History of Knutsford Circle

The following article is an extract from a book published by Brother Bob Quin to celebrate our fiftieth anniversary in 2008.

Gaskell Tower

This shortened history attempts to place on record some of the invaluable contributions  which individual brothers have made over the past fifty years. They have resulted in the mature healthy adult of today which has grown from the inexperienced baby, conceived by Alan B Burke and a few close friends with the assistance of the Macclesfield Circle and born exactly fifty years ago.

I have identified four stages in the life of the Circle and would identify them as follows: conceptionbirthadolescence and growth/maturity. There was two years between conception and birth but after that a gradual process.

It is an invidious task to try to pick out some of the men who have helped to build this Circle and one which is asking for trouble. I am likely to omit someone who should have been mentioned and possibly eulogise someone who might well be embarrassed – and so I crave your indulgence for the risks I feel I must take and offer my unconditional apologies to any brother whom I may have inadvertently offended.

The late Tony Dolan served three terms as President and Alan Burke, Jim Butterley, Peter Pozzoni and the late Jim Valliley, all served two. Walter Pettit, founder member of the Circle and President in 1962-63 was the founder president of Wilmslow Circle in 1969. Tony Weir, Peter Hardman, Peter Pozzoni and John Ross have all been Presidents and followed on to become Provincial Presidents. All are active members today, three in Knutsford and Peter Hardman in Warrington.

Inevitably there have been deaths over the years and I must pay tribute to those who are no longer with is. They are listed later in this booklet.

All the early meetings were at the Royal George, then at Cottons and the Swan and then back to the George and now Cottons again where we have been for many years.

Of the original twenty-five men who formed the Circle only three are still alive – Walter Pettit (Wilmslow), Gerry Coghlan (Birmingham), and myself.

At one time, like many Circles we were desperately short of members but with the efforts of some virile Membership Officers of whom two names spring to mind – Paul Dobson and Ted Yates – we weathered the storm and today not only are one of the largest Circles in the Province but have considerably lowered our average age.

Whilst it is a Catenian tradition that we are not a fund raising association we have supported many charities over the years and the money raised runs into many thousands of pounds. The charities chosen have been many and varied and include Missionary work, an Indian Orphanage, cancer research and many others.

Looking back in the archives I see that Walter Pettit presented the Circle with a Catenian badge mounted on a stand at our hundredth meeting and it is still displayed at every Circle meeting.

Anniversary meetings of the third, fourth and fifth hundred meetings have always been graced with the presence of the Grand President and today at our fiftieth anniversary the tradition continues as we welcome Grand President Philip Gidman.

Over the yeas there have been forty four presidents and thirteen secretaries. I myself was elected to that post in 1999 and in two short months will have completed nine years – I think I am beginning to get the hang of it!

Whilst our meetings are for men only we believe that the family is the integral unit for our Circle and all our functions are devised with the families in mind.

I hope this potted history, in spite of its omissions and shortcomings will be a lasting tribute to every Knutsford brother, be he alive or dead who has contributed his sterling work over many years. It is our way of saying thank you for the invaluable help they have given to build and maintain the traditions of the Circle.

Listed below are the names of the Founder Members.  Regretfully, as I have said, only three are still in this world, namely, Gerald Coghlan, Walter Pettit and myself.

E. Anthistle, A. Arrowsmith, A.B. Burke, G. Coughlan, E. Dowling.
G. Etherington. M. Gayer, G. Hamman, D. Hayward, W.Kilbride,
E.Kukla, J. Lomax, E. Lowe, P.McGhee, W.Mann. D. Norton,
F.O’Brien, W. Pettit, R.H. Quin, F.Sampey, G. Sampey, A. Steers,
F. Taylor, T.Wardrobe, D.Wilkinson.

Those who would like a more detailed history of Circle 182 are welcome to a copy of the Circle’s origin – available from the secretary  –  with our compliments.