A dull overcast afternoon was brightened considerably with the annual installation meeting of Old Masonians West Lancashire Lodge No 7702. This dignified ceremony was held within the Roman Suite at Liverpool Masonic Hall on Hope Street. The meeting was opened by the master Keith Birch, who warmly welcomed Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Grainger. David had entered the lodge in colourful procession, accompanied by Peter Schofield, the Provincial Junior Grand Warden, Liverpool Group Vice Chairman Dave Johnson with Bert Norcross and Laurie Scott, both officers of Grand Lodge.
Following the official welcome, Keith invited Dave Sweeney to take the chair of senior warden, Peter Schofield that of junior warden, with Les Parry remaining as inner guard for the ceremony of installation. John Keith Haslem was presented as master elect by two long-time friends, Bill Merry and Laurie Scott before he took his obligation at the pedestal. Keith then asked the officers to line up in the north so as to personally thank them and all the other lodge members for their support during his term of office.
In due time Keith installed John Haslem into the chair of King Solomon in a correct and precise manner, after which the past masters’ of the lodge saluted their newly installed master in the east and west. The working tools for each degree were individually presented, those for the first and third by Bill Merry, while those for the second degree were presented in excellent manner by one of the newer brethren in the lodge, Martin Climpson.
A number of addresses were given, all in a dignified manner with Keith Birch leading the way with the address to the master; Dave Sweeney gave the address to the senior warden, while Peter Schofield gave that to the junior warden. Indeed, so proficient was Peter, he also delivered the joint address to the wardens. Not to be out done, up steps Dave Sweeney to give the steward’s address and James Molloy gave the address to the tyler. David Grainger took to the floor and then gave, as to be expected, an immaculate rendition of the address to the brethren of the lodge.
David also took the opportunity to express the greetings of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison to the new master, hoping he has a successful and healthy year. These wishes were also extended to all present and the instruction to follow the ethos, that freemasonry was there to be enjoyed and to have fun. John thanked David for his kind words and on behalf of the lodge members presented him with a number of charitable cheques to the grand total of £1,000. Two for £200 each were in favour to the Friends of Tithebarn and the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys. The remaining £600 was made up of four amounts of £150, these in favour to Pancreatic Cancer UK, Hope for Justice, West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institute. On completion of the proceedings, the brethren retired to the dining room to enjoy a well-earned refreshment and festive board.