The new master of the Duke of Lancaster Lodge No 1353 Steven Stanley (Steve) has travelled extensively around the world so it was perhaps not too surprising that visitors from such exotic places as Aberdeen and Rossendale were amongst the attendees at Rowley Court, Lancaster for the installation meeting.
The Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison was represented on this occasion by Martin Lockyer, Provincial Junior Grand Warden, who was pleased to be accompanied by Jim Wilson, Lancaster Group Chairman, together with acting Provincial grand officers Paul Thompson PrJGD and Richard Dennison PrGStwd.
Don Makinson, the immediate past and installing master, extended a warm welcome to Martin on his entry into the lodge and following the prompt disposal of other lodge business, the master elect Steve Stanley was then presented for installation by Michael Walling.
In a ceremony that was particularly notable for its sensitivity and sincerity, Don was ably assisted by Nigel Parrish, the lodge DC and other lodge members to deliver an installation that would undoubtedly be remembered by Steve for many years to come. A highlight was the excellent presentation of the tools of an installed master given by Bob Tyson.
The working tools of the third degree were delivered in an exemplary manner by Craig Fubara who, as a relative newcomer to Masonry, set a very high standard for the two more experienced brethren who followed him, It was a challenge that was manfully accepted and met with distinction by Gordon Brown and Adrian Gifford, who explained the working tools in the second and first degrees, respectively.
Following the appointment of the lodge officers, the addresses were given with impressive and eloquent dignity by Phil Irving, Bob Tyson and Alan Physick to the master, wardens and brethren respectively. At the appropriate moment on the conclusion of the ceremony, Martin Lockyer rose to offer congratulations and best wishes from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison to all the participants. Additionally he announced that he had been specifically instructed to communicate Tony’s greetings to everyone in attendance. On thanking Martin and asking that he return both the thanks and warm salutations from the lodge, Steve Stanley WM, presented Martin with a cheque in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity for £1,000. Details of additional charitable donations were also disclosed which numbered amongst the beneficiaries, Slynedales Cancer Care, Lancaster Masonic Hall Company and North West Air Ambulance bringing the annual total to £3,626. Martin expressed both his admiration and gratitude for the lodge’s generosity.
At the subsequent festive board, held in the Rowley Court dining suite, the guests partook of an excellent three-course menu. Conversation was lively and animated with everyone enjoying the occasion to the full. In his response to the toast to the health of Provincial grand officers, Martin Lockyer added his own congratulations to the new master and affirmed his admiration for the fine standard of work that he had witnessed earlier in the lodge room. He drew the attention of his audience to the importance of the current issues of recruitment, retention and retrieval in the context of Masonic membership, the need to support the care and maintenance of Masonic halls and the growing financial demands on the WLFC which was worthy of the support of all lodges and chapters and highlighted the considerable financial benefits that accrued from the use of gift aid envelopes. He closed his remarks with some very amusing and informative information regarding the ‘County Palatine of Lancashire’ that drew both laughter and applause in equal measure.
Prior to the distinguished guests taking their leave, Nigel Parrish gave further proof of his apparently limitless talents by not only proposing a detailed and illuminating toast to the newly installed master but then concluded by artfully performing the master’s song with accompaniment rendered by Roy Domville.
In responding to both the toast and musical tribute, Steve was effusive in his thanks to all who had both participated and attended. He endeared himself undoubtedly to the visiting ‘masters in office’ by referring to them as ‘this motley bunch’. The apparent verbal slip brought forth a predictably raucous and good-natured response from this group who enthusiastically welcomed him to their ranks.
The news that the raffle combined with the monies raised from the ‘master’s swindle’ had raised over £300 for worthy causes was welcomed by all and was a fitting conclusion to a great day for both the Duke of Lancaster Lodge and its new master.