After only a year since Norcliffe Lodge No 7371 closed, the members joined the Lodge of Good Hope No 6937 to form Norcliffe Lodge of Good Hope No 6937. In 2023, the brethren came together to install Frank Howarth into the chair of King Solomon.
Frank’s journey to the master’s chair of Norcliffe Lodge of Good Hope has been a long journey with many detours. Frank was initiated into Norcliffe Lodge in January 1985 and progressed through all the offices of the lodge up to the senior warden’s position, diligently taking part in ceremonies and completing ritual on his journey. Frank also joined Bispham-with-Norbreck Chapter No 4731 in 1989.
With the opportunity to purchase a garage and a bungalow, Frank and his wife Marlowe, moved to Doddington, Cambridgeshire in 1993. A committed Freemason, Frank joined Caldwell Lodge No 3201 and Stone Cross Lodge No 6704, both in March (the market town, not the month). Once again Frank moved through the offices of the lodge up to junior warden and also found time to Join St Wendreda Chapter No 3201.
Once again not letting the grass grow below his feet, Frank moved north of the border to Perth in 2000, where his wife’s family were, but, staying in the motor trade buying and selling cars until he retired in 2008. This time, wanting to keep up with his Masonry, Frank joined Lodge Scoon and Perth No 3. As always Frank threw himself into the work of the lodge, again progressing to the office of senior warden. Not a man to be happy on the sidelines, Frank ran the hall’s bar and helped with the social events and entertainment. Whilst in Scotland, Frank joined other Masonic Orders.
Being good friends with Mike Dennis, who was also a grand officer at the Scottish Grand Lodge in Edinburgh and an honorary member of Norcliffe Lodge of Good Hope, Frank didn’t miss many Lodge of Good Hope meetings.
As a keen traveller, Frank has attended lodges in Oslo, Queensland, NSW and Nashville Tennessee. In 2017 moving back to the Fylde coast, Frank rejoined his mother lodge and patiently filled in any office that needed a stand-in. When two lodges became one, Frank moved to the newly formed Norcliffe Lodge of Good Hope and after years in the making, ascended to the master’s chair.
In Frank’s spare time he likes to go to the gym three times a week with his wife. In his own words he is ‘well into 50s rock ‘n’ roll’ since he was about 11 (1956). In the early 1960’s, Frank showed his passion for rock ‘n’ roll by playing guitar and singing in rock ‘n’ roll groups. Sadly, Frank had to hang up his guitar in 2015 due to his thumbs stiffening and his voice going.
The lodge was opened by the WM Jason Bleakley who took to the master’s chair after the incumbent master left to work in distant countries. After dealing with the initial business of the lodge, Jason welcomed the evening’s principal guest, Provincial Senior Grand Warden Michael Tax, together with supporting grand and acting Provincial grand officers, Harry Cox, Peter Greathead, Jim Woods, Chairman of the North Fylde Group John Cross, Russell Forsyth and Robert Marsden.
Jason started the ceremony of installation by asking Paul Hardy, John Pitches and John Gledhill to act as installing officers. During a sincere and heartfelt ceremony Frank was presented by longtime friend Bill Rogerson. Completing his obligation, Frank showed the experience of a master-in-waiting. Jason Bleakley excelled in installing Frank into the chair of the lodge.
On closing the board of installed masters, Jason asked the tyler to admit all master Masons. The third degree tools were explained by another of Frank’s long-time friends and fellow motor dealer, Mike Brown. As if he didn’t have enough to do, the long version of the second degree tools was delivered by Jason Bleakley and the first degree tools were delivered by Barry Simmonds.
The master’s address was delivered by Peter Whiteside and the address to the wardens was given by Peter Greathead. John Pitches gave the address to the stewards leaving the address to the brethren of the lodge to Michael Tax.
Once the installation was compete, Michael rose to his feet to bring the greetings and congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master Mark Matthews to the new master and to congratulate Jason on the team work involved in installing Frank into the chair.
Frank had the pleasure of presenting Michael with the amounts given to charity throughout the past year, which were; £750 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, £500 to the Blue Skies, Blackpool Victoria Hospital, £350 to Trinity Hospice, £300 to Prostate Cancer Research, £250 to R.N.L.I. (Blackpool), £250 to British Heart Foundation, £100 to MIND sponsorship via Shaun Haynes running the Great North Run, £25 to the North Fylde Group Ball, £25 to Masonic Bowling, £15 to Masonic Golfing and £15 to Masonic Clay Pidgeon Shooting. Michael thanked the brethren of the lodge for their generous donations.
Frank, looking comfortable in the master’s chair, brought the installation meeting to a fitting conclusion. The members and guests retired to the dining room to enjoy the reward of an excellent three-course festive board where the master’s song was delivered by John Darrell and to complete a memorable evening, a raffle raised £300.