Baines Lodge No 7844 takes its name from Baines School in Poulton-le-Fylde, which was founded following the death of James Baines, who left a bequest in his will of circa 1717 for that purpose.
The first Baines old boy to be initiated into the lodge was as early as 1962, the year that the lodge was founded. That brother was Derek Charles Parsons, who is still a member. Derek, as can be imagined, is no longer a young man and was unable to attend the meeting but must still be proud to know that new member Peter Lunt was a pupil at Baines School. Peter was proposed by his grandfather Brian Taberner and seconded by Craeg Wiliams, the senior warden of the lodge.
The meeting of the lodge was well attended, there being 50 members and visitors present, including South Fylde Group Chairman Ian Ward and his vice chairman John-Robbie Porter, along with several other group officers. The numbers included contingents from Blackpool Temperance Lodge No 5303, Peace and Unity Lodge No 3966 and several members of the Fylde Sky Blues club. Many of the visitors were there to support the master of Baines Lodge David Edwards, who is also a past master of the Blackpool Temperance Lodge and a coordinator of the Fylde Sky Blues.
The normal business of the lodge was dispatched and included an up-to-date report on the welfare of Derek Parsons, given by Glen Jackson, who is connected to Derek through membership of North Shore Golf Club. Glen advised the brethren that Derek was fine in himself and that he was now a resident in a care home near to his beloved golf club. Derek has his Masonic regalia there with him and looks forward to receiving lodge summonses and the opportunity of a few lodge visits.
There was then a knock on the door and the candidate was announced. Junior deacon Tom McMurdo received Peter Lunt at the door and guided him through the ceremony of initiation with assured confidence. David Edwards conducted the ceremony of initiation in his own slow measured style of delivery, which enables everyone to follow him at every stage. In the background was director of ceremonies Ryan Modlin, ensuring that the whole event flowed with accuracy and precision. Ryan also presented the working tools of the degree in a clear and precise manner.
Baines Lodge can always be relied upon to enroll the assistance of their visitors and on this occasion they had invited Paul Darlington of Anchorsholme Lodge No 5854 to deliver the charge after initiation. This proved an inspired piece of recruitment as Paul is very well known on the Fylde Coast as a ritualist of superb quality – and he didn’t disappoint. This is a long piece of work but Paul has that magic quality of bringing all of his work to life, at the same time holding his audience enraptured throughout.
Paul was followed by Bob Bennett of St John’s Lodge No 2825. Following Paul is not a task for the faint-hearted but Bob pulled it off brilliantly with his explanation of the candidate’s preparation for initiation. This again was well received by an appreciative audience.
Following the ceremony, Peter was welcomed into the group by John-Robbie Porter who explained the structure of Freemasonry and presented Peter with his letter from the group chairman. Talking of whom, Ian Ward responded for the grand officers and described the ceremony as being up to the highest standards. He praised the master’s powers of delegation in choosing the principal speakers, particularly in the case of Paul Darlington, as brethren travel from the four corners of the Province to see Paul at work.
Speaking on behalf of the Provincial officers, Past Senior Grand Warden John Lee thanked everyone concerned for the incredible amount of preparation work they had put into such a fine ceremony. He added that this spoke volumes for the immense dedication of those taking part. He was also pleased to see an old boy from Baines School joining the lodge and keeping that connection alive.
John was followed by Paul Cowan, the recently installed master of St Anne’s Lodge No 2457, who added to the praise by referring to this, ‘spectacular ceremony of initiation in which the standards of ritual were incredibly high’. Paul also praised Peter Lunt for the manner in which he had conducted himself throughout and Tom McMurdo for his skillful guidance of the candidate.