The Chorley Group has for over 30 years or so been gifted with its own research society. A band of Freemasons who had become interested in the history behind Freemasonry, its development and an understanding of what we as Masons do and why we do it.
With over 300 years of Freemasonry spread throughout the world, the potential Masonic researcher has a rich source of subject matter to investigate and questions he needs to answer. Research groups do exist in Manchester and of course London, but Chorley Masons have been blessed with a really good society on its doorstep.
However, back in April 2013 the group faced dwindling attendances at meetings. Although it is not a lodge it still requires a good turnout on the night. The incoming group chairman Peter Lockett was reluctant to see this unique feature of his group close and he set up a plan to increase the support and numbers attending. David Harrison had been the chairman of the society for quite some time and was as determined as Peter to secure the society’s survival.
Mark Howard and Allan Shields from the Chorley Group area who had shown interest in Masonic research or were members of other research groups were recruited by Peter and David to bring in some fresh ideas that they felt were needed to move things forward. Several meetings were held between Peter, David and John Robson (past group chairman and long serving society member). Allan and Mark then were joined by Gary Smith and Peter Rees who also shared the belief that it was worth working to improve the situation. This completed the team who after many meetings during the summer of 2013 had hatched a plan!
The team’s hard work led to the re-launch of the society under the name of ‘Perfect Points’ at the AGM held at Westhoughton Masonic Hall in October 2013. The event was very well attended. The plans for the future of the society, including its renaming, and its objective to now include not only researched papers but also Masonic ritual demonstrations were decided. Home grown talent – members of the society, would be encouraged to present talks. Perfect Points also proposed they would assist the mentoring programme by providing information that would both stimulate and encourage the newer brethren on their Masonic journey. These plans and ideas were put forward via a presentation given by Allan Shields which was followed by a very interesting talk on the Knights Templar which was given by TV historian and non-Mason Mark Olly. Perfect Points was up and running.
This re-launch has proved a success: membership now stands at 77 members and attendance at the meetings has gone from a handful to over 40 on some occasions. David Harrison, the group’s chairman stood down at the October 2014 annual general meeting. Having served the group as its chairman for the last 10 years he decided to hand over the reins to Gary Smith. This was the 30th year of the group’s existence and David was proud to have been the chairman for around a third of the time during the group’s history. In recognition for this hard work and dedication, David was made a lifetime honorary president.
The group sets out to answer the questions we Masons may have, challenge any lack of understanding and explore every aspect of Freemasonry. ‘Why do we do what we do and say what we say?’ No stone will be left unturned in the quest to make a daily advancement.
At the meetings, Perfect Points have received papers from non-Masons, along with talks from local Masons such as David Harrison who presented a very strange tale, Allan Shields who took a tour around Freemasons Hall, a raid from the York Rite and a night of Masonic Music! Also the Chorley Group Mentor Peter Hegarty took a walk round the lodge room.
Perfect Points have some interesting meetings planned for the future. The meetings take place on the fourth Friday of October, January and April at one of the three Masonic halls in the area, Chorley, Westhoughton or Horwich. At the end of each meeting the brethren enjoy a hot supper; the menu reflecting the theme of the talk or the demonstration that has just taken place. Membership is around £6 per year and the supper is usually around £10 so it’s a fairly reasonable deal. At the next meeting in October the eminent Masonic author Dr Richard Johnson will bring his 18th century demonstration team from Brigantes Lodge No 9734 based in Kendal.
If you would like more information about future meetings look on the Chorley group website www.chorleymasonicgroup.org.uk as all meeting details are always well advertised. It has been felt that the publicity of the society has played a big part in its initial success. This publicity extends to the dedicated page featuring the Perfect Points which can be found in the group year book. The meetings are open to all brethren from across the Province, subject to the content being suitable for those below the rank of master Mason. Contact the secretary Peter Rees to make any further enquiries or a booking, email: firstname.lastname@example.org