On a warm spring evening, 68 brethren gathered at Cleveleys Masonic Hall to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the consecration of West Lancashire Century Lodge No 2349. Among the attendees were Assistant Provincial Grand Master Harry Cox, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Terry Hudson and Chairman of North Fylde Group Duncan Smith.
Master of the lodge Roy Morden dispensed with the general business of the lodge in his usual self-assured manner and then proceeded with the celebration itself. To celebrate the anniversary the lodge had purchased a new set of regalia for the three principal officers. In addition, each member had purchased a pair of gloves embroidered with the number of the lodge and the number 125.
Rev Stephen Leach started the celebration by blessing the regalia and the gloves. Harry Cox then invested Roy Morden with his new WM’s regalia. Roy in turn invested his senior warden Derek Wilde and his junior warden Shaun Haynes with their new collars and aprons. He then presented each of the members present with their new gloves.
The secretary of the lodge Glen Jackson gave an excellent presentation of the history of West Lancashire Century Lodge informing the attendees that the consecration ceremony had taken place at the Imperial Hotel, Blackpool on 15 April 1890 and all the officers had been invested, except the new master of the lodge who was away on chaplaincy duties. John Bickerstaffe of Blackpool Tower and Mayor of Blackpool fame became the first senior warden. In fact, during the lifetime of the lodge, no less than 14 of its members have been Mayors of Blackpool. The current assistant secretary Frank Pearson then read the minutes of that first meeting of the lodge. It was commonplace in those days to have multiple ceremonies which could sometimes last up to six hours in total!
At the conclusion of the lodge meeting, the brethren gathered downstairs for the 125th celebration dinner which was a sumptuous feast enjoyed by all. The menu included gala melon with Parma ham, roast fig and garnish, lemon sole bonne femme in white wine sauce, pork fillet en croute, white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake and coffee with truffle chocolates.
Following this luxurious banquet, further congratulations were tendered to the brethren and the lodge by Harry Cox and Duncan Smith and proceedings were finally brought to a close with the tyler’s toast, delivered by Bob Sims.