“Did you know, our 3-year-old Grandson Max can demolish a Hollands meat and potato pie in no time at all?” I remarked to the Provincial Grand Swordbearer. “Really?” he replied disinterestedly, as we sat in the traffic jam outside Hollands Pies Factory in Baxenden. In the 20 minutes it took us to drive through Baxenden, I continued to regale WBro Dredge with little anecdotes about Hollands Pies in my ongoing attempt to educate him (a Southerner) about such Northern delicacies.
Our journey had started in Oldham at 3.30 pm – plenty of time, or so we thought, for the hours drive to Clitheroe to attend Priory Mark 693 Lodges Banner Dedication (a ceremony I was quite looking forward to having never seen one before in all my 21 years of Freemasonry). Oh how wrong we were! An accident on the northbound A56 at Haslingden resulting in its closure caused a tailback on the M66 which added another 2 hours to our journey. We weren’t the only ones of the Provincial Deputation stuck in the jam – several never made it, including the RWPGM who was stuck in traffic for 4 hours and eventually had to give up and return home.
Fortunately, Priory were aware of our collective predicament and wisely put the meeting back half an hour to 7pm by which time the majority of the Deputation had managed to arrive. We finally paraded into the Lodge 10 minutes later accompanying our two APGMs WBro Gerald Noel Howard Young and VWBro David Hedley Thompson. In the absence of the PGM, WBro Gerry Young APGM accepted the Gavel and took the Chair of the Lodge and proceeded to introduce the 22 strong Provincial Deputation.
He then went on to the main business of the evening, the Dedication of the Lodges new banner which had kindly been donated by WBro Cyril Kennerley PAGDC. Those of us who know Cyril will know that he’s had a torrid time with his health over the last couple of years having been in and out of hospital where he still is, so, unfortunately, couldn’t be with us tonight. WBro Young asked the Lodge Secretary to pass on thanks to WBro Kennerley for his kind donation together with the best wishes of the Province. Moving swiftly on to the main business of the evening, the APGM then requested the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies WBro Mike Porter to form a Banner Escort.
Taking Cyrils place as Donor in the Banner Escort was WBro John Whitney PGJD who was joined by WBro John Rimmer PPGJW as Banner Bearer, supported by the Lodge Deacons and the rest of the Provincial DC Team. They all subsequently paraded into the Lodge where WBro Young proceeded confidently with the Banner Dedication Ceremony.
Following the Ceremony, the WM of the Lodge WBro Ronald Howell PPGSO was reinstated into the Chair of King Solomon and thanked the APGM WBro Gerry Young for attending with the Provincial Team, who shortly thereafter all retired in recession from the Lodge to rousing applause from the Lodge Members and their Visitors.
The evening concluded across the road at the Swan & Royal with a superb meal attended by 57 Brethren who all agreed they had (eventually !) had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
Finally, thanks must go to WBro John Rimmer the Lodge Secretary for organising the whole evening in Clitheroe having moved the meeting from the Lodges usual home in Whalley to accommodate not only Lodge Visitors but the large Provincial Team attending. Thank you also WBro Eric Bond for the pics !
Hollands Pies has been going since 1851 you know….
Words: WBro Garry Errock PGStB ProvAGSec