A very successful and highly enjoyable meeting was recently held at Morecambe Masonic Hall by Poulton Le Sands Lodge No 1051. This fine lodge is the mother lodge of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison who was in attendance. As is customary, the master of the lodge David Shaw offered Tony the gavel, to which offer Tony replied with much amusement, ‘that he was disappointed, for if the lodge had been conducting a ceremony on that evening he would have been tempted to keep it, but as they were not he would give it back’.
The first of many memorable events was Keith Dorrington’s rendition of the first degree tracing board; it was delivered with such consummate ease and elegance that the brethren who witnessed it were full of praise for his efforts. A further item of business was the presentation of three grand lodge certificates by Tony to three newer brethren of the lodge, namely, Scot Catlow, Malcolm Lowe and Darren Clifford. This was followed by Keith giving the address, traditionally associated with the presentation of a grand lodge certificate, which once again demonstrated his talent for ritual in an inimitable style. When Tony stood towards the end of the meeting to bring greetings from United Grand Lodge his comment: “Wonderful, wonderful, ritual.” described Keith’s efforts admirably.
On retiring to the festive board in Morecambe Masonic Hall, the guests were treated to a magnificent, traditional Burns supper. Once everyone was seated, Alan Thompson stood to recite the ‘Selkirk Grace’ which was the cue for the evening’s star attraction to make its appearance. Enthroned on a silver platter, the haggis was delivered into the festive board by Jimmy Nesbitt who was preceded by the skirl of bagpipes from piper Richard Cowie and accompanied by the whisky bearer Craig Simpson. During the lofted display around the room, the guests stood and clapped in time to the bagpipes until finally the haggis reached its destination at the table.
With knife poised, Richard gave the traditional ‘address to the haggis’ and, when he reached the line, ‘his knife see rustic labour dight’, he slashed the casing along its length; ‘trenching its gushing entrails bright’, it was a wonderful piece of theatre.
A delightful Burns supper followed, consisting of cock-a-leekie-soup, followed by ‘haggis, neeps and tatties’, together with a fine selection of cheeses to finish. To complement the evening the brethren were further treated to musical entertainment from pipe and drum by Richard and Jimmy Nesbitt respectively, who played amongst others, that popular German melody! ‘Highland Cathedral’ to everyone’s delight. To prove just how successful the evening had been, the raffle raised £243, whilst the whisky draw raised another £89. A truly memorable evening was had by all.
Article and photos by Paul Thompson.