Brethren from across the Wigan and District Group and even from further afield, gathered in St Matthews Church, Highfield for the group’s annual church service.
The group chairman Malcolm Taylor, was again proud to receive the Mayor of Wigan Councillor Susan Louden, as an honoured guest. The town’s first citizen has for many years been pleased to accept the group’s invitation to attend the service and has been the honoured guest since 2008 when the then Mayor, Councillor Rona Winkworth, attended and started a fine tradition and mutual appreciation. The group is understandably very proud of the close relations it has with the Wigan Borough and its dignitaries.
Malcolm was really pleased to see the service supported by so many brethren and their wives, and was delighted that the support included high ranking grand and Provincial grand officers, including Danny Jones (Deputy Grand Superintendent), Stanley Oldfied (Third Provincial Grand Principal), Ian Cuerden (Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals), Tony Hall (Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah), Keith Beardmore, Ian Nairn, Ian D Nairn and Ian Clark.
Bert Stockley led the service and readings were given by Danny Jones and Malcolm Taylor. A fine sermon was delivered by Rev Tim Montgomery, who is the director of the ground breaking ‘Transforming Wigan’ project and Bert Stockley led the service in fine style.
On behalf of the group, Malcolm Taylor presented the Mayor with a cheque for £200 towards the Mayor’s charity, which this year is Guide Dogs for the Blind and the group made a similar donation to the church funds. The Mayor explained her selection of this particular charitable cause, pointing out that there was a training centre in her home town of Atherton and therefore very close to her heart.
After the service the brethren retired to the Parish Hall, were they enjoyed convivial conversation and light refreshments, provided and served by some of the ladies of Norley and Langtree Lodge of Antiquity No 178, as in previous years. The group chairman expresses his thanks to all the brethren and their wives and partners who joined him at St Matthews and he looks forward to seeing a full church at next year’s service.