It was a special night for the new master of Carnforth Lodge No 4951 Ian Allison who first occupied the chair of King Solomon in 2000.
It was also a special night for the representative of the Provincial Grand Master, Peter Pemberton, Provincial Senior Grand Warden. Peter said he had been looking forward to the meeting for some while as he had asked to represent the PrGM as he had made his first visit to Carnforth Lodge after becoming a master Mason in 1977.
Peter was pleased to be accompanied by grand officers: Jim Wilson, Lancaster Group Chairman, Tom Holroyd and Ken Jones (East Lancashire), together with acting Provincial grand officers Ernie Greenhalgh (Provincial Grand Almoner), Andrew Bartlett (Provincial Grand Registrar) Paul Thompson Provincial Junior Grand Deacon) and Peter Whalley and Richard Dennison both of whom are Provincial Grand Stewards.
The immediate past and installing master Michael Swinburne, extended a warm welcome to Peter on his entry into the very full temple and following the prompt disposal of other lodge business, the master elect Ian Allison was then presented for installation by the senior officer of the lodge, Daniel James Wilson.
In a ceremony that was particularly notable for its sensitivity and sincerity, Michael was assisted by Ian Birnie the Lodge Secretary and Barry Hogg, the lodge DC along with other lodge members to deliver an installation that would undoubtedly be remembered by Ian for many years to come.
The working tools of the third degree were delivered by Peter Wood. The highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of the working tools of a fellowcraft Freemason delivered the long way, in an exemplary manner by Mike Barrett who, as a relative newcomer to Masonry proved he is a brother to watch as he also presented first degree tools – no doubt a special night for Mike.
Following the appointment of the lodge officers, the addresses were given with impressive and eloquent dignity by Richard Metcalfe and Peter Pemberton to the wardens and brethren respectively. Ian said the address to the master was not given due to the poor health of Martin Baxendale who is in everyone’s thoughts.
At the appropriate moment on the conclusion of the ceremony, Peter rose to offer congratulations and best wishes from the Provincial Grand Master to all the participants.
He said that if Tony had been present he would have been delighted with the ceremony and Peter said he was sure Tony would have congratulated the IPM Michael Swinburne for the way he installed Ian, and Mike Barrett for the delivery of the working tools particularly those in the first degree as he had only been asked to deliver them a few minutes before the start of the ceremony – Peter crossed the lodge to shake hands with Michael and Mike. Additionally he announced that he had been specifically instructed to communicate Tony’s greetings to everyone in attendance.
On thanking Peter and asking that he return both the thanks and warm salutations to Tony from the lodge, Ian presented Peter with two cheques: the first in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity for £500 and one for the Masonic hall for £500. Details of additional charitable donations were also disclosed bringing the annual total of giving to £2,728. Peter expressed both his admiration and gratitude for the lodge’s generosity.
At the subsequent festive board, held in the dining room of Carnforth Masonic hall, the guests partook of an excellent three-course meal. Conversation was lively and animated with everyone enjoying the occasion to the full. In his response to the toast to the health of Provincial grand officers, Peter gave his own congratulations to the new master and affirmed his admiration for the fine standard of work that he had witnessed earlier in the lodge room and said: “Ian has a fine team behind him and he will undoubtedly have a great year in the chair of King Solomon”.
He drew the attention of his audience to the importance of the current issues of recruitment, retention and retrieval in the context of Masonic membership, the need to support the care and maintenance of Masonic halls and the growing financial demands on the WLFC which was worthy of the support of all lodges and chapters and highlighted the considerable financial benefits that accrued from the use of gift aid envelopes. He concluded by reminding the brethren that they should ensure they discussed Freemasonry with their family and friends as it was vital everyone was aware of the work undertaken by Masons – the increasing use of social media and the wide variety of information available on the Provincial and Group websites was used as an example of the openness of Freemasonry today.
Prior to the distinguished guests taking their leave, Michael Swinburne gave a detailed and illuminating toast to the newly installed master revealing his long friendship with Ian who he worked with selling insurance.
The master’s song was performed by duet of Ian Bernie and John Atkinson accompanied by Peter Wood.
In responding to both the toast and musical tribute, Ian gave his thanks to all who had both participated and attended.
The evening ended as brethren left for home many will remember a very special night in a very friendly and happy lodge.