At this time of year, as our thoughts remember those lost in military conflicts, it was perhaps apt that the latest initiate into Thornton Lodge No 8008 was Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Cunningham MBE (retired). He joins the large contingent of ex-military and merchant marine brethren, who make up a fair portion of the lodge.
Honoured by the presence of Southport Group Chairman Colin Jenkins, as guest of honour, the WM, Bill Gallagher presided over an exceptional ceremony from start to finish, no mean feat given that Bill is 92 years of age.
Conducting Jonathan through the ceremony was Paul Johansen, at some 70 years younger than Bill, showed none of the nerves expected from one so young and proved more than capable in the junior deacon role, guiding the candidate faultlessly.
A large contingent of guests, including Jonathan’s sibling brother Mark, a member of Victoria Lodge No 2360, attended the ceremony and bore witness to a presentation of a certificate, by group charity steward Martin Lockyer, to commemorate achieving Vice Grand Patron status for the 2021 Festival. This is a magnificent achievement from one of the smallest lodges in the Southport group.
An enjoyable festive board followed, during which the ‘Entered apprentice song’ was led by Chris Taylor with gusto. Jonathan had the pleasure of hearing his brother Mark respond to the visitor’s toast and demonstrating that sibling rivalry is not dead in the Cunningham household!
It was no surprise that a large number of the brethren finished off the festivities with a drink and chat in the bar, being reluctant to end a memorable evening in such good company.