Grants Lodge No. 8825 founded 1978

Grants Tower *

Meet some of our Members and discover why they became Freemasons!


Statement from UGLE

Freemasonry means different things to each of those who join. For some, it's about making new friends and acquaintances. For others, it's about being able to help deserving causes - making a contribution to family and society. But for most, it is an enjoyable hobby.


Freemasonry draws its membership from a wide cross-section of society with varying backgrounds in ethnicity, occupational and leisure pursuits.


Meet some of our members


Pauline and myself on holiday

WBro Steve Barton


Originally from Manchester, I moved to Rossendale in 1974 when I started work in Blackburn. Rossendale was an ideal location being midway between family and work, and the M66 was being planned which would make for easy commuting.
I married Pauline in 1971, and we have a son and daughter, five grandchildren and one great grandson.

My occupational background is in the Financial sector. I started my career in the insurance business in 1967 at Guardian Insurance in Manchester before moving to Friends Provident Life in November 1971. I have been an Independent Financial Adviser since 1974, first of all in Blackburn as part of an accountancy practice and then from 1979 on my own account. We now have my son as a business partner, daughter as administrator and 4 other staff.

In order to meet new people socially, I was encouraged to join Rossendale Round Table. That fit perfectly, as I wanted to meet socially in what was regarded as a good family association and it also did charitable works - mainly hands on rather than giving money.

I enjoyed my years in the Round Table, and progressed to be Chairman in 1980 and got involved in the District offices. However, things changed by the mid-80s and the Round Table ethos changed to be more of a drinking club which did not suit me or my family. .

Interests / Leisure pursuits....

Other than my Freemasonry, my main hobbies are travel (very often combined with Scuba diving) and caravanning. I am a philatelist and have collected GB stamps for over 65 years!

Why I became a Freemason....

I had met several people through Round Table who recommended I look at either Rotary or Freemasonry as an alternative, but also suggested that although I worked in Blackburn, I should join where I lived. One of those who suggested this was Norman Ashworth (a Rawtenstall Freemason) who I later found out was a past District Chairman! Another was a very good friend from Burnley - Harvey Capstick

I was introduced to a couple of Haslingden residents who were Freemasons and was duly introduced to a large and daunting interview committee - Rossendale Forest Lodge No.4138. Having been accepted, it turned out that the Lodge had a waiting list and when I was initiated there were 4 or 5 fairly new members all of an age similar to me. As a caravanner, I was also pleased that there were weekends away including the family, and there were regular social events that were inclusive.

Other than being encouraged/told that I had to learn some ritual, the Lodge DC at that time (John Ingham) gave me two pieces to learn that I would find useful in the future. The charge after initiation and later the Third Degree Tracing Board. The latter has proved very useful as it is now part of compulsory ceremonial - forward thinking by John!

Over the years, I have been able to give time to charitable work as well as donations. As I mentioned earlier, giving time to charitable works and the social part of Freemasonry were my reasons for joining. We are fortunate in East Lancs to have our own Charity - ELMC, and I had served on its benevolence committee for over 12 years. I also served as a District Festival Rep (thankyou Norman Nash).

Through the social part of Freemasonry, I have enjoyed the visiting and making new friends. That led to becoming a district officer which I thoroughly enjoyed for over 14 years. From District Festival Rep, District Secretary, District Deputy Chairman in Rossendale and then District Deputy Chairman and Chairman in Bury. I am also a member and Secretary of Grants Lodge No.8825.

I have received several promotions in the Provincial Grand Lodge of East Lancashire with my final rank being Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden (PProvSGW) before receiving my UGLE honours in 2017 as Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies (PAGDC).

Although I have now retired from District duties, I will still carry on visiting throughout the areas. I have made many new friends in Freemasonry and can greatly recommend visiting to everybody.

Steve Barton

David with his NHS glasses
National Health glasses were a nuisance but soon corrected my vision.


Newly married, 45 years ago
Newly married, in 1975
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Proud to have been made a Provincial Grand Steward
Proud to have been made a Provincial Grand Steward in 2008
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Time to relax but sadly not my boat
Time to relax but sadly not my boat
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WBro David Bannister


of age and I was born in Manchester and brought up in Prestwich, along with my two younger brothers in a very happy and loving family. Joined an insurance company and trained as a fire surveyor, working for a time on the 20th floor of the CIS building in Manchester, for some time the highest building outside London. Progressed via several companies and enjoyed extensive travel as a risk management consultant, visiting some far-flung places including China, India, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina and USA as well as many clients nearer to home. Ended my full-time working career as self-employed in the same profession before deciding to retire at age 64.

Set up a small online business in 2010 selling a range of gifts for men. Great fun sourcing products at various trade shows. Obtained a Personal License for the sale of alcohol and a Premises License that enabled me to deal in range of rare and unusual spirits, mostly single malt scotch whiskies.

Marrying Sharon in 1975 was the best thing I ever did and very proud of my two children Angela and Marc and my grandson Charlie. Now happily doing much less, enjoying life and wondering where the last have gone.

Interests / Leisure pursuits....

I'm a keen but not very good photographer, mostly of birds and landscapes.

I love spending time on the Costa Calida in Spain where I've just recently started to tackle golf but frustrated by Covid19 restrictions.

I'm still interested in Scotch Whisky and plan further distillery visits when possible. I also occasionally sample some!

I've finally realised that I'll never be another Ginger Baker or John Bonham but still happy bashing away on my electronic drum set purely for my own enjoyment.

Why I became a Freemason....

