The officers and brethren of Rivington Lodge No 8013 gathered to celebrate the lodge’s 50th birthday at Westhoughton Masonic Hall. The lodge was honoured by the presence of Assistant Provincial Grand Master Tony Bent, along with Paul Rink, Past Provincial Grand Master from the Province of East Lancashire. The group chairman Peter Lockett and other Grand Lodge officers and group officers were also in attendance along with 56 brethren who had come along to join in the evening’s celebrations.
The lodge was opened in due form by David Parker the WM and during the initial business David informed the brethren that donations would be made of £1,500 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, £200 to Ecclesholme and £100 to Firwood School.
Following the normal business David opened the lodge up into the third degree and Tony along with the visiting delegation of grand officers and group representatives were admitted. They were welcomed into the lodge and David then offered Tony the gavel of the lodge which he was happy to accept.
Tony said that one of the great privileges of being an Assistant Provincial Grand Master was that he could preside over the landmark celebration of 50 years of Rivington Lodge.
The lodge was consecrated on 12 April 1965 and Tony commented on how much the world has changed since then. The Beatles were riding high in the hit parade, UK inflation stood at 5% and the average house price was £3,360. A gallon of petrol cost ‘five shillings’, which is about 25 pence in modern currency. The world held its breath fearing the outbreak of war in Vietnam and it was against this background that the founding fathers of Rivington Lodge petitioned Grand Lodge on the 9 December 1964.
The name of the lodge was derived from an ancient beacon, now dominated by radio masts. Tony described the consecration as ‘the lighting of a beacon by its founders’, which he said still burns brightly 50 years on. The first master was a local butcher, Anyon Kay and the first initiate was John Banks, a local builder. Rivington Lodge has in its 50 years produced two daughter lodges, Anderton Lodge No 8470 and St James Lodge No 8910. In 1974 Ken Shaw was initiated into the lodge and Tony said he was delighted to be in his company on this special occasion.
Tony paid tribute to other brethren for long and distinguished service to the lodge and the Craft in general. Malcolm Warren the present junior warden and a member since 1984 has for over 20 years been secretary for the Friends of Ecclesholme and Brookfield Masonic Hall, along with Owen Peak, Robin Andrew-Morris and Malcolm Dewhurst.
The hall suffered a fire and two members of Rivington Lodge, Graham Beeby and Bill Greenhalgh drew up the plans for the designs of the refurbished dining area. Bill was present at the meeting along with the original drawings.
During its 50 years the lodge has had 84 initiates and 131 members. The current membership is 20 of which 13 are past masters who regularly attend meetings. Tony concluded by congratulating the lodge on attaining 50 consecutive years and wished the lodge well for the next 50! He thanked the lodge members for the generous donations to charity and handed the gavel back to the current master.
David thanked Tony for his thoughts and good wishes for the future. The delegation then retired and the normal business of the evening was concluded.
The brethren then joined Tony at the festive board where he took wine with the master, distinguished guests and visitors. He said that we look back over the last 50 years with nostalgia as ‘golden years’ and to look forward to future landmark birthdays. A raffle raised £270 for good causes and David presented flowers as a gift to Tony’s wife on behalf of the lodge members. Malcom Warren concluded proceedings by toasting all Rivington Lodge members, both past and present and thanked everyone for attending the celebrations.