The Supreme Council 33° of England and Wales and its Districts and Chapters Overseas have announced the appointment of Illustrious Brother Alexander Sillars McLaren 32° as Inspector General Designate in Charge of the North East Lancashire District. The appointment is retrospective to 24th December 2020.
Alexander Sillars Mclaren
Alex was born near Edinburgh in 1951. He graduated with an Honours Degree in Engineering, then moved first to the London area and then north to Manchester, where he joined an IT Company. He worked in that sector until he retired from his Operations Directorship in 2006.
He is married to Leslie and they have three children and two grandchildren. The eldest Chris is the flight test engineer for the Eurofighter; Lynsey is a secondary school teacher of English and Languages and Katie is an Operations Manager at an Academy. Leslie and Alex enjoy travel and have visited most of the major cities in Europe plus Japan, Borneo, South America, USA, Canada, South Africa.
Alex played all sport at school and University and carried on with several of them after graduation He played football in the South East Lancashire League and the Lancashire League until his early to mid- thirties when he started playing golf.
Alex was Initiated, Passed and Raised in Lennox Lodge No 1061 (Scottish Constitution) in 1973. After moving south he joined Charity Lodge No 3342 in Rochdale and was WM of that Lodge in 1989. He was Treasurer of the Lodge from 1992.He held several Provincial Offices and was Appointed as an APGM in 2009. He was appointed as an Acting Junior Grand Deacon in UGLE in 2010 and Promoted to Past Senior Grand Deacon in 2012.
He has had an active career in Royal Arch and was appointed Past Grand Standard Bearer in Supreme Grand Chapter in 2009.
Alex is currently Provincial Grand Master for East Lancashire in the Mark Degree and the Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners. He is a Trustee of the Mark Benevolent Fund.
He is a Past District Grand Prefect in the Order of the Allied Masonic Degrees, holding the office for some eight years and is a member of the Grand Master’s Executive.
He is a Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master in the Royal Order of Scotland in the Province of Cheshire.
He is also a member and in most cases holds Grand Rank in Knights Templar, Scottish Masters and a Knight Beneficent of the Holy City, Red Cross of Constantine, Royal & Select Masters and the Masonic Order of Athelstan.
Other groups include the Order of the Silver Trowel and the Excellent Master’s Degree; as well a member of the Grand Master’s Witan!
Last but not least, he was perfected in Rochdale St Chads Chapter Rose Croix in 1996 and was Most Wise Sovereign in 2007. He is DC of Rose of Lahore Chapter and a Past MWS of Donald Maitland Davies Chapter. He was Appointed Inspector General Designate in Charge for the North East District of Lancashire in March 2021, retrospective to the 24th December 2020.
He received his 30th degree in 2010, his 31st in 2018 and his 32nd, by Patent, in April 2021.
He has been invited to attend Duke St in July to receive the 33rd Degree, COVID permitting.
The members of the Chapters of the District are more than pleased at the appointment of Alex as their Inspector General and look forward to many years of his leadership.
It is with great sadness that we report the death of Very Illustrious Brother David John Biggs, Inspector General for the North East Lancashire District, on 23rd December 2020,
David was recovering after treatment for cancer and extended remission or full recovery was likely, when he suffered sudden cardiac arrest and passed away peacefully in his sleep.
He will be sorely missed, being as he was an active and well loved leader of the District.
The funeral on 7th January was attended by family and close friends only, owing to the prevailing COVID regulations. Donations, in lieu of flowers to Blue Skies Hospital Fund, Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
The Fourth Annual North East Lancashire District Lunch was held at Bury Masonic Hall on Sunday 15th March 2020.
Rose Croix Masons from across the District with their Ladies and guests enjoyed a delicious 4-course lunch comprising a starter of Broccoli & Stilton Soup, a main course of Roast Breast of Chicken with a Sage & Onion Stuffing, a Strawberry & Kiwi Meringue Nest dessert and finally Cheese and Biscuits, Tea and Coffee.
The meal was followed by a couple of fun quizzes and a raffle organised by District Recorder Ill∴Bro Jack Aston 32°. Thanks to all those attending for their support at what is proving to be a difficult time with rising concerns over the coronavirus situation.
A group of candidates from Chapters in the North East Lancashire District, supported by District Recorder Ill∴Bro. Jack Aston 32° and personal guests, travelled to London for the Higher Degrees Meeting at Duke Street, St. James’s on Tuesday 11th February 2020.
The first part of the Higher Degrees meeting each February comprises a Sovereign Tribunal of Grand Inspectors Inquisitors Commanders 31°.
On this occasion, Ill∴Bro. Brian Simm, long-serving Recorder of Mark Wilkinson Chapter No.194 was one of nineteen candidates receiving richly deserved promotion to the 31°.
Brian was joined in this ceremony by two colleagues from Chapters in the South East Lancashire District who are well known to many of us through their connections not only in Rose Croix but other Orders, namely:
Ill∴Bro. Ken Hampson 31° ~ Recorder of East Lancashire Chapter No.440
Ill∴Bro. Mervyn Wilson 31°~ District Grand Prefect, Order of the Allied Masonic Degrees, District of East Lancashire
The Sovereign Tribunal was closed and a Grand Chapter of Grand Elected Knights Kadosh 30° was opened. Some 35 Brethren from Chapters across England and Wales were honoured with promotions to the 30° Grand Elected Knight Kadosh, Knight of the Black and White Eagle.
Brethren from the North East Lancashire District receiving promotion to the 30° were:
Ill∴Bro. Philip Beaumont 30° – William Horrocks Chapter No.603
Ill∴Bro. Fred Blackburn 30° – Bury Chapter No.435
Ill∴Bro. Robert Findlay 30° – St. Peter’s Chapter No.31
Ill∴Bro. Robert Jopson 30° – Accrington Chapter No.364
Brethren from the North East Lancashire District at Mark Masons’ Hall. From Left to Right: Ill∴Bro. Ken Alker 31° (guest), Ill∴Bro. Robert Findlay 30°, Ill∴Bro. Brian Simm 31°, Ill∴Bro. Philip Beaumont 30°, Ill∴Bro. Robert Jopson 30°, Ill∴Bro. Peter Aspinall 31° (guest).
The ceremony was followed by a drinks reception and festive board at Mark Masons’ Hall instead of the usual venue of the Royal Overseas League.
The Higher Degrees Meeting held at Duke Street, St. James’s on Tuesday 4th June 2019 was particular well supported by Brethren from the North East Lancashire District.
A total of 6 candidates and 5 guests, along with Inspector General V∴Ill∴Bro. David Biggs 33° and District Recorder Ill∴Bro. Jack Aston 32° made their separate ways to a rather warm and humid London, where they found temporary relief before the meeting in the cellars of Davy’s wine bar on Crown Passage for a light lunch and some refreshing drinks.
The first part of the Higher Degrees meeting each June comprises a Grand Consistory of Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret 32°.
On this occasion, Ill∴Bro. Douglas ‘Dickie’ Dickenson, long-serving Director of Ceremonies of Bethel Chapter No.290 was one of eight candidates receiving richly deserved promotions to the 32°.
A particular highlight of the event, and a honour for our District, was the selection of Dickie as the Representative Candidate for the 32° ceremony and a corresponding place on the top table at the festive board, seated next to the Sovereign Grand Commander, Most Puissant Brother Alan Englefield 33°.
The Grand Consistory was closed and a Grand Chapter of Grand Elected Knights Kadosh 30° was opened. Some 40 Brethren from across England and Wales were honoured with promotions to the 30° Grand Elected Knight Kadosh, Knight of the Black and White Eagle.
Brethren from the North East Lancashire District receiving promotion to the 30° were:
Ill∴Bro. Stuart Ashworth 30° – Bury Chapter No.435
Ill∴Bro. Bob Codling 30° – Rochdale St. Chad Chapter No.494
Ill∴Bro. Nigel Gouldthorpe 30° – Mark Wilkinson Chapter No.194
Ill∴Bro. John Kershaw 30° – Rochdale St. Chad Chapter No.494
Ill∴Bro. Michael Squires 30° – Colne St. Bartholomew Chapter No.1073
In support of our candidates were Ill∴Bro. Peter Holt 32°, Ill∴Bro. Keith Harrison 32°, Ill∴Bro. Peter Aspinall 31°, Ill∴Bro. David Winstanley 31° and Ill∴Bro. David Pestell 30°.
As usual, the ceremony was followed by a drinks reception and an excellent festive board at the Royal Overseas League.
Dickie and David await the Top Table guests
North East Lancashire District candidates and guests
We offer our congratulations to all our newly promoted Brethren, we hope that their further advancement in the Order will give them much satisfaction and that they will treasure the happy memories of this special occasion for many years to come.
The third Annual District Lunch was held on Sunday 24th March 2019 in the Adelaide Suite at Accrington Masonic Hall. Rose Croix Masons from Chapters across the District, accompanied by family and friends, came to support the event.
An excellent 3-course lunch was provided by Vince, the resident caterer and his team. For starters there was a choice of Melon Cocktail or Pate, followed by Roast Chicken or Salmon for the main course and a delicious Cheesecake for dessert. Tea and coffee, with mints, rounded off an excellent repast.
Ill.Bro. Jack Aston, the District Recorder, provided some light-hearted entertainment by running two quizzes, each with a prize of a donated bottle of wine, and a raffle raised a goodly sum to supplement our District donations to Masonic charities.
Our thanks go to Accrington Masonic Hall for providing such a warm and welcoming venue, Vince and his catering team for the splendid lunch, Jean behind the bar and of course, to Jack Aston, the District Recorder, for organising the whole event. We now look forward to the fourth Annual District Lunch in 2020.