The installation meeting of Duke of Lancaster Lodge No 1353 saw Adrian Gifford make a long-awaited return to the master’s chair, having last occupied it in 1993.
Adrian was born in 1944 and brought up on a farm. He was a dairyman for 26 years and a sub postmaster for 14 years. He is now retired and has five grandchildren, but sadly his wife Veronica has passed away.
Adrian is a stalwart of the lodge having joined it as young man 44 years ago. He was the DC for 11 years and was looking forward to a rest out of the limelight, but the lodge is going through a difficult time and has gone back in the chair to help the lodge prepare for their 150th anniversary in 2021. The Duke of Lancaster Lodge began life with its consecration being held in the Masonic Lodge Room, Athenium on 12 July 1871.
The brethren of Duke of Lancaster were delighted to welcome John Harvey Smith as the representative of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. To John’s delight he had the company of grand officers Jim Wilson, Peter Mason and Raymond Firth, as well as the Lancaster and District Group Chairman Neil McGill and group secretary Chris Larder.
Once lodge business had been completed, the WM Alan Long welcomed John into the lodge room, to which John replied that he was looking forward to an enjoyable afternoon and evening.
Having been presented by the lodge DC Nigel Parrish, Adrian was installed into the chair of King Solomon.
That part of the ceremony having been completed, the working tools of an installed master were presented and explained by past master Bob Tyson, whilst the working tools of the three degrees were in the hands of brethren who were wearing light blue aprons, namely Lee Procter (third degree), David Male (second degree) and James Milne (first degree), who all acquitted themselves with great distinction. As a point of interest, James is Adrian’s son-in law and is a member of Ferraria Lodge No 8489 in the Province of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire.
The addresses to the master and the wardens were competently delivered by Ian Kenyon and Bob Tyson respectively, whilst that to the brethren of the lodge was adeptly recited by another past master Alan Physick.
At the close of the ceremony John Smith was delighted to bring the fraternal greetings of the PrGM, who hoped that Adrian and all the brethren of the lodge had an enjoyable and most importantly a healthy year ahead. John then crossed the lodge room to thank the DC and the IPM for all their hard work in making the ceremony flow so well. He also congratulated the younger Masons for their exemplary delivery of the working tools.
John was also highly delighted to receive notice of donations made by the lodge to charity and good causes totalling £3,434, which included MCF 2021 Festival £1,400 ( a further £779 was donated through the white envelope scheme), Group walk £100, Masonic sporting charities £85, Royal British Legion £25, Lancaster Masonic Hall £500, Lodge Widows £480, Group Ball £15 and David Grainger donation £50. Due to the lodge’s donations to the MCF 2021 Festival, they were awarded a certificated denoting their status as a ‘Grand Patron’ of the charity.
A lively and very happy festive board followed in the Lancaster Masonic Hall dining room. John, in response to the toast to the grand officers, was very pleased to have the opportunity to offer his own personal greetings to the brethren and in particular to congratulate the newly installed master for again accepting the responsibility of ruling and governing the lodge for the coming year. John was also pleased to update the brethren on the latest initiatives from the Province and in particular called attention to the Royal Arch and the MCF 2021 Festival.
Donald Makinson, a past master of the lodge and a long-time friend of Adrian’s, delivered the toast to the master, following which the ‘Master’s Song’ was superbly rendered by Nigel Parrish, with accompaniment by Roy Domville.
As is tradition, the ‘Loving Cup’ was passed around at the festive board, the cup being filled with Port, for each person present to have a drink from. It is believed the tradition began at a lodge meeting in 1896, when George Jackson the WM asked the brethren to receive from him a ‘Loving Cup’ as an expression of appreciation of the pleasure he had derived from occupying the master’s chair. From that period, it was mentioned in the minutes that the WM’s health was drunk at an Installation. In time the tradition waned, but after 95 years it was reinstated. But instead of the cup being passed around the temple, as it was originally, the cup is now passed around at the festive board – and what a lovely tradition it is.
To complete the evening, it was announced that the combined total of the raffle, whisky raffle and the ‘master’s swindle’ totalled the amazing sum of £454.
Article and photographs by Paul Thompson.