Members of Ansdell Lodge No 3607 were pleased to receive Deputy Provincial Grand Master Philip Gunning to witness the installation of Adrian Davies as the lodge’s new master.
As ever, the lodge business was completed with alacrity, allowing Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Malcolm Bell to announce that Philip Gunning, accompanied by Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Winder and a distinguished retinue of grand and Provincial grand officers were without and that the Deputy Provincial Grand Master demanded admission. Amongst the grand officers supporting Philip were Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Terry Hudson, Stuart Thornber and South Fylde Group Chairman Ian Ward.
Master of the lodge Brian Anderson welcomed Philip and offered him the gavel, which Philip momentarily accepted and gracefully returned. Normal salutations were afforded to senior brethren before the installing officers were invited to take post. John Conroy and South Fylde Group Secretary Dave Barr were invited to act as installing senior and junior wardens respectively and Peter Robinson was ensconced as inner guard.
Ray Pinkstone then presented the master elect and an excellent installation ceremony ensued. Brian Anderson installed his successor into the chair in what Philip Gunning later described as a very, very good ceremony. John Nichols led the brethren through perambulations and explanations of the working tools. The third degree tools were presented by Tom Cook, those in the second degree by Robert Bentwood and the first degree tools by Phil Bolton, all in excellent fashion.
Explanations of jewels were given by Ian Ward to the wardens, by Ray Pinkstone to the deacons and Peter Robinson to the inner guard. The address to the master was given expertly by Stuart Thornber, the address to the wardens by David Randerson and then an extended version of the address to the brethren of the lodge was delivered by John-Robbie Porter in quite remarkable fashion. John-Robbie’s feeling, precision and panache in this address drew much admiration and applause from those assembled, who continued to mention it with praise for the remainder of the evening.
A fine meal was then provided by Lee Munro’s Square and Compass catering team, after which the customary toasts ensued. In his reply to the toast to the grand officers, Philip Gunning began by thanking the other grand officers who were supporting him. He also thanked the acting Provincial grand officers who had attended, in the persons of Malcolm Bell, Godfrey Hirst, and David Kenworthy. He also congratulated David Barr on his promotion to Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah in the Royal Arch. Philip praised Brian Anderson for a ‘very, very good ceremony of installation.’ He also thanked John-Robbie Porter for his fine address to the brethren and the rest of the brethren who took part for their contribution to a fine ceremony. He particularly praised director of ceremonies John Nichols for his fine choreography and attention to detail.
Philip spoke of the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival, advising that the sum of £1,500,000 had already been pledged and thanked David Winder for all his hard work in setting up and moving the Festival forward. He also said that he had no doubt, based on previous festival records, that the South Fylde Group would contribute worthily on this occasion.
In mentioning the forthcoming tercentenary celebration at the Royal Albert Hall, Philip advised that a full house was expected, including 163 grand masters from around the world. He urged the brethren to log into the Grand Lodge website and read the presentation given by Assistant Grand Master Sir David Wooton on the subject at the last meeting of Grand Lodge.
Philip concluded by taking a straw poll of opinion from those present regarding the recent television series about the Freemasons. The general results were very favourable and Philip described it as another step toward the progress of the Craft and the equally important Royal Arch.
In his toast to the new master of the lodge, Brian Anderson gave a précis of Adrian Davies’ professional life and work as a clinical psychotherapist at Broadmoor Hospital where he was dealing with patients with mental health and addiction problems. During this period Adrian had received training in riot control, which came in useful sooner than he had expected as a week later he found himself kitted out in riot gear dealing with the real thing.
Brian recounted Adrian’s initiation into the Farnborough and North Camp Lodge No 2203 in April 1995 and his subsequent membership of Collingwood Lodge No 8961 at Camberley in Surrey, then ultimately Fairhaven Lodge No 5076 at St Annes, where he is currently holding the office of senior warden. It was while attending a Fairhaven Lodge ladies evening at Fylde Rugby Club that he met John Nichols and Ray Pinkstone, which led to his joining membership of the Ansdell Lodge. All of these moves were connected with his professional life except the last, which had more to do with the persuasive skills of brothers Nichols and Pinkstone.
Another plus from moving to the Fylde was that he met Caroline, who is very supportive of Adrian’s Masonic life. Brian concluded by telling the brethren that: “Adrian is a hardworking and dedicated Mason, who would make a first-class master for what will be a very busy year with a full programme of ceremonies.”
At the end of Brian’s toast, he was presented with a special past master’s jewel by Stuart Thornber, who explained that the jewel had belonged to Harry Haslam, who had been presented with it in 1946. This jewel had been returned to Stuart by Harry Haslam’s son-in-law to be recycled. The current past masters of the lodge have decided that it will be presented to any past master coming out of the chair who holds either grand or Provincial grand rank to wear for a year.
Brian’s toast was followed by the master’s song which was rendered with customary gusto by Provincial Grand Chaplain Godfrey Hirst, to the great enjoyment of all. In his response to the toast, Adrian Davies spoke of being struck by the warmth and friendship he had received from everyone he had met on the Fylde, adding that he had made some great friends here. He went on to say that he felt very confident for the year ahead as he was supported by great officers of the lodge who had all offered their full backing. He also thanked the visitors for attending and invited them all to visit again. He concluded by saying that it was nice now to be settled and pick up the threads of his previous membership of lodges ‘down south’ and that after 24 years as a Mason, he was in the chair at last.