The installation meeting of the Duke of Lancaster Lodge No 1353 saw Alan Long retake the chair for a second time 19 years after his first term of office when he was master of the Old Lancastrian Lodge No 7451, which surrendered its warrant in 2003. Alan joined the Duke of Lancaster Lodge in 2004 and it was the Lancaster Group Chairman Jim Wilson, attending as the representative of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, who remarked it was ‘fantastic’ that Alan was prepared to take the chair of King Solomon again. Accompanying Jim on this occasion was fellow grand officer Peter Mason, group vice chairman Neil McGill, group secretary Scott Devine and acting Provincial grand officers Bernard Snape Provincial Junior Grand Deacon, Paul Fuery Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies and Christopher Larder Provincial Grand Steward. Of further interest to many at the installation meeting was the presence of two visitors from another lodge of exactly the same name. However, the members of this particular Duke of Lancaster Lodge No 4207 had made the journey from the Province of East Lancashire.
The meeting commenced with master of the lodge Gordon Brown opening the lodge and after he had efficiently completed lodge business the director of ceremonies Nigel Parrish rose to ask for permission to retire from the lodge, only to re-enter moments later to announce that the ‘representative of the Provincial Grand Master stood without and seeks admission’. Gordon replied that he would be delighted to receive him. At which point Jim Wilson accompanied by grand and Provincial grand officers entered the lodge room and after being introduced and welcomed by Gordon, they took their respective seats. In very short order it was soon time for Phil Irving to have the honour of presenting Alan for installation. Once Alan had reaffirmed his acceptance of the obligations of office, Gordon Brown proceeded to undertake the role of installing master with great enthusiasm. Director of ceremonies Nigel Parrish provided sagacious and considerate assistance in what emerged as a well-coordinated ceremony of installation.
This very enjoyable ceremony, augmented by gentle humour at times, saw all the participants give good accounts of themselves. Having been installed in the chair of King Solomon, Alan received an excellent presentation of the working tools of an installed master from Steven Stanley, followed by superb presentations of the third and first degree working tools by two junior brethren of the lodge namely Mark Cutter and Lee Procter respectively, whilst the second degree working tools were presented with accomplished ease by Phil Irving. The individual addresses to the master, wardens and brethren were of a similar high quality and were delivered by Graham Earl, Robert Tyson and Alan Physick respectively.
At the completion of the proceedings, Jim Wilson had great pleasure in congratulating and complimenting all the participants on behalf of the Provincial Grand Master. Jim expressed the wishes of Tony Harrison that the lodge would have a good year under the new master’s leadership. Alan responded by asking Jim to convey the best wishes of the lodge to the Provincial Grand Master and then asked Gordon Brown to present details of the charitable donations during his year in office.
The beneficiaries of the lodge’s generosity were the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity £750, Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival £250, Tercentenary appeal £300, Lodge widows £600, Royal British Legion £25, Lancaster Masonic Hall £500, Lancaster British Legion £350, Lancaster Masonic Group sporting societies £30 and the Lancaster Masonic Group walk £100. Adding gift aid to the money collected for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, total donations amounted to £3,087. Jim thanked the brethren of the Duke of Lancaster lodge on behalf of the eventual recipients, adding that “having been involved with the charities for many years I know they will be gratefully received.”
The presentation of the past master’s jewel allowed Alan to praise Gordon for his ‘sterling work’, made even more notable by the amount of money which had been raised for charity. This theme was again taken up by Peter Mason when bringing greeting from the officers of United Grand Lodge commenting ‘what a tremendous effort the lodge has made on behalf of Masonic charities’.
A lively and well attended Festival of St John followed in the dining room at Rowley Court and in his response to the toast to grand officers, Jim told his audience that as we are now in the Tercentenary year a number of events had been organised to celebrate the occasion including the Provincial Tercentenary Church Service which will be held at the Lancaster Priory, a Lancaster and District Group service at the parish church of St John the Divine, Sandylands, and a banquet and ball to be held at the Cumbria Grand Hotel in Grange Over Sands; this last event is sold out but names are still being taken in case people drop out. Jim also drew the attention of the brethren to the new Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival jewel which is now available as soon as you have filled in the necessary paperwork and paid your subscription.
Jim went on to make special mention of a number of Duke of Lancaster brethren; he congratulated Alan Physick who will shortly be celebrating his 50th year in Masonry and also Nigel Parrish and Graham Earl on their forthcoming promotions in the craft. Jim particularly wanted to highlight the work undertaken by the three brethren who had executed the working tools, especially the two junior brethren, adding they had done ‘a splendid job’. Jim concluded by adding his own personal congratulations to all the brethren who had taken part in the installation ceremony and wished the new master and his officers a ‘successful year’.
Graham Earl proposed the toast to the health of the newly installed master in his unique and often humorous style, giving details of Alan’s achievements both in business and in his Masonic career. Nigel Parrish then performed a musical tribute in the form of the master’s song with accompaniment by Roy Domville. Alan responded to his toast by first noting that ‘the best thing anyone can give is time’, so he would especially like to thank the grand and Provincial grand officers for attending on the day.
Continuing along a similar theme Alan went on to say that ‘if it wasn’t for all the hard work behind the scenes, the day would not have been such a success’, so he would like to thank all the brethren of the Duke of Lancaster for their efforts.
Before Alan could announce the proceeds of the raffle the ‘Loving Cup’ made its annual appearance. By tradition the cup was filled with port and passed around everyone present at the festive board. Alan eventually completed the evening by announcing that the raffle at the festive board had raised £286. A further charitable donation of £40 was raised through the traditional ‘masters swindle’ earlier in the evening.
Article and photos by Paul Thompson.