Jon Clipsham, Assistant Provincial Grand Master was the principal guest for this sad occasion. Jon was accompanied by four grand officers, David McCormick, Alex Neilson, Stuart Shea and Roy Pyne. The Eccles and District Group was represented by Patrick Walsh (group secretary).
The ceremony was to mark the closure of Egerton Lodge No 2216 for the final time before its amalgamation with Bridgewater and Worsley lodges. Unfortunately, due to illness, the worshipful master, Alan Cooper was unable to attend so the IPM, Michael Johnson, occupied the chair of King Solomon in his absence.
Jon brought the greetings of the Provincial Grand Master and conveyed his wishes that the lodge may prosper in the future. Michael offered Jon the gavel for the first time, which he declined indicating that he may accept some time later.
David McCormick arose to read an extract from the minutes of the very first lodge meeting on 27 October 1887 which was held at the Bulls Head in Swinton. On this occasion a Brother J Chadderton was installed as the first WM of Egerton lodge.
Michael offered Jon the gavel for the second time which he kindly accepted. Jonathan addressed the brethren both with sadness and reminding them of the all the achievements that the lodge has witnessed throughout their long history. He referred to the Book of Ecclesiastes: Chapter three: a time for everything, saying that these words were befitting for the closure of this wonderful lodge. He said: “remember the past and look to the future” and concluded with a Celtic blessing – Until we meet again.” Jonathan requested that the grateful thanks from the Provincial Grand Master be recorded in the final minutes.
This was the closing ceremony for Egerton Lodge with the handing the warrant over to Jon. On closing the lodge, the brethren carried out the Bible as well as other furniture for the last time followed by the master, being last to leave and close the lodge.
At the social board, the director of ceremonies, Paul Webster addressed the brethren by thanking them for all the support in planning towards a smooth amalgamation. He went on to say that Egerton lodge is a special lodge that has seen many great Masons as members throughout the 126 years history. Many who have moved to venues far and wide still remain in touch and never forget having spent time in the lodge. He concluded by saying: “Don’t think about change but progression”. He asked that all the brethren work with the amalgamation and look to the future.
A gift to the guest tyler, Frank Ward, was presented by Michael Johnson followed by the tyler’s toast for the last time.
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