25 years ago, the brethren of Hawkshead Lodge No 4354 had the foresight to plan for their next milestone, which would be celebrating their 100th anniversary. Being at the ‘top of the Province’ and tucked away in the beautiful village of Hawkshead in the heart of the Lake District, the plans for the special occasion 25 years ago, the brethren of Hawkshead Lodge No 4354 had the foresight to plan for their next milestone, which would be celebrating their 100th anniversary. Being at the ‘top of the Province’ and tucked were perfect. Even the notorious Lake District weather played its part and stayed dry.
The Masonic Hall in the village square, is also the village hall and has to abide by local restrictions on numbers being able to attend. Those wishing to attend had to book early and the 80 brethren who were lucky to secure a seat, were not disappointed.
Tony Harrison, Provincial Grand Master, together with Deputy ProvGM Philip Gunning, AProvGM Peter Schofield and members of the Provincial team paid an official visit to mark the occasion. It was made even more special, as this would be Tony’s last 100th anniversary celebration before he retires at the end of June, having served the Province with distinction and dedication throughout his tenancy.
The joyous occasion continued as unbeknown to the WM David Cole, he was to receive a rather special surprise from Tony, as he promoted him to the well-deserved rank of Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works in acknowledgement of his dedication and work in his lodge.
One of David’s first tasks during the meeting was to present on behalf of his lodge members, a very generous cheque to Tony for the West Lancashire Masonic Charity Fund for £4,354. The same amount of £4354 was also to be distributed to local charities. A remarkable achievement for a small lodge, who also looked after all who attended, by providing a free bar and even a small gift for the Provincial team to take home. There was even a bar of the famous Kendal Mint Cake to savour later that evening.
The meeting ended and as the hard-working members of the lodge converted the lodge room to a banqueting room fit for such an event, the visitors retreated across the square to the Kings Arms for a refreshing sample of the local brew. A big thank you to the brewery for opening the pub for the event, because it had only been able to open for a few days since New Year. It gave a superb opportunity to make new friends and renew old ones in a very relaxed atmosphere.
In the newly reorganised and decorated Masonic hall for the celebratory meal, Philip orated a very touching speech when proposing the toast to Tony. They obviously had become close friends during the last eight years, which was clearly reflected in his kind words. Tony replied with a little ‘catch’ in his voice, as he spoke emotionally and from the heart in thanking all who had given him such support over the last eight years as their ProvGM.
Following in his father’s footsteps from 25 years ago, Iain Brown gave an emotional account of the history of the lodge, which was entertaining and informative. Iain even managed to expand on the work his father, Gilbert, had produced for the 75th anniversary.
Newly promoted to the positions of Provincial Senior and Junior Grand Wardens, Hawkshead members warmly welcomed Chris Taylor and Sylvester During respectively; Sylvester giving his inaugural speech in his new post with gravitas and a clear sense of the occasion.
The raffle on the evening raised a magnificent sum of £695 which was to be donated to Masonic charities and just as everyone thought the evening was coming to a close, Paul Gregson began playing the organ – music to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up!
Hawkshead Lodge is now looking forward to planning their next anniversary. They will have to produce something extra special to cap the centenary celebrations witnessed on this occasion. Someone was heard to remark: “If only you could bottle the atmosphere created in the village, the Masonic hall and even in the Kings Arms and sell it, someone would make a great deal of money for charity.”