The installation of Barry Robinson into the chair of Heysham Lodge No 4108 saw a packed lodge room at Morecambe Masonic Hall and that was quite unsurprising as this well-known and respected Mason took on the mastership of the lodge for the second time, some 18 years since his first occupation of that office.
Representing of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison was a friend of long acquaintance, Lancaster and District Group Chairman Jim Wilson, who was particularly pleased to be attending. Other Grand Lodge officers who joined in the celebration were Tom Holroyd, Peter Mason, Chairman of the Furness and South Lakes Group Alan Jones and Keith Kemp Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies. The trio of additional acting Provincial grand officers on duty were John Holmes Provincial Senior Grand Deacon, John Kilmurray Provincial Senior Grand Deacon and Scott Devine Provincial Grand Steward.
WM of the lodge Gordon Hurst got the proceedings off to a brisk start and on the conclusion of routine business was able to welcome Jim Wilson and his accompanying officers into the lodge room with suitable words of welcome. In very short order, it was soon time for Richard Dennison to have the privilege and pleasure of presenting Barry for installation. Once Barry had reaffirmed his acceptance of the obligations of the office, Gordon Hurst proceeded to undertake the role of installing master with both integrity and sincerity. The lodge’s director of ceremonies Torquil MacLeod provided judicious and sensitive assistance in what transpired to be a well-orchestrated transfer of leadership.
Two members of the lodge delivered excellent performances in the customary addresses. Appropriately, Barry’s presenter Richard Dennison gave a fine rendition of the address to the master whilst David Malcolm performed that to the wardens in an equally impressive manner. Jim Wilson, with his customary oratorical flair, carried out the address to the brethren. However, without any detraction whatsoever to the three aforementioned brethren, the performances given in the explanation of the working tools of each degree were undoubtedly magnificent and perhaps unique. Michael, Darren and Christian Reeve, three brothers, in both definitions of the term, performed the third, second and first explanations respectively. They received spontaneous appreciation for what was acknowledged as an outstanding ‘family performance’.
At the completion of the proceedings, Jim Wilson had great pleasure in congratulating and complimenting each of the participants on behalf of the Provincial Grand Master. He expressed the wishes of Tony Harrison that the lodge members would have a wonderful year under the guidance of their new master and that Barry would be fortunate in having good health to fully enjoy and fulfil his year in office. Barry responded by asking him to convey the very best wishes of the lodge members to the Provincial Grand Master and then asked the immediate past master Gordon Hurst to present details of the charitable donations made during his year in office.
The beneficiaries of the lodge’s generosity were; West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, Cancer Care, Morecambe Masonic Hall Company, Primrose House Trust, Rainbow Group, Lancaster Masonic Group Sporting Societies, lodge widows and charitable sponsored walks. The total donated amounted to £4,665.75, Jim expressed both admiration and thanks for the generosity the lodge members had displayed. He also commented that it was pleasing to see ‘that a full slate of master Masons had been appointed as stewards’, a rare occurrence he observed.
Following the closure of the lodge at the end of the meeting, the brethren adjourned to the Headway Hotel, Morecambe where 112 guests filled the dining room almost to capacity. As the hotel was also hosting an annual ‘Country and Western / Line Dancing Weekend’ the reception area briefly took on a rather surreal appearance as an eclectic mix of dinner suits, morning suits and cowboy suits intermingled! Fortunately the menu’s for the two events had not been amalgamated so there weren’t any baked beans or ‘grits’ in evidence, just a rather nice soup, roast and cheeseboard without any need to ‘circle the wagons’ or post lookouts.
As the wine and conversation flowed freely the event progressed at a very acceptable pace and the response to the third toast was called for in due time. In making the response, Jim Wilson began by offering his personal congratulations in addition to those he had already transmitted to Barry, before referring to and expanding on the details of the customary messages and announcements from the grand and Provincial grand offices. His concise brevity was much appreciated by the audience and resulted in grateful applause.
Richard Dennison proposed the toast to the health of the newly installed master in his inimitable style, giving details of Barry’s outstanding achievements in both his business and Masonic careers. He paid tribute to the tireless efforts Barry had made in his role as group charity steward and later as regional charity steward, particularly noting his work in promoting the 2010 festival. It surprised no one when the proposer of the toast blatantly stated that despite all the ‘good works’ Barry had been involved with, the undoubted highlight of his Masonic achievements had been reached when he had initiated ‘a certain Richard Dennison into Heysham Lodge.’
Fred Schofield then performed a musical tribute, in the form of the master’s song with accompaniment by David Tattersall, before Barry responded with gratitude to the many good wishes and congratulations he had received. He announced that charity donations had totalled £360 with a further £410 generated from the raffle. This news was greeted with loud applause before Barrie wished everyone a safe journey home, in advance of calling for the tyler’s toast.