At 83 years of age and having been a member of Kirkham Lodge No 6615 for 55 years, Trevor Molloy has seen a few changes over his time in Freemasonry. However, the last meeting of the lodge in its current form was his to preside over. Not only was he ready to install a new master but at the same meeting the lodge would change its name to the Country Pursuits Lodge of West Lancashire No 6615.
With 57 members and guests present as the old lodge opened it was clear that this would be a special meeting but this didn’t seem to trouble Trevor at all. The opening was crisp, the business was dealt with in short order and the parade of dignitaries received.
Representing the Provincial Grand Master Mark Matthews on this occasion was the Provincial Grand Secretary Peter Taylor. Peter was accompanied by the South Fylde Group Chairman John Robbie Porter, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master (East Lancs) Malcolm Worsley, Past Junior Grand Deacon Peter Greathead, Past Assistant Grand Chaplain Godfrey Hirst and grand officers Ian Ward and John Wrennall. They were supported by Provincial Deputy Director of Ceremonies Ryan Modlin and Provincial Grand Steward David Jenkinson.
Having welcomed these distinguished visitors into the lodge and seen them comfortably seated, Trevor invited the existing members of Kirkham Lodge to line up in the south and the brethren who would be the members of the new lodge to line up in the north. Trevor then called on John Fenton from the old members and Ian Heyes from the new members to change the Bible cushion so that the new cushion with the new name would signal the change of the lodge name. This was followed by an oration and dedication prayer by Godfrey Hirst in that formidable voice which has graced so many West Lancashire grand occasions.
The second change of lodge furniture then occurred, when the old traditionally shaped gavels were replaced by new ones fashioned from deer antlers. Then with David Crossley and John Fenton as installing senior and junior wardens and David Hill as installing inner guard, the installation of the first master of the new lodge began. This was to be Mike Casey, a veteran of many shooting competition victories enjoyed by West Lancashire teams. Mike was presented by Dave Crossley.
A fine installation ceremony ensued during which the working tools of an installed master were presented by Andrew McClements, those in the third degree by Mick Woods, those in the second degree by Colin Preston and completing the series was Will Buchanan. All of these explanations were performed in an excellent manner.
The customary addresses then followed in fine style with the address to the WM by John Wrennall, that to the wardens by John Robbie Porter, those to the deacons by Ian Ward (during which they each received a new wand, also fashioned from antlers), that to the stewards by David Jenkinson and that to the brethren of the lodge by Peter Taylor. Other addresses were made to the chaplain by Peter Gratrix, to the almoner by Graham Smith, and to the new wardens separately by David Crossley and John Fenton.
The greetings from the Provincial Grand Master were then conveyed by Peter Taylor, who congratulated Trevor Molloy on a job well done. He also congratulated the retiring director of ceremonies, Derek Lewthwaite on his hard work in preparing for this successful meeting. On behalf of the grand officers, John Robbie Porter described the meeting as unique and wonderful. Group vice chairman Ben Gorry, speaking for the Provincial grand officers, paid a special note of thanks to lodge secretary Chris Tittley for all the work he had carried out to ensure things went well.
Speaking for the visitors, Damien McKeand, WM of Old Huttonian Lodge No 7614, then said what a pleasure it had been for himself and all the visitors to attend and witness an installation expertly done, with the addition of the special and unique gavels and wands. It was also noticed as the lodge officers retired that the WM also had his own wand. One wag mentioned that: “If he had a white beard he’d look like Gandalf.” Another comment on the whole event was: “It was like the Phoenix rising from the ashes.”
An excellent five course banquet then ensued, with superb dishes prepared and served by Lee Munro and his Masonic Events Catering team, followed by the customary toasts.