As a youngster I was a member of the Jewish Lads & Girls Brigade, enjoying the camaraderie and friendships forged there, starting as a Junior member and ending up Commanding the Manchester Battalion, with around 100 members and a volunteer staff of around 15 before leaving to allow my children to enjoy the same freedom from parental oversight that I'd had. It had been suggested that I may like to become a Freemason as the ethos was in many ways similar and was invited to a couple of Masonic Ladies Evenings but decided that with family and work commitments, I was not able to make the step to become a Freemason.

In 1994 a good friend wanted me to join and by that time I was ready for a new interest so accepted his invitation to attend an interview. Scant information was available at that time (before the internet had everything you could possibly want to know), but the reassurance from my friend made me assume it was probably OK for me too. Facing a board room full of old men was a little daunting but they must have decided that I would do and was duly Initiated into Grants Lodge No 8825 on 19th September 1994. It was a decision that I have never regretted and continue to enjoy my masonic journey.

My Masonic career:

After serving in each of the "floor" offices in May 2003 I was Installed as the 24th Worshipful Master of Grants Lodge and served a 2nd term in 2017-18, then standing-in for a further year as the newly installed Master had tragically passed away. I was proud to be Director of Ceremonies for 6 years.

I was Master of Manchester Shofar Lodge 7441 in 2014/15 and I'm a Member of the Valleys Lodge of Installed Masters 9396. I am also a Royal Arch mason, originally exalted to Menorah Chapter 4849 in 2005 and subsequently joining Unitas Fratrum Chapter 7958 where I was installed as 1st Principal in 2017.

I am currently District Secretary for Bury and Secretary of the Provincial Learning & Development Committee. For 5 years I have been privileged to be invited to be an Assisting Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies at the Annual Provincial Meeting. My first Provincial Honours were received in 2008 when I was made a Provincial Grand Steward, promoted in 2010 to PProvSGD, promoted in 2018 to PProvDGDC and in 2020 very honoured to be made Provincial Grand Sword Bearer. I suppose I'm now one of those "old men" whom I originally faced down that board room table but hopefully with a less forbidding presence.

I have recently asked myself "Why do I stay a Freemason?". The answer is not easy to fully explain but mostly I enjoy our meetings, I enjoy being with the people I meet, I enjoy being part of a good organisation that does good works and I enjoy the parts I play in it.


I know my place

David Bannister

Steve Holland

WBro Steve Holland


I am years of age and live in Whitefield. I was born in Moston, Manchester but spent most of my early years in Whitefield before my family moved to Urmston where I spent my teens and early adulthood. After spending a few very enjoyable years in Westhoughton I returned to Whitefield in 1992 because most of my social life was in this area and I've lived here ever since.

I'm divorced and have a son and two daughters. Both of my daughters currently live with me although the youngest is in the process of buying a house with her partner. Our family is completed by our cockerpoo, Twix (because she's chocolate coloured!), who is the centre of all our attention.

After leaving the sixth form at Urmston Boys' Grammar School I spent six months as a lifeguard at Urmston Swimming Pool (now defunct) before joining Greater Manchester Police at 18 years of age. I spent just over thirty years as a police officer and retired as a detective constable in 2010. I subsequently returned to work for GMP as a member of police staff on the administrative side of investigations and still work in this capacity today.

Interests / Leisure pursuits....

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic my main interest was in travel as well as watching live music of all varieties, although my special interest was and remains blues/rock. I used to play both football and rugby (at social level rather to any particularly decent standard) and became a keen fan of Wigan Rugby League when I moved to Westhoughton. At the time the club was in rugby league's second division, but I was just in time to see the resurgence of the club and I enjoyed many happy and slightly drunken Sunday afternoons watching them beat all comers and, of course, there was the annual pilgrimage to Wembley for the Challenge Cup Final. Happy days!

I was also a fan of Bury football club and was devastated when they went out of business, but I'm now a supporter of the new phoenix club, Bury AFC, who, at the time of writing, are top of the NWCL North.

Why I became a Freemason....

Masonic background:
I became a Freemason in 2007 when I joined Grants Lodge. I progressed through the offices of the Lodge in the normal way, serving as Worshipful Master 2013-2014. I subsequently became Director of Ceremonies of the Lodge in 2016, a position which I still occupy. Shortly after completing my year as WM I was given the great honour of being made a Provincial Grand Steward which led to me having a very happy year supporting the then Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro Norman Cope, in his official visits around Lodges in the Western Area, which includes the Districts of Bury and Bolton. I was subsequently appointed District Charity Steward for the District of Bury, which includes Radcliffe and Rawtenstall, before moving to be Deputy District Chairman and then to my current position of District Chairman. This is another huge honour and, although it can sometimes be quite demanding, it's also extremely enjoyable. I was recently promoted to the rank of Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden which is in line with my position as District Chairman. As well as my Craft Freemasonry, I'm a Mark Master Mason and a member of the Royal Arch, the Royal Ark Mariners and the Masonic Order of Athelstan, all of which I can thoroughly recommend to any Master Mason.

I became a freemason because several of my friends who were already members spoke very highly of it as a worthwhile organisation and invited me to join. I did delay for a while because there was negative view of freemasonry amongst many of my police colleagues but, as I approached retirement, the positive influence of friends, whose company I enjoyed and who I looked up to, overcame my concerns and I decided to join. As soon as I joined I knew that I'd done the right thing and regretted not doing it earlier. It's an excellent organisation whose members are thoroughly decent people and who share an interest in being the best people they can as well as doing whatever they can to help others. On top of all this it's a great social organisation which has provided me with many friends from all sorts of backgrounds who I would never have met if it were not for freemasonry.

Steve Holland

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