Over 60 brethren witnessed the installation of Alan Richards into the WM’s chair of Ashton Trinity Lodge No 8821 at Bryn Masonic Hall, including Assistant Provincial Grand Master Derek Parkinson. Derek was accompanied by Geoffrey Porter (Wigan Group Vice Chairman) and supported by acting Provincial officers Barry Dickinson, Eric Bailey and Ken Wilson, together with Stewart Blagg (group secretary) and John Lomax (group local care officer). Acting Provincial officer Tony Simms was also present, but on duty as director of ceremonies of the lodge.
The ceremony itself was really impressive, indicative of the tremendous amount of work that had gone into the preparation. Installing master Joe Feeney had been in the WM’s chair in his mother lodge, Lodge of Friendship No 2963 in Warrington in 1989 and served twice more in that capacity in the early 1990s, so it was his fourth time of him installing his successor and from the excellent way he conducted the ceremony, none of that past experience was wasted. The new WM, Alan, had only vacated the chair in 2013, so was keen to settle quickly into a role he was comfortable with. He was presented by lodge DC Tony Simms and installed in perfect manner, albeit in the shorter version of the ceremony. Other highlights from the ceremony included the faultless presentation of the working tools by junior brethren; Craig Fanning and Kim Lyons and the perfect address to the master by Malcolm Rush. Alan Grice gave the address to the wardens and Derek Parkinson, not to let the occasion down, delivered with aplomb the address to the brethren.
There is no doubt that everyone who took part did particularly well, so much so that they received glittering praise from the principal guest. He was particularly enamoured by the way in which, directed by Tony Simms, Alan appointed and invested his officers, with a different brother escorting each one and delivering their individual addresses as they walked around the lodge to their respective posts.
Derek also commented on the charitable efforts of the lodge and was pleased to receive cheques from the new WM as follows: Ella Together £350, Wigan Hospice £300, Bryn Masonic Hall Building Fund £500, Bryn Masonic Hall Development Group £200, Oncology Trust £350, Remel Link £350, Winston’s Wish £350 and West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity £670 in addition to £222 previously donated making a wonderful total of £3,292.
It was also an event tinged with a little sadness for the four acting Provincial officers, being the last event in the group requiring their duties before the Provincial Grand Lodge meeting when their successors would be invested. The four, on their last official outing together, boxed up their acting jewels and ceremonially presented them to the Assistant Provincial Grand Master for return to Liverpool.
A fine festive board followed, with a meal consisting of hot peppered mackerel and rocket salad, fillet of chicken wrapped in bacon with a Dijon sauce, crème brule, and cheese and biscuits. Paul O’Brien provided the master’s song in his own inimitable fashion, ably accompanied by guest organist Les Campbell.