A big surprise for Jim

Almost 50 brethren and guests of St Oswald Lodge No 5170 were delighted to have Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton as their principal guest and to witness a most enjoyable first class ceremony at the installation of James (Jim) Leviston.

Mike George, the installing master, opened the lodge in due form and conducted the usual administration. Bill Wainright, acting director of ceremonies, announced that Kevin Poynton was without and demanded admission. Mike said he was honoured to admit him. Kevin was admitted with all due ceremonial style and was accompanied by grand officer Jack Forsyth and group chairman Andy Barton.

Mike offered a warm welcome to Kevin and the distinguished guests, passing on his good wishes and he hoped that all the guests and members would have a most enjoyable evening. At this point Mike offered Kevin the gavel, which he accepted but quickly passed it back, thanking Mike for the gavel and his warm welcome, but adding he would rather pass the gavel back so he could relax and enjoy the evening.

Mike asked Jack Forsyth to occupy the SW chair, Eric Main to act as JW and Ken Smith to act as IG. They accepted saying they all would be honoured and pleased to help. Jim was then presented to the installing master to receive at his hand the benefit of installation by his brother Derek Leviston, a guest from Cumbria, and his co-presenter was his lifelong friend Doug Couse, a guest from Manchester.

Kevin (left) congratulating Jim

Kevin (left) congratulating Jim

Jim was then installed into the chair of King Solomon according to ancient custom, by Mike the installing master. The third degree working tools were presented by Les Coster, second degree working tools by Bill Wainwright and the first degree working tools by Jim Cartledge. The WM then appointed and invested his officers for the ensuing year.

A great surprise then followed for Jim, because his long standing friend Doug Couse delivered the address to the master. The surprise on Jim’s face almost extended to shock and one could see he really did not expect Doug to deliver the address. Part way through the address Jim’s facial reaction turned to happiness with a great smile. Andy Barton expertly delivered the address to the wardens and Kevin delivered the address to the brethren in an exemplary manner. Paul Rigby delivered the address to the deacons and Robert Main the address to the stewards.

On conclusion of the ceremony Kevin conveyed the best wishes of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. He also congratulated Jim on being installed into the chair of King Solomon. He continued by thanking Mike for a wonderful ceremony and Bill, the acting DC, for the way that the ceremony was conducted.

Mike, as immediate past master, presented the charity donations to Kevin. Cheques presented were: West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity £300, West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity Gift Aid £259.90, Macmillan Cancer Support £250, Halton Autistic Family Support Group £150, Warrington Museum of Freemasonry £100, Warrington Masonic Hall Lift Fund £300, St Oswald Centenary Fund £200 and Air Ambulance £111, (from the Ladies’ Committee), producing a grand total of £1,670.90.

Vic (left) presenting patronage certificate to Jim

Vic (left) presenting patronage certificate to Jim

Kevin thanked everyone involved in generating such a magnificent sum from a comparatively small lodge. He was delighted to receive such generous amounts and would very be proud to pass on the lodge’s generosity to the recipients and immediately passed the museum’s donation to Vic Charlesworth, the museum’s curator. Vic then presented Jim with a certificate indicating the lodge’s patronage. Vic also thanked the members for their kind support.

Although this is the first time that Jim has been installed in the chair of King Solomon in St Oswald Lodge, he is no stranger to the office of master, having been installed in another lodge, but not in the Province of West Lancashire. Jim was initiated into Dachau Lodge No 857 in Munich, Germany in 1974. Dachau Lodge operates under the American Canadian Grand Lodge. Jim returned to England in 1976 and joined Sutherland Lodge No 451, in Staffordshire in 1980, where he became WM in 1987 and again in 1995. He gained Provincial honours in the West Lancashire Province in 2011 to PPrJGD.

The ceremony was followed by an excellent four course meal consisting of fan of melon, roast chicken, crème caramel with cheese and biscuits followed by coffee or tea which was expertly provided and served by the hall staff. The master’s song was sung by Norman Pritchard accompanied by Peter Blease.

Following the meal a raffle was held which raised £220. There were four prizes and the lucky winners were John Starkey, Jack Forsyth, Les Coster and Chris Gleave. Kevin and Andy were presented with bouquets of flowers at the close of the evening. Both thanked the WM and brethren for the flowers, saying their wives would really enjoy them.

Pictured from left to right, are: Paul Rigby, Andy Barton, Kevin Poynton, Jim Leviston, Mike George, Chris Gleave (vice chairman) and Robert Main

Pictured from left to right, are: Paul Rigby, Andy Barton, Kevin Poynton, Jim Leviston, Mike George, Chris Gleave (vice chairman) and Robert Main