonies. The Bryn Lodge contingent joined with some 150 others for lunch.
At this lunch it seemed the right time to record a special donation to the Royal British Legion. Last year, group officer Barry Dickinson arrived wearing a hand knitted poppy, knitted by his sister Sheila from Yorkshire, and with a few spares, they were snapped up in exchange for a donation to the poppy appeal collection box.
A few weeks ago, Barry was surprised to receive from his sister a box full of hand knitted poppies, which were left in the capable hands of Christine and Phil at the Masonic hall. The entire box was sold prior to the arrival of the official poppies and collection box, and it allowed group secretary John Selley to write a cheque to the Royal British Legion for £120 from Sheila’s efforts, in addition to the proceeds from the sale of the official poppies when they arrived.