Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Walmsley was delighted to attend Hindley Masonic Hall to be the principal guest at the installation ceremony of Borsdane Lodge No 6460. David was accompanied by group chairman Geoffrey Porter and fellow grand officer and group vice chairman David Ogden. Further support came in the persons of acting Provincial Grand Stewards Trevor Jones and David Marlor together with group secretary John Selley.
The distinguished brethren were there to join the members and visitors to witness, not a speedy event, but the installation of Arthur Swift into the chair of this happy and prestigious lodge. This year, circumstances seem to have conspired against the lodge, losing the new master at the beginning of his term, but fortunately Roy Brooks stepped in and for a second year doing a fine job. All prepared for the installation ceremony, Roy was taken ill on its very eve, and following a morning visit from senior lodge members, reluctantly agreed to stay in his sick bed. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and John Seddon, with ridiculously short notice, stepped in as WM and installing master.
The initial business of the lodge being concluded, David Walmsley was warmly received by John and was, by right, offered the gavel. David returned it with comforting words to John, showing his understanding of the circumstances that brought him into the chair with such short notice. As it transpired, no such empathy was required, as John went on to install Arthur in fine style, giving the impression, he had been preparing and practicing for months. It was a good team effort, with able assistance from members of the lodge. Frank Jones not only presented and gave the address to the new Master, but addressed the new junior warden and added to the dignity of the occasion with his organ music.
Not content with his work as installing master, John Seddon went on to give the address to the wardens, and David Walmsley gave a polished address to the brethren of the lodge. Further assistance came from Hugh Smith as inner guard, Albert Williams, Phil Dobson and Johnathon Lever who delivered the working tools, with busy secretary Norman Kelly acting as senior warden and giving the address to the newly appointed George Seddon. Neil Whittle, DC, efficiently orchestrated events with style and dignity, assisted as always, by Phil Dobson.
Once the officers were invested, David rose and brought the congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master, who he said, would have been delighted to witness such a fine installation and would have congratulated Arthur on attaining the chair and John Seddon on installing him in such a fine way. In response Arthur was delighted to present the Assistant Provincial Grand Master with charitable donations totalling a staggering amount of over £2,900, consisting of donations to Hindley Masonic Hall, West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, Breast Cancer Research, Prostate Cancer Research and the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival. The latter donation was sufficient to qualify the lodge as a Vice Patron of the 2021 Festival, and the Assistant Provincial Grand Master was pleased to present a certificate in recognition.
David Ogden took the opportunity of addressing Johnathon Lever, as festival representative, not only thanking the young Mason for his involvement, but also explaining the role and giving him the benefit of his experience. It was whilst explaining his past experience in a previous festival that the group vice chairman made an uncharacteristic slip, claiming to be involved in the festival of 1881, a small variation of 100 years that proved a source of banter in every response that followed. It is unlikely that this particular faux par won’t be mentioned again!
A really enjoyable festive board followed in the cosy and joyful atmosphere that always prevails at Hindley. In his response to toast number three David Walmsley replied on behalf of himself and his grand officer colleague, who he believed, had founded a stage coach business back in the 1880s. He added his own congratulations to the new master and praised John Seddon, whose performance made it hard for him to believe that he had not had months of practice. He congratulated all who had taken part, particularly the young Johnathon Lever who delivered the working tools. It was, he said, a warm and happy lodge, and he had been made to feel really welcome, especially by group chairman Geoffrey Porter, who he had known and respected for many years.
David then spoke about the topics encouraged by the PrGM, including the Royal Arch, the ambassador scheme and the pathway system. He concluded by thanking the Provincial Grand Stewards for their support and secretary Norman Kelly for the work he does behind the scenes. David spoke in a relaxed manner, infusing a little humour yet retaining the dignity of his address, which was appreciated by the brethren.
The master’s song followed, with an entertaining delivery by Neil Whittle, in his own inimitable style, accompanied by Frank Jones. It added to what was a delightful evening, which concluded with the presentation of a nice bouquet of flowers for David to take home for his wife. David had been given a bottle of single malt by the brother who had won it in the raffle. As a final Parthian shot, he announced that, for a lodge who has raised over £2900 for charity, it was appropriate to give back the bottle to kick start their future charitable efforts, which of course, was greeted with loud applause from the brethren.
Arthur is a St Helens boy, and married to Val. He is an experienced Mason holding the rank of PPrAGDC. He was introduced into Masonry by his dad in 1993 into Hindley Lodge No 4020 and served as WM in 1999 and 2000. He also joined Lodge of St George No 6048 in St Helens, and with special dispensation served as WM simultaneously in 2000. He is therefore now in the chair for the fourth time, and is just as keen to fulfil the duties and visit other lodges, as he was on the first occasion. That visiting will have to be on hold for a few weeks, as on the day following his installation he joined the QE2 for a Caribbean cruise, returning in ‘Swift’ time for the next meeting